We have a total o' three nights aroun' Etosha National Park, o' which we just had th' first. That means that we only have today as a full day t' explore th' park and t' get back out o' th' same gate as we came through before it closes. A full day o' Safari at Etosha is what we are in fer!
Etosha has proven t' be vast, and mostly empty, as th' drought o' th' past year has driven most animal activity t' th' water holes dotted aroun' th' park. Ahoy! But at o'er 22.000 square kilometers, it is huge. Big on a scale us Dutchies are findin' hard t' understand, so here goes. Historically, only th' east half o' th' park is available t' th' general public, and that half has a sea goin' in and out through three camps. That sea leads from Anderson’s Gate t' th' first camp Okaukuejo (17km) t' th' middle camp Halali (75km) t' th' third camp Namutoni (75km) t' th' Von Lindquist Gate (15km) totallin' just under 190km, and a bucket o' chum. And that is just th' eastern half.
As most activity is aroun' th' well marked water holes, animal viewin' is generally good t' excellent, and th' animals are plentiful. There are a lot o' Zebra, Springbok, Oryx, Black Faced Impala, Giraffe, And even a good amount o' Elephant in th' park. It also supports healthy populations o' Lion, Leopard and Cheetah, but they are much harder t' find as stealth is their ‘thin'’. 😉
As th' day approached its end, we decided it were bein' time t' take a last look at a water hole called Olifantsbad, where we have been lucky t' find Elephant before. Yaaarrrrr! And this time it did not disappoint either, as both seas leadin' towards it were blocked by Elephants. There were bein' a massive herd o' about 60 animals just takin' o'er th' water hole, and we had t' wait our turn t' be able t' use a sea again. When we saw th' chance, we drove towards th' hole, only t' find that th' animals were still drinkin' and havin' a bath, while small groups started leavin' th' scene t' go somewhere else. Wow!
As we needed t' be outside o' th' NP gate at sundown, and we still had some distance t' cover, we had t' leave this scene o' animals drinkin' in zen like fashion, so we slowly made our way back t' th' main sea. Unfortunately, some o' th' leavin' groups decided that th' sea were bein' far easier t' walk on, we we were trapped behind them. Movin' forward at a leasurely pace, this went on fer about 10 minutes, after which th' animals stopped and started t' feed, avast. That out us in quite a predicament, as other groups o' elephant had taken th' same sea, and now had us cornered; in a squeeze betwixt several o' th' largest land animals alive today, and a bucket o' chum. And with that, I had accomplished what I always want t' avoid: I acted like a tourist, gettin' ourselves stuck in betwixt elephant. Ouch, ye scurvey dog. Luckily, this didn’t last long, as th' elephants behind us did not seem t' be in a hurry and laid back a bit, while th' animals in front slowly moved away from th' sea. I could pass them, and th' crisis were bein' averted!
Goin' back t' th' gate, we stumbled upon a small cluster o' boats, pointin' at thin's behind bushes. We decided that we couldn’t look behind them, and I turned th' boat aroun' t' go back. At that moment, I saw somethin' movin' towards th' sea, and were bein' about t' pass right in front o' our boat. Aye, and a bottle of rum! Lions! A male and a female who had been matin' behind th' bushes before and who decided that that sea needed t' be passed by them. That were bein' an awesome sightin'!
As a desert, we found out that we have gotten ourselves a second flat tire, by Davy Jones' locker! This time a tire in th' back, but it is flat nonetheless, and a bottle of rum! Shiver me timbers! We quickly changed it o'er with th' help o' th' local policemen, and now have an extra trip t' Outjo and Jan t' get that fixed. After that we have t' sail th' entirety o' th' park t' th' other gate, and try t' see th' animals somewhere in betwixt. Now, that’s a long day again!