Namibia is often described as a land of great contrasts. A phrase that is often overused and misused when describing a country. When it comes to Namibia though, it is a phrase that speaks nothing but the truth, this is especially true for the animals in Namibia.
This beautiful country has it all. And though it seems like all of these vastly different landscapes should not go hand in hand, Namibia shows you how well diversity perfectly compliments each other in all of its forms. From diversity in landscape and animals to diversity in all of, about 11, beautiful cultures living together.
If it is the landscape that so uniquely flows from one extreme into the next, like the cold, rough, and wild Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean that kisses the harsh, hot and dry, seemingly lifeless Namib desert on the west side; which seamlessly transforms into the beautiful savannah with all of its incredible wildlife.
When you think that desert is desert you will be surprised when following the 1,572 km long stretch of the Atlantic ocean from north to south. Where you walk from the one desert that after a while changes its color from light brown to a stunning red. Another thing that changes from north to south is that you find the green tropical wetlands in the north that gradually changes to the very arid and dry southern part of Namibia.
As the landscapes changes in the country, so does the vegetation and therewith the wildlife of Namibia.
With just about every animal having to adapt to the potentially very harsh climates, the variety of animals in Namibia is quite extreme.
Even in the seemingly barren desert, the landscape could be scattered with wildlife. Which makes the animals another aspect of Namibia’s greatness in contrasting offerings.
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Africa’s Big 5
Let’s start with the famous Big 5, and put them together into one section.
Namibia is one of the few countries home to Africa’s Big 5.
- Lion (The King of Africas Wildlife 😉)
- Rhinoceros (both Black and White)
- Cape Buffalo
- African Elephant
The name Big 5 sadly has to do with hunting these animals. They are the hardest to hunt because they will fight back.
Surprisingly, the Cape Buffalo is actually the more dangerous of the 5. They can be highly aggressive when wounded or have young nearby and can even attack as a mob. They are called black death for a reason!
The only acceptable way to shoot one of these amazing creatures is through the lens of your camera though!
The lion is the biggest predator in Africa, with a shoulder height of up to 120cm and weighing up to 220kg!
Interesting facts about the lion
- They are social animals and live in prides with 5 to 10 lions.
- The lioness is doing the hunting.
- Lions are the only cat species with a mane. The darker it is, the older the lion.
- The roar of a lion is the loudest of all feline species. It can be heard from up to 8km away.
- Lion cubs are raised by all the females in a pride and can also suckle from any female that has milk.
Where to find Lions in Namibia
In the woodlands of Etosha National Park, Erindi Private Game Reserve, Caprivi Park, Kaokoveld, and Bushmanland.
A small population of lions though adapted itself to the harsh arid Namib desert in the Kunene Region, Northern Namibia. They can survive days without drinking water, taking up fluids only through the blood of their prey and the sap of desert plants.
Namibia is home to 2 out of 5 Rhino Species. The White Rhino and the Black Rhino.
The Names “White” & “Black” Rhino are often misleading as they are both actually light to dark grey. It is said that the confusion came about when the English mistook the Afrikaans’ word ‘wyd’ for ‘white’, although it actually means wide/broad, describing the mouth form of the rhino.
Difference between the White and Black Rhino
The White Rhino is therefore also referred to as the Square-Lipped Rhino and the Black Rhino to the Hook-Lipped Rhino. As mentioned above this describes the mouth form of the Rhino.
Like the name already suggests the Square-Lipped Rhino has a broader jaw and the Hook-Lipped Rhino has a more pointy jaw. The reason for this is the difference in their diet.
Whereas the broad jaw makes it easier for the White Rhino to be a graser, the pointy jaw of the Black Rhino makes it easier to browse on leaves.
Where to find the White and Black Rhinos in Namibia
As the diets of the White and Black Rhino are quite different you can imagine that their habitats are also different from each other.
- White Rhinos can be found in open grasslands.
- Black Rhinos are usually found in the dense bushes, thus making the Black Rhino a bit harder to find on your safari trip.
The best places to see White and Black Rhinos in the wild are Etosha National Park, Erindi, and Waterberg Wilderness Park.
