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Antee

Etosha-mania and skeleton coast - Namibia

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Antee
Posted (edited)

I will start this trip report and say that it is probably not that much new in it... 

I mean, people have been doing self driving in Namibia for long time and visit all these places already and I guess that pretty much is already written. 

 

Ok, here I loose around half of all the readers :) 

But, for those who is still here my travel plan was like this:

 

   July 2018

* Windhoek 1 night

* Etosha 4 nights

* Hobatere Lodge 1 night

* Khowarib campsite and Hoanib riverbed 3 nights

* Skeleton coast - Terrace bay 1 night

* Swakopmund 2 nights

* Sossusvlei 1 night 

 

I do love Namibia. It´s in the top 3 of countries on my list. 

I like the wilderness, the emptiness the self driving safari and the fact that Namibia still has a decent amount of wildlife outside protected areas. You can still bump into a Giraffe or Hyena on the road where you don´t expect them really. 

This is not the usual case in Africa these days. 

 

I´ve been here twice now and looking forward to my third visit :) 

 

ETOSHA

 

Always a favourite of mine. 

Ordinary safari is great but there is an edge to it to self drive and find your animals on your own and make up your own plan. 

I think Etosha also is very beautiful with it´s open landscape and dry conditions. It makes up for great photographing.

 

Day 1.

 

Some photos from the first day.

 

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I´m not sure if this guy had a lucky day or bad day? What do you think? 

Lucky to survive with a huge pain in the ass... or... very unlucky to be torn like this as it is thousands and thousands of Zebras in Etosha. Hmm...

 

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Here we have the black sheep...

 

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I think she overcalculating her strength...

 

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Black-faced Impala. Yes, they have an extra touch on their head. 

 

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Cape ground squirrel don´t have an extra touch when in comes to a black dot on their forehead but they are cute anyway.

 

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More small creatures from this first day. 

 

Yellow Mongoose.

 

196894505_43.Yellowmongoose5.jpg.e3fe44f500faca35899d9cf12e93f6b8.jpg

 

 

Banded mongoose.

 

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Bat eared fox.

 

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A couple of general stuff...

 

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Greater kestrel.

 

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Northern black korhaan.

 

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Kori Bustard.

 

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I stayed all my time in Halali campsite in the middle of Etosha. I stayed here last time as well and think this is the perfect starting point on a self driving safari. You can choose to go east or west every other day and it´s easy to cover most of the park except the very far west. 

I will stay here next time as well. 

What are you thinking about Halali?

 

A good waterhole make the decision easy for me.

 

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Day 2 coming soon... 

Edited by Antee

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Atravelynn

You have a tantalizing itinerary.  When you mention going east and west from Halali, do you go all the way to Etosha and Namutoni from Halali for the day?  Great shots.  As to whether the zebra is lucky, the answer must wait for about 2 weeks to see how it does.

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Peter Connan

Did you see the encounter that left the zebra in discomfort?

Really nice photos so far!

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Antee
4 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

You have a tantalizing itinerary.  When you mention going east and west from Halali, do you go all the way to Etosha and Namutoni from Halali for the day?  Great shots.  As to whether the zebra is lucky, the answer must wait for about 2 weeks to see how it does.

 

@Atravelynn Yes, I go all the way to Namutoni for the day. Often have lunch there.

In the other direction to Okondeka waterhole or Okakuejo. 

 

Of course it´s always about action and what sightings you have - how far you reach but this makes up for perfect full day tours and that is why I personally think Halali is the best place to stay. 

 

 

52 minutes ago, Peter Connan said:

Did you see the encounter that left the zebra in discomfort?

Really nice photos so far!

 

@Peter Connan No, didn´t see. I think it was a day old or two. 

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wilddog

Great start @Antee.@Antee. Good to see you  back here. 

 

The zebra is lucky... For now... 

Amazing how these animals get over these wounds and we just rush off to the doctor for the smallest thing :unsure:

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Antee
Posted (edited)

Day 2.

