xelas

Namibia 2017: Two Cats on a hot Tin Roof

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Stunning day from this side of the screen!

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5 hours ago, Peter Connan said:

Stunning day from this side of the screen!

 

A man can become spoiled quite easily B)!

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Posted (edited)

The check out time at camps inside Etosha is set at 10:00 am so guests can do their morning drives, came back for breakfast and move on. I have decided to give the Okakuejo side another chance to show us its cats. Yesterday we have seen a lazy male under a tree near Natco waterhole, too far away for any decent photo. And a circular route Okakuejo - Okondeka - Adamax - Natco - Okakuejo should get us back into camp well before check out time.

 

The morning light was soft and golden. White road lined with golden grass. A Kori Bustard looking for a snack, and a Black-backed Jackal eyed us through the golden grass.

 

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Life was good! First stop, the Okondeka waterhole, was empty. We pushed further towards Adamax when I noticed a movement on the road. "Look, springboks!" I informed the passengers. Who, having much better eyesight then me, have already grabbed the cameras and started to give me instructions how to position the car. What I saw as a springbok (mostly for its colour) was a lioness!

 

Walking down the road

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Determination in her eyes

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Not a very friendly expression

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Off the road now

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She was followed by two males, mr.Grumpy on the left and mr.Handsome on the right.

 

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First to approach us was mr.Grumpy.

 

Not his morning

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A quick glance at the bush

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Nope, definitively not his morning

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Following the queen

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Next it was time for mr.Handsome.

 

Isn't he a handsome guy?!

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Hmmm, someone left a message here

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OK, let me add mine also

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And off the road at the same spot 

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Wow! Three lions, all walking, on the road in the golden light ... what more a mere tourist like us could ask for?! Our car was parked diagonally so Zvezda and Tanja would have open line for photography; I was thinking, if the car would be parked parallel and there would be more space left on the left side of the road, those three lions might walk past us?! Maybe even close enough for me to touch the mane of mr.Handsome??

 

Again our game viewing strategy has paid off! But anyhow, it is about being lucky. Remembered the two ladies that have left the scene only 15 minutes before the two couples near Olifantrus decided to move closer to the road?! So while our adrenaline was still floating freely in our veins, and we have explained to each other how exceptional the scene was and how lucky people we are, a overland truck approached, very slowly, from the same direction as the lions only minutes ago. Truck stopped by us and driver asked us if we have seen any lions. Apparently there should be some lions in this area, he told us. With a smile as big as a sun I have told him that yes, we have seen lions. He should drive further down the road and maybe, just maybe, they will still have an opportunity to see them before they will disappear into the shrubs. They moved about 50 meters and stopped and when we came to them, this is what they have frantically taken photos of:

 

Disappearing lions

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We don't have much luck with leopards. That is a well known fact by now. But we are one lucky safaristas, no doubts here :D.

 

 

 

Edited by xelas
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Wow!

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5 minutes ago, Dave Williams said:

Wow!

 

Dave, I really hoped you will liked it :)

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Nice!

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Some great photos here, Zvezda is getting better and better. Loved the zebras action shots, the orange dusty sunset, the lions...yes, you were very lucky, but please don't try to pet Mr. Handome, you'll soon be Mr.Handless.

LOL, I just had to :)

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8 hours ago, xyz99 said:

Some great photos here, Zvezda is getting better and better. Loved the zebras action shots, the orange dusty sunset, the lions...yes, you were very lucky, but please don't try to pet Mr. Handome, you'll soon be Mr.Handless.

LOL, I just had to :)

 

Hahaha, that was exactly the reply given by my ladies, adding that mr.Handless wold be worthless as a driver so would have to stay home next trip :(.

