4 days
From June to October

Are there Elephants in the Desert?


In Northwestern Namibia, around the Hoarusib, Ganamub, Hoanib and Jumib rivers, near the oldest desert on the planet, one of the very few populations of desert elephants can be found. Survival is even more difficult for these pachyderms here than for their brothers in the savanna, since they must migrate hundreds of kilometers and even dig the ground in search of water.

Here, in the Hoanib Valley, you can meet desert elephants and lions with unique characteristics adapted to survive in these extreme conditions.

Their ability to adapt to other environments and transmit knowledge to their offspring makes them special

ARRIVAL TIME3 to 4 hours in a 4×4
TRAVELLER PROFILEInclusive familias with children
Local TransportationProfesional Guide
Entries to the National Park
END OF TRIPSkeleton Coast


Its Evolution to survive in the Desert


The adaptation to such a tough ecosystem has created a good number of physical and behavioral differences compared to the well-known African Savanna Elephant. Until recently, the Desert Elephant was considered a subspecies of the other, but recent genetic studies cast doubt on it. The differences are evident: Even so, Desert Elephants are as large as those in the Savanna – males can reach four meters in height – but their bodies are thinner due to a diet that is poorer in quantity and nutrients . However, they can exceed six tons in weight.

One of the particularities of the Desert Elephants is the seasonal long-distance migration in search of places with water and food. To do this, they have developed larger legs than their relatives in the savannah, which allow them to cover long journeys on rocks and sand. The migration is what makes our encounter with them more complicated, but our professional guides usually guarantee us their discovery.

Another peculiarity of their behavior is the way they obtain water: they dig holes in the ground.

To get food they must also use special techniques, such as stretching their body to the fullest supported by the back legs, almost adopting dancer poses, to be able to reach the greenest buds in the height.

The elephant herds are matriarchal groups: the oldest female is the one who leads the family, she has the longest memory and knowledge of water sources, seasonal food and migration routes to help her family to survive.

There is only one other population of Desert Elefants in the world: a population of 400 exemplars found in the Sahara, in Mali.


Departure Day

Breakfast in our camp in Etosha and check out. In the morning, our guide will drive the 4×4 that will take us through one of the most scenic areas of Namibia, African savanna landscapes with shrubs and acacias, dry riverbeds and impressive granite mountains. At noon we will arrive at our new camp (full board), in the region of Damaraland.

There are various accommodations to choose from: all oft hem offer a reduced number of tends or bungalows, and we will recommend you based on your traveler profile. The Damaraland region is located in a vast and virgin desert, between the Ugab and Huab Rivers. It is an exceptional desert landscape, with fascinating geological formations, archaeological remains, and an unmatched variety of desert flora and fauna.In the afternoon, you will meet with one of the camp guides to visit the burned mountain and Twyfelfontein.

Burnt Mountain is a hill at the foot of the 12km long volcanic mountain range in the southeast of Twyfelfontein. Nothing grows in this area. It has a unique play of colors on its slopes and surfaces, especially during the morning and evening.

Twyfelfontein is a rocky site located in the Kunene region in northwestern Namibia. There are around 2,000 stone sculptures and in 2007, UNESCO named it „World Heritage Site“. The site is one of the largest and most important concentrations of stone age art in Africa, and was also declared a National Monument in 1952.


Day 2

Breakfast at the Camp. We will meet with one of the camp guides and start a safari to see the Desert Elephants. During this interesting tour, your guide will explain information and peculiarities of the desert elephants as well as where they get their food , what do they eat, etc…. On the riverbed of the Huab River, we will see the footprints of the elephants, hoping to be able to see the elephants themselves a few meters away. (Expedition of about 4 and a half hours) .

The desert-adapted elephants are predominantly found in the Kaokoland and Damaraland regions of Northwestern Namibia. They routinely travel great distances, until 70 km, between the feeding areas and the dispersed springs where they drink during the dry season. That complicates the search. After the excursion, we will return to the lodge and have the rest of the day off.


Day 3

Early in the morning, we will meet with our private guide to continue our journey to the city of Swakopmund. It is a journey of about 5 hours. We will have time to stop and take photos and enjoy the beautiful and unique landscapes of one of the most spectacular areas of Namibia: the Skeleton Coast .

Upon arrival at the Swakopmund area, your guide will take you on a tour in your own vehicle to visit the Walvis Bay lagoon , the salt flats, the Kuiseb River Delta, the Sandwich Port, and – if the weather and the tides allow it – the Sandwich Harbor Lagoon. After the Sandwich Harbor tour, your guide will transfer you to your chosen hotel to check in.

In the area of Sandwich Harbor we will make a special 4×4 excursion through the dunes. We will enjoy a half-day tour, between the dunes, and see how they literally end up at sea. Something you cannot imagine until you see it in person.


Day 4. Return

Breakfast at the hotel and check out. In the morning, your guide will transfer you to the Swakopmund airfield to take your flight to the next chosen destination: Windhoek, Sossusvlei…

Combine with:

Hiking por dunas en Namibia,

el interesantísimo Adentrándonos en territorio Himba,

o Visitando Etosha Park

Damaraland is one of the most picturesque areas of Namibia, a huge, untamed and rugged beautiful region that offers travelers an even more adventurous challenge. Here there are water courses with prehistoric plains and deep ravines. To the west, the geography changes dramatically with endless sand areas, which are incredibly capable of sustaining small, but important desert populations of elephants, black rhinoceros, giraffes, ostriches and gazelles. These animals have adapted their lifestyle to survive the hardness of the sun and the almost desert spaces without water. Elephants can travel up to 70 km in just one day in search of water and food.

Swakopmund Surrounded by the Namib Desert on three sides and the cold waters of the Atlantic to the West, this city enjoys a mild climate. It is a coastal city with several important colonial monuments, which make it return to the past with a unique charm. Huge palm trees, hundreds of flowers, white sand and the Atlantic Ocean make this destination a very special place. Swakopmund is known as the first spa in Namibia and is one of the best preserved examples of German colonial architecture in the world. It offers many Tourist attractions and a pleasant summer weather. It is one of the few sites outside the US o Europe where a significant minority of the population speaks German and has German roots.

Sandwich Harbour At the time when the shape of the African continent was not yet known, and when successive maritime expeditions advanced in small leaps towards the south, Sandwich Harbor was in that area of the maps where cartographers drew fantastic creatures and where many still thought that the waters of the sea were suddenly precipitating into an empty space. When the first sailors, after anchoring in the lagoon, climbed the immense dunes and were surrounded by two deserts that did not seem to have an end, the South Atlantic behind him and the Namib desert with ist red sand in front, they had to shudder at such beauty, but no doubt they also trembled to feel so alone, and so small, in that place that without a doubt seemed to be the end of the world. During some time in history this small natural harbor on the Namibian coast has served as a base for whaling ships and has had some commercial activity. However, today there is no sign left of these activities and Sandwich Harbor is a natural place of exceptional beauty and one of the places with the biggest diversity of birds in Southern Africa. Pink flamingos and multiple birds, but also seals, jackals and small reptiles abound in the surroundings. Beyond visiting the place itself it is a real pleasure to drive along the beach with the waves licking the dunes and feel like those first sailors, navigating to the south in search of the end of the world.

Namibia valle huab