Sunday, 17 July 2011

Day off in the Desert

by Rachel Blackburn

Even on a day off, myself and the other interns this month spent it surrounded by and continuing to learn more about the nature around us.

At about 8 A.M. we were all picked up to start our desert tour in the Moon Valley of Namibia. Right away, our tour guide began to give us more information than we really knew what to do with but we were all intently listening and absorbing every word. We were informed about the culture of the local area, the history, and the economic changes that will be occurring soon with the construction of a uranium mine and desalination plant. Although we were all very interested by this, my favorite part began once we entered the moon valley and began learning about the plants and animals which are adapted to live in the desert. We learned about beetles who will do headstands every night to collect the condensation from the air with their body and allow it to drip down to their mouths, plants with roots that extend up to 60 meters underground to find a water source, spiders who build their webs under a layer of sand where they can hang out under it protected and only come out when food is at the edge of the web, and much bigger animals like ostrich who will eat very bitter fruits and leaves because of the high water content within the plant. We also learned about how local cultures found uses for the plants adapted to live in the area and much, much more. It was truly a different world and we were lucky enough to see even just a small amount of it and thoroughly enjoy our first day off here in the wonderful Namib Desert.

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