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Tuesday 26th February. Today we were leaving Halali Camp and moving on to Mokuti Lodge at the eastern end of Etosha National Park in time for lunch, and to stay two nights. While we were waiting for our vehicles to collect us, some of us were amused to see a honey badger arrive at the row of bins opposite us, (all closed at that stage), sniff at each, and, clearly much practised, neatly flip open the lid of the end one – holding it open with its back leg to prevent it falling shut – go inside and take out this packet of meat, then calmly tear it open and eat the contents, slice by slice. It then proceeded to do exactly the same with a packet of cheese slices. Not the way you really want to observe wildlife, but a clear illustration of adaptation to human presence. They were there first!

We set off through the national park, taking our time, stopping at the roadside and waterholes, making for our new lodge.

Lilac-breasted roller?
Kori bustard (BL)

I was in Jakes’s vehicle this day, and he was particularly excited to see this rhino. It is a White rhino, quite rare (and, as I discovered later, a reintroduction). ‘White’ is a corruption of, I believe, Dutch ‘wijd’, referring to its wide mouth. The White rhino also has a prominent neck hump. It is noticeably larger than the Black rhino. The Black rhino is also called the Browse rhino.

Hooded vulture (BL)
Spotted hyena
At the roadside
European bee-eaters
Oryx. Answers also to the name Gemsbok
It’s not only giraffes who have to splay their legs to drink. So do impala
When we saw elephant approaching from our right, we not only stopped, we backed up a little. We were clearly in the path they were going to take.
This is how near they were, even as they were going away.

When we were only a few miles from or next lodge, we stopped at Namutoni Camp, a former German colonial fort, now another government-run lodge.

There was a small museum there, and a family of striped mongooses.

But our next lodge was privately run, and a distinct notch or four up on those we had already stayed at. After a leisurely lunch, and a siesta, we were due to go out, though this was put slightly in doubt by rain, the first of only two occasions when we wondered whether our plans might be affected in this way. But the storm was brief, nothing like enough to help do anything about the drought, and we went out at the planned time.

Southern red-billed hornbill
Leopard tortoise
Red-necked falcons
Signs of the recent rain soon disappeared
Our first ostriches. We were to get better views in later days
Swallow-tailed bee-eater
Northern black korhaan (aka White-quilled bustard)
Adult warthog
But it was nowhere near these three little hoglets we saw later, running out of a culvert, no parent in sight
Pale chanting goshawk
Black-backed jackal
Wildebeest and cattle egrets
All of life is here! Impala (as far as I can tell), zebra, giraffe, grey heron, and just two Greater flamingos. But for the drought, there would have been huge flocks of flamingo we were told. As it was, we were very lucky to see any.
Although it was very warm, we had little sun all afternoon, and rain threatened much of the time, though never fulfilling its threats. Such rain as there was anywhere was very localised. This part rainbow accompanied us for a good while as we made our way back to the lodge in the late afternoon. I wondered whether its curious shape was because the sun was so high, but this theory was well disproved nine days later.