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Here is a list with wildlife you can spot in Namibia...
AFRICAN ELEPHANT (Loxodonta africana)
The largest land animal on Earth, elephants have complex social lives with unique forms of communication, such as trunk touch and subsonic calls. After a gestation period of nearly two years, the calves are cared for by their mother and other young females in the group. Found: widespread in all but the driest areas in Namibia. Interesting fact: trunks contain about 100,000 different muscles.
BLACK RHINOCEROS (Diceros bicornis)
Extremely rare, they are distinguishable from the more common white rhino by their hooked lip used for eating leaves. The species overall is classified as critically endangered. An adult typically weighs from 800 to 1,400kg, however unusually large male specimens have been reported at up to 2,896kg. Found: usually found in thick bush and almost solely in protected parks or reserves. Interesting fact: rhino pregnancies last 15–16 months.
WHITE RHINOCEROS (Ceratotherium simum)
Rare, but more common than the endangered black rhino. They can run at 50km/h and weigh up to 2,700kg. They are not actually white but a dark grey colour; the name in fact derives from the Dutch word for wide (weit), which describes the white rhino’s mouth. Found: mostly found on savannah. Interesting fact: many of Namibia’s rhinos have actually been reintroduced after previously going extinct.
LION (Panthera leo)
Possibly the most iconic animal in Africa. Prides range from 3 to 40, though more commonly under 12. They are the savannah’s top predator. Lions are the laziest of the big cats, spending 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping and resting. Found: in most of Namibia’s parks, especially Etosha. Interesting fact: it is the female lions that do most of the hunting, and they do so in groups.
LEOPARD (Panthera pardus)
Smaller than lions, leopards prefer to hunt alone at night. Much of their days are spent on the lower branches of trees, hiding from the heat of the day. Their spots, which are dark rings with a yellowy centre, provide a useful camouflage and make them good hunters. Found: in most places. Interesting fact: pound for pound, leopards are the strongest of the big cats.
CHEETAH (Acinonyx jubatus)
With their legendary speed (100km/h), cheetahs are far more delicately built than the leopard or lion and are mostly solitary hunters. Endangered in some parts of Africa, Namibia’s free-roaming cheetah population is believed to be the largest on the continent. Found: in open savannah near plains game. Interesting fact: mothers spend a long time teaching their young how to hunt, and will bring back live prey for them to practise chasing.
BUFFALO (Syncerus caffer)
The buffalo is a large and very strong animal which needs lots of open space to roam. A large herd can be spotted peacefully grazing together, but if one is separated this often disrupts the peace, as it can become angry and somewhat dangerous. Found: in open plains or dense forest around the Caprivi Strip. Interesting fact: have been known to kill a lion as payback for killing a member of their herd.
HIPPOPOTAMUS (Hippopotamus amphibius)
Weighing up to four tonnes, the hippopotamus is a large beast which spends its daytimes lurking in water in order to keep cool and stop its skin from drying out. They only emerge in the evenings to graze on surrounding grassland. Found: in and around rivers and waterholes. Interesting fact: they need up to 60kg of grass every day to survive.
GIRAFFE (Giraffa camelopardalis)
The giraffe is the tallest land species and can reach more than 5m high. The subspecies found in Namibia, the Smoky or Angolan giraffe, has only about 20,000 individuals; however this is on the increase. Lions are their only natural threat. Found: in savannahs, grasslands, or open woodlands. Interesting fact: a giraffe has seven neck vertebrae, the same as a human.
BURCHELL’S ZEBRA (Equus quagga)
Also known as the common or plains zebra, the Burchell’s zebra is the most numerous and geographically widespread species of zebra. They are often seen in large herds ranging from several individuals up to several thousand. Burchell’s zebra migrate the longest distance of any terrestrial animal in Africa, travelling 160 miles one way. Found: across the savannah. Interesting fact: have been known to kill hyenas with a single kick.
MOUNTAIN ZEBRA (Equus zebra hartmannae)
Sometimes called the Hartmann’s zebra, this subspecies live in much smaller groups than the more common plains zebra. They are agile climbers and are able to live in arid conditions and steep mountainous areas. Found: in mountainous and rocky environments. Interesting fact: can go without water for up to three days.
ROCK HYRAX (Heterohyrax Brucei)
Also known as a dassie, rock hyrax are very common. They are akin to a sturdier and slightly oversized guinea pig, but also have features that are characteristic of some species of marine and birdlife, which has led scientists to question their place in the evolution of mammals. Found: anywhere from dry savannah to dense rainforest, especially on rocky outcrops. Interesting fact: their closest living genetic relatives are elephants.
