The curious case of the Desert Adapted Elephants in Namibia

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Elephants in the Desert? Yes, an astonishing collection of wildlife has adapted to the arid desert and seemingly inhospitable environment in Namibia. And then your next question will be how?

They have adapted to their dry, semi-desert environment by having a smaller body mass with proportionally longer legs and seemingly larger feet than other elephants. Their physical characteristics allow them to cross miles of sand dunes to reach water. They have even been filmed sliding down a dune face to drink at a pool in a desert oasis. Water, dust, and especially mud are sought out for bathing and coating the skin against the harsh sun and biting insects.

They communicate in a highly intelligent way with others of their species. Many of their calls are low-frequency calls and rumbles (below the level of human hearing) that can travel 5-10km or more. They can also make a variety of other sounds and calls including trumpeting, snorting, roaring, barking and grunting.

Just look how beautiful they are

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We were also privileged with this very special sighting

They are of high national and international conservation priority and have been designated as top priority for protection by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature). There is only one other group of desert-dwelling Elephants in the world. They live in Mali in North Africa.

Join Nature Travel Namibia on safari to see these amazing Desert Adapted animals!

 

 

A glimpse of Etosha

This is our favourite place on earth! Not just because it is in our home country, Namibia but because of the vast beauty of everything that thrives here; from animals, birds to fauna and flora.

Let us take you to Etosha and show you a bit of this magical place with our photo gallery:

To join us in Etosha, read more about our safaris on www.naturetravelnamibia.com or customize your own safari.

Visiting the Cape Cross Seal Reserve

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As part of our Classic Namibia Safari, we visit the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, breeding place of over 200,000 Cape Fur Seals.  This is a protected area owned by the government of Namibia and also a National Heritage Site.

The Cape Fur Seals are so-named for their thick soft pelt, which is protected by a layer of longer, harder hair.

It’s a fascinating species and in their way, really beautiful.

A few quick facts:  The male seals can weigh up to 350kg (770 lbs) and are very territorial whilst looking after their harem of 5 to 25 females. Cow seals are a lot smaller than bulls, they only weigh up to 80kg (176lbs). Most youngsters are born in November / December and they weigh about 4.5 to 7kg (10 to 15 lbs).

The youngsters’ fur is pitch black and they start sucking on their mother immediately. Youngsters start feeding on fish when they are about 4 to 5 months old. The seals are traditionally most fond of pilchards and anchovies, but since the numbers of these fish have been dwindling, mostly due to overfishing, seals have had to look for alternative sources of food. Fortunately, they are rather opportunistic and highly adaptable, happily snacking on anything from crayfish and shrimps to seagulls and even penguins.

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There is a 200m long walkway, constructed of recycled plastic suitable for wheelchairs from where you can view the seals.  Other facilities include information points, toilets, campsites and a picnic spot.

This is a place of both historic and biological significance and definitely a must-visit. Read more about our Classic Namibia Safari or get in touch with us on info@naturetravelnamibia.com

Spectacular Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei with Nature Travel Namibia

Large red dunes everywhere you look…they make you feel small and almost embraced by the desert.  When you’re here, pick a spot, sit down and just take it all in….look up, look around you… Sossusvlei is breathtakingly beautiful!

Situated in the largest conservation area in Africa (the Namib-Naukluft National Park), Sossusvlei is possibly Namibia’s best-known attraction.  Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan surrounded by large red dunes.

Some of these are of the highest in the world, reaching almost 400 meters, providing photographic enthusiasts with wonderful images.

The characteristic red dunes of the Namib Desert have developed over many millions of years. The red sand that forms the dunes was deposited into the Atlantic Ocean from the Orange River. The Benguela current then carried this sand northwards, to be deposited back onto the land by the ocean’s surf. From here the wind carried the red sand inland to form the dunes over time.

