Etosha National Park, Namibia

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.

At the gates!

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.

A late night drink

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 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.

Zebra crossing!

We watched this little scavenger fend off 3 others before finally eating his lunch

An elephant venturing close at the watering hole

Within trunk-touching distance!

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.

Splashing around in the kiddie pool

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). 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!

“Too hot to do anything but sleep…”

And so ended our tour through Etosha National Park. Next up–Epupa Falls!


The Serpent Welcomes us to the Kalahari


Howling Moon – at Kalahari Trail Restcamp

For the past 2 months, we have enjoyed first world comforts and luxuries that accompany travelling the well-beaten tourist trail from the Drakensberg to Cape Town. Upon reaching the ‘city’ of Upington, it is time we say good-bye to those comforts as we transition from developed South Africa into the wild and desolate Kalahari Desert and Namibia.

Our campsites North of Upington have gotten progressively more wild and remote.

At the Kalahari Monate Lodge, just 13km north of Upington, our campsite was visited by tortoises mating and packs of springboks.


Discovery Channel . . . LIVE


Night time image of our campsite at the Kalahari Monate Lodge

At Kalahari Trails Restcamp, there was only salty running water. We had to back track 50km to Askham to find clean drinking water.


Sunset at the Kalahari Trail Restcamp 

At Twee Rivieren Restcamp inside the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, we came face to face with a deadly predator meters away from our campsite.

After our sunset safari drive, we were relaxing at our campsite over a cold beer and a game of monopoly. All of the sudden Christine’s face turned pale, she pointed over our shoulders and jumped out of her seat. Eugene and I looked back, and saw a long yellow snake slithering towards us. Startled by our gaze, the snake took a sharp turn and took shelter under my tent. We were all speechless.

Eugene’s first instinct was to tip over my tent to get rid of the snake. At this point I recalled seeing a picture of a yellow snake called the Cape Cobra in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park guide. I ran to retrieve my copy of the park guide, found the picture of a yellow snake swallowing another snake and it read:

Cape Cobra: This is probably the most striking snake in the Kalahari. The colouration of individuals can vary from a deep yellow to a dark brown, even black. Although the cobra is relatively docile, it is extremely venomous. It produces a neurotoxic venom which attacks the nervous system. This results in paralysis and death (note: there is no if). The cobra displays its characteristic hood when threatened. A puff adder sees the Cape cobra as its fiercest enemy and will try to quickly get away the moment it becomes aware of one. Apparently puff adders form a big part in the cobra’s diet.”

“Bro, I think this is a Cape Cobra,” I said.

“It surely can’t be, what are the odds,” Eugene said wearily.

Awoken by our commotion, a South African man walked over in his underwear with a cigarette in his mouth and asked what was going on.

“There is a snake underneath my tent.”

“What colour is it?”


Suddenly excited, he said, “Damn, it’s a Cape Cobra!”

We had no choice but to call the animal emergency hotline, which we took down at a stroke of genius.

As we anxiously waited for the park ranger, the snake peaked its head out from the bottom of the tent to check out the commotion. Unexpectedly, the snake slithered out of the tent towards our table, settled behind a bag for a brief moment then bolted for the nearest bush as if he knew the ranger was coming.

Although I was relieved the snake left my tent, I am now worried the snake might escape before the ranger gets his hands on it. A Cape Cobra lurking in the shadows of our campground is even more disturbing then knowing it is under my tent – as least I know it will be caught in the latter case.

We collectively breathed out a sigh of relief when we saw the yellow headlights of the Ranger’s truck finally pulled into the parking lot.

The snake guy, with a snake clamp in his hands, a cigarette in his mouth, and his butt crack exposed while surveying the nearby bushes, were quickly joined by old couples stumbling over drunk for the excitement, a French tour guide claiming he would grab the snake with his bare hands if only his head was not next to his tail, and more men in their underwear. It was an odd sight.

You can see the dread and fear in the ranger’s eyes when he was told the loose snake he was summoned to capture was a Cape Cobra. The locals were wise enough to be afraid.

At first, the Cobra was elusive. It hid in the middle of a dense bush where the ranger could not reach. Then the cobra got angry at the ranger’s repeated jabs at him with the snake clamp and displayed its characteristic hood. After 20 minutes of struggle, the Cobra made a crucial mistake. It slithered up the tree where the ranger had an open shot at it, and he made no mistake.


The ranger in action


Snake getting angry


Ranger (left). French tour guide (right), “I’ll catch it with my bare hands!”


With nowhere to go, the snake decide to climb the tree


Big mistake


The guy in charged of the snake bin was not thrilled

That was quite the surreal welcome to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

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