Africa might be reputable for its wildlife and rich historical diversity, but the continent also boasts some of the most beautiful landscapes on the planet.
Namibia, in particular, has hundreds of iconic landscape locations that draw geologists, historians, anthropologists and star-gazers to its impressive, otherworldly sites. In addition to being home to one of the oldest cultures in the world, Namibia also plays host to the most spectacular meteorite ever discovered.
It’s 1920 and you’re a modest farmer ploughing your land in the harsh terrain of the Namibian bushveld when suddenly, your plough catches something hard and strong underneath the earth. Perplexed, you dig into the hard ground and come upon a huge, 66 tonne mass of what seems like a flat rock. With the help of a team of experts, the mass is uncovered, and the true weight of your discovery becomes apparent. This is Hoba, the largest known meteorite in the world and you, Jacobus Hermanus Brits, have just made one of the most important discoveries in modern meteorology.
After keen analysis of this celestial giant, scientists believe that the Hoba meteorite is between 200 and 400 million years old, making it a relic from the time when the Earth’s land mass was the singular continent of Pangaea. When the Hoba’s journey through time and space was at an end, it rather gracefully fell to earth 80 million years ago and by gracefully, we really mean it. The Hoba’s most striking feature is the distinct lack of a surrounding crater that would have clearly shown the impact it had when it fell to earth. Instead, scientists surmise that the flat shape of Hoba means that it fell with a lower velocity than expected for its enormous size. Imagine Hoba skipping over our atmosphere like a stone skimming water and you’ve got the gist of this meteorite’s incredible journey.
If that isn’t enough to impress you, the Hoba meteorite is also the largest piece of iron on earth. At 82% raw iron, the Hoba is so heavy that it was never removed from Brits’ farm. Instead, it was donated to the state in 1955 and declared a national monument where travellers far and wide are able to observe the awesome power of the solar system.
Namibia is a land of geological and astral wonders, drawing thousands of travellers every year to observe the heavens from dark, star-studded skies. An important site for astro-tourists, scientists and geologists, a tour of the Namibian wilderness is a bucket list experience. Every single landscape in Namibia has a story to tell and who knows, perhaps you’ll make the next awesome iscovery.