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Elephants of The Desert and Delta: Etosha to the Okavango Delta

February 20, 2015 Southern Africa Bush Tails


Nothing quite captures the imagination like the larger-than-life elephants of Southern Africa. Whether you saw the rare twin babies born in South Africa in December or picked up the bestselling Jodi Picoult book, Leaving Time, about elephants in the Tuli Block in Botswana, the media has been filled with images of the magnificent pachyderms.

If visions of elephants are filling your safari dreams, there’s no better way of having them come to life than visiting the herds that move across the deserts of Namibia and the deltas of Botswana.

AAC Client Elaine Kuo went on an 18-Day Flying Safari that visited the elephants at Etosha, Namibia, and the Okavango Delta in Botswana. She enthuses: “We had a fantastic time on our African Safari. The kids really loved seeing all the animals! The staff at each camp was excellent in their service and we were so grateful to have Brooks as our guide. He was great – kept us and the kids entertained as well as teaching us so much about the wildlife and animal behaviors.”

At AAC, we love to start our elephant adventure Etosha National Park, is Namibia’s premier game viewing destination and one of Africa’s largest game parks (it’s the same size as Switzerland!). Large herds of plains game, including elephants, concentrate around the waterholes in the dry season and provide exciting game viewing. Next to Etosha, Ongava is a private, nearly 75,000 acre game reserve that offers night drives and nature walks on the reserve (activities that are not allowed within the national park). For unparalleled elephant views, stay at exclusive Ongava Tented Camp, “one of Namibia’s best kept secrets” which overlooks a waterhole at which a plethora of wildlife congregates to drink.


After the arid plains of Namibia, Botswana’s lush Okavango Delta is a perfect next elephant viewing spot. The delta extends over 6,000-square-miles and is a rich tapestry of open savannah, palm-fringed islands, flowing rivers, crystal-clear lagoons and floodplains sprinkled with water lilies, towering baobab, and jackalberry trees. Elephant viewing is exceptional—it’s here that you’ll encounter large herds as they make there way down to the waters to drink.

For a completely unique view of the mighty elephant, visit Vumbura Plains a stunning lodge with unparalleled view over the floodplains and a lounge area built under the canopy of large trees (a favorite of elephants to visit). When the Okavango’s annual flood is at its highest (normally May to late September), boat trips at Vumbura may give you up-close looks at elephant along the river bank – a sight you won’t soon forget.

As you can tell, we’re wild about elephants at AAC and we’re proud to support Elephants Without Borders. This non-profit organization’s motto is “Conservation with Boundaries” and they’re committed to tracking elephants across international borders and helping to protect them from poachers and environmental hazards and habitat destruction. You can see their work, literally, by watching the 24/7 web cam on their web site that shows elephants LIVE in the middle of Africa. Warning: Once you start watching, it’s hard to get back to work – you’ll be dreaming of elephant safaris for the rest of the day!

View our 18-Day Best of Southern Africa trip –