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Sossusvlei literally translates to “dead-end marsh”, as it is the place where the dunes come together preventing the Tsauchab River from flowing any further, some 60km east of the Atlantic Ocean.  However, due to the dry conditions in the Namib Desert, the river seldom flows this far and the pan remains bone-dry most years.  During an exceptional rainy season, the Tsauchab fills the pan, drawing visitors from all over the world to witness this spectacular site. Photographic enthusiasts are spoilt with a glassy “lake” holding reflections of the surrounding dunes.  When the pan fills it can hold water for as long as a year.

Despite the harsh desert conditions in the area, one can find a wide variety of plants and animals that have adapted to survive. These include insects, reptiles, birds, mammals and many desert-adapted plants, flowers and fruits, like Namibia’s national plant, the welwitschia.

There are a number of attractions around Sossusvlei for visitors to explore, including

•  Sesriem Canyon – spectacularly carved-by-water

•  The most photographed dune on earth: Dune 45

•  Hiddenvlei

•  The tall Big Daddy dune

•  Deadvlei, any photographers paradise

To see this incredible natural wonder for yourself, visit us at www.naturetravelnamibia.com. We have numerous guided and self-drive options for you to choose from, and many of our Namibia tours include this famous area.  We highly recommend the Classic Namibia Safari, showcasing the best of our beautiful country on a personalised trip with our expert guide.

Get in touch at info@naturetravelnamibia.com

 

 

Namib-Naukluft National Park

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The Namib-Naukluft Park in Namibia is an ecologically protected area and was proclaimed in August 1979. The park has an area of 49,768 km² (19,216 sq mi), making the Namib-Naukluft the largest game park in Africa and one of the ten largest in the world. It is constantly being enlarged by the government and private organisations alike, in order to create an even larger conservation area.

The unfenced park is situated against the Atlantic coast and borders the Dorob Park to the north, the restricted diamond mining area to the south and it shares the border with the private NamibRand Nature Reserve to the east. In the northeast, the Naukluft mountains form part of the Park as well.

The vegetation of the Naukluft area is semi-desert savanna. It is home to some of the rarest and weirdest plant species in the world, including the Welwitschia, large lichen fields, several aloe species, cluster figs, acacia thorn trees and many different Euphorbia species. The park boasts some fantastic animal species too, including Steenbok, Springbok, Oryx, Greater Kudu, Hartmann’s subspecies of Mountain Zebra, Dassie Rat, Chacma Baboon and Klipspringer. Additionally, over 200 bird species have been documented in the park and surrounds.

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Highlights of the park include the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world, that extends far beyond the borders of the park and includes the whole of western Namibia. The part of the Namib within the Park is about 500 km long and between 100 to 180 km wide. Here the highest dunes worldwide are found, which reach a height of up to 300 metres. The Namib Sand Sea, one of Namibia’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, lies along the arid coast of the South Atlantic and is wholly within the Namib-Naukluft Park.
The visually stunning Sandwich Harbour is situated in the north of the park, about 45 km south of Walvis Bay. It consists of a 10 km (6 mile) long lagoon, surrounded by dunes and vegetated by reeds. This bay is home to more than 200,000 birds, including flamingos, cormorants, pelicans and other sea birds.

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Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and Sesriem are undoubtedly the main attractions of the Namib-Naukluft Park. At Sesriem the Tsauchab River has dug an approximately 1 km long and 30 metre deep canyon into the ground. Sossusvlei is the name of a salt-clay pan surrounded by dunes and is approximately 60 km away from Sesriem. Deadvlei is famous for its awesome photographic opportunities.

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The wildlife, amazing fauna and scenery of the Namib-Naukluft park make for a superb desert safari in Namibia.

Our 8 day, small group, expert guided Classic Namibia Safari includes the park, as well as the ruggedly beautiful Damaraland and the world-famous Etosha National Park.

For more information browse to the website or get in touch with us at info@naturetravelnamibia.com. Namibia is waiting for you!