We set out at dawn for Etosha and quickly reached the main gate where we waited to check in to the park with several self drivers and some other tour companies. Initially we were put off to see so many other people and vehicles. Our first lion sighting had about 5 cars and even a large bus parked next to it. We have been so spoiled on our trip to have been in private reserves with no public access. However, once we reached a waterhole the magic of Etosha was apparent. It was like a scene from the garden of Eden...literally hundreds of grazers like Oryx, springbock, zebra, and assorted black back jackals, wart hogs, and other characters. The animals were all frolicking about and chasing each other...oryx charging zebras, zebras chasing springbock, etc...
They were just having a grand time and had no worries in the world. We visited several waterholes and they all had great game in a similar setting. We also saw the huge salt pan that was created by glaciers during the last ice age. The white expanse was impressive and went as far as the horizon...on our way out of the park we stumbled upon a large breeding herd of elephants with their young babies...they were heading for water and had a very organized approach with the elders on the outside and the babies protected in the middle. We followed them to the waterhole and watched as they lifted their trunks high in the air to smell for water en route over several kilometers...their sense of smell is amazing. When they reached the waterhole they started to play as well and the babies rushed around spaying water and living it up. It was good fun to watch. We returned to Ongava Lodge where we we're lodging that day. The lodge is set on a hill with great views and wonderful stone work in the walls of the lodge. We made a quick inspection of a nearby luxury property called Little Ongava which was just gorgeous and prefect for a honeymoon couple or someone celebrating a big anniversary. The suites were basically a house with a plunge pool, loving room, master bedroom, private deck, outdoor shower and a sala (outdoor bed)...wow!!! Later that afternoon we set off on our final game drive of the trip within the Ongava reserve. We travelled out in a new area and it was not long before we spotted three lion just off the dirt track. There were 2 male cubs and their mother. The cubs were very curios and approached us carefully but soon lost interest and started to play with each other.
We continued on to a beautiful large savannah that reminded me of the Serengeti plains. The we're lots of zebra, oryx, wildebeest, and red hartebeest grazing peacefully in the late afternoon sun. Just an idyllic scene as one would picture Africa to be...a little further down the road we had a great lion pride sighting with 7 adults crossing the road in front of us starting on a hunt. The sun was setting a golden orange ball which silhouetted the cats against the horizon in a perfect image. We bid farewell to the lions and farewell to the bush after an amazing journey that took us from the banks of the Zambezi to the watery world of the Okavango Delta and then to the dry desert of Namibia into the wild northern frontier near Angola and finally to the oasis of Etosha and Ongava.
I feel so blessed to have experienced another fabulous journey in Africa and I reflected that many of these animals and wild areas may not be here for my children or their offspring if we don't take care of our planet and it's wild places and rare animals like the black rhino...I hope that those of you who have read my blog and followed my journey will be inspired to take your own journey to this special land and become involved in protecting it.