Day One in Etosha ended as it had begun, back at the Okaukuejo camp. The camps in the park, run by Namibia Wildlife Resorts, were comfortable and clean, though not always well maintained, and the staff, I regret to say, were for the most part graduates of the Soviet school of hospitality – surly, unhelpful, unresponsive. The food was pretty dreadful, and expensive.
The best bet, we discovered, was to get a burger for lunch at the cafeteria, and avoid the dinner buffets altogether.
The waterhole at Okaukuejo, famed in the guide books for its ‘teeming’ animals, was mostly deserted. We sat up late and got up early, waiting with tripod and cameras and binoculars for that magical sighting, and were lucky enough to see two male lions appear after dark, the one night, to drink, and then – quite literally – melt away into the darkness. We saw a rhino, too, splashing about in the waterhole after dark, black-backed jackals, springbok and giraffe – but in small numbers, and certainly not ‘teeming.’
Yet there was a vast sense of quiet watchfulness, us waiting for the animals to appear, the animals watchful and wary, a sense of anticipation and yet, safe behind the low wall that separated us, peacefulness and calm.
I’d go there again, no question – though next time I think Rob and I would stay in one of the private lodges outside the park, rather than put up with the NWR version of ‘hospitality.’ We’d miss staying up by the waterholes though, and waking in the park.
Here are a few more photos, from our first day in Etosha.