A few Namibian mammalworthy sites

Chris and Mathilde Stuart, authors of numerous mammal field guides, are on the road on a long trip from Namibia to Zimbabwe via Zambia and Malawi.

They emailed me a few interesting sites from Namibia.

Namib-Naukluft Park (camping permits from Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Sesriem). Mirabib Inselberg campsites are good for Jameson’s Red Rock Rabbit (Pronolagus randensis) – in our opinion this could well be an undescribed species. The best campsite for them is at the big overhang, west facing. There is also a population of Noki, or Dassie Rat, (Petromus typicus) and at night the site is often visited by a pair of Cape Fox (Vulpes chama). You have to be self-sufficient.

Two good locations for the Rock Hyrax subspecies Welwitsch’s Rock Hyrax (Procavia capensis welwitschii) with its distinctive pale dorsal spot are

1. Dolomite Lodge, western extension of Etosha National Park, Namibia. The lodge is upmarket but casual visitors are free to wander the ridge, have a chilled beer, coffee, or meal.

2. Kaoko Bush Lodge, just north of Kamanjab, Namibia also has a good population of Welwitsch’s Rock Hyrax.

Damara Ground Squirrel (Xerus princeps): the best location we know is at the Twyfelfontein petroglyph site, nearest town Khorixas. The site is well sign-posted. Just hang around near the ticket office and you will encounter them. The Southern African Ground Squirrel (Xerus inauris) is also in the area but on the sand flats. Another location for the Damara Ground Squirrel is the lodge and campsite of Palmwag on the southern fringe of Damaraland just beyond the veterinary cordon fence. Best seen behind the campground ablution blocks amongst river deposited rocks where they excavate their burrows.

Congo Rope Squirrel (Funisciurus congicus): by far the best location in Namibia is Kunene River Lodge on the south bank of the Kunene River, looking over to Angola. Lush gardens amongst a drought stricken landscape, obviously attractive to these small squirrels. It is also an excellent location for Malbrouck’s Monkey (Chlorocebus cynosuros)- recently split from the Vervet Monkey. A small near resident population of Angolan Epauletted Fruit-bats also present, the only place we know where it can be encountered in Namibia. The Black Mongoose (Herpestes nigrata) is reported to be present but we have never seen it there. For this mongoose the Erongo Mountains to the south may be a better bet. For the joint mammal/bird tickers this lodge has many bird species on the southern fringes of their range.

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