Monday 2 June 2008

29th May 08

Date: 29th May 08

Location: Etosha NP, Namibia

Weather: Clear blue skies and sunshine, colder overnight, 28°c

Status: Very happy and slightly ahead of schedule.

Up at 4.30am, packed, had breakfast and hit the road to cover the 25kms to the park gates and my first experience with southern African parks on this trip!

Paid the entrance fees and then started the 75km drive to the Halali campsite area to book the next couple of nights and settle the bills. Only 5kms into the drive and out onto the road walk a pair of Spotted Hyenas so I stop the car and they continued to walk towards the car until they were 25ft away and then disappeared off into the bush…what a fantastic start to the day!

It had been decided by the family that they’d head off with Kees in the truck and go straight to Windhoek as they didn’t have the money to join us for the couple of days in the park but Bre had made the decision to come with us and split from them for a couple of days until we all meet up again in a few days time. So there was me, Alex, Kerry and Bre in the Colonel and Patrick, Sarah and James in the Nissan and for the first time in two months we wouldn’t have to wait at every junction for the Yellow Tortoise to catch up!! After so long with them behind me it was hard to break the habit of looking in the rear-view mirror to see if they’re still there!

Got to the campsite of Halali and paid the fees for the camping and found our site…unfortunately next to two big overland battery-chicken-frieght trucks full of ‘we’re doing Africa’ backpackers!! Cute…….

On the drive to the camp we failed to see much else apart from a couple of giraffe and some Springbok and Impala but these are two a penny and not that exciting! Once we’d set up camp we decided to head off for another hopeful game drive but failed to see much more so hope tomorrow bears more fruit!

I had big expectations for Etosha NP as all of the reports I’d read given it the thumbs up but after visiting Botswana on a number of occasions it really doesn’t scrub up as well a I hoped it would. Everything is so damn clinical here, the roads are two-car-wide perfectly graded white gravel, the camps are all immaculately set up with designated areas for each vehicle, quaint shops, and even the water hole close to the camp has water pumped into it with amphitheatre-style seating with floodlights on the pool.

Too me its far too engineered for the weekend traveller whose arrived in their immaculate soft roader BMW X5 that’s never even seen the dirt before, Botswana has unorganised dirt tracks, long drops, no running water and the thing that’s SO SO noticeable……they actually allow the wildlife right into the camp in Savuti and Chobe (Botswana) giving you a real feel of the national park whereas here they fence it all off so you never get to see a damn thing. Botswana 1, Namibia 0.

Hopefully tomorrow we’ll actually get some game and justify the expense we gone to which allows us to spend the 2 nights here!

Cooked a poitjke and headed back to the water hole for a beer.

End of day location: Halali camp, Etosha NP, Namibia

Distance covered: 130kms

No comments: