Friday, September 30, 2011

Namibia Day 13: Etosha National Park (Part 2)

Day 13 at Etosha National Park was a great day of wildlife viewing. Days like this make you want to stay forever. The park itself is quite beautiful in places. There's a lot of open grasslands and of course there's the Etosha Pan itself. If you're into photographing deserts the Etosha Pan is pretty cool. Granted it's flat as far as you can see - but if you get some wildlife out there or some interesting clouds there is photographic opportunity.

Etosha Pan

We saw a lot of zebra, springbok and oryx. We also saw a few kudu, elephants, wildebeest and red hartebeest.

I love photographing zebras. They always seem to come up with something interesting for the camera. This young zebra was eating a shrub that it apparently didn't like very much as it kept making faces like this, but it didn't stop eating.

These zebras were not getting along with one zebra - and appeared to be trying to chase it away. I love how the three zebras in the back are just looking on while all the ruckus is happening.

We also had a fantastic lion sighting. A male and female lion were laying out in the afternoon sun without a single bit of shade in sight(which is somewhat rare for lions to do). I guess they were more interested in each other than shade. The male had quite the collection of scars, and from some of the pictures it looks as if he has the "pi" symbol tattooed to his shoulder.

Pied Crow

There was two very enterprising crows that seemed to be aware of the fact that people like to watch lions. So they appeared to be waiting by the lions for cars to stop - and hopefully throw the birds some food. I've never seen that before - birds using a lion sighting to beg for food. We didn't actually feed the birds(it is against the rules) but the bus in front of us was. I've heard that crows are the smartest of birds and after seeing this - I believe it!

Black rhino at the Okaukuejo waterhole

If you're staying at Okaukuejo you should check out the waterhole after dark. They have floodlights to light it up and you'll see quite a bit of wildlife coming down for a drink. We saw giraffe, jackals, wildebeests and 9+ black rhino in the space of about an hour.

The rhino were pretty entertaining. There was one smaller rhino that was trying very hard to pick a fight with a larger rhino, and would basically follow them around trying to get them to fight. While the larger rhino seemed more interested in eating, it did indulge the smaller rhino with a scuffle.

Technical Note: While there are floodlights on the waterhole at Okaukuejo it is not bright enough for normal photography. You will want a tripod and you'll need to use your fastest lens, and even then you'll have to raise the ISO to get a decent shutter speed. The above image was shot at 2.8, 1600 ISO, and I still only got 1/25th shutter speed.

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