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2020 Travels: Self-Drive Across Namibia + Ethiopian Airlines Business Class

2020 Travels: Self-Drive Across Namibia + Ethiopian Airlines Business Class

Old Mar 11, 2021, 6:00 pm
  #31  
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DAY 5, SWAKOPMUND TO BRANDBERG

Back on the road, I set out towards Cape Cross Seal Reserve, my first pit stop of the day. Along the way there was an interesting shipwreck off the coast.


Zeila shipwreck

I was the first person to arrive at the Seal Reserve on the day, and spent a good 15min in the stench with seals lazing around. About two weeks before headlines were made about a mystery virus killing thousands of seals at the colony; I could see a few dead babies strewn over the sand.


Cape Cross Seal Reserve



The nearby Cape Cross Lodge made for a nice lunch spot. It was deserted - with myself being the only visible guest around – but seemed to be a relaxing, charming place. It had a nice mini-museum with interesting facts about the area.


Cape Cross Lodge

At some point during the drive there was a long stretch of road with stalls set up selling various gemstones. This was super interesting not only because of the animal and human statues set up in front of the stalls, but because there was absolutely no one around. And by that, I mean literally not a single soul in sight. I wanted to hop out of the car and take a look around, but the place spooked me a little. I felt someone might pop out of a bush the second I exited the car. As a compromise, I settled on taking photos from a distance behind the safety of four locked doors.


Deserted gemstone stall


The only sign of life around

Closer to my destination, there were some tribal villages.


Tribal village

Brandberg White Lady Lodge was my accommodation for the night. It’s a lovely place at the footstep of Namibia’s highest mountain, with a nice pool area and funky garden. I arrived in the early afternoon and checked into my basic tent with two single beds plus an outdoor bathroom.

Namibia’s famous desert elephants are known to roam the area, but I was told they hadn’t been sighted for a few weeks. The leopards which supposedly lurk around were nowhere to be seen either. The lodge did however have a resident talking parrot.

I spent the afternoon lazing in the sun by the pool reading “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am” by an infamous frequent flyer who I shan’t name. Although a fun read, I’m a bit embarrassed to say I actually paid money for the nonsense. I’ll give myself a break however, I was on holiday. The book was enjoyed with a cold Namibian beer.


Brandberg White Lady Lodge entrance


Garden


Tented accommodation


Outdoor bathroom


Pool with Brandberg Mountain in the background


Bar area

The talking parrot was a bit of a disappointment. Whilst supposedly able to repeat any word or phrase, the cheeky bugger remained quiet when I tried getting him to speak. After five minutes of attempted conversation, I bade my farewell and began walking away. Only then did I get anything out of my feathered friend. “Bye bye”.

Although just a short stay, I really enjoyed White Lady Lodge. The surrounds are beautiful, and the lodge had a friendly, slow-paced vibe to it. After a few days on the road, a lazy afternoon by the pool was exactly what I needed, and exactly what I got.
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Old Mar 11, 2021, 6:12 pm
  #32  
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Originally Posted by 13901
I'm wondering what the guy in the hi-viz was trying to do: proper carjacking or the old trick of nicking your bags from the seats?
I think the latter, just trying to grab my bags or take my wallet. He seemed a bit nervous and desperate; for some reason I got the impression he hasn't attempted similar things too many times before.

Originally Posted by nldogbert
Those ladies/girls chatting you up most probably were trying to get some "business" from you - so a good point to close it down. These are sadly some of the cons of travelling especially alone - just at times difficult to separate the genuine friendly local folks to those that are trying to rip you off just because you are a tourist. My worst experience was the driver I had in Madagascar ripping me off at the end of the trip even though treating him well during the whole trip...
Yeah, I think you may be right. Hard to tell though with different cultures...could've been genuine. Either way I wasn't very interested to find out!

I've had similar experiences to yours in Madagascar.

Originally Posted by nldogbert
The rest - seems to be a great report so far - I too would like to visit Namibia in the near future. Looking forward to the rest of the report.

