12.04.2014 - 20.05.2014 37 °C
Today we decided to check out the area around Okakeujo, the oldest park accomodation site. Okakuejo is north of the Anderson gate and at about midway between the Eastern and Western boundaries of the park. On our way over, which we decided to do quickly so that we could get close to Okakuejo and it still be early morning, we saw two Tawny eagles. These birds are quite variable in their colors and can range from a darker brown to a pale sandy colour. The photo below shows the lighter of the two birds.
We headed down a side road, thinking as on previous drives that we would have better luck off the main road. We did indeed see a rhino. He moved slowly across the road and eventually made his way into the bushes.
We had by this early point in the morning already decided that, at least during this time of year, Okakuejo was a better viewing spot than Hilali, the latter having a lot of wide open grasslands and no shade cover. We spent some time at a watering hole watching zebra, springbok and a jackal. Just like near Namutoni there are zebra everywhere. We even saw a few zebra scurfuffles, which was something new. I have ever only seen them walking along, eating, and staring at the car, so new behaviour is always nice. On the topic of jackals we read a notice at the camp to be aware of rabies and warning that the park has a problem with rabies particularly in the black backed jackals. There was another notice explaining a research project where they were attempting to collar some of the larger predators in Etosha to understand their impact on the other animals. The notice explained the researchers were currently trying to collar a lioness in the area.
As we were getting ready to head back to Hilali we saw a bunch of parked cars and more than two cars here usually meant either a cat or a rhino, and was always worth checking out. I joked on the way over that with this many cars it had to be five cats. Well, we thought three was pretty good. Three young lioness sitting in the long grass overlooking a watering hole. We weighed up our options- those being to wait and watch or head back to the campsite to spend mid-day where it was pretty hard to find shade. We opted to sit and watch. We watched in anticipation as zebra, springbok, oryx, wildebeest and an ostrich wandered down to the watering hole unaware of the lions. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for the grazers they were on the opposite side of the water from the lions.
We arrived around 9am and around 11:30 the cats made a half hearted attempt at a springbok with his back to the predators.
I think the attempt was more just out of frustration and overheating from sitting in the sun. The big movement of the early part of the day was a relocation to a nearby tree to sleep in the shade. We decided to hang around for as long as it took, or as long as we could. We certainly had no pressing plans. We ate bits and pieces of food we had in the car, napped, and read our books. I’ll mention that watching lions for hours on end in the hot sun and drinking water means you eventually need to use the washroom and you certainly can’t get out of the car near the lions. I’ll leave the rest of the details out.
At 5pm we couldn’t wait any longer because sunset was approaching and so headed back to Halali. We spent 8 hours with the lions, and some would say that is a lot of effort to put into seeing a kill, especially when it ends with no action but we didn’t feel that way. Not a bad afternoon sitting in the middle of a National Park with a few lioness… We headed to bed early this evening after packing up the car for an early start and a long drive the next day.