I have a great passion for Africa -somehow Africa is really different and so beautiful.
There are so many great pictures in my mind when thinking of the African continent -One nicer then the other.
In 2016 we decide to participate in a great trip through West Africa . We start in Cape Town in South Africa , drive northwards to Namibia , pass by the Namibian desert and then drive to Botswana and then to Zimbabwe and Zambia and arrive at our final destination , the Victoria Falls .
It was such a gorgeous trip with about 6000 km that we did through pure nature , on dusty roads , little African villages , passing by local tribes here and there while seeing a patrol station was outstanding – unforgettable memories for us and for our dear friends joining us .
We had a fantastic couple as guides and drivers who did a great job in showing us around and managing any difficult situation as you are not driving on highways . You are driving on sandy roads , through the desert where I was sometimes really wondering how Barry could find his way as orientation was seriously complicated . Driving with your car on the African continent is really special .
You are on the way through the savanna , through waterways which have dried up ,along rocks and areas where at any time any kind of animal can cross your way where you need to be very careful .
We met lots of elephants , giraffes , antelopes , blue beasts everywhere as the wilderness here is simply their home .
Anywhere you stopped and wanted to have a break maybe for some lunch you should be awake and look around – sometimes it were kids of local tribes coming out of the fields wearing some grass on their heads , sometimes it could be also some animals around .
Whenever there was something wrong with the car and incidents can happen here very easily , Barry had some solution and a lot of patience – whether it was an exploded wheel or an unexpectedly empty patrol tank in the night.
In some of my posts I already told about some nice experiences that we had in South Africa , Botswana and Namibia and in this blogpost I would like to tell a little bit about Etosha National park , one of the most important national parks in Africa that is located at the northern part of Namibia.
We were coming from the Namibian desert , passing by Swakopmund and driving northeastwards to Etosha Nationalpark which is the largest national sanctuary and reserve in the region.
We arrived in the late afternoon at our hotel at Halali . Happy and tired to have finished todays long roadtrip we were looking forward for a great drink and dinner that night . Sitting on the terrace we saw the last sun rays of the day .
Sunset in Africa is always outstanding. Tired but super happy from our trip that we had so far , it was so nice to sit at this gorgeous terrace and looking into the endless sky , listening to the sounds coming from the surrounding area not knowing which animals these were but getting excited for the next days excursion .
We got our cold beers and had our nice chat – it was such a marvelous night with its special atmosphere.
Afterwards the wonderful open buffet of the hotel was crowning the evening .
We were so lucky to be here !
In the dark of the big park and the trees we then left to get our sleep in our little bungalows. So excited that we nearly cant get asleep .
The next morning we left after having had our very early breakfast as we needed to get to the waterholes as all the animals were also coming early in the fresh morning before the sun was getting strong in the later hours .
Etosha actually is one of the largest wildlife viewing venues covering an area of about 20,000 square kilometer with a huge pan called the Etosha pan which is a saline desert with a scale of nearly 5000 square kilometers in mid of the Etosha park. During our stay the salt pan was totally dry and white so that you could hardly look over there as your eyes were getting blinded.
For very few days in the year it is raining here when the Etosha pan then converts into a blue – green lagoon where flamingos and pelicans pass by .
On the one hand you can drive with your car through the national park and observe wildlife while you can also get out of the car at certain stations where there are natural waterholes ie locations where the animals were coming to drink their daily water .
We entered Etosha park and immediately the first animals , some springboks , were springing by .
It is very difficult for our eyes to see them sometimes as the colors of the animals are totally matching with their natural surrounding and the animals are moving very fast .
You might see the animals sometimes for a few seconds and all actions are around you in 360 degrees scale – you never know from which corner the next animal is going to be seen and how . Therefore it is difficult and exhausting to look around , to discover the animals , to watch them and to take photos at the same time.
You need to be very concentrated and check your surrounding very carefully .
Certainly our guides were very helpful as whenever they recognized any kind of animal they also let us know . My husband , since he is a journalist with good eyes and a good sensitivity , sometimes could also recognize the animals easier and faster then the rest of the group – so we were also following him.
First thing we did was to go to one of the observation stations at the waterholes and what we saw was really amazing -a great natural spectacular !
