At the end of every month, we're publishing a summary of all the interesting facts shared on social media. In January we covered roads in Namibia, the history of trains and the railway network, wildlife sanctuaries and a few nice places worth a visit.
Posted on 2 January:
It's a new year and each one of us has a new road ahead... May your skies be clear, your journey smooth and the stops along the way absolutely epic!
Talking about roads, did you know the B1 is the national highway of Namibia? It is the country's longest and most significant road, running the length of the country from North to South.
The B1 connects Noordoewer in the South (South African border) with Oshikango in the North (Angolan border) via Namibia's capital city Windhoek. The route exists in two discontinuous sections: a Southern 802 km (498 mi) section from Noordoewer to Windhoek, and a Northern 665 km (413 mi) section from Okahandja to Oshikango. The central 74 km (46 mi) section between Windhoek and Okahandja, previously part of the B1, was recently upgraded to freeway standard, with the freeway sections now carrying the designation of A1. The A1 is the only A-rated road in Namibia...
Posted on 4 January:
Looking forward to whatever this year may bring like...
Today's quick fact is more of an introduction to one of Namibia's best wildlife sanctuaries... Over the past 30 years, the Harnas Wildlife Foundation has become home to hundreds of abused, injured or orphaned lions, leopards, cheetahs, caracals, wild dogs, meerkats, mongooses, baboons, ostriches, porcupines and many other animals.
Situated near Gobabis in the Omaheke region, Harnas Guest Lodge offers rooms and camp sites and it's the perfect stop when planning a break from the concrete jungle.
Give Forever Harnas Wildlife Foundation (FB) a follow and check out their page for more info about their various projects or to get involved and support their amazing cause.
Posted on 6 January:
It's humpday ya'll!
Did you know the eyes of a camel have three eyelids with two rows of eyelashes that prevent sand from entering? In addition to that, their ears are small and very hairy and their nostrils close between breaths to further prevent sand and dust from entering...
The amount of water a camel drinks on a day-to-day basis can vary greatly as they only drink to replace only the fluid they’ve lost. Notwithstanding this, a thirsty camel can drink up to 135 liters in one sitting!
If you're visiting Swakopmund and looking for something fun to do, make some fun memories at the Camel Farm by going on a unique outing on the back of a camel in Namibia's desert.
Posted on 8 January:
Dis Vrydag! Kom ons duik!
Seriously though, even though it may look refreshing, we really don't recommend you go diving in these luring green waters! Instead, we're going to share some quick facts about it - figured out where this photo was taken yet?
This is Lake Otjikoto, the smaller of only two permanent natural lakes in Namibia. It is located 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Tsumeb, about 100 meters from the B1, and was declared a national monument in 1972.
Translated, Otjikoto means deep hole, which is very appropriate as the depth of the lake has been estimated to be more than 142 metres. According to some Namibian records, "the depth varies from 62 meters at the side to 100 meters in the center" but, since the lake tapers into a lateral cave system, it is impossible to determine its exact depth... The (visible) diameter of the lake is about 102 metres but, as the lake has the form of an upside-down mushroom, the greater volume lies way beyond the surface. Geologically speaking, the lake used to be a karst cave of which the ceiling collapsed, thus exposing it to daylight.
The first Europeans to discover the lake in 1851 were the explorers Carl Johan Andersson and Francis Galton. Apparently, according to history records, both men took a swim in the then 20 meter higher waters of the lake, much to the horror of their local companions. You see, the San called this place Gaisis ("ugly"), clearly expressing that the lake was scary and awkward to them.
Today, the lake still bears a large quantity of arms and ammunition left by the German troops before capitulating to the South African superiority in 1915. Over time, some of the weapons have been recovered by diving teams and, after careful restoration, it can now be seen at Tsumeb Museum.
Posted on 10 January:
Although every month is worth a journey to Namibia, most visitors prefer to travel between May and October. Ever wondered why our tourism particularly boom during these months? Well, it has a lot to do with our climate, and today's quick facts are all about it.
With an average of 300 sunny days per year, Namibia is one of the sunniest countries worldwide. The climate is generally arid which means the potential evaporation is higher than the precipitation, which again results in a very low humidity. From December to March it is generally hot throughout the country with the main rainy season starting in January. During April to May rains might still occur but temperatures slowly start to drop and, by June, it hardly ever rains.
Generally, tourists who visit our country in winter can rely on uninterrupted sunshine (except at the foggy coast) with moderate temperatures. These months are also ideal for game viewing as vegetation is receding and animals are drawn to permanent water holes, which creates the perfect photographing opportunities.
Posted on 12 January:
The Orange river marks Namibia's Southern border with South Africa and, after checking in/out at Noordoewer's border post, many of us have crossed the narrow bridge over the longest river in the RSA.
