Namibia: Windhoek to Etosha
The flights to Namibia were a bit annoying due to having to stop back at Jo burg before flying to Windhoek. However when we got on the plain heading for Namibia I found I couldn’t find my seat. After asking a studess she pointed me in the direction of business class where I enjoyed all the benefits of being an arse with others arses for two hours, really cool actually.
When we arrived in Windhoek we were transported straight to our lovely guest house where we enjoyed a really nice shower and bed for the night.
In the morning we were picked up and taken to the departure point for our tour in Etosha. The six hour drive wasn’t such fun. We were in a bus specifically designed so you couldn’t get comfy in any position and all the way up to Etosha I had the sun on my side of the vehicle grrr. We eventually arrived and began with a short game drive. It was really interesting to see the difference between our game drives in Gwala Gwala which involved lots of scrub land and trees and this, which I guess is more like the Africa you see in TV documentaries consisting of open planes and herds of Zebra, Oryx and spring bock.
And then came the camping bit!!!!
Ok so the camping wasn’t too scary, just very different from our luxury tent experience which really wasn’t camping in any way.
The light was fading when we got the camp site, we could already hear the Jackals making noise in the scrub behind where we had made our camp for the evening.
Our tour guys had left us at a place with a viewing tower to see the sunset. It was actually a magical sunset- I have never seen one quite like it; the red African sun setting across the planes. The problem was that when the sun went down, so the light vanished too and we had to try and find our guides in a huge campsite as the light was fading fast. We did eventually find them, in the furthest possible spot on the site…….. and then came putting up the tent.
I was dreading this as the last time I attempted it was when I was with the girl Guides (no sniggering) and it was very complicated! Thankfully tents have come on an extremely long way since then and we managed to sort it in 5 mins. Sarah and I then made off with a torch to try and find some booze to have with our campfire dinner. This was slightly comedy and involved lots of tripping on my behalf. One thing I did notice in the darkness was the stars. They were absolutely stunning, you don’t realise what is up there until there is no light to interfere with seeing it, just beautifully clear and so many stars.
The evening ended at 10 pm and every one was so knackered we actually happily went to sleep then………only to be woken up- what seemed an hour later but was actually 7 hours at 5 AM!!!!
We had to get all of our stuff out and on the bus and then get the tent down and packed away asap before breakfast. This started of in a civil early morning way but descended into some kind of race as people tried to be the first to be all packed away and get some breakfast. Thankfully me and Sarah put in a valiant effort and got some breakfast, the guys that came last didn’t get even get tea or coffee as the mugs were all gone (well maybe that will teach them to try and bit harder tomorrow) &x1F60A
This day carried on in the same fashion as yesterday; seeing game – lots of it. I was slightly miffed by lunchtime that nearly all the animals we spotted were on the other side of the vehicle- due to them driving on the left, so all the waterholes we came too we approached from the left -grrrr. I was also annoyed with having the end of some ones zoom lens in every other picture I took- grrr. By lunch I was ready to get off the bus put some space between me and our travelling companions.
After lunch we visited a salt plane; it was completely white and I’m not sure why or how it came to be in the middle of the African planes (maybe I should have paid more attention to the talk). It stretched out for miles and miles and was actually quite a sight to behold. As the end of the day approached and every one had had enough of my ‘zebra crossing’ that I made whenever we stopped to let zebra’s pass ( I don’t think this can ever get tiring personally but each to their own) we stopped at our resting place for the night.
Our tour guides dropped us at the top of the resort to do what we wanted whether that be Internet, shopping or going up another of these viewing towers to take in the sunset. I left Sarah on the Internet and began to make my way through the huge campsite on my own, trying to find our bus. However I luckily saw some of the guys from our tour and ran towards them. As I got closer I saw they were heading towards a huge crowd of about 100 people who were standing in complete and utter silence watching something. I began to hear big animal noises and as I reached my group I could not believe my eyes!! They were watching a full herd of elephants at the water hole. There were about 20 huge elephants including lots of babies and young elephants. It was a truly incredible and unreal site- I could easily have been at home on my sofa watching a TV doc, this is not the kind of thing you see- ever! By the time the last elephant had walked off into the distance there were nearly 200 people that had come to watch.
That night we went back to the water hole- apparently the campsite was erected around this natural water hole so people could watch the animals. The water hole was flood-lit at night. For a while there were loads of us just watching one very tiny bird wading in the mud and the odd jackal but suddenly we saw a white mass moving towards the hole. It became clear it was a black rhino as it got closer. This was very exciting but the most amazing bit happened after dinner.
A few of us went back to the water hole to be greeted by three Rhinos and a large elephant. The rhinos kept us seriously amused, two of them were being brave and inquisitive approaching this elephant. The elephant didn’t seem bothered until they just got a bit too close and she flapped her ears and raised her trunk and the two little Rhinos made a comedy backwards turn, bumping into each other in their effort to move away. We watched as the rhinos bantered with each other and as the elephant became very interested in one of the more grumpy big rhinos. The cross noises that came out of the rhinos were the best cross noises I have herd from any animal: it begins with repetitive exhaling of air then turns into a medium to high pitch grunt noise followed by a roundabout spin as they turn to run away and then decides they are going to face the opposition. A few people near me were in hysterics.
Then came the best bit of the night as our one elephant turned into two- they were being so affectionate to each other- it really looked like they were new lovers who couldn’t get enough of each other- it was actually a really moving and amazing thing to see in the flesh. Then the two tuned into a herd of elephants – I’m guessing the same herd I had greeted earlier on in the day. It was tremendous. As time grew on and I thought about my 5am wake up I considered going to bed, but then seriously had to check my self….I mean come on, bed or carrying on watching this once in a life time sight? So I picked no sleep and being bitten by insects and having moths fly into my hair for a few hours more-as you probably would too.