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Desert Elephants of Namibia

By: Scott Ramsay, YearInTheWild.com

For the past few weeks I have been travelling through Kaokoland and Damaraland in north-west Namibia. My first highlight of the trip was spending time in the massive conservancy of Puros, an area of incredible scenery and the desert elephants.

One misty morning my Himba guide Robbin Uatokuja and I found them on the hillside of one of the mountains. We watched them from afar for a while, then they came walking slowly past us down the huge gravel plain towards the dry Huarosib River. Robbin and I were with the only people for miles around and we watched the ellies for several hours, but it went so quickly. The surreal light, the immense landscape, the sound of elephants walking softly across the gravel plains, the ellies which seemed so happy in such a harsh environment and let us get quite close to them…I’m still not sure if I was dreaming the whole experience!

Definitely something I’ll never forget.

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I’m so used to seeing elephants in thick mopane woodland, or the sandforest of Tembe, but to see them here, in one of the driest parts of Africa, is mindblowing.

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Robbin Uatokuja, guide at Puros, alongside one of the valuable pools of water in the ephemeral Huarosib River. Robbin told me that not a drop of rain has fallen for two years at Puros, so these pools of water are like gold.

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Two younger ellies playing games.

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Robbin at Moon Valey near Puros, Kaokoland and Damaraland

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[quote]It’s important to note that these are not a separate species of elephant. They are the same Loxodonata africana that you will see in Kruger, Tsavo, Tembe or Amboseli – they have just adapted remarkably well to arid conditions, a remarkable feat for any animal, even humans. Importantly too, these are unfenced elephants, roaming free across community land which the Himba people still own and use for livestock of goats and cattle. It’s a very different scene to traditional wildlife areas in South Africa, where there are lots of fences and local communities are often absent. There’s definitely a sense of old Africa here, where wild animals and humans live side by side – not always in total harmony, but certainly with respect and freedom of movement.” – YearInTheWild.com  [/quote]

For more about Scotts’s experience, read his blog post or visit his Facebook page, A Year in the Wild



Scott Ramsay

Photojournalist Scott Ramsay focuses on exploring the national parks, nature reserves and community conservancies in Southern Africa, taking photographs and interviewing the experts who work in these protected areas. Through his work, he hopes to inspire others to travel to the continent's wild places, which Scott believes are Africa's greatest long term assets. For more, go to www.LoveWildAfrica.com or www.facebook.com/LoveWildAfrica. Partners include Ford Ranger, Goodyear, Cape Union Mart, K-Way, EeziAwn, Frontrunner, Hetzner and Globecomm.

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