Namibia, rivaled only by the Chilean Atacama, is one of the driest regions in the world. Much of its western coast, located in the southern reaches of the African continent, rarely, if ever gets rain. Some of these areas are only sustained by the seasonal nightly fogs. Due to these unique conditions, it is in some of these very arid, Mojave desert-like landscapes, where many of the worlds most unique plants and animals can be found.
Similar to the infrequent rainy El Nino years that affect our California and Chilean coasts, Namibia had an extreme summer rain fall this last January thru April 2011.It is reported that this was one of the heaviest summer rains ever experienced in Namibia.
Our objectives were to visit this amazing country in this unusually wet time when the plants and scenery may be different than what most explorers might normally experience. We were in luck and our timing was perfect. When we arrived, the last of the torrential rains were spiting and sputtering off into the eastern reaches of the country. Windhoek, the capital of the country, was green and the weather looked promising. Needless to say, unlike some of our other friends who had visited the country the previous month, we were blessed with open roads and passable river crossings. The weather stayed sunny, warm and accommodating for the entire three weeks.
From Windhoek we took a giant clockwise loop to the south and then did the same from Windhoek to the North. We experienced the succulent rich areas to the Orange River, and from there we migrated up to the famous Luderitz Bay. The Richtersveld vegetation in these southern environments included many fantastic plants from the statuesque Pachypodium namaquanum to the many jewel like mesembs. One could spend a life time studying all these different genera, some of which included: the Lithops, Sarcocaulons, Tylecodons, Conophytums, Othonnas, Aloes, Hoodias, Cerarias, Haworthias, Titanopsis, Adromischus, Pelargoniums, Crassulas, Avonias, Larryleachias and many, many more. On our northern loop we traveled to the west towards Swakopmund and then up to the impressive Epupa Falls on Namibia’s northern border to Angola. From there we eventually meandered our way back to Windhoek. On this northern journey we encountered a very different group of succulent genera. The plant taxa generally became larger and often very sculptural. We saw: Cyphostemmas, Pachypodiums, Welwitschias, Commiphoras, Sesamothamnus, Adansonias, Moringas, Aloes, Hoodias, Adenias, Adeniums and so on and so on. We also stumbled across many wonderful animals, not in the game reserves, as well as some of the most beautiful indigenous peoples. The Herero and Himba tribes were both unexpected cultural highlights of this amazing trip!
I took over 10,000 photos, and a few have found their way into this presentation. Be prepared to see the trip of a life time and the total of Namibia, edited of course!
Woody, as he is commonly known, grew up in the Mojave Desert and has had an attraction to desert plants and animals since the early 1950’s. He has been involved with the cactus and succulent world as a grower, field explorer, club and organization leader, writer, photographer, lecturer and presenter.
Having been a speaker all over the world, Woody is most often associated with giving presentations on his field work from the places he has traveled, such as: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Socotra, South Africa, the United States and Yemen. He is also recognized for having operated the nursery Cactus Data Plants since 1975. Woody’s show quality plants were often considered one of the standards for staging and horticultural achievement. His favorite genera include: Adenium, Ariocarpus, Astrophytum, Copiapoa, Cyphostemma, Fouquieria, Gymnocalycium, Lithops, Mammillaria, Melocactus, Pachypodium, Turbinicarpus and Pachycauls in general.
He has published numerous articles in various journals and his photography is featured in many books including; “The Copiapoa” by Schulz, “The Mammillaria Handbook” by Pilbeam, “The Cactus Lexicon” By Hunt and Charles, as well as many others. As of this last November 2017, he is featured as the primary photographer in the new book “The Xerophile.” This book specializes in what the authors call, The Obsessed Field workers from around the world.
Woody and his wife, Kathy, live in Cedar Grove, New Mexico. He is a retired secondary school teacher of 32 years where he taught Graphics, Art and Architecture. In the cactus and succulent hobby, Woody is recognized for his high energy and creative spirit. As an educator, he has become an important part of the hobby and thus is an honorary life member of ten C&S societies. With 45 years in the hobby and 64 years in the field, he has many experiences to share and numerous photos to show.
Again we have quickly arrived at the last program presentation for 2018. Please come and enjoy this very special program and have an excellent evening with friends, fun, books, raffle plants, free plants and lots of great refreshments.