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TRA 135 Namibia: Deserts and Wildlife




Course Description

Namibia is possibly one of the best kept secrets on the African continent. The country offers a surprising blend of stunning desert landscapes, remarkable arid-adapted vegetation, noisy fur seal colonies, plus all of the large charismatic mammals for which Africa is justifiably famous: lions, elephants, truculent black rhinos, elegant giraffes, spiral-horned kudus and impalas, and fleet-footed zebras. Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in Africa, and therefore in better environmental condition than most other nations on the continent. The two greatest attractions in the country are Etosha National Park and the Namib Desert, our visit revolves around these two key areas. The Namib Desert, with its spectacular red dunes, stretches for nearly 2000 kilometres as a narrow strip along the entire western coast of the country. Here there are wind-sculpted fields of dunes, some over 200 metres high, ancient welwitschia plants that have lived for millennia, arid-adapted insects, lizards, sand grouse, and ostriches, and saber-horned gemsbok whose lithesome beauty embodies the magnetic lure of the desert.

Etosha National Park, one of the largest parks in Africa, owes its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan, a vast shallow depression covering roughly a quarter of the park. A series of waterholes along the southern edge of the pan guarantees rewarding and often spectacular game viewing. We spend six days in Etosha moving between a dozen different waterholes, watching the continuous parade of wildlife drawn to the life-giving waters. We conclude the tour with a memorable stay at Victoria Falls along the legendary Zambezi River.

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