DESERT ELEPHANT TRACKING
DESERT ELEPHANT TRACKING
Duration: FULL DAY (starting 08:00)
The largest population of desert adapted elephants in the world live in the surrounding area. Latest estimates suggest that there are probably about 600 of these resourceful animals covering a large area to the west of the lodge. There is a debate amongst zoologists and scientists as to whether these desert dwelling animals should be classified as a different or sub species of elephant. Desert elephants are particularly well-adapted to living in the arid conditions of the desert. They routinely move great distances between feeding grounds and the scattered waterholes where they drink during the dry season, distances of up to 70km being traversed.
Desert elephants feed on a wide range of plants, and like elephants elsewhere they take leaves, shoots, bark, flowers, fruit, bulbs, tubers and roots as well as grass and sedges. They have distinct and practical seasonal feeding preferences, unlike those found in other areas and terrain in Africa. During the rains the elephants tend to use more grass, which then becomes abundantly available, and during the dry season they concentrate on browsing. This allows the woody plants a measure of respite for recovering in the summer. The desert-adapted elephants seem to be aware that if they over feed certain areas/plant life this could disadvantage them at other times of year. Whilst no wildlife sighting is ever guaranteed, the local herds are fond of the Hoanib river bed as a constant source of water and so our guides and trackers always have a very good chance of finding them for you.
Your day will begin after breakfast when you will leave with your guide and head down the Hoanib river bed to the west in a lodge 4×4 vehicle. There are plentiful game viewing and birding opportunities on route, baboon being particularly common in the gorges and the occasional giraffe.
Lunch is included in this activity and will be served in an attractive location before continuing your way to explore other areas. On the return trip there is an optional stop at the old German fort of Sesfontein for some refreshments on request.
Duration: FULL DAY (starting 07:00)
The 450 000-hectare Palmwag Conservancy supports the largest free-roaming population of desert-adapted black rhino in Africa. Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), a highly respected NGO, is almost single–handedly responsible for the preservation of desert-adapted black rhino in the area. SRT focuses on the protection, monitoring and understanding of the local black rhino population and is funded by donations and partnerships. About 30 trackers, employed from the local community, monitor about 130 desert-adapted black rhino.
Your day will begin after an early breakfast when you will leave with your guide and head south into the Palmwag concession in a lodge 4×4 vehicle. Please note that this activity is not done on foot. The concession’s freshwater springs support healthy populations of other arid adapted wildlife including good numbers of Hartman’s mountain zebra, southern giraffe, gemsbok (oryx), springbok, greater kudu, dwarf antelope such as steenbok and klipspringer, scrub hare, inquisitive ground squirrels, black-backed jackal and spotted genet as well as an abundance of bird life. The Etendeka Mountains dominate the scenery (Etendeka is a Herero word translating in English to “flat topped mountain”– These impressive outcrops are coloured ochre-brown. The terrain is rocky but often covered with fine golden grasses and interspersed with large euphorbia damarana bushes, which are endemic to the area. Other fascinating plants include the odd-shaped bottle tree, shepherd’s trees, ancient leadwoods, salvadora bushes and unique welwitschias. Birding enthusiasts are sure to welcome diverse avifauna in this area. Raptors include greater kestrel, lanner falcon and booted eagles, spotted in the sky or perching on a shepherd’s tree. Tawny eagles move into the area after the rain. In the camp area and on drives, there are Namaqua sandgrouse, Burchell’s courser, the colourful bokmakierie, rock martin, Cape sparrow,
several lark species such as grey-backed sparrowlark, dusky sunbird, tractrac chat, pale-winged starling, and many more. The rare Orange River francolins are also a wonderful sighting. Lunch will be provided in an attractive location.
MEET THE HIMBA
MEET THE HIMBA
Duration: MORNING ACTIVITY ±3 hours (starting 08:00)
The intriguing, enigmatic Himba tribe are the last truly semi-nomadic tribe in Africa. They move their herds of cattle and goats vast distances over the sparse terrain to locate the necessary grazing for the animals.
If you plan a visit very early in the morning, you may see the men driving their herds out into the bush. During the day it is primarily the women and children who will be found engaged in their day to day activities. The women with their distinctive skin colouring, and children with hair arranged in different styles denoting their status. The nearest settlement is a short drive to the north of the lodge. Your guide will explain the history of the people, will have taken some appropriate gifts and discuss the etiquette that you should follow. Please do not take photos until he gives you permission.
MORNING DRIVE – ± 4 hours (starting 08:00)
AFTERNOON DRIVE – ± 4.5 hours (starting 15:30)
Khowarib Lodge offers you a nature drive instead of game drive. Why is that? Our animals in the Kaokoland are not kept in the park/cages but are wild and have freedom to their living. We do have a variety of wild animals such as oryx, spring buck, giraffe, ostrich, lion etc. Not all wild animals are seen, as they travel to different areas for water and grazing purposes.
ROCK ART EXCURSION
ROCK ART EXCURSION
Duration: MORNING ACTIVITY 4-5 hours (starting 08:00)
Unlike the painted rock art of their cousins elsewhere in Southern Africa, stone was both the medium and the method for the ancient San artists in Damaraland. There are more than 2000 rock engravings in the area and there is archaeological evidence of human habitation here for at least the past 6000 years. The engravings could be as old as this, although no one knows, as there is no way of dating them. The most impressive rock art is a mere 20kms to the west of the lodge. When Damara herders arrived in the 1930s, the San moved on and that was the last of them in this valley. But the rock art they left behind tells their tale.
MORNING WALK – ± 3 hours (starting 08:00)
AFTERNOON WALK – ± 3 hours (starting 15:30)
The north- western parts of Namibia are geomorphologically marked by the Great Escarpment Mountains which separates the highland mountains (1200m a.s.l.) in the east from the dry-lands in the west. Several ephemeral rivers such as the Hoanib cut through the north-south orientated mountains, to discharge in the Atlantic Ocean at the Skeleton Coast. Deep, narrow gorges are formed, coupled by valleys and basins. The Khowarib Gorge forms part of the Damara sequence and Gariep complex which is dominated by granites, gneiss and precambrian volcanic rocks.
The entire length of the gorge is 25kms which affords spectacular scenery and opportunities for birding, walking and exploring. Unusually for this part of Africa there is a dam and a waterfall a short distance to the east. The constant water is a big attraction for the local bird population. Some of the species we may see on a typical birding half day are black eagle, auger buzzard, rock kestrel, korhaan, woodpeckers, Monteiro’s hornbill, rollers, rufous-naped lark, pin-tailed widow, quail finch, Marico flycatcher and the cape penduline tit (Anthoscopus minitus) – one of the smallest birds.
Please discuss your requirements with our management and we will be delighted to help you arranging a guided walk in the Hoanib River.