Always a great way to start your morning with some up-close Elephant sightings. Our safari enjoyed these special moments in the Ugab river area.
In difficult times one’s mind often wanders to special memories, almost comforting yourself with what you have experienced and in our case, been so privileged to experience. To do a walking safari tracking one of the most endangered African mammal species, the desert-adapted Black Rhinoceros, is top of the list of such special memories.
It’s almost indescribable; the anticipation, the awareness of the breathtaking surroundings and the overwhelming feeling of appreciation of being in the presence of these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.
You leave with the feeling of “I care”. I care about the beauty of our world and it’s animals and the protection thereof because it gives so much back to us. The serenity that nature offers is priceless. Read more about the once in a lifetime trip itinerary on Save the Rhino Walking Safari
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
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!
World Rhino Day is today, September 22, and it celebrates all five species of rhinoceros: Black, White, Indian, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.
In 2010 it was apparent that the plight of the rhinoceros wasn’t known to people around the world, and most people didn’t know just how close we were coming to total extinction of this majestic species. So it was that the WWF-South Africa announced World Rhino Day in an effort to save the world’s remaining rhinos, an effort that grew to be an unprecedented success.
World Rhino Day has since grown to become a global phenomenon, uniting NGOs, zoos, cause-related organisations, businesses, and concerned individuals from nearly every corner of the world!
World Rhino Day celebrates Rhinoceroses and generates awareness of issues regarding their well-being. In recent years, rhinos have been threatened by poaching, urbanisation and pollution, which have left certain rhino species on the brink of extinction while leaving other species severely endangered.
World Rhino Day activities vary from one participant to the next. Donors and partners are able to contribute to the organisations and initiatives of their choosing. Peaceful demonstrations, classroom projects, fundraising dinners, social media awareness (#WorldRhinoDay and #RhinoDay), auctions and poster displays are just a few examples of what we all can do. There is even a World Rhino music playlist on Spotify!
We here at the Nature Travel group have a special love for the Black Rhinoceros, as it is a symbol of tenacity, resilience and brute strength here in our home country of Namibia.
Let’s all stand together and save these magnificent beasts for generations to come!
An astonishing collection of wildlife has adapted successfully to the arid desert and seemingly inhospitable environment in Namibia. One of the most fascinating species that have managed this is the desert adapted Rhino, or as it is more scientifically known, the southwestern subspecies of the Black Rhinoceros.
Black Rhinos (Diceros bicornis) are native to eastern and southern Africa including Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The southwestern subspecies is restricted to northern Namibia and southern Angola. Although the animal is referred to as black, its colour actually varies from brown to greyish.
Unlike other Black Rhino populations, the ones of the Kunene region of Namibia are usually unsociable, tending to live in small groups. A mother will remain with her calf for around two and a half years. Enough time for the youngster to obtain all the vital methods of surviving in one of the toughest habitats on the planet!
Many desert rhinos are ‘lone rangers’ who form prominent profiles on the natural landscapes. Lone bulls can be quite aggressive – worth noting if you’re privileged to spot one in the wild!
These specially adapted individuals can withstand scorching heat – in excess of 40°C (100°F) but can also cope with the below freezing temperatures common after dark in Namibia’s arid regions. Black Rhinos are least active during the heat of the day (between 10am and 3pm) when they take to the shade of large rocks. They become more active after dark when the temperatures drop.
Adult males can weigh up to 1,350 kg, and the smaller females up to 900 kg. Birth weight is around 40kg. Adult rhinos stand about 1.6 metres tall. They only have hair on the tips of their tails, ears and eyelashes. The size and shape of the horns vary depending on where the rhino lives and also differ between male and female. Males have thicker horns. Females tend to have longer and thinner horns. Black rhinos will live up to 35 years in the wild.
Black Rhinos are browsers (i.e. they eat trees, bushes and shrubs), as opposed to their White Rhino cousins, which are grazers. When they bite off woody plant parts, they often leave a clean-angled edge, unlike African Elephants who tend to shred the ends of branches like a toothbrush. This is achieved by the shape of the rhino’s hooked lip. Traces of this neatly bitten, woody material can be clearly seen in their dung. Remarkably, the Namib desert Black Rhino has evolved to survive without water for 2 or 3 days!
Dung piles are a common scent marking method. The Black Rhino will excrete in one spot repeatedly or create dung piles to mark their home range. They will also rub a scent gland against a tree or rock leaving a distinctive scent to mark a territory.
Black Rhinos have poor eyesight struggling to focus at a distance of as little as 30 metres. Thus they rely mostly on their superb sense of smell and sharp hearing. With a recorded speed of up to 55 km/h, they are astonishingly quick-footed and with sharp turns they run around or even right through bushes and scrub.
The population density of the Black Rhino in the desert plains of Western Kunene, Namibia, is one rhino per 100 km2, and still, the Black Rhinos in Namibia make up to one-third of the world’s remaining rhino population! That is a scary statistic.
Unfortunately the Black Rhino is currently listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN (the southwestern Namibian population is listed as Vulnerable). The biggest threat towards the Namibian subspecies is illegal poaching. Hunting and poaching had totally eradicated their populations in the arid regions, but since the 1980’s thanks to the work of organisations like the Save the Rhino Trust the population of these national treasures has increased five times!