In search of desert elephants in Namibia

In search of desert elephants in Namibia

The next days we were mainly busy with working ourselves through 4×4 tracks and looking for the famous desert elephants inhabiting the north-eastern side of Namibia. We were rather successful in both of these tasks. So we could satisfied continue our route to the most northern point of our trip: Kaokoveld and the Epupa Falls.

On the way through Skeleton Coast

Our journey led us through the Skeleton Coast, which for centuries has lived up to its name. It has become the graveyard of countless ships, unlucky explorers and even whales. The road of hundreds of kilometers was really spooky, with even a short sand storm and completely abandoned sections. But the scenery was stunning!

However we were also happy to reach Palmwag, where live was visible again. The first creatures we met were some giraffes right next to the street.

Palmwag elephant expedition

In Palmwag we finally got to try out our roof tent. It was fun, although a bit cold in the night, but in the morning we got really compensated. Not only that we woke up for the 1000s of different birds singing, but the view from our tent was breathtaking. About 25 meters from us there was a desert elephant having its breakfast…

During the days we drove through the Palmwag Concession Area, where we were happy again, that we decided for a 4×4. It was a fantastic experience to spot desert elephants and hyenas, for the first time. And of course we were surrounded by zebras, all kind of antelopes and giraffes the whole day, while we met only one single car during the whole trip.

Off-roading in the Hoanib river bed

A few days later we went for another off-road tour into the dry bed of the Hoanib river. During the 100 km drive we bumped into 2 herds of elephants – in the first case really in the middle of them, we had a great lionless picnic and had to dig out the car from the sand only once. It was an eventful day!

The first encounter with the elephants was like in a dream: we turned a corner around a sandbank, and suddenly about 10 elephants with 4 babies were at about 10 meters from us – walking slowly in our direction. This is a distance where you cannot quickly leave anymore, as it might scare them.  It was an amazing feeling: excitement, a bit of fear and the wish to reach out from the car and pat the babies passing by. 🙂 (which we smartly – and sadly – did not do)

Watching out for crocs on the Kunene

We reached the most northern point of our journey in Africa: we visited the Epupa Falls in Kaokoland on the border to Angola. In the beautiful surrounding of the palm tree forest along the river and the spectacular falls of 60 meters of the Kunene river we enjoyed the warm temperatures. We took a small canoe to look for crocodiles – Julias’ favorite program so far – and other life around the sandbanks. On this trip we even touched the grounds of Angola, and that without passport! 🙂

This area is inhabited by the Himbas and Hereros. The Himbas still live the traditional life of the nomadic shepherds, staying in one spot only as long as their animals find enough food. They build small round huts of branches and abandon them when they move on. The outfit they wear is beautiful, like a decoration – you will see on the pictures. The Herero women are clearly distinguishable from the Himbas, as they are wearing long, colorful dresses and a special headwear.

 

22 thoughts on “In search of desert elephants in Namibia

  • January 10, 2017 at 12:23 am
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    Your photos are stunning! I was in Uganda years ago and was so sad when we didn’t get to go on a Safari or see much wildlife there. Looks amazing!

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    • January 10, 2017 at 9:48 am
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      It is an amazing country.
      Uganda is still on our bucket list.

      Reply
  • November 11, 2016 at 8:12 am
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    OMG I absolutely LOVE the pictures! I’m starting to exercise my photography skills because I’d love to develop this hobby since it’s so reaxing and yet stimulating for me. Whic camera do you use?

    Anyway, the place looks stunning. So typical and yet not stereotyped. Love the pictures and the place, which I’ll go as soon as I can to. I’ve never been to Africa! 🙁

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    • November 11, 2016 at 10:14 am
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      Dear Iris, thank y lot for your compliments! 🙂 I love taking pictures, it is also very relaxing for me. Have fun developing it. I am using a Canon 70D for most of our pictures. We keep our fingers crossed for you, that you can visit Africa soon. 🙂

      Reply
  • November 10, 2016 at 6:14 am
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    Your quest for the Desert elephants is so fascinating. The skeleton coast sound really intriguing. The landscapes have a wild beauty and your pictures capture this in vivid colour. The wildlife is spectacular and come alive in your post.

