Namibia Conservation: The Cheetah

One of the most iconic animals of Namibia is the world’s fastest land mammal, the beautiful Cheetah Acinonyx jubatus.

Namibia Conservation Safari

It is a large cat in the Felidae family, that occurs naturally in northern, southern and east Africa, but used to have a much larger distribution. It prefers arid habitats like the classic African savannah, but also inhabits dry forests and scrubland.

Its yellowish coat is covered with about 2,000 solid black spots, in a pattern unique to every individual animal. Its body is slender with a small rounded head, black tear-like streaks on the face, long thin legs and a long spotted tail. It reaches 70–90 cm (28–35 in) at the shoulder. Its lightly built, slender form is in sharp contrast with the robust build of the other big cats, because everything about the Cheetah is about speed!

Namibia Conservation Safari

Cheetahs can run 110 kilometres (68 miles) per hour, yet they can’t run away from habitat loss, a reduced gene pool, and conflicts with humans and their livestock. Namibia is home to the world’s largest remaining cheetah population (25% of the total global population), with 90% of its cheetahs living on livestock farmlands where conflict with humans is the greatest threat. These speedy cats are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, with far less than 10 000 individual animals left in the wild.

Conservation is ingrained in Namibia’s laws and in its people’s behaviour, and this safari gives you the chance to spot some of Namibia’s most characteristic wildlife (including the Cheetah) and witness the country’s innovative conservation measures first hand.

There are many types of conservation categories including wildlife conservation, soil conservation and habitat conservation, amongst others. Wildlife conservation in Namibia is one of our most important priorities, as we love the flora and fauna that our ecosystem can support. If you go anywhere in Namibia, you’re likely to find that some part of the experience involves wildlife conservation in one way shape or form as 42% of the land is dedicated to wildlife conservation initiatives under private or public ownership.

On this safari we will visit:

•  Na’ankuse, the world-famous conservation organisation conserving the land, culture and wildlife of Namibia through community participation, education and scientific research,

•  Etosha National Park, one of the greatest wildlife reserves on the planet,

•  Namib Naukluft National Park (including iconic Sossusvlei),

•  Rugged but beautiful Damaraland, with its desert adapted wildlife, and

•  REST (Rare & Endangered Species Trust) outside Outjo, doing incredible conservation work on many animals and birds, including pangolins!

Our specialist conservation safaris here at Nature Travel Namibia focus on the conservation and observation of some fantastic animal species, giving you a behind-the-scenes look into the work of conservationists as well as seeing these animals in their natural habitat.

For more information on this amazing safari contact the Nature Travel Namibia team at info@naturetravelnamibia.com or visit our website and browse to Namibia Conservation Safari

Etosha

Etosha NP (17).JPG
Undoubtedly one of the great parks of Africa, the huge Etosha National Park in north-central Namibia covers more than 22,300 km2 (8,620 sq mi) and is synonymous with big game and wide open spaces. The name Etosha actually means “great white place” referring to the massive (130km long and 50km wide) dry pan in the middle of the park, believed to have been formed over 100 million years ago.

Etosha is a photographer’s dream, with the contrasts in light, colour and textures particularly dramatic. Many a guest’s “lifer shots” of African animal and bird species were taken in this park. The sunrises and sunsets are particularly spectacular.

Etosha NP (10).jpg

Etosha is home to a staggering amount of wildlife, both common and rare, including several threatened and endangered species. The mammal list is at over 110 species, including four of Africa’s Big Five, Cheetah, Giraffe, Spotted Hyaena, Zebra (2 species), Greater Kudu, Springbok, Gemsbok (Namibia’s national animal), Common Warthog, Honey Badger and many more.

Etosha also has a bird list of more than 350 species, including regional specials like Kori Bustard, Blue Crane, Violet Woodhoopoe, Ruppell’s Parrot, Pygmy and Red-necked Falcon, Bare-cheeked and Southern Pied Babbler, and Burchell’s and Double-banded Courser.

