An African Diary Part V: A Taste Of Etosha

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Day 12: Monday, November 30, 2015

7am saw us up and busy. I prepared a breakfast of eggs and beans while Rug pulled down the tent. We ate, washed up, packed up and were on the road by 830am. We had been looking forward to this day ever since we began our journey: today was the day we entered into Etosha National Park. While we had seen heaps of amazing wildlife already on our journey, this is what we had been waiting for, this is where the big stuff was, and in high concentrations – the lions, the elephants, the giraffe, the rhinos – none of which we had seen yet. We cruised quickly over the dirt roads, stopped too fuel up in Outjo, reloaded the cooler with ice, checked the propane and hit the black top for the next half hour until we reached Galton Gate, the westernmost gate to Etohsa.

As we pulled through the gate, I felt as if I was entering my own kind of Jurassic Park. I expected to see lions and elephants come stampeding out at any minute! Okay, not really though, I’m being just a little dramatic. We paid our park fees and began the slow drive to our camp, 60km into the heart of the park.

“Look alive Rug, look alive, eyes wide, this is the big times!”.

 I’d never strained my eyes so hard as I had since entering Etosha, I didn’t want to miss a thing! Within one minute, I saw two black faced impala and a helmeted guinea fowl. Soon enough we came across a small group of zebra along side the road and stopped to get a better look and take some photos. I made Rug back up quietly so I could check out the tawny eagle perched atop a small acacia tree. More zebra, so many zebra everywhere. Then the springbok and oryx begin to appear. We passed the turn off for two waterholes that didn’t look too hopeful  – in retrospect we should have just checked them out anyway – rookie mistake! But we were so excited and I think we were so used to having this inner drive push us to our next camp so we didn’t miss anything that it was hard to kick the habit.DSC_0261

Giraffe sighting! First one!!! Giraffes are special to Rug and I, as anyone who knows us can attest to. Jafar, my wooden giraffe, made many a camping trips over the years to Cameron River with us! We were in his mother land at last! And so our first giraffe sighting was pretty exciting! 

As we were coming into a yet unseen turn off in the road for a waterhole we saw a massive gathering of animals to the left of us through the bush. I saw the zig zagging black and white lines of  hundreds of zebra and amidst the mayhem I spotted two exceptionally large grey humps. Oh my god…

“ELEPHANTS!!!! How do we get in there?! How do we get closer??”, I pleaded to Rug and the Etosha gods. We saw the turn off a moment later and I bounced up and down in my seat smacking Rug on the arm repeatedly calling,  ‘elephants, elephants, elephants!’.  There was no one else at the water hole, we had it entirely to ourselves, something that was becoming a bit of a lucky habit for us.

I couldn’t believe it. There before us sat the single most amazing sight I’ve ever beheld. Here, a hundred zebra pranced about, a plethora of oryx, springbok, kudu, nyala, ostrich, warthog and  hundreds of birds rambled about, some gingerly, tentatively, carefully, and some proudly, indifferent. And there amidst it all, two massive beautiful African elephants stood commanding the waterhole, splashing about and drinking. When the zebras got in the way, the elephants would throw their body weight around, take three quick steps forward and whip their trunk towards them sending the zebra screaming, kicking and whinnying, but only momentarily.  Their strength in numbers gave them confidence and they soon pushed back in to the waterhole to the annoyance of the elephants.

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The huge bull elephant, after satiating his thirst, began to lumber out of the water hole and walk directly and pointedly towards us. I froze. My heart skipped a beat.  We sat there still as statues as this great mammoth of a beast approached us, head high, trunk swinging, feet kicking up plumes of dust as he stomped towards us.

“Oh my god… what do we do? He’s coming right for us! He does not look impressed that we are here. Maybe he feels threatened by the White Wildebeest!”

We sat there, locked in a stare down, not moving, for what surely was only half a minute, but felt like an eternity.  I was terrified, but even more so I was fascinated. There was such intelligence, such power, and such challenge in his eyes. My heart pounded in my ribcage like some wild animal demanding to be let out. With the flip of his great head, his large canvas like ears flapped to the side and he cantered off to the left – apparently we won the stand off. It was such an intense and unforgettable moment! The two elephants sauntered off from the drinking hole over to the mud hole and began flinging mud all over themselves. They would use their huge flat feet to dig into the mud to get at the fresh moist stuff beneath the drying caked surface and then they would use their agile trunk like a shovel to scoop up mud and fling it on their sides and backs. Their muddied trunk would then slide along their tusks as if to clean them, yet doing the exact opposite. They would sit down entirely in the mud and half roll onto each side and then shoot up with surprising speed and agility.

