Namutoni has always been a particular favourite in terms of game viewing. It lies on the eastern side of the giant Etosha Pan and there are a number of very sustainable water holes within a short distance of the camp with its imposing old Fort. There is perhaps also a more diverse animal population than here at Okaukuejo on the South-western point of the Pan.
[divider]We did have a nice time here at Okaukuejo but we do look forward to the quiet of Namutoni. Okaukuejo is the main camp, with lots of tourist streaming in and out. We have had a nice bush chalet near the restaurant and close to the water hole where most visitors gather in the evening to watch the animal antics with the help of big spotlights that lit up the scene.
Here we again encountered the local thieves, the jackals which somehow get into the camp at night and see what they can raid from the camp fires. If you do not watch your tjops and sausage on the fire, they will very quickly remove it and sped off into the night. We were told that this menace has been sorted out, buy clearly not. One night the overturned some rubbish bins near our chalet and proceeded to have a feast, even letting of their jackal calls in the process. This was really annoying and along with the old lion’s mating rituals, woke us up quite a lot.
[divider]Yesterday Fredo called what looked like a camp official and asked if he could do something. Anything for a descent night’s sleep. We later found out that he was called ‘Jones’ and the next night was relatively peaceful. Fredo called Jones over and asked him how he achieved that. “I was your security”, said Jones with a big smile. He suggested that he kept watch all night!
The camp people are really nice and helpful. From the dusty roads the back of the Ranger is covered in dust. One helpful chap is coming to give it a good clean up this afternoon before we leave tomorrow.
[divider]Highlights of the seven nights here was perhaps the fact that we almost always ended up at the right place at the right time to see something special. There was the very pregnant lioness at Gemsbokvlakte, where on another occasion we turned up just as a huge and female arrived at the water hole. Today, by chance we decided to travel to the pan near Adamax where there has been water for the past few months. On our arrival things were very quiet with the animals standing some distance from the water hole. We saw some vultures in the trees and knew something was afoot.
[divider]There were no cars around and we settled down. Almost immediately a female lion showed herself and were followed by two others. They were interested in some animals approaching and settled down to wait in the shrubs. So did we in the Ranger and we let all other vehicles pass without letting the cat out of the bag. A Blouwildebeest approached and came dangerously close to the lions before snorting and running off. One of the lionesses spotted two warthogs and made moves in their direction. Eventually they turned back to the pan and we saw they joined a big male under the trees. They were now settling down for the day – to lie and sleep in the 30 degree temperature. Near them the vulture were fighting over scraps from last night’s kill, which annoyed a lioness so much that she charged them several times.
A ranger from a resort outside the park turned up and would have continued if we did not felt sorry for the bedraggled Americans in the back. We pointed to the lions and the grateful visitors thanked us profusely.
We were also in the right place to see three herds of elephant on separate occasions drinking at Olifantsbad. One will always remember that youngster with his trunk in the air bellowing out his joy at smelling water and galloping down the hill.
Surely also special was the big herd of elephants at Ombika Water hole near Anderson Gate. Amongst them was a baby probably only one day old and being protected by all his aunties at the water hole. They were doing such a good job that we struggled to get a gimps of him. What is so surprising is that this youngster was walking underneath and in between some of the biggest elephants we have ever seen without being hurt.
As we greet Okaukuejo we will also remember as a particular hightlight the late afternoon encounter with the old male lion. We will never forget him.