Owing to modern technology, live video streaming is now available of wild animals at a waterhole in the middle of the Namib Desert. From 6th of March 2019, anyone can use their mobile devices to watch the happenings at the waterhole (https://namibiaweather.info/Namib-Desert-Live-Cam.php) on the Namibia Weather website (https://www.namibiaweather.info/). As with all waterhole experiences, a little patience goes a long way, but there generally is a lot of activity. Thirsty gemsbok and occasional visitors such as giraffes, ostriches, springboks, zebras, jackals and birds often make their way to the water, with the oldest desert in the world as fascinating backdrop. It is a must-see experience with a soul-soothing effect.
“It’s the first live webcam of its kind in Namibia and the interest is overwhelming,” says Jens Viëtor, who installed the camera. “We already have an average of 470 online visitors daily.”
But let’s rewind for a second… Who would set up a live webcam in the middle of the desert?
Jens is the IT Manager of the tourism company Gondwana Collection Namibia, which offers accommodation throughout Namibia. The group runs and maintains four large private nature parks, of which one is the Gondwana Namib Park, bordering the Namib Sand Sea, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to the world-famous Sossusvlei. This is where Jens has installed the live webcam, about 8 km from the Namib Desert Lodge. The video stream is distributed worldwide using the Namib Desert Lodge’s internet connection and is also visible on a screen at the reception.
Emails from fascinated viewers have been streaming in daily. Why are the gemsbok so restless and always looking towards the camera? Does the camera make any noise? “No, it does not,” says Jens. “Apart from the fact that animals at a man-made waterhole are rather restless anyway, they have gotten used to the structure on which the webcam is installed. The same pole of 12 m in height used to house a weather station. Next to the camera is a solar panel with a battery to power the camera and, of course, a transmitter for wireless transmission of the livestream to the lodge.”
Originally, the live webcam was part of a weather station, so the video stream is embedded in the weather website. It has 18 weather stations throughout Namibia and provides accurate weather data. This website was launched by Jens in 2007 and although he still runs it, Gondwana took it over two years ago.
Namibiaweather.info has seen great success from the very beginning, because weather in Namibia is a particularly important topic with 360 days of sunshine a year. The fear of drought is always a hot topic amongst Namibians, because not only does it damage the beautiful nature and abundance of game, but it also has a negative effect on agriculture and the economy in general. Namibians regards rain as a blessing. Thus, the Namibia Weather website was born – a platform where every drop of rainfall is counted. As one of the users mentioned in the comment section, the website has now been enriched owing to the live video stream.
The live camera at the Namib Desert Lodge is one of many exceptional achievements. I often spend time on my computer watching the live feed. Thank you for this innovation. Greetings from Harsum (also to Jens)…
Author: Inke Stoldt