|The Beautiful Desert
One of our employees being on vacation once said: “It’s nice here, but I am looking forward to being back to our beautiful desert”. Commonly, the understanding of a desert is often that of a hot, dry and lifeless area. However, this is not completely true. So what’s a desert?
Science uses a complex moisture index to define deserts. To put it simple, the decisive factor for the classification of deserts is rainfall and/ or evaporation as these have the biggest influence on vegetation. A region which receives less than 100 mm of precipitation per year can be categorized as very arid or as a true desert. If evaporation is three times higher than the yearly rainfall one can also speak of a true desert. (Source: P & M Bridgeford, Sesriem & Sossusvlei, first edition, Walvis Bay 2005.)
The Namib is divided in zones which receive different shares of rainfall. Whereas rain is very scarce in the western, coastal area (more or less 10 mm), the NamibRand Nature Reserve, lying on the western escarpment, generally receives less than 100 mm per year on average.So, NamibRand is a desert but it is not deserted at all. The comparatively “high” amount of rainfall together with the fog sometimes coming in from the sea, support an abundant desert life which shows amazing adaptations.
For the superficial visitor’s eye the vegetation is dominated by bushman grasses and sporadic camel thorn trees.
But a closer look reveals resurrection bush, which even after years of looking dead will resurrect after a little rain, tsamma melons, shepherd’s trees, spiny love grass and many more.
known to be able to reduce the moisture exhaled when breathing.
|Two obvious species are oryx and springbok. As they are not hunted they sometimes do not even bother to run away from the two legged guests in their territory, giving the whole scene a somewhat primeval touch. The majestic oryx can stand a body temperature of well above 40 degrees, because they are able to cool their sensitive brain with a special system in the nasal cavity. The also quite abundant and water independent ostriches regulate their body temperature by panting and fanning. Apart from camels they are the only vertebrates which are
(Source: M. Duerr, P. Bridgeford, M. Bridgeford, NATH, Guide a desert tour in Namibia)
The handsome bat eared fox has protruding ears to cool his blood and for detecting its next underground meal. Of course, last but not least we also have to mention the Tok Tokkie beetles. And there are many more out there, which cannot all be listed here...
There are approximately 100 bird species on NamibRand and you might even be lucky enough to see the rare and endangered lappet faced vulture, black eagle or the endemic dune lark.
All these inhabitants add to the fantastic scenery and compose the special atmosphere of the desert which grasps the visitor when spending some time here.
© Unlimited Travel & Car Hire CC l Disclaimer l Contact us
|What makes the Tok Tokkie Trail special is also the possibility for spotting the many small characters of the desert. NamibRand is home to many, often very charming reptiles, insects and small mammals. The barking gecko’s nocturnal chatting is an enjoyable feature of the desert silence, the golden mole’s silky little coat allows it to glide effortlessly below the sand avoiding the heat of the surface, the scarabaeus could also be called bulldozer beetle because of the efficient way of removing sand from its future home and the shovel snouted lizard carries around a water reservoir in his intestines.