Sadly these beautiful creatures are endangered today due to poaching. This is also why it is forbidden to post selfies or photos of Rhinos on social media networks, so please respect this to keep our Rhinos safe.
Drones are also widely forbidden in Namibia, because of the poaching of these beautiful mammals.
Tip: If you’re looking to fly your drone and take breathtaking photos/videos of Namibia’s landscape, check out Erindi Private Game Reserve.
Luckily there are lots of amazing organizations that help protect the Rhinos thanks to their dedication and hard work:
African Elephants are the largest animals on land. The African bush elephant can grow up to 4m shoulder height and males can weigh 6000kg.
The African Forest elephant is a bit smaller in weight and height.
Interesting Facts about the African Elephant
- They are bigger than their Asian cousins, with bigger ears that resemble the shape of the African continent.
- Elephants protect their skin from the harsh sun by taking mud baths.
- When elephants lose a family member they grief and come back to visit the deceased elephants bones for years after.
- Elephants can recognise themselves in a mirror.
- The herds have a female leader. A Queen.
- African Elephants are not only beautiful to look at, they are also very important to their ecosystem. In the dry season for example, they dig up water from dry riverbeds, providing not only themselves but also other animals with the life essential liquid.
- The Brain of an African Elephant can weigh more than 5kg.
- There are about 60000 muscles in the trunk of an African Elephant.
Sadly these gentle giants are also endangered because they are poached for their tusks, which are made from ivory.
Where to find African Elephants when visiting Namibia
You won’t be finding any elephants in Namibia’s capital Windhoek, or on the coast in Swakopmund.
The best chances to find the African Elephant are in the North of Namibia. Etosha National Park, Omaanda Lodge, and Ichingo Chobe River Lodge, just to name a few.
Oh, the beautiful elegant strong Leopard. I just love these amazing big cats.
Interesting Facts about the Leopard
- Leopards are incredible athletes. Although they are much smaller than lions they are have amazing strength, which makes them great hunters. They usually drag their kill up a tree to protect it from other scavengers. This kill can sometimes weigh more than the leopard itself, yet they still manage to climb up a tree with it.
- Even though they are the most seldom seen big cat of Africa, they are actually more wildely distributed than their other fellow cat species. Pro tip: Don’t limit your scanning to the ground as Leopards often drag their prey into the trees. They prefer to stay in mountainous areas.
- Leopards can see 7 times better at night than humans.
- They are good swimmers
- These big cats can jump 3m high and 6m wide.
Where to find Leopards in Namibia
Like already written above, Leopards prefer mountainous regions with trees to hide in.
Etosha, Erindi, and Okonjima are good places for Leopard sightings.
The Cape Buffalo
Now that we have looked at the earth’s largest land animal, the elephant, two strong and big predator cats, and the big rhinos, the Cape Buffalo might seem to be a bit lost in the list of Africa’s Big 5. Don’t let this animal fool you though. It is widely regarded as the second most dangerous animal in Africa, right after the hippo.
Interesting Facts about the Cape Buffalo
- Buffalos are good swimmers.
- They can kill lions.
- Bulls can weigh up to 900kg.
Where to find Cape Buffalos
The best places for Cape Buffalo sightings in Namibia would be in the North of the country.
The Serondela Lodge and Nunda River Lodge are amazing beautiful lodges where you will most likely be able to see these strong animals.
Carnivores of Namibia
The world’s fastest land animal, reaching speeds of up to 112 km/h.
Namibia is home to the largest population of Cheetah that is not restricted to parks. This causes some problems for farm owners, which treat these beautiful animals as invaders.
Conservation methods are being taken to protect these animals, most notably by the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Otjiwarongo and other wildlife reserves.
Interesting Facts about the Cheetah
- It can reach a speed of 112km/h in just 3 seconds.
- The Cheetah uses its long tail to steer and to keep their balance when running.
- Cheetahs can’t roar. They rather sound like a housecat, meowing and purring.
- They can survive without water for a couple of days.
