How Does An Elephant Walk Down a Sand Dune? You’ll be Surprised.

Papa G in Namibia near Hoanib Skeleton Coast I watched as Papa G looked down at us over the long expanse of his trunk. We were in our vehicle at the bottom of the dry Hoanib riverbed where the water would be if we weren’t in the middle of a desert. It was sunrise and we were at the beginning of a day trip to the Atlantic Ocean. The Hoanib riverbed was our highway. From his body language it was clear that Papa G was planning on walking down the bank but the path was steep and he was a big boy—at least three tons if he was a pound. The big bull looked right and then left, then curled his trunk up toward his forehead like an Olympic athlete signaling to the judges he was about to begin. This should be interesting. Pappa G elephant sliding down a dune in Namibia He tested the edge, placing his large round front foot in the sand. It instantly fell away resulting in a miniature avalanche spilling down the hill. Hmmm.. that didn’t look too promising. He moved 20 feet to the left where the incline was a tad less formidable and began again. This time the border held and he walked his front feet down the slope until he was splayed in a hilarious elephant version of downward facing dog. Ever so slowly the sand began to collapse beneath his weight, moving his front feet forward until he was on his knees and then with the grace of a dancer he slid down the embankment.

Pappa G elephant sliding down a dune in Namibia And from the U.S. judge..….the score is a perfect 10!  ~Taken near Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in Namibia For more stories about my Namibian adventure, click here

19 replies »

  1. I wonder if he was lured by peanuts that were used as bait for him to go down this hill. A lovely article and beautiful photographs!


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