Saturday, May 19, 2007

Etosha!

wow. Wow. WOW. WOW WOW!!!!!

We are posting from Etosha National Park in northern Namibia. This place is like being air-dropped into the middle of a Wild Kingdom episode (for those of you old enough to remember Marlin Perkins and Mutual of Omaha)...

We have seen (or rather, identified) 71 species of birds since we arrived in southern Africa, everything from the wild-looking Crimson-Breasted Shrike to the rather freakish Marabou Stork. There are Rollers, Sunbirds, Robin-Chats, Coursers, Koorhans and other stuff that we never knew existed.

And then there are the ANIMALS. Zillions of Zebra, Wildebeest, Springbok, Giraffe, Jackals, and Lions! And more..

Last night, at the flood-lit watering-hole here at Okaukuejo camp, we watched seven Black Rhino come down to drink. Very impressive. Then, a Verreaux's Giant Eagle-Owl (hope we have that spelled right) flew over and looked like it tried to grab a stray jackal. Needless to say, this is a BIG owl. That was only the beginning, however. A lone, feckless-looking springbok was drinking from the water at about 10pm when we spotted a massive female lion come out of the brush. She went from left to right, away from the springbok, and then tracked back, stalking the small antelope. The crowd of (mostly German) tourists fell in a dead hush. Would we see a kill? About 20 yards away from its dinner, the lion broke into a run and the springbok bounded away into the night, surviving ... for now.

Today was even cooler, if that's possible. Lisa will explain. Oh, and our luggage caught up with us here in the middle of nowhere yesterday. Pix soon!

We have clean underwear!

Today was outrageous. Amazing. Unbeliveable.

We traveled to the furthest edge of Etosha and only passed one car on our journey to the M'bari watering hole. It is dry season here and this is one of the permanent sources of water for all mammals and birds. We passed a group of 4 elephant and waited for them at the hole. The sight was unforgettable as we watched them marching toward us across the plain.

As they reached our camper, we could sense our mistake. Apparently, we had parked directly in their usual walkway to the water. The group crossed in front of us and one large female stopped. She turned and faced us and looked directly through our windshield. Ears flapping.

With all honesty, I don't think I have ever been so scared in my entire life....

She finally drifted on. We think she was just giving us the message of who really owned the watering hole. Yes, we understood.

Warren put his hand over my heart after the whole experience. It was pounding out of my breast.... I still can not believe we got to experience something so primal.

So, wonder what's going to happen when we go back to the watering hole here at Okaukuejo tonight?

- W and L

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