From Swakopmund it would be a 2 day drive to get to Etosha, Namibia’s best game park. It was only a partial day driving, and stopped to visit the Himba tribe, which is traditional tribe in Namibia. It was kind of silly, they just sat around while we took photos of them. They became much more friendly at the end when they were trying to sell us their crafts! Not many people really enjoyed this very inauthentic experience.
We got into came a bit earlier in the afternoon than usual, which gave us some time to go hiking around the campsite, which was surrounded by masses of rocky outcroppings. There was one in particular that I wanted to climb, so rather than doing some sort of guided bush walk, I opted to just start hiking to try and get to the top. Well the hiking was a bit harder than I expected! From afar it looked like a pretty clear route to the top, but it was mostly scrambling between massive boulders, rather than hiking. I was able to go up steadily for about an hour and half before running into a really tricky spot. It was a type of rock climbing move that I would make 90% of the time, but if I fell it would very likely be a broken ankle, so I decided to go back, which was disappointing. The mountain wins.
The next day was another driving day that brought us to a camp right outside of Etosha, another fantastic campsite with a pool, bar, and restaurant. The guy who owned the camp site was a South African guy in a wheelchair who basically was an asshole to everyone, but then would buy a round of shots on the house to make up for it. I liked him. At 3 in the morning we heard him calling for help because he was too drunk and fell out of his wheelchair! So it was an interesting campsite. The next morning we drove into Etosha and did a game drive in the morning and afternoon with our truck. It was cool for me seeing giraffes in the wild for the first time. Looking back, the game drive wasn’t anything special compared to the other parks I’ve been to though. In the afternoon it started to downpour, so it was tough to spot many animals, although we did see a rhino in the distance. And then as we got into camp the rain stopped and the sun came out, leaving behind an absolutely spectacular double rainbow, possibly the brightest one I’ve ever seen! That combined with watching the sunset over the watering hole was really amazing. The skies in Africa are really great sometimes.
It was an early wake the next day so we could look for animals around sunrise. We spotted a lone hyena right away, which came pretty close to truck. But after that it got boring quick. A lot of Etosha is set up around watering holes, but if it’s still the wet season, the animals don’t need to go to the watering holes to drink, so it wasn’t really the best time for animal viewing. Then we drove around for a few hours in the afternoon and once again saw almost nothing. Bad game drives get real boring real quick! We had the choice to do one more game drive in the late afternoon, but so many people were discouraged by the previous two game drives that only half of us went on this last one.
And what a game drive it was! First we saw a family of bat eared foxes, which arenormally pretty tough to spot. Then we saw a momma cheetah and her two cubs, who were constantly playing with each other. When we reached the watering hole there was a rhino there, plus a bunch of giraffes and impalas, and a glowing rainbow in the background. Then there was another rhino on the way back home. And then when we thought we’d seen everything we wanted a female lion came walking out of the bush and walked in frontand then across the road. And all of this while the sun was just setting and leaving behind very nice purples and oranges in the sky. And then we were about to go and the male lion came out too! It said down in the grass and gave us a nice big yawn before we headed to the camp gates, as to not get a late fine. So that game drive definitely made the whole park worth it!
We did another ‘game drive’ the next morning, which was us just driving out of the park, and then headed on to the capital of Namibia, Windhoek. It’s kind of a weird city. The capital building looks like an old communist building. There’s a street called Fidel Castro Ave, which I guess is from when he helped the Namibians out against South Africa. Or was it Angola? I can’t remember. Then there’s also a street dedicated to Robert Mugabe, the man who drove Zimbabwe’s economy into the ground. But there were many modern buildings and people dressed well, although it just seemed very quiet. There were not so many people around.
After walking around for a bit we checked into our rooms on the outskirts of town and got ready to go the city most popular restaurant, the brauhaus. It was to be a bit of a sad night as there were 7 people or so leaving the truck at this point, having only signed up for the Namibia portion, so this was the end of the line for them. After dinner some of headed to one of the few bars open on a weekday night for some last drinks and goodbyes. For the rest of us it was onto Botswana and solid 2 days of driving to get to a place called the Okavango delta.