Due to poaching, 92% of the population of Black Rhinos has been wiped out over the past 30 years, and there are now just 5,055 left in the world. The largest concentration of Black Rhinos on Earth is now in Damaraland. We couldn't believe our eyes and luck when we spotted one in the distance as we were driving through the park.
We stopped our car immediately and watched this incredible animal. The wind blowing towards us caused the rhino to smell us and suddenly start to run in our direction. He was getting very close to our car so we had to make sure that he didn't get in front of us as it would be very hard to drive in reverse if he attacked us. We were told that rhinos can't see very well so if they start chasing you, the worst thing to do is run. You need to stand still until they get only a couple of metres in front of you and then duck to the side to avoid the clash. Easier said than done.
Despite their appearance, they are very agile animals and if spooked will instantly run off, stopping at intervals to look back to assess the situation, before repeating these activities as needed. They will then remain suspicious, watching their trail for long periods of time. An inquisitive animal, they will stand looking at an intruder while snorting and blowing through their nostrils.
One morning we even saw a bull trying to show us his dominance as he was butting his head against a bush. It was very interesting to see. Later during the day we were lucky enough to see a couple of wilderbeests fighting each other.
Oryx, Springbook and other game
Oryx, also known as gemsbok, is also quite common in Namibia. For us, the best background for photography are the dunes at Sossusvlei, with the rising sun as a backdrop. It left us with an endearing memory.
Oryx also gets spooked easily every time you stop your car and want to take a picture. As soon as you do, they start running away so you have to be very quick to take a picture of them.
All games like oryx, springbook, impala, kudu or even zebra and giraffe are quite commonly found on the menu of most restaurants. If you are a vegetarian, it must be quite hard, but we have to say that all the steaks we tried tasted really nice. They were tender without any trace of a specific smell or taste like lamb for example.
We were hoping to see more elephants but unfortunately we only had one encounter during our trip. As we were driving to Dolomite Camp in Etosha, we didn't notice the office at the main gate due to the construction around the gate. We drove to the park looking for animals, when suddenly a nice elephant crossed the road in front of us. At that exact moment we were stopped by rangers because we didn't pay the entry fee to the park. We were so anxious to take pictures of this elephant but by the time we were finished with the rangers, we only saw his back graciously walking away from us.
Namibia is a dream come true for any wildlife photographer. Animals of all shapes and sizes are around you at any time. 90% of our travel around Namibia was on gravel roads that are well maintained and very safe.
Corn cricket, also called armoured ground cricket can grow to 5cm in size. Their populations peak in autumn and their bodies often litter roads during this time as we saw quite often.
We also saw hundreds of millipedes on the roads in Namibia. There are about 12,000 species in the world, but the longest one is the giant African millipede. Comparing to my shoe, they were about 30cm long.