Our First Animal in Namibia: the Oryx

The first exotic animal we saw on our recent trip to southern Africa were oryx in the Namib Desert.

We drove on deserted and bad (and I mean really bad ) roads to Sossusvlei. The country is dry as a bone and empty of life. It’s stark, and forbiddingly beautiful.

a Zen landscape
some of the highest sand dunes on the planet

We settled in to our cabin. When we looked out the door, we were surprised and exited to see a couple oryx in the back, just a few meters away.

that’s me thinking, “yup, we’re on holiday”

The next morning we got up early to beat the worst of the sun’s heat and hike in to Deadvlei, a forest that petrified a thousand years ago.

Tourists come to climb the sand dunes.

Early morning is also a good time to spot oryx as they forage for plants and whatever dew has collected.  The oryx is one of the few species that actually lives here year round. Oryx can go for long periods without water. Both males and females grow horns that they don’t shed. It’s the official national animal of Namibia.

Their marks are striking, aren’t they? In such a sere landscape, their horns and stripes both stood out and blended perfectly with the scenery. We would see them again, gathered with other animals at watering holes in national parks. But Sossusvlei was the place where we got to observe oryx the closest, and on their own. What a great introduction to the wildlife of Namibia!

NOTES: ©2024 Jadi Campbell. Photos ©2023 Uwe Hartmann. Uwe’s photography and his photos of our trips can be viewed at viewpics.de.

My books are Broken In: A Novel in Stories, Tsunami Cowboys,  Grounded and The Trail Back Out.

Tsunami Cowboys was longlisted for the 2019 ScreenCraft Cinematic Book Award. Broken In: A Novel in Stories was semifinalist for the international 2020 Hawk Mountain Short Story Collection Award from Hidden River Arts and Finalist for Greece’s 2021 Eyelands Book of the Year Award (Short Stories).

The Trail Back Out was the 2023 San Francisco Book Festival Winner for General Fiction, American Book Fest 2020 Best Book Award Finalist: Fiction Anthologies, Runner-Up for the 2021 Top Shelf Award, 2021 IAN Book of the Year Award Short Story Collection Finalist, and awarded a 2021 Wishing Shelf Red Ribbon. The title story The Trail Back Out was longlisted for the 2021 ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Award.

Click here for my author page to learn more about me and purchase my books.

4 thoughts on “Our First Animal in Namibia: the Oryx”

  1. First of all, your trip to Namibia is an event because of those desolate landscapes that preserve the beauty of the deserts. With the great photographs that you have attached, they clearly say that it was a wonderful vacation. On the other hand, your award-winning books are a consequence of your enormous talent as a first-class writer and photographer. My sincerest congratulations. A big hug Jadi.

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