Cheers!
Thanks!
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Old Mar 11, 2021, 7:13 pm
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Thanks for this report. I'm recalling my nice trip to South Africa a few years ago. I may have to try something like what you have done.
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Old Mar 12, 2021, 9:28 pm
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Wow, fascinating. Thank you so much, as I will probably never see that part of the world. You must be quite brave to do all that driving alone in deserted areas.
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Old Mar 13, 2021, 6:57 am
  #35  
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Some very interesting places!
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Old Mar 13, 2021, 10:22 am
  #36  
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DAYS 6-7, ETOSHA SOUTH

After a five-hour drive from Brandberg, I arrived at Etosha Safari Lodge, where I’d be staying the next two nights. The lodge is located a few kilometres from the Andersson gate entrance, sitting on a hill overlooking the expansive flat landscape of Etosha and its surrounds.

The staff were quite serious on covid safety measures, with temperature checks on arrival and a health form filled in.

The main building has a large restaurant area, bar, deck and adjacent swimming pool. The rooms are self-standing and spread out over a few hundred metres.


Entrance to the main building


Perfect sundowner spot



My room was a lot nicer than what I had seen in the photos on TripAdvisor when booking. It had been recently renovated, with fresh decor, a large comfortable bed and small deck out the front. Certainly more luxurious than the previous night’s tent.



Like the afternoon before, I spent a few hours by the pool reading and sipping on a cocktail. 36 degrees, blue skies, dry air and fantastic view to top it off. Perfect.



No other guests were utilising the pool, so a gang of mongoose decided they’d be welcome to hang around. I concurred, and observed as they dug a tunnel under the deck.





Unfortunately, due to the lack of guests, the restaurant at the lodge was closed, meaning I had to be transported 3km over to Etosha Safari Camp for dinner. The camp is nowhere near as nice as the lodge, so I wasn't too pleased at first. However, it ended up being quite pleasant with a local band performing live music.


Dinner at Etosha Safari Camp

A 5:30AM wakeup was on the schedule for the following morning before a full day game drive inside the national park. I shared a safari vehicle along with a friendly couple from Italy, and Jackson, our guide for the day.

We were off to a fantastic start, finding a pride of nine lions right by the road. This included four small cubs and a younger male who was quite nervous with the cars around. We spent more than an hour watching the young ones play whilst the older lions mainly snoozed. I was feeling trigger-happy, and took over two hundred photos. Not to worry, I’ll only share a few of the best here.













Bidding farewell to the pride, we continued onwards to a nearby waterhole where a bull elephant was quenching his thirst. The waterholes at Etosha are amazing, with large swaths of different animal species all congregating together. Giraffe, wildebeest, springbok and ostriches were all present at the same time as the elephant, with some hyenas lurking not too far away as well.







Further down the road were jackals and zebra, the first of many on this safari.

Etosha had suffered from a few large wildfires in the weeks leading up to my trip, meaning extensive areas of land were charred over. Few animals seemed to explore these areas, sticking to where vegetation was present. Although sad that some wildlife had perished during the fires, it was positive to hear that no rhinos were killed. They’re supposedly more susceptible to bushfires than other animals, as they run toward the flames in an attempt to stamp them out, rather than sprint in the other direction.

Anyway, the contrast between burnt over areas and unaffected ones made for some cool scenery.



Close to the Sueda waterhole, we ran into a small herd of elephants with a baby in tow. They crossed the road to the waterhole and lathered themselves in mud, which defends their sensitive skin from the sun.


Leading the herd







For lunch, we headed back to Okaukuejo near the entrance gate to the park. On the way, Jackson impressively spotted a lone lioness relaxing under a tree.

Okaukuejo is a fenced off area within the national park boundaries, with accommodation run by a Namibia Wildlife Resorts, a state-owned company. It has a viewing platform overlooking the adjacent waterhole – potentially the most beautiful one in Etosha – and we ate a packed lunch whilst observing the wildlife. Jackson, with eagle eyes, pointed out a rhino sauntering over from a few hundred metres away.