All the different animals , in our case they were different species of springboks and antelopes , were standing here in a certain queue – so they did not mix up with each other but each species was waiting for its turn.
Once a group was drinking water , the next group of animal was waiting .
Then the 3rd species was approaching and queuing up . All of the animals were moving very slowly and repeatedly raising their heads to check the environment whether all is ok or whether there is any risk around.
Like a ceremony all the different type of animals were approaching the waterhole one after the other following their own system and rules.
All of the animals were very patient and were just waiting for its turn or sometimes even retreating when they feel disturbed.
The game of nature is so amazing to observe . The beauty of the animals is hardly to describe .
Then we started driving around and while we drove we saw big herds of zebras and blue beasts.
They were always standing like twins – always 2 of them together – this is the way how they try to protect themselves as their enemies see 2 animals next to each other ,also due to their stripes , like 1 huge animal which is an optical protection for them .
A little further we saw a little zebra baby – it was bleeding at its little leg and looked very scared . The herd of zebras was surrounding and protecting it.
A little further we understood what happened .
A very young leopard , strolling around , being very thin and looking very weak , tried to hunt the zebra baby but could not succeed . The herd could expel him and so the leopard escaped.
We drove along the paths -under one tree we observed that there are some jeeps waiting . Yes , later when we approached the location we got to know why .
A lioness was sitting in the dry grass there under the tree – very difficult to recognize but if you looked carefully you would see some part of her head ,her ears and her body but since the sun was going to be very intense she preferred to lie down and take a rest for the day .
The park is so huge and we could see so many herds of different type of animals – black beasts , ostriches , different type of huge birds , antelopes , springboks, rhinos…
At one of the outer waterholes we could see from far a group of giraffes drinking some water . What an elegant huge animal. I never saw an animal that was moving so wonderful, calm and in harmony.You cant approach them as they are very fast though it does not look so .
They also have a very elegant way to quench their thirst while spreading their long legs at the waterholes and having their drink of water.
Everywhere you can observe the harmony and the balance in nature which is fantastic .
If you like nature and wildlife , Etosha is definitely a paradise as there are plenty of species that you can discover over here and I felt so grateful to have had the chance to visit this national park and to know that the animals are living under protection at this place .
We all know how much hunters and poachers are outside there who just kill those beautiful animals especially elephants, giraffes , rhinos and lions – just for fun, for trophy hunting , just to show off or to sell some of the animals parts to some collectors or people who believe in the power of these type of products.
I follow quite some Facebook groups and pages on Africa and you cant believe how often there are poaching cases in the daily Afican news and what kind of disgusting photos of people and incidents with the animals in wildlife – sometimes you wonder of who is the creature …
I cant believe sometimes seeing even kids getting the opportunity from their parents to shoot animals and are happy when they can pose in front of a beautiful but dead body of a giraffe . How can one be proud and happy in such position ? Whole families go for hunting events….unbelievable !
There are special operators , sometimes called game farms in Africa who offer hunting on conditions of ” no animal – no fee ” and they call it a” sport ” .
Unfortunately the animals have no chance against the bullets or sometimes special traps and the hunters are mostly selecting the most beautiful , the strongest and maybe the very special species to have the trophy later on at home at their wall or on their home floor which is heavily affecting the number of the anyhow endangered species in the world especially in Africa .
This is why it is so important that all the African countries and their governments and people are fighting against hunting and poaching of animals to protect and conserve wildlife on the continent but it is also important that other countries as well are not giving any allowance to import any kind of trophies . Unfortunately it is sometimes difficult to convince local authorities and to raise legal initiatives as the local governments evaluate this also as a ” sport ” and a very important revenue to their annual budgets.
This is why I support and value a lot institutions who are protecting wildlife , fighting with hunting and poaching organizations and even healing wounded animals or taking care for orphans like the David Sheldrick Trust as otherwise these are not able to survive.
There can be no reason in this world to destroy nature or to kill an animal other then the only one that is for the protection of the same .
People URGENTLY need to understand that this planet is not ours alone and that mankind needs to respect any kind of species in this world and that it is in our own interest to keep the balance of nature . Any kind of destruction leads to our self-destruction – I don’t understand why is so difficult to understand about the ecological cycles and to feel some love for nature in a world that we are living in in the 21st century.