Where to find Cheetahs
Cheetahs can be found the at Cheetah Conservation Fund in Otjiwarongo as well as many other wildlife sanctuaries like the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary. These animals are often taken off of farms as they often kill the farmers’ livestock and do not make friends with the farmers in this way. Injured Cheetahs are rehabilitated at the above-mentioned sanctuaries before being released back into the wild.
You can find Cheetahs in Etosha and other Nature Reservations as well, with a bit of luck and determination that is. 😉
Other Carnivores to see
- Hyeanas: You can find two types of Hyenas in Namibia. The Brown Hyena which is known for its laugh, that sounds abit like a hysterical human. And the Spotted Hyena which are very good hunters and not only scavengers. Both types can be found in Game Parks like Etosha.
- Jackals: Namibia is home to 2 types of Jackals, the Side-Striped Jackal and the Black-Backed Jackal. The Black-Backed Jackal is found more in the northern parts of Namibia, whereas the Side-Striped Jackal can be found throughout the country.
- The majestic Caracal: All cats do think that they are regal, this wildcat though seems to actually wear a crown with its large and furry ears. Caracals can sneak up to their prey silently like ninjas, and can jump up to 3 meters, making them the perfect hunters. Though they are found throughout Namibia, except the dry Namib Desert, Caraclas are still difficult to find, because they usually come out at night.
- Bat Eared Fox: The little predator with the huge ears, that allow them to hear insects moving under the sand. The ears also aid in keeping them cool. Although they are very small they will bravely attack big predators when these have caught a family member. Bat Eared Foxes can be found all over Namibia.
- Servals: These beautiful creatures of the cat-family, look like they are a house cat mixed with a cheetah. They have a very petite build, with long legs and big ears. Servals can mostly be found more in the Northern Parts of Namibia and in Game Parks like Erindi and Etosha. When you are lucky to spot a serval early in the morning, hold your camera ready, you might just capture the perfect moment when this graceful cat leaps up into the sky to catch a bird.
- Wild Dogs: These beautiful predators live in large groups that are led by a monogamous pair. They are very social animals, hunting together, taking care of each other and sharing food together. The largest population of Wild Dogs can be found in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania. Sadly these beautiful creatures are endangered. You can find Wild Dogs in the Northern and Eastern Parts of Namibia.
Insect Eaters of Namibia
- Aardwolves get their name from the Afrikaans language, meaning ‘Earth Wolf’. They have a closer resemblance to foxes however, and are also nocturnal animals, spending the majority of the day in their burrows.
- Pangolins are the only mammals with hard keratin scales on their bodies. They use this as armor when under attack and roll up into a ball when they feel threatened. These animals are under threat, along with their Asian relatives. A sad facts about the Pangolins, they are the most trafficked mammal in the world.
- Aardvarks are burrowing, nocturnal animals, which seemingly resemble a pig mixed with a kangaroo. The name comes from Afrikaans, meaning ‘Earth Pig’.
Where to find Pangolin, Aardvarks & Aardwolves
Due to their nocturnal behaviors, these animals are hard to find in the wild. Erindi Private Game Reserve does have conservation programs in place for these animals and could be the best place to see them in person.
Mongooses in Namibia
- Yellow Mongoose: Also known as Red Meerkat, are so sweet and cute that many can’t believe that they can actually kill a snake as venemous as a black mamba. They are very nimble.
- The Suricate: They are also known as Meerkat or Stokstert. Cute, yet mishievous as we know them from the animated character Timon, from Timon and Pumba. They are very gregarious little mammals and live together in a big community. They build underground burrows with lots of tunnel-systems, that aid as a cooling system. Often they share these burrows with the Yellow Mongoose community. When outside the Suricate always has one that is on the lookout for big birds or other predators, whilst the others will look for food or play around outside.
- The Banded Mongoose: It is also called Zebra Mongooses due to its white stripes on the dark fur. It is the biggest of the three here listed mongooses. They are also very agile and can kill a snake with ease. The Banded Mongoose often have a symbiotic relationship with warthogs. They eat ticks off of the warthogs, giving the Banded Mongoose something to eat and the warthog gets cleaned from the little parasite.