Back in the car, we set out towards the west side of the Etosha pan, as opposed to the Southern areas we had explored in the morning. The Italian couple had opted for only a half day game drive, so I was the only guest in the afternoon. Wildlife remained aplenty.







Late in the afternoon, we spotted two mating lions sleeping on the edge of the pan. At first it seemed they were the only lions around, but soon after we noticed two more hiding under a tree some distance away.





We waited around for quite some time, hoping for some activity. This patience was rewarded with the two lionesses under the tree deciding to walk over for some water. They crossed the road just in front of us. Later on we noticed even more lions in the same spot, for a total pride size of eight.









On the way back to the lodge, close to the entrance gate, we spotted an alert springbok staring off into the bushes. Sure enough, there was a lioness lurking around. It seemed like we might get lucky and witness a hunt, but unfortunately the lioness wasn’t very interested in the springbok, and disappeared into the bushes after a few minutes.





The day ended with yet another cocktail on the deck, watching the sun go down.

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Old Mar 13, 2021, 10:32 am
  #37  
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Originally Posted by catmndu
Thanks for this report. I'm recalling my nice trip to South Africa a few years ago. I may have to try something like what you have done.
Southern Africa is a great part of the world!

Originally Posted by HawaiiFlyerDC8
Wow, fascinating. Thank you so much, as I will probably never see that part of the world. You must be quite brave to do all that driving alone in deserted areas.
Before the trip I was a little bit nervous about the driving, but once there everything was quite easy. Cheers for reading!

Originally Posted by offerendum
Some very interesting places!
Definitely!
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 1:34 am
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Splendid continuation and great wildlife!
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 6:29 pm
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DAY 8-9, ETOSHA EAST AND ONGUMA BUSH CAMP

Today I’d be self-driving across through Etosha to Onguma Private Game Reserve, on the eastern border of the park’s boundaries. It would be my first time doing a self-drive safari, and I was both excited and nervous to see what I’d stumble upon. I was hoping to catch some big cats, and potentially avoid the elephants, given they’re the most likely to cause trouble and serious damage if encountered on a bad day. I’d much rather have an experienced safari guide at the wheel with them around.

At the entrance gate to the park I had to fill in some (I believe) covid-related forms, and was questioned by the friendly guard on why I haven’t brought my wife or children along for the vacation. The answer presented itself when she checked my passport: I’m pretty much still a child.

The first stop of the day was Okaukuejo, where I climbed the tower for some 360 degree views over the national park.


View from Okaukuejo tower

A lone elephant was drinking at the waterhole.



Moving on, I drove towards one of the waterholes we had visited the day before, stopping to snap some pictures of the Etosha Pan. A large herd of springbok stood guard beneath a tree. A giraffe and some oryx were around too.





Close to the next waterhole, I spotted four elephants walking over from quite a ways away. No other cars were around, and whilst nervous about getting between them and the waterhole, I wanted to get somewhat close for some nice pictures. It was a little challenging trying to position the car in a good spot.







A lone jackal stared at the giants along with me.



Traffic was encountered further down the road.



Another herd of elephants hung around Sueda, the same spot we visited yesterday. This time I kept a lot of distance as they were quite spread out, making it hard to see how many there were altogether. In the end, I only stuck around for a few minutes, a bit scared of getting caught between the stompers.


Head of the herd

Salvadora is a waterhole popular with cheetah and leopards, but today none were present. It's a nice enough spot without any of the big cats, however.


Salvadora

I stopped by Halali for a quick late lunch. The waterhole was quiet. I was told had I arrived a few hours earlier, I would have seen a pride of thirteen lions. Similar to Okaukuejo, Halali has government-run accommodation. Unlike Okaukuejo, it isn’t particularly nice, at least from the outside.


An empty Halali waterhole

It was around 3:30PM by now, and I realized I needed to up my pace quite a bit in order to exit the park by the 7PM closing time. I was still 100km from Onguma, and with a 60km/h speed limit within the park I was cutting things close.

