Apart from infrequent rains, the flora and fauna of the
interior relies on a regular mist that rolls up to 62miles
All creatures make use of this life-giving moisture and
the head-standing beetle has come up with a unique adaptation.
As the fog descends it tilts forward and droplets of moisture
run down grooves in its body to its mouth.
The Anchieta's dune lizard has an interesting way of coping
with the scorching sand, and does a kind of thermoregulatory
dance putting only two feet down at a time and hopping from
one pair of legs to the other, using the tail as a stabiliser.
Snakes are common in the Namib, but few of the 20 species
are ever seen. At sunset you may hear the staccato clicking
call of some elusive bird, but this is in fact the nightly
call of a male barking gecko.
There are mammals here too and the impressive black and
taupe, spiralled-horned oryx is
master of the vast shadeless wilderness. With the conformation
of a stocky pony, he is the thoroughbred of the desert with
unique adaptations enabling him to live in this harsh environment.
The oryx can survive with a body temperature as high as
113°F (45°C) (which is usually lethal), because
the animal cools blood to the brain by passing it through
the nostrils first.
Springbok are also able to
survive for long periods without water, as long as they
can find food with a moisture content of no less than 10%.
Spotted hyenas inhabit
the Namib Naukluft Park but are rarely seen, while black-backed
jackals are more visible.
Jackals eat almost anything including rats and mice, birds,
insects, reptiles, fruits and berries and therefore survive
well in almost any terrain.
The Sandwich Lagoon is an important wetland of pristine
beauty, which attracts in the region of 200,000 birds to
the lagoon and mudflats.
Flamingoes constitute the largest percentage of water birds
here, who usually fly inland to breed during the rainy season.
The lagoon also supports several endangered Red Data species
such as chestnutbanded plover, white
pelican and blacknecked grebe.