Our main goal was getting to Etosha Nature Reserve. I had heard so much about since I was a teenager and I was excited to see all the wild animals. I had been to the Kruger National Park and seen lions, elephants, leopards etc. , but nothing could prepare me for what I was going to see at Etosha. The next day we left from Oanibdam and drove to Omoruru via the capital, Windhoek. We had some business to do there and it was quite surprising how similar the town was to any small town in South African town. It was so easy to find our way around as in town our GPS worked again.
After Windhoek we met some family friends the first time in Omoruru. I enjoy staying with people, as guests, when we travel because I get to hear the local stories. We heard many stories of their times when Namibia was still called South West Africa. It made me realize I know nothing about the political history of Namibia. And I guess there are many voices all telling their personal story.
The home was a big old farm set in a very dry area. What stands out in my memory is that the climate is so delightful we sat outside at all day and night. They had an entertaining area called a lapa; it is like an outside area with a roof made of thatch.
Our host was a farmer, Mr T N. His wife, M, had made special oryx sausage for us. I wrote in my journal, ‘M makes all her own sausage, granadilla snaps, and freezes her own vegetables. She even fixes the house; in other words she is a very active farm wife!’ This impressed me no end as I had always had a dream of being a farmer’s wife when I was young.
We managed to do our washing here and the next morning after a hearty breakfast we were off again, making our way to Etosha Nature Reserve. There were many warthogs with their young on the sides of the road. I was worried they would run into the road and we would drive over them.
When we got to the gates of Etosha Nature Reserve I was quite surprised to see that the office workers had set up office outside as it was hot. Although this was the first time I saw this it would not be the last time while travelling through Africa.
We were warned not to leave anything lying around the camp, not even our shoes, because the Jackal will come looking for food and steal things; even off the braai (barbecue).
The absolute highlight of Namibia was being at the watering hole in Etosha Nature Reserve. It was right at our camp; we were separated by a fence so we felt safe. I was there from 6:30pm to 11:30pm. I could not move. I was riveted by everything and all the goings on. We saw 8 giraffe and a baby; 8 elephant and a baby; 10 rhino; 7 lionesses and 1 lion; jackal and zebra by the dozen. It was like watching a show that had been put on for us: each kind of animal took turns coming to the water; first the rhino, then the elephants, etc etc. Derek went up and down making more and more mugs of coffee, and fetching jackets and blankets when it got colder as he found sitting for so long quite hard on his backside.
That night, as we fell asleep, we listened to the jackals call to each other. I wish I had recorded it. It was quite eerie in the night listening to their high pitched howl. I thought could imagine them running through the camp as the sound moved past us. The next morning when we woke up we found they had raided our bins. You can hear a recording of them here and watch a short clip here. We went back to the watering hole before breakfast and most of the photos I show are day time photos as our camera didn’t take very good shots of the evening show.
Evening and morning viewing.
We stayed there for two days, going on a night drive the second day and left the next morning. While driving I counted 400 zebra, and saw countless wildebees, giraffe, elephant, and antelope of different kinds walking in single file to find water.
Derek and I were of one mind – that we had had enough of viewing animals for the time being and planned to drive to Tsumeb. By the time we got to Halali, the next camp in the Nature Reserve, we decided we needed to stretch our legs and go for a walk.
It was 32 degrees C and I was scared of finding snakes on the path because we had been warned by our host at Omoruru that there are snakes such as the Zebra Cobra that are very dangerous, they are territorial and come attacking you and can spit. In Namibia I was mostly scared of snakes and scorpions. I insisted on buying a special infrared torch to see the scorpions at night. This was another reason why I wanted a rooftop tent. Here is a short video showing you a zebra cobra and here is a video which shows an incident when a child was bitten and how they had to rush it off to hospital. It has English subtitles as it is an Afrikaans video. WARNING: You may find these videos upsetting if you have a snake phobia. I have to say I was more afraid of meeting a snake then than I am now. One of the reasons is just a practicality. I felt if either of us had been bitten by a snake I wasn’t sure how we would be able to handle it out in the wild not knowing where the nearest hospital was. If you watched the second video you will know what I mean. I was forever asking Derek to check where the hospitals were in case of such an accident. Well we didn’t meet up with a snake but our hearts nearly stopped as we narrowly missed colliding with an eland (big deer) when it jumped across the road while we were driving out of Etosha Nature Reserve.
Just before Tsumeb we went to Otjikoto Lake. If any of you have seen Kimberly hole it is a bit like that but much deeper and filled with water. It is linked to part of the underground caves that are below the surface there. It is limestone like the Kango caves in Oudshoorn. The story goes that after World War II the soldiers dropped all their ammunition into the hole.
Next time I will show you a bit more of the countryside and it’s people before moving onto Popa falls, one of my favourite camping experiences. I think this part of our journey was exactly what I was expecting from travelling through Africa, just the right amount of intrigue and risk. I don’t think words can really convey what an amazing time we had here. I also feel proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone by going on a road trip in an unknown area for us and potentially facing some of my fears. We do have some more potential scary moments further along on our trip.
Till next time, take care.
Etosha Nature Reserve