Local heard of elephants in the Hoanib River Valley, Namibia

When I got back from safari at the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Nambia, everyone asked about the wildlife. You expect to see a lot of wild animals on safari, but I find Namibia particularly fascinating because of it’s desert ecosystem. Emms, our guide and tracker, said simply, “picky eaters don’t survive in the desert.”

The Oryx, or gemsbok, is the National animal of Namibia

Desert or not, there are lots of wild animals. The Oryx, a type of gazelle, is the animal I most associate with Namibia. Oryx are well adapted to desert life in the Kaokoveld.

Sleepy lion GIF

As much as I adore Token’s song, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, the lyrics “In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight” are a factual fail. Lions don’t live in jungles and they are nocturnal. They sleep during the day and hunt at night.

Lions sleeping with their paws up in the Hoanib River Valley

Giraffes are also extremely well adapted to life in the desert. Somehow these tall creatures can blend in and then appear, gracefully walking in parallel about 10 km per day.

A pair of giraffes

Some of the other animals we saw springbok, monkey, steenbok, and scrub hare.

Giraffe Fight Club GIF

Giraffes are incredibly graceful, even when fighting.

Papa G, the elephant

My favorite animals were the elephants.

Left: local elephants eating Right: elephants at magic hour

The elephants learn a lot from the dung of other elephants, including their location and who is ready to mate. Who knew dung is the Tinder of the wild?

Elephant trunk in action eating bushes

Elephant mock charge GIF

Elephants walking a dry river bed during magic hour

Not all the animals we saw were in the desert. One day we flew to the Skeleton Coast and visited a seal colony. Seal colonies have one of the most distinct smells I’ve ever encountered. I lack the words to describe it… but musky, fetid, and overripe give you the general idea.

A young Cape Fur Seal pup on The Skeleton Coast in Namibia

Here’s a little video of the seal colony:

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,