Strathspey Wildlife
Discover Namibia- An African safari with Exodus Travel 2008

Wednesday 24th.
September 2008

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After our two nights at Okaukuejo it was time to move on - towards our next camp at Namutoni, though we wouldn't arrive there till late afternoon. Our first stop was to be at Halali, a drive of 75km. But the roof was still off as we were game-driving virtually all of the way. Our first sighting of the day was an oryx. As we have seen, these are fairly common in Namibia, but these animals, synonymous with the desert are always good to see. We came across a huge herd of zebra, over 40 in number. They seem to be transfixed, and Maxwell seemed to think that a predator was nearby - we had a good look around but we didn't find whatever was holding their attention. Within an hour, as we slowly made our way towards Halali, we had seen, in addition to the zebra,

wildebeest, elephant - 30 in number - rhino, red hartebeest,  and perched in a roadside tree, a black-chested snake-eagle, so it was a good start to the day. We arrived at Halali, where the lads started preparing lunch, as Max showed us to the very attractive Halali waterhole. On route we saw a Verraux giant eagle-owl in a distant tree and  we were very impressed when a short time later Julia spotted its mate a few hundred yards away in its nest at the top of an old tree, so it was good to see, even at this late stage, that we had at least one trainee twitcher developing on the trip. We had some Kudu at the waterhole - measuring around 5ft at the shoulder, these are very impressive animals, and the male in particular, with its spiralling antlers certainly makes a majestic sight. Amongst the

smaller inhabitants at the waterhole, Nancy spotted terrapins, pulling themselves up onto the little islets in the centre of the water.
After a long lunch we continued, leaving at 2pm, on what felt like a very long and very hot game drive, which took us along the vast expanse of the Etosha salt-pans. All the usual suspects were in attendance on route, and for a change we had a close sighting of warthog, which I always find amusing as they invariably make off at speed with their tails erect.
It was just after 5 pm that we arrived at our camp for the next two nights at Namutoni. The last time I saw such a place was in a film featuring the Foreign Legion - this desert fort could well have been the setting. The original fort, built in 1902, was destroyed two years later when its 7

German soldiers were overwhelmed by 500 Owambo warriors. It was reconstructed just two years later and for a time became a police station. The fort was fully restored to its original structure in 1956 and opened for business as tourist accommodation. As a photograph, its whitewashed walls makes an excellent contrast to the deep blue Namibian sky. One enters via a pair of huge wooden gates beneath a broad arch - indeed the type of entrance that befits such a fort. As you enter, you get the feeling of going back through a time warp. The interior is set out like a courtyard, with its various little businesses set around the edge, whilst the steps will take you up onto the "ramparts." All in all a quite stunning location.
Separate from the fort, and accessed via a wooden walkway is the floodlit King Nehale waterhole, similar to that of Okaukuejo except that this was

set a bit lower, though this was to add to the experience. The wooden walkways were replicated throughout the camp, presumable to make access easier in the flood conditions of the wet season. After an evening meal of sweet and sour pork with rice and mixed veg, we set off for the waterhole. We were told that the waterhole could well be fairly quiet, as there was quite a bit of  water lying elsewhere in the area, so we were quite pleased on this first evening to be visited by 5 lions - 2 female, 1 male and two cubs, though as before they were at the far side of the waterhole on the fringes of the floodlit area. It was very tempting to stay late into the night, but given the constraints of the trip's itinerary, the thought of fetching my thermarest mattress and sleeping bag to spend the night sleeping on the benches at the waterhole had to be dismissed.

It did not stop me however re-visiting the waterhole during the early hours as the roar of lions once again took me from my tent, but no luck this time either. Though the noise of the lions during the night hours was not always conducive to a good night's sleep, I don't think I could ever tire of these sounds of the African night.
 

Other Photographs of The Day
 


 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 
Next day - Thursday 25th.September 2008
 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

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