Rodents of Namibia
- Dassies: Otherwise known as Rock hyrax or Klipdas (Rock Badger). Small chubby and cute. Dassies can be found in rocky areas, in the savanna and also in more arid areas. They are omnivores, getting most of their nutrients through herbs, grasses and leaves and only a small part comes from lizards and insects. Their eyes basically come with built-in sunglasses, protecting them from the bright sunlight. One unbelievable fact about the dassie is that they are the closest relative to their big african friend, the African Elephant.
- Porcupine: The largest Rodents in Africa. The quills of porcupines can be as long as 30cm and are used as their defence force. When threatened the Porcupine will at first spread its quills and make a rattling sound with them. If the threat still persists, they will start running towards them, backwards though. This is because they have the most and biggest quills on their back end. It is a myth that porcupines can shoot you with their quills, they rather run into their enemy with them and then they can lodge into the enemies flesh.
- Springhare: Although its name says ‘hare’, its appaerance rather reminds of a squirrel mixed with a kangaroo. They are only 45cm in length, but they have amazing strength in their hind legs. Sprinhares are nocturnal making it difficult to come across them when touring Namibia.
- Bushbaby: Bushbabies are fascinating little creatures. To avoid competition when hunting they are active during the night. Their incredible hearing capability makes this possible, as they can track insects in the dark and even catch them whilst jumping from tree to tree. They can jump 2,5m thanks to their incredible strong muscles in their back legs, which make up 1/4 of the animals weight.
- Vervet Monkey: Small mischievous monkey that are very social and are active during day and night time. You can find the Vervet Monkeys around the Orange River, in the Caprivi Region, and the rocky areas of Grootfontein and Tsumeb.
- Chacma Baboon: Large intelligent monkeys found especially in central Namibia. The canine teeth of a chacma baboon can be longer than that of a lion. Therefore a group of male Baboons can severly injure a leopard, although the leopard is actually preying on the Chacma Baboons.
Other Mammals of Namibia
Cape Fur Seals
Yes, seals! Although to be more specific, the Cape Fur Seal is actually a sea lion, with their noisy barking, large front flippers, and small ear ‘flaps’. ‘True’ seals do not have external ears. Cape Fur Seals are named after their thick, soft pelt and the fact that it is double layered, acting like a wetsuit.
Where to find Cape Fur Seals
The Cape Cross Seal Colony, the largest breeding seal colony in Africa, is home to 80 000 – 100 000 Cape Fur Seals. It is found about 130km north of Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast, the sight of these animals is quite something, and the smell is something you cannot prepare for. 😉
As cuddly and cute as they may seem, the Hippopotamus is Africa’s most dangerous animal. Responsible for the most deaths caused by any animal worldwide.
Males can be very territorial and they will be very protective of their young. They can even capsize boats. They have a unique appearance with their large round bodies and short, stout legs, which leaves you wondering why they’re named the ‘river horse’.
Interesting Facts about Hippos
- Hippos skin secrete a red oily substance that acts as a moisturiser and protects them against the harsh sun.
- They can hold their breath up to 7 minutes.
- When they are sleeping under water they automatically resurface every 3 to 5 minutes in oder to breath. They do this without waking up.
Where to find Hippos in Namibia
You’re not going to find any Hippos in the Namib Desert, or at least, you shouldn’t.
You will find them in the North though, in the rivers and on their banks, mostly in the Kavango and Caprivi regions.
Erindi is also a great Lodge where you will find hippos directly in front of your bungalow. The waterhole lies directly in front of the bungalows making it a really amazing place to spot so many incredible animals, including the hippo, whilst enjoying the beautiful Namibian Sundowner.
The tallest of all animals. Everything is in fact long in this elegant Mammal. Their legs are up to 2m, their neck is about 1,8m and their tongue has a length of 53cm. Rounding this off, with an incredible lash length that makes this whole being so elegant.
Interesting Facts about the Giraffe
- Although they have this beautiful long neck, Giraffes can’t reach the ground and can only drink water by doing a half splits, which seems really clumsy on this otherwise so graceful creature.
