Namibia’s enthralling, infinite and exceptionally photogenic landscapes usually take first place on a visit right here, however the nation’s distinctive wildlife is a disarming sight in opposition to the stark desert sands. On expeditions throughout Namibia, you’ll encounter species which have tailored to this seemingly uninhabitable land, making their sighting much more particular. On the opposite finish of the spectrum, there are Namibia’s lush pure anomalies (Etosha and Caprivi, we’re taking a look at you), the place Southern Africa’s well-known wildlife gathers in droves. Learn all about Namibia’s wildlife stars in every area, from the rugged coast to scorched deserts.
A haven in Namibia’s north, Etosha has develop into well-known for ‘Lion King’ scenes across the waterhole that may have you ever packing your bag and binoculars in a snap. The truth is, there are dozens of waterholes, all of that are frequented by elephant, lion, giraffe, zebra, kudu and warthog searching for a drink – or a shower! After the wet season, Etosha’s shimmering salt pan turns right into a lagoon the place birdlife is a continuing flutter, together with 1000’s of flamingos and pelicans. Parked just some metres from the waterhole, you merely want to sit down and anticipate the wildlife to look. Then once more, you would possibly desire to comply with your information on foot searching for black rhino and spend a uncommon second of their presence.
With its huge tracts of rugged land and the tabular mountains that tower overhead, Damaraland is totally otherworldly. It’s only inhabited by the hardiest of Namibia’s wildlife, which has tailored over centuries to outlive on little or no water – together with altering their foot dimension. Meals and water is scarce at the perfect of occasions, however in the course of the dry season (from June to September), Damaraland’s elephants journey for miles to seek out uncommon swimming pools of water and dine on drought-resistant crops. Most elephants want gallons of water every day, however these exceptional, desert-adapted pachyderms can go and not using a drop for as much as three days.
Damaraland can be well-known for its desert-adapted black rhino, which you should have the possibility to trace by 4×4, after which on foot. These rhino solely have to drink water each third or fourth night and are in a position to nimbly navigate mountain ledges to catch a cool breeze, discover shade, and forage for succulents. Watching as they amble spherical boulders and nibble on one thing refreshing is sort of unforgettable.
The Skeleton Coast could also be iconic for its dramatic, wave-lashed shores that welcomes little or no life, however additionally it is house to a colony of over 200,000 Cape fur seals, who dip out and in of the water to feast on fish and loll alongside the seashores. December heralds the arrival of the very cute seal pups, and may also witness orcas or hyenas on the hunt for lunch. Flip your eyes to the sand the place the fog beetle might be seen in a headstand, ready for the fog to type droplets on its again earlier than trickling them into its mouth.
Heading simply inland from the coast, you would spot elephant, oryx, giraffe, ostrich and lion who’ve tailored to outlive on this parched atmosphere. Spend a morning at a hidden oasis and anticipate the wildlife to reach for a much-needed drink, or wait to catch a lion on the prowl. Curiously, the desert-adapted cats obtain most of their hydration from the animals they eat.
Sossusvlei & the NamibRand
A part of the oldest desert on Earth, Sossusvlei spends many of the yr with out rain, but you’ll at all times spy the determine of a lone oryx in search of shade within the shadow of the dunes. Oryx are in a position to survive in situations the place most antelope can not, which they do by conserving water, cooling the blood that flows to their mind and withstanding excessive physique temperatures. Their muted colouring even acts as a warmth deflector. After they can’t discover a shady spot, oryx place themselves so most of their physique faces away from the solar. Within the NamibRand, you may observe these stately antelope on foot – and fortuitously, you’ll have loads of water!
In a secluded nook of the Namib-Naukluft Park, you may take up residence on the Garub waterhole within the hopes of seeing a herd of untamed horses. These majestic creatures are the descendants of horses deserted throughout World Warfare I, who’ve tailored to the tough desert over the generations and wish far much less water. To see them up-close is breath-taking.
After the solar units, there’s a assortment of distinctive creatures to see within the dunes, together with Cape fox, polecats, aardwolf and scorpions who glow underneath Ultraviolet gentle.
A slender slice of land within the north-east of Namibia, Caprivi is the exception to the rule in a rustic of deserts and dunes. Fed by Southern Africa’s nice, flowing rivers, Caprivi has a microclimate through which water-loving wildlife thrives. On sport drives and boat rides, look out for pods of hippo, crocodile, and herds of elephant, buffalo and waterbuck. To not point out a prolific variety of birds from coppery sunbirds to the western-banded snake eagle.
An attractive, sun-scorched panorama of sand, mountains and extra sand, Kaokoland checks the mettle of each species that manages to outlive right here. On sport drives, you’ll scour the dunes for zebra, oryx and brown hyena, and study the artwork of monitoring out of your information as you seek for elephant.
Then, after the brand new yr rains have crammed Kunene River to the brim, its banks come alive with tall grasses and refreshed palm bushes and it turns into a favorite spot for Nile crocodile.
Otjiwarongo is Namibia’s conservation capital, the place there are a selection of initiatives dedicated to defending and rehabilitating leopard, cheetah and brown hyena. You’ll have the chance to witness these spectacular creatures rediscovering the wilderness, study all about their conservation, and observe them with guides who know the right way to learn their each transfer.
Other than the massive cats, Otjiwarongo is a haven for different protected species together with black and white rhino, roan and sable. You may spend a (hopefully!) eventful afternoon monitoring pangolin, together with your eyes prepared to identify some of the endangered animals on Earth.
At first look, the Kalahari could seem devoid of wildlife however past its swathes of sand and desert shrubs, you’ll uncover a world of distinctive species. Maybe probably the most well-known is the Kalahari black-maned lion, however there different predators together with cheetah, caracal, bat-eared foxes and wild cats. And don’t neglect to show your eyes to the sky the place lappet-faced vultures soar searching for a meal. The Kalahari can be house to a stunning variety of antelope together with impala, springbok, kudu, nyala and steenbok, in addition to purple hartebeest, warthog and ostrich.
Erongo & Swakopmund
Swakopmund will not be a wildlife vacation spot in itself, however in case you’re visiting between December and March, head down the coast to marvel on the 1000’s of flamingos that fill close by lagoons.
The Erongo Wilderness Conservancy is an amalgamation of bush, mountain and desert habitats, which suggests a number of species coexisting collectively. Whereas sightings are hard-won, you would spot black rhino, the tiny Damara dik-dik, Hartmann’s mountain zebra and giraffe, and a implausible number of birdlife.