Speeding tickets and my first oryx

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Flag of Namibia  ,
Saturday, April 29, 2006

Finally off to Etosha. One thing I knew I'd hate about the overland truck was the whole organization factor. For example this mornings 6:30 departure turned into a 7am departure, and even though we'd been to the supermarket the previous evening we had to do another trip there this morning! Our scheduled 20 minute stop this time lasted for over an hour. I really can't imagine how things would be if we had a bigger group!

One thing with Northern Namibian people that I've noticed is there are a lot of outstretched hands, people begging and asking for dollars. I wondered if that was maybe due to all the South African coming up this way and giving out handouts.

After Rundu it was back on those long straight roads again for our 6 hour trip to the park.

As we moved away from the Okavango river things started to dry out and we passed by what seemed to be miles and miles of mud hut villages, sorghum fields and bushy plains. There were also lots of little stores dotted along the road selling carvings.

Eventually we crossed what was another huge fence, this like the ones in Botswana was used to keep out diseases. Once we moved to the disease free side there was a remarkable change from poor villages to large ranches from where beef was considered safe to export.

We passed through the funny sounding town of Grootfontein at lunchtime and I saw some hills on the horizon, probably the first I'd seen in about 3 weeks since leaving Malawi! Lot of nice trees and colours on route also as the tree changed yellow for the autumn.

Patrick managed to get a ticket that afternoon. 84 in and 80. He managed to bargain his $200 Namibian dollar ticket down to a $100 bribe!

We were in the park for 2pm ready for some game drives. Saw lots of Oryx, or Gemsbok as they were called in Southern Africa. I was happy, as I'd been wanting to see these for my whole trip. Other animals we saw included giraffe, kudu, black faced impala, dik diks, klipspringers, springbok, zebra, wilderbeast, lion, jackal and warthog. We also saw lots of beautiful red-billed hornbills and crowned plovers.

Away from the watering holes were huge plains - these had some unusual red plants growing on them, that along with the yellow grass and blue sky made for a nice contrast.

Etosha is famous for all the watering holes where you can just park up and observe the wildlife coming and going. It was very relaxing to stop at these places especially given how high up we were in the big green monster.

We stayed in the Namutoni rest camp. Like all the rest camps in Namibia it had a watering hole right there in camp. The sunset over the watering hole that evening was stunning. At night they would illuminate the whole area and you could go to the viewing platform, beer in hand and watch the comings and goings of all the animals.

The camp was also teeming with jackals that tried to steel anything they could that evening.
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