Another unique feature is the floodlit waterholes at all the main camps. Guests can sit in the comfort of armchairs with a drink in hand, watching the sun set over the African plains while animals lazily come down to drink. It is indeed a magnificent sight.

We incorporate Etosha into many of our Namibian safaris, simply because it is such a fantastic experience and definitely one not to be missed. Our Classic Namibia safari spends 3 nights in Etosha, but also visits such iconic Namibian destinations like Sossusvlei, the Namib desert, Swakopmund, the Skeleton Coast and Damaraland. Make use of our current “green season” special on this safari and book your spot!

Browse to Classic Namibia Safari for more information on this fantastic safari, or enquire directly at info@naturetravelnamibia.com.

Welwitschia

The national bird of Namibia is the African Fish Eagle; a majestic bird, but one that many birders in Africa has seen. The national animal of Namibia is the Oryx, and although it is certainly a beautiful antelope, it is also quite common in Africa. Namibia’s national plant is truly and weirdly unique. It is the utterly bizarre welwitschia.

Welwitschia (3)-2.jpg
The welwitschia (Welwitschia mirabilis) is a strange plant with long, wide strap-like leaves, a stem base and roots, that grows on the ground. During its entire life, each plant produces only two leaves, which often split into many segments as a result of the leaves being whipped by the wind. Its two permanent leaves are unique in the plant kingdom. They are the original leaves from when the plant was a seedling, and they just continue to grow and are never shed. Carbon dating of the largest plants (the largest recorded specimen is 1.8m/6ft high and 8.7m/29ft wide) have shown that some individuals are over 1500 years old!

Another strange fact is that the welwitschia is a dioecious plant, which means that each plant develops either male or female reproductive organs. The male plant produces smaller salmon-coloured cones, and the female plant larger bluish-green cones. Flowering takes place from summer to autumn. Both male and female plants produce large quantities of nectar which attracts wasps, tree bugs and flies and ensures pollination. The plant also produces seeds, which has wings which facilitate dispersal by wind.

Welwitschia (1)-2.jpg

The welwitschia is sometimes called a “living fossil” and is endemic to the arid and unforgiving Namib desert, and grows in isolated communities in a narrow strip, about 1 000 km (600 mi) long up the coast from the Kuiseb River in central Namibia to Mossamedes in southern Angola. The area receives no rainfall during some years and averages fewer than 100 mm (4 in) per year. Most specimens are found within 80km (50mi) of the coast in a fog belt, suggesting that the fog is an important moisture source. The fog develops during the night and usually subsides by mid-morning. The leaves are broad and large and droop downwards. This is an ideal way for it to water its own roots from water collected by condensation. The plants are often confined to dry watercourses or next to higher rainfall regions, and they occasionally grow on rocky outcrops. All these habitats point to an additional underground water supply. The plant has a long taproot, allowing it to reach this underground water.

The plant was discovered by the Austrian botanist, explorer and medical doctor, Friedrich Welwitsch, in 1859 in the Namib Desert of southern Angola. The story goes that he was so overcome by his find that he knelt down next to it and simply stared at it for a long time! Welwitsch sent the first material of the plant to Sir Joseph Hooker, Director of Kew Gardens in London, in 1862. Hooker described it and named it in honour of Welwitsch, despite the fact that Welwitsch recommended that it be named Tumboa, its native Angolan name.

The welwitschia is not only found in the coat of arms of Namibia, but is also the name of the national rugby union side that recently played in the 2019 IRB Rugby World Cup. It symbolises endurance, survival in a hostile environment and perseverance against all odds.
To see this remarkable and unique plant for yourself, visit the wonderful country of Namibia on one of our Nature Travel Namibia tours. We offer specialised private and small group safaris, taking you to all of the country’s natural wonders, showcasing its landscapes, animals, birds and nature in general. Visit www.naturetravelnamibia.com for a lot more information, or enquire directly by email at info@naturetravelnamibia.com

Best of Namibia Safari

Wonderful Namibia is truly the most scenic country on the African continent, featuring giant sand dunes, granite rock formations, long stretches of coastline, vast expanses of Kalahari bush, rolling grassy hills, dry lake bottoms and a great variety of valuable habitats for wildlife. The country also has a rich cultural heritage and an incredibly interesting history.

