Wild Encounters

Trip Start May 20, 2010
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187
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Trip End Sep 05, 2011


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Where I stayed
Okaukuejo

Flag of Namibia  ,
Friday, August 19, 2011

DOMINIQUE HERE:

Day : 450
Temperature : 30 degrees
Weather : Sunny

Having secured ourselves some "overflow"camping at Etosha's Okaukuejo Campsite we spent 4 fabulous nights in the Etosha National Park.

We didn’t want to get our hopes up about Etosha….everyone raves about Kruger, we hadn't heard much about Etosh, but it proved to be absolutely fantastic! Our campsite was situated around a watering hole which was floodlit at night time, and this was simply incredible.

Approaching the watering hole at night time the first thing you can see are the silhouettes of people standing statue still. It’s silent here, the air is still and the steamy atmosphere is electric, with only the clicking of cameras being heard and occasional hushed whispers from the people watching….and then suddenly the deafening trumpet of an elephant shatters the silence and echoes all around. You can really feel the tension of the animals here. Lions sitting on the periphery, barely visible in the dim light, but all the other animals are on high alert. The giraffes spread their legs, bending low to drink from the water, occasionally being spooked and suddenly jumping back from the water’s edge in fright stumbling over the rocks fleeing from the water. The rhinos munch on the grass before getting too close to the elephants, and then there is a stand off between the elephant and the rhino….normally the elephant wins.

Incredibly we witnessed a herd of 40 elephants at the watering hole one evening, 6 giraffe, 4 rhino, and 4 lions! Once tucked up back in bed you are awoken in the night by the crying of the jackals as they run through the camp between tents, or the roaring of the lions at the watering hole, or the soft groaning of elephants.

During the day Kev and I were incredibly lucky to have a female lion walk across the track 15 m infront of us, covered in blood, just off a kill. It took us several hours more before we discovered where the other lions were….and then we discovered two more lions and a cub. How smug were we to have been the first people to find the lions that day!

We did nearly meet an dramatic end when we encountered a huge male elephant walking down a track. We followed him down the road for several minutes, unsure as to whether we could pass him, but we decided against it. I was half hanging out of the window trying to get photos, every now and then the elephant would just look at us over his shoulder, and then suddenly without warning he turned on us and charged at full speed, ears flapping, trunk and head flailing! Kevin nearly wet himself but was thankfully quick enough to throw the car into reverse and floor it backwards…but the elephant kept running, and I was being thrown about like a rag doll still with my torso hanging out the window! Luckily, the elephant finally backed off, or we managed to get far enough away…I’m not sure which.  Kevin was ghostly white, I was half shaking, half laughing hysterically. A sharp reminder that we are actually in THEIR territory!

Having survived the charging elephant we were fortunate to see Kudu, Black faced Impala, Zebra, Wildebeest, a Cheetah on a kill, Rhino, Red Hartebeest, Sprinkgbok, Giraffe, Ostriches and not forgetting the herds of 40 or so elephant. The only down side to the Ekaukuejo campsite are the numbers of Overland Trucks which transport anything form 16-20 tourists on various tours around the region. Just when you find yourself a quiet little spot and a glass of Amarula on ice, an Overland Truck, or a “cattle truck” as we have now called them, will turn up and a large group of noisy tourists disembark, chatting, drinking and laughing noisily, banging pots and pans, plugging in their hairdryers and so on, well into the wee hours of the morning only to then get up at 4.30am with the same lack of consideration for the rest of the people around who are actually trying to sleep……say goodbye to any idea of a good night’s rest when the cattle trucks are around. However, sometimes you have to put up with certain inconveniences in order to witness other magical moments.
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