Life in the Desert

Herman sniffed a couple of times “I smell springbok.”  A few minutes later we were on a small herd grazing in the sparse vegetation of the Namib Desert.  Two jackals, Herman says a mating pair, were tracking them, not hunting, but just keeping an eye out.  A third jackal was shadowing the two, not to close.  Herman says he may be trying to move in on their territory but not yet, he keeps his distance but the two are clearly aware of this lone jackal.

The springbok feed on desert vegetation.  Where they were feeding we found some green plants with melons.  Herman told us that when you see melons you know there is water and you can survive in the desert off of those melons.

Herman says “It’s a pity we did not see any oryx, a larger land animal that lives here.  However we did see “Namibian Fur Seals” on the beach.  This species is commonly called a seal but is a really sea lion with visible ears.

As we were driving Herman stopped the jeep got out and dug.  He had seen the borough of a gecko.  He pulled the little guy out of the sand for us to look at.  His big feet are for treading sand not paddling in water.  The gecko comes out at night and in the day boroughs in the sand to protect it from flying predators.  When we were done looking Herman carefully reburied the gecko.

We also saw flamingos, lots of flamingos.  Some are pink and some white depending on what they eat.  Also pelicans, “the Namibian air force” cormorants and Herman found some nests of plover eggs.

The sand is brown with strips of red.  The red and is made up of crushed quartz, garnet and some flecks of diamond.  South of here on the coast giant diamond dredges pull up the gem stones.  That area is closed to land traffic and the coast is closed to navigation.

To see more pictures of Sandwich Harbor, and read some of it’s history, click on the links on this line.

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