Gemsbok / Oryx
wildlife of Namibia
Introduction: The Oryx (Oryx gazella) found in Southern Africa is often known by its Afrikaans name - Gemsbok, of which the origins are unknown. They are found all over Namibia and can tolerate arid areas which are uninhabitable to most other antelope, hence its status as Namibia's National animal. It obtains enough drinking water from food to survive and therefore does not need to drink. Gemsbok can tolerate extreme heat and to conserve water can allow their body temperature to rise to levels that would kill most animals, by cooling the blood going to the brain. Herds number anywhere between 5 and 40 animals, but aggregations of several hundred can occur.
Female herds include non-territorial bulls who will move between the territories of dominant bulls in search for food. To avoid conflict, non-territorial bulls are submissive towards territorial bulls. Fights between males are often fatal, one or both can receive severe stab wounds. When cornered by a predator, oryx will use their horns rigorously to defend themselves and attackers display extreme caution before advancing. The behaviour of this species is geared to energy and water conservation. In the heat of the day they will rest in the shade of trees. Where shade is not available they will orientate themselves to present as little as possible of their body surface to the sun.
Distribution: The sight of gemsbok in the dunes at Sossusvlei, with the rising sun as a backdrop, is not uncommon. It leaves an endearing memory. They are so common throughout Namibia that you are likely to see them next to the road throughout the entire country.
Diet: Gemsbok mostly feed on nutritious leaves, grasses and herbs. During the dry season they feed on flowers and will also browse for food.
Colouring: A large mainly grey-coloured antelope, with striking black and white markings on the face and legs, black side stripes on the flanks and a long black tail.
Breeding: Gemsbok are non-seasonal breeders. Only 1 calf is born after a gestation period of approximately 9 months, at any time of the year.
Size: Bulls measure 1.2m at the shoulders and attain a mass of 240kg. Both bulls and cows have horns, shorter and stockier on the male.
Offering a choice of rooms or campsites around 45km north of Sesriem
Budget choice, catering for both large bus groups and individual travellers
Competitively priced self catering lodge - very close to the entrance to the Namib Naukluft Park
Mid-range accommodation offering some of the best value for money in the area. Horse riding an added activity
Mid range lodge located only 22km from the Sesriem gate to the Namib-Naukluft Park
Up-market lodge with private entrance to the dunes at Sossusvlei
Moroccan inspired architecture seems strangely out of place in Namibia. The location, spa and general amenities are good.
Luxury lodge with guided tour to the dunes using the lodges own private entrance, excellent choice for those looking for a little extra luxury
Reasonable value for money - on the main route to Sossusvlei
A new hotel with raised rooms built on wooden platforms 40km from Sesriem
Budget choice, fairly far from the dunes and next to the fossil dune cliffs
Good solid choice, on a beautiful property some distance from the park entrance
Closest to the dunes - camping only
Brand new luxury camp inside the Namib Park borders
Most luxurious lodge in the area, air-conditioned rooms and private butler
Large establishment right next to the Sesriem Campsite, best for keeping driving to a minimum
A friendly owner run lodge offering excellent value for money. Rooms have private verandah's offering views of sunsets over the Namib Desert dunes & spot-lit waterhole.