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.
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.
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.
Tarangire National Park. How’s this for a view from your accommodation?
Next morning was Wednesday 17th February. Actually, I think I’ll just let these pictures, taken during our morning outing, speak for themselves. Suffice to say that if I had been sad not to have seen many elephants before this, these two days in Tarangire National Park more than made up for it – though you can never have too many elephants.
These are baobab trees. They store enormous amounts of water in their ‘trunks’, and can be centuries old.
Helmeted guinea fowl
White-headed buffalo weaver
Von der Decken’s hornbill
Vervet monkey at breakfast stop, one of many such to ‘greet’ us
Wistful? Melancholy? No, pondering what mischief he can next get up to!