Desert Adapted Elephants

An astonishing collection of wildlife has adapted to the arid desert and seemingly inhospitable environment in Namibia.

Visit Namibia

Although not much different from other savannah Elephants Loxodonta Africana, Namibia’s desert-dwelling Elephants are special nonetheless.  They are of high national and international conservation priority and have been designated as a top priority for protection by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).

In the northern Kunene Region, where rainfall averages less than 100mm annually, Desert Adapted  Elephants will migrate long distances in search of food and water. For example, some of the Elephants of the Hoarusib River migrate to the Hoanib River, a distance of over 70 km (45 miles). Typically, the Elephants will drink and eat constantly for a couple of days, then make the long journey across the barren gravel plains in one long push, usually at night when the temperature is cooler.

They have adapted to their dry, semi-desert environment by having a smaller body mass with proportionally longer legs and seemingly larger feet than other elephants. Their physical characteristics allow them to cross miles of sand dunes to reach water. They have even been filmed sliding down a dune face to drink at a pool in a desert oasis. Water, dust, and especially mud are sought out for bathing and coating the skin against the harsh sun and biting insects.

Visit Namibia

Elephants eat almost any vegetation, including grasses, herbs, shrubs, leaves, bark, seeds, and fruit. Adult bulls can consume 250kg daily, although females eat less than that. During the wet season, they prefer green shoots and buds, but in the dry season, desert elephants will eat camelthorn, mopane, and Ana trees and seedpods.

By living in smaller than average family units of only two or three animals, they decrease pressure on food and water resources. Researchers have noted that they destroy fewer trees than elephants living in higher rainfall areas in other parts of Africa.

Visit Namibia

The Namib Desert Elephant communicates in a highly intelligent way with others of their species. Many of their calls are low-frequency calls and rumbles (below the level of human hearing) that can travel 5-10km or more. They can also make a variety of other sounds and calls including trumpeting, snorting, roaring, barking and grunting.

There is only one other group of desert-dwelling Elephants in the world. They live in Mali in North Africa.

Lifespan: 40 – 50 years in the wild

Class: Mammalia

Mass: Male: 6,000 kg (Adult), Female: 3,000 kg (Adult)

Height: Male: 3.3 m (Adult, At Shoulder), Female: 2.8 m (Adult, At Shoulder)

Join Nature Travel Namibia on safari to see these amazing Desert Adapted animals!

Etosha, Caprivi and Chobe trip report

I met the clients in Chobe after they relaxed at Chundukwa River Lodge near Livingstone, Zambia for 3 nights enjoying wonderful activities that included a Victoria Falls visit, swimming in the Devil’s Pool (on the edge of the falls) and an Elephant Back Safari. We enjoyed a great afternoon game drive in Chobe with elephants all over the place. Chobe has the highest concentration of elephants on earth with a population of more than 120 000 elephants.
Picture 110.jpg
The following morning we were up early and into our open 4×4 safari vehicle for an early morning game drive in Chobe. The early morning game drives is a great time to see some of the bigger cats still out and about and we were not disappointed as we came across an opportunistic leopard feeding on a dead elephant. Since the hyenas and lions have not discovered the carcass at that point the leopard could feed in peace although it had a tough time to get through the very tough skin. We also had great sightings a big buffalo herd, plenty of giraffe and red lechwe that congregate on the floodplain.
After a lunchtime siesta we departed on an afternoon boat cruise which always produces great photographic opportunities. We were again not disappointed as we came across endless numbers of hippo, elephant and buffalo. Giraffes, impala, waterbuck, kudu and baboons were all relaxing on the banks of the river. We were treated to a special sunset.
From here we spend the next few days in Namibia’s Caprivi Strip or Zambezi region as it is now called. This wonderful wildlife area offers a wonderful wilderness experience with the same wildlife and habitats as the Okavango Delta but without the number of tourists as in Chobe and a lot more affordable. It is one of the last wilderness areas of Southern Africa.
From here we made our way to Etosha where we spend the next 4 nights. The first two at stayed at the beautiful Mushara Lodge and we explored the game rich eastern section of the park. This section of the park has a huge giraffe population and we were lucky to see both black and white rhino, the endemic black-faced impala and Damara Dik-dik and this young male lion on the move. The local lion prides have been fighting over territory so there was a lot of lion movement going on which gave us a good chance to see them.
Our last two nights in the park were spend at Okaukuejo Resort inside the park famous for its flood-lit waterhole where we had lions, black rhino, elephant and giraffe drinking on both nights. During the day there was a constant coming and going off gemsbok, impala, springbok, warthog, black-backed jackal, zebra and wildebeest. Etosha National Park is wonderful for lion sightings and we had no fewer than 7 encounters with these impressive big cats including two mating pairs. We also had a few very nice hyena sightings. Another highlight was a herd of Eland which is always a special sighting.
From here we made our way to Swakopmund where the clients enjoyed a few days of relaxing before finishing off at Sossusvlei, one of the most scenic places in Africa. Our Etosha, Caprivi, Chobe and Vic Falls safari is our most popular safari and we have set group departure dates during different time of the year. We look forward to seeing you in Namibia soon.