Halali, Etosha Day 3
Well it's all gone quiet again this evening at the waterhole. It must be a nightly occurrence. We were just treated again to the dance of the Four Black Rhino. Mother and child teaming up against all comers. Four horns are mightier than two it seems. Earlier there was an altercation between a Rhino and an Elephant. The Rhino backed right into the water to escape the advance , but when threatened started it’s own attack at the Elephant on the shore , who quickly gave ground. It seems backing away is enough to end a confrontation, without any blood spilled.
Earlier I arrived to find twenty one elephants drinking, sumo wrestling, and generally mucking around. It was the second spell of elephant play today as I parked myself for the afternoon at the waterhole. The earlier group also had some really young ones who, when arriving at the water in the afternoon heat, plunged themselves fully into the pool. Submerging and then surfacing with much splashing. It looked like fun.
I was told to check out the early morning action on the roads. So after a restless sleep on a hard surface I was in my car and out on the road at 6.20 am when the gates open. The gates are closed from sunset to sunrise to keep the game out of the camping areas. It seems to work but I am not fully convinced. There is a lot of disrepair around the place and I am sure a determined predator could get through. Lucky with so much abundant springbok and other deer life, we humans are probably the least desired of the food on the menu.
Huge elephant just appeared on stage from Right. Now doing its two legged pose. They are amazing in the wild. And seemingly plenty of them around here.
Anyways earlier, was driving about seeing little, having a tear or two over Peter’s farewell email which I received early. I sat for a spell at a pretty spot, a large natural spring fed waterhole watching a parade of large deer and zebra and Impala walk right past my car for a drink. I headed past a basking hyena or maybe native dog, when I came upon my first encounter with Lions. Lionesses to be exact. They were sitting on the high ground watching over a group of zebra, Impala and wilderbeast, who were around a water hole in the distance. Nestled into the long grass they were perfectly camouflaged. I only just saw them. Three large females and three younger females to the rear. They looked dangerously powerful. I was not getting out of my car!
With Cats it seems it's all about waiting. At times they seemed very disinterested but mostly they were very focussed on the what was happening. At one stage as a group of wilderbeast ranged closer, they got really keen and one of the larger ones crept forward but still in cover. It was a stake out! I stayed there for a couple of hours but nothing changed. This Savannah game of cat and mouse is an end game! I was chuffed to hang with a lion hunting party.
As I drove back for an overdue coffee I saw another large flock of ostrich grazing as well as another peculiar looking foraging bird which I think is a Southern ground Hornbill. The bird life around here is as abundant as the animals are. I've seen plenty of hornbill with red and orange curved beaks, as well as Kori Bustards as well as others I still have to I.D.
I played hide and seek with a couple of giraffe as I reversed a couple of times to get in their path for a close up pic as they moved to cross the road. They eventually just sprinted around me but I got the pic. Another elephant crossing the road, and of course just springbok and wilderbeast all over the show.
It's just such a splendid experience.
In the arvo I was chatting to an South African Afrikaner couple who were telling me how in their opinion, “the only good boer is a dead boer as far as the Black Africans are concerned”. I could see her point but other than doom and gloom she had little answer to how the situation could change. It was one of the few times I have come up against the hard line Afrikaner attitude. On the whole the Afrikaner Boers I have met here in Namibia have been very genuine in their desire for a positive outcome in this part of the world. I have really been adjusting my opinion, but it shows the hardline attitude still does exist in places. She was hard out criticising the African intellectual capacity, but really I was left questioning hers. It is a difficult situation. I was glad to slip back into the waterhole experience where we sit like an audience watching the play evolve in front of us, mere spectators.
It was a suprise to meet a kiwi extended family touring Namibia and Botswana , but even more surprising was that the parents live in Parapara. I would never have found that out and met some new neighbours if I had obeyed the ‘Total Silence in the Temple of the Waterhole’ sign.
Anyways the elephant has departed, the Waterhole stage is once again empty and the audience are drifting away. I think I can handle another day or two of this even with the hard as ground to sleep on. I still havnt seen the Leopard, and the African sunsets here are just beautifully long and amazing.
P.s just after finishing this post, a Hyena ran through the undergrowth on the other side of the waterhole, there was a scream of an animal, then for the next hour or so loud chomping noises until I saw another hyena slink away with a bit of something in its mouth. The Hyena are busy.
So the show does goes on….