We just left Etosha National Park after spending 4 full days exploring it and we are staying in a place called Okojima Lodge still in Namibia.

Etosha park… WOW… what can you say?  I guess I will let the pictures do the talking.

Our 15th Country!

Our 15th country!

While we have visited some different countries than one another, our total numbers are the same.  In the background, you will see a ton of elephants that were coming in for their evening drink.
I don’t even know where to start.  I guess I will kick them out Chronologically.  I will try to keep it short, but we have seen so much.

We flew into Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, and stayed at a place called Rivendell.  The geek in me was gleefully surprised that they actually had a hobbit breakfast, and a dog named Baggins.  It was a clean place, and seemed to be very busy.  From here we booked a trip up to Etosha park, including a rental car and vouchers for all the places we were staying.

The next day was my first day driving on the wrong side of the road.  I can’t say I’m very good at it, but I adapted quicker than I thought I would.  I still turn on my window wipers to signal a turn(the turn signal and window wipers are swapped as well as the gear shift).  I also am not a fan of swapping gears with my left hand, but its doable.  The language barrier is surprisingly more extreme in Namibia.  I was at this fast food place, called Pie King or something, where they essentially sell hotpockets. One of them was called “The Russian”, so I asked the lady what was in it.  She said.. “The Russian”.  I replied, “So there is a Russian in there?”  to which she looked at me and said “Yes, Russian inside.”  I ended up getting the generic meat and pepper one.

We drove up one of the main highways to a place called Waterburg Wilderness lodge.  All along the sides of the roads were warthogs just hanging out nosing through grass.  Surprisingly, there was only 1 smashed one that we passed, and they seldem ran across the road, although they would run away from the road with their tail held straight up in the air.  Later, we would be told by guides that they do this so that they can follow one another in the grass.  We made it to the lodge and passed out.  During the night, we woke up several times hearing strange freaky noises.  The animals outside are always making noises at one another, I guess we also missed a pregnant female black rhino who came up to eat the grass lawn outside our room.  Who wants to open a door to that anyhow?

We drove the rest of the way the next day to a place called Mushara Outpost.  We would like to thank our Mothers for giving us money for our trip, and we decided to use that money to make going to Namibia possible.  The rooms were small but quaint cabins with bug nets over the bed, and alot of very nice touches to the place, like being able to roll down the walls of the shower to overlook a water hole where various wild animals would come to drink while showering.  This would be our home base for the next two days.  The Outpost was located outside of the park, but it was a quick drive to get there.  The night we arrived, we decided to make a trip to the park to see if we could catch some animals before the gates shut and locked us in.  We found a pair of lions walking through blind luck in between waterholes, and observed them for a while.  We tried waiting to see i we would get to watch a kill, but we had to go as the park was closing for people staying outside the park.  The gates close and lock people in at sunset, and I don’t think you would want to be driving a car through the park at night.  The animals are all over the place during the day, I dont want to imagine the chaos of it at night.

A little bit about Etosha and safaris…
Etosha is a large park, with a dry lake in the middle that is pretty much flat and inhospitable to life.   Around the lake is various bush, desert and tree areas.  Pretty much every bush that exists here has thorns, some of them burn you with natural chemicals to keep you away.  I guess things don’t survive here without a nasty defense mechanism.  Rule number one in the park is, don’t ever get out of your vehicle.  Rule number two is don’t leave the roads.  The speed limit is 60km, and animals have the right of way.  There are several roads across the park, going from the 3 ‘villages'(govt run tourist traps) within the park and to a bunch of different watering holes.  A watering hole is either a spring that produces standing water, or a man made copy of this.  Current Namibia is experiencing a drought, so many of the water holes have dried up.  Unfortunately, this changes per season, and if this is your first time here, you don’t know which ones are worth going to.  Not only that, but the animal traffic is unpredictable at each watering hole, so a watering hole that is lame in one half hour, can be excellent in the following half hour.  So often, it seems you miss something by 15 minutes.  There is a set of animals called “The Big 5” that are the more rare sights to see  on a safari.  This famous 5 consists of Elephants, Lions, Leopard, Rhino and Water Buffalo.  Etosha has them all but Water Buffalo.

I could wax on about how close we got to wild elephants, or talk about the mating lions we saw, perhaps spew about the ostriches taking dirt baths, or describe the herd of elephants we witnessed.  There were so many things that we saw and I’m not exactly sure what people want to know, and this is running a bit long anyhow.

To summarize:
We saw 3 of the Big 5, Lions, Elephants, and Rhino.  We spent several hours looking for Leopard, but never successfully spotted one.  They are excellent at hiding.  We drove across the park and stayed outside the west gate as well, this place was actually a bit gross, but way cheaper.  We spent a total of about 5 days visiting the park, and we would have loved to spend more.  We spent a large amount of time watching lions, and giraffes make Jane and myself smile whenever we see them.  This place is a photographers dream, unfortunately for me I was driving so Jane took most of our 2000+photos here.

A zebra.

Until next time!