On the 22nd of April 2014, I went out with three other field guides to inspect the road to the dump site, about 1.5 km away from Wolwedans village, NamibRand Nature Reserve. This was around 17H15 in the evening, the colours were spectacular and the Barking Geckos were barking very loud, trying their best to attract females. To our surprise, we suddenly came across a very special sighting: one of the most rare and also endangered species of Namibia – the Cheetah!!!!
I turned off the engine and took out my small Nikon camera, none of us could talk, we were silenced by this gift of nature. The cat stood up, looked at us and strolled towards the slope of the hill next to the road where we parked our vehicle – it was at a distance of about 40 m away from our game viewer.
This is my first time ever to get this close to one of the most beautiful creatures in Africa. I took many pictures and every time I took a shot it felt like the very first shot, that is how excited I got! This elegant cat, with pretty spots, wonderful colours and amazing background, really gave us the opportunity to spend more then an hour observing him. He was stretching, yawning and strolling, but my favourite is this photo with the stunning vistas of NamibRand Nature Reserve in the background. This is one of the best sightings in my guiding field.
Photographed and compiled by Lucas Mbangu
Senior field guide @ Wolwedans.
The True Desert Master
compiled by senior field guide Lucas Mbangu
On a walking safari in the morning of 10 May 2013, I spotted one of the true desert masters. Living in such a inhospitable environment, the Namaqua chameleon’s body and behavior have evolved to keep it from overheating. It digs holes in the sand to reach the cooler sand beneath or may hide in burrows built by other animals. All chameleon species are capable of colour change, which is not only for camouflage as generally assumed. Chameleons may also change colour in response to other chameleons, when fighting or mating, temperature fluctuations and their surroundings.
Mating can take place up to times a year producing 6 – 20 eggs in each clutch. The eggs incubate for three to four months in the sand. Chameleons start reproducing between five and seven months old. Their nasal glands are adapted to excrete salt, allowing the Namaqua chameleon to reabsorb water as much as possible.
The chameleon’s life span is relatively short, with the female’s life span shorter than the male’s. Female chameleon live between three to five years, while males live between five and eight years.
A GOLDEN MOMENT for Wolwedans Guides
compiled by senior field guide Lucas Mbangu
On 14th June 2013 Wolwedans Guide Jonathan Nangombe chanced upon the near impossible. While on a sundowner drive one hour before sunset he spotted a little animal… when he got closer for inspection, it was the Namib endemic golden mole!!! This is a rare sighting, as this precious little animal is very hard hard to spot!
Jonathan did not hesitate to bring the mole back to a group of Wolwedans guides, of which 99% asserted that this was the first time they saw one in their guiding experience. Jan Friede, an experienced pilot guide who has been guiding for over 20 years also admitted that was his first time to have a golden mole in his hand!
This small mammal fits in the palm of your hand and does not have eyes to see. The golden mole is not a relative to mouse as many people assume, it belongs to a super order Afrotheria, which includes elephants, sea cows, elephant shrews, hyrax and aardvark.
Golden moles have got a very impressive trail, in most cases the trail is seen from grass to grass, this is their way to harvest termites which are found to the roots of the grass. It has broad hollowed-out clans to dig in the sand.
Golden Moles do not construct burrows, they do however take refuge about 50 cm below the surface of the sand,where it is a cool 25 degrees during the dry day.t swims underground to get around and protect itself against nocturnal predators, such as owl and jackals. Breeding is believed to occur between October and November, with a gestation period of 4 to 6 weeks. In return 1 to 2 live young are born. Interestingly, not popular in some of the mammal books, hence little is known about this fascinating little desert dweller.
Special thanks !!!!!
for this extraordinary sighting to Jonathan Nangombe (Wolwedans field guide) and another special thanks to Jan Friede pilot guide and photographer of African profile safaris who was at Wolwedans Collection of Camps at the time