Namibia | African Wildlife Foundation

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Congo

One-third of the world’s 10,000 succulent plant species are found here

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Namibia

Land

Gallery
  • Namibia David Thomson
  • Namibia Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Namibia David Thomson
  • Namibia David Thomson
  • Namibia Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Namibia David Thomson
  • Namibia Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Namibia David Thomson
Overview

Namibia has one of the world’s oldest deserts and highest sand dunes.

The Republic of Namibia in Southern Africa sits between the Namib and Kalahari deserts. Its landscape is made of five geographical areas. The Central Plateau is home to the highest point in the country. It is also where most of the people live and economic activities take place. The Namib Desert’s gravel plains and dunes stretch along the coastline. The Great Escarpment is rocky and has poor soil, although vegetation does grow here. The Bushveld, meanwhile, receives a lot more rain than the rest of the country. It is ecologically important to a large number of birds and wildlife during summer droughts. And, the Kalahari desert is a semidesert that can support plants and animals, offering great grazing after it rains.

Namibia’s Coastal Desert is considered the world’s oldest and one of the richest sources of diamonds. And, its sand dunes are the highest in the world—some rising close to 1,000 ft. This largely unexplored area is home to Namib–Naukluft National Park, the largest game park in Africa and the fourth-largest on the planet.

Mining is the biggest contributor to the country’s economy, providing 25% of the revenue. Known primarily for its gem diamonds and uranium, Namibia is earning a reputation as a hot tourist destination in Africa for its diverse geography and wildlife. More than a million tourists visit every year.

Challenges

The human-elephant conflicts and pressure on fragile coastal ecosystems must stop.

When it comes to conservation, Namibia is rare. It is one of the only countries in the world that addresses conservation as well as the protection of its natural resources directly in its constitution. So, Namibia is in better shape than most. But, there are still challenges.

Namibia has some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife and flora. The Namibian coast is where the hot desert sand touches the icy Benguela current. It is here that some of the greatest concentrations of marine life in the world live. This includes the Succulent Karo, which holds a third of our planet’s 10,000 succulent species. This rich coastal ecosystem is extremely fragile and there are now signs of pressure from people’s activities.

Beyond the coast, Namibia’s desert-dwelling elephants are the focus of critical conservation efforts. Within Africa, these elephants only live in Namibia and Mali. Protecting these elephants is important for their survival and for Namibia since they are a major tourist attraction that generates millions of dollars. As human populations grow, however, they are running out of space, and human-elephant conflicts are increasing. These elephants have been known to damage community water installations, take vegetation from gardens, and, on occasion, even kill people. So, many locals tend to have little sympathy. Some have initiated a write-in campaign to the government requesting permission to shoot elephants.

Projects

Explore some of our related projects.

  • Grootberg Lodge
    Community-driven eco-tourism in Namibia

    Namibia still faces eco-challenges.

    Despite being at the forefront of conservation in Africa, Namibia still faces issues of poverty and habitat loss. Human-wildlife...

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  • Sekute Conservation Area
    Community-wide protection of Zambia’s wildlife

    Agriculture and population growth threaten wildlife in Zambia. 

    Historically, wildlife roamed freely around the Sekute Chiefdom in southern Zambia. But, in recent...

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