Desert rain, the good, the bad and the ugly

Over the last few years the weather has been all over the place. Same old, same old I know.

We don't really know what it all means for the desert - we don't even know the desert yet, especially the very special eastern margin. People have studied the center of the desert (the 'real desert',) a lot, and they have studied the good farming area a lot. But we are really in the middle.

So, what have we experienced in the rainy years:

The Good:
The rain brings a lot of life. Grasses shoot up, insects abound, birds take off, mice explode, and this feeling that everything is well feed and growing is great. For game drives it makes it fantastic for the rangers. It is all easy, as there are so many small predators and raptors around. Lizards, snakes, everything takes off.

Then there is the beauty of the grass. First blaring green, then slowly fading to golden yellow.

There is a small plant in the grass, referred to as 'Namib Fragrance' which lets out a fantastic jasmine smell after dark.

The Bad
Really the bad goes together with the good in a big way. The insects bring along a host of challenges, mainly relating to keeping them out of houses. There are blister beetles in the area that can cause an are of blisters on your skin.

The other factor is also a bit good and a bit bad. That is the clouds and the rain. For us in the desert (usually after many months without seeing so much as a cloud,) these rain events are very special. But for guests from Europe it is often a disappointment to come to the desert and have rain.

The Ugly
The ugly is easy. Armoured ground cricket Acanthoplus sp. This thing is ugly. They are huge cricket. They come out in huge numbers when it has rained. And they are a little strange. When they get driven over on the roads they eat each other. Check them out (ugly???) on some of these links:

treknature gallery South_Africa photo48249
another site
And another

Which ever way you look at it, and even if the rain is caused by global environmental issues, it has been a privilege and learning experience to witness the desert in it's full coat of green!!
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