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Namibia, May - June 2017


elefromoz

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elefromoz

And again the next day, here come the Herds, 

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unfortunately for them, the Welcoming Committee was there also. The Pride was spread out around the precious water

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Dave Williams

The reason you need to keep writing is it's nice to compare notes on dates and so on. The wildlife you saw at the Dolomite waterhole was amazing. All the waterholes in the area when we went were virtually deserted.  So envious!

The waterhole chalet at Okaukuejo was actually quite nice, again though the waterhole was deserted in January. I concur on breakfast and our evening meal there was just as bad. Expensive considering how poor the food was.

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The_Norwegian
15 hours ago, elefromoz said:

@The_Norwegian, thanks, you must be due another trip back soon? 

 

Correct, i head back down there 16th november, so it`s getting closer now! 

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elefromoz

@Dave Williams, good point about dates and locations, both on 13th/6,  I don't know which Waterhole we got the first set of Lion photos at, not far out of Okaukuejo, Im taking a punt on Nebrownii, others may recognise the terrain and correct me. The second set was Okondeka, very reliable for Lions I believe. The Pride there that day was 2 large Males, 2 Lioness, about 8 sub-adults and 2 cubs stashed in the grass. 

 

What my photos can't convey is the huge numbers of Herds coming in from both directions at this natural "spring". That was something I did not expect in Etosha, hundreds and hundreds of Wilde's and Zebra thundering in for a drink. A real spectacle.

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@elefromoz, it's been a great reading! Excellent report with lots of very nice pictures. And you captured this dominant sand very well.

For me the meeting with rhinos is unbeatable, however. It must have been so fascinating to witness that from such a close distance. I truly envy you having this opportunity.

As for the Okaukejo we were not that happy with this lodge, either. Yet, we were still quite inexperienced with Namibia and were telling ourselves: it's just Africa. Not that we despise it by any means. We just need to take another perspective while there. But staying within the park greatly increases one's chances for good sightings and from your photos it's clear you saw a great abundance of wildlife in Etosha. It was very enjoyable to go through your report.

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Zubbie15

Very interesting trip report @elefromoz I'm really enjoying it. Like others say, I have a hard time convincing myself to go to Namibia, despite how beautiful it looks.  I'm sure someday I'll get there, for now I'll just have to enjoy the TRs. 

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elefromoz

@garito01, hello, glad you are enjoying the re-visit, its always fun reading others reports about places you've already been to, good to compare others opinions and experiences I think. Im hoping I didn't come over too negative about Okaukejo (well I probably did actually). For some others, none of those issues would matter because its all about the Wildlife, we just also like a bit of comfort and good food along the way too.

 

@Zubbie 15, good to hear from you again. you're a Tanzania fan too so I understand what you're saying. One day though, you may get the urge for a self-drive, and Namibia is a pretty good place for that.

 

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The_Norwegian

Interesting to read your thoughts on Okaukuejo, totally different from my experience. surely, i have very little in the way of places to compare it with, and for a first-timer, maybe i was oblivious to these things, it was 14 days of pure excitement for me :-) We stayed in the chalets by the waterhole, and i thought those chalets were very decent. And the waterhole is great around the clock. We were having our hottest days in this camp, with temperatures reaching above 40c, so the last day, we decided to just stay by the waterhole instead of doing evening gamedrive in that heat :-) For me Actually Halali was the least favourite place, i thought it was a bit run down, and the AC in the chalet i was staying in was almost coming off the wall, making a racket when it fired up, glad i had my noice cancelling headphones :-D 

Edited by The_Norwegian
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Dave Williams

@The_Norwegian When you went it was a whole different ball game to my visit. Our stay in three different camps over 5 nights probably had no more than a dozen animals at all three waterholes and then they were Springbok and Zebra. My recommendation in the wet season is definitely stay outside the park, the accommodation is much better and the food far far superior. Dolomite's was acceptable, Okaukeujo was so bad we ate crisp sandwiches on our second night because that was all the shop had available to buy. It put us off eating at Halali so I can't comment on their food but I do know it was cooked to order and was apparently OK.

Good food is an essential part of our holidays too!

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On 9/19/2017 at 11:59 PM, elefromoz said:

@The_Norwegian, thanks, you must be due another trip back soon? 

 

@Dave Williams, I think we had it just right with Palmwag Rhino/Grootberg Elephant tracking, OTOH, maybe we just got lucky with both. We didn't see any Rhino out and about on our Drives in Etosha, so you just never know

 

@dlo, Hi, nice to hear you're thinking of returning, maybe pack some Factor 50 sunscreen and a big Hat, theres a very nice one at Grootberg somewhere.  I, and Im sure others, still remember your previous experience. :( Yep, the Rhino Tracking was great, just a bit "tense", my husband was very relaxed, my middle-name is "quick escape path". Just a couple of weeks after we got back Prince Harrys mate was charged and "gored" by a Rhino. I read the article to my husband who was shocked and said he wouldn't have gone out if he'd read that first. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

 

No factor 50 here as I give you my word I will never write a trip report here without a full update on the local medical facilities!

