Flamingoes in Etosha Pan

We had our usual breakfast – muesli, fruit, yogurt, bread, cheeses, Nutella and preserves. The Germans took to Rooibos tea instead of regular tea. Rooibos tea is an institution in Southern Africa. We even have what they call a red cappuccino which is made from Rooibos. Yummy!!

And of course we had to wash and pack everything away. The hyenas and monkeys will happily help themselves to all one’s food if one is not careful but we were on the move anyway.
The sightings in Etosha were disappointing. The high rainfall meant the watering holes were hardly used as animals could get water anywhere really. But what we did see, and only occurs during high rainfall, was flamingos. We saw lots of them.

We spent two nights in Etosha National Park. One at Okaukeujo Camp and the other at Namatoni Bush Camp. When we were on the long open roads it felt like we had Namibia all to ourselves. But in the camps we soon discovered that actually, there were plenty people about. Buses heaving with humans were everywhere. The campsites were full. 

Pondering the merits of driving this road

We did a lunch stop at Halali Camp. We often had left-over food for lunch, but the same two individuals in our group, single handedly devoured enough food for a platoon of soldiers the night before. Three helpings of food stacked up high, EACH! Our driver came late for supper and there was no food left for him. He ate at the restaurant.

From Ethosha we did a shop up at Tsumeb and went past Grootfontein, an ex South African Defence Force base in the apartheid days. Namibia used to belong to South Africa and all young men were conscripted to the army for two years. It evoked memories for our driver and the South African guy on the tour.

Okavango River

We passed through a good few road blocks. They usually checked for permits, drivers licences and the carrying of prohibited foods. I guess to prevent the spread of epidemics like foot and mouth.

The Namibian authorities were super friendly. Less so in Botswana and in Zimbabwe they had speed traps, but no road signs giving us a clue to allowed speeds. Oh, and they hid away in the bushes and charged out to stop us in Zimbabwe. Not so nice!

On we drove, now heading for Rundu. We had been warned that the campsite there had been inaccessible for quite some time, but was now open again.

We all disembarked the bus and waded through the water on the roads. Our driver decided to go for it and drive through the river that had formed in the road. Had the sand been soft, he wouldn’t have risked it, but he felt the ground was firm enough to allow some traction on the tyres.

Another campsite

However on arrival, the consensus amongst the group was to upgrade to rooms, except for the two over eaters. The ground was still wet and I think we all just felt like a proper room for a change. Think – hot water on tap, no hauling gear on and off the truck, no damp tents, no wild animals lurking in the bushes. Aaah – heaven!

Breakfast the next morning was no better than our usual DIY feast, but hey, no dishes and no dashing to the communal ablution facilities before the bus left.

After that reprieve we all piled back into the truck and we now made our way toward the Popa Falls where we would stop next. This campsite was also under water but there were higher lying areas where we could pitch our tents.We needed to pitch our tents to dry them as they had been in the truck overnight.

What to do with a free afternoon

We got to Popa early and had the afternoon free. The Popa Falls are not that big. They are more like rapids. We couldn’t see them as the area was flooded. As much as we enjoyed our upgrade, it was great being back in nature. The sounds of birds in the trees, rapids rolling past nearby and the fresh air made us all lazy and we relaxed reading books or snoozing on the grass.

Supper was marinated spare ribs and salad for the meat eaters. I had veg mince I brought along with salad.

That night we got eaten alive by ants in our tents. That was also the night we were woken by a hippo strolling between our tents munching grass. Hey, in the bush you have to take the rough with the smooth. That’s just how it is.

Click here to go to Part 7.

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