Desert elephants in the Ugab River part II
Now and then we have contact with our friends from Abendsonne Afrika. Guido has known Liane and Michael Merbeck for 11 years now and in the run-up to the trip it became clear that the four of us would be in Namibia at the same time, and we would try to meet. What does this have to do with desert elephants? You will find out now!
We sent them a message that we were on our way to the Brandberg, and after we arrived in Madisa we received the information that they stayed in a private camp about 40 km from Uis and that we could meet. After a short research this was only about 30 – 40 minutes away from us.
But since we had already checked in and registered for dinner, we enjoyed the hippie camp. Madisa is highly recommended and gave us a blast. They cooked on several fireplaces with different potjes. The evening was wonderful, and we were sorry that we had to leave the next day. We wanted to arrive at the private camp at 7 a.m. to spend a day with Liane and Mike at the desert elephants.
At EHRA and the desert elephants
Not far from the camp is the base camp of the organization EHRA (Elephant Human Relations Aid). EHRA works to protect the desert elephants in the Ugab River and compensates the local population for damages caused by the elephants, builds water wells for the local communities and much more. EHRA is fully donation funded or works with volunteers who do the work and work hard for one week. During the second week, they get to experience the desert elephants up close.
Without EHRA, there would probably be no more desert elephants in the Ugab River. We were lucky enough to join Liane and Mike on a game drive to see the elephants. After a coffee and a small breakfast we left and drove the same region as we did on our own two days ago.
A new group
The guide found a new group in the same region where we found the group when we camped at White Lady Lodge. There are 27 desert elephants living in the Ugab River. We found members of the ‘Mama Africa’ group. The four elephants three days earlier were also part of the group. Later on we found members of the ‘Ugab small’ group. We stayed with them for about 2.5 hours, just watching them and enjoying their presence.
The elephants in the Ugab lost all their youngsters in the last years due to the drought. The conditions were too harsh and none of the calves survived. Now two cows are pregnant again and there is new hope.
These giants are incredible and fascinate us for a long time. Once you are face to face with an elephant and you have the chance to look deep into its eyes, you lose yourself in that gaze. The sheer mass of these giants, coupled with their incredible sensitivity, has captivated us at a very early stage.
The Fact that we could meet Liane and Mike under these circumstances made us happy and reminds us a bit of Botswana, when we all once were together for about an hour in the middle of a herd of about 60 elephants and enjoyed these giants.
We stayed at the camp, got to know the owner and had a wonderful evening with profound and enriching conversations. The evening was introduced with a Sundowner drive to an exceptional place.
We are very grateful for what we experienced and are happy that our wish to meet the desert elephants came true so intensively and early. The next morning we left after breakfast and headed towards Palmwag.