1. Namibia has 4 Olympic Silver medals – did you know that since its Independence in 1990, with help of the United Nations, Namibia was allowed to compete on the Olympic circuit (Commonwealth Games – African Games – Olympics). For the past two decades, it has had a handful of famous athletes but it was Frankie Fredericks(born in Windhoek on 2.10.67) who is Namibia’s first and so far only Olympic medalist. Running in the 100 metres and 200 metres, he won four silver medals at the Olympic Games – two in 1992 in Barcelona (100m and 200m) and two in 1996 in Atlanta (100m and 200m).
2. Namibia is the second least densely populated country on earth. After Mongolia which is also a vast country, there are just over two million people living in a country which is half the size of Alaska.
3. Namibia’s national anthem “Namibia, Land of the Brave’ was composed by Axali Doeseb. The words of the first verse echo the country’s long struggle for independence: “Namibia, land of the brave, Freedom’s fight we have won, Glory to their bravery, whose blood waters our freedom”. The chorus is “Namibia our Country, Namibia our Motherland, we love thee”.
4. Namibia, known as the “Gem of Africa”, is a unique place for eco-tourists. Much of Namibia is as it was centuries ago. Due to this, it has a host of natural wonders and amazing places.
5. Etosha National Park is one of Africa’s finest parks, both in size and diversity of wildlife – home to Africa’s tallest elephants, the endangered black rhino, and 91 other species of mammal. Etosha is especially popular with photographers in the dry season who flock to the waterholes (along with the wildlife).
6. The Namib-Naukluft Park is the largest conservation area in Namibia and one of the largest in the world.
7. Two spectacular deserts – the Kalahari and Namib – each with distinctive wildlife and scenery.
8. The Namib desert, at 80 million years, is the world’s oldest desert. Namib means “open space”.
9. The Namib and Damaraland offer remarkably clear skies for astronomers and keen stargazers.
10. Stunning Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon – it is 161km long, up to 27km wide and 550m deep, formed about 500 million years ago. You can hike the canyon but only during the cooler months between May and September. The hike takes 5 days and there are no hotels along the way.
11. Sossusvlei are said to be the highest sand-dunes in the world.
12. Superb birding and good fishing is available from the banks of the Kavango and Kunene Rivers on the northern border.
13. Shipwrecks dot the wild Skeleton Coast coastline and elephants wander through the sand dunes that plunge directly into the freezing Atlantic ocean. A desolate place that’s extremely rewarding for the adventurous traveler.
14. Dragon’s Breath is the largest underground lake in the world.
15. The San Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert, are considered Namibia’s first people. They traditionally followed the migratory patterns of the animals and still have no homeland. They speak a clicking language.
16. The NamibRand Nature Reserve, one of the largest privately-owned game reserves in Africa, with many wildlife volunteer opportunities
17. Namibia has the largest free-roaming cheetah population in the world – there are an estimated 2,500 – 3,000 cheetahs in Namibia. Cheetahs are under pressure from farming and ranching encroachment on their habitat. Leopards and lions are also indigenous big cats in Namibia.
18. Namibia is also where Brangelina chose to give birth to their daughter Shiloh on 27 May 2006 at a small hospital near Swakopmund. They also donated $2m to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, who are dedicated to the people, and the conservation of the wildlife and land of Namibia.
19. Fabulous opportunities for Volunteering – with wildlife (cheetah & leopards, elephants and lions, abandoned wildlife) or teaching and/or medical helping the Bushman tribe.
20. A popular self-drive destination with excellent infrastructure.
21. More than 300 days of sunshine per year.