Guest Blog: The Desert Wildlife of Namibia Safari

In February of 2019 I booked my trip to see the Desert Adapted Wildlife of Namibia, never dreaming that it would take over three years to get there, but it was well worth the wait!
It was two weeks of seeing some of the most amazing rugged, unforgiving ancient landscapes with the animals and plants that manage to survive in this harsh, but beautiful environment.
Our first stop was the iconic orange dunes of Sossusvlei, and Deadvlei with its ancient 800+ year old preserved trees. We were lucky to get Deadvlei all to ourselves on our recce and with some incredible light. Our stay ended on a high with a heli flip over the dunes.
The next three camps we visited were in the Damaraland where we saw our first Desert adapted elephants. The landscapes and terrain varied a lot, sometimes very rocky with Welwitschia and Euphorbia plants dotted about, to beautiful dry riverbeds with old deep rooted trees, and golden desert savanna grasses thanks to some recent rains.
We visited the 6000 year old petroglyphs at Twyfelfontein, depicting the wildlife of the entire region, both inland and the coast a few hundred kilometres away. Rhinos (with long horns) giraffe, elephant, lion and leopard as well as seals and flamingos from the coast were engraved on the rock faces.
The highlight of Damaraland was tracking black rhino’s no easy feat as there are only a few remaining in the wild. Nine and a half hour drives were rewarded with being able to get close on the ground with these prehistoric animals. Their guardians, the dedicated members of Save the Rhino Trust Namibia and our Desert Rhino Camp guide, Bons, never gave up!
A quick flight and we were off to the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. Our mission was to find the elusive and secretive Desert Adapted Lions…again not easy as there are only six adults left in this vast area. We were incredibly lucky to get great sightings of five out of the six individuals, one eluding us by minutes as she went back to her den and two new cubs after feeding on a seal.
We were also able to find the Desert Adapted Elephants in the dry Hoanib River bed, with their longer trunks, big splayed feet and bad toenails from walking in the soft sand. We are not talking about big herds, we saw a total of 19 individuals all that remain in the area.

For me, this was a fascinating trip, very different from your “normal” wildlife safari, in that the animals were few and far between, but learning about this land and how everything has adapted to survive was incredible! I can’t wait to return.

Guest Blog by Linda Clews

Follow her on Instagram: @lindajclews

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