If you've never been, you should really add 'visit the Orange river!' on your bucket list or, better yet, head over to Amanzi Trails River Adventures and book the outdoor adventure of a lifetime!
Amanzi is proudly Namibian and they offer fun filled canoeing trips as well as camping at their base camp (about 13km from Noordoewer). All river trips are family-friendly and no previous paddling experience is required. 3, 4 or 5-day trips can be booked in advance and they have special offers for Easter weekend, school holidays, Christmas or New Year trips.
Posted on 14 January:
Namibians don't exaggerate when they tell you it's pretty hot in summer and, considering our love for the outdoors, we just love spots where we can relax, enjoy nature and (most importantly) cool off!
Oanob dam is one of Namibia's biggest dams located just 7 kilometres (4.3mi) outside Rehoboth (85km from Windhoek). It dams the Oanob River and provides the town with the majority of its water.
Lake Oanob Resort is an amazing break-away destination and, whether you're staying for 1 or 7 nights, you're guaranteed to leave with a smile. The resort offers various accommodation options, a restaurant, both in and outdoor function venues, a pool bar and a bunch of land and water activities including hiking, nature drives, fishing, tube rides, canoeing and aqua cycling. Check out their page or visit their website for more information and/or bookings.
Posted on 16 January:
Now this is what a Saturday should look like!
This monster of a crocodile was captured at the crocodile farm in Otjiwarongo, a little gem you should really visit if you're ever in that area... Informative tours lasting approximately 30 minutes can be done every day during business hours and we can honestly say they have the best guides guaranteeing an exciting and fun experience every time!
By the way, did you know crocodiles do not eat during Winter? Because of this, feeding sessions only occur from September to May and can be viewed every Saturday at 11:00 during these months.
Follow Crocodile Farm Otjiwarongo for more information and be sure to visit their restaurant for delicious food and ice cold refreshments after your tour.
Posted on 18 January:
It's a new week and we hope your Monday kicks off on good vibes only! Need a little extra to get you moving? We highly recommend you grab a cup of Slowtown Coffee!
This proudly Namibian company has shops in Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Windhoek and their products range from espresso beans to breakfast filter coffee... At Slowtown Coffee Roasters they love the idea of slowing things down to the point where they can focus on what matters most; quality, people and service.
Being all about coffee, you won't find the traditional bacon and egg breakfast at any of the Slowtown shops; what they offer instead is bread, pastries and delicious sweet treats to compliment your steaming cup of awesomeness.
Give them a follow and find your favourite today - ours must be the Slowtown house blend!
Posted on 20 January:
Did you know that evidence of one of the earliest known elephant kills in human history was found right here in Windhoek? True story!
During the reconstruction of the Zoo Park in 1962, the remains of at least two elephants and a variety of tools were found... It has been estimated that the elephant remains are at least 5000 years old, proving the theory that Windhoek was, in prehistoric times, an area of hot springs attracting animals and Stone Age hunters.
Today the original elephant remains and tools are stored at the National Museum of Namibia in Windhoek, for protection from the weather and against theft from would-be illegal collectors. They were proclaimed a National Monument of Namibia on 15th August 1963.
The original site where remains and tools were found is commemorated by a memorial sculpture designed by Dörte Berner, a well-known Namibian artist.
A visit to Zoo Park is well worth the effort and is a great place to relax or have a picnic.
Posted on 22 January:
It's FriYAY ya'll! Don't know about you but our weekend plans definitely include a braai (or two!)
Here's a quick fact you can share around the fire; who knew Namibia attempted to get into the Guinness Book of Records by holding the biggest braai in the world?
On Saturday, 9 September 2006, Namibia was the first country in the world to challenge Australia's claim to holding the worlds largest barbecue (called a 'braai' here). Australia's record attendance in Sydney stood at 44,158 people and Namibians hoped to beat that number at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Windhoek...
Exactly 38,228 people were officially counted and verified by the auditing company on Saturday, but the counting had to be abandoned when people started pushing forward at the exit gates towards nightfall. Unverified counting, however, continued and 43,477 people were tallied at what the organizers called the second biggest event in Namibia after Independence Day.
Wonder if and when we'll try again?
Posted on 24 January:
If you've ever done some research about Windhoek's history you'll know that the multi-culture social hub of Namibia first originated way back in 1840...
If you didn't know that, check out our '10 quick facts about Windhoek' on YouTube but, before doing that, we have another quick fact about a business that first opened it's doors more than a century ago...