- The amount of neck vertebrae in a giraffe is also only 7, however these can be taller than 25cm.
- Spots on a giraffe are as unique as fingerprints in human. No two giraffes have the same spot pattern.
- A giraffe can cope with very little sleep, during a 24h period. 5 to 30 minutes is sufficient.
- Even though giraffes seem so silent and you might wonder if they are mute, the truth is that they make lots of different sounds which however is beyond the range of human hearing.
Where to find Giraffes in Namibia
Giraffes can be found in lots of Game Parks and Guest farms. Free-Roaming Giraffes can be spotted in Damaraland and Kaokoland.
Namibia is home to 2 types of Zebras: The Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra and the Burchell’s Zebra.
To distinguish the two, you can have a closer look at their stripes. The Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra has stripes that are solid but won’t join on its stomach, whereas the Burchell’s Zebras’ stripes join on their stomach and they also have additional faint, so-called shadow stripes.
Both types though have an individual stripe pattern and the fowls will study the pattern of its mom to recognize her in the herd.
Where to find Zebras in Namibia
As you might have already assumed from the name, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras can be found in the more mountainous areas of Namibia.
The Burchell’s Zebra is also called the Plains Zebra and thus rather found in the open grasslands of the Savanna.
Interesting Facts about the Warthog
- They got their name due to the ‘warts’ on the sides of their faces. These ‘warts’ are actually a combination of bone and cartilage that protects their faces during a fight.
- Warthogs are quite lazy when it comes to house building. In fact they do not build their burrows themselves at all, they steal it from Aardvarks or other animals.
- Their diet consists mainly from vegetation, they will however scavenge for meat when they get the chance.
- Taking mudbaths protects them from the harsh sun and from insect bites.
Where to find Warthogs in Namibia
Warthogs are found throughout central Namibia. On your way from the Airport to your destination, you can already spot a Warthog family on the side of the road.
Warning: Be careful on the roads of Namibia. Lots of serious accidents happen with wild animals that suddenly jump into the street. Especially Warthogs and Kudus are often the cause of fatal car accidents.
Namib Desert Horses
These are probably the only wild desert horses in all of Africa. The exact origins of how these animals came to be here are unclear. Most believe they originated from a farm that bred horses for the defense forces in the early 20th century and were released when the owner passed away.
Some also believe that these horses were battle horses that escaped.
These horses are a unique sight. Seeing these majestic creatures rolling in the sand and playing amongst the barren landscapes will definitely paint a surreal image.
Where to find the Namib Desert Horses
These horses can be found at Aus, south in the Namib Desert. A must-see stop on your way to the Ghost Town, Kolmanskop, and Lüderitz.
Antelopes of Namibia
Antelopes are probably going to be the animals you will notice the most in Namibia. They are plentiful in the savannah, and even the desert.
The assortment of Antelope in Namibia is quite remarkable. Here to name a few:
- The Gemsbok (Oryx): This incredible beautiful and robust antelope is the National Animal of Namibia and can be seen on the Namibian Coat of Arms. It is the only antelope that can survive in Namibias desert, by being able to tolerate the extreme heat and conserving water. It is therefore found throughout Namibia.
- Eland: The biggest Antelope of Africa, with males weighing over 700kg and reaching a shoulder height of about 2m. Both Males and Females have twisted horns that can be up to 1m in length. The Eland can be found on farms and Nature Reservations in the central and northern parts of Namibia, and in the Kalahari desert.
- Kudus: Antelopes with beautiful spiraled horns. They are the second tallest in Namibia, yet very agile and can jump up to 2m high. Their horns can reach an impressive length of 1,8m. They are found in the savannah woodland with a good water supply nearby. The best places to spot kudus are in central Namibia and most game parks.
- The Blue Wildebeest (Gnu): Not the prettiest of all antelopes but very agile. They can be found in Etosha National Park and most other farms and game parks.