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It was wonderfully entertaining to watch these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat. I’ve seen elephants and giraffe and zebra and all the great African animals before, but in a zoo… but that wasn’t wildlife I was seeing, it was cages and animals in captivity. It was like seeing animals without souls, like seeing some strange mimicry of wildlife. So life like, yet missing the very essence of the animals. And so I decided a while ago to boycott zoos. I hate the idea of animals being in captivity, so seeing this wildlife here in Africa, in the wild, in their home was to see them for the first time. It was so magical. It was one of those life changing moments. In a world filled with over population, westernization and the destruction of the environment, it’s becoming more and more of a rare thing to get to see wildlife so up close and personal in its natural habitat. Namibia and indeed many places in Africa are one of those few places you can have such an unforgettable experience. You need to do this in your life, trust me, you NEED to do this! It will change you on some deeper, profound level.

As the elephants marched on (I half expected them to grab each others tails – thanks Jungle Book!), their mud bath over, we focused our attention back on the water hole now overtaken by the zebra who were kicking wildly at each other to get closest to the water. Suddenly a large grey hump appeared in the mass of black and white stripes. It was a black rhino! Now if you’re just as ignorant as I am in all things rhinoceros concerned (what other animal has such a bad ass dinosaur sounding name?!), a black rhino is not, indeed black. In fact, it’s the exact same colour as the white rhino. Which isn’t white – but grey. Great naming, scientist guys. The difference physically resides in the shape of the head and the lips in particular. Black rhinos are more rounded with a hooked upper lip, while white have a square lip and jaw. We cursed the flailing, dust flinging zebras as they obscured our view of this remarkable creature. Finally a break in the stripes gave us a perfect view of him as he stood wide and heavy, sucking water into his muzzle.

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This day was just so incredible! We lingered at the hole for over an hour marvelling at the beautiful animals before another vehicle finally joined us. We decided to leave and let them have the hole to theirselves as we had had it. It got to the point on our drive to our first camp where we no longer stopped to look at every animal we saw or we’d never had made it to camp before sundown! We decided to only stop for the new animals – ones we’d not yet encountered, and we still found ourselves stopping constantly! But we did make it eventually. Our camp was called Olifantrus. It was fenced in (you know, to keep the lions out!).  We set up camp and all I wanted to do was go check out the water hole within our camp. Well, sort of in our camp: you took a raised walkway that went over the fence perimeter and then into a housed-in structure overlooking the water hole from above. But I figured maybe I should give it a few minutes in case Rug wanted to relax, grab a beer or have  a snack. As I closed the truck door Rug appeared and said ,“want to go check out the water hole?”

“God, I thought you’d never ask! We’ve been here like two minutes already!”, I laughed and off we went. They say the first rule to the waterholes is patience – give yourself at least half an hour to allow wildlife to appear. We sat down as the sun sank lower in the sky and clouds (wow, clouds!?) dampened the light. I used my 300 mm zoom lens as binoculars since we made the rookie mistake of not bringing them to the hole – they sat in the truck console.  I saw wildebeest and springbok and antelope off in the distance. Then I saw a movement out of the corner of my vision. Something grey. Holy shit! It was a rhino, coming straight for the waterhole! I whispered to Rug (rule two – SILENCE at the water holes!), and the two others who were in the viewing room, to tell them that a rhino was coming. The viewing room was a small circle with a lower level with glass (albeit very dirty glass, but can you blame them? Who wants to be the lucky one to have to go out into the water hole and clean it?) and an upper level with huge window cut outs but no windows, it was left open so you could really see and hear the animals, yet still be safe because of the water barrier (it was built right on the water) and you were elevated enough to be out of their reach. It was perfect.

