A Walking Holiday in Namibia 5 – 24 September, 2012
The Great Elephant Search!
We were an intrepid band of ramblers, led by Julia as we set off on a walk following a dried river bed in the Damara area of Namibia. We reached the start of the walk by taking a coach from our lodge to the point where the river bed met the road. David, our coach driver, was a self-educated expert on all things Namibian, including the flora and fauna. We started early to avoid the worst of the afternoon heat. With an estimated four hours of walking time before we were to meet the bus at the pickup point, we set off full of energy and in great spirits.
As we slowly made our way through the ‘bush’, walking in a mixture of sand and gravel we absorbed the sounds and sights of the Namibian semi-desert countryside. Not long after, we came across the tracks of DESERT ELEPHANTS. Not one… but several. A sense of excitement coupled with concern rippled through the group. We already knew that wild elephants could be aggressive if they felt threatened and our combined weight was no match for a rampant bull elephant. However, showing typical British pluck, determination and fortitude in the face of adverse circumstances we pressed on following the river bed and the tracks! Just imagine our reaction when, a bit later, we found elephant poo. Using years of experience gleaned in the Lake District, the Cotswolds and other exotic locations the group concluded that it was FRESH.
At this point discretion took over and we beat a hasty retreat heading back to the starting point to regroup and consider our options. On arrival at our starting point we found David, who much to our amusement pointed out that actually we had been walking away from the elephants not toward them. This conclusively proved that we were total failures as trackers. Not to be beaten we set off again this time on a shorter walk, but the only large animal we encountered was a cow! Later that afternoon, from the safety of a safari vehicle, we located and photographed the elephants.
For the protection of the innocent, the members of the group wish to remain anonymous!