There once was a waterpoint in the middle of the Namib Desert. To be exact, unsuspiciously tucked away in the 56.540 km2 Gondwana Namib Park, where animals roam freely amongst the famously red dunes and the vast desert.
This waterhole was built in 2006 to alleviate the animals’ thirst and give them a better chance for survival, as rainfall is very scarce here. Therefore, the waterhole is solar powered and fed from a nearby aquifer, and is visited daily by herds of oryx, zebra, giraffe& wildebeest. Ostriches regularly dance by and groups of warthogs come flex their muscles to retain their front row position.
These life cycles have been taking place silently and continuously, but it was only with the high placement of a specialized video camera in 2018 that we humans could become witness to all the social interactions of the animals at the waterhole. The live stream on YouTube invites the entire world to get in on the action from the comfort of their homes.
And visitors we get! Topping over 181 000 subscribers and thousands of people watching daily from classrooms, pharmacies, offices or living rooms. With the introduction of a community chat, volunteers became moderators, zooming in on special occurrences and providing timestamps to those that missed the cheetah drinking late at night. Our visitors create poems & haiku and conjunctively comment on the funny escapades of the animals, sometimes even attributing them with human tricks and traits.
The engagement is overwhelming and by popular request, we were asked to produce some merchandising products related to our waterhole. Donned in a cool cap or a branded t-shirt, with decorative mug in hand, we find a collective joy in observing nature as it unfolds. The power of now is all that matters and it is reflected in the beauty of silence, but also in the hardship of this ecosystem. To the animals, mindfulness is daily life.
So, what does the phenomenon of a live stream from the Namib Desert waterhole do for us humans? We can tell you that for all Namibians, it is incredibly humbling to have so many visitors tune in to see our desert and animals. The world pandemic continues to have a serious economic impact on our country & people and we truly miss our personal interaction with international visitors. Through the delightful chats we certainly feel less isolated and embraced by love and inspiration from across the world. Judging by the comments received daily, our visitors feel a connection and oneness with the live stream, describing it as calming, inspiring & even soul cleansing.
We have nothing but gratitude for being part of this community that the animals created unknowingly. We know they will continue to come and go as they always have, hoping they thoroughly are enjoying the current rains that created a surrounding of abundance and fertility all around them. Let our energies remain positively healthy and happy as it is our wish that one day, you will be able to visit Namibia with all your senses.
Until then, Namibia’s people, flora and fauna will be awaiting you in all its splendor and hospitality.
Find the live Cam of the waterhole here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydYDqZQpim8
Written by: Sonia Noirfalise