Rushing away from Halali, I rounded a bend and was confronted by a massive bull elephant. I had to break swiftly and start reversing, but manage to grab a few photos before doing so. Luckily, just 50m up the road from me there was another road perpendicular, and I parked myself there whilst waiting for the roadblock to pass. Super cool experience, but my heart was pumping a little!


Big bull coming right at me!





Only a few kilometres up the road, another bull stood by the road. This one a cool, light shade of grey after having a mudbath.



I made it out of Etosha on time, and was greeted by a warthog as I entered Onguma. Clearly I failed miserably on avoiding elephants (and spotting any cats), but thankfully there were no issues.



Originally, I had booked two nights at Onguma Etosha Aoba followed by two nights at Onguma Tree Top Camp. Sadly, about two weeks before my arrival Tree Top Camp went down in flames, and just before my arrival I was informed that Aoba was closed due to low bookings. I was re-accommodated to Onguma Bush Camp and The Fort instead, both formidable upgrades.

The Bush Camp far exceeded my expectations. It had an incredibly nice dining and relaxing area overlooking a small artificial waterhole, as well as a pool. My room was a spacious rondavel. All staff were incredibly friendly, particularly Daniel (I’m pretty sure that was his name) who took care of the bar and waited dinner.


Onguma Bush Camp


Dining area


Chill out area




Rondavel room



Dinner was served on the indoor/outdoor deck on the edge of the waterhole. I was told cheetahs had paid a visit the night before, and was hoping for a return. It wasn’t to be, but a few giraffes came by for a drink. The sight was enjoyed by myself and the only other two guests at the camp for the night, a young couple.



The following day started out with an early morning bushwalk with Niklaus, my safari guide for the next few days. Animals were sparse, but it was good to walk around on foot for a few hours and learn about the flora and history of the area.

Niklaus comes from a nomadic tribe that was previously settled in Onguma. He explained there had been some conflicts with another tribe over who the land used to belong to. The other tribe could prove they had been in the area through graves just inside Etosha, whereas Niklaus’ tribe didn’t bury people. If someone was getting old and could no longer keep up with the others’ movements, they’d stay behind alone and wait for hyenas to take care of them. And since hyenas eat absolutely everything including bones, there’s no evidence left of them being in the area. Fascinating story.


Rough, dry landscape

After a massage and a few hours by the pool, we departed for an afternoon game drive in Etosha, quickly finding three cheetahs napping under a tree.



Two ostriches posed for some nice photos.





And a kudu too. This one with very big ears.



A nearby waterhole looked quiet at first, but with a close eye, lions could be seen.


The big male sitting in the shade


Females and cubs off in the distance

The cats were quite far from the car and not moving much, but things got interesting when a few kudus nervously marched to the waterhole. They could sense something was up, however either didn’t notice the lions or were brave enough to go for a drink anyway. I was certain we’d get to see some action.

Despite the seemingly easy target, unfortunately for me (and fortunately for the kudus) the lions were not hungry, and simply stared from a distance. Some zebra joined too, but this wasn’t enough to change anyone’s appetite.


Tiptoeing over, with the lions in the background


Highly interested, but not bothered


A kudu finally making eye contact with a male lion

Another pleasant dinner was had at the camp, which was a lot busier than the previous night. Surrounded by loud groups of tourists, I found myself missing having almost the whole place to myself.

Last edited by AJ747M; Mar 15, 2021 at 6:51 pm
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 6:35 pm
  #40  
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So great. Thank you for continuing to post pics and info for the TR. so interesting about the outdoor bathroom attached to the tent.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 6:43 pm
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Originally Posted by 13901
Splendid continuation and great wildlife!
Thanks!

Originally Posted by gaobest
So great. Thank you for continuing to post pics and info for the TR. so interesting about the outdoor bathroom attached to the tent.
Thanks! The outdoor bathroom was cool, although a little eery going to at night when there can be wildlife around.
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Old Mar 15, 2021, 2:30 am
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Loving the pictures and loving the fact that you stayed at Onguma - we are to spend 2 nights there in November so it is great to see the pictures, so very helpful and informative. Thank you so much.
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Old Mar 15, 2021, 5:19 pm
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DAY 10-12.5, ETOSHA EAST AND ONGUMA THE FORT

With another early wakeup, back to Etosha it was for more wildlife. I got my first shot of the skittish steenbok.


