A Place of Dry Water

Africa, a continent of magic. Often referred to as the “Birthplace of Humanity”, it is a land that has drawn me back again and again. Of the many fascinating regions of this vast continent, one of the most compelling is Etosha National Park, set in North-central Namibia. Etosha means “place of dry water”, an excellent description. The semi-arid savannah, full of thorn scrub, is very flat and very dry. All of which equals extraordinary wildlife viewing. The park covers over 22750 KM, and is home to hundreds of species of animals.

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An added bonus of visiting Etosha is being able to stay in one or several of the excellent camps, among the best in Africa. With extensive grounds, well maintained facilities, a variety of lodging options, and permanent watering holes featuring floodlit, nighttime game viewing from the security and comfort of camp.

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We began our time in Etosha at the lovely Halali Camp, an inviting introduction to the park. The well-run park was a perfect respite after long days on safari, with the most beautiful bathrooms we’d seen in months. The surrounding area is literally teeming with wildlife, including herds of elephant, rhino, kudu, impala, giraffe, jackals, zebra, and dozens of breeds of various deer.

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Lions were abundant in the park, proving to be readily available for our photo safari, completely unbothered by us as they lounged in the sun.

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Although Etosha is North of the great Kalahari desert, the entire country is very arid, and watering holes are integral in the continuation of life in the desert, and make for superb wildlife viewing. We spent hours each day, thoroughly enthralled, with the variety of animals species roaming the park and making their way to the waters edge.

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After several wonderful days, we continued west towards Okaukeujo Rest Camp, another fantastic overnight stop. Here we found the best facilities to date, and an even better night viewing area than at Halali camp. One day merged into the next as we continued our, ever pleasant, daily life of safari; rising early for a sunrise safari, afternoons spent around camp, early evening game drives, and the final views of the night at the camp watering hole.

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Life on safari is life well-lived, and something I never tire of. The smell of Africa is intoxicating, a heady combination of grasslands, marula fruit, wildlife and dung. Especially in the morning, this  scent, nearly impossible to describe, fills my lungs with each breath and is something I miss continually when away.

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The scenery is impressive, rolling out before me for miles in every direction, multi-hued grasses, moving in the breeze, alternately hiding and revealing the wildlife among the stalks.

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Namibia is flat, very,very flat, and outside of the immense sand dunes further south, continues mile after mile of virtual nothingness. We traveled for several full days where even the sight of a single thorn bush was cause for excitement.

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Nighttime brings a melody of sound. The heavy shuffling of elephant herds. the near horse-like nicker of the zebra. The chatter of monkeys in the trees. The occasional roar of lions in the distance.

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Unfortunately, we inevitably had to continue our journey west towards the sea, forever changed by this harsh, intriguing landscape that we experienced during our time in the wild.

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