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Okakuejo Waterhole, Etosha NP, Namibia

I think it is Thursday. I’m not sure and will need to check my iPhone for the day and date. Each day is running into the next with only the fact that I remember how many days I am staying at each camp the reminder to pack the bag and move on.

This morning I am watching the sun rise at the Okakeujo Camp in Etosha NP. The golden light is blessing me as the zebras come down to drink in large numbers. The sociable weavers are creating a racket above me as the first rays of the sun caress their massive communal housing of three high-rise nests. I have failed to wake at the sound of my 5am alarm so I am stumbling down to the waterhole at 6.45am. Too late for any cat activity but hoping none the less.

Last nights sightings were brilliant and worth staying up till nearly midnight. Unfortunately, we had a storm that circled the waterhole from the early evening and resulted in me putting the cameras away due to the ever-present sense of rain/wind/thunder/lightening. It was a refreshing change enjoying an evening with just binoculars.

Dad did himself proud with spotting 1 lioness and 2 rhino coming down to drink. Not bad for a novice safari goer. Both the cats and rhino came down for long drinks and at one stage there was a lion and a rhino together in one frame. Both must have come to a truce that the waterhole was everyone’s territory for the night!

Okakuejo Waterhole, Etosha National Park

Thursday Afternoon

The heat has been baking us alive since 5pm as we have religiously waited for the sun to set and the animals to arrive. Finally at 7pm the temperature has decreased from the afternoon’s 37 degrees. I think that my body has been cooked to the desired temperature and I can be served for dinner tonight. Dad has valiantly stayed with me and given up lunch in order to watch elephants come down to the waterhole throughout the hot day. I have rewarded him with doritos and a gin and tonic. Fair exchange I say! Tonight will probably by the same but peanuts and cashews replacing the doritos instead of the buffet dinner. The lure of the waterhole surpasses any need to eat and sleep properly. No wonder we are all tipsy tonight.

Thankfully tonight, I have been rewarded with an amazing sunset and the emergence of six giraffes making their way to the waterhole as I sit here watching the Okakeujo waterhole. The sociable weavers are making a racket above my left shoulder. My dad has told them to be quiet but of course they don’t give a damn. The sun is setting and the temperature has dropped at least 10 degrees, for them life is good and the equivalent of our happy hour. The setting sun is casting a glorious reflection on the giraffes as they come down to drink. The golden hour has passed us but the evening glow is still there. This is truly a magical African evening to remember.

Okakeujo Camp is less than 50% full. The heat and the threat of the rainy season have kept the tourists away except only the keen and the budget conscious. I am in both camps budget conscious and very keen so I am happy to accept being here with an empty camp. To share an evening like this with only a small amount of tourists is a treat and frankly only the sociable weavers are the loudest thing here apart from my dadn ;-).

I think that dad’s condition tonight is partly due to mum. For people that don’t normally drink they are enjoying a very relaxing holiday as I drive them around, point out things and enjoy strong sundowners as they watch waterholes teeming with animals. Tonight, mum has complained that she couldn’t taste the gin so dad has obliged with another swig. This of course has been too much, swapped drinks and now they are enjoying a lubricated evening of animal watching.

I on the other hand sit with cameras poised, lap top on my legs and drink sitting on the stone encrusted fence in front of me. The Bacardi and coke as well as the stunning evening is the stimuli to allow the words to flow. I can’t remember a night as beautiful as this. Waterhole and six giraffes silhouetted with a stunning sunset behind them. I feel really blessed.

Late evening viewing included:

  • 4 lioness’

  • 1 lion

  • 9 rhino (black and white) all together in and around the waterhole. The best rhino viewing I have ever encountered.

  • 2 breeding herds of elephants

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