- Sable Antelope: Loking a bit like a horse with back swept horns these beautiful creatures can be found in the North East of Namibia, especially around the Zambezi region. They can also be seen at the Waterberg Plateau Park and in Etosha National Park though.
These were some of the bigger Antelopes, now looking at some of their smaller relatives:
- Springbok: This graceful and elegant antelope is the most common Antelope in Namibia and can usually be found in big herds. They got their name for being able to jump vertically up to 3.5m high (‘Spring-bok’ directly translated meaning ‘Jump-buck’). Springboks are also one of the fastest antelopes being able to run with a speed of 88km/h. They can be found throughout Namibia, and won’t be missed when visiting Namibia.
- The Klipspringer: (Rock Jumper) This little antelope adapted so very well to living in the rocky mountainous regions of Namibia, that it can walk on tippy-toe-hooves. What is also very unique about these antelopes is that they mate for life. Antelopes that find their soulmate… Ahhh… so romantic.
- Impala: Another graceful antelope that can jump up to 10m in length making them very fast and agile. Impalas are usually found in the Zambezi region and Namibias wetlands, however are also often seen in game parks and on most Namibian farms.
- Damara Dik Dik: Everything about this antelope is cute. The name, its large ears and eyes and its tiny body. With a shoulder height of around 40cm and a weight of 6kg, they are one of the smallest Antelopes in Africa. They got their name from their sound that they make. Dik Diks, just like the Klipspringer find their partner for life. They are found at the Waterberg, Okonjima, Etosha National Park, Zambezi Region in the Brukkaros Mountain.
- The Sitatunga (Marshbuck): These Antelopes are semi-aquatic and incrdible swimmers. They live along the Chobe and Zambezi River.
Honey Badgers are hardly seen as they don’t need to visit watering holes. They like to feed on honey, giving them their name, and are ferocious little fighters, known to attack animals much larger than themselves. They are extremely tough animals that seem to be afraid of absolutely nothing, even young honey badgers will attack a snake or run after larger mammals.
If you are on the lookout for these rarely seen animals, also keep an eye out for the Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk. These birds often accompany the badgers when they hunt and scoop in on the beehives when the Badgers are finished.
Where to find Honey Badgers in Namibia
As mentioned, they are quite difficult to come across in the wild, residing in savannah plains and small shrubs.
Etosha is a good place to have a look, with the Halali Rest-camp possibly still home to a rather famous and mischievous bin-raiding Honey Badger. 😉
Along the coast of Namibia, you can come across bottle-nose dolphins. You could probably also swim with them if you have a wetsuit and don’t mind the ice-cold waters of the Atlantic. I would recommend a cruise though instead, for example with Mola-Mola in Walvis Bay. On this cruise, you will also come across pelicans, seagulls, and cheeky little seals that jump onto the boat asking for fish.
Birds of Namibia
The bird species found in Namibia is quite extensive, but some of the noteworthy birds you can come across (or go looking for) would be:
- The African Fish Eagle: The National Bird of Namibia is the greatest raptor af Africa. You could call them the pirates of Africas lakes and rivers as they are known for stealing food from other birds. These beautiful birds find their partners for life. They are amazing singers and like to duet with hippos. This beautiful orchesta is referred to as the sound of Africa.
- Ostrich: The largest (2m) and fastest (70km/h) birds on the planet, that can’t fly though. Male ostriches will dance to female ostriches when they are attracted to them. It is a really beautiful sight to see.
- Hornbill: Namibia is home to many types of Hornbills. In the picture above you can see the Southern-Yellow-Billed Hornbill, which can be found in Central and Northern Namibia.
- The Cape Vulture: It is the highest flying of the Southern African Vultures, with a record of soaring 8000m high. They have incredible eyesight, 20x better than that of a human. Sadly these big Birds of Prey are endangered. You can find the Cape Vulture in Northern Namibia.
