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Approximately 75% of Southern Africa’s mammal species of can be found in Namibia.

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  • Namibia Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Namibia David Thomson
  • Namibia David Thomson
  • Namibia David Thomson
  • Namibia Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Namibia David Thomson
  • Namibia Kathleen Fitzgerald
  • Namibia David Thomson

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

The Republic of Namibia, located in Southern Africa, contains some of the world’s most spectacular wildlife and flora, as well the world’s oldest desert: the Namib. Its landscape is comprised of five geographical areas.

The Central Plateau, largely savanna and scrub, is home to the Brandberg Mountain Range — the country’s tallest mountain — and is also the center of the country’s agricultural life.

The Namib, a large coastal desert, has gravel plains and dunes that stretch along the coastline where hot desert sand touches the icy Benguela current. It is one of the oldest coastal deserts in the world.

The Great Escarpment, formed nearly 80 million years ago, separates the arid western coastal areas from the Central Plateau.

The Bushveld, located along the Angolan border in northeastern Namibia, receives more rain than the rest of the country. This area is of particular ecological importance to a large number of birds and wildlife during summer droughts.

The Kalahari, Namibia’s second desert, occupies the eastern third of Namibia and merges with the Namib Desert in the southwest.  This semi-desert supports fragile desert plants and a variety of wildlife.

Mining is the biggest contributor to the country’s economy, providing 25 percent of Namibia’s national revenue. Known primarily for its gem diamonds and uranium, Namibia also 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.

When it comes to conservation, Namibia is rare. It is one of the only countries in the world that addresses conservation and natural resource protection directly in its constitution. But this rich coastal ecosystem is extremely fragile, and there are signs of pressure from unsustainable living.


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

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

Beyond the coast, Namibia’s desert-dwelling elephants and black rhino are the focus of critical conservation efforts. Within Africa, these desert species only live in Namibia and Mali. Protecting them is as important for their survival as it is for the local communities since they are a major tourist attraction that generates millions of dollars each year.

However, as human populations grow, they are running out of space and natural resources, causing an increase in human-elephant conflict. These elephants have been known to damage community water installations, take vegetation from gardens, and, on occasion, even kill people, oftentimes resulting in retaliatory killings.


Our solutions to protecting Namibia's unique biodiversity:

  • Community-driven eco-tourism in Namibia.

    The Grootberg Lodge is the first lodge in Namibia to be entirely owned by a community. The lodge sits in the 850,000-acre Khoadi-Hoas Conservancy, and while it continuously had high rates of occupancy and provided stable jobs for a region where employment is hard to come by, several structural design flaws limited its potential.

    African Wildlife Foundation funded an impact investment in Grootberg Lodge allowing it to reach its full potential by making the necessary infrastructural updates and upgrading its alternative energy. The upgraded lodge not only benefits the local community by bringing in more revenue and increasing employment by about 30 percent, but it also contributed to the rehabilitation of the land by providing communities with economic incentives to conserve wildlife and their natural surroundings. Wildlife is now returning once again to the conservancy. The development of conservation tourism enterprises, like the Grootberg Lodge, provides local communities with tangible benefits from wildlife, which further incentivizes communities to coexist and engage in wildlife conservation.

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