 

Today I went east towards Namutoni and the plan was to look for Cheetah on the plains between Halali - Namutoni. A fairly reliable place for them. 

Not today however as we didn´t find any Cheetah.

We did find a young Leopard which was not very comfortable with us and quickly retired to the forest.

 

64.Leopard2.jpg.9a4f06925dffa00b8125c900d9447dd9.jpg

 

Scenes like this with vast plains is what makes Etosha such a great place if you ask me. 

 

65.Zebra14.jpg.0b99008a1fb1a39bf33cc73925556180.jpg

 

A Black backed Jackal kept an eye on us while we scanned the area for Cheetah´s.

 

887132901_70.Blackbackedjackal2.jpg.b06117f76a52b4f22c309595071535de.jpg 

No Cheetah´s and we started check the waterholes for other creatures.

First waterhole was a real Elephant-bonanza.

 

72.Elephant7.jpg.6a3c03104ab03df6ede7c88370f45e5f.jpg

 

Never seen so many Elephants in the same place before. It didn´t stop. More and more came out of the forest.

 

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Young ones, old ones and everything in between.

 

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Counted more than 100 Elephants  at the same place but new ones still kept coming while others left.

 

91.Elephant21.jpg.114b1ea44389ba9013d23e41019b255a.jpg

 

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Also other species tried to get some water. Difficult with 100 Elephants as a guard though... 

 

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Intense atmosphere among all involved. Too much animals on too small area.

Impalas beginning to fight. 

 

1366714886_87.Black-facedimpala4.jpg.6259702cb5ae32ca9d5b543f952d2dae.jpg

 

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Crowded. At least said. 

 

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After an hour or so the Elephants start leaving and the others could drink.

 

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We changed waterhole as well and found a nice Bateleur eagle.

 

1053711061_104.Bateleureagle.jpg.1253146e50f572791b7f03fb416c70b5.jpg

 

He seemed to be the nicest guy in the entire etosha. Everyone wanted to spend some time with him.

First a Giraffe.

Then Mr Warthog.

 

136693675_105.Bateleureagle2.jpg.24e344704155bfd6964d8ea308d436a7.jpg

 

Then hang around with the Black-faced Impala.

 

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Before it was enough and time to go home.

 

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Also Elephants at this waterhole. 113.Elephant28.jpg.c21d7c38cf37e1711c82e22b913a9307.jpg

 

Great contrasts with this different colors.

 

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What would be a Cheetah day in advance, turned out to be an Elephant day instead. 

One last big bull before we jump to day 3.

 

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Day 3.

 

Today we headed west again to look for Lions. It didn´t take long before we encountered a big male patrolling his territory. We had seen him and his brother who rule this area before so we knew they were around. 

 

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Looking out over his kingdom!

 

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With wind in the face.

 

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After a while we lost him on his patrolling but very quickly found another pride containing 8 Lions.

At first they didn´t do much but we decided to stay and see what happens. We spent around 4 hours with this guys.

 

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The reason we stayed so long was because a long line of Zebras went this way and maybe some action could happen.

This old lady is for sure very interested in those Zebras.

 

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Interested but nothing happened. Zebras too aware of the Lions.

 

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Intense mood.

 

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Another group of Zebras approaching and this time the Lions start spreading out for an ambush. Too bad my photos is from inside the car thru the front window. We were very close and couldn´t start the car and change position as we had interupt the whole show. 

 

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Every Lion to their position. 

Interesting to see how they split themself and spread out for the ambush. 

 

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Now we all wait for the Zebra.

Three Lions behind the hill.

Two others to the left and one more on the far right

 

159.Lion40.jpg.78587782afb180bea4a122f7666e1110.jpg

 

So close now! 

The Zebras couldn´t see the Lions but felt that something was wrong as they were very aware. The big male takes new position.

