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Etosha is a huge protected area in northern Namibia centered around a large salt pan. Despite what looks to be sparse vegetation, it features an abundance of animals, including zebras, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, oh-my-god!! lions, etc… There are three main towns/encampments in the park – all fenced off with gates open only during daylight hours. Those are connected by a network of gravel roads. It’s a place for DIY safaris – you drive your car from water hole to water hole (most are man-made) and watch animals. You stay inside your car except within the confines of the encampments and a few fenced off picnic areas in the park. In addition to water holes, we once also spent a good 45 minutes watching a British couple changing their “bloody tyre” on the side of the road …thinking we might see a lion. After nearly 5 days of living on freeze dried food in the bush, not sure who the losers were with the all-you-can-eat breakfasts and dinners.
Wake up time Etosha.
The whole package is a perfect set up for putting on weight. In addition to driving around, we also did two organized “game drives”: one at night and one pre-dawn. The former nearly killed me and eight German tourists. Had it been another 20 minutes in the open truck, hypothermia would’ve taken the whole lot of us. The only survivors would’ve been the driver and one very happy, long-johns-and-down-jacket clad girl from Oregon who that very night “Oh my god!!” saw a lion!! …and a black rhino. The morning safari went much better as somebody skipped the douchebag-tourist shorts/t-shirt outfit and went with the multi-layer and puffy jacket ensemble (and yes, saw another lion). Though the park doesn’t claim to have hippos, we saw plenty. Multiple herds would be observed around the breakfast and dinner buffets like clockwork. After two days we started to tire of interacting with dipshit tourists even if the eating overindulgence was very nice (mmmm – Eland steak!). And so with this mix of emotions we packed up and headed south to the famous Spitzkoppe for some low-stress (not!) cragging…
Etosha-bound (May 2013).
Okaukuejo – the encampment we stayed in while in Etosha National Park (May 2013).
The huts at Okaukuejo inside Etosha National Park. To say this was a nice change of pace from the bush camping would be a major understatement (May 2013).
Checking out the water hole snuggled up next to Okaukuejo encampment in Etosha National Park. Elephants on one side and hippos on the other (this here) side (May 2013).
Shirley watching elephants (though I think at THIS particular instant she’s watching the hippos) at Okaukuejo water hole (May 2013).
Okaukuejo waterhole (May 2013).
Okaukuejo waterhole – bring your favorite bottle with you and sit watching the wild life. Great way to spend evenings (May 2013).
Another evening visit by the herd of elephants to the Okaukuejo waterhole. The flood lights provide the distorted coloration (May 2013).
Elephants and a black rhino at the Okaukuejo waterhole (May 2013).
Being tourists (as in posing outside of the car despite the warning signs).
A jackal and a family of zebras (May 2013).
A springbok watching a duo of jackals (May 2013).
A springbok and a zebra share a moment (May 2013).
Oryx a.k.a. gemsbok.
Ostriches “in flight” (May 2013).
A typical water hole sight.
At a waterhole.
Safari-mobile in Okakuejo (May 2013).
Coooold morning “game drive”…but things are looking up as the sun is about to come up (May 2013).
Our guide Johnny watching a large stray dog near some water hole in Etosha National Park (May 2013).
A beautiful tabby (May 2013).
This kitty was casually crossing the road in Etosha during our early morning “game drive” outing (May 2013).
Morning roll in some fresh dung (May 2013).
A wide berth.
Wake up time Etosha (May 2013).
Red hartebeests (May 2013).
Two red hartebeests at a water hole (May 2013).
Southern yellow-billed hornbills (May 2013).
A pair (couple?) of ostriches in Etosha (May 2013).
A blue wildebeest grazing by the side of the road in Etosha (May 2013).
Checking my animal recognition cheat sheet this here seems to be a one-humped camel (May 2013).
An odd looking ostrich grazing on some tall branches (May 2013).
One. Look at that smile of anticipation…
Three. Great times in a muddy water hole!
A water hole inside Etosha in the afternoon hours (May 2013).
Nicely coated with dried mud (May 2013).
A springbok and hippo (?) at a water hole inside Etosha National Park (May 2013).
A camel relaxing at the water hole (May 2013).
At the Okaukuejo water hole (May 2013).
This odd looking deer was a cautious one – took an hour to complete the final 200 meters of the approach to the water hole (May 2013).
A random giraffe drinking at the water hole next to Okaukuejo in Etosha National Park…is not what you call graceful, yes?
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