Turtles are the only reptiles with a shell and for protection most species can pull their heads, legs and tail into their own suit of armour. They are cold-blooded creatures and which enables them to live in almost habitat including desert, forests, grasslands, lakes, marshes, ponds, rivers and the sea.
Turtles vary greatly in size, the largest being the leatherback turtle. They are all fast swimmers and the green turtle can reach speeds of almost 32km/hr.
The first turtles lived more than 185 million years ago and over the years many species have died out, mainly because they are hunted for food, shells and eggs. They also have a well-developed sense of sight and touch and can hear low-pitched sounds similar to that of a human.
Turtles hatch from eggs and most females lay their eggs between late spring and late autumn. The green turtle many lay as many as 7 clutches of eggs during a specific breeding season. Eggs are laid on land and the female digs a hole in the ground with the back feet. The eggs are laid in the hole and covered with soil, sand of rotting plant matter. Sea turtles can lay up to 200 eggs at a time.
Once the eggs have been laid, the female walks away and doesn't return. The heat from the sun will hatch the eggs and hatchlings have to dig their way up to the surface, find food and protect themselves on their own. Birds and mammals head to the beach in the hatching season and catch baby turtles trying to get back to the sea. Growth is greatest in the first 5 years of life and turtles along with tortoises can live to 100 years or more.
Green turtles feed almost entirely on plants although other species do eat animals. Turtles cannot remain active in the cold weather and hibernate by burrowing into the warm, muddy bottom of a body of water. There are 7 species of sea turtles. The leatherback is in a family of its own as its shell has fewer bones than other species and is covered in skin as opposed to scules.
There are 2 turtles that can be observed off the coast of Namibia. They are:
Top location, right on the beach. This is a very popular accommodation choice - and rightly so.
Slightly outide town on the banks of the Swakop River and overlooking the dunes of the Namib Desert. Excellent for those wanting a quite deser setting near the convenience of town
Close to the main beach and Swakopmund aquarium, also boasts a heated swimming pool
Very centrally located with a quaint German atmosphere.
A new hotel and spa complex situated north of town in the suburb of Mile 4
Absolutely unique! Built on stilts into the Swakop River - many units offer great views. Feels more like a traditional country lodge rather than an establishment in a busy tourist town.