show sidebar & content

The greatest game show on earth

18 Jun 2007 / in natural world, travels

It’s nearly four months now since our month in south west Africa, and every day I remember a few of the mind-blowing things we had the privilege of seeing and doing. There is one thing I think of just about every day though – camping next to the Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha national park, Namibia on Valentine’s Day.


The waterhole is an essential daily stopping off point for many animals, and was perhaps the only reliable water source within a 10 mile radius.

Moth and I sat for some hours during one very hot afternoon – still and quiet in the shade – with just a low stone wall between us and and the hundreds of animals which came and went. Not knowing what next would appear was part of the thrill, but inevitably something would. A pair of blue wildebeest…


… plenty of springbok and gemsbok (oryx) …


Some of the animals, like these springbok and gemsbok, were confident enough to wade right in to just stand and enjoy the cool water…


There were plenty of feathery visitors to the waterhole, like these Egyptian geese…


… and this bee-eater, skimming low over the water.


And in the sky above a buzzard circled up on a thermal, looking for small mammals…


We saw plenty of zebras, some of which nibbled at the green grass – a rare commodity in this hot, dusty corner of Africa at this time of year…


But most of our stripey friends cautiously sipped from the water.


They are very vulnerable when they’re drinking and were spooked by almost anything, and if one got spooked, they all took off!


A marabou stork circled overhead, looking for any carrion to pick at.


And then, as if all the glorious creatures we’d already admired weren’t good enough, a cloud of dust kicked up on horizon cleared to reveal a small herd of ellies…


…which rambled towards us…


The other animals noticed.


Size matters round these parts, and the ellies like to have the water to themselves, so they walked all the way around the waterhole …


…clearing away the springbok…


… and forcing the zebras to beat a hasty retreat.


Well, you just don’t argue with a beast like this do you?


It was time for them to wade in and have long, long drink…


… have a wash and brush up, go snorkeling, splash around a bit and play…


They spent about 30 or 40 minutes doing their pachydermic thing before they started to ramble off again, back into the bush.


I just can’t tell you how much I love Africa.

This is a demo store for testing purposes — no orders shall be fulfilled.