Etosha National Park - Waterholes and Watering holes all in one place!
May 11, 2005
|Excited about our 3 day trip to Etosha National Park, we were packed and ready early Monday morning. The car collecting us contained only one other tourist - a young Japanese guy with a minimum grasp of English. The feelings of dread were quickly replaced by relief as we entered the tour operator's office to be greeted by a Polish couple from England. they were friendly, shared our passion for travel and most of all were fluent in English!
The long drive to Etosha passed quickly as we had several beer stops and collected the 3 remaining members of the group along the way. On arrival at the National Park we were rewarded by our first sightings of giraffes, zebra and springboks. The excitement within the car was contagious and before long, everyone was standing on their seats, head sticking out of the pop-up top, shouting at any animal sightings. Every time a flicker of an animal was seen the car had to be repositioned so as to get a better view. Photos of distant giraffes and zebras hiding in bushes were eagerly taken in case we didn't get to see them again.
Following a family of warthogs (Lion King's Pumba) we arrived at the first campsite. A short demonstration on how to put up a tent was followed by a scene from the Krypton Factor as people attempted to copy the example. Several missing poles and stretched canvases later, we were being led to the floodlit waterhole, beers in hand, for the rumoured elephant sightings. Unfortunately the elephants had left by the time we got there but we did get to see some jackals and hyenas.
A quick cup of coffee and we were on the road again by 6am, eagerly searching for elephants and lions. Instead we witnessed an amazing sunrise over the grazing wildebeest, kudus and oryx (antelope-like creatures). More giraffes, zebras and springboks appeared along our drive through the park towards the second campsite. Herds of each animal crossed the road in front of us and drank at the waterholes. Spoilt for choice, the inconspicious first sightings of the previous day were quickly forgotten as we attempted to capture everything on camera.
Our munch stop by yet another waterhole rewarded us with a large family of elephant, drinking and playing in the water. these majestic creatures were undisturbed by the viewers who, in turn, were mesmerised. Even the hot sun and the promise of lunch could not tear us away!
Slightly sunburnt and suffering from indigestion after the quickly wolfed down lunch, we arrived at the second campsite. Putting the tents up quicker than you could say "Krypton Factor" this time, we settled down at the best waterhole yet. Over several hours we laughed at the elephants posing for photos; watched the usual suspects (zebras, springboks, wildebeests, etc) come and go and even managed to catch a lone black rhino's guest appearance after dark. All that was left to see now was the illusive lion.
On the final morning of the tour we were woken by the roars of a pack of lions. Both scared and excited, we rushed into the car for our sunrise drive. However roars were all we'd be experiencing as not 1 lion could be seen (stage fright or maybe performance anxiety?!)
Exhausted and hot we all fell asleep on the long drive back to Windhoek not even stirring for the zebras, giraffes or springboks this time. In complete contrast to the first day, we'd all seen enough of these animals so as not to bat an eyelid on the last day!
The road back to Windhoek passed through many small towns and in one such town, Neha was propositioned by a 10 year old boy. Speaking very softly he offered her sex for 5 Namibian dollars (about 40p). this left her complately speechless (always a first time!) and wary of speaking to local children for the rest of the drive ( maybe Kiran's mum's warning about children should have been heeded?).
Back in Windhoek we're grateful for one night in a proper bed before our second camping trip.