A year after our first visit we went to Gobabis, Namibia again but this time we flew from Durban to Johannesburg to Windhoek where Lyn met us and drove us the 2 hours back to Gobabis.
This was to be a holiday of activity and seeing lots more of Namibia. We visited Etosha, Sossusvlei and a wonderful animal sanctuary. Before we left SA, Lyn suggested that we purchase a Gondwana Membership Card. At that time it was just R100 and was valid for life, giving wonderful discounts at all the Gondwana accommodation places in Namibia for this and our future visits.
To digress for a moment to look at what the Gondwana was. Millions of years ago there was just one continent, the Pangea and, when this broke up, the area of what today comprises Africa, Arabia, South America, Antarctica, Australia and the Indian Peninsula broke away as the continent of Gondwana.
First, Lyn, Trevor and I went to Etosha Game Park in Northern Namibia where one of the largest salt pans in the world is to be found. We did a circuitous route from Gobabis to Windhoek and then north to Etosha via Otjiwarango and Outjo. (see map on previous blog for these 2 towns)
We spent the first night at Gondwana Etosha Safari Camp where we had 2 cottages set high up on a hill. The shower was interesting as the rear wall was designed in the shape of the rear of an elephant.
The rear wall of the shower
All together the whole place was rather quirky but great fun. At the main building there were chairs made from baths which had been halved, the kitchen made to look like one well used many years ago, signs on the walls ridiculing apartheid and simple creations such as using a tin still with its Koo tomato paste label for toothpicks. It was great fun to see.
Chairs made from bathtubs cut in half
The kithen. It was spotlessly clean even though it may not look like it
An innovative toothpick holder
Menu on the dining room wall
We went into the Park the next morning via the Anderson gate and stopped at the first camp, Okaukuejo, where there was a lookout tower. We climbed up to the top of this and just enjoyed the wonderful scenery. As we were to spend 2 days in the park we had booked a cottage at the next camp which was about central giving us approximately the same time and distance each day.
Entrance to the Okaukuejo
On our way we went up and down all the side roads to see as many animals as possible and we were very fortunate. The one animal which is supposed to all over Etosha, elephant, we did not see until we were leaving the Park. But we did get to see a large number of other animals so were very happy. Plenty of Springbok as well as Kudu, Sable, a variety of birds and small animals such as Sand Squirrels. We also saw a variety of birds, the best sighting being a Goshawk eating a snake.
A Ground squirrel
Goshawk with lizard
A male and some female Gemsbok
Besides animals, down one of the first roads that we went led to the Sprokie (Haunted) Forest. An area of the most fascinatingly knarled and strange shaped trees.
Halali Camp was quite different from the Safari Lodge where we had stayed the first night. Although it is deep in Africa in a Game Reserve it was definitely stocked and prepared in a Eurocentric style. After dinner we made our way to the local waterhole where we spent about an hour watching 3 lions, some giraffe and a few buck drink and rest. Amazingly none of them was hostile to any other. A beautiful evening altogether.
The following morning we packed up once again and after a hearty breakfast set off to explore the eastern side of the Park. We followed the road fairly close to the Pan itself and were delighted to see the amount of water in the Pan due to good rains further north. On the western side it had been fairly dry but this end had a lot of water.
From this in the West
To this in the East with the Angolan border in the background
Once again we saw a number of animals on the way with one of the best sightings when we went down a side road hoping to see elephant. No elephant but a very big Kudu with 2 females and a number of youngsters. They were right up close for us to watch them amble along.
First came a large male Kudu
followed by his wives and offspring
We arrived at the Namutoni Gate at the eastern end of the Park in the early afternoon and spent some time wandering around there where they have created a lovely tourist shopping centre. While having lunch we were told that elephants could be found ‘just up the road’ and Lyn knew the place. We drove there and came to a large watering hole and saw the rear of an elephant as he left the spot! Probably a record – 2 days in Etosha and see the rear of 1 elephant.
Bye-bye Mr Elephant
We were to stop twice more on our way home. At Tsumeb where we would spend a night and then on our way to our last stop, Waterberg Plateaupark, we would stop at the Hoba Meteorite and the town of Grootfontein well known to many South Africans from the Border War of the 1980s but with some interesting local facts, all if which I shall detail in the next blog.
Tsumeb here we come