Friday, September 27, 2019


This is the largest national park in Africa...larger than the Masai Mara and the Serengeti combined...and IT IS A DESERT.  The only water to be found is at waterholes.  Everything except for crocodiles and hippos survive and THRIVE in this harsh environment.  It was simply amazing.  We reached the park boundary in the late afternoon and then drove another two hours to our campsite on the far eastern plains of the park. In route, we stopped by a waterhole for our first viewing. Wow! 
 Two lions having a drink...just a few feet from our truck windows.  Interesting to watch all the other critters waiting...a good distance away...for their turn.  It was as if there was a waterhole rule...don't eat each other while drinking.

 The jackal pranced around with no fear.
 We arrived at our campsite and set up our tents.  While Vincent was preparing dinner we walked to the nearby waterhole, lit at night and watched the spectacle.
 A juvenile lion walked through but did not drink.
 Mama rhino and baby advanced cautiously, drank, and then retreated a bit before advancing again.  She was obviously alert to something.  I hung around for about an hour before heading back for dinner.  It was a hot day and we were tired.  Some of the group went back and stayed well up to midnight for more of the display.

 Early in the morning we opted for a smaller open-sided vehicle and enjoyed a full day game drive using some of the smaller trails the truck sould not handle.  We were no disappointed.  Our first sighting was a Servil...almost a leopard!

 More jackals.
 Giraffe eating what leaves they could find on the acacia trees.

 Mountain zebra. First time for me.  Notice the brown stripe in between the black one.
 Hawks on alert.
 The Etosha Pan.  It's huge and takes up more than half of the park.  One giant salt rain for three years.

 Elan and waterbuck.
 Sharing the waterhole.
 And then the elephants arrived and everything else quickly retreated to the side.

 We ran into Nina halfway through the day.

 And the HIGHLIGHT FOR ME...Oryx...and lots of them.  Just beautiful.  First time I've seen then in the wild.

 A big boy blocking the road.

 A lonely squirrel...YES, a squirrel.
 Springbok crowing into the shade while a raptor stood guard.
 More pretties.

 Golden mongoose. He was pretty active.  Hopping around looking for a snake.
 AND, more elephants.  What do they eat...???

 Another black rhino.  Rare and so special, indeed.
 And to end our day, the king resting after a drink...springbok nervously walking by just 30 yards away.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

No. 72 - Our First 24 Hours in Namibia

Dressing in the dark and packing up before breakfast got us on the road at sunrise.  It was a long drive across the Eastern Kalahari Desert and across the border into Nambia.  The landscape changed little as we crosse miles of rock and sand, scattered with dry, brittle acacia trees.  We traveled through many small villages and past local cattle farms.  It was a hot drive, an easy border crossing, and into the hills surrounding Windhoek, the capital city just before sunset.  Our reward for the long drive was a comfortable room at a pretty classy lodge.  That evening we were spoiled with a truly delicious wild game meal...enough food on each person's plate to feed a family of our.  I had an 18 oz. sirloin Nambian steak that was tender and tasty...and ended up giving more than half of it to our cook, Vincent, who devoured it in a few bites...LOL.

The next morning we relaxed a bit with a later start into the city center where we enjoyed a short and informative tour with our local guide Timee.  Windhoek was a large and very modern city and surprised most of us with the numbe of highrises, shopping malls, and really nice residential neighborhoods.
 We started off at the Lutheran Cathdral.  Namibia was a German colony for many years so this was no surprise.
 It sits on the intersection of Robert Mugabe and Fidel Castro Streets.  That led to an interesting conversation that also included the North Koreans.
 The parliament and gardens.

The national museum built by the North Koreans in 2003 in exchange for uranium mining rights....hmmm
After German control, Namibia was taken over by South Africa and apartheid was alive and well for many years.  Dr. Sam Nujoma was the first president of free Namibia.  He came into office in 1990 and had been previously imprisoned with Nelson Mandala at Robbins Island.

The museum understandably was all about the freedom fighters and the sins of the South African regime.  It was a worthwhile, short, solemn visit.

 After a few hours, we boarded Nina for a four-hour drive north to Etosha National Park.