Our rhino lumbered up into view, easily discernible now without the zoom lens or binoculars. He was large and slate grey, a bulky mass of muscle and sinew and leathery skin. He sprayed several bushes as he passed them on the way to the waterhole, marking his territory.  He approached the water, watchful of his surroundings and I held my breath as this fascinating beast stood a mere 30 feet away from me at the waters edge. His huge padded feet, leathery mounds hardened into unwieldy stone clomped against the rocks, the only sound other than the birds to be heard. With a calculated lowering of his fat head he breached the water with his lips and began to pull back water thirstily. He stayed there drinking and surveying his surroundings for over half an hour with all of us watching mesmerized, silent. His back was caked with dry mud, cracked and chalky. His one huge horn stood out proudly, despite the absence of its smaller twin horn (Oh my god… I just realized rhinos are pretty much cousins of triceratops!), which was nothing but a worn uneven mess of nubs, perhaps the result of some nasty fight. His sharp round eyes on the side of his wide head blinked almost in sync with flat flaring nostrils. I could watch him forever as he watched the world around him – his world.

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It was just us and him and a small jackal who sauntered confidently around the large muddy imprints of the watering hole without a care or notice of anything. After an hour this rare and beautiful encounter, our big beast finally had his fill and after spraying every bush on his way out, he suddenly broke into a run, stampeding through the low brush. We were left alone now with nothing but his dust trail and the sudden absence of his huge bulk. We whispered excitedly to each other at our good fortune to have witnessed such a marvellous sight at such a startlingly close proximity. We were so close we could hear every breath he took, every sip he guzzled and every slight readjustment of his stance. And we weren’t in some zoo behind a rhino proof enclosure, looking in on a prison of glass and iron. We were on a raised open platform in Africa. We were merely visitors to his home, allowed a special glance into his life. I couldn’t stop beaming ear to ear. I know how damn lucky I am to have had that experience. I willed my mind to remember it, as vividly as possible, while at the same time lamenting the minds fault, the way it insisted on fading those cherished memories until they are no more than a dim light in the cavern on our memory banks. I cursed its inability to let memories retain their vibrancy no matter how important, how miraculous they seemed at the time. I was disheartened momentarily at the audacity of time, how cruel he was, how nothing could escape his clutches, how he demanded all things age and fade, even our memories. And then I snapped out of it and remembered that this is the present. I am here and now living these very moments! Feel them. Indulge in them. Savour them NOW.  I have my pictures, my writing and my memory all to call upon down the road, years from now when things begin to fade. And while it will never be as fresh and vivid as the moment of conception, is that not the beauty and brilliance of the present after all? I soaked myself in these moments, the afterglow of the encounter, and gave thanks to a world that is still so beautiful and wild, and to my life and circumstances for leading me here to admire her beauty.

While we were each basking in the afterglow, someone whispered ‘here comes another one!’. We all rushed to the front openings and peered out into the distance. The sun was just above the horizon now, a huge bloated orange disc, staining the clouds around him tangerine . the rest of the sky was grey with cloud cover and the leftover light of the day was hazy and muted. I saw the bulky form emerge from the brush only to be hidden again momentarily the next second. This one was much more wary and took a long time to reach the waterhole. The wind was blowing towards him and taking the freshly sprayed scent of the last rhino that clearly said to stay away.  Lifting his horned head and sniffing curiously, he weighed the message heavily before finally letting thirst win out and taking his fill at the waterhole. He was smaller than the last, likely an adolescent still, but no less enthralling to watch. After another beautiful encounter we decided to head back to our site and set up camp before it was pitch black.

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We set up hastily, grabbed a snack and raced back to the hide. It was dark now and we silently fumbled around to find our way to one of the benches. You’re not going to believe this. I hardly did myself… but there was another rhino at the waterhole! I could tell it was different from the last two because he had both his front horns. The hole was lit at night with red light as to not scare away nor harm the eyes of the animals, so our guy was cast in an eerie blood red light. The night was dark and aside from the circles of sangre light  that bathed the surrounding few meters of the hole, nothing could be seen. The huge rhino lifted his head suddenly and looked off into the dark, clearly sensing something before any of us could. And there out of that obscuring blackness came a mother rhino with her young. While no longer a baby, he was still only about half her size. As they approached the waterhole, the mother began to emit loud, heavy gasping grunts towards the lone bull. I assume is was a sort of warning, but as I previously referred to my ignorance of all things rhino, it may have very well been a greeting. The bull kept his distance, even backed away a few paces, watching the two curiously all the while. The mother and child took their fill of water without worry of interruption. The mother went to leave but her young didn’t follow right away. The bull approached slowly. With low huffs from the young one, they slowly inched closer to one another, one shuffling, tentative step at a time, until eventually their noses touched! I gasped, smiling hugely. It was so precious! Was this their first time meeting? The mother, watching all the while, returned, and they drank more water, as the bull backed away once more. This time when the mother left, the young began to follow, but as the bull approached again, the huffing and wheezing began, deeper and more intense this time. They came together once again, and this time rather excitedly tossed their heads together, clashing their horns, and eliciting a fury of grunts. They faced each other off for a long moment, panting, their great chests heaving, before the big one backed away as mother returned to collect her young.

