Those who travel to Namibia and visit the Namib desert will find an area that has been arid for such a long time, it has led to the evolution of unique and bizarre species. One such plant is the Welwitschia mirabilis. This incredibly hardy plant is considered a living fossil, being the only one of its kind. It only has two leaves that can both grow up to thirteen feet in length. Over the years, the Welwitschia starts resembling a bush, as the leaves tear apart. It is hard to estimate the exact age of these plants, but some might be as old as two thousand years. The gemsbok cucumber and nara melon are two plants that grow on sand dunes and survive off subterranean water. In turn, their fruits have provided water and nourishment to many living beings over the years, from the Bushmen, or San people, that once roamed the Namib Desert, to a variety of animal species that remain there to this day.
Most of the animals found in the Namib Desert include insects, scorpions, spiders, mites, and ticks. Like the plants mentioned, these living creatures have interesting adaptations to survive the harsh climate and conditions known to this region. The Namib Desert beetle, also known as the fog beetle, has protrusions, or ‘elytrons’ as they are called, that capture morning fog. The fog provides this creature with a sufficient source of water for survival.
The most ‘ hands-on’ way to enjoy a safari in Namibia’s Namib Desert is on a quad bike. The four wheels of a quad bike are far better suited to the sandy terrain than the two narrow wheels of a motorcycle. Another big advantage of a quad bike is that it is extremely easy to ride. A quad bike tour can vary depending on your personal preference; it can be a scenic and relaxing cruise over spectacular dunes surrounded by unending desert, or an adrenalin-filled dash up and down the dunes.
There are a variety of different quad bike tours available. There is also a choice between a fully automatic quad bike, a semi-automatic quad bike, and a manual quad bike. The shortest tours last an hour and cover a distance of around thirteen miles. On a two-hour tour as far as thirty miles can be covered, while on a three-hour tour as far as fifty miles can be covered. The distance covered largely depends on the skill and past experience of the guests; it is recommended that those with no previous quad bike or motorbike experience only do tours that last an hour. Children can enjoy safe quad biking too on small, supervised quad bike circuits.
For those that seek out adventure, sandboarding can be done in combination with a quad bike trip. Again, there are activities for people of all skill levels. No skill is required for lie-down sand slay, but courage is required to push off the top of a sand dune. For experienced sand or snowboarders, stand-up boards are available.
Three-hour breakfast trips are available, which include a two-hour quad bike ride and an hour-long breakfast in the heart of the desert. For a desert lunch experience combined with the exploration of the famous ‘Dune Seven’, five-hour tours are available, where incredible dunes and breathtaking scenery complement the once-in-a-lifetime lunch that is enjoyed on top of the highest dune in the area. A sundowner trip can be taken to watch the marvelous sunset over the ocean from high up on a sand dune. To enhance the fantastic desert scenery, champagne and canapes are served.