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    • November 11, 2016 at 10:15 am
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      Thank you so much, Vyjay! We are happy you like the photos. 🙂

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  • November 9, 2016 at 9:56 am
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    Its so amazing to know that in this century, there are still people who are living a traditional way and they can still survive! You have great photos here! I love seeing animals in the wild. Here in the Philippines we only have 1 elephant and its inside zoo 🙁

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    • November 11, 2016 at 10:17 am
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      Cai, I absolutely agree with you: it is amazing to see how these tribes live. Thanks for your kind words!

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  • November 8, 2016 at 5:25 pm
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    I must appreciate you managed to take some great photos…what i wanted to visit the most is the Skeleton coast for its spookiness..

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    • November 9, 2016 at 8:13 am
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      🙂 yes, Skeleton coast is spooky – and beautiful! BUt the rest of the country is also worth a visit. Thank you for your kind feedback!

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  • November 8, 2016 at 3:49 pm
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    All photos are great and really reflected the life in that corner of the earth. I only knew of Namibia because of their candidates in Miss Universe. Yeah I know, I got a lot to learn. It amazes me to hear about people like the Himbas, still living a traditional life in this time and age. It must have been quite an experience to meet them. Hopefully, I too can visit this country someday.

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    • November 9, 2016 at 8:07 am
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      Thanks for the praise! 🙂 Namibia is amazing, you should visit if you get a chance. The encounter with people from traditional tribes was beautiful, seeing them in their own villages and then also in modern surroundings in the city, where himbas and hereros walk among the modernly dressed people and go shopping in the grocery stores just ike us.

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  • November 8, 2016 at 4:15 am
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    I’m so jealous that your travelled around Namibia independently, with your own wheels. I travelled Eastern Africa on an overland tour & felt like I was just on the truck all time & was missing so much. Really keen to go back & do it alone. Skeletons, elephants, crocs… this post is too much to handle! 🙂

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    • November 9, 2016 at 7:37 am
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      Oh, you should definitely do!!! I am not sure about Eastern Africa – have not been there yet, but in the southern countries it is absolutely wonderful to be independent and on your own. I keep my fingers crossed for you, that you soon get a chance.

      Reply
  • November 6, 2016 at 6:18 pm
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    Wow! Sounds like an incredible experience. We would love to visit Namibia and experience the amazing wildlife. You got to spot some of the beautiful species there and capture their rare shots. Kudos to you and thanks for sharing these moments with us.

    Reply
    • November 6, 2016 at 6:39 pm
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      Thanks for your kind words. If you have a chance go to Namibia – it is an amazing place. 🙂

      Reply
  • November 6, 2016 at 11:00 am
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    Amazing pictures. Namibia looks like a paradise for wildlife enthusiasts. I love the way you have put up the pictures in a collage. Would you mind telling what plugin you used to get it done?

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    • November 6, 2016 at 11:46 am
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      Thanks, Sindhu. The collage option is part of Jetpack for wordpress. You can set up there the tiled galleries. Good luck! 🙂

      Reply
  • November 6, 2016 at 9:34 am
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    Amazing Photos 🙂 Namibia is really seems to be an adventurous place.

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    • November 6, 2016 at 9:51 am
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      Thank you, we are happy you like the photos. Namibia is sensational, just like Botswana.

      Reply
  • November 6, 2016 at 9:17 am
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    Wow, what an experienced cause I have only seen this in a movie and I’ve finalized it personally from a travel blogger. You guys are a true adventurer for you have arrived at this place and have experience chasing the elephant. This is very cool and I really like that you have included the locals in your travels. Thank you so much for sharing about this one.

    LaiAriel

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    • November 6, 2016 at 9:50 am
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      Thank you for your kind words. Although chasing is probably not the right word… 🙂 We always tried to give the animals their freedom and only observe with respect. But it was a fantastic experience indeed.

      Reply

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