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Posted (edited)

Okakuejo Camp is the largest camp inside Etosha. It caters to all kind of guests with different types of chalets and campsites. Being frugal, and not planning to do a lot of nighttime waterhole watching I have opted for a Family chalet. To my surprise (it turned into a double surprise but more later) we got a key that says "PWC 33". OK. Let's see what mrs.Gemma puts into her present box this time :o. The PWC 33 turned out to ne Premier Waterhole Chalet #33, and regular Okakuejo visitors and connoisseurs already knows what a treat we have been given. For others some photos:

 

Outside of the chalet

 

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Room on the first floor is open plan with bed, shower and toilet

 

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Ground floor room

 

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Main attraction ... The View From The Balcony

 

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PWC 33 ... Best Of Etosha

 

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But there is a downside of staying in this chalet ... for us, anyway. This is the kitchen:

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Yup, no self catering in Premier Waterhole Chalets! I can understand why. The waterhole with its wildlife and its admirers is just too close to chalets. Now, I was adamant not to eat at the camp restaurant. To overcome this problem, luckily there is a campsite just across the road, with a kitchen for overland groups. The kitchen itself was occupied but the friendly cook let us use the braai.

 

While I was carrying cooking stuff from the car to the braai (I could not find how to drive the car closer), doing my third round, a man approached me and asked me why I don't move the car. After he heard my answer, he just sat in the passenger seat and told me where to drive. Of course that act of kindness (or he was just annoyed by my walks up and down) has to be rewarded, and while Zvezda was cooking the dinner, Rudolf and me have emptied a couple of beers, and exchanged some travel stories (mostly Rudolf was talking).

 

The story continues next day. Rudolf admitted that he is more a wine man than a beer man. So next evening we bought a couple of red wine bottles (pinotage) and again we have had a long and interesting conversation. The most interesting part of it was when we discovered that both of us are linked to Iveco, a truck producer company. Me as a product manager of this company, and Rudolf as an owner of a transportation company using majority Iveco trucks! The world is small indeed!! 

 

 

Two more photos to end the Okakuejo side of Central Etosha; as on any gate also here the opening and the closing times are reported; this shot was done just minute before the door should open. Unfortunately this day the gate stayed closed for another 10 minutes ... long enough to send me asking all kind of not so pleasant questions to the people working in the NWR office. 

 

 

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To cool down, after a long hot day in the car, there is a nice pool near the restaurant.

 

 

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Edited by xelas
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What a very enjoyable way to spend Saturday morning waiting for the cricket to start, catching up on your splendid report @xelas thank you!

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2 hours ago, xelas said:

Rudolf and me have emptied a couple of beers, and exchanged some travel stories (mostly Rudolf was talking).

Are you sure your memory is not playing tricks with you here? ;)

 

Seriously, though, you were lucky to get this chalet with such a view! Your photos give a good impression of the accommodation. The pool looks quite nice, too. We'll be sure to try it out..

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Accomodation is really beautiful....Last april I tried to book any accomodation inside Etosha for october, but unfortunately they all were fully booked :( Ongume in the east and Eldorado in the south will replace them, but it won't be exactly the same as to be inside the park.....

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9 hours ago, Towlersonsafari said:

What a very enjoyable way to spend Saturday morning waiting for the cricket to start, catching up on your splendid report @xelas thank you!

 

Thank You, @Towlersonsafari ! Has cricket game ended before sunset?

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7 hours ago, PeterHG said:

Are you sure your memory is not playing tricks with you here? ;)

 

You think so :o:P:lol:??!!??

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4 hours ago, Levante said:

Accomodation is really beautiful....Last april I tried to book any accomodation inside Etosha for october, but unfortunately they all were fully booked :( Ongume in the east and Eldorado in the south will replace them, but it won't be exactly the same as to be inside the park.....

 

It won't be the same ... but it will be much better then going to Mirabilandia :) (although old Ravenna is a beautiful part of the town).

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13 hours ago, xelas said:

 

It won't be the same ... but it will be much better then going to Mirabilandia :) (although old Ravenna is a beautiful part of the town).

 

Xelas, I hate Mirabilandia. I went there just one time when they opened 25 years ago.....but Ravenna downtwon is wonderful, we have the most beautiful and well-preserved mosaics in the world (and it is not an exaggeration). If you come here, just let me know and it will be a pleasure to show you my town.

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1 minute ago, Levante said:

 

Xelas, I hate Mirabilandia. I went there just one time when they opened 25 years ago.....but Ravenna downtwon is wonderful, we have the most beautiful and well-preserved mosaics in the world (and it is not an exaggeration). If you come here, just let me know and it will be a pleasure to show you my town.

