Tommy's Living Desert Tours
Tommy Collard is a magician, and the desert is his hat. Instead of doing tricks with rabbits, Tommy will jam on the breaks at sudden and unpredictable intervals during his tour, jump out of the car, scurry up a sand dune, thrust his arm elbow deep into the sand and conjure a wriggling, twisting and, no doubt, irritated little reptile.
Of course, that is where the lesson begins. Tommy will then use his quarry to teach his guests about the diversity of life in this harsh environment. Some of the creatures you are likely to encounter include chameleons, geckos, sand diving lizards and the poisonous two horned adder.
If you are lucky, you may find the rare dancing white lady spider. If you do, Tommy will not only dance with it, he will coax it into rolling down the sand dune in an eight legged cartwheel.
Tommy has become one of Namibia’s most famous tour guides. He has been in dozens of magazines and a few television shows. This owes to Tommy’s knowledge and charm, but also his ability to entertain and tell a good story. An experienced snake handler, Tommy has a number of stories to regale his guests with regarding snakes, transport and grim mannered customs officials brought to a sudden state of excitement.
Tommy is a very spiritual man, and he claims to have found his calling out in the dunes. He has a way of sharing this spiritual connection with the desert that seems to transcend an ordinary tour. But he also has an unmistakable sense of fun and playfulness. He likes to keep his guests a little off balance, and he is not above a little “dune diving” with his younger guests.
Tommy calls his tours “Living Desert Tours” for a reason. Driving past or flying over these dunes, or even walking over them yourself, you get the impression of uninhabited land, barren of life. But if you look hard enough, and if you can summon a bit of magic, you will find an entire world of life bustling just beneath the surface of the sand.
by John R Wheeling | Leisure Times Namibia