Etosha National Park, Namibia
“Be quiet, shhhh” are the only whispers you hear. Seated on hard wooden benches are hundreds of people. We have headlamps around our necks, torches in our pockets, canteens next to us and cameras in our hands. We wait. As the sun sets, the horizon is set ablaze in hues of red and orange. The colours change as quickly as the scene. It’s cable television live, in colour and directly in front of us. Even the youngest children are silent. You can hear a pin drop.
We sit at the Watering Hole in Etosha National Park. Namibia’s premier park for animal citing and game drive viewing has campsites, a pool a restaurant and this, the watering hole. “I could stay here for days”, we both say to each other simultaneously knowing that if we could, we would. Within the first minutes we know we have to return someday. Each day people come and sit for hours. Sunrise, daylight, sunset, night-it doesn’t matter the time or the weather-they wait.
Zebras having a drink
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Day 54: Etosha National Park, Namibia-Windhoek, Namibia (31 October 2009-Halloween)
We woke up this morning in our cute little two person tents (good thing we did this as it’s a prelude to our full on camping trip that we do later) to the sounds of people in the next campsite over packing up their bags…it was five in the morning! Needless to say we weren’t so thrilled at the hour; but we got up, rolled up the sleeping mats and Mathew and Karel packed up the actual tent as I finished getting ready as I had packed up everything inside the tent. We stopped in the same two spots in the same two towns as we did on the way in to Etosha; the bakery for some snacks and internet time, Ot;iwarongo for a toilet stop and then we were on our way to Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city. And of course we remembered to take our malaria pills as we were up to the part of the trip that we were now taking them every day as we had started just before Etosha.
We finally arrived in Windhoek in the afternoon, dropped our stuff in our new clean room decorated all in white and complete with air conditioning and a refrigerator and got some news. Paul told us that there were some complications with the travel of those meeting up with us in Windhoek so we would be leaving a bit later in the morning tomorrow than already thought…we were thrilled! We decided it was time for a bit of a late lunch and headed out to the shopping mall across the road for a quick wander and some food. There was a club rugby match on that Mathew wanted to watch so we were looking for a place to do that and came across a place for lunch, Mugg and Beans which is a chain restaurant almost like Applebee’s I would think. We had some lunch with Lee and then headed back to the hotel for a rest and a shower before dinner.
Mathew and Lee went out for a journey around Windhoek as I stayed in for a bit of a rest. Winhoek itself is not a very safe city and doesn’t have that much to offer; think of spending a weekend in Albany if you weren’t visiting the school or having anything to do with politics. They trundled along finding that our hotel was situated at the end of Robert Mugabe Avenue (oddly enough) and saw a few other museums and buildings. After a rest and a shower we found ourselves heading to dinner at Joe’s Beerhaus. Ask anyone who’s been to Windhoek and this is where they’d tell you to go…there’s sand on the floor, ‘jaegermeister is their house beer’, game is a specialty and the décor is filled with what would be other people’s junk but the treasure’s of Joe. We got to meet two of the four people joining us on the next leg of this journey all the way to Victoria Falls, Zambia. Maria and Bernardo, both Portugese were just here for the nine days of this part. Maria is a neurosurgery resident in Portugal and Bernardo is a PHD candidate in Biology living in London and working for Cancer Research and only has his thesis to defend left in the program. Dinner was good and conversation flowed, but it was a bit hard for me as there was game all around. I was so glad that Eveline and I wound up sitting across from each other so at least there was another vegetarian dish to look at across the way. There was game all around the table…Kudu, crocodile, buffalo and even zebra…people said it tasted like horse…YUCK!
Anyway, dinner was fun and we really liked our new members. Upon our return we found out that the other couple had already landed and we would have been able to leave on time in the morning but Paul decided to let us have a lie in. Ian and Louise would be joining us in the morning. We gave some goodbye hugs to Christine, Carsten and Lee who would all be leaving us in the morning; Christine and Lee to fly home and Carsten, who worked for BMW, would be joining a mate and continuing a journey through Namibia on motorbike. We made our goodbyes and then headed to bed.
Tomorrow: Our last day in Namibia; home of the red sand!