11 Countries Participating in the Olympics You Didn’t Even Know Existed

If you don't know, now you know.

During the Olympics, we love cheering on our homeland's team. But also fun is rooting for the amazing talent from countries we didn't know much — or anything — about. Here are 11 nations with which we were previously unfamiliar — but absolutely know now!

1.  Tonga

You may have not heard of Tonga, but you absolutely noticed the country's sexy flag bearer on the night of the Olympics opening ceremonies. This Polynesian country is made up of more than 170 islands, and it just moved up on our bucket list.

2.  Vanuatu

This nation in the South Pacific is made up of around 80 islands, and is known to have gorgeous hiking trails, rainforests, and active volcanoes.

3.  Tuvalu

Located in the South Pacific, this independent island nation is actually part of the British Commonwealth, and is ripe with beaches, sea turtles, and tropical fish. Stunning!

4.  Nauru

This tiny nation in Micronesia is an island just northeast of Australia. Check out the white sand beaches, freshwater lakes, and tropical vegetation.

5.  Kiribati

Located in the Central Pacific, this gorgeous island republic is amazing for bird watching, diving, and frolicking in the lagoons and white-sand beaches.

6.  Lesotho

In this country encircled by South Africa, you’ll find mountain ranges and rivers, and gorgeous ruins dating back to the 19th century.

7.  Burkina Faso

Found in West Africa, this nation is largely made up of countryside, where you’ll find gorgeous wildlife such as elephants, leopards, and buffalo.

8.  Cameroon

Found on the Gulf of Guinea, you’ll find beautiful terrain and wildlife in this Central African country. If you are into ecotourism, this is a beautiful spot to visit.

9.  Djibouti

Laden with Red Sea beaches and volcanic formations, this nation on the Horn of Africa, is home to one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world.

10.  Eritrea

This country won independence from Ethiopia in 1993, making it a very young nation. After decades of war and severe drought, this is one of the poorest countries in Africa.

11.  São Tomé and Príncipe

This African island country is part of a volcano chain, which means you’ll find some incredible mineral and rock formations. Also to be found are rainforests, beaches, and a biodiverse jungle.

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