BOSMAN'S BUSH TELEGRAPH - 5 APRIL 2000

 

Hi all

 

Just thought I would send you a quick run down on the next installment of our trip - I am sure that you are all sick of hearing about our bush adventures by now - just shout if you want to be taken off the distribution list!

 

We are currently in Windhoek but are setting off for the Namibia/Botswana border later today.We spent the last 6 days in the Etosha National Park - an experience which was absolutely glorious.We stayed at all three of the Etosha camps (Numatoni, Halali and Okekeujo) for two nights each.The camps have just the right combination of bushveld experience and creature comforts.They are all situated in the most stunning areas and there are an assortment of game drives to be done and water holes to be visited but each of the camps also has a swimming pool, restaurant, curio shop etc.Our days took quite a set pattern.We would set off at sunrise for an early morning game drive and would return to the camp by mid morning for brunch.We would then decamp to the swimming pool enclosure and find a shady tree to lie under and read.After a couple of hours relaxing at the pool we would then set off for our late afternoon game drive.It was heavenly and superbly relaxing.

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Nev and the Land Rover in Etosha and Fort Namutoni at Namutoni Camp, Etosha

 

Etosha, like the rest of Namibia, has experienced a lot of rain recently - in fact it rained every day that we were there.This meant that there were puddles of water scattered throughout the park and the animals were quite unconcerned about visiting their usual water holes as they could find water all over.This blasť attitude had the result that the animals felt no need to come out of the dense bush and show themselves to the tourists at the water holes - making game spotting extremely difficult.My initial excitement at seeing zebra, springbok and giraffe started to wane as we settled into a routine of spotting only this trio of usual suspects, interspersed with the odd gemsbok and wildebeest, for the remainder of the six days.We became quite desperate to spot "the big five" or even just the odd warthog or hyena and took to accosting German tourists that crossed our path to find out whether they had seen any game.Another approach that we adopted was racing back to the camp reception to check the "incident book" in which all big sightings are recorded and then darting out to the water holes where people had recorded big game spottings - to no avail I might add.We must have spotted a hundred trees and pieces of driftwood that resembled animals or birds only to be disappointed when we focused on them through our binoculars.It was only late on our fifth day in the park that we finally spotted a lone elephant.Our patience (and perseverance) was finally rewarded as we left the park on the morning of our sixth day when we decided to check one last water hole and stumbled on a pride of six lions.We were so relieved that we spent the rest of the morning parked at the water hole ogling the lions until they meandered back into the bush and out of sight.

 

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The elephant and the lions that we waited 6 days to see!

 

The up side of all the rain was that we saw the most fantastic birds including hundreds of flamingos that migrate to the pan when there is water in it.We also had five days of real holiday and now feel ready to tackle Botswana.I think that we will be plagued with more rain in Botswana and some of the parks including Moremi may well be closed.The positive is that there will definitely be water in the Okovango Swamps which will make a mokoro trip possible.I am encouraged when I read in our guide book that there are 73 000 elephants in the Chobe game reserve and that they are often found in herds of up to 500 - this should make spotting them a lot easier than it was in Etosha!

 

After crossing the border later today our first stop will be at Ghantsi where we will overnight before heading for Maun tomorrow. We are totally out of touch with SA news (and world news for that matter) having not seen a newspaper in some time.The Namibian papers are not big on international news and seem to focus exclusively on local issues.We have tried to listen to the BBC world service on our short wave radio but it just sounds like fuzz and static.Wont someone let us know what has happened to the Stormers in the Super 12 and what is going on in Ally McBeal?

 

Hope that you are all well.

 

Lots oflove

 

Penny & Neville