1) Namibia is home to the world’s largest population of free-roaming cheetahs (~2500-3000). I was lucky enough to see a few of them at the Cheetah Conservation Fund. I especially loved hearing them. Their chirp-like sound as they impatiently waited for lunch was not what I expected from a cat!
2)The country gets its name from the Namib Desert – one of the world’s oldest deserts. No one knows exactly how old it is but scientists have identified that sand has existed in the desert for over a million years!
3)Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world. It has a population of ~2 million in a country that is twice the size of California. Only Mongolia is less populous. The low population makes it an excellent place to see wildlife.
4)Would you visit a place in Namibia called the Skeleton Coast? Named so in previous times for all the whale and seal skeletons lining the coast, there would have been a few humans ones there as well. It’s famous for shipwrecks due to blinding fog.
5) Namibia was a German colony, then captured by South Africa in World War I. It became independent in 1990 – just over 20 years ago.
6) Despite its low population, Namibia is still home to 13 different ethic groups. That includes the Himba. They’re a nomadic and traditional people whose ways have changed little over the years due to their seclusion from outside influences.
7) Namibia is the first country in the world to incorporate environmental protection into its Constitution. The result of this has been many community-based tourism initiatives that provide social and monetary benefits to the communities and an authentic experience for visitors. It’s sustainable tourism at its best!
8) Namibia is one of only two countries in the world that has desert elephants! They’re not a separate species, but the IUCN has identified them as a high priority. They’ve adapted to their semi-desert environment by developing a smaller body mass, longer legs and larger feet. That enables them to travel for miles across sand dunes to reach water.
9) Did you know that there are two different styles of sandboarding? Namibia has both. The easiest, but perhaps scariest is lying down and heading down the dune headfirst. You can reach a speed of up to 80km/hr!
10) Sossusvlei Sand Dunes are some of the highest in the world. They’re one of Namibia’s most impressive sights. Big Daddy is the largest dune in Sossusvlei measuring ~325m and also visit Dune 45, known as the most photographed dune in the world.
11) Namibia is home to the world’s largest population of free-roaming black rhinos.