Of Wind, Air and Climate Change
Wind is air in motion. There is no wind on a frosty winter’s sunrise over the Khomas (‘hilly’) highlands of Namibia. Reaching over 2000 metres into the atmosphere, this elevated plateau was uplifted hundreds of millions of years ago during the turbulent birth of Africa. read article
Long-legged, Long-necked, Long-Lived, Long Distance Travellers
Wedged between ibises, ducks, geese and swans, the decurved-beaked flamingo is among the most highly specialized filter feeders in the bird world. In the capricious climate that it inhabits, this specialist faces ever-mounting pressures to survive. read article
Lesser Known Treasures of the Central Namib Coast
Sand evolves from rocks in a never-ending geological cycle, providing an insight into the formation of the Namib Desert’s great sand dunes. From Sandwich Bay to Ugab Mouth, visitors and even permanent inhabitants can explore 260 kilometres of the otherwise inhospitable Skeleton Coast and discover some of its better-kept secrets. read article
Leaded versus Unleaded Doves
The doves flew in fast, aiming their flight pattern at the edge of the waterhole. Puffs of powder-fine dust marked the landings, each bird hurriedly dipping its beak into the cool, thirst-quenching liquid. Just as speedily as they arrived, their take-off was hasty, almost frenzied as they headed for the safety of the surrounding bush, flying fast and low to avoid predators. read article
Capture, Cull or Contraception?
Surely, you cannot be serious?’ I asked my friend, whilst we watched a lion pride lazing in the heat of an Etosha day. ‘Why not?’ he replied emphatically, ‘when women have too many babies we put them on the Pill’. read article
Domain of the Deserts
Deserts are very special places. They embrace all continents - the Equator, the Poles, and the open sea. They can be hot or cold, on the highest mountain peaks and nearly 400 metres below sea level at the Dead Sea, where the salinity is seven times that of the oceans. read article
Ants here, Flies there……Insects, "Goggas" everywhere!
"Gogga" is a popular Afrikaans word used mostly in a derogatory sense, to denote a creepy-crawly, a flying insect or a near relative, such as a spider, scorpion, tick or mite. People often use the word in exasperation when irritated by buzzing flies and mosquitoes, and deal with the offender by hitting, squashing, trampling or dousing it with an aerosol spray. Paradoxically, ‘gogga’ is also used as a term of endearment, yet another linguistic quirk of the Afrikaans language. read article
With the last rays of the sun glinting on sleek, tawny and awesomely muscled bodies, the sighting that had seemed unbelievable to the two watching tourists, turned into a nightmare. The large pride of lions began moving on a broad front towards the tiny car. read article
Flyers of the twilight zone
Shortly after sunset and before sunrise, flocks of this pigeon–sized bird converge on water holes throughout Namibia. They arrive with such precision that you can set your watch by it. The synchronised drinking of Double–banded Sandgrouse provides an insight into the delicate mechanisms that ensure survival in a harsh environment. read article
A Waggle of Words
What name do you give to a number of lions living together? Easy – there is one collective term known to most people – a pride. Why this designation? Its origin is obscure but probably relates to the so-called King of Beasts’ regal appearance. Over time I have found words describing groups of a variety of animal species. read article
Crystal Roses of the Namib Desert
“A rose by any other name will smell as sweet” - The Namib’s roses display crystalline beauty but lack in fragrance as they bloom on the desert’s floor. Germination of desert roses is slow by any standards. Measured in geological time, these frail formations require the right mix of elements to start growing. Their soil is the barren desert substratum… read article
And somewhere lions still roam...
In Asia the tiger, Lord of the Forest, faces extinction in the wild.
Is it unrealistic to think that at some date in the future we may no longer be able to hear the deep-throated rumble of the King of Beasts living free in the African bush? read article
Diary of a Wildebeest
More than half of a wildebeest’s life is spent resting, but being social animals, they too enjoy a little get–together - Just what exactly does a wildebeest in Etosha National Park do all day and at night? A casual observer, after watching a solitary animal or a herd of these cousins of cattle, may say: “Well, they seem to mostly, graze, rest and sometimes drink water”. read article