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Monday, morning, 25th February. Here is a map of Etosha National Park. ”Etosha“>http://a href=”https://www.etoshanationalpark.org”><img src=”https://www.etoshanationalpark.org/media/Etosha-Map2.jpg” alt=”Etosha National Park Map” title=”Etosha National Park Map”/></a>

It’s huge. Etosha Pan itself is 75 miles/120 kilometres long. This is a dried up lake, the salt from which affects the land to its south. We had entered the NP by Anderson Gate, in the middle of the Park, and Halali Camp is a little over a third of the way along the Pan to the northwest of the Gate. The map shows the many waterholes.

After a very early breakfast, we went out for a ‘game’ drive. It was not quite as light as my camera made out to begin with.

Black-backed jackal
Our first lion, a female with a nasty but healing wound. She seems to have the remains of a kill.
Springbok and Striped Mongooses
Secretary bird, the last we were to see
Our first elephant, much further off than it appears from this maximum zoom photo
The Pan in the middle ground
Rock kestrel?. No, a lesser kestrel according to BL.
And then we heard a lion was on its way. Our leaders positioned the vehicles near the pool it was thought to be heading for.
What a handsome beast!
He roared for his females. It was loud! Nothing like the gentle huffing in the following video taken from a new spot we had moved to
He stopped, examined us …
… and then moved off. We did not see his females.
We continued on our way, and I’m starting to recognise a blacksmith lapwing.
What’s that venturing its head out of a (dried up of course) culvert?…
… A spotted hyena
Another black rhino – or rather two!

When we got back to Halali Camp, it was still relatively early, and we had a couple of hours off. The Camp had no free wifi, but our vehicles did, and I spent some time in one of them (as it was being driven to get fuel and then parked somewhere in the camp) catching up with vital home political news. (For those interested in such things, I learned that THAT vote, due already for the nth time on 27th February, was being put off again for two weeks.)

Before lunch, the group walked five minutes to the waterhole a few had visited the previous evening. En route we saw in the camp grounds, among other things, …

a Cape glossy starling (we were to see many varieties of beautiful starling in the two weeks),
and an African Scops owl, trying to sleep, a bit fed up with the attention. To quote from my bird book, ‘ … its cryptic colouring makes detection difficult. This camouflage is further enhanced by its habit of depressing its fathers to appear long and thin, raising its ear tufts and half-closing its eyes, creating the illusion of a tree stump.’

Once at the waterhole, where we were comfortably seated, we saw plenty of life.

Kudu and Marabou stork
Red-billed teal
Kudu
Laughing dove and Long-tailed paradise whydahs (?)
I think this is the male of a species of Paradise whydah in transition to breeding plumage, but I’m not sure
Impalas practising. Elephant dung gets everywhere.
Marabou stork
Long-tailed Paradise-Whydahs, male and female
The pool was not empty for long
Red hartebeest
And this I how the pool was when we left for our lunch.

It had been quite a morning!