Not easy to get a photo of these guys!

For twenty minutes, we watched on as a pair of jackals dodged zebras and tried catch small birds out of the air. They were successful in the former; not so much in the latter.


Jackals playfully hunting for birds

We passed by the same waterhole as the day before, with the pride of lions still present. Although far away from the car, I could see blood on a lioness’ face through my camera. Niklaus then noticed a large grey animal concealed by the bushes – either a dead elephant or rhino. He called up a local ranger who would later come check on the animal to see whether it had been killed by the lions or poached. If the former, more rangers would come to cut the tusks/horn off before anyone else got to it. Unfortunately, I never found out what happened; I hoped it was the lions.


Cropped shot of the bloody-faced lionesses and cubs

The north-east side of Etosha has more open plains; the pan is an odd green colour due to residual algae after the rains.


A green Etosha pan


Ostriches venturing over to the salt

Andoni waterhole hosted a multitude of species, including flamingos.







Off in the distance, what looked like a small mammal started to become bigger. Through the binoculars, we realized it was a large male lion. Initially we thought it might be mating with another lioness, but as it moved closer it became evident that wasn’t the case. Instead, the male was dragging a large kill – a blue wildebeest – towards the waterhole.


We could just barely see the the blue wildebeest's horn sticking out of the grass

The lion was clearly tired - Niklaus guessed it had made the kill some distance away, and the mercury was reaching close to 40C. For 45min, we watched as it dragged the wildebeest a few metres, then rested for five minutes, then dragged the wildebeest a few more metres, then rested again. A few times, he seemed to be on the verge of giving up the kill and heading towards the waterhole alone. Each time however, after walking a few metres way, he ran back to fend off looming jackals trying to score a free meal.

Niklaus suggested we head back the few hundred metres to the waterhole, as it seemed the lion was not going to give up the kill to the jackals. We did so, but not five minutes later I noticed it had abandoned the carcass. Finally, it was heading over for a drink! I asked Niklaus to rush back to the road so we could get close to the big cat.

Car positioned perfectly, I managed some nice shots as the king walked by us.



Once on the other side, we immediately rushed back to the waterhole.

The warthogs rushed in another direction.


"Scratch that, we're outta here!"

An absolutely magnificent spectacle ensued, with dozens of frightened zebra, wildebeest and oryx making way for the majestic beast as it confidently strode towards the water.

Surprisingly, not a single one ran way.









For fifteen minutes, the lion bathed and rehydrated whilst nervous potential prey stared on. He was clearly exhausted, after what must’ve been an incredibly tiring effort attempting to move the wildebeest from its kill spot to the water.

At some point, one of the jackals jogged over from the wildebeest carcass to check on the lion. As soon as it saw the him still bathing in the water, the jackal hurried back to continue eating. The nonchalant manner in which this was done was hilarious. Jackals are incredibly cheeky.

Successfully rehydrated and cooled down, the lion exited the water and began walking back to the wildebeest. This walk turned into a jog when he spotted the jackals stealing his meal.


An incredibly majestic jog

We rushed back to the road before another crossing, and I got an awesome and/or mildly terrifying stare from the scar-faced predator. Just look at those eyes...



The jackals were chased off and the kill reclaimed, and Nicklaus and I headed back to Onguma.

After some checkout formalities and picking up my bags, I headed to The Fort. This should’ve been an easy 2km drive, but with my poor navigation I doubled the distance.

The Fort is a luxury Moroccan-themed lodge, with eleven free-standing Bush Suites, a larger Honeymoon Suite and a Sultan Suite located in the main building. It’s the top-rated lodge in Etosha on TripAdvisor, and it isn't hard to see why.

I was welcomed by Marisca, the lodge manager, with a strike of the gong at the entrance. This was followed by a tour of “The Fort”.

