We’ve been privileged to meet some very special people whilst living in Namibia and it has lead to us having some unique experiences. Take for example weekends that we spent on the farm, Vendetta, owned by friends, Adri and Marie-Anne. The farm is situated in the general direction of Gobabis and is one of the most abundant places we have ever visited outside a game reserve. Adri farms cattle, but has a diverse variety of wild game, which are obviously thriving in their habitat, and Marie-Anne breeds camels.
We were fascinated by the camels, as they are not animals that one comes across in everyday life. One always associates camels with the Sahara Desert (at least I do) and we very seldom see them in Namibia except on organized tours. It gave us an opportunity to see them up close, feed them even, and learn a little bit more about these extraordinary creatures.
Dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) are herbivores, living mainly on grass, leaves and other desert plants. If they’re not in a harsh desert environment, they can absorb sufficient moisture from eating plants to enable them to go for very long periods without drinking water.
In Namibia, where camelthorn trees are abundant, the camels love to snack on the seed pods, which Marie-Anne collects for them (she calls them “biscuits.”) They are curious animals and make a bee-line for her when they suspect that she has snacks for them.
Their feet are fascinating. They are broad and flat, with two toes on each foot and have a leathery pad underneath. The shape of the foot and their gait helps them to walk in sand without sinking in and their long legs elevate them from the hot ground.
They have beautiful eyes – with a double row of eyelashes to keep the sand out.
Camels give birth to a single calf, after a gestation period of thirteen months.
They are well-adapted to live in the dry desert environments. Their enormous leathery nostrils trap water vapour when they exhale and return it to their body fluids. The nostrils are also able to seal during sandstorms.
Their thick coats reflect the sunlight and insulate them from heat, whilst their blood remains hydrated even though they are sweating. The humps are not used for storing water, but are areas where fatty tissue is concentrated. They then draw on this energy source when required and it yields about a gram of water for each gram of fat, which is converted through reaction with air and oxygen.
Namibia never fails to fascinate us with all the wonders of nature that are to be found here.