Thursday, June 14, 2012


 the etosha pan. etosha national park is where we are headed to next. if you've been following along here (thank you!), my husband chuck and i have so far been in africa for nearing two weeks now. our journey has taken us from windhoek, to the dunes at sossusvlei, to the skeleton coast, to the mountains of southern damaraland and the plateaus of the north.
now it's 19 may and we have left grootberg, taking the direction northeast to kamanjab. we have 380 kilometers to go to our next camp. driving on these gravel roads is slow going if your inexperienced like us, but being green has its benefits, we saw baboons, sable, hornbills and warthogs along the way!
we stopped in kamanjab for petrol and money. i love checking out these small towns, always wondering how it would be to live there. in kamanjab the shop where we paid for gas, bought water and found an atm machine, also had an amazing assortment of goods. i found a pair of desert boots, made from kudu and six or seven small skeins of yarn! i bought the boots, but left the yarn on the shelf. i wonder what will become of it...

our welcome to etosha!

one last rest stop before camp (there are very nice rest stops here)

this is us, anderssons camp. it's located right before the etosha gate, in it's own reserve, ongava. we learned ongava has everything etosha has, game wise, except the elephant. when we went through the gate, signing in, reading the rules : stay in your car until you reach camp! chuck asked me which animal i thought we'd see first? i answered : i hope the giraffe! i love giraffe and in some ways it doesn't feel like i'm really in africa until we see one. 

only minutes later look who we saw! this lovely male was there to greet us (top photo) before turning to disappear in the bush (it gave me tears)  :)

our tent at anderssons with electric fence, the deck faces the bush. we also have an emergency air horn, i wonder does anyone ever use those?

a note left for us

thank you!

after our warm reception from emile and patience (with cold juice and wet cloths) we sat in the comfortable lounge area to watch the resident water hole, since it was already too late to enter etosha national park.

and what a busy waterhole it was! we saw these guinea fowl enjoying themselves when out of the bush came zebra, making the nervous birds move on

the zebra had a drink and also watched the guinea fowl

who alertly watched them back. hee hee

a southern yellow-billed hornbill flew in

and then pumba arrived, (wart hog) , he took a sip

lay down in the mud

rolled around until thoroughly satisfied

and then tip toed away

a wildebeest emerged from the forest, but was too shy to stay

springbok came and went

hello waterbuck

shadows grew long, night sounds of the bush began to fill the air

we didn't return to our room (tent), choosing instead to stay on the veranda and have dinner, staying outdoors, watching the comings and goings of the waterhole and now drinking wine, thank you patience! (she said wine was included with our meal, i said oh boy! she giggled. hee hee)

next morning, we are at the gate when it opens at 6 am.

many people drive themselves around this reserve, which it was made for. there are a few rules to follow, all practical sense. this park is huge, which way to go though? our guide book had all the waterholes listed, so after entering the first gate and then buying our permit at okaukuejo, we headed for the closest waterhole, nebrowni. then gemsbokvlakte and olifantsbad. things were quiet, we saw a few new birds and many springbok

this is a korhaan, i think ruppell's

and a black- faced impala

and then at the salvadora waterhole something new. we found lions.

 terribly exciting. we saw that one of this pride was hiding in the grass, watching a herd of zebra in the distance

slowly we followed.

can you see the simba hiding in the grass?

the zebra and springbok made their way to the waterhole, unaware of the lurking lioness

they came by the dozens, by the hundreds

our anticipation was mounting. by this time there were at least five other trucks watching the drama that was about to unfold (we hoped!)

there she is, low and stealth. watching her hunting posture was an incredible thing. i desperately wanted to climb out of the car, or at least get on the roof, to see and photograph better. then suddenly, the tension broke and the lion bounded out of the grass!

