Etosha was the most northerly stop on our trip before returning back down to Windhoek. I had pre-booked two early morning drives, and we had a great guide for both. On the first one we had a happy and informative guy, who immediately ‘got’ what we wanted to do (take the best possible photographs) and knew how to move the vehicle into the best position for us. We saw a beautiful sunrise with some animals in front of it, which I haven’t had before on my trips to various African countries.
Hundreds of zebras and springbok later and we returned for breakfast before spending a leisurely day. Our chalets were overlooking a waterhole, so I was able to sit with the doors open, editing my photos and writing notes for this blog whilst keeping an eye on the waterhole. I only had to move about 20 paces to photograph the wildlife as it came to drink, and an elephant came right up to the wall that separates the waterhole from the guests. It was great to be so close and looking up at it only a few feet away instead of down from a vehicle.
Later in the afternoon another elephant came over, together with hundreds more zebras and springboks. One of our group saw a black rhino at night too.
We went on a 5.30 a.m. drive the following morning too, and had a fantastic sighting of two male lions heading to, and drinking at, a waterhole. They were truly magnificent, and as with any game drive, it was just pure luck that we saw them at all, let alone so closely.
We also saw a whole herd of springbok and several of them were pronking, which is when they bounce like kangaroos! It’s a feature unique to the springbok and they jump up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) above the ground with straight legs. It’s hilarious to watch them and I managed to catch one photo.
Ouch – this looks like it must have hurt a lot, but it didn’t seem bothered. Obviously not a predator attack as there is only one gash, so perhaps a horn from another springbok during a fight.
And Africa wouldn’t be Africa without the Impala!
The stallions get into a lot of fights for dominance.
We had to be out of our rooms by 10.00 and we spent a lot of time sitting by the waterhole quietly chatting and taking more photos. This little bird was such a poser and chose a fence pole right in front of us to watch for grubs to eat. It kept flying off and coming back again and was quite a little character.
Whilst sitting on the bench I’d been annoyed by little ants that kept crawling on me. All of a sudden Deb told me to stand up which I immediately did, thinking that more ants or a big bug were on or near me. Nothing so mundane though – a snake was weaving its way through the slats of the bench and was right next to me – I could easily have put my hand on it had she not seen it. It quickly slithered away and up the nearest tree, and although Deb had her camera handy, it moved so fast she couldn’t focus on it. It was about a meter long and very thin, and we think we identified it afterwards as a twig snake which is highly venomous! No harm done though, a bit of excitement, and I lived to tell the tale 🙂
The following morning we drove back down to Windhoek and dropped the car off. It was unscathed, we didn’t get stuck in any sand, it didn’t break down, we didn’t have a puncture and we didn’t get lost. We had covered 3200 kilometres/1988 miles in two weeks and I breathed a big sigh of relief that my year of planning had come to fruition with no hitches. We spent the night at N/a’an ku sê where I spent two weeks volunteering in 2010. This time though I was staying at the lodge instead of the volunteer tents, and it was a very nice treat for our final night together as we were all flying off in different directions the following day.
All in all, a great trip with great people and I have 378 photos from it!
I’m running another tour of Namibia in September 2018. If anyone is interested in joining me check out the details here. You can come to learn how to take better photos as I’ll happily teach you how to use your SLR or mirrorless camera creatively, or just come with me and see all these great locations.
“The trip that Julie arranged to Namibia hit all the right notes. Her attention to detail ensured that we had a perfect itinerary with lodging that at times was nothing short of decadent. One could not imagine a better guide and Julie’s preparation was meticulous. You will find no better or encouraging tutor if you are looking to improve your photography skills. Among her many gifts, Julie never forgets that taking photography should always be fun. If you want a once-in-a-lifetime trip to an amazing country with opportunities to visit breathtaking landscapes and see extraordinary wildlife, I whole-heartedly recommend a journey with Julie.” Gary – Tennessee, US.