Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Dik-Dik of Namibia


The Kirk's dik-dik  is a small antelope native to Eastern Africa and one of four species of dik-dik antelope. It is believed to have six subspecies and possibly a seventh existing in southwest Africa. Dik-diks are herbivores, typically of a fawn color that aids in camouflaging themselves in savannah habitats.  They are also capable of reaching speeds of up to 42 kilometers per hour. The lifespan of Kirk's dik-dik in the wild is typically 5 years, but may surpass 10 years.  In captivity males have been known to live up to 16.5 years, while females have lived up to 18.4 years.

Dik-diks are some of the world's smallest antelopes, with the largest, the Kirk's dik-dik, standing between 14 and 18 inches tall and weighing no more than 7.2 kg. Female dik-diks tend to be 1 to 2 pounds heavier than males. Dik-diks are dainty creatures with a pointed, mobile snout, large eyes and ears, prominent preorbital glands, pipestem legs, hare-like hind limbs that are significantly larger than their forelimbs, and a vestigial tail. Their coats, depending upon their habitat, range from grey to gray-brown with tan flanks, limbs, and an erectile head crest and whitish eye rings, ear lining, underparts, and rump".


 














Similar to other dwarf antelopes, Kirk's dik-diks exist in monogamous pairs on territories. Territories are marked with dung and urine that are deposited in a ritual that is performed to help helps maintain pair bonds. During the ritual, the female will excrete, followed by the male, which samples the female's urine stream to check her reproductive capacity. He paws over and then marks his dung and urine over her deposit. Finally, the pair marks nearby twigs with secretions from their pre-orbital glands. Kingon 1982 states that, "The male courts the female by running up behind her with his head and neck stretched and his muzzle pointing out in front. Copulation begins with the male standing on his hind legs behind the female and waving his forelegs at an acute angle to his own body in the air over her back". Copulation typically occurs anywhere between three and five times within a 9-hour period.



Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Living Desert Adventures


The Living Desert Tour, originally developed in the 1990’s, is a unique 4x4 adventure drive through the dunes outside Swakopmund, Namibia. Just the drive in the dunes is an amazing experience, but it will show you a lot more than sand. The tour takes you from the vegetated, life-rich eastern side of the dunes, right through the dunes to the Atlantic Ocean on the western side of the dune belt. 

Introducing you to some of the fascinating, hidden life in this apparently barren landscape that is part of the Namib Desert. Here you can find creatures endemic to the Namib: the sidewinder (Peringuey's Adder), the Palmato Gecko with its transparent skin and beautiful colours - we dig into the dune side to find this nocturnal desert-dweller. We track the large Namaqua Chameleon, and watch it enjoy brunch. Then it's a dash to catch the swift sand-diving lizard. 

Finding out how the area's plants and small animals survive the harsh climate, and how they obtain water for life. You will also track a FitzSimon's Burrowing Skink across the dune face, in hopes of catching this legless lizard. Along the way, they will explain the variety of dune colours. At the end of the tour, weather permitting, you will experience a 'roaring' dune. 

Other characters to be found in the dune belt are the 'dancing' White Lady Spider; the Parabuthus Villosus black scorpion; the occasional horned adder or sand-snake; desert wasps, fish-moths, crickets and several beetle species, and many more. 

The Living Desert Tour is educational, fun and an unforgettable experience. You will see the desert and dunes with new eyes. The photographic opportunities are endless too: make sure those batteries are charged before you leave! 







Monday, February 19, 2018

David Livingstone's Camp

Mamili (Nkasa Lupala) National Park beautifully mirrors Botswana’s Okavango style wetland wilderness with an edge that is uniquely Namibian. In a vast arid country, Mamili holds the distinction of being the largest wetland with conservation status in Namibia.

The newly built Livingstone’s Camp borders the national park and features 5 exclusive camp sites providing visitors with their own private bathroom, hot showers and unrivalled camping facilities.

The camp sites all have incredible views of the Linyanti wetland with abundant birdlife and wildlife. Guests have a range of activities to experience, including Mokoro safaris through the pristine waterways, as well as guided walking and game drive safaris. 

Anyone with passionate enthusiasm for the wildlife of Africa and is equipped with a self-contained 4x4 vehicle will consider camping at Livingstone’s Camp, the ultimate escape.