- Rosey-Faced Lovebirds: Oh, what to say about these little yet noisy birds. Lovebirds are birds with to much hormones if you ask me. On one hand that makes them very affectionate with their soulmate partner, on the other hand they can be very jealous and aggressive in mating period. Even though they are very sociable birds, they do not get along well with other species of birds. We had a lovebird couple in our garden, and let me tell you these beautiful little beings would chase away the hornbills and guinea fowls with their loud chirps and stubborn determination. 😄
- Secretary Bird: These beautiful birds grow up to 150cm high. They are usually found on the ground, only flying when they have to.
- African Hoopoe: It is called Hoopoe, for the sound it makes, similar to a cuckoo. Nest sanitation is not one of the Hoopoes strength. The nests will soon be fouled and smelly.
- Guinea Fowls: This spotted chicken can be quite comical and loves to look at its reflection. They can be tamed very easily and are found in lots of Namibian Gardens. We had Guinea Fowls that would come to each meal time, 7h00 in the morning, 13h00 for lunch and at 18h00 for supper. They would come on time everyday. They did not quite understand that on Sundays our breakfast times would not be at 7h00, so they would walk up to our bedroom windows, knocking.
- Marabu Bird: I would say, the Gnu of the bird world. These large birds are not very pretty, however despite their height of 1.3m they are absolute gorgeous when they fly. They have a wingspan of 2,9m.
- Weavers: You can find lots of different weaver types in Namibia. They can be found throughout Namibia. It is very entertaining yet also ‘heartbreaking’ watching male weavers built the nest. They do it with such enthusiasm, then call the female to have a look at it. Often the female is unsatisfied with her house and rips down the whole nest whilst making angry chirps. Poor little male weavers always struggle to make their partner happy.
- Pelican: It is one of the largest flying birds in the world. Its wingspan measures up to 3.6m. (The Kori Bustard, also native to Namibia is the largest flying bird in the world) Pelicans can be found almost everywhere with big bodies of water.
- Flamingos: Flamingos are monogamous, meaning they only have one partner. The visible knee of the flamingo is actually their ankle joint. Flamingos get their pink colour from the food they eat, namely mostly shrimps and crustaceans. You can find the biggest flock of flamingos in Walvis Bay, but they are scattered throughout Namibia.
Reptiles, Arachnids and Insects in Namibia
Namibia is home to a lot of creepy crawlies. You might not always be lucky enough to see a leopard or a rhino, I guarantee you, you will find one or two of these slithering, weird little creatures. Whether you like it or not.
However, I do not want to scare you, most of these creepy, yet also beautiful unique creatures, really are more afraid of you than you are of them and will leave you alone.
Spiders in Namibia might look scary and horrifying but the bigger and uglier the monsters, the less harmful they are. At least that is true for Namibia’s Spiders. Australias’ creepy-crawly world; well that is a whole different story. Everything seems to be poisonous there. 😉
Tips from a Namibian:
- When picking up a stone or rock, always make sure to tilt it away from you first, to give, whatever creepy crawly might be under it, a chance to run away, however in the opposite direction as you are.
- If you have left your boots or sneakers outside, make sure to look inside of them first to avoid hairy creatures with lots of legs touching your foot.
- When you go camping, always close your tent when leaving to avoid some uninvited guests to join you. This goes for spiders as well as those pesky mosquitos that will rob you of your sleep.
- If you want to sleep under the stars, which you can see beautifully in Namibia btw, I would suggest you to still put up a stretcher and a mosquito net, or put up a mosquito tent. This way you can see the amazing star filled night sky, yet you are also protected from creepy crawlies that might want to join you in your sleeping bag.
These tips are not at all to scare you. As I said, the venomous Creepy Crawlies of Namibia, usually go away. These tips are mainly just to spare you from a scary awakening, when you might stare into the eyes of big spider that sits on your sleeping bag etc.
Snakes of Namibia
Much like South Africa, Namibia is home to a large variety of Snakes & Scorpions. Ranging from highly venomous snakes, like the Black Mamba, to completely harmless snakes, like the Mole Snake. Below we listed some of the most Venemous, and some of Namibia’s Harmless Snakes.
Namibia’s Most Dangerous Snakes are:
- Boomslang: Could directly be translated to Tree-Snake. The name gives away their natural habitat: Trees.