and oh my gosh it went from almost complete silence (except for the whinny of the zebra) to mayhem

hooves were pounding, dirt was flying

she missed

and she was so close.
our truck was in the way of a photo showing just how close she was. chuck took a brilliant picture, him being on the right side of the window. we immediately felt sorry for her. this effort had taken everything out of her

afterwards, she began walking towards the waterhole

and then towards us. i felt a sudden urge to roll my window, she was after all, still hungry

but she changed course

and headed back to her pride

meanwhile the herds continued to stampede away

stopping only until they were comfortable again. here is how they'll stay now, standing like statues, watching the lions

one of her sisters came to meet her

and hopefully she wasn't too disappointed

there will be no lunch for this pride today

i hope you do better tomorrow simba

whew, that was exciting

on to the next waterhole...etosha means 'place of mirages' , 'land of dry water' or the 'great white place'
the silvery white sand plays tricks on your eyes, and mirages blur the horizon. this is a good time to be at etosha as the dry season is upon it now, causing huge herds of animals to congregate at the many waterholes here

sometimes though, you don't have to get to a waterhole to see anything, sometimes something runs right out in front of you!  here is a mama warthog and her babies

okay! see you! take care pumbas!

oh! ha ha, look who's next, it's papa. isn't he grand?

he is not at all shy like his wife and children, in fact he posed, how do you like this side?

or this? thank you mister warthog

graceful springbok in the road

lovely ostrich

in the road too

even the zebra, see this beauty out our rear window?

a place to stay at the west end of the park

we saw this black-backed jackal hunting

oryx or gemsbok

ostrich and acacia tree

and a dear little bat-eared fox in the fading light. time to leave the park, as it closes at dusk. what a day

home away from home

 and it's sunrise again and we're back at the gate (lions calling through the night)

we made a mistake in planning, we have two days for etosha, today we're leaving for our last camp, okonjima. making notes for next time, if you come, you must have at least three days at each end, the west and the east. that is what i think, there is too much to see here, so much to discover

handcrafts at the gate

good morning mr. jackal (mr. black-backed jackal)

southern pale chanting goshawk out for morning sun

and at okondeka waterhole, we found a new pride of lions, this time with impressive males

we watched the same scene as yesterday, the females looked to be hunting. we watched them creep closer and closer to a lone wildebeest. above, hundreds of birds flew in a frenzy. i think they were trying to warn the beast

but it was not to be. the lionesses lay there, the wildebeest practically offered himself to them (they are not the smartest of african animals) we watched and waited, that never gets tiring, but we had to be going

a secretary bird

and at the last waterhole, ombika, on our way out, we saw

giraffe!! hi!

hee hee, they always make my heart swell. thank you so much for coming along, it is a true pleasure sharing this with you. next okonjima and more nature drama (starts with an L, has spots and a tail) can you guess?
xxx lori


  1. Oh my--my heart was pounding just looking at the photos. Although I have to say I'm glad the zebras got away!

    The photos of the springbok and zebras are just stunning.

    I think the giraffes would be my favorite, too!

  2. OMG Lori!
    What a fantastic time you had there!
    So many beautiful pictures. I kept telling myself, this one is my favorite and then the next came and the next......
    I am sure these memories will be with you forever and this wont be the last time you visit Africa ;)
    Thanks for taking me on this safari :)

  3. This is the next best thing after going myself - just looking at your pictures and reading your words along (that is actually almost the best!!).
    I also felt like saying, I must mention this warthog, then, the ostrich! Oh no, the beds, but then, the lioness with her sister.... Breathtaking and wonderful. I can feel the heat, and your excitement, and the quietness again. It`s all in your pictures (and words). I really think everyone should put a link of your blog at their facebook account. (how do you do it??).
    Keep going, Lori, you certainly have more?

  4. Lori,
    Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful photos with us, we have all been sitting here in front of the computer looking at all those beautiful and amazing animals and birds.
    I want to go to Etosha!
    Love to you

  5. Just amazing! Poor lion looks so hungry and didn't get a meal. But whose side to take, if she catched her dinner we would have felt bad for the hunted one. So beautiful and fantastic colours!
    And you found again some crafts!
    Starts with L, I don't think you got spots and tail ... leobard!
    x Teje

  6. Lori ~ you brought me back to my childhood in the 70's watching Wild Kingdom every weekend with my family. My heart still pounds with excitement at the hunt and my feelings are still torn between knowing that simba needs to eat to survive and silently hoping that zebra, springbok and wildebeest all are safe when the show is over. I held my breathe as I scrolled through your post not knowing what the outcome would be.

