We are the first to say we are the kind of people who don’t need or care much for luxury when we travel, however it became evident when we stopped at the government run camp at Okaukuejo, that we may have been treated far too well at the private camps and developed a little taste of luxury. Okaukuejo was fine, everything was just a bit old, a bit disorganised and no one offered us a welcome drink or seemed to really care about us at all. Plus we arrived just as temperatures were around 38C for the next few days. However one thing stood out at this camp and that was the waterhole.
We arrived for sunset at the waterhole and the show was just getting started. A herd of elephants were frolicking in the waterhole. Its a shame people can’t read the signs to stay silent, but regardless it was just such a magical moment. Once the elephants moved on the giraffes would come in to drink splaying their front legs so their long neck and reach the surface of the water. It puts them in a vulnerable position, but they seem to be able to jump back up rather quickly if a predator did wander by.
We left the waterhole to make our 7:30pm dinner reservation. Lets just say service was not up to scratch and move on from there to to night time viewing at the waterhole. The encore of approximately 11 black rhino visiting the waterhole, surpassed my wildest hopes and expectations. They would wander in drink and wander off. A mother and baby spent a lot of time there and the highlight was a big guy just walllowing in the waterhole to cool down and have a bath. It was something I’ll remember for the rest of my life.
The next day we left Okauhuejo to travel to another government run site called Halali. Our game drive was also our drive to our next nights accomodation. The drive got off to a good start with a sighting of a brown hyena, which are much much rarer than a spotted hyena. Initially we mostly had the company of springbok but slowly other animals were added to the list like giraffes and zebras. Turns out it is impossible to visit Etosha and not see a lot of giraffe and zebra.
Things got better though with sightings of both white and black rhino and elephants. At this stage we’d seen elephants 3 days in a row now and everytime we saw them it was an amazing experience. We also got very lucky stumbling onto a lion sighting, which isn’t really hard when you see half a dozen vehicles parked at the one spot (you still need to find all those cars together though!). The lions were a bit far away though, but easy to see in bionoculars.
By the time we reached Halali it was really hot. The waterhole seemed to attract the zebras and there were about 9 at one stage, which seemed rather impressive…… It was a much quieter camp, albeit with equally aging facilities, but also seemed to be better organised thankfully. So the first day and a half had amazing variety of animals and we have seen a lot of what we wanted to see, just those elusive cheetahs and leopards, plus all the other really rare species such as the sable antelope or a pangolin. We just had a hot night to get through before we head to Mushara the next day…..
to be continued in part 2 – Pussy cat pussy cat where are you.