 

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The old Lady is seconds from an attack. Her hind legs was shivering of excitement and the mood. 

 

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I was completely sure I was going to see a Lion hunt from start to the end with formation and strategy.

But no... the attack never happend. 

The Lions had spent hours for prepairing and in the end she didn´t attack... 

I don´t know why but I guess she knows :) 

 

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Anyhow, some exciting stuff to witness.

 

In the afternoon we spent some time at a couple of waterholes and among others, had an excellent Black rhino.

 

545086017_168.Blackrhino4.jpg.e2f867f70ec34c097f88a6ececeea2be.jpg

 

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Who had company of one baby!

 

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As always when it comes to Black Rhinos. The baby stays behind it´s mother. 

White rhinos they walk in the front. 

 

1686649651_182.BlackRhino18.jpg.c2b690004969b9e45f6c6545f7341e4b.jpg

 

A final Steenbok before we went back to Halali.

 

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The waterhole hade som nighttime action. Black rhinos, Spotted hyena, Black backed jackals and this Cape porcupine.

Cape porcupines are the largest rodent in the whole of Africa and the largest porcupine in the world. Slightly larger than it´s cousin Crested porcupine who lives further north in Africa. 

 

Not everyday you see a Porcupine meet a Black Rhino.

 

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Drank some water and then left.

 

187.Porcupine2.jpg.36c71469a09cb084eb34106d4225855b.jpg

 

Day 4 coming soon...

Edited by Antee

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Antee
47 minutes ago, wilddog said:

Great start @Antee.@Antee. Good to see you  back here. 

 

The zebra is lucky... For now... 

Amazing how these animals get over these wounds and we just rush off to the doctor for the smallest thing :unsure:

 

@wilddog I am always back here every now and then :) 

 

Homo sapiens is a weird species in many ways, isn´t it? :) 

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offshorebirder

Thanks for this Trip Report @Antee.    You have done well so far and I look forward to reading along with the rest of your report.

 

Too many good photos to name, but I like the crowded waterhole scene, the pale and dark elephants, the Zebra looking at you, the Greater Kestrel and the Rhinos especially.

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Atravelynn

Those waterholes were happening spots!

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Pamshelton3932

I’m really enjoying your report.  Those two differently colored elephants were among my favorites.  I would love to catch a decent photo of a bat eared fox.  You to a great one.  

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zimreef

Super set of photos. Have been lucky enough to spend a bit of time in Etosha so this brings back a lot of memories and familiar landscapes. Looking forward to the rest of your report.

 

John

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Dave Williams

Keep it coming, a most enjoyable read with some excellent photos too. Wish we'd had the same weather and light when we visited!!

 

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Antee

Day 4.

 

Last day in Etosha and we started early morning to head west towards Okaukuejo to leave for Hobatere Lodge.

It didn´t take long until a Spotted hyena for some reason were in a hurry...

 

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It soon became apparent why.

 

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The Hyena was not very welcome here.

 

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A pack of four females were chasing him away and he escaped with just a few meters in the end. 

How do I know the Hyena is a "he"? Well, I don´t :) 

 

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The Hyena is gone and the Lions continued to stroll around in the morning. 

 

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We left them when they laid down and didn´t seemed very interested in doing much more. 

 

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But I do like the spectacular landscape in Etosha!

 

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Time to leave Etosha. But I will for sure be back for a third time. 

Until next time! 

 

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Hobatere Lodge is a private concervancy in the immediate vicinity of Etosha in the very far west. So it´s the same ecosystem.

It´s a lovely peaceful place with great accommodation and nice food in a remote place. You have to go 16km on a dirty road to get here from the big road to Opuwo. 

Websajt: https://hobatere-lodge.com/

 

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We stopped in here for one night on our way to Khowarib and the famous Hoanib dry riverbed. 

We took the opportunity to do a nightdrive inside the concession and immediately saw a Honey badger run away. 

 

Pretty quiet night.

 

Cape hare.

