December 20th, 2007 – by: wanderinwurzel
close up of the beast
As soon as we entered the park we got a glimpse of our 1st rhino, unfortunately it was not moving. We took a detour to the campsite to take in some of the scenery and hopefully get a sight of some lions and rhinos which could still move. We were camping at 1 of the 3 waterholes that was artifically fed and floodlit for 24hr viewing. This kind of put me off a bit as it all seamed to fake, but a quick walk upto the viewing area and that was forgotten as i gazed upon a herd of ellephants not 30m away, just going about their business, seamingly oblivious to the crowd of silent people watching on in awe. After dinner i returned to the viewing area to find morre elephants this time sharing the hole with a couple of rhinos, again oblivious to the floodlights and camera flashes going off.
herd of thirsty ellies
I was becoming increasingly frustrated at not being able to master the seamingly black art of taking pics of animals at night. Due to the exposure time and the animals reluctance to stay still most shots came out blurred, so in the end i decided to just sit back and enjoy the moment. Throughout the night the watering hole was visited by several herds of ellies with calfs, sometimes in groups of upto 27. the next day we did a game drive through the park, and managed to see an abundance of zebras, giraffe, boks, impalas, ellies, and then we spotted a pair of lions chilling under a tree less than 20m from the road. Theses were magnificant animals a male and female in prime condition, completely unfazed by the big green truck that had pulled up with a dozen or so people all leaning out trying to take pics of them.
zebras at waterhole
With pics all taken we headed off to the saltpans to take in the views of the vast emptyness, before heading back to the campsite, for a quick dip in the pool and a refreshing drink before dinner. That evening some of us headed back to the waterhole and were quietly sat watching a lot of nothing when suddenly we could see a trail of dust rising through the trees, this was turned out to be a group of about 30 ellies including about a dozen calves of various ages, all of whom were very thirsty. We watched on as the calves fed and played in the water while the adults filled there huge bodies with water. No sooner than they started to move on than more dust and ellies came up to the hole, so in total there were approximately 50 elephants right in front of us.
great shot of the moon
Later that evening we watched as a rhino and her calf tried to get to the waterhole whilst a herd of elephants were there, and the calf elephants were getting quite fiesty so the rhinos left and returned when they had left. The whole time thishad been going on a tiny baby impala had ben waiting desperatley right below us for a chance to get a drink. It looked so fragile almost Bambi like, but managed to get a drink before the jackals turned up to the party. Upon returning to the camping area we found it being trashed by the honey badgers. These were the only animals that actually showed any aggression in the 2 days we'd been there, and they did actually look quite vicious when disturbed from scrounging for food.
The following morning we packed up the camp and headed indirectly for the exit, coming across pretty much the same as the day before, including a further 3 lions resting under a tree besides a waterhole, albiet further away than the encounter yesterday. Behind them were a herd of zebras desperately trying to work out if it was safe to go to the hole, as we all hoped for witnessing the lions in action for once. Alas this didn't happen so we headed off back into the wilds of northern Namibia, and onto Cheetah farm.