Monday, 24 February 2014

Okutala African Quest=amazing expierence!

Sitting here on the deck of the lodge , last person still awake. Watching a big thunderstorm roll into the valley. The breeze is beautiful and cool which is a lovely change to the 60% humidity we had yesterday when we were leaving for Etosha. 

Now just hoping the roof doesn’t start to leak on my bed. This is the only problem with thatched roofs. Apparently they leak once a year at the start of wet season and then the grass bind again and don’t leak anymore. 

As my FB status said today: 

One open air jeep - check
2 good friends( Livia and Charlotte) - check
1 cool guide-check
World's 8th largest park(Etosha National Park) - check
Amazing views of amazing animals and landscapes-check
And one crazy African thunderstorm- check

Equals priceless memories that will last a lifetime! — with Livia Debora Rüegsegger.

I got back from our super quick trip to Etosha mid afternoon today and it was a great quick trip! 

Travelling in an open aired vehicle was pretty fun. Was a little nervous with the predicted rain and camping but hey that’s part of the adventure! The amount of stuff we had packed into that truck for only 24 hours was pretty impressive but were very comfy and very well fed. Livia, Charlotte and I with Nel as guide set off just before lunch. It had already rained once at Okutala but we left in the sunshine. 

It is awesome that Okutala is only 40 km from Etosha, so a quick drive and we were there. I honestly didn’t have really high expectations of what we would see because the week before they saw nothing. With all the rain Etosha has gotten lately the animals don’t have to come to the waterholes and most are on the far east side of the park. And considering the amount of animals I saw on the G adventure trip would be hard to beat. 

The original plan was to head straight for far east side of the park which is where Nel thought most of the animals would be. Also all of the flamingos which I was really hoping to see out on the salt pan. I saw a large flock fly over when Tamara, PJ and I slept out on the deck the other night. Pretty cool. 

Five minutes into the park and we have already seen 2 lions. Nel did get a heads up from one of the other trucks passing us. The lions weren’t the closest, about 200-300 m off the road under some bushes. The girls were pretty happy with seeing them anyways. And then a few minutes later, we spotted a male elephant attempting to hide behind a tree. It wasn’t working well. Lol He was a ninja elephant as PJ would call him. He needs to work on his ninja skills. 

This trip was looking good! 

We were going to have a quick stop at Ok.... And then keep going. I did convince Nel to do a quick stop at the water hole just to see if anything was there. I didn’t think much would be being lunch time on a hot afternoon. This is the same waterhole that we slept at on the G adventures tour and where the lions made a kill. Well our quick stop turned into having our lunch there because as we walk up so do close to 100 zebras. I had to laugh since I pretty much have identical pictures from my earlier trip- same waterhole, maybe same zebras. They did have a few very cute little foals as well. The lunches were packed in cute little  lunch boxes, super yummy as well. 

With seeing all of these animals right off the bat, we made the decision to stick close by and not drive all the way to the east side. Nel hadn’t realized I had already been to the park but he did go to a few different places. 

We headed out to the Ghost forest which I am drawing a blank on the name of the trees but are similar to the bayobab trees. Looks like someone ripped out the trees and put them back in upside down. There aren’t many left because during one draught the elephants started eating them. 

We passed tons of zebras , wildbeestes and springboks all with little ones. I still can’t get over how fat zebras always are. You never see a thin one. We did see our first giraffes who did a very cute pose behind some zebras. And one of the highlights was seeing the Battleier (sp)eagles. Saw close to a dozen in varying ages. Nel was beside himself with seeing all of them and super close up ( a few feet away). 

Swinging past a tiny part of the massive salt pans, one reason why Etosha is famous. I think I mention it back when I was last here, but it measures 130km long. The last time it filled up was 4 years ago. It would be pretty impressive to see, reminds me of Lake Eyre in Australia.     It was dry though did see some zebras at the spring that runs into the pan. And 3 lions! Under a bush trying to stay cool. They looked very hot and tired. 

We slowly headed back to the campsite and decided to quickly set up camp and then head back out to find more animals. This turned out to be a good plan since when we headed back out we last less then 15 minutes before the rain arrived! Remember we are driving in an open air truck..... Yup fun times! Lol Between the wind and driving, the rain actually hurt. And it was a good thing that we did head back since the rain lasted for ever. We ended up hiding in the wash up area til it ended. I was happy to see 2 other G adventure trucks there :D except we just missed seeing a rhino at the waterhole. Darn! 

Supper cooked on the fire was amazing ! Lamb chops, potatoes, corn and grilled cheese sandwiches all done on the fire. A cool sunset.

The next day was a lovely sleep in though I was first up so took my kindle down to the waterhole to read and see if anyone happened to be there. 

It was a pretty quiet day on the animal view front due to all the rain but a highlight was seeing a spotted hyena with in 5 feet. It had been hiding in a culvert and poked it’s head out when we drove past. Lots and lots of babies everywhere. 

We headed back to Okutala in time for afternoon feeding. Awesome 24 hours! 

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