We arrived late yesterday afternoon at the Ongava Private Reserve where we checked in to our tented camp which looked out on its own water hole. We were just in time to join Megustus who guided us on a late afternoon drive through this enormous reserve (30,000 acres). There was a lot of wildlife and the animals were all very calm when we approached. We immediately noticed the difference between Damaraland which was much wilder and remote to this reserve on the edge of Etosha National Park (once the largest park in the world). The reserve was teaming with zebra, kudu, sprinbock as well as some new animals that we had not seen like the hartebeest which is a large reddish antelope with big horns. About 20 minutes into our drive we came upon several female lions and their large male cubs. We enjoyed seeing the lions up close from about 15 feet away and then left them to have a sundowner.
The sun sets quickly and it was soon dark so we started a night drive back to camp. There were lots of black backed jackals around and as we turned a corner we came right up alongside a huge white rhino mother and her very large calf. The rhino were a little startled and ran along side the land rover only 5-10 feet from us. What a thrill. They pulled off the road into some bushes and we enjoyed a nice viewing session with hem. They were very relaxed in our presence and the female had an enormous front horn. Seeing them up close allowed us to identify the distinguishing features like the very wide mouth and the hump on the back side. These rhino were also much larger than the black rhino we had seen in Damaraland.
We returned to a wonderful meal under the stars overlooking he water hole and we could hear lions calling to each other very nearby. As we slept the lions were calling throughout the night and we could really feel The sense of being in the bush as we were in canvas tents. We even has to have an armed guide escort us to and from our tents because they have so many lions here...amazing! Tomorrow we head into Etosha Park to see the famous water holes and great salt pan that are often featured in National Geographic wildlife specials. it should be great and one of the highlights of the trip.