Larking About in Namibia. Part 2.
After five days camping at Kunene River Lodge we headed for Etosha. We left on Saturday 22nd June. Our plan for Etosha was 2 nights at Namutomi followed by 3 nights at Halali.
Etosha as expected was very expensive. Not just the campsites but also the daily charge for 2 people and the car. Namutomi was R440 and Halali R290 per night plus the daily charge of R130!! Our mistake, we should have camped just outside the Park.
Namutomi was run down. The only saving grace was the flat grassy campsite.
The Park was exceptionally dry and very dusty. The man-made waterholes were the main source of interesting birding. And of course this is where the animals congregated. The natural springs and fountains near the Pan’s edge were all dry.
We circled the Dikdik Drive 3 times looking for the Black-faced Babblers without success – we did see lots of Dikdik though.
The highlights were the waterbirds and the raptors.
Halali campsite is flat and reasonably shady – not that the shade was so important in winter time. It has a very good waterhole and viewing platform. In the evenings after a day out in the Park, it was rewarding sitting there and watching the interaction of the various animals which came – many Elephant and surprisingly at the same time, Black Rhinos (see photos). While we were there one Elephant cheekily intentionally sprayed water over a Black Rhino.
We spent one day in the area around Halali – mainly going from one waterhole to another. At the Goas Waterhole we had an interesting time watching the elephants and many different birds coming in to drink. It was here that we fleetingly saw an interesting bird which we could not identify at the time – see if you can – check the few photos I did manage to get.
More Photos taken around Halali:
The second full day that we had at Halali was spent Larking About just north of Okaukuejo. This was our challenge in Etosha – to test our skills at identifying as many Larks as we could and this was the best area to find them.
To make life simpler, we listed all the possible Larks we could find in the area (excluding summer visitors) and wrote down the key features for identifying each one. There were 9 possibles in all and only one of these with a long decurved bill. This certainly helped and we were reasonably confident with our ID in most instances.
It was on this road out to Okondeka that we saw a number of other interesting birds – Double-banded Courser, Northern Black and Red-crested Korhaans and Ludwig’s Bustards.
Another highlight towards the end of this road near Okondeka was a pride of about 20 lionesses all lying down tightly together. They were being followed by a film crew who were waiting patiently for them to do something! They were set in for a long wait.
Five dusty days in the cold of Etosha were enough. We set off for Erongo and Brandberg on the way down to Swakopmund.
Part 3 to follow. Erongo Mountains and Brandberg.