It’s easy to be fooled into thinking sand dunes are nothing but – well huge piles of sand – but think twice before you write them off as dead and barren, or worse still drive through them believing your tracks will have little impact on the ecology.
The dunes along the Swakopmund/Walvis Bay coastal belt, while forming part of the Namib Desert, are home to an assortment of unusual and endemic creatures, as Chris Nel demonstrated in one of his Living Desert tours.
It starts with searching for animal tracks along the dunes.Chris then literally scoops out a handful of sand and a living creature, in this case a Fitzsimon’s Burrowing Skink (Typlacontias brevipes).Later a Dancing White Lady spider …..….. then a Shovel-Snouted Lizard …..
….. a Palmato gecko or Web Footed gecko …..
and finally, the poisonous Sidewinder Snake (Bitis Perinqueyi), endemic to the dunes, which Chris reveals by gently blowing the sand from the buried creature. Chris saved the best for last – the Namaqua Chameleon (Chamaeleo namaquensis), a delightful creature who was perched on a Dollar Bush in the midday heat. It wrapped its’ tongue around a fat worm in seconds.And then it was off to tour the beauty of the dunes themselves. Quadbiking and sandboarding is limited to a single section to preserve this living wonderland.