Desert Dwelling Elephants at Mowani Mountain Camp

Desert Dwelling Elephants at Mowani Mountain Camp

Secluded amongst the giant ochre boulders, Mowani Mountain Camp is a sanctuary within the vast plains of Namibia’s Kunene region (formerly known as Damaraland).

The area boasts one of the most visually impressive yet desolate landscapes of southern Africa and while it may appear uninhabited, these rocky hills and dusty plains are home to far more wildlife than one might imagine.


Rare, desert dwelling elephants, springbok, gemsbok and jackal roam these plains, while their images can be found carved into the rocks at Twyfelfontein, Namibia’s first World Heritage Site. Just the other day, Mowani guests experienced the most phenomenal sightings. Firstly, a very rare and special sighting of a cheetah was enjoyed, and then a brilliantly up-close experience with the desert elephants was cherished. So, without further ado, over to Wilna, who recently visited Mowani , for all the thrilling details:

“We heard that the elephants were in a valley about an hour from the lodge, so we set off on a mission to find them. We were crisscrossing the area to make sure they hadn’t moved off and out and began to drive along the riverbed looking to see if their tracks crossed the river. It didn’t take long before we all became distracted from our initial mission as within moments we spotted a cheetah darting across an open area!

We followed it in hot pursuit for a while as it scaled a rocky out crop before it disappeared over the top. Of course, if you’ve ever tried to keep up with the fastest mammal on earth, you’ll know this is easier said than done. However, it was still a very special sighting so early on in our drive. 

(Note: Photo is not of the mentioned cheetah. Source:

(Note: Photo is not of the mentioned cheetah. Source:

We continued to look for the elephants after that and started to make our way back to the spot where we’d seen the cheetah. As we approached the area, we saw them! A herd of around 10 or 12 elephants slowly started cresting a nearby hill and heading towards us. Zane positioned the vehicle a comfortable distance away from them, but in their path. This allowed them to slowly move into our space and in fact some passed so closely to the vehicle that I could have reached out and touched them if I tried. They were completely comfortable with our presence as they headed to the dam.

There were two calves in the herd and they were suckling as they walked and were always very close to their mothers, walking in their shade or between their legs.

In the distance was a lone bull that was keeping a close eye on the herd but not interacting with them at all. There were however a couple of juvenile males who were keen to show us their strength and shook their heads at us, flapping ears and trumpeting! Once they all had a good drink at the water, and had rolled in the mud, they continued to one of their favourite dust bath spots on the banks of the dam. Here they covered themselves in dust, which conveniently stuck to their wet and mud covered bodies. Apparently this helps with keeping insects at bay. Zane also explained that they needed considerably less water than our other African elephants.”


A little more about Mowani Mountain Camp:


Comfort, luxury and a sense of rugged elegance is what can be expected from Mowani Mountain Camp. Winner of an architectural eco-design award in Germany, the camp is an oasis nestled between ancient granite boulders and bushy scrub. Game drives, nature walks, elephant and dune drives (searching for the desert adapted elephant) and visits to Twyfelfontein are all experiences that guests can look forward to at Mowani.

Contact Mowani Mountain Camp
Tel. 264 61 232 009