Exhilarating, Extraordinary Etosha Experience

Saturday, July 25, 2009
Okaukuejo, Namibia
For over 3 hours bathed in the wonderful morning light for photography, I was captivated by a panoramic or 180 degree wide angle vista seeing an ever changing mixture of animals that came to the Okaukuejo campsite watering hole.

It was like TV's "Animal Channel" or "National Geographic" but on a super wide screen and in real life.

The scene before me continually changed. At no time there were no less than 200 animals and I am sure reached over 500 at times. Elephant, zebra, springbok, oryx, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, impala, antelope, gazelle, guinea fowl + + + in their flocks or herds with the odd jackal thrown in came to drink. Flocks of birds at times filled the cloudless blue skies overhead. Just seeing the interaction between the different groups of animals was interesting. No need to change channels here.

The day time game drive and we did see a few animals.


This was after the preceding evening where I spent 5 hours till 10.30 pm first watching the sun set with a herd of elephants in the foreground; then in total darkness and just lit up by 3 floodlights saw rhinos and giraffes continually come in their 2's and 3's to drink. Yes, it got colder but the sight of these magnificent beasts at night was awe inspiring. So was the challenge to capture the sight with my camera (2 sets of batteries later . . ). So much so that with 4 layers, beanie and gloves on I was up at 2.15 am and waited for an hour till a sole rhino came and spent 45 mins drinking. Just me and the rhino with the odd jackal wandering around. Not much sound except for lions growling very near by so I was hopeful to see them. Owls flying overhead added to what was to be a day that I will not forget.

The second evening I was back to the watering hole again watching the sun set and then seeing the elephants and rhinos come. I was leaving after 10 pm when I saw something in the distance a big bigger than a jackal and a different shape wander down to the water. Yes, it was my lion (an old male lion like my Big Leo stuffed lion at home). Not many tourists were left now (cold?) and those who were there were blessed with this animal and what was looking like eating something by the water's edge. By now I had mastered taking photos in low light ...

What a wonderful way to finish my animal section of this African trip.

What was better?

The cheetahs at Masai Mara, the lions on the Serengeti Plains or these animals gathering around Etosha's watering hole? Three very different experiences to remember.

Now onwards to southern Namibia and the desert sands!
Other Entries