Friday, 5 May 2017
An early start today, followed by a very long drive to Windhoek where we arrive later in the afternoon. A comfortable hotel room in the Auas Hotel this time with a real bed, wifi and all the electricity you need: sheer luxury! The rest of the day is used to relax and recharge, and in the evening we get together to say goodbye to a few group members who are leaving, and welcome a few new ones. Sam, Graham, Rollie, Julia, Cherry and Elizabeth leave and are replaced with Sean, Graham( the second) and Luke. The rest of the group remains as it is: John, Liz, Allen, Shirley, Lauren, Nathalia, Nick, Johno, Alex, Kim and of course ourselves and Jaco and Dion. We have a nice dinner in The Peppercorn, a restaurant located in the Mall next to our hotel. The younger ones in the group go bar hopping till 2:30 AM, while the remaining group returns to the hotel for the night.
Saturday, 6 May 2017
We board the bus this time to head to Etosha National Park. It’s a relatively short ride compared to yesterday and the animal viewing starts the minute we pass through the main gate.
Along the way to our campsite for the next two nights, we see Impala, Springbok, Jackal and Giraffes. Tomorrow we’ll be going on a game drive and will be seeing many more, but this is already a good start. After arrival we setup camp and pitch our tents; while Jaco prepares dinner. We also take a look at the watering hole which is just visible from behind the fence surrounding our camp area. When we arrive there is a small herd of Zebra drinking the water and splashing around. After dinner we return to the watering hole again which is bathed in light from a pair of floodlights, but there are no animals to be seen.
Sunday, 7 May 2017
The next day we get an early start for a game drive in two open trucks. Pretty much immediately out of the gate we strike it rich and find 3 lions hanging out, resting with full bellies after the morning hunt. After we leave this scene it’s pretty much a constant schedule of driving a bit and stopping after someone spots an animal and shouts “Stop!”. Of course the are false alarms, as many branches and bushes look remarkably like animals, but in the course of the day, we see many: Lion, Impala, Springbok, Kudu, Oryx, Rhino, Jackal, Zebra, Wildebeest and a few I don’t recall the name of. Our game drive take all day and we take hundreds of photos and video. Especially the Rhino crossing the road in front of our vehicles gets a lot of attention and the male lion drinking at a watering hole.
Around noon, we stop at another camp to eat some lunch, swim in the pool and relax. Since I have not slept much last night, I stretch out in the grass underneath a shady tree and catch a few winks. After my nap Gepke comes to get me to check out the watering hole at this camp, but it becomes a short visit, as we need to board our vehicles again for the rest of the game drive. On the way back, we see the vast expanse of the “Pan”, a large silted dry lakebed that is currently yellow with short grass. During the rain season, runoff water from the north collects here, along with all the minerals collected along the way.
When we return we help Jaco prepare dinner for tonight: spaghetti bolognese. The food is appreciated by all, but unfortunately the beer is warm, and there is no way to cool it. It tastes very English. After dinner Gepke and I go to the watering hole, and after sitting there for a while staring into the dark, two Rhinos show up to get a drink. Gepke takes photos but it’s too dark for video. We just enjoying watching the Rhinos at the watering hole a bit longer, and then return to our tents. I am not as cold this time, and get some sleep. Perhaps tomorrow I can stay awake in the bus long enough to write the blog.