 

Duly noted, @Levante! It is only 4 hrs Ljubljana to Ravenna, a great week-end destination. 

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Central Etosha / Halali Camp

 

With 2 nights in Okakuejo, we have finished the first half of our time inside Etosha. Our next camp, Halali, brought us back to more familiar parts of the park, as we have stayed there also in 2014.

 

After the excitement that morning, and generally having seen almost all of the big mammals already, we did not stopped much on our way from Okakuejo to Halali. Thus only a few of the landscape photos.

 

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Also in Halali, Gemma have prepared a surprise for us. I was expecting a general Bush chalet but we got keys to Mushara House; this indeed is a house, with two rooms, a living room, a well equipped kitchen, and outside a huge porch with braai. That last will become an important gathering point two nights later. Thanks once more, Gemma!

 

Maybe now is a time to tell you about the photo of the lonely car at Okondeka waterhole. Some of you are aware that I am also quite active on Tripadvisor; over several months I have started a "red ribbon" idea as several other members were planning to be in Namibia in about the same time as us. First of those meetings should be with Dave, in Okakuejo. As not to any surprise to my wife, I have completely forgotten/mixed about all dates and times. So the car on that photo belonged to Dave!! We missed each other in Okakuejo, but not in Halali. On one of the drives (Rhino Drive) road was narrow and we passed each other (not knowing yet who we are) slowly; then the other car stopped, I saw this in the rear view mirror. As always curious, I reversed, we came window to window and Dave asked me: "Are you xelas?!". The contact was established, even if two days later; to our (pleasant) surprise, they were staying in the house next to ours! The GTG was taking its shape quickly.

Edited by xelas
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But don't hurry too much. Still on the Rhino Drive, very bad road, due to recent rains and muddy terrain, and no Rhinos there only signs of elephants herd roaming around (broken branches, piles of dung, etc) so we skipped the rest of it. Driving back we have stopped at Goas ... too late to watch the elephants at the waterhole but still having opportunity to watch them passing by on their way out. I am always a bit nervous when there is a herd of elephants marching towards me, even when there is plenty of space to pass by. One never knows which part of the road the ellies will decide to use.

 

Wall of Giants

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Big giants and small giants

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Feelin' safe

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Flappin' the ears

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Convoy

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Old love

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Hey, wait for me!

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Wall of Giants' Bums

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After the elephants have left the scene, a group of Black-faced Impalas have their way free to get out. Much nicer and more relaxed view for us. Since the area around Halali is way more forested then the area around Okakuejo, instead of springboks we have encounter many impalas.

 

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To add some colours in the mix, a helpful Lilac.breasted Roller posed in the sun

 

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Last we have passed by a new animal on this trip, a Banded mongoose.

 

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Halali has a very nice waterhole; we went there but have not stayed long enough (a leopard was seen later that night :huh:). Previous day we have skipped our dinner, and the breakfast has worn out hours ago, so our stomachs has won. Plus we have been invited to meet Amit and his family. Thus only a sunset photo from the waterhole

 

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Beautiful series of the Elephants, @xelas! And how nice to arrange a GTG with like-minded travellers !

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2 hours ago, PeterHG said:

And how nice to arrange a GTG with like-minded travellers !

 

Always enjoying to share the travel stories !

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One quick breakfast and we were out of Halali camp early. There was a huge storm brewing on the horizon; the "rain season" was not over yet! 

 

Not that far away

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Waiting for the rain

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Springboks under the rainbow

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Yellow-bellied Eremomela ...

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... and Yellow Mongoose family

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Salvadora, Sueda and Charitsaub are famous lion hunting grounds in dry season; this time all we could enjoy in were fantastic colourful landscapes; I know at least Michael will enjoy in those also :o!!

 

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In the branches of a huge tree at Charitsaub we have found a bird that kept our interest for a while; a Red-necked Falcon with its prey.

 

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This one was hiding in the grass; yes another LBJ so fellow experienced birders do help me out with its ID :unsure:

 

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Edited by xelas
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