Namib Desert, Swakopmund & Walvis Bay
Namibia is not all about the ‘Big Five’ (Lion, Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard & Rhinoceros), there are the little creatures too.
Living Desert Adventures operates a selection of tours into the Namib Desert, our choice was their Living Desert Tour. They collected us directly from our accommodation at around 8am for our 5-hour ‘Little 5’ tour, in one of their 4×4 safari style Land Rovers.
Prior to entering the Namib Desert we were all introduced to each other as there were 3 truckloads of us eager trekkers. The main tour guide, Chris, was already to do the tour in German when he realised there were to infiltrators in the camp (Gary & I) who only spoke English. So he had to do the whole excursion in German and English, it was really good fun and everyone had a sense of humour so he mocked the British and the Germans.
The area of the Namib Desert that we were entering is along the dune belt between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. Prior to entering the desert, the 3 guides had to drop the tyre pressure on the trucks as it was going to be sand, sand and more sand.
All of us cosseted away we set off about the dunes to track down the elusive ‘Little 5’. The guides are very conscientious about the conservation of the Namib Desert and take particular care not to damage the gravel plains.
Seeking ‘micro’ wildlife requires an expert or two.
It wasn’t long before our first desert dweller had been tracked down and we all jumped out to be given our first lesson on desert life. The guides had found a Namib Dune Gecko.
Whilst Chris was explaining the habitat of these gecko’s and the diversity of the desert, the other two trackers would disappear off to find more of deserts inhabitants.
The guides are incredibly observant and would spot the tiniest of animal life, where to everyone else it was just sand.
The tour wasn’t just about the wildlife
We were enlightened into the amazing plant life that live in these harsh conditions. Where by day the temperatures rocketed up and by night they plummeted.
The geology of this awe inspiring landscape is breath-taking, with dunes as far as the eye can see.
The tour progressed across the undulating terrains and again we were introduced to more fascinating wildlife. This time it was a Namaqua Desert Chameleon, this creature is amazing it looks prehistoric.
Chris and the 2 other guides made it fantastic fun and were very informative and encouraged interaction as much as possible. On our trip we had one gentleman that was unable to keep getting in and out of the truck. But this didn’t stop Chris from making him part of the group, so to ensure he wasn’t left out, where possible Chris would delicately take the ‘Little 5’ to him.
On our way again
but not for long, next a Sidewinder snake was found and these are really small, as you can see in the photo next to a footprint.
Not content with the intricacies of the wildlife, Chris suddenly revealed a magnet and demonstrated to us the presence of iron within the sand.
As the tour was reluctantly drawing to a close
We were treated to a white knuckle sand dune ride in the trucks. Sliding down the dunes and building up enough steam to vertically climb up another dune. It was fantastic fun although one elderly German had his eyes shut the whole time and had turned a very washed out shade of grey.
One last time out of the trucks and we were given refreshments and the opportunity to ask questions and enjoy the wonderful vista across the Atlantic Ocean.
A highly recommended and informative tour.