    As an adult, my scales tip more towards the side of simba but in all honesty, there's still a part of me that gave up a silent 'hooray' that all the beasts survived another day.

    I look forward to these Africa posts as much as I did family night gathered around the tv ;)

    1. i remember those shows melissa, and feeling the same way, always relieved the prey got away. i guess now having seen how hard it can be(and long) it takes for lions to make a kill, to feed the entire pride, makes me feel differently. it truly is the circle of life. (but watching the young be taken is another story, sad). i'm so glad you've enjoyed these, it's a pleasure to share!

  7. I like to go on safari with you!!!!
    thank you, xxx Alessandra

  8. be still my heart!♥♥♥
    these beautiful creatures have been captured brilliantly on your photos!

  9. I am struck by all the different colors each post reveals. Did you get color scheme ideas for knitting while watching the animals? Thanks again for a beautiful post :)

  10. Just beautiful. All of these posts are wonderful! Thanks for sharing them.

  11. totally entranced! what photos! what an adventure!

  12. Oh my goodness Lori, that was so exciting!! You put the perfect words with each picture!
    Love the warthogs! What incredibly huge heads they have.

  13. Lori,
    Thank you for taking us along...beautiful photographs.

  14. *faints* I'd have been so scared. Yes. I think vicarious safari is the way it's going to have to be. (:

    You made my day with those jackals and bat-eared fox. Indeed. Thank you so much for sharing this magic!

  15. Oh my goodness how exciting! I can't tell you how much I am enjoying these posts. I keep checking daily to see if you made a new Africa post. I just can't get enough of them!

  16. ...maybe you should consider making a book Lori? Your Africa Journals are so beautiful and exciting. I can't believe I am looking at all this wild, natural beauty. So special- thank you for sharing your amazing trip.
    Happy Friday!

  17. These photos take my breath away....and speaking of taking my breath away....I was literally holding it while reading about the lioness stalking the Zebra and I let it out when she missed....secretly glad for the zebra, but I did feel sorry for the pride. You did an incredible job of telling the story...i wish I could have been there but I kind of feel like I was! So fun to see your wonderful photos and share this great adventure with you! I love your blog!

  18. If this is as close as I'll ever get to Africa...I can die happy. The photos and commentary are so wonderful that I feel I was there with you; in fact I think I should chip in on your airfare for bringing this story back with you an sharing it with all of us.:-D

  19. Lori, This has been awesome. The photos are stunning. I am coming back to look again.Beyond exciting.xoxo

  20. SWOON:

    i have fainted on the couch. from total astonishment.

    send replenishments. and cold water. maybe chocolate ice-cream too.

    you can be damn sure i will never rush past a watering hole. i will stop, i will linger, and i will thank the universe for good friends and majestic animals and birds.

    i must have a favorite here.

    to be continued....


    1. i am glad to hear that kj, i think when you are patient thats when the magic happens. chuck said maybe we are more patient because we like to take photos. maybe. :)

  21. oooh. that was exciting! what great pictures. i can't wait to see/read of your next stop!

  22. what can I say, amazing photos of a beautiful place - lucky you : )

  23. I get lost in Africa reading your re-counts - such great writing and the photo's....oh :)
    Where does the secretary bird get it's name form do you know?

    1. i think it's something to do with the feathers on it's head, they look like quills. it's really an incredible bird, so shy too, they always walk away too fast for a good photo. but because of their size and head feathers, you can spot them a mile away.

