I learnt about the desert elephants too late in my planning and could not change the itinerary anymore, otherwise I would probably have spent a night somewhere around Twyfelfontein, halfway to Palmwag. So in our quest for desert elephants and because I thought we wouldn’t miss much we decided to skip Twyfelfontein’s famous rock art, Burnt Mountain, Organ Pipes and the Petrified Forest. We planned to make a quick stop at the Damara Living Museum, but it looked closed.
Most roads in Namibia are gravel like this.
A quick lunch-stop.
We turned back towards the main road, when I suddenly recalled I read about desert elephants in the the Aba-Huab and Huab river valley. So we turned around again and drove to a little campsite and decided to ask there. To our excitement one of the guys working there said that they had seen a herd of elephants a day earlier and that they were moving north. He suggested to follow the road and look for tracks. Now we were really getting excited..! He pointed us in the right direction and off we were…
Only a few minutes later we were driving over a little sand road through a spectacular deserted river valley with not a single other car or human in sight for as far as you could see; this is Namibia!
Just us…. Nobody else…
A Welwitschia plant, sometimes called a “living fossil”. Most of these plants are more than 1,000 years old!
We finally got to the main dry river bed and eventually found elephant tracks. We followed the track and a trail of increasingly fresh elephant dung for about an hour, until we eventually found a breeding herd of desert elephants…!
Words cannot describe the experience, I still get goosebumps writing this…! For 2 hours we hadn’t seen anyone else and here we were, off the map in a dry river bed watching a herd of about 15 desert elephants quietly feeding along the river banks… We looked at each other and simply couldn’t believe we found them..!!
A wagging tail, a sign the elephant is relaxed.
Watch your back.
After about an hour 2 safari cars from some nearby lodges arrived on the scene, clearly surprised some self-drivers found the elephants first…! We all followed the herd to a large water tank from a nearby farm, where they drank and dusted themselves for an hour, an unbelievable scene. Time for us to leave and find our way back to the main road.
We arrived right before sunset at Palmwag Lodge, a rather luxurious campsite, where we had a dip in the ice cold swimming pool and a couple of beers under the setting sun. What a day, again…!