The courses of the seasonal Hoanib and Hoarusib Rivers, but also those of rivers further south, right down to the Aba Huab, sustain elephant which have adapted to the arid, hostile environment of the Kaokoveld. They are one of the few free-roaming elephant populations on earth. These so-called ‘Desert-dwelling Elephant’ are not a species in their own right but rank among the African Savannah Elephant.
They feed on leaves, twigs and the bark of shrubs and trees and dig for water in the river courses – if no surface water is available. About 80 years ago there were still about 3,000 of them in the Kunene Region. At the start of the eighties they had become almost extinct. After they were placed under protection the numbers increased again – today there are an estimated 700 elephants remaining.
In recent years they have unfortunately become quite famous through the attention of the media, which resulted in a rush of ‘Elephant Tourism’. Cornered in the confines of riverbeds, which often take the shape of ravines, elephant at times have been harassed to an extent that has already provoked attacks and accidents. Thus, travellers should always bear in mind that these are wild animals and as such have to be treated with respect and consideration.
In order to protect the elephant from unnecessary stress, ‘Elephant Guides’ have been trained in Namibia for some time now. They are able to track elephant in the river courses in such a way that the animals are disturbed as little as possible.
If you join one of these guides you can be certain of an exciting and enriching