The main building consists of the entrance and its stunning water feature, multiple chill-out areas, an air-conditioned art gallery, a dining area, a massive deck overlooking the waterhole, a rooftop area for star-gazing (well, at least that’s what I used it for), and of course a pristine swimming pool. All I could say was: wow.


Entrance to The Fort, complete with gong
















Bush Suites in the distance

After the facilities tour I was shown Bush Suite 7, my humble abode for the next two nights. The suite is shaped like a mini fort, and gargantuan wooden doors await at the entrance. These doors operate without locks, and instead have a primitive (and I guess, Moroccan) mechanism to keep wind from blowing them open. In my mind this was super cool, and contributed to the incredibly relaxed vibe of the lodge.


Bush Suite 7

A small hallway awaited when entering the L-shaped suite. On the left side was a large area to place my suitcases and hang clothes, with the plush bedroom situated in front. On the right, there was a large bathroom with a towering ceiling. In front of the suite, a substantial wrap-around deck awaited with chairs, loungers and a mattress for afternoon napping. Oh, and an outdoor shower too. Did I forget to mention the fireplace next to the bed?


To the right: hallway leading to the bathroom








The Fort is the first place I’ve stayed where everything in the minibar is free. I actually thought my ears were playing tricks on me when Marisca explained the fact. The gratis goodies in the fridge included water, soft drinks, beers, and even a bottle of wine (or was it prosecco?). And not only was everything in the fridge free, but so were the spirits sitting above the fridge. Whiskey, gin, brandy and a large decanter of cognac. Amazing.


On the house! Unfortunately I only had a small tipple of whiskey in the end...

If all the above images or description didn’t convince you that The Fort is an absolutely spectacular place to stay, this should: the staff will personally ring you when there is any interesting wildlife at the waterhole. This may not seem like a complicated thing to do (nor is it), but I haven’t experienced it elsewhere before, and I think it is the best little touch any safari lodge can add to their experience. I told Marisca that no time of the day is too early or too late to give me that ring.

Like a few other afternoons, I spent this one reading, drinking and napping by the pool. I do love the African sun.

In the evening, I opted for a sundowner drive on Onguma Reserve. The previous day a group had seen a pride of thirteen lions on the drive, and I hinted to Niklaus that I wouldn’t be sad to repeat the experience.

At a small pond, a large mammal sprinted out of sight the second Niklaus spotted it. It was a leopard. Niklaus saw it; another solo European tourist also on the drive saw it; I didn’t see it.

Damnit...the only big cat I’d miss out on during this safari.

After a short drive seeing plenty of giraffes (both dead and alive), we settled at a quiet spot for sunset beers. Nicklaus told us of the tough times he had faced during the pandemic, having been retrenched since March right up until this week. Onguma usually has nine safari guides working full time; now only Nicklaus and one other colleague had been called back for a few days of work. I felt incredibly sorry for both him and all the other staff...covid sucks.





Arriving back at The Fort was quit the spectacle. I'll let my picture describe the scene.



Dinner was served out on the deck overlooking the lit waterhole. With only two other guests around – an older German couple – it was incredibly peaceful and quiet. Being the non-foodie I am, I don’t recall what I ate, but I do recall it was very tasty. I do recall sinking a pińa colada as well.

Post-dessert I tried my hand at some long exposure photography on the roof of The Fort. The results weren't great, but better than my previous attempt in Oman.

The next morning, Nicklaus and I headed straight to the same waterhole where the lions had been feasting on the dead elephant or rhino. This time, there was a bit more action.

A new male lion we hadn’t seen before was awake and angry. Just as we arrived, he walked towards the pride, trying to attack the cubs. The mother lioness was aggressively defending her children, and quickly they got into a tussle, accompanied by some loud roaring. The fight was over in just a few seconds, with the male seemingly giving up on his efforts immediately after. He walked away, and no more action was to be seen from then on. The whole pride went back to being lazy lions.


An intense few seconds


Mum looking quite angry


And, retreat

Aside from the lions, the other cool sighting of the day was a flock of thousands of weavers flying in unison to and from a waterhole and a nearby tree. Otherwise, it was mostly antelopes, a few zebras and giraffes, and a jackal enjoying a midday run.