 

2915857_217.Capehare.jpg.b052f8595b289be3ff561ed8baa5dfb1.jpg

 

A lovely Flap-necked Chameleon.

 

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Small spotted genet.

 

1345129168_223.Smallspottedgenet2.jpg.733fed779d23375da3ae7598ce2461d2.jpg

 

The day after, just before we left the concession a Hartmann´s Mountain Zebra. The one with the white belly you know. 

 

2140213597_224.Hartmannsmountainzebra.jpg.6b94877a6fdbc9ead02fbd237e5a4516.jpg

 

Then we passed the beautiful Grootberg pass...

 

1595302698_228.Grootbergpass.jpg.9159a151ebd6032bb15106b729b86ef9.jpg

 

and one of those moments I really like with Namibia - you can see wildlife more or less everywhere. Far away from Nationalparks or private concessions. 

More Hartmann´s mountain zebra. 

 

674352109_235.Hartmannsmountainzebra2.jpg.88a355e113408a53ab9a43284904f865.jpg

 

Khowarib campsite is another favourite in Namibia. Such a beautiful campsite! 

Almost empty even in high season. Even in this remote place you have a good restaurant if you don´t dare to cook your own food and you even have a nice pool to relax in the heat of the day. 

 

1601322236_240.Khowaribcampsite2.jpg.662b747c8c2ec11d07c333898c9b6a93.jpg

 

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Some rosy-faced lovebirds welcomed us to Khowarib in the last evening light.

 

1529982995_238.Rosy-facedlovebird.jpg.0746d2bfc39605b5f322176b3e758851.jpg

 

Then it was goodnight.

Tomorrow we had a full day tour in classic dry riverbed of Hoanib in search for desert adapted animals. Would there be any Lions? Elephants? Anything? 

 

1335511094_245.Khowaribcampsite7.jpg.4774d0604c69d375a5f6343aca80b19a.jpg

 

Next time: Hoanib river.

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Ritsgaai

With such beautiful photos as yours, a trip report can't be boring. Outstanding!

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gatoratlarge

Wow --- great photos---I wish I had the nerve to self drive....I'm afraid I'd miss out on a ton of sightings but you saw fantastic things!  I love the inter-species photos from Etosha....I don't know of any other park that offers the same atmosphere at the waterholes....Thanks!

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Dave Williams

@gatoratlargeEtosha really is the easiest place to drive I have ever been to, don't be put off there is hardly any traffic. You just have to drive sensibly on gravel roads.

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Atravelynn

The hyena and the lion shots in the "snow" are eye catching.

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LarsS

I never get tired of reading good trip reports and looking at amazing pictures, so bring it on! :) 

 

Haven't been to Halali, but I think the same applies for Okaukuejo: you can go east or west from there too. We did a combination of selfdriving and with guides. The eastern area, in the direction with Halali, we discovered with guides. We drove to the west ourselves a full day. We planned for lunch in the car, but found a fenced area you could enter and get out of the car safely.

 

All the animals at the waterhole almost look surreal.

 

That zebra is hurt badly, so I would say unlucky. The picture itself is just stunning, it tells a whole story of what had happened in a single image. Great detail with scratches of the lions claw.

 

Also the setting of the lion's attempt to hunt zebra's is really interesting when you overlook the whole situation. May be the lioness was a bit scared after losing a battle to a zebra the other day? ;) 

 

Nice to see the bat eared fox as well. I have only seen it once and that was in Etosha. Had to look it up in the book as I had no idea what is was.

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xelas

Joining others to praise your photography! And yes, one can read and reread trip reports like yours over and over again. Halali is my personal favourite also. Looking forward to enjoy the rest of what Namibia has shown you.

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Antee
On 8/20/2019 at 8:23 PM, gatoratlarge said:

Wow --- great photos---I wish I had the nerve to self drive....I'm afraid I'd miss out on a ton of sightings but you saw fantastic things!  I love the inter-species photos from Etosha....I don't know of any other park that offers the same atmosphere at the waterholes....Thanks!

