Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Namibia Day 12: Etosha National Park
Our first day at Etosha National Park had a rocky start - we had a time zone issue on the cell phone/alarm clock and got up two hours too early. Somehow I didn't look at a watch until we left our room and headed to grab a breakfast box on our way out the gate. It still being completely dark and no one around was our first and second clue that something wasn't right!
Our second start to the day was much better - the gates were open this time! It did seem like a "slow" day in terms of animals. Etosha seems to be different then other parks we've been too. You aren't nearly as likely to see animals while just driving around. Most of the wildlife congregates around waterholes - and most of the tourists seem to do the same. Many drivers seem to just race from waterhole to waterhole.
Steenbok - one of the few animals we saw that wasn't near a waterhole
I did find the adjustment somewhat frustrating. I'm generally a pretty good wildlife spotter - but for the most part we just weren't seeing much of anything between waterholes. Also, some drivers didn't seem to have a lot of respect for other tourists(or the animals) - racing past you and any animals you were watching/photographing and showering you(and the wildlife) with dust. Not to mention all the 4x4 vehicles going 2x(or more) above the speed limit seem to be tearing up the roads in Etosha. If you tried to drive a small vehicle in the park I imagine you would get shaken apart on the roads and your equipment would be in trouble from the rattling.
Typical waterhole at Etosha National Park
We didn't see a lot of animals on this day and that probably contributed to my general annoyance at other vehicles. Not to mention the two hours of sleep I lost by getting up too early. :-)
We did learn a few lessons that day: One- don't get your math wrong when calculating alarm times on a cell phone that's from a different time zone. Two- The waterholes really are the best places to look for animals at Etosha. Three - tourists can some times be jerks.
If your heading to Etosha try to not be one of the jerks. Have some respect for the flora, fauna, and other people while you're there. No - I don't think you'll get an award for it, but really why go to a place like Etosha if you're just going to try to destroy parts of it while you're there?
Day 13 did turn out much better for wildlife spotting -so tune back in for that day when I post it. I promise there will be much less complaining about other cars!
African moringa (Moringa ovalifolia) otherwise known as Sprokiesboom(ghost tree)