Skittish zebras frightening themselves with their own splashes


A flying jackal

Back at The Fort, I had a nice lunch in the sun before retiring to my suite for a lie-down. It was at this point where I caved in on my two weeks of avoiding world news. I figured I ought to check on my return flights as well, given there was a decent chance of cancellations.

I was shocked to find out covid cases in Sweden had gone up five-fold to over five thousand per day. I was not shocked to find out the FRA-ARN sector of my return had been cancelled. I looked up some alternatives before shutting the laptop and deciding I’d deal with it later. Part of me didn’t want to rebook the flight, as I was mulling whether to stay in Africa and work remotely for some time. I shot off a WhatsApp to the Swedish fellow I met in Windhoek and asked for recommendations on interesting, safe and cheap cities in the region.

At some point the landline rang, and a voice on the other let me know there was a bull elephant at the waterhole. Awesome. I snapped a few cringeworthy self-timed pictures of me on the deck with the bull in the background before heading over to the pool.

Yet again, I spent the afternoon reading and swimming. Only this time with an elephant in the background. An interesting note is that Onguma generally doesn’t have any of the four-footed giants on their reserve. However, the restless bulls occasionally break through the bordering Etosha fence, and at present there were five of them roaming around Onguma’s 34,000 hectares.



Whilst in the pool, Erica, another management staff member, walked around the side and let out a scream. “Snake!”. I jumped out of the water and hurried over to try get a glimpse of the serpent. Funnily enough, Erica and I had earlier chatted about snakes and how I was disappointed to not have seen one on the trip thus far. Unfortunately, it had slid under the pool before I got the chance.

Later on, sitting out on the deck, I spotted some movement near the waterhole. Lo and behold, the three cheetahs I missed by one day at Bush Camp! What an amazing sight for my last night in Etosha.



Again, dinner was served out on the deck. Again, I can’t remember what was served. Again, I do recall that it was tasty. And again, I had another pińa colada. Or two.

With another clear night, I spent thirty minutes on the rooftop observing and photographing the stars. This time with some better results than the night before.



For my final game drive the following morning, I asked Niklaus if we could head to Etosha Pan Lookout. I hadn’t noticed this on the map when driving from Etosha Safari Lodge to Onguma, and really didn’t want to miss the opportunity to stand on the Etosha Pan before leaving Namibia. He was reluctant given the distance (90km each way), but acquiesced later after suggesting it was possible if speeding there and back with few stops.

Despite our rush along one road, game viewing was good. Our first sighting was a few hyenas.





Next was a red hartebeest, which had been an uncommon animal so far.



Halfway to Etosha Pan Lookout, Niklaus screeched on the brakes and backed up. In sight was a beautiful black rhino, the fourth I’d seen of the trip so far. Safari guides are so valuable, many times I would have completely missed a great sighting if driving on my own.



The Lookout was funky, and we had the whole place to ourselves. I was very glad we made it out there.





Heading back, we drove by plenty of wildebeest.



And another hartebeest, this one with a baby by its side.



A pale chanting goshawk (I'll admit I had to Google the name).



A nicely posing secretary bird.



Plenty of elephant dung.



And some kudu and vultures, for my final photo in Etosha.



I ate a quick lunch at The Fort, packed the car, settled my bills, grabbed some final photos of one of the nicer places I’ve ever stayed, and was off towards Otjiwarongo.

Last edited by AJ747M; Mar 15, 2021 at 7:00 pm
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Old Mar 15, 2021, 5:23 pm
  #44  
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Join Date: Apr 2017
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Originally Posted by bigbadjoe
Loving the pictures and loving the fact that you stayed at Onguma - we are to spend 2 nights there in November so it is great to see the pictures, so very helpful and informative. Thank you so much.
Thanks so much for reading on! As you'll get to find out, Onguma is spectacular. Which lodge are you staying in?
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Old Mar 15, 2021, 6:17 pm
  #45  
 
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WOW WOW WOW!!!!!!! Love your trip - great photo's and commentary. I miss Africa dearly
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