Thursday, 28th February. Before sunrise, all the others went off, after a coffee, for a bird-watching walk around the grounds of the Lodge. Being rather birded out, I allowed myself a few more minutes in bed, though still had had my breakfast pretty early, well before the others got back to have theirs. I filled in time by wandering round the grounds on my own in non-birdwatching mode, and then visiting the ‘Reptile Walk’ of the lodge, which had sadly seen better days.
We covered a lot of ground this day, 430 km/267 miles. It was pretty hot (35 degrees C max) , and thunderstorms threatened, never amounting to much though.
Our lunch was taken at a Roy’s Rest Camp, whose proprietors have a wacky sense of humour!
Once we got going again, there was little time to stop for wildlife photographs, and I snatched such pictures of Namibian rural life as I could through the windows of the vehicle.
Shortly afterwards, we arrived at Kaisosi River Lodge on the Okavango River, with Angola on the other side.
But the dining room was not – yet – for us. After settling in, we went out to visit ….. a sewage works.
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.
Monday, morning, 25th February. Here is a map of Etosha National Park. “>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.
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, …
Once at the waterhole, where we were comfortably seated, we saw plenty of life.