  24. Hi Lori, I had to come back and take another look, and it is even more awesome the second time, if that is even possible. These photos are amazing, are you going to make cards out of some of them? I can't pick a favorite because they are all perfect. Thank you for taking the time to share this trip. xoxo

    1. oh thank you so much annie, i will think about that! i'm really glad you are enjoying, because it's really fun to share. :)

  25. Hi Lori this is JB, wow, wow, wow. I have collected giraffes since my sister brought me a wooden one back from the NY world's fair. I love them! And the zebras, very different than I have ever seen, their heads are different and the strips, oh my. Thank you for this it is incredible!!!!

  26. A W E S O M E !!!!
    Loving your trip albeit virtual.
    So impressed you stopped off in Kamanjab and at that store - it had the most amazing variety of stuff!!! Was the young white Afrikaans speaking chap there??
    Aaaaaah I need to go to Etosha again - the vastness, the space -- heavenly!

    1. i believe he was! hee hee, chuck had to pull me out, i was looking at everything! there was an atm that accepted only mastercard, or was it visa? anyway, we'd been warned, so funny.
      ah etosha, need to spend more time there too janet!

  27. Lori - GORGEOUS! And I love the warthogs - lol! What an adventure! xox

  28. Bat eared fox!! so cute. Can't wait for the next installment. But, we will be returning to this one several times I am sure. I want to go!!!!!

  29. fantastic lori! wow! your pictures amaze me and the story you share is like you are writing it the day it happened. you have a great memory for storytelling. i love giraffes too. your giraffe pictures are my favorite but there are a few others that i had to stare at for a long time, like the black faced impala and the third one of the lioness walking away from the zebra she didn't catch and the ostrich fluffing her feathers. someone should paint that. the background scenery is so fluid. i love the textures and the lion in the center. you must have had so much fun taking these pictures.

    1. aw thank you anushka. this is something i don't think you ever forget, but i kept a journal too. we were really happy to find the black faced impala, they are rare and only found at etosha, so cool.

  30. Lori, I know this sounds like a hayseed speaking (it is) but it was shocking to see how large giraffes are, they really make the deer like creatures look like mice.
    What sightings; the fox; the jackal that looks like a fox.
    Impalas are so pretty, the best thing I can say about the warthog is , well, I'm sure I'll think of something eventually....

  31. Lori, I love you for crying because you saw the giraffe.
    Following your story of Simba made my heart race, I feel so sorry for her too but I would have felt sorry for the victim too I guess I am too weak for mother natures ways :-(
    And I can't wait for Mister oder Misses L... with the dots :-)

  32. I have been here 114 times so far, looking at all these animals

    I was rooting so hard for the zebras until the lion failed and then I felt bad for the lion. Now why does one creature's gain have to be another's loss?

    That might be the question I never figure out how to answer. Even in junior high school I wasn't sold on Charles Darwin's explanation..... :-)

    And another question: could the warthog win a beauty contest? Oh my gosh: is the impala really as elegant as the warthog is strange?

    All these deep questions this morning. And you and chuck were given the miracle of just observing and honoring all of it; no questions, just astonishment


  33. What a dramatic story (lion and zebras) and amazing photos. Thamks, Lori, for sharing, you lucky girl :)

    enim sou

  34. Fantastic Lori! I had to call my husband to the computer & go through the post again so he could see your incredible photos!! How gorgeous is the black-backed Jackal ♥
    Haven't been able to post on my blog for a few weeks (I think I may be out of photo space)

  35. OMIGOSH,,,I was having heart palpitations. The drama and mystery of 'who will win'.
    I know it's necessary, and the life cycle,,,but oh my,,,I just wanted to toss them some dog chow or something.

    I adore the secretary bird, and yes, the graceful and the clunky animals alike. Each beautiful in their own unique way.
    Thanks for knowing just what we'd like to see Lori!

  36. So amazing. I love seeing everything through your photos.

  37. what an amazing journey, your photos of all these beautiful animals just take my breath away!

  38. Oh go zebras GO! I know the lions have to eat, but I have always rooted for the zebras to keep out of the way. They are such beautiful creatures. Love that shot through the giraffe's legs too! Very cool!



xoxo lori