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They walked over to the bushes and laid down to relax. It was clearly a rather exciting encounter for all involved (yes, that included me, I was simply beside myself!). As I stood there, marvelling at these beautiful and precious encounters I was so lucky to witness, I saw a monstrously large dark mass come bobbing into the red light, blotting out the skyline behind it.

“Elephant! Elephant! It’s an elephant! TWO!”  I whispered in a panic of excitement.

The two hulking elephants trudged slowly and deliberately out of the brush, through the mud and to the waters edge, sending the remaining rhino bull trotting off without a fuss. I was quivering with excitement – I adore elephants! They are the one animal I was hoping to see more of up close and personal and my wish was being granted. Their tough grey skin was illuminated by the rouge glow.  Their size was utterly incredible. And terribly intimidating this close, even though I had the advantage of being slightly above them, they made me feel minuscule. Their long agile trunks dipped into the water and with their powerful muscles they began to suck water up. I could see each thick crease along the trunk flex and tense as it sucked. As they curled the now full trunk inwards, the ceases crumpled together like an accordion as they brought it up to their thirsty mouths, and blew the water back out. After each huge ‘sip’, if you will, they would blow out the small excess amount of water left in the trunk before refilling. I watched our little jackal – oh yes, he was still around- nimbly trot around the elephants, hardly even noticing  the 15,000 pound hulking masses towering above him, just going about his business. I had to chuckle. He was so brazen! And so entirely unconcerned. I couldn’t help but admire his audacity.

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As I watched him, I saw from the corner of my eye a blackening out of the sky again, but from the other side. Two more large elephants appeared like apparitions from the black of night. It was unnerving how quiet they could walk up and I not notice them until they were less than 50 feet away from me! They made their way to the waters edge as the other two stepped back into the mud to bathe themselves. As they used their trunks as shovels, grabbing mud and flinging it all over themselves, I sat back amazed. I didn’t know where to look! The two elephants in the mud? The two at the water who just showed up? The jackal, scampering around? The three rhinos lingering in the background resting? But wait… there were now no longer just three rhinos… there were four! Another had appeared and they were all wandering around each other, two more jackals appeared and now all three were scampering about the mud and around the waterhole, minding their business, whatever that may be, paying absolutely no heed whatsoever to the eight hulking masses of muscle that crowded around. Four spring hares, which I dubbed the African Kangaroo, hopped into sight and began feeding off the grasses near the water. They looked like a rabbit crossed with a squirrel and hopped around on their back two legs like a kangaroo!

This water hole was simply vibrating with life and I was but a silent, awe stricken witness to it all. While I struggled to remain quiet on the outside, I was simply exploding with a mass of wonderful emotions on the inside – joy, appreciation, wonder, awe, excitement and elation among others. It’s difficult to describe something so profound, so awe inspiring. It’s one of the wonders of the world you truly need to experience for yourself.

Near 11pm, when the elephants had cleared out we finally dragged ourselves away from the hide with the promise to return at sunrise. There had been no time for yoga today, the water hole took all of our attention. We didn’t even have a real dinner, we were so absorbed in the wildlife viewing. Instead, exhausted, we went to bed, but before bed, I ensured I had Rug’s baboon knife which would become my lion knife tonight now that we were in Etosha, in their territory.

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Can you spot the kitties?

I awoke an hour after putting my head down on my pillow to the unmistakable and terrifyingly close roar of lions. Holy shit… I know our camp is totally fenced in… but jesus, it sounded like they were right outside my tent at the bottom of my ladder, waiting for me! The lions screamed in four long, distinct, thunderous roars. Then a few minutes later would repeat. The movie Ghost in the Darkness kept playing over and over in my mind and I was sure now that they had penetrated the defences and were feasting on the camp guards at that very moment, their muzzles covered in blood, others prowling around our vehicles, getting read to pounce up at any moment an devour us. And my god I had to pee! I spent the next four hours nearly crying, a combination of the extreme fear and a dire need for the toilet. I forced myself back to sleep when the roars would die down for a few minutes, it was the only way to forget how badly I had to pee. Finally, around 5am, it seemed to finally abate and I fell asleep for an hour and a half. It was a wretched and terrifying night.  I was scared out of my wits never having had heard such a frightening sound, and so close, let alone have it as a nightmare lullaby for four hours!

