Richtersveld and Namaqualand wildlife: tortoises, birds and more

From 5 to 9 September 2012

The region of Namaqualand in South Africa, including the arid Richtersveld desert, doesn't host lions or gazelles, so the place is not suitable for a classic safari tour. However, the place have more than just flowers and succulents, as it's home to many species of birds and reptiles including the world's smallest tortoise.

Psammobates tentorius trimeni
Photo of Psammobates tentorius subsp. trimeni. Namaqualand and Richtersveld are the home for the world's smallest tortoise. The Psammobates tentorius subsp. trimeni is a tortoise usually not exceeding 4-5 inches of size.

 

Chersina angulata Tortoise
Ground tortoise Photo of Chersina angulata. This relatively small tortoise, reaching a maximum size of 12-15 inches, is endemic of Namaqualand and part of Namibia.

 

Platysaurus capensis
Photo of Platysaurus capensis. This colorful lizard lives in Richtersveld and in the rest of Namaqualand. Its scientific name is Platysaurus capensis.

 

Fishing bird
The Ritchersveld desert, like the rest of Namaqualand and South Africa, are the ideal place for birdwatchers, as there is a large variety of birds. In these photos, a bird is drying its feathers (right picture) after fishing (left picture).

 

Grandule
Sandgrouse picture. This bird has the ability to collect water inside its feathers and transport it for dozens of kilometers. It's specialized to survive in very hot and dry environments.

 

Namaqualand bird
Bird
Kingfisher
Birdy
Birds with beautiful colored plumage, such as the Kingfisher, that can be found in Richtersveld, an ideal destination for bird-watching.

 

Flock
The Richtersveld desert is one of the few national parks in the world where it is allowed to graze livestock. This unfortunately is a serious threat to native plants, most of which are rare and very vulnerable.

 

Baboon
Baboons
Baboons pictures. Like many areas in South Africa, the Richtersveld desert is home to many baboons.

 

Monkey
And of course to some small monkeys.

 

Mosquito larvae
Richtersveld does not host a wide variety of insects. In the left picture, mosquito larvae. In the right picture, a small beetle.

 

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