Smithsonian Journeys Dispatches

Namibia - A Few Things

The quiver tree can live to be 300 years old.

Namibia, on the southwestern coast of Africa, is a place most of us haven't yet visited. Here's a few things you might not know about this exceptional country:

1) Namibia has not escaped unaffected from a worldwide profusion in jellyfish populations. In fact, jellyfish have halted seafloor diamond mining off the Namibian coast, as they have managed to clog sediment-removal systems. Jellyfish are part of Smithsonian's 40 Things You Need to Know about the Next 40 Years.

2) Rather than performing for an audience, the !Kung San people from the northwestern Kalahari Desert region "play [music] for themselves, when the mood strikes them." Click here to listen to the results, from Smithsonian Folkways.

3) Filmmaker John Marshall recorded more than 700 hours of footage of the Ju/'hoansi (zhun-twa-see) between 1950 and 2000, one of the last hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa. Read more about him in Smithsonian Magazine.

4) Namibia has the largest free-ranging population of cheetahs, whose genetic material is being used  by scientists from the Smithsonian National Zoological Park to help save this endangered species.

5) Bartolomeu Dias, the first European to travel to Namibia, arrived in Walvis Bay in December, 1487. We'll  be stopping there on February 26, 2011, as part of our journey to South Africa and Namibia by Sea.

What makes you want to visit Namibia? Please share.