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Nile Soft-shelled Terrapins

Turtles | Namibia

Introduction: The Nile Soft-shelled Terrapin (Trionyx triunguis) is a large terrapin with an elongated and somewhat flat head, complete with the traditional snorkel-like snout. They are, and need to be, fast creatures as they are much sought after for their meat, which by all accounts has a rich and oily veal taste. Heavily preyed upon, they do not hesitate to bite at any sign of danger and they have very sharp jaws capable of taking off your finger.

Although they are a freshwater creature they can survive in seawater and are seen in estuaries frequently. Some of these species have been known to live for 42 years.

Distribution: The very far north-eastern reaches of Namibia in and around the deeper waters of the Kunene River and estuary areas and downstream of Ruacana Falls.

Diet: The Nile soft-shelled terrapin are omnivorous. They eat insects, frogs, molluscs and fish as well as fruits and palm nuts.

Colouring: Dark brown or olive shell, often covered with small white or yellow spots. The underside is white and the head and limbs are heavily spotted and dark in colour.

Breeding: Females lay between 25 and 60 round, hard-shelled eggs in nests that are buried deep in sandbanks of rivers. Eggs hatch between 76 to 78 days.

Size: Total length male: 400 to 600mm. Female: 950mm. Weight: Up to a maximum of 40kg.

Epupa Camp

A tented camp on the banks of the Kunene River close to Epupa Falls and Himba settlements

Epupa Falls Lodge

Previously this only provided campsites, but recently added rooms on stilts overlooking the river and falls. A rustic option but closest situated to Epupa Falls

Fort Sesfontein

On the border between Kaokoland and Damaraland this fort was built at the same time as the fort of Namutoni in Etosha

Kapika Waterfall Lodge

On a hill above the Kunene river, the lodge has tremendous views of the surrounding area and looks towards the Epupa Falls

Khowarib Lodge

An excellent base from which to explore the Kaokoland area.

Kunene River Lodge

An excellent lodge in a remote location on the banks of the Kunene River, for those interesting in birding, relaxing or river rafting this lodge is an absolute must

Mopane Camp

In the village of Opuwo, this is a basic tented camp

Ohakane Lodge

One of the oldest lodges in the Kaokoland area, from here guest can visit Himba villages and other areas of interest in Kaokoland

Okahirongo Elephant Lodge

Near the tiny settlement of Puros, this luxury lodge offers you the ability to search for the desert adapted elephants

Okahirongo River Camp

On a hillside overlooking the Kunene River this small intimate camp offers accommodation for a maximum of 14 people.

Omarunga Camp

A comfortable tented camp close to the Epupa falls

Opuwo Country Lodge

This is one of the newer lodges in Opuwo - it has beautiful views over Kaokoland -a real desert oasis

Serra Cafema

Up-market luxury safari camp on the Kunene River - only reachable by light aircraft

Kaokoland Accommodation

Namibia Tours