namibia part III - etosha national park

This year I was only able to take 3 weeks annual leave instead of my usual 4 weeks leave. When I booked my trip to Namibia, the trip was chosen solely on dates that fitted my tight schedule. My travel agent looked through the trip I'd booked online and commented that I'd love being on safari.

At that point I hadn't realised the trip included 2 days on safari. About 2 weeks before I flew out I started looking at a suitable lens. The new Fuji 100-400mm lens was way out of my price range so I tried renting the lens. I encountered every road block imaginable so in the end I went on safari without a long lens. I knew I wouldn't be able to get the close-up shots I wanted and instead sat back and tried to enjoy the experience in real time.

The safari took place in the Etosha National Park. We arrived when the park gates opened for the day and waited for our open top vehicle to arrive. We were warned not to expect too much and for a while we saw nothing. We stopped at a water hole for a while and soon after we started to see some animals. Here's a photo of my favourite beasts, the zebras.

There were springboks aplenty

and less common sightings like these wildebeest on the move.

Did I mention the giraffes?

and the elephants having a bath,

having a drink,

and even (?) running. The other animals wisely kept out of their way.

The water holes, where all the action happened.

At the water holes there was an obvious hierarchy and all the other animals would leave when the elephants arrived, even the rhinos.

Startled impala.

because there was a pride of lions close by.

The first night we stayed at the Moringa Waterhole. When I walked down there in the heat of the day, there were no animals in sight. I went to bed early and  the following day heard tales of the rhinos who'd come to drink at the waterhole. I did see a tiny little squirrel though.

The next day we climbed back on board Mike the truck for our safari. Again there was little to see in the morning so we made our way to the Pan, a large salt pan visible from space.

There was some plant life and plenty of salt.

The salt was crunchy underfoot.

We may have ignored the 'stay in vehicle' part of the message.

On our second day on safari we moved to a different camp located near the Okaukuejo Water hole where I found a weaver bird hard at work building it's nest.

Our second day on safari was a great day guided by Thandi, our Nomad tour leader. We found this herd of red hartebeest grazing nearby.

and of course the by now ubiquitous elephants.

A male ostrich wandering through the plains.

Then it was back to our camp for lunch under the common weaver nest and a chance to gather around the waterhole before returning to the the truck.

A zebra crossing and yes they do walk in single file.

There could never be too many zebras for me.

I roamed around the campsite with my camera.

Before returning to the water hole at dusk

where I finally caught sight of the elusive rhino. The rhinos waited until the elephants had finished bathing. As no flash was allowed all I have is a grainy image of 3 rhinos on my mobile phone and a few photos of a herd of elephants in a cloud of swirling dust.

The safari was just magical,


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