|Spent 6 days in Etosha - 2 days in each camp (Okuejo, Halali and Namutoni).
There were floodlit waterholes at each camp that made it possible to view wildlife at any hour. We had some great elephant, hyena and black rhino sightings at the holes. Also had the best leopard sightings yet! One day we spent three hours watching a young leopard in and out of a tree (his mother was off hunting). The next day, we went back to look for them again and found the mother at the edge of the road. We surprised each other and she snarled at John when he rolled down the window to take photos! Beautiful cats!
Unfortunately, the camps were very noisy. For two days we had to listen to funeral music play all night long (it seems funerals also last 3 days in Africa as they did in Cambodia). Also had a busload of schoolkids for neighbors one night - noisy on their cellphones and in their tents. Had to tell them off again and again! Lastly, had neighbors who thought it was okay to play music in camp (NOT!) Hate this part of camping.
We did, however, have a very strange and scary conversation with one of our campsite neighbors.
Disclaimer: Before we describe this conversation please be absolutely certain that we in NO way agree with anything that this person was suggesting and strongly argued against his insane theories!! Sometimes it's important to try to understand where people are coming from, even when they are dead wrong. Hopefully they also listen to the other side and re-think their position...
We had met this group that was in the campsite next to ours earlier and one of them came over to say hi and find out about our travels etc. Anyway, the conversation soon turned to matters of race (as it often does in Southern Africa). Initially, he started out by trying to convince us that there was a direct correlation between the color of someone's skin and their IQ and that there are numerous studies and supporting evidence to back this up. Of course all these studies have been suppressed because of the outrage that would ensue if they were published in main-stream research media. Of course we strongly argued with this point, but he had only just begun! It got a lot crazier!
He then brought up the subject of gold. He questioned why gold was such an important commodity in our society and why did we spend so much effort and time digging it up, melting it down to make ingots and storing these underground again in places like Fort Knox. At this stage we did not know exactly where he was going with this, but John was getting an idea where these tangents were leading. After talking about gold and it's properties as a good thermal/light reflector, global warming, pyramids, US domination of technology and other seemingly random topics, he got to his main point. Basically, he believes, the human race was genetically engineered to mine for gold - by aliens! He thinks the darker your skin, the further you were from the source alien genetic material and the better you were at mining gold, which is why darker skinned races are found closer to the equator where more gold is to be found. Those with lighter skin, Europeans, are closer to the alien genetic source and, therefore, more intelligent, superior - Aryan=Alien. He said the aliens needed the gold to make reflective dust which they introduced to the atmosphere of their planet to prevent global warming. The gold, under an agreement with the US government, had been shipped from Earth, via Mars to the alien planet. Unbelievable! So, at this stage we are both trying to figure out how to get out of this conversation and how do we lock ourselves in our tent as this guy was staying right next door. Fortunately, there was a break in his rantings and we made our escape.
Again, sometimes we feel that we would rather take our chances in the wild with the lions and hyenas, snakes and scorpions than spend too much time around some of the scary, backward, insane thinking that we have occasionally encountered on our travels.