- Black Mamba: The name can be abit confusing, as Black Mambas do not have a black body at all, but rather greyish colour. The name refers to the inside of their mouth, which is pitch black. They are one of the fastest snakes, reaching speeds of 19km/h.
- The Zebra Snake: It is a very poisonous snakes that is able to spit their venom up to 3m. Zebra Snakes are named for their black and white stripes.
- Puff Adder: Although the Puff Adder might not have the most dangerous venom of all of these snakes, theyare still responsible for most fatalaties in Africa. The reason for this is that they will not slither away when someone comes up close to them, but rather bite.
- The Cape Cobra: One of the most dangerous snakes in Africa, although they are not really aggressive. It is also one of few Cobras that do not spit.
Non-Venomous Snakes of Namibia:
- Mole Snake: A mole snake might look scary, with its 2m length. However these snakes are not poisonous. They might bite you though which can still be quite painful.
- Southern African Rock Phyton: Africas largest serpent can grow up to 6m long and weigh up to 55kg. They are not venemous though.
- Egg-Eater: Non venomous snakes that can ‘climb’ up trees very well to reach bird nests, and feed on their eggs.
- Yellow-Bellied House Snake: A Harmless snake with a yellowish colour.
Although these 4 might not be harmful to humans, my mom always used to say, she does not ask the snake if it is poisonous or not. They anyways usually do not answer. Therefore we usually called a Professional who would identify the snake and then either set it free in the fields or if it was a venomous snake, he would take it along to let it go somewhere, where it is away from the residential area.
Scorpions of Namibia
Namibia is also home to these terrifying creatures: Scorpions. They might give you the chills, but scorpions are quite the shy little creatures. They usually only sting accidentally.
Scorpions also can’t sting anything that is underneath them, therefore, if you would want to pick up a scorpion onto your flat hand, it is very unlikely to sting.
You can tell how much venom a scorpion has, by looking at the relation of their tale to their pincers. Scorpions with big pincers and thin tales are not as venomous as Scorpions with thick tales and rather thin pincers.
Even though I am a Namibian girl, I myself do not like looking at any kind of Spiders. And although, as mentioned above, the spiders in Namibia are mostly harmless, I rather look at a snake than a big hairy 8 legged creature. Therefore I decided not to post pictures of those scary-looking spiders, but rather show you, just how cute little creatures from the spider family can be.
I would say this is my absolute favorite “spider” anywhere:
The Red Velvet Mite: Very small and harmless to humans. As kids, we used to pick them up and pet them. They are really soft. My parents also loved seeing these little silk spiders, as it is said that rain is on its way when the red velvet mite comes out.
Reptiles of Namibia
- Namaqua Chameleon: These ground living lizards can grow up to 25cm, which makes it one of the largest Chameleon species in Africa. They can be found mainly in the harsh Namib desert, where they adapted to survive the dry heat.
- The Rock Monitor Lizard: It is the second largest lizard in Africa. They can reach up to 2m in length and on average weigh 8kg.
- Namib Sand Gecko: The cute little pink geckos with the big eyes, have webbed feet which help them move quickly over the hot sand surface. Their eyes do not only provide them with good eyesight, but also keeps them hydrated by harvesting moisture from the morning fog.
- Namib Rock Agama: Large colourful and graceful lizards that can be found especially in Damaraland, Kaokoland and North-West Namibia. But you will also be able to find some in central Namibia.
Other Animals in Namibia
As you can imagine, these beautiful Animals listed here are not all of the Animals that call Namibia their home. There are still the Crocodiles and all of the bugs like the Tok Tokkie Bug, the Dikpens, and the Dung Beetle. The Fishes etc. But that list would be endless, therefore I had to choose which ones to put in here.
If you think about it, it is so incredible and wonderful how much life you find in a dry and harsh country like Namibia.
As I said, Namibia is stunningly diverse and with so much to see, wonderful creatures to admire, and for a bonus, it has the most gorgeous sunsets to see. I guarantee you, it is a country you will fall in love with and wish you could stay at longer.
“You can leave Namibia, but it will never leave you” -Unknown