Etosha National Park, Anderson Gate entrance.
Woke up to an early morning and did the chores that was allotted to me, which was helping Benson to prepare breakfast…a chore that I dreaded most. After breakfast we then boarded the “Monster” with the usual daily briefing by Dumi and we then proceeded to the Anderson Gate entrance of the Etosha National Park where all our particulars were taken down for security and safety reasons as we were going to spend the night in one of the campsites in the park. We were given a briefing by the park personnel on the do’s and don’ts while in the park.
“Etosha” in the Ovambo tribe language means “Great White Place” and located in the Etosha Park is Etosha Pan, a vast, bare and open expanse of shimmering greens and whites that covers nearly 4,800 square miles and it’s the largest salt pan in Africa. There is a myth among the local tribe that the Etosha Pan was caused by a woman on wept on the death of her large family which were killed by intruders.
The Etosha Savannah.
The first ‘Shot” was this pair of Zebra’s.
Adult male Springbok.
Zebras again !!!
As we entered the Etosha Park proper, which is fenced all 8,600 sq miles of it, the Etosha Savannah landscape greeted us with it’s open grasslands filled with large camel thorn trees mixed with Mopani trees… diverse vegetation accounts for the abundance of wildlife in the park. Our first encounter was a pair of Zebra’s which excited all of us where you could hear the clicking sound of camera’s non- stop.The jostling of places at the windows of the ‘Monster’ where the whole group tried to get the ‘Perfect Shot’ was progressing at a high pace.
Jostling for the ‘Perfect Shot’.
Okaukuejo Camp Tower.
The Lioness ‘Queen’.
The Lion ‘King’.
The ride around the Etosha National Park was filled with exciting, beautiful moments of seeing live, endangered animals in front of you in their natural habitat. The sights of herds, prides, flocks, clusters, cohorts, etc etc of all kinds of animals around you makes you feel contented with life at the moment. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) for that moment ..I could not have felt much happier! Those moments for me before were just on print, on the net, movies and on the world wide web until today. During the morning ride we managed to view hundreds of Zebras, Kudus, Ostriches, Oryxes, Wildebeasts, Impala’s, Springboks but missing were the Big Five which were the Elephants, Lions, Cheetahs, Buffalos and the Rhinos. Dumi mentioned that we just had to be patient as those Big Five animals except for the Elephants and the Buffaloes are elusive, shy and nocturnal animals. The big cats rest during the day and the rhinoceros are shy and timid in nature. In shaa Allah (God Willing) I would be able to see them on this short safari of mine. By this time no one wants to jostle for a place to get the ‘Perfect Shot’ as there were too many of the animals mentioned around us and the initial excitement of viewing the animals were quickly fading away. Sigh ….. But …..
On the way to the Halali Camp, where we would be spending the night, we managed to spot a pride of lions where the lioness were very visible and it took a while but for an eagle eyed fellow traveller who spotted the lion under a tree nearby the ‘Monster’. All hell broke loose in the ‘Monster’ because everyone was jostling to get the ‘Perfect Shot’ of the elusive lion . Here we go again …….
Signboard @ Moringa Waterhole.
Springbok at the Halali camp waterhole.
Waiting at Water Hole @ Halali Camp, Etosha National Park.
We arrived at Halili camp and lunch was prepared by Benson. As we were going to spend the night there, I quickly decided to book a night safari. It was a bit pricey but I could not care less at that moment as the opportunity to watch the night stalkers in a game reserve will not come twice in many years to come. While waiting for dinner and the night game safari, I took a walk to the nearby Moringa waterhole to observe the game over there. There were a lot of Springboks drinking at the waterhole and most of us waited if there was a chance of a cheetah having a go at them for dinner. We waited for a few hours but there was no sign of other animals there. Well at least we tried pushing our luck here.
Perched African Owl.
Somewhere in the picture is the elusive rhino.
After dinner most of us retired for the night, with some having drinks at the bar of the lodge despite sky rocket prices printed and a few of us were getting ready for the night game drive but then of all times, my camera went dead . Shoot !!!! As we were exiting the camp we passed by a black rhino which is shy by nature. I managed to get a good look at the shy rhino until it quietly moved away from us .Yes !…three to go …the cheetah, the buffalo and the elephant, with the remaining three “Big Five” to view in their natural habitat. The night game drive lasted about two hours and we managed to see some desert rodents, foxes and owls that were perched high on the trees. The game drive was a rather disappointing one but one can never complain about the day he had….
Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) for the wonderful day.