Which way is the water?

And, speaking of water, as we were last week, you’re in the middle of the Namib desert and you’ve run out of water. Fortunately, you haven’t quite run out of fuel, but you don’t know in which direction to drive to find a water source.

What do you do?

Next morning, you sit in the shade of your vehicle and look to the sky.

About 1 to 2 hours after sunrise you should see a procession of perhaps thousands of birds flying in a direct line from horizon to horizon.

They are Namaqua Sandgrouse. They are flying up to 60km to water. Once they’ve drunk they will soak their feathers trapping water between them and carry it back to their chicks.



So you need to get your times right otherwise you’ll be going in the wrong direction!

They don’t like salty water, so you’re OK in that regard.

We were once privileged to be sitting by a water hole watching an African Wild Cat through our binoculars. Namaqua Sandgrouse were gliding in one behind the other to land near the water.

They were low over the cat. It jumped, burying its foreclaws into one of the birds and pulled it from the sky.

One of those very special moments that reward many hours spent in the bush.


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