Namibia - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 43

Etosha National Park

Thursday 24th April

I almost fell asleep without writing this log entry, which just goes to show how tired I am. The pace has been almost non-stop since we left Cape Town just over a week ago. It seems like we’ve been on this safari tour for months on end already. We are still enjoying ourselves but it is very tiring nevertheless.

We started the day off with an early departure through the camp gate for a morning game drive. We didn’t even have breakfast save for some tea and coffee and some biscuits. The idea was to do a four-hour game drive before returning for brunch at ten o’clock.

The game drive itself was filled with the kind of anticipation that only a fisherman would understand. You never know what will be just around the next bush. It could be a Lion or a Cheetah or a Leopard. As it turned out, we weren’t nearly that lucky. We did get to see quite a bit of Zebra, Springbok, Impala, Gemsbok, and a range of other antelope species. We also saw quite a bit of Black backed Jackal and a few Tsebbe and Kudu. Probably the most interesting animal we saw was something that we weren’t able to identify until we subsequently checked out the photos on the laptop with an animal guidebook at hand. We saw a fleeting glance of the beast just long enough to point the camera at it before it hid itself. It turned out to be a Yellow Mongoose.

After returning to the base camp for brunch, we sat around the fireplace whilst yet another fabulous meal was presented to us. Today’s brunch was fried and boiled eggs, bacon, sausages and toast. It was absolutely delicious and certainly one of the best meals for me. I ate plenty and went back for seconds unashamedly.

We were left to our own devices for the next few hours and we all pottered around the camp, the pool, the shop, the watering hole and the laptop. Since I’m still rapidly running out of space on the laptop, I’m finding that I have to be more and more diligent in weeding out the lesser photos. This isn’t a bad thing as it is a necessary evil and has to be done. There are just too many photos to keep them all. We are both still getting better with the cameras and it is getting more and more difficult to find photos that have not come out well (out of focus, bad lighting or whatever the problem may be). This leaves a greater proportion of the photos taken in a given day that are good and worth keeping. I will need to remove some photo libraries from the hard disk within two weeks at our present rate of photography. Jacqueline has confirmed receipt of the first two libraries but I want to avoid deleting any from the laptop until or unless it is absolutely necessary.

At three thirty, we reconvened in the truck and were off on our second game drive of the day. We took a slightly different route from the morning drive but never really had much better luck. We did see a lot of animals but mostly the same variety that we saw on the morning drive with the odd exception. On the whole, our game viewing experience here in Etosha has been somewhat less impressive than our four days at the Kruger National Park. We are undoubtedly a little spoiled by our extreme good fortune in Kruger and would probably be thrilled with what we’ve seen here had we not had that previous experience. Some relatively heavy rainfall for this time of the year has increased the presence of water in and throughout the park. This in turn has caused the animals to disperse throughout the park, making spotting them more difficult. We did, however, see the Yellow Mongoose, some Black backed Jackal, some Gemsbok, a Marshall Eagle (got some great shots of it just lifting off into flight), and a Pale Chanting Goshawk and a Black Rhino – none of which we saw at Kruger.

Tomorrow will be another early start (there is a definite pattern emerging here) but at least it will not be a long drive (less than six hours would be the correct definition of ‘not long’) to our next destination. We are apparently going to get the chance to see another Cheetah breeding program (we’ve already seen two in South Africa but this will be a first for the rest of the group).

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