35+ Interesting Facts About Namibia

  1. Namibia is a scarcely populated country in southern Africa, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west.
  2. Namibia is the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa. Only 5% of its land is arable due to low precipitation, negligible groundwater, and the absence of permanent water bodies.
  3. Namibia is the second-least densely populated sovereign country after Mongolia. Its population density is around three people per square km.
  4. The German Empire took control of modern-day Namibia in 1884, where they committed the first genocide of the 20th Century from 1904-08. It happened after the uprising of the local population against colonial rule. The Germans killed thousands of Herero and Nama people and put others in concentration camps. (Source)
  5. South Africa took control of Namibia from Germany in 1915 during World War 1. It became part of South Africa in 1920 after approval from the League of Nations.
  6. However, the UN rejected the South African occupation of South West Africa in 1946. In 1961, the UN General Assembly demanded the independence of SWA.
  7. The SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organization) started an armed struggle against South Africa in 1966 with assistance from Cuba and other communist nations.
  8. South Africa agreed to end the annexation of Namibia in 1988 with the condition of the removal of Cuban troops from Angola.
  9. Namibia gained independence in March 1990. However, South Africa returned Walvis Bay and the Penguin Islands to Namibia in 1994.
  10. Caprivi Strip is a long and narrow strip on the northeastern part of Namibia, separating Botswana and Angola. The British handed over this area to Germany in 1890 in exchange for Zanzibar (Tanzania). It receives more rain than other parts of the country.
    A flooded village in Caprivi Strip, Namibia
    Caprivi Strips receives more rain than other parts of Namibia

  11. Scientists discovered a 10,000-year-old aquifer in 2012 in the northern part of Namibia close to the Angolan border. This area hosts 40% of the country’s population, and this new water source can fulfill the drinking requirement of this population for up to 400 years. Despite longevity, it is cleaner than many modern water sources. (Source)
  12. Nearly 90% of Namibians follow Christianity, majority of these belong to the Lutheran branch of Protestantism. It has the highest percentage of Lutheranism in Africa and is the only country outside Europe with Lutheranism as the main denomination.
  13. Nearly 85% population of Namibia is black African, with the majority belonging to the Ovambo ethnicity. The remaining is colored and Europeans (primarily Germans and Afrikaners). 
  14. The name of the country derives from the Namib Desert, the oldest in the world. Almost the entire desert is in Namibia along the Atlantic coast.
  15. The coastal (western) and eastern parts of Namibia are covered by Namib and Kalahari deserts, respectively. The central region is a plateau and savanna. Nearly 50% of the population resides in the north.
  16. The Skeleton Coast in Namibia is known as the “end of the world” due to its harsh environment. It starts from the Angolan border and stretches up to 500 km along with South Atlantic Ocean. The reason behind this name is the presence of numerous skeletons of animals and shipwrecks. Its top features are 100-meter-high dunes, hundreds of thousands of Cape fur seals, and many other animals. (Source)
  17. Namibia has the third-highest percentage (38%) of protected land in Africa. Its protected area is less than the Republic of Congo and Zambia and equal to Tanzania. (Source)
  18. The NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia is one of the best places for stargazing. It was the first place to receive Gold Tier Status from the International Dark-Sky Association. (Source)
  19. Namibia is the first African country to include the protection of the environment in its constitution.
  20. Kolmanskop was a flourished Namibian town after the discovery of diamonds in 1908. It was once producing nearly 12% of total world’s diamond production. However, the diamond reserves declined in the 1930s, and it became a ghost town by 1956. Now, it serves as a tourist spot and reminds German influence and occupation of Namibia. (Source)
  21. Mining plays a vital role in generating revenue for Namibia. Its top exports are raw copper, gold, and diamonds. This African country is the world’s largest exporter of uranium and thorium ore. (Source)
  22. Namibia has the 5th highest uranium reserves in the world and the largest in Africa. It is also the world’s 3rd largest producer of uranium. (Source)
  23. Namibia has the second-highest income inequality in the world, behind only its neighbor South Africa. Its wealth inequality rate is 59.1%. (Source)
  24. The national language of Namibia is English. However, most of the population speaks Ovambo languages, and the percentage of people with English as their native language is only 3%.
  25. Namibia is in the top 10 countries for the lowest life expectancy and highest rates of HIV/AIDS.
  26. Frankie Fredericks is the most famous Namibian athlete. He won four Olympic silver medals in the 100 and 200 meters (in the 1992 Barcelona and 1996 Atlanta Olympics).
  27. Namibia has the second-best score on Press Freedom Index in Africa. Only Seychelles has more press freedom than Namibia.
  28. Namibia has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa. More than 91% of Namibians are literate.
  29. The Fish River Canyon in Namibia is 100 miles long and up to 700 meters deep. It is one of the largest in Africa. 
    Satellite image of Fish River Canyon
    Fish River Canyon is one of the largest in Africa

  30. Namibia has the world’s highest population of cheetahs and the most free-roaming black rhinos in Africa.
  31. The savannah elephants in Namibia have adapted to live in the desert. They have larger feet to walk on sand and can fulfill their drinking requirement through moisture in their food.
  32. Dragon’s Breath Cave in Namibia contains one of the largest lakes beneath the surface. This underground lake is 670 feet below the surface and 575 feet wide.
  33. More than 100 meteorites landed in Gibeon (Namibia) around 600 million years ago. However, only 30 of these are now left and displayed in Windhoek (the capital of Namibia). (Source)
  34. Namibian caves contain among the oldest rock art in Africa. One of these cave paintings by the San people is between 19,000 and 26,000 years old. (Source)
  35. Namibia is the 3rd newest country in Africa. Eritrea (1993) and South Sudan (2011) are the only African countries that gained independence after Namibia. (Source)
  36. There is a petrified forest in Namibia, which contain several petrified trees of up to 34m in length. These tree trunks are 260 million years old and visible with intact bark and tree rings. (Source)
  37. In 2014, Namibia became the first African country to use electronic voting in presidential and parliamentary elections. So far, SWAPO has won all elections since independence. (Source)
  38. Namibia has the best score for the quality of roads in Africa. It achieved a road quality score of 5.3 for the data between 2006 and 2019. (Source)

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