Tag Archives: Swakopmund

Swakopmund lagoon birding

Just south of Tiger Reef Restaurant in Swakopmund, Namibia is a very shallow lagoon with a very diverse mix of birds. I identified 13 different species  on the very cold and windy morning that I was there, many of which were new to me.

swakopmund-blacksmith-lapwing

Blacksmith lapwing

Black-winged stilt

Black-winged stilt

swakopmund-cape-teal

Cape teal

swakopmund-common-moorhen

Common moorhen

swakopmund-common-ringed-plover

Common ringed plover

swakopmund-greater-flamingo

Greater flamingo

swakopmund-grey-heron

Grey heron

swakopmund-hartlaubs-gull

Hartlaub’s gull

swakopmund-lesser-flamingo

Lesser flamingo

swakopmund-pied-avocet

Pied avocet

swakopmund-three-banded-plover

Three-banded plover

swakopmund-white-breasted-cormorant

White-breasted cormorant

swakopmund-white-fronted-plover

White-fronted plover

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Filed under Birds, Close of Service Trip

Day trip along the Skeleton Coast of Namibia

We recently started our “close of service trip” which we hope will be even more fun than our second Great American Road Trip that kicked off our Peace Corps adventure more than two years ago. Our travels along the coast of Namibia, much of which is protected as national parks, were a great way to begin. We had visited the resort town of Swakopmund a few times during our service, but always on public transportation. This time we had a rental car for our ten day finale tour of southern Namibia so we could drive and stop anywhere we wanted along the way. Due to the long distance between our site of Rundu in Kavango Region and the south, we never got to explore much of this scarcely-populated but fascinating part of the country.

We camped again at Desert Sky Backpackers right in Swakopmund which is a great place for budget accommodation within a few blocks of restaurants and the beach. After a day to recover from the stresses of closing our Peace Corps service and saying good bye to close friends, we headed north on the coast towards Henties Bay, a much smaller town. It was a sleepy Sunday, we saw very few people and everything was closed. It felt like a ghost town or a movie set.

On the way north, we passed a shipwreck and mile after mile of treeless sand-covered landscape. North of Henties Bay, we stopped at Cape Cross which has a large cape fur seal colony. It is maintained by the Namibian government and a day pass is required, but the small fee is worth it. The thousands of seals there were very entertaining but also very noisy and smelly. Some photos of our day trip are below as well as a photo from when we passed just north of Walvis Bay on our way to Sossusvlei.

Skeleton Coast shipwreck

According to a very unofficial source – a guy hassling tourists to buy semi-precious gemstones – this wreck occurred in 2008. Cormorants are using the ship as a staging point for their fishing.

Cape cormorant

Cape Cormorant. A new cormorant! This all-black bird is sadly classified as threatened but there seemed to be healthy populations along the coast near Swakopmund.

Cape cross

A cross on Cape Cross. A replica marker for a Portuguese explorer who claimed this coastline in 1488.

cape cross seals

A small section of the cape fur seal colony. Thousands of seals live on this stretch of the rocky coast, fed by the many fish just offshore.

Cape Cross seals

The seals were fighting, basking in the sunshine and sleeping. Walkways provided a nice viewing area and a clear path through the outer reaches of the seal colony. This one had amazing whiskers.

Cape Cross seals

It was very entertaining to watch the seals enter the ocean and return to shore as large waves crashed against the craggy shoreline. The seals in the water were mostly concentrated about 20 meters off of the beach, but they can swim much further out in search of fish. Due to prior over-fishing and the collapse of certain fish stocks, the seals have had to change their diet as human pressures have  altered even this very remote stretch of the Atlantic Ocean.

kelp gull

Kelp gull. Somehow this bird was able to hang out in the midst of all of the chaos, noise and smells of the seals and even posed nicely for a picture.

Walvis Bay ships

These red ships were striking against the blue-green calm water of this area just north of Walvis Bay, the major port city of Namibia.

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Filed under Close of Service Trip

Birds of Swakopmund

Some of the birds we saw during a recent visit to Swakopmund, Namibia. (Click to open a larger version.)

Laughing Dove and Cape Sparrow

Laughing Dove and Cape Sparrow (I think they are friends)

swakop-common-waxbill

Common Waxbill

swakop-southern-masked-weaver

Southern Masked Weaver

 

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Filed under Birds, Parental Visit, Peace Corps Namibia Blog

Swakopmund Desert Tour

Over the holidays we spent some time in Swakopmund and took a great tour of the local desert with Tommy’s Living Desert Tours. It was a highlight for my parents who were visiting Namibia (and a highlight for us as well!). Tommy is quite a character, and his passion for the desert landscapes, wildlife and conservation is inspiring.

Here are some photos from the tour:

Desert Tour Dad

Bob Shusko with the smaller tour vehicle

 

Desert Tour Hare

Desert Bunny (Sorry not sure of the real name – Namibian Desert Hare?)

 

Desert Tour Gecko

Namib Dune Gecko

 

Sidewinder Snake

Can you find the snake in this photo?

 

Sidewinder snake

Sidewinder Snake out of the sand

 

Chameleon

Namaqua Chameleon (On a side note, I recommend the Namaqua Dry Red Wine from South Africa. It comes in a convenient 5L box.)

Tommy

Tommy in his “office.”

 

Lisa with lizard

A Shovel-Snouted Lizard on Lisa’s ear. Both survived the process.

 

Desert meets ocean

The desert and dunes meet the ocean just south of Swakopmund, Namibia.

 

Family photo

A sea of dunes behind us near the end of the tour.

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Filed under Parental Visit, Peace Corps Namibia Blog