These elephants look like ghosts haunting the sun-drenched savanna with skin whitened by clay and calcite sand.
The unusual-looking animals were photographed at a waterhole in Namibia’s Etosha National Park after taking a mud bath to cool off from the blazing heat.
Some dry white calcite sand and white clay will be left on their skin as the moisture dries up.
Felix Reinders, 30, an industrial engineer from South Africa, captured the famous ‘white ghosts’ of Etosha National Park last September.
“The big Etosha elephants come from all different directions to the Nebrownii waterhole and then stay there all afternoon bathing until late,” he said.
‘It’s almost like their date at the bar. They stand facing each other or spray water at each other. ‘
The word Etosha means ‘wonderful white place,’ after the large salt-white expanse that forms a pan in the national park center.
Elephants congregate wherever they can find moisture, burrowing in and splashing in mud and water to cool off in the intense heat.
When the mud dries, they are left on white earth, earning them the nickname ‘great white ghosts’ of Etosha.
Mr. Reinders said: ‘Some of them will stand and sleep next to the waterhole.
“Then there was a local black rhino who also wanted to take a sip of water but the male elephants didn’t like this visitor to their bar.”