After a brief stopover in Windhoek, we put the pedal to the floor and made it to Etosha National Park right before the Andersson Gate closed.
We hurried to set up our tents at Okaukuejo rest camp, and promptly rushed over to the flood-lit watering hole, hoping to catch some game at sunset. A troupe of giraffes greeted us, soon to be followed by two black rhinos.
After an uneventful morning drive the next day, we returned to Okaukuejo on a lark. Rewarded with a packed watering hole and our first sightings of elephants, we decided to prolong our stay. And good thing we did, because one of the most beautiful sights awaited… a sunset that lit the sky into ribbons of blue, purple, and pink; elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and various antelope drinking together, their mirror reflections crystal clear in the water.
The following day, Etosha continued to mesmerize us.
One day we noticed elephant dung on the road (“Looks fresh!” — Alpheus) and decided to follow their trail. Our search mission ended with a family of elephants playing in a deep pool, with a baby in the midst, stumbling around as his parents trampled in the water.
By the last day in Etosha, our only disappointment was the lack of lions (we’d given up on leopards long ago). On our last game drive, Eugene had barely yelled, “Where are the lions?!?” when we drove around a bend and saw two male lions crossing the road (followed by a cute jackal, hoping to be benign and scavenge whatever the cats killed). And as we followed their path, there stood a lone petite springbok antelope a mere 100 meters away–as still as a leaf, with its tail down and eyes fixated on the predators until the lions were out of sight.
And with that, our luck changed. In our remaining 2 hours in the park, we managed to find three more lions, including what may have been a pride lazing in the bushes!
And so ended our tour through Etosha National Park. Next up–Epupa Falls!