Day 277: Two Down, Two To Go

Fri. 17th May 2013

Beautiful beastsToday everyone is excited as we are heading to Etosha National Park in search of the four of the big five African animals that can be seen here. They are elephant, rhino, leopard and lion but there are no buffalo (which we are surprised is the 5th of the ‘Big Five) in Etosha. We are like kids with their I Spy book of game animals ready to tick off what we see. At last, we can have all of the big windows on the truck open, which will make taking photographs much easier as well as allowing a refreshing but dusty breeze through. The 200km drive to the park is quiet as we all anticipates the game we will see.

Majestic giraffeWe are not in the park long before we spot giraffes and stop to wonder at the elegance of how they walk and how they spread their front legs to reach down low for drinking. Next up are elephants in some distant bushes where we try and make out their features between the branches, little do we know that a short while later we will stop the truck to watch two elephants very close up crossing the road in front of us!

At the water holeOur trip to our lodge for tonight takes us on a circuitous route through the National Park stopping at numerous watering holes where the wildlife hangs out. It is great to see all the animals quite relaxed and enjoying a pleasant drink and a dip in the water. We also stop at the lodge which we are staying at tomorrow night, for a bite of lunch. While Tambi prepares our food, we check out the water hole at the lodge and see an array of animals.

I have always loved the zebra and its stripes.In the afternoon, we head out again in Janis to see what else we can see. We travel on tracks through quite varied terrain from dusty plains to dense scrubland. We look left and right for any signs of wildlife. There are cries of stop if we see something Zenzo has missed. We get to see more elephants and a herd of zebra very helpfully wandering along close to the road. We arrive at the Halali game lodge for tonight very happy at the range of animals we have seen.

Number two ticked offIt is not long to sunset and wanting to catch any animals having a late drink in the cool of the day before it gets dark, we head for the watering hole on the edge of the lodge area. We see people running past and the cry goes up that there is a black rhino so we break into a jog and follow. We arrive to see a majestic rhino drinking at the water hole and over a dozen people are just sitting watching. The poor light of dusk makes taking photos a challenge but Dave manages some pictures that we are pleased with. The rhino looks to be a large beast especially against the springbok and the impalas but it was not until the next day when I saw an elephant next to a rhino that the size factor sank in. The elephant made the rhino look like a midget.

Life at the water holeThe (soon to be) Birthday BoysWe sit at the waterhole watching the sun go down and could have spent hours just sat watching the coming and goings but we need to head back to our homework. Our dinner is served in the campsite area of the lodge grounds which is situated on the other side of the restaurant to the rooms. As we head over we pass a Honey Badger hoping for some scraps, quite oblivious to us walking by. There are two birthdays on the trip and after supper Chandra, one of our group produces a cake for Igor and Dave as a lovely surprise even though there are still a couple of days before Igor’s birthday and a week until Dave’s. One of the chef at the lodge very kindly made it with only two hours notice.

 

Have I overdone the sand?So after our sightings today, in our I Spy books we can tick off giraffes, elephants, springbok, zebras, impalas, oryx, wildebeest, hyena, jackals, honey badger and the finale of rhino. As for birds we saw ostriches, southern yellow billed hornbill and various birds of prey. We have seen two of the big four and hopefully we can add to that tomorrow. What a truly wonderful day with so many surprises and we all head off to bed happy, knowing that tomorrow is another day (to quote Zenzo!).

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2 Responses to Day 277: Two Down, Two To Go

  1. Nick Jepson says:

    Don’t know if you’ll receive this in time as you have clearly dropped off the world of internet access but HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAVE for tomorrow.

    We’ve been following all your posts and you seem to have some pictures of animals like the ones I saw on a recent College trip with students to Woburn Safari Park.

    Janet looks at though see has really taken on the Namibian spirit but caught a bit too much sun in the picture at the top of the 16th May post!

    I’ve just spoken to Rod T who was asking after you. We’re meeting up for Sunday lunch in a few weeks. Also saw John Edwards down at Babcock 4S in Leatherhead. I did a bit of consultancy for Amanda Peck who is now there and discovered John has been working there since Feb.

    College was inspected last week and we got a 2 (good) which is what we wanted. I was also officially observed teaching a lesson and was given a grade 1 (but know full well I could be a 3 with a different group of students on a different day). The College result is confidential but I don’t think you’ll be broadcasting it from Africa – and we’re kidding ourselves if we think the FE world doesn’t already know.

    Anyway, have a wonderful birthday (in Botswana?). Stay safe and enjoy every second.
    We’re starting to think about dates for the slide show when you get back.

    Love to you both
    Nick & Sue

    • Dave says:

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for the comments and the birthday wishes.

      Africa is turning out to be amazing – nearly as good as Woburn, as you point out. Our only frustration is that Internet access is very sporadic here. We have a big backlog of blog posts. However the ‘Lions…’ post I’m just about to publish has some really great photos in it.

      I’m glad all is well with you and the ex-RMers club is still doing well. Only a couple of months until I am back and wondering what to do to earn a crust.

      Hopefully we can have a chat on Skype before your birthday.

      Dave

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