BLACK-BACKED JACKAL (Canis mesomelas)
Black-backed jackals are small dog-like predators that live in monogamous pairs or family groups. They are a reddish colour with an area of black on their backs. Jackal pups are particularly vulnerable, so the mother moves the den site every two weeks to protect the pups from predators. Found: drier areas are preferred. Interesting fact: known for stealing prey from bigger predators.
CHACMA BABOON (Papio ursinus)
The chacma baboon is an olive green colour and spends all its time in large family groups. They use trees and rocks to hide from predators. They have built themselves a reputation as being bothersome to humans and sometimes dangerous. Found: in open country where there are trees. Interesting fact: though predominantly vegetarian, they take new born antelope to supplement their diet.
WARTHOG (Phacochoerus africanus)
The warthog is a wild member of the pig family that is commonly spotted on safari. The lower pair of protruding tusks, which are far shorter than the upper pair, become razor sharp by rubbing against the upper pair every time the mouth is opened and closed. Found: in grassland, savannah and woodland. Interesting fact: they like to roll in thick mud to keep themselves cool and rid their skin of flies.
WILD DOG (Lycaon pictus)
Despite being one of the most successful (and vicious) hunters in Africa, African wild dogs are seriously endangered and spotting one in Namibia is rare, but very rewarding. They are nomadic creatures who roam in packs over open savannah in search of prey. Found: the best place to spot them is in Okonjima Nature Reserve where a pack has been reintroduced. Intersting fact: they use their speed, stamina and pack mentality to bring down animals ten times their own weight.
SPOTTED HYENA (Crocuta crocuta)
Spotted hyenas are powerful predators and scavengers that live in large matriarchal communities called clans consisting of up to 80 individuals. There is a slightly smaller hyena called the brown hyena which is also found in Namibia; these have a shaggy coat and scavenge and hunt alone. Found: in most habitats except dense forest. Interesting fact: they have the strongest jaw pressure and most powerful bite of any animal in the world.
LEOPARD TORTOISE (Stigmochelys pardalis)
The leopard tortoise is the most widely distributed tortoise in East and Southern Africa. They have an attractively marked shell and can typically reach around 50cm in length. Males can be identified by the concave bottom of their shells. Found: in semi-arid, thorny and grassland habitats. Interesting fact: they have been declared part of Africa’s ‘Little Five’.
AFRICAN ROCK PYTHON (Python sebae)
The African rock python is non-venomous, and instead kills its prey by constriction. Amongst their prey are monkeys, warthog, antelope, fruit bats, monitor lizards and even crocodiles in forest areas. They are very adaptable and can survive almost anywhere. Found: throughout the country. Interesting fact: can reach lengths of 6m.
NAMAQUA CHAMELEON (Chamaeleo namaquensis)
The Namaqua is a desert-adapted chameleon that hunts insects and scorpions with its long tongue. They change colour to control their temperature – going black to absorb heat, or becoming a light grey colour to reflect light. Found: endemic to the Namib Desert. Interesting fact: their eyes have a 360-degree arc of vision and can see in two directions at once.
CAPE FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus pusillus)
Indigenous to Southern Africa, the Cape fur seal breeds on rocky islands and remote shores between Cape Cross in Namibia and Algoa Bay in South Africa. They congregate on the rocks in huge numbers, which become so crowded that pups can become at risk of dehydration and crushing. Found: at Walvis Bay. Interesting fact: a male can weigh up to 350kg and measure up to 2.3m long.
COMMON BOTTLE-NOSED DOLPHIN (Tursiop truncatus)
The common bottle-nosed dolphin found in Walvis Bay is a sub-species of bottlenose dolphin which is unique within Southern Africa. They are larger than many other dolphins and are found in groups of up to 30. They are regularly seen feeding alongside Cape fur seals. Found: at Walvis Bay. Interesting fact: they can grow to 3.5m in length.
HEAVISIDE’S DOLPHIN (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii)
Southern Africa’s only endemic cetacean is found on the west coast in small family groups. Smaller than the common bottlenosed dolphin, it grows to 1.5m long and is recognisable by its blunt nose and triangular fin. Found: at Walvis Bay. Interesting fact: they can jump up above the water, perform a turn in the air, and re-enter the sea virtually without splashing.