According to public records, Luisen Pharmacy was the first pharmacy in Windhoek - they opened their doors in 1909, three years before Windhoek's railway station officially opened! Today, 112 years later, they're still going strong and continue to serve locals and tourists alike. Visit them at 181 Independence Avenue from 08:00 to 18:00 Monday to Friday or 08:00 to 13:00 on Saturdays
Posted on 26 January:
T is for Tuesday, Travel and Trains!
Did you know, Namibia's first local railway was constructed 126 year ago? It was completed by the Damaraland Guano Company in 1895 and used for commercial purposes.
The first public railway, and the core of TransNamib's present system, was constructed by the German Colonial government. The 383 km connection between Swakopmund and Windhoek was inaugurated on 19 June 1902.
In 2017, Namibia's rail network consists of 2,687 route-km of tracks. Some of the railway lines still used today are;
Windhoek-Kranzberg: 210 km (130 mi) long, completed in 1902
Kranzberg-Otavi: 328 km (204 mi) long, completed in 1906
Otavi-Grootfontein: 91 km (57 mi), completed in 1908
Seeheim-Aus: 318 km (198 mi) long, completed in 1908
Wish you could experience a little of this almost-forgotten era? Well, we might have found something pretty close, especially if you're not too keen on an actual train trip! Located just 8 km from Tsumeb's centre, Conductor's Inn provides affordable accommodation with free WiFi and free private parking. Two disused rail carriages were converted into 8 luxury double bed sleeping coaches, guaranteeing a rare and unique experience every time!
You'll find Conductors Inn on all the big online booking sites (booking.com, safarinow and lekkeslaap); remember them next time you're in the area!
Posted on 29 January:
For today's quick fact we're visiting a real life ghost town in the Namib Desert...
Featured in more than a dozen television films and productions, Kolmanskop is a popular tourist attractions in the South of Namibia...
Situated about 10 km (6 mi) outside Lüderitz, Kolmanskop was named after a transport driver named Johnny Coleman. Legend has it that Coleman abandoned his ox wagon during a sand storm and, as the wagon stood there for quite some time, the incline became known as Colemanshuegel. It was later referred to as Kolmannskuppe and eventually became Kolmanskop.
So how did this small but thriving town go from being the richest in Africa to completely abandoned in less than 50 years? Well, turns out this town's development had everything to do with diamonds rather than its remote and sandy location. After the first diamond was discovered by a railway worker named Zacharias Lewala, a real diamond rush occurred and hundreds of diamond seekers settled in the area from 1908 onwards.
Driven by the enormous wealth of the first diamond miners, the infrastructure of this German-style town was unmatched at the time. Within a few years, the town had luxurious stone houses, a casino, a school, a butchery, a bakery, a theatre, a ballroom, a bowling alley and even an ice factory. The hospital was the first in Southern Africa to have an x-ray apparatus, probably because workers (who might have stolen and swallowed diamonds) were strictly controlled by their thriving employers.
In 1928 other prospecting sites were discovered South of Lüderitz and, since diamond deposits around Kolmanskop were nearing depletion, mining activities slowly discontinued. By 1938 most of the mining machinery were moved to new profitable areas with miners simply abandoning their homes.
It's said that the last three families finally deserted the town in 1956 and, eventually, the desert slowly claimed back its lost territory, burying the once bustling town under layers of sand.
Posted on 31 January:
Can you believe the first month of 2021 is almost over?!
Talking about time and looking at this beautiful sunset captured in Windhoek, we thought we'd share some quick facts about the sunrise and sunset times in the capital... Did you know that, in summer, Windhoekers enjoy up to 13 hours and 30 minutes of sunlight per day? That time goes down to 10 hours and 45 minutes in Winter.
In 2020, the earliest sunrise was at the end of November, when the sun rose at 05:58 AM. Four months earlier, in July 2020, the sun only rose at 07:32 AM, meaning most residents went to work while it was still pretty dark outside!
When Namibia became independent in 1990, the country used a single time zone, keeping to the time regulation as previously prescribed by the occupying nation, South Africa. Triggered by fears for school children walking to school before sunrise, discussions in the National Assembly started in 1992 and on 10 November 1993 the Namibian Time Bill (#39 of 1993) was proposed.
From 1994 until 2017, Namibia used winter time, the practice of setting clocks back by one hour during winter months. Namibia was one of only a few countries in the world to implement winter time instead of daylight saving time...
Following repeated calls to abolish winter time by businesses and private individuals from 2010 onwards, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration conducted an official investigation into the claims that Namibians were 'losing productivity' due to time incompatibilities with South Africa, Namibia's main trading partner.
Since the revised Namibian Time Bill was passed by the National Council in August 2017, Namibia operates in the Central Africa Time zone (UTC+02:00), congruous with South African Standard Time.
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