Most people visit Namibia for the adventure, freedom and open spaces our country and Continent are known for. Mola Mola certainly delivers on all of these fronts (and don’t forget our famous Namibian Hospitality). While planning for your boat cruise or dune adventure, also know that even though we are in the driest part of a desert country, you will not only enjoy epic scenery, but you will also experience our abundant marine wildlife, as the Benguella current is one of the richest parts of our planet’s oceans. Going on the Sandwich Harbour Dune adventures, you will further be amazed that so many life forms manage to live, and live well, in such a harsh environment, without a 4×4, coolerbox full of drinks and snacks, and off course the expert guide, that are accompanied by. Here are some of the marine and desert life that you are likely to come across, while experiencing landscapes that will remain with you for as long as the desert wind blows.
This area of the African coast has two native species; the Heaviside’s, or Benguela Dolphin, and the Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin. Both of these beautiful creatures have playful, inquisitive natures, meaning they happily swim alongside our boats and put on a display by jumping out of the water. The Bottlenose dolphin is a commonly spotted species in the area and it usually travels in pods of two to about twenty. The Heaviside’s tend to have smaller groups, but many groups can be seen on a good day. We mainly see them around Pelican point, and they love to swim along with the boats. You will love seeing this small dolphin species, with their colours resembling small killer whales.
The predominant types seen in the area are the Southern Right and the Humpback whale. Both are currently on the endangered species list, making it a true blessing to be able to see them on a Mola Mola cruise. In Walvis Bay, whale-watching season is typically between June and November as these majestic animals are migratory by nature. However, every year they’re called to our warmer waters, which are rich in plankton and the other marine life that they feed on. Watch for the “fountains” as our skippers refers to them, this is when they exhale through their blow holes when reaching the surface, and if you are lucky, they will dive again with a flamboyant show of their gigantic tails.
Mola Mola Sunfish
The word Mola means millstone in Latin, which is a reasonably accurate description of this species’ round body, as well as their texture and colouring. This bullet-shaped fish, is not only the largest bone fish in our oceans, but is truly something that very few people have ever seen. The Mola, also called Sunfish or Moonfish, also inspired our company name. Their unusual, stunted appearance makes them quite the site to behold while out on a tour or diving in the ocean. Feeding mainly on Jelly Fish, these slow moving animals are as strange as they are incredible to see.
The Mola Mola trips take you to Pelican Point where you’ll find an impressively large Cape Fur seal colony. Here, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with these often playful mammals.
In many instances, the younger seals will swim up to the boats out of curiosity. Their diet mostly entails fish such as herring and sardines, but they wouldn’t say no if a crab or crayfish came along. They are even seen eating big Kabeljou (cob) around Pelican point, beating the large fish on the water surface, so as to break it down into edible pieces. These excellent swimmers are also keen to show off by playing and splashing in the surf, and are great fun to observe. Between October and February, you can observe the pups that have been born, as well as the fierce competition of massive Seal Bulls for harem and mating rights.
Pelicans and Gulls
For hundreds of year, seafarers have been joined by Sea birds on their journey. You will experience this first hand as the Sea Gulls, Atlantic Kelp Gulls to be more specific, fly along with your cruise, or even land next to you for a closer inspection. Even bigger and better than this, you will experience the beautiful Eastern White Pelican up close and personal, as these majestic birds fly along with you, or land on the vessel with their massive two meter wingspan and long colourful beaks.
Jackals and Hyena’s
The desert often has little to offer in the way of food and water, but where the desert meets the Ocean, there is great opportunity. Black Back Jackals and Brown Hyena make the most of this. They are both very opportunistic scavengers, making use of whatever the high tide has left for them on the beach. Dead seals are a big part of their diet, and sometimes even dead whales can provide food for weeks. Black Back Jackals are also excellent hunters, catching insects, small rodents and reptiles. Although we very seldom see Brown Hyena, you will often see their tracks in the desert sand or along the beach, from their wanderings the night before. While you could see Jackals on the cruise, you are much more likely to see them on the Sandwich Harbour Adventure, while driving along the beach or high up in the dunes.