Namibia is most famous for its inhospitable landscapes. Two of the country’s best-known attractions, the Skeleton Coast and the Deadvlei, have hostility to life in their very names. Yet Namibia is full of animals, ranging from colorful endemic geckos to desert-adapted elephants. On our recent visit to the country, we spotted all manner of beautiful wildlife.
I find the vast, empty and otherworldly landscapes of Namibia to be the country’s biggest draw, but its unique wildlife is a joy to observe.
It was no surprise to find animals along the edge of the Caprivi Strip, Namibia’s panhandle, where the Chobe River flows into the Zambezi. The veld around Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, was also quite green — we visited during the “rainy” season, such as it is.
But even on the fringes of the deep desert, on Martian plains with sporadic tufts of long-dead grass and in ancient mountain ranges worn into swirling canyons, life has adapted to the extreme environment. Shipwreck Lodge, for example, stands atop a former river delta. Even now, the groundwater beneath it, along with fog from the sea, sustains life along the coast. Farther from the sea, sandy riverbeds squiggle around the countryside, also with groundwater beneath, providing a home for animals as large as giraffe and elephant.
I find the vast, empty and otherworldly landscapes of Namibia to be the country’s biggest draw, but its unique wildlife is a joy to observe. Below, you can see some of the magnificent creatures we spotted on our most recent trip there. Regrettably, we saw no large cats (Etosha National Park has a larger concentration of them than the places we visited). But the myriad animals we did see more than made up for that lack.