On Thursday we started out early, some of us joining the local game drives and some of us venturing out with Uanee aboard our coach. It may not seem great to join a big coach for a game drive but actually it works very well. You are sitting high up and the coach windows slide open for photography. And the coach can go everywhere the smaller game viewing vehicles can go too! Uanee is highly enthusiastic as usual and we end up splitting the morning into part A and part B. There’s a brief toilet stop back at base between the two parts! One of the highlights of the morning is seeing lions at the Okondeka waterhole.
This afternoon Uanee is out and about again. Late afternoon we visit Okondeka again just to see if the lions are still there. We can’t see them. We stay quite a while and suddenly see a lion paw sticking up through the long grass. Eventually we have to set off back to the camp. The park rules insist all vehicles are out of the park or back in the resort camps by sundown and we may not make it unless we set off now. However just as we leave Okondeka we see the lions beginning to get up and move. One of the lions also begins to leap. There is no way we can leave now! Finally with the sun setting at a rate of knots we set off and speed back to Okaukuejo, hoping we can slide through the gates without the warden seeing us. We just manage it. This evening we enjoy a BBQ dinner with yet more wine. It’s getting to be a habit. The day is topped off with sightings of giraffe and rhino at the waterhole.
On Friday we left Okaukuejo and drove via Halali Camp to Namutoni. On route we enjoyed a game drive and also stepped onto the dry Etosha Pan. As we approached Namutoni Camp we began to see more and more giraffes. Uanee brought us to a stop at one point. Lots of giraffes one side of the road but he was looking to the other side. A cheetah was sitting, leaning against termite mound! Arriving at Namutoni we settled in before an early dinner for those heading out on a locally organised night drive. Apparently the list of wildlife seen included Spotted Genet and Hyaena, Scrub Hare and Rhino.
Uanee was again in action on Saturday! He escorted us pass the Fischer’s Pan, home to numeroous waterbirds including flamingos. We drove as far as the Andoni Plain (another couple of hours north and we’d be in Angola!). At the Tsumcor waterhole Mary spotted a male lion. We returned here in the afternoon and enjoyed a great sighting as the lion enjoyed a drink and then walked right past our bus.
During our days in Etosha we saw zebra, springbok, blackfaced impala, gemsbok/oryx, red hartebeest, kudu, blue wildebeest, hyaena, lions and cheetah. Plus eagles, vultures, lilac breasted rollers, kori bustards, korhanns, hornbills, secretary birds, owls, hawks and pale chanting goshawks. And a lot more besides. Etosha National Park does not disappoint!