The African Elephant
The African elephant, Loxodonta africana,
is the largest land animal alive.
It can stand anything between 3 and 4 metres high and weigh around 6000 kilograms.
This is a massive beast to say the least.
Namibia is mostly a semi arid country; the elephant populations are concentrated in the
North and North east of the country, these areas receive much more rainfall and
therefore have more trees and bush available to sustain elephant populations.
Out of interest sake I must mention the desert adapted elephant.
They are also African elephant, but completely adapted to living in the arid areas in the West of the country.
African elephants must cover huge distances in order to find enough food to sustain their bulk.
This is also the case in Namibia.
Although most elephants are found inside national parks, there are some populations still
roaming outside of national parks and game reserves.
Contact us to arrange your Namibia safari and have the chance to see these animals in
An elephant’s most distinguishing feature is its flexible trunk.
This acts like a hand does to a human being, and is extremely useful to the elephant.
Large jaws and ivory tusks complete the picture of the grey giant.
The big ears of an elephant contain a network of fine blood capillaries to aid in cooling.
By flapping these massive ears the elephant cools itself down.
An elephant’s skin is grey and very thick. The skin can be up to 2 cm in thickness.
Elephants are mega herbivores.
They eat plants on a massive scale to sustain their huge bodies.
Elephants can eat grass as well as leaves. The trunk aids in most of their grazing needs.
During the dry winter months when grass and leaves of trees becomes scarce, elephants will revert to pushing down
trees to reach the young and succulent young leaves.
This makes the elephant at times quite a destructive grazer.
Elephants can eat up to 250 kilograms during a day, and need up to 200 litres of water.
Elephants are herd animals. They are highly intelligent and recognize other individuals.
They also seem to show emotion towards each other.
A herd is led by the oldest female in the group, and is known as the matriarch.
She has the added duty of teaching the other elephants all of her knowledge as well.
Elephants have huge memories, and as they live quite long, they rely on these memories extensively.
The matriarch will pass down and teach the younger animals all that she knows,
thus ensuring their survival.
Family groups can consist of females, calves and young bulls.
A single calve is born after about 22 months gestation. The calf is protected by all members in
the herd, making its survival highly probable. If it is a female, she will grow up
and stay with the herd to act as babysitter later on in her years.
Bull calves are reared but only tolerated up to a certain age.
After some time the young bulls are kicked out of the herd and they team up with an
older bull that will teach them how to survive in the wild.
Elephants sadly are
the victims of vanity.
They have been hunted in enormous numbers for their ivory
These tusks are used for a wide variety of items that are pleasing to man.
Only just recently a downward curve was seen in poaching in
Poaching still continues, but more and more local people are entrusted to protect the wildlife,
and this has seen quite a decrease in poaching.