Etosha National Park

Sunday 5 November2017

After not much sleep on the plane the previous night, I slept really well. But we were up at 6am with the noise fromthe surroundingtents.Breakfastwas at 7am.Withthe truck.Some oats and banana.And then we were off.Hours of not much.Orange flat land.Some hills in the distance.I fell asleep.We stopped at several small towns enroute.Mainly to use the bathroom at the petrol stations.The petrol station shops were surprisingly well stocked with drinks and chocolate. A huge selection.One of thetowns was a bit larger.Men were hanging around, doing nothing. Seems to be fairly commonacross Africa. And women were sitting in a lineall selling food to passers by.

We stopped forlunch at a bakery, before continuing on for the last hour to Etosha.We finally arrivedat the park gates around 3pm. Hanging around the gates were some children and some himba women (with mud braided hair). But we weren’t there long enough to take a look at them (!).

Then we were off.

Into the park. Looking for animals.

We didn’t have to go for long until we saw herds of impala. Jumping around. So cute.

Herds of zebra.

A few ostrich.

And lots of different types of birds.

We are staying at one of the rest camps inside the park. We arrived around 4pm and it was still so hot.

We found our slot and put up our tents. I haven’t done this for a few years! But still largely remembered how they work. Although these were much smaller than the ones I used on my last africa overlanding trip. Literally only fit the sleeping pad (which was very comfy) and no bags.

Then back out again in the truck for more driving around to find animals.

We saw a few more: some giraffe, an elephant, some jakals (a type of small dog). And drove back to camp as the sky was turning orange.

It was nearly sunset time. Sunset is around 7pm. So we rushed down to the waterhole which is within the campsite area.

This is a pool of water which animals can come and drink. Tonight wasn’t too exciting. Only a few impala standing around.

So we watched the orange sun disappear and then went to shower.

Dinner was delicious – lots of vegetables and some pasta. Pleasantly surprised as I expected vegan food to be a bit too difficult.

Oddly, the moon rises here. It happens about 9.30pm. And tonight it was blood red. Full moon. So cool.

Then back down to the waterhole. And there was a black rhino there!! Everyone was very excited. It stood around for a while, then walked away. Apparently after we left it did come down to drink at the water.

Then to bed. My first night in the tent. I wasn’t really feeling it. It felt uncomfortable and awkward. My stuff being dotted around everywhere – some in various places on the truck. Other bits in the tent.

Monday 6 November 2017

We were up early. Some people had an alarm going off at 4am. Which was a bit ridiculous. I got up about 5am.

It was still dark.

Breakfast was similar to yesterday – oats, topped with jam, peanut butter and granola. So good. Sitting as the sun rose next to us, giving a pink sky.

Then back in the truck to go off driving for the morning. The park opens just after sunrise. So as soon as it was open, we were off. Which was about 6am.

Etosha is apparently completely unique in Namibia (and Southern Africa), a desolate salt pan, low-cut landscapes and waterholes. Wildlife is supposed to be abundant.

We did see a lot.

As soon as we drove out of the camp site gates, there was a jackal so close to us. Over a nest, trying to catch ground squirrels.

We drove to the salt pan. As there was rain just a few weeks earlier, the trees had grown leaves and many of the animals had already left the salt pans, which was a shame.

We saw:

Zebra

Springbok

Steelbok

Impala

Wildebeest

Jakals

Giraffes

Guinea fowl

Some eagles

Kori bastard (a bird)

Two bat eared red fox – the guide got very excited about these. They are endangered and very rare to see.

Warthog

Oryx (gemsbok)

The wildebeest are currently migrating. They were walking. Crossing the road.

Springbok were mostly everywhere. Often younger ones were ‘springing’ – so cute!

We were driving and driving and driving. We covered a vast distance. Whilst not as much wildlife as I expected, it was still fun.

We arrived back at camp at 11am. It already felt like a long day, but still the morning!

Brunch was ready for us. But I could only eat watermelon.

Right next to where we were sitting were massive bird nests. The larger nest is comprised of lots of smaller nests, all wound together. Sociable weaver birds! They were small and all flying around us. Picking up small twigs to add to their houses.

We had a few hours to kill before going back out again. So did a bit of washing. Then went to the pool. Fancy campsite! It was so hot. And really nice to sit in the water.

We popped to the waterhole, not expecting to see anything in the heat of the day. But presently surprised. So many animals.

Zebra in their hundreds. A stream of them moving in. Drinking. Then leaving.

Kudu in a small group.

A few impala.

And springbok weaving between.

It was so cool watching all the different animals moving around each other for s spot to drink.

We went back out at 4.30pm. More driving around.

This time we didn’t see anything too different. More elephant. Zebras. Giraffes. Impala. Springbok. It was good though.

As we were coming back into the camp, there were 9 giraffe hanging out. Including one baby one! So cute. And the sky was orange.

Of course we headed back to the water hole to check out the sunset. And had such a surprise as there were so many animals there. Hundreds of zebra. Still coming along to drink at the edge of the water. The water reflecting the pink sky. So pretty.

For dinner we had a vegetable shepherds pie. Not something I would usually eat. But it was delicious. Totally stunned at how they can make such food with the cooking equipment they had at the side of the truck.

Again, the red moon was out. Very unusual looking.

And then to bed. It was already 10pm by the time we finished dinner. And I was tired.

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