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On to Etosha – A wildlife haven

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Etosha National Park is in northern Namibia near the border with Angola and is centered around a 5,000 square km salt flat called Etosha Pan. Along the southern edge of the pan, there is a necklace of water holes connected by dusty roads.  Some are natural and some are supported by solar-powered pumps. Driving on the pan is not permitted. This is the dry season and some of the water holes we drive to are completely dry.  The others are concentrating the animals.  We are staying at the government lodge which is inside the park boundary. This government facility has basic cabins and a restaurant within an enclosure built next to a fairly large waterhole that is lit up at night.  One evening, Liam caught elephants making out by snaking their trunks around and a rhinoceros quietly shuffling around the floodlit waterhole.

We see all manner of African wild animals on our drives that crisscross this dry landscape. An hour or so northwest of our lodge, we have a Serengeti-like experience. Wildebeest, kudu, springboks, ostriches and more are streaming in toward the water that glitters at the edge of the salt pan that sparkles in the noonday sun.

One afternoon we take a guided drive in an open safari vehicle.  We notice two lions with a zebra that they have killed a few days earlier. The lions are lying beside their zebra in the distance, some 250 m from the road where we wait.  As we watched, one lion got up and left the other lion to guard their kill from the hovering pack of 5-6 blackbacked jackals.  The  lion then walked some 3 km to get a drink.  We watched intently from the road.  Our driver/guide drove ahead and we waited just where this very thirsty lion crossed our road on its way to the waterhole.  We noted that the big difference between Namibia and East Africa is that here everybody stays on the roads.  Some years ago n Tanzania, the vehicles drove everywhere and would have surrounded our two lions and driven the jackals away.

At one waterhole we watched a giraffe trying to get enough courage to spread its long front legs and lean down to get a drink of precious water. Many minutes went by as the giraffe looked right and then left and slowly moved a few centimeters toward the water.  After it finally had a drink, a whole stream of guineafowl came out of the bush and clustered at the water’s edge. Suddenly there was a ruckus and the birds flew up in a noisy flock.   All but one.  Leslie, using our 400mm wildlife telephoto lens,
captured the result of two martial eagles which had swooped down from the clear, blue sky.

 

At the bottom of this post are some more images of the many animals which we observed at Etosha National Park.

2 Responses to “On to Etosha – A wildlife haven”

  1. Audra Adelberger says:

    How exciting!
    Reminds me a lot of Botswana. also of waterholes in Zimbabwe.
    All of this is unforgettable!

  2. Lesley I Nilsson says:

    Another world!


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