Namib desert wilderness is unique, so distinctive in character and so void of significant human presence. The very modest human imprint contrasts with the vigour of wildlife. Wildlife in Namib is not without thoughts, feelings and emotions.
Against Namib wilderness, some birds congregate as their survival depends largely on their solidarity. Their gregarious quest for safety borrows not only trees heights, but also man-made structures that they colonise shamelessly and skillfully.
Ostriches are arguably the most peculiar, cautious and shy animals on earth. Indeed, they raise numerous chicks, which makes them attractive and vulnerable to predators. As their family caravans don’t go unnoticed in the emptiness of the desert, distance to the threat remains their main coping strategy.
Gembsboks or oryxes could be the ostriches’ cousins for their shy behaviour. They rather take or stay at distance and observe. However, oryxes do so less frenetically than ostriches, showing temper once they feel safe. Their noble attitude is commensurate to the beauty of their robe. They could be the priests of the Namib desert sanctuary.
Cheetahs are my all-favourite Africa’s wild cats. They express a unique combination of power, speed, elegance and vulnerability. Cheetahs are not only the most rapid sprinters on earth. They are also very vulnerable to other predators (hyenas, leopards, lions) when it comes to defend the prey that they have hunted down. They are also very vulnerable to man’s hunting.
Black rhinoceros are a beauty of their kind, despite their obvious contradictions – massive but elegant, heavy but fast, mostly quiet but irascible. We better don’t upset them, approach them very cautiously and stand ready to run fast in the last resort. I survived and much enjoyed the encounter.
Visiting Etosha National Park in Northern Namibia would allow meeting with many more wild species. While Namib desert hosts a lesser variety of wildlife, it exhales an extraordinary sense of wilderness that both humans and animals can feel and enjoy.