Etosha is the big national park in Namibia- think Serengeti or Kruger equivalent- meaning a game drive naturally ensued. For the sake of the fact that I’ve already posted lots of game drive pictures and have more to catch up on in Botswana, here’s just a quick run-down of the highlights.
This picture might not look like much, but it’s the best I have of what was potentially my favorite safari moment ever. See that dark smudge in the grass in the middle of the photo? That’s actually a lioness hiding in the bush for all the springbok that kept coming to the water hole- we waited for about a half hour as springbok (antelope) kept coming closer and receeding as they became aware of her presence, Linda stir-crazy with the excitement of potentially seeing a kill as we’re the sort who root for predators…
Finally one of the springbok actually went up to the water just in front of where the lioness was, and she went for it. It turns out springbok are significantly faster at running than a lion- that’s why they need an element of surprise obviously- but the chase was amazingly exciting and the lioness got within a meter or two of a kill. Pity she was a bit young and inexperienced!
A giant herd of elephant crossing the road- I think I counted 34, anyone remember what the exact number was? The funniest thing was these guys had just left a water hole and had a young bull elephant running while trumpeting after them, obviously miffed that the group had left before he was properly ready.
A zebra crossing. There were huge herds of zebra in Etosha actually, but when I saw this occur I was immediately entertained beyond resolve at the joke. And then everyone else started taking pictures of the zebra crossing too, by the way, before I get accused of a very odd sense of humor…
Something else spotted by the side of the road- a puff adder, one of the deadliest snakes in the world. What’s even more disturbing is this isn’t the first time we’ve seen a puff adder in Namibia- we ran into one in Sossusvlei- and there was even a black mamba at one of our campsites two nights earlier.
My best snake story, by the way, happened at the black mamba campsite at about 3am when I went out of our tent to find a bush to go to the bathroom. Not too far from our tent my headlamp caught the light of two green-white eyes in the grass so I stopped and stomped my feet a few times in case it was a snake (they feel through vibrations so it’s the best way to make yourself known). The pair of green-white eyes then glided towards the left and front in the grass, and to make me feel even more wonderful they disappeared altogether as the probably-a-snake turned around.
Needless to say I finished my business closer to the tent than was probably hygienic and was never as happy to go back inside!
As a final thought, Etosha probably had the coolest campsite we’d been to in terms of nighttime entertainment. Why? Because it was next to a water hole that they strategically placed floodlights around so you could spend the evening watching various game as they came to the waterhole. So cool! The picture above is obviously a waterhole daytime shot- my camera didn’t much like the dark- but we spent about two hours there watching elephant, springbok, a hyena, and jackals loping in and out to drink.
So very cool. Safari is awesome.