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Thanks for taking the time to write your trip report, I really enjoyed the read and viewing your photos.


I agree the country is not for everyone however I still dream of the dunes in Sossusvlei and my day trip to Sandwich Harbour where the dunes meet the Atlantic.  Such a magical place!


I flew into Sossusveli and then onto Swakopmund where I picked up a guide and headed north to the Angola border.

 

Grootberg Lodge is stunning and one of my favourites! Even the night the wind howled and howled and I wished I'd paid more attention to exactly how the chalets were affixed to the ridge wondering if I might just end up being blown down the canyon!  

 

I booked the Himba visit and it was just me, a driver and an interpretor.  We covered some amazing landscape on our way that I doubt would have been seen from any of the regular roads traveled.

 

Agree Okaukeujo is not the best accommodation but how can one not go to such an iconic place.  Thought I had a chalet booked but on arrival it wasn't so.

 

So jealous you saw so many cats!

 

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elefromoz

@The_Norwegian, I hope you up-coming trip delivers as much 'pure excitement". 40 degrees is hot, I guess we got mid-20s to low 30s at most, very pleasant.I assume the water-holes were quieter for us. A trickle of animals at Okakeujo rather than a stampede around the clock.That said, Dolomite was "going off", standing room only.

 

@KathBC, Interesting to hear your take, I liked Sossusvlei, but I didn't love it. We have big yellow-white dunes here so I did enjoy the 'orange-Red" colours. What I found most interesting was that anything can find enough to eat and drink there, but there was footprints in the Sand to prove it. We had zero wind at Grootberg, what month were you there? Im glad you had a good Himba visit, we heard, that sometimes now things aren't always so pleasant, heresay of course. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have missed Etosha for anything, I think Etosha Village, just 5 minutes outside the Gate would have served us better than Okaukeujo. BTW, I love BC...my avatar is from the Kutzmateen.

 

 

 

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elefromoz

But life isn’t always so easy for some… Just West of Halali, near Salvadora I think, a Lioness crossed the road toward the Pan

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She then settled and waited

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with her were two very thin young Lions, you could count the bones of their ribcages. She watched them as they walked off

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 Some several minutes later we heard a distant roaring, the Lioness stood and came back across and waited again, on the road

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Shortly a third Lion hobbled in very slowly

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It really got to me seeing these three young Lions in such poor shape. Prey is abundant here, all I could think was that she couldn’t manage 

on her own, pure speculation of course. Another more disturbing thought was though, that they were unwell. When we got back I emailed the images through to the Africat Foundation to forward to the Park authorities.

 

Sadly, just before we had got to Etosha, the News stations were reporting several Lions being shot by landowners just outside the Park perimeters. As if life isn't tough enough.

 

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elefromoz

Our last Etosha night was spent at the lovely Namutoni (very nice rooms and food). We had about thirty minutes to spare til the Gate closed. We were on the search for Cheetah, in earnest. The Gods were smiling on us surely. Just East of Halali,about 10 mins drive from the Gate,

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I actually cant think of a finer way to farewell Namibia. 

 

 

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The_Norwegian

oh, lucky you, cheetah! I cross my fingers for a sighting this year! Was this on the fischer`s pan route? Very nice pictures, can`t ask for better light! Could those lions be suffering from the white muscle decease? 

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@elefromoz  I spent a year in Australia and did a camping trip into the center around Uluru & Coober Pedy.  Where are the large sand dunes located in OZ?

 

I was in Namibia end of May to mid June 2014.

 

Curious what you heard about the Himba visits.  The Himba were the main reason I headed that far north and they were all very welcoming.  I was the only visitor for the first half hour so there was more attention on me than I would have liked because as soon as I saw them with their skin covered in red ochre paste and their magnificent hair I instantly, in my mind anyway, became a National Geographic photographer and would have preferred to fade into the background more while looking for that magazine cover shot. ;)

 

Those last lioness photos you posted were painful to look at.  Did you ever hear back from Africat?

 

Cheetahs!!  Again lucky you as I didn't see any in the wild my whole time there!  

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  • 6 months later...
Atravelynn

I was climbing the sand dunes with you.

You are forgiven for not knowing the waterholes.  What counts is that you saw cool stuff at them, even the one that was not your favorite.  Cheetahs too!  You had great cat viewing at this time of year, which was not heart of the dry season.  Great luck.   You've shown us Namibia's abundance.

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