Namibia: 'Lord of the Rings' meets 'Scorpion King'


Dominic Monaghan, actor in the blockbuster movie, 'Lord of the Rings' arrived in Namibia last month with an international crew from Canada and the UK to produce a new TV-Show for BBC America entitled 'Wild Thing'.

Monaghan and his crew hired the expert advice of Tharina Bird (Namibian National Museum) and local film production Magic Touch Films. Their aim was to find one of the biggest and most venomous scorpions in the world, the Parabuthus Villosus.

"Kind of a Lord of the Rings meets Scorpion King,"said Wolfgang Knoepfler of Magic Touch Films, a Namibian film production company that's been involved in several major film and television movies and documentaries.

According to Knoepfler, Bird scouted the film locations in advance to make sure that they found what they were looking for. The team first made their way to the Waterberg Plateau where filming of the Hadogenes Troglodytes (Flat Rock Scorpion) amongst the dinosaur footprints took place. The search continued even into the night, but no 'scorpion king' (Parabuthus Villosus) was found.

The Brandberg was the next stop, which apparently has the richest scorpion fauna in Southern Africa. "On the way there we stopped in Uis to meet local gem miners to hear their stories of encounters with scorpions. Some pretty horrific encounters describing the pains one goes through when bitten by one of the more venomous scorpions were revealed to Dominic," Knoepfler tells.

Unfortunately, no Parabuthus Villosus, was found there either. The company then went to Gobabeb Research and Training Centre hoping for better luck. "The gravel plains are the natural home of the scorpion species we were looking for. On the way there we got hold of Steve Braine owner of Batis Birding Safaris in Swakopmund. Steve is well known and respected within the scientific community as an expert on the flora and fauna of the Namib Desert. With his help our chances to find the Parabuthus Villosus increased,"said Knoepfler.

After a night and a day, the 'skorpion king' still remained elusive.

It was a local Topnaar guide, who spotted it first and called an excited Dominic. On the last day with only a couple of hours left before he had to travel back to his home in Beverly Hills, Monaghan had found it: one of the biggest Parabuthus Villosus.