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 8 am for our 5-hour ‘Little 5’ tour, in one of their 4x4 safari style Land Rovers.
Before entering the Namib Desert, we were all introduced to each other as there were three truckloads of us eager trekkers. The primary tour guide, Chris, was all ready to do the tour in German when he realised there were two infiltrators in the camp, (Gary & I), who only spoke English. So he had to do the whole excursion in German and English, it was terrific 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. Before joining the desert, the three 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 for our first lesson on desert life.
The guides had found a Namib Dune Gecko.
While 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 next stop they found a Fitzsimons Burrowing Skink, which I held, as Gary made the excuse he was taking the photos.
A helpful guide
If you're considering a road trip through Namibia, then your in for a holiday of a lifetime. I always find it incredibly useful to plan our trips with the help of a guide book.
Take a look at this informative Bradt guide, it will give you great tips and advice.
The tour wasn’t just about the wildlife
Next up it was the fantastic plant life that lives in these harsh conditions. Where the temperatures by day 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 some more fascinating wildlife. This time it was a Namaqua Desert Chameleon, this creature looks prehistoric.
Also Chris found a Shovel Snouted Sand Diving Lizard.
Chris and the two 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. However, 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 we found a Sidewinder snake. 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 in the sand.
As the tour was reluctantly drawing to a close
We were treated to a white-knuckle 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 for refreshments and the opportunity to ask questions. We has one last chance to enjoy the magnificent vista across the Atlantic Ocean.
A highly recommended and informative tour.