 

@gatoratlarge  Namibia and Etosha is a Self driving paradise. No traffic, good gravel roads (If you don´t go offroad) and in Etosha there is such an easy network of roads and waterholes that you will see ALOT.
Probably even more then with a guide because you can spend your own time. During my 4 hours with the Lions I saw "tons" of tour vehicles come and go. They stayed 10-15 minutes and then off. They weren´t even close to see the hunting action I was waiting for. 

 

Most parks in Africa are definitely worth a guide. Almost all of them. However, Etosha is not one of them if you ask me :) 

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Antee
5 hours ago, xelas said:

Joining others to praise your photography! And yes, one can read and reread trip reports like yours over and over again. Halali is my personal favourite also. Looking forward to enjoy the rest of what Namibia has shown you.

 

@xelas Great to see more "Halali hardcore fans" out there :) 

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xelas
59 minutes ago, Antee said:

Most parks in Africa are definitely worth a guide. Almost all of them. However, Etosha is not one of them if you ask me :) 

 

Luckily Etosha is not the only one in this category. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and Kruger NP are equally good destinations for self-drivers, and there are many smaller parks also. While a good driver and a good tracker in a private reserve are able to bring their clients right under that tree with the leopard on it, I would miss the adrenaline kicking in when spotting the distant sight of a cat by myself (or my fellow co-travellers).

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Antee
Posted (edited)

Hoanib river.

 

I have long dreamed of one day seeing the dry riverbed of Hoanib river. 

This is an almost mythical place for me. Wilderness as it´s finest. Classic ground. 

After seeing it on television when I was young I always wanted to go here one day... 

 

On my second time in Namibia it was finally time for a visit! 

 

Actually, I didn´t care if I saw any wildlife at alll. Just to put my foot on this mythical dry riverbed was good enough. The rest is bonus. 

 

You can for sure do self driving in this riverbed if you are briefed about direction, have a good map or GPS maybe. Once you are in the riverbed it is no problem. You just need to find your way there... 

 

I did a daytour from my campsite in Khowarib. The have very nice daytours in search for desert adapted wildlife and it´s alot cheapier than staying in one of the lodges along the riverbed. 

 

I booked the campsite and the daytour here:

http://www.khowarib.com

 

Before you enter the riverbed you pass some grassy valleys. Almost like a mini-savanna blasted between the mountains.

 

1538866306_255.Hoanibvalley10.jpg.76c6faa7ceb1b7fc57fc1f92cf8bfc5d.jpg

 

It didn´t take long before a skittish group of Oryx paid attention to us.

 

1212045861_249.Hoanibvalley4.jpg.8615947346d938b297ef47fc09335664.jpg

 

They ran like hell. They probably still running and are somewehere in the northern Angola right now... 

 

1927503643_248.Hoanibvalley3.jpg.05b9218ef5557fcddf47d7ed26371c3c.jpg

 

It´s by no mean a guarantee to see the Elephants here. It´s depend on where in the riverbed they are. Sometimes they are further downstream (Can you call it downstream when it´s a dry riverbed? :)) and out of reach.

 

But we encountered a group of 9 quite quickly. A well known group who use to roam here. And then 3 more. In total 12 Desert adapted Elephants during my day.

 

2097441799_261.Hoanibvalley16.jpg.e3ea6663a768bd3a530459861e1cb972.jpg

 

1151254462_268.Hoanibvalley23.jpg.7f0c2676570bdca24b08cb42d6e5567f.jpg

 

344789740_270.Hoanibvalley25.jpg.f97009ada7dab432de6d2a0d58c20543.jpg

 

1732115963_277.Hoanibvalley32.jpg.b1945cc334de543c08245d8f2490d4d5.jpg

 

I started wonder how many times these guys have done exactly this walk... up and down along the riverbed in search for water. Thousand times? Ten thousand times? 

