11 Fun Facts About Namibia’s Animals, Geography and Culture

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Earning its name from the ancient Namib Dessert meaning “vast place,” Namibia is a country full of wonders. Many are surprised by how nature thrives in such deserted conditions.

From the most giant meteorites to the underground lake, here are some fun facts about Namibia to help you plan a trip to this beautiful country!

1. The Namib Desert Of Namibia Is The Oldest In The World

Aged more than 55 to 80 million years, the Namib desert is the world’s oldest desert and contains some of the driest regions on earth. The ocean wind also creates huge and perfectly shaped dunes in the desert. 

2. Home To World’s Largest Underground Non-Subglacial Lake

Namib desert is often described as “The land god made in anger,” yet it is home to the majestic Dragon’s Breath Cave. 

This underground lake, discovered in 1989, fosters more than 16 invertebrate species like golden catfish. 

Its exact depth is still unknown since access is difficult, but estimates place it at around 670 feet deep. 

3. Unidentified Human Fossils Were Found In The Dragon’s Breath Cave 

The Dragon’s Breath cave could be a missing link to trace back human evolution. 

In 2013, scientists discovered some fossils reminiscent of the cave that looked oddly similar to the human species but were never seen before. Scientists believe it is a new species that is human relative. 

With more than 1500 fossil fragments, it’s considered the largest hominin fossil discovery ever in Africa. 

4. You Can Find A Slice Of Germany In Namibia

Located on the western coast of Namibia, Swakopmund highlights the influence of German culture. Once a German colony, this coastal city still encaptures the old Germans’ architecture, food, and drinking style. 

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If you want a taste of Germany while visiting Africa, add Swakopmund to your list. You’ll be surprised to see how fluently Namibians can speak German too.

5. Animals In Namibia Have Miraculously Adapted To The Desert

The cool coastal nature of the Namib Desert has helped animals adapt to the desert. While you won’t spot lions or elephants in the Sahara, they are predominant in Namibia. 

Only a small population of desert lions exist along its beaches, barren dunes, and mountains, but Damaraland elephants are more frequently seen.

6. Home To Almost A Third Of All Endangered Black Rhinos

If lucky, you may spot a black rhino or two in Northeast Namibia with a population estimated at 200 across the country.

This species was on the verge of becoming extinct, but through the hard work of many NGOs, black rhinos have rapidly increased over the past few years. 

7. It’s Not Just Animals That Have Adapted To Desert Life

Many plants have been thriving in Namibia’s deserts for millions of years. The Welwitschia plants in particular can store water in their pores and survive simply on that alone for many years. 

The Welwitschia plants

Fostering a large number of these resilient plants has made the Welwitschia Plains of the Namib Desert a UNESCO world heritage site. 

8. The Song “Africa” Plays On An Infinite Loop In The Namib Desert

In 2019, a Namibian-German artist named Max Sidentopf decided to install an art piece at a secret location in the Namib Desert. Not only was the idea eccentric but equally unusual too.

He installed six solar-powered speakers with a solar-powered MP3 player that plays the 1982’s hit song “Africa” by Toto on a loop. I wonder if it’ll never stop working.

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9. Home Of The Biggest Iron Meteorite

Located almost 20 km west of Grootfontein, the Hoba meteorite is the largest iron meteorite ever found on earth. Experts suggest that this extraterrestrial body landed on earth almost 80,000 years ago.

Man sitting on the Hoba meteorite

While the meteorite only weighs around 50 tons, it still remains in the same place where it fell.

10. Home To 4 Deserts That Are Quite Different

In the eastern region is the Kalahari Dessert with its distinct red sand dunes. Then there is the Nama Karoo which is distinguishable by the small shrubs and the famous Fish River Canyon. 

The third is the Succulent Karoo which has a unique environment and receives rain during the winter. And finally, there is the most famous of them all, the Namib desert with its prehistoric secrets. 

11. View Africa’s Largest Canyon: The Fish River Canyon

Equally impressive and with an exceptional experience, some call Fish River Canyon the Grand Canyon of Africa. 

The Fish River Canyon

Not only Africa’s largest, but it is also the world’s second-largest canyon. Located in the longest interior river, the Fish River (650 Km) highlights an incredible landscape. 

But unlike the Grand Canyon, you won’t be swarmed by the crowd, as trekking in this place is not everyone’s cup of tea. 

Joshua Smith

Joshua has visited 10 countries and has another 110 to go! He plans to sail around the world over 5 years, and then spend the next 5 years driving around the world in a 4×4. He prefers to explore the more remote places without the tourists, and yet, doesn’t mind the ritzy feel of business class at 10,000 feet either.

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