Day 13: Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

I woke up at 630am relieved beyond belief to be alive and for the sweet daylight that was filling the sky. The night had been dark and full of terrors… I listened closely for five minutes to the silence and then walked to the bathroom across camp, wielding my lion knife in hand, eyes wide as saucers, looking for any of the slightest movements. I wasn’t taking any chances. Another great relief came as I could finally empty my bursting bladder after a very long and full night. So much relief in my day and it was only 630am! I was a haggard mess from my frightful night. Not wanting to spend another moment in that tent of terrors, I grabbed my journal, water and camera and headed off to the hide to check it out and get some writing done. The hide was uneventful – just a small flock of springbok, two fighting with their horns locked, 1000 cape turtle doves and of course, the jackal going about business as usual! I began writing and a short while later Rug showed up to take a peek. Being uneventful at the waterhole, we decided to get an early start. He had already packed up the tent so we hopped in the vehicle and headed back to our favourite watering hole that we had seen on our way in yesterday, Okawao, before moving on to our next camp, heading east towards Okaukuejo in the middle of the park. We pulled up to the hole a short drive later, the sun now fully risen, the clouds departed and the heat already rising off the ground. A herd of zebra crowded around the waterhole and the huge expanse was littered with springbok, giraffe, blackface antelope, hartbeest, ostrich and kudu. While not as lively as yesterday,the place was still packed with wildlife and we settled in to watch for a while. Unsurprisingly, we were again the only people at the hole.

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I gave the entire scene a long inspection from side to side and suddenly screamed, “LIONS!!! HOLY SHIT, LIONS!”

“Where?” Rug asked, his wide eyes searching wildly.

I pointed them out and we both zoomed in with our cameras for a better look. Two young males were laying a ways to the left – which explained why no other wildlife was anywhere near this area. They were hot and tired and had likely made a kill here the night before. We watched, fascinated, as one slowly rose up, stretched his heavy paws forward, arched his back and tail high, and then sauntered over towards the waterhole, sending a wild stampede of wildlife fleeing from the vicinity. He paid them no mind and sat down to drink to conserve his energy. his brother slowly made his lazy way over and plopped down right beside him and began to drink. The first stood up after getting his fill and began to walk slowly but directly towards us.  He came closer and closer until I decided hanging out the window to snap his picture was no longer a good idea. He was right in front of the truck! We frantically rolled up our windows and watched as he walked past the drivers side, no more than TEN feet away. We held our breath the whole time.

“Did that just happen?!” I exploded when he was behind the vehicle. He crossed over and plopped down in the shade of a small bush behind us. Moments later the entire scene played itself over like deja vu as his brother retraced his steps. We sat a while, hearts hammering in our chests, searching for the words to express our feelings over what just happened. Finding words inadequate, we sat in stunned silence, grinning stupidly and then burst out laughing. Once again we marvelled at how lucky we were to be alone, to be the sole witnesses to such an amazing spectacle. Our good luck seemed endless! Now, it’s not that I didn’t want others to experience it also, it’s just that when you get to see something like that and you’re alone, not surrounded by ten other vehicles, it feels like it was just for you – you don’t feel like 1 of a million tourists all hanging out of their tour busses lined up with five other buses – there is no doubt that that detracts from the overall experience, makes it seem less special. So to have had as may experiences all to ourselves as we had on this journey so far was really incredible.

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We watched the hole a while longer as the animals re-converged on the waterhole now that danger had departed for shade. As we were leaving I was looking at a giraffe 30 feet from the car when I spotted the two lions again under a bush. We nearly missed them again! Their camouflage was without a doubt impeccable.  We stopped to admire them some more before reluctantly taking off. We stopped at every waterhole along the way and while we saw heaps of wildlife of all sorts, we didn’t see anymore rhinos, lions or elephants. The drive was beautiful, but towards the end, I was fading fast. Not having had any sleep the night before, I simply could not keep awake as hard as I tried. The old rhythmic hypnosis of driving put me over the edge and I nodded in and out. Luckily Rug was a good safari driver and would wake me whenever we came along something awesome like four beautiful giraffe in the middle of the white dusty dirt road. They were drinking from a long puddle on the road left from last nights rain, the first rain in a very, very long time. They stood, front legs splayed at a terribly awkward angle and dipped their exceptionally long necks low to descend from their great heights for a drink. Giraffes drinking is without a doubt wonderfully comical! After taking several pulls of water they would snap their legs together suddenly, as if a soldier coming to attention, stand stock still and straight, and look around. When the coast was sure to be clear they fanned out their front legs and got back to it.