Best of Namibia

This 13 day Best of Namibia safari will start in the capital city of Windhoek and firstly visit the luxurious Erindi Private Game Reserve, the largest private nature reserve in the world.

On the way to our next destination we visit the fascinating San bushmen of the area, the true original inhabitants of southern Africa, where we will get a glimpse into their ancient way of living.

Next up is the world famous Etosha National Park, truly one of the great wildlife reserves on the planet, where four of Africa’s Big Five mammals freely roam the endless flat landscape.

Best of Namibia

We then head for the northern tribal territories of the Himba, the last nomadic people left in southern Africa, before reaching the dramatic and spectacular Damaraland area, home to the desert adapted elephants, lions and rhinos.

Best of Namibia

The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein and the barren Skeleton Coast is on the agenda the next day, and after that we enjoy the informative and fascinating Living Desert Experience just outside the picturesque coastal town of Swakopmund.

To finish the trip we head to world famous Sossusvlei, home of the highest red sand dunes on earth, and a place where your camera will click non-stop, especially if you opt for the hot-air balloon ride over the area!

This safari can be offered as a private or small group safari guided by one of our expert Nature Travel guides. Do you have any questions about this Namibia Safari? Speak to a specialist at info@naturetravelnamibia.com

 

Save the Rhino Walking Safari

Save the Rhino

This once in a lifetime safari gives you the chance to track one of the most endangered African mammal species, the desert adapted Black Rhinoceros.  On the safari, we also get involved with the conservation efforts relating to this special species and witness Namibia’s innovative conservation measures first hand.

In Namibia’s far northwest Kunene region (also known as Kaokoland) the Black Rhinoceros was almost extinct thirty years ago. Today, Kunene has the largest number of free-roaming Black Rhino in the world – the only rhino worldwide living on communally and traditionally-owned land without formal conservation status. Namibia created a culture of good human-wildlife interactions by involving communities, employing locals in anti-poaching patrols and generating income from rhino-related tourism.

Save the Rhino

This 10-day safari will start and finish in the capital city, Windhoek, and take place in the Kunene region of Namibia. We will be walking in an area where other tourists don’t have access and the only people operating here are the Save the Rhino Team scouts patrolling.

The itinerary and the exact route will be flexible as we will be tracking the desert adapted wildlife that roam in this area and the distance covered each day will depend on the fitness of the group. We will be walking and tracking every morning breaking for brunch or lunch and after a siesta, we will be driving in the open 4×4 safari vehicles looking for wildlife and enjoying the spectacular scenery.

The Damaraland area of Namibia is arguably one of the most scenic places in Africa and one of the few places where there are areas where people have not been to or developed and wildlife still roam freely outside of national parks.

We have a full back up team that will take care of our camping needs (setting and breaking of camp, cooking, etc) so you just have to bring yourself and your camera and binoculars to Namibia. The group size will be limited to 6 to ensure an exclusive experience and a better chance of getting close to the wildlife. Some of the wildlife that we hope to see are the desert adapted Black Rhino, African Elephant, Giraffe, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Springbok, Greater Kudu, Oryx and hopefully some of the predators that roam this spectacular area – Cheetah, the famous desert adapted Lions, Leopard, Side-striped Jackal, and Spotted and Brown Hyaena.

For more info contact the Nature Travel Conservation team at info@naturetravelconservation.com  This exciting adventure starts early in June 2020, so get in touch quickly to secure your spot.