 

The settings are truly spectacular.

 

549072013_279.Hoanibvalley34.JPG.49d75aa9fd4ac2dcd0b6f78a9566becb.JPG

 

1054205327_287.Hoanibvalley42.jpg.dbf03d41a2ad21a82ad01ded9909f74a.jpg

 

Like a pitstop they stayed in the shadow along this ancient walk.

 

575197990_289.Hoanibvalley44.jpg.ee7af42d7687b96281ad8caa5eeb0993.jpg

 

We left them and went further downstream. Maybe some other creatures are here as well? Sometimes they do see Lions here. 

 

No Lions though, but Lions prey...

 

2076283230_304.Hoanibvalley59.jpg.415b2ddcafaa23f5fbe401bf62bdf066.jpg

 

Even Giraffes doesn´t look much for the world in these environment. A fully grown Giraffe looks more like a baby. 

 

Yes, it´s down to the left. Under the tree. 

 

1988966729_310.Hoanibvalley65.jpg.28bdefeccc984c9dc77bb722009adcb1.jpg

 

We ate packed lunch while we watched this Giraffe in the middle of Hoanib. 

Oh man, I was lucky! 

 

I couldn´t believe I finally was here and it was exactly as spectacular that I knew it would be. 

The mountains, the desert, yes it´s unique and very very beautiful landscape. 

 

Then we found some more Giraffes. 

 

1126658307_314.Hoanibvalley69.jpg.3b18839b5957b7042b560dcabba3a87f.jpg

 

2022590525_317.Hoanibvalley72.jpg.1deda8ac70897bc5ed1e7522d28e9cc7.jpg

 

2129163631_318.Hoanibvalley73.jpg.96973c7dd76765e90f7374458c92df2f.jpg

 

Can you see them in the middle? 

 

2059468350_329.Hoanibvalley84.jpg.e620f8d4b1705ccd2617988ec488e7bb.jpg

 

Oryx is also present in this riverbed. 

 

1885924863_321.Hoanibvalley76.jpg.8bd6cfa0b730a9b24457967be07cbd46.jpg

 

We turned around and expected to meet the Elephants somewhere on the way back and we did.

 

1727887557_325.Hoanibvalley80.jpg.dc6479d6911121ad5471b63260e8d361.jpg

 

Dusty and hot in the middle of the day. 

 

1129709783_323.Hoanibvalley78.jpg.c6993634af025e1239f1e802a92a2428.jpg

 

1277539678_326.Hoanibvalley81.jpg.fb417179de6ec94d1111d0a39b660ee3.jpg

 

All 9 of the togheter. The whole group. They don´t know how unique they are, they just go along with their lives. But for me this meeting was by far the best Elephants meeting I´ve had in my entire life. 

In Hoanib... my long-awaited Hoanib. 

 

1755148014_327.Hoanibvalley82.jpg.5095ab45d274acd2f6a33070cab8243c.jpg

 

No, I´m not done with Hoanib yet. I´m not done with dry riverbeds in Namibia.

Next time I will be back for Lions. 

 

You can never get tired of scenes like this. 

 

1457134691_335.Hoanibvalley90.jpg.b37dd7fa7e89564e0a512e6f1d4638a3.jpg

 

Back in camp we were greeted by Mr Southern Yellow-billed hornbill...

 

1187211290_366.Southernyellow-billedhornbill4.jpg.aa3c1ea92172569235beed873d98ccdf.jpg

 

...and Mr African Red-eyed bulbul.

 

1306458622_362.Africanred-eyedbulbul2.jpg.b86584ad28c97d5c67c06b0499f9b84f.jpg

 

Next time: Skeleton coast and a night in Terrace bay

Edited by Antee

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LarsS

That's an awesome landscape! And again, great pictures that put even the largest animals in perspective looking rather small in an environment like that. My imaginary wish list has one more destination on it :) 

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