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Behind them, the sky was cobalt blue, smattered with slate grey clouds. The noonday sun high and bright, reflecting the brilliant sky back into the puddle. The white dusty road was surrounded by straw coloured vegetation and the sharp patterns of the giraffes coats stood out starkly against it all. It was a wonderfully vivid sight to wake up from a nap to! And only 15 minutes later we arrived at our next camp – Okankuejo. This is the oldest camp in Etosha and is more of a resort with beautiful resort rooms, but also camping spots and thankfully, a pool. We spent the afternoon driving for hours throughout the trails in the area, visiting empty waterholes. We still saw loads of wildlife on the sides of the trails, but the water holes themselves were dead. The rains had finally come two days before in this area and so the animals were no longer driven to the waterholes out of desperation. Around 4pm, we headed back to camp and headed straight for the pool! It was a scorching 38 degrees and we needed to cool off. I went for a dip to bring down my sweltering body temperature and then found a nice shady spot on the grass and put down my mat for a long and healing yoga practice. As I finished up and thanked the teachers of my lineage, I folded forward, hands pressed together in prayer position against my forehead, bent forward to the ground in reverence and I deeply inhaled the sweet smell of the grass and earth deep within me. It brought a huge smile to my face. I was so thankful for my life in that moment. I was in Africa, in the motherland where all humankind began, in the middle of a wildlife national park spending my days and nights observing beautiful, near mythical creatures in their natural habitat. I was strong and healthy and able to practice yoga, I had more than enough to eat and a tent over my head and friends by my side to share in all these magical moments. I inhaled the grass deeply, so thankful for the earth upon which grounded me in this practice and finished feeling light and connected to everything.

Back at camp we set up the tent and then made our way to the restaurant – we were splurging and eating out for the first time in Namibia! It was exciting after two weeks of camp food! They had a nice buffet that we dug into and I even tried a bite of Rug’s eland steak. It wasn’t too bad! Rug loved it which says a lot more about it since I don’t really like meat much! I refused however, to try the oryx! Rug said it was chewy beyond belief.

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That night we were heading out on a night safari drive. It started at 8pm with ample warning from our driver about the lack of wildlife due to the rains. We set out, his bright red light scanning quickly each side of the road as we slowly bumped along. We soon found a black lone rhino shuffling through the bush. Our guide followed him a while with his red light and soon came across another rhino – a female with a mate! Other than the usual suspects- springbok and jackals, we didn’t see much else and I was fading fast on the last hour of the long drive, that sweet hypnotic lull of being driven in a vehicle was working its magic and I simply couldn’t keep my eyes open again! I began to do the nod. You know the nod. We all know the nod. I cupped my cheek in my hand and rested my elbow on the side of the jeep door, and let myself drift in and out as we drove on. I know, I know, I know! How terrible! I fell asleep on a safari cruise! But I had been up all night in a state of abject terror with the lions, and it just couldn’t be helped. It’s not like the road was teeming with wildlife anyhow. It was 11pm and the last hour was terribly uneventful.

I was delighted when we arrived back and I could get myself into bed because I knew were getting up at sunrise again. Safaris are all luck of the draw and we did see three rhino, a giraffe, a possible hyena and the eyes of a bush baby in a tree  – better than nothing! But clearly we had been spoiled during our time in Etosha already if those sightings were considered meagre! We stopped in quickly at the waterhole near our campsite before bed and were treated to another rhino drinking. We stayed to watch a short while – the weaver birds in their massive nest colony above our heads keeping us company with their vibrant chatter. As we crawled into our rooftop tent I told Rug that if I heard those damned lions again I was waking his ass up and dragging him to the watering hole to investigate! He didn’t put up an argument so I knew he was keen to investigate as well.

Who knew what adventures tomorrow would bring?

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*Stay tunes for part VI – more Etosha!

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