12.04.2014 - 20.06.2014 38 °C
For our morning game drive we headed west to explore roads for us not yet travelled. We did two small loops off the main road, checked out a few viewpoints and watering holes but had a relatively uneventful morning, which certainly happens in the parks. I went for a run around the campground (felt good to get a bit of exercise on a 5 week road trip proceeded by two work weeks with no time for anything but work) and then spent some time at the pool. Maybe it was just that we didn’t have a very shady spot to sit but it certainly seemed hotter than the days we spent at Onguma. We checked out the watering hole after lunch, sat and read our books and saw a herd of elephant and springbok pass through. The elephants had two young that were maybe about a year old- they stayed extremely close to their mothers and were very cute as they ungracefully entered (fell into) the water. Seeing elephants at the water is always interesting because they toss water and then often dirt on their backs and bellies to stay cool.
The heat was definitely getting to me, even though we’d been drinking water non stop, and so we got popsicles and drinks (non-alcoholic) for our evening drive, which we decided would be a short one so that we could be back at the watering hole by 4:30. We went out to the Goas watering hole, which is a beautiful spot, but saw only a few Egyptian Geese. We hung around for a few minutes then headed back to camp. We got our alcoholic drinks, our books and all of Don’s camera gear and found a spot at the watering hole. The hole is also a beautiful place but when the sun is setting it is right in your eyes so I would recommend getting there just after sun set.
We gained a fair bit of entertainment from the people who were also gathered at the watering hole. At the start of the path to the viewing area there is a large sign that asks for quiet. When you arrive you instantly get the feeling that you are being loud, even if the only thing you are doing is walking. It can be so silent at the watering hole that you can hear all the quiet sounds the animals make, which makes it really a great spot. Then you have as we have started to call them the ‘townies’ that bring noisy snacks like peanuts and potato chips. You also have the talkers- those laughing and joking while everyone else is sitting and quietly watching. We joked about whether we should go get our Doritos, maybe the fire crackers, or best of all the i pod with speakers…
At 6:30, around the same time as the night before, a lone rhino slowly made his way in. He did the usual take a drink, eat some grass, walk around a bit then headed into the bushes. Then came back. He did this routine again, as if he was killing time until the other rhinos came by and he could, like last night, have a bit of social time. No such luck. We watched him for about an hour, Don got some night shots, and we headed back to our tent because by this point I had a headache that was only getting worse.
I was in bed early, figuring nothing else could get rid of my splitting headache. Don popped his head in to say the Honey Badger was in the camp, could I get up? I just couldn’t- my head was killing me. Don came back about 10 minutes later to say he was right near our tent and he had almost walked into him in the dark. Ok. I’ve got to get up. We went over to see him in the trash can rooting around like a racoon. There was a German couple about three feet from him taking photos and if you’ve ever seen the u tube video on honey badgers you know not to get too close. We finally got their attention (they were understandably focused on their photography, kneeling down at the badger’s face level, which I’ll mention is a perfect spot to be if you want your eyes scratched out), told them he was extremely dangerous and that they should back away. Honey badgers will forever remind me of Ross, whose one request for animal sighting in Botswana was to see a Honey Badger, and we did one morning at Chobe. Don mentioned later that seeing a honey badger in the trash, eating garbage feels like quite a different experience that seeing them in the ‘wild’ but nevertheless we did get a great view of the nocturnal and hard to see honey badger. Unfortunately no photos..