Article by discoverafrica
06 Jun' 2017

Namibia is a fascinating country in the southern part of Africa and definitely qualifies as one of the countries you should visit at least once in your lifetime. Here are 10 interesting facts about the country, which might just encourage you to go on a Namibia safari.

We have listed 10 fun facts about Namibia, that might just inspire you to go on a Namibia safari:

Fact number 1 - Namibia is home to the world’s oldest desert 

Namib Desert Namibia Safari
Namib Desert Namibia Safari 

Shifting sand dunes, gravel plains, and rugged mountains make up this extremely arid ecoregion. The Namib Desert, the world's oldest desert, has been around for at least 55 million years, devoid of surface water but bisected by many dry riverbeds. A few ungulates, such as Hartmann's zebras, live in these vegetated riverbeds.


Scenic photo of dunes in the Namib Desert
Scenic photo of dunes in the Namib Desert, Namibia

The south of the desert is very dry, with no dry riverbeds; the gemsbok is the only large mammal that can survive in this harsh climate. An interesting fact about Namibia is that the thick fogs are common along the coast, and they are the desert's lifeblood, providing enough moisture for a variety of interesting, well-adapted animal species to thrive.

Fact number 2 - Namibia has 30 languages that are spoken in the country

language and culture of namibia safari guide Himba
Himba culture of namibia

Another fact about Namibia is that it has a remarkable diversity of spoken languages: about 30 overall. More than 11 languages are native to Namibia, but with its cosmopolitan culture, languages from all across the world are spoken in Namibia.

In fact, English is the official language, but Namibia's comparatively small population is actually extremely diverse in language and culture.

Traditional Herero Woman in Namiba
Traditional Herero Woman in Namiba

Namibia has a population of close to 2.4 million, and the citizens speak up to 30 languages. The most popular of these is Oshiwambo. English is the recognized official language of Namibia. In fact, Portuguese was spoken by 4–5 percent of the total population. The most common spoken languages used in households are Oshiwambo dialects, 49 per cent of the population are Khoekhoegowab 11 per cent, Afrikaans 10 per cent, RuKwangali 9 per cent and Otjiherero 9 per cent.

Fact number 3 - Namibia has some of the highest sand dunes in the world

sossusvlei climbing namibia adventure
Sossusvlei Climbing Namibia Adventure

Big Daddy is the highest dune in the area of Sossusvlei. This colossal dune is found between Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, and the other dunes dwarf at 325 meters. If you want the ultimate bragging rights, take a lot of water and hike to the top of Big Daddy where you can look down onto Deadvlei.


Dunes in Namibia
Dunes in Namibia

Big Daddy may be the highest dune in the Sossusvlei region at 325 meters, but it is not the highest in the Namib Desert. In fact, This honour is bestowed on Dune 7, which was measured at 388m. Dune 7 received its name by being the 7th dune on the Tsauchab River.

Fact number 4 - World’s most extensive meteorite shower

The Gibeon meteorite shower is the largest known meteorite shower on Earth, covering a wide elliptical area of some 275 by 100 kilometres, centred on Brukkaros south of Mariental.

Namibia Capital City Windhoek 
Namibia Capital City Windhoek

Most of the pieces fell just southeast of Gibeon. To date, some 120 specimens with a weight of almost 25 tons have been recorded. In fact in Namibia, an unknown number have been collected but never recorded.

The Gibeon meteorite shower occurred in prehistoric times in central Namibia. Remains from this meteorite shower are exhibited at Windhoek, Namibia's capital city.

Fact number 5 -  Namibia has one of the largest concentrations of rock art in Africa

San Rock art in Namibia
San Rock art in namibia

The first known inhabitants of Namibia are the San (Bushmen) who belong to the Khoesan people. 

These hunter-gatherers – like the Ju/'Hoansi, Kxoe and the Kung – have travelled across the vast plains of Southern Africa for thousands of years until migrants armed with arms looking for new land to graze their animals and plant their food, driving them further and further east into the Kalahari Desert.

The San have resided in Namibia for more than 6,000 years, and there is more than enough rock art to confirm this.

Fact number 6 - Namibia has the largest population of free-roaming cheetahs in the world

Cheetah Conservation in Namibia
Cheetah Conservation in Namibia

At the Cheetah Conservation in Namibia, you can run across one of the 3,000 or so free-roaming cheetahs in the country.  

Fact number 7 - Namibia is also home to the second-largest canyon in the world

fish river canyon namibia adventure
Fish river canyon Namibia adventure | Credit: Getaway Magazine
The Fish River Canyon, located close to the border with South Africa, is also the oldest in the world.

Researchers have determined that the canyon was formed at least 500 million years ago through water and wind erosion, coupled with the collapse of the valley floor.

Fact number 8 - The most fascinating Namibia Tribes 

Himba Woman in Kunene Namibia
Himba Woman in Kunene Namibia

The Himba tribe in the Kunene region of the country have strongly clung to their traditional ways and beliefs.

They wear traditional clothes, eat traditional foods and even practice traditional religions. The women wear skirts and leave their upper body bare. Basically, they have been unaffected by modernism in any way.

Fact number 9 - The Skeleton Coast is the world’s biggest gravesite for sailors and ships

Skeleton Coast Namibia Travel
Skeleton Coast Namibia Travel

A large number of sailors have died at this coast in Namibia, given the dense fog and the violent storms in the area.

In the 1940s, a slate was discovered along with human skeletons. The slate was written by a survivor and directed anyone who found it north. Unfortunately, the wreck had happened close to a century earlier.

Fact number 10 - The Namibian dollar is used interchangeably with the South African Rand

Nambia Currency
Nambia Currency

Under the South African rule, the country used the rand to transact and only started using the Namibian dollar after independence.

Currently, both currencies are accepted in the country. 

Keen for a Self-drive adventure? Why not have a look at the Namibia self-drive itinerary by alajode, where you will be sure to find an adventure-packed curated plan for Namibia. 


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