If there’s one animal that sums up the stark contrasts of Namibia, it is surely their national symbol, the Oryx or Gemsbok. Standing serenely in the seemingly endless desert of sand, you have to wonder how these animals manage to survive or find anything to eat or drink in what appears at first glance to be a barren landscape. And yet Namibia is home to herds of elephant, zebra, various antelope species, lion, countless bird and insect species and even, somewhat bizarrely, Cape fur seals! Visiting Namibia, you can’t help but be amazed at the adaptability of nature, and reminded of our own fragility. Let’s take a look at some of the likely animals to see in Namibia, and where best to find them. Geography, National Parks and ReservesNamibia is home to 26 national parks and game reserves, the most famous of which is the Etosha National Park, which is home to over 100 species of mammal alone. Large mammals such as elephant, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest are common and easily spotted throughout the country’s parks. While Namibia is most famous for its desert and savanna landscapes, it is also home to areas of lush floodplain, sweeping ocean vistas and even sparse woodland areas, all of which contribute to the rich diversity of the wildlife found here.Interestingly, Namibia was the first African country to incorporate protection of the environment into its constitution and is one of the great communal conservancy triumphs of Africa, where the local people are allowed to make a sustainable income through tourism while protecting their natural resources at the same time. These communal conservancies, in partnership with nonprofit organizations and with assistance from the government, have been successful in restoring and reintroducing several populations of threatened species, including lion, cheetah, and the critically endangered black rhino.There are several species endemic to Namibia, meaning that they are found nowhere else. These include eight mammal species, including the black-faced impala as well as gerbils, mice and bat species. The Namib desert is famous for its small endemic dune species, of which there are 30 endemic ones.
Likely Animals to See in Namibia: Antelope and Grazers
The variety of antelope to be found in Namibia is astonishing, from the regal and stately kudu, oryx, sable, roan, waterbuck and massive eland, to the diminutive duiker, Damara dik-dik and klipspringer, which are sure to delight children and adults alike. Other antelope species include impala, bushbuck, hartebeest, lechwe, reedbuck, Sharpe's grysbok, springbok, steenbok, tsessebe, wildebeest and the rare sitatunga, puku and oribi.Other grazers and browsers include elephant, rhino, zebra, the famous Namibian wild horses, bush pig and warthog, giraffe, and the occasional buffalo and hippopotamus.
Likely Animals to See in Nambia: Other mammals
Honey badgers, rock dassies or hyraxes, aardwolf, aardvark, pangolin or scaly anteaters, golden moles, South African hedgehog and a variety of shrews including the giant musk, lesser red, swamp musk and tiny musk shrew as well as their not-technically-shrew cousins, the elephant shrews, can all be spotted – although a walking safari is the best option to view the smaller critters!
Likely Animals to See in Namibia: Carnivores
Where there is such a variety of prey animals, a host of predators is certain to follow – and Namibia does not disappoint on this front either! Large species include lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted and brown hyena, and African wild dogs. Smaller species tend to be more elusive, but with so many around, your chances of encountering at least some of them remain good. This list includes Cape Fox, African Wild Cat, jackals, Bat-eared fox, African Clawless Otter, Serval, Caracal, African Civet, Striped Polecat, Spotted Genet and Black-Footed Cat to name a few. Several different species of meerkat and mongoose are also present, and are a firm favourite with their charming antics!
Likely Animals to See in Namibia: Endangered species
There are many Namibian species which we are lucky enough to be able to see today only because of the timely and combined conservation efforts of nonprofit organizations, private foundations and government intervention. The Black and White Rhino would almost certainly have disappeared altogether (as several of their African cousins already have) if this were not the case - although protecting them against poachers is an ongoing and often dangerous occupation across Africa.Namibia's other endangered species include the Wild Dog, Oribi and the Puku antelope, which is limited to about 100 individuals in the Linyanti Marshes.Luckily, protecting this remarkable country and the wildlife that it calls home is something every tourist can help accomplish. By choosing to visit Namibia and as many of its national parks as you can, and by supporting the local economies through tourism, you can help preserve the magic of this land for future generations!