It seems incredible that anything could live in the harsh Damaraland mountainlands and gravel plains – the place is comprised almost entirely of pyroclastic (that’s volcanic to most people) rocks. It looks like, at some time in the distant past, the entire place simply exploded. But, we were taught at school, nature hates a vacuum.
The arid land is a paradise for beetles and reptiles. There are around 125 species of lizards here, more than anywhere else in Africa, maybe the world. But mammals, large ones, like springbok, oryx, Hartmann’s mountain zebras. What would they want with the place (not to mention the Herero, Damara and Himba herders and their stock who live around the concession)!
But most astonishing, bizarre it seems, are the desert-adapted black rhinos (Diceros bicornis bicornis) which can live entirely without water. More amazing even, is that when the small shrubs and bushes lose their leaves and and the land is like a furnace before the summer rains arrive – if they do – these antediluvian creatures survive by nibbling on euphorbia milkweed, which to just about ever other living creature is deathly toxic.