Living Desert - Swakopmund

20th November 2014
After Leaving Sossusvlei it is about a 4 hour drive to Walvisbay where we stayed for a couple of nights, we wanted to see the Flamingos of Walvisbay and then a Living desert tour at Swakopmund.

The Flamingos were great, there were hundreds of birds gathered along the shores of the Lagoon feeding in the shallows.

The following morning we headed off to Swakopmund about 40km away from Walvisbay, it is a scenic drive along the West coast of Namibia. We met Steve from Batis Birding Safaris in Swakopmund who took us on the tour, the following 4 hours were great as we explored the Desert and its inhabitants, it was amazing to see how Steve read the signs of the Desert and how he found all the creatures we wanted to see.

The first thing we found was a Horned Adder it was extremely well camouflaged in the sand and gravel, it was a cloudy day with the sun breaking through the clouds every now and again which made the exposures a bit more tricky ! I will also be honest and say that I did not have the right equipment for this Living Desert tour either, to get the most out of it you would need a macro lens with some form of flash setup, I would also recommend a earlier than normal start to the tour so that you can make the most of the good morning light.

After the Horned Adder we went in search of some more desert Wildlife and it was not long before Steve found a Perinquey's Adder or Sidewinder, even after Steve pointed out its position it still took a few moments before we saw it, the camouflage is amazing as it lay submersed under the sand waiting for a potential meal to come by.

After the Perinquey’s adder we headed off to some open flats to search for the Namaqua Chameleons and it was not long before we found 2 of them, one youngster making its way across the flats and a adult close to some Desert scrub, I used a combination of my Tokina 16-28mm lens and the 70-200 lens to get a variety of different images of the Chameleons as they went about their business, I must add that they are super cute, especially the little one.

After leaving the Chameleons we headed over to some of the larger dunes where we found a Shovel Nosed sand Lizard, they can run really quickly over the sand and then “dive” into the dunes burrowing its way out of sight in a few moments.

Steve also showed us the small tell tale signs of where a Namib web footed gecko had burrowed its way into the sand earlier that day, he carefully dug down and within a minute had found the Gecko, it has beautiful big eyes and great coloration on its skin, after photographing it Steve put it back in the sand and it quickly dug out a new tunnel in the sand disappearing from sight in a few minutes, it was amazing to see how the Gecko dug a perfectly round tunnel into the loose sand.

By now it was after 12pm and the sun was high and hot, we had seen some great things the past few hours in a seemingly desolate place !

I really enjoyed the tour and learnt a great deal from Steve, for photography I would recommend a earlier start than the normal and definitely a macro lenses with fill flash, to connect with Steve and a Living desert tour look on this link

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