What’s a trip to Namibia without a safari? As amazing as Namibia’s other attractions are, its safaris are really the big draw for most travellers. Our camp was situated in the heart of Etosha National Park, which made it an exceptional spot for game drives.
This area of Etosha National Park was especially perfect for spotting wildlife. This is because the region only gets about 100mm of rain annually, so there’s sparse grass cover. In other words, there aren’t too many areas for the big animals to hide! On the first day when we headed out in the truck, it wasn’t long before we spotted some lovely zebras:
We spent a lot of time parked near watering holes, which often bring numerous animals into view. Such as this herd of springbok. Springbok are characterized by a brown upper body, white underbelly and a dark stripe on their side separating the two. Springboks are one of the most common antelopes in Namibia. During mating season, they engage in a stiff-legged jumping motion called pronking, which also has an added bonus of scaring off predators.
And of course, we saw plenty of these beauties. Giraffes are the tallest animal in the world, and even though their necks are so long, they only have 7 neck bones, the same as us! The typical male giraffe can be 18 feet tall, while the females can grow to about 14 feet.
There’s one big drawback to having such long legs, even with the long neck to match. Their necks aren’t quite long enough to bend down to drink water. So they rather ungracefully have to spread their front legs so their heads can reach the water:
There was also a tense moment when a hyena entered the watering hole area, prowling around and pacing back and forth acting shifty. All the other animals tensed up, and we thought for certain we were going to witness a Wild Kingdom-esque fight to the death. As an avid animal-lover, I can easily say that hyenas are not very nice looking beasts:
We watched in silence as the hyena circled the watering hole and its visitors, eyeing the scene carefully. The giraffes watched him in return just as warily. Eventually, the hyena skulked forward toward the watering hole. The giraffes kicked up a bit of dust as they started to fidget nervously.
For a moment it seemed there was a stand-off, and we held our collective breaths in anticipation. “Well, run, you stupid giraffes,” I thought to myself. Slowly, the hyena slid closer to the edge of the watering hole. And a little closer still. The giraffes stood, unmoving, but never took their eyes off of the hyena. Once he reached the edge, he dipped his head down and started to drink.
We all breathed a sigh of relief as the display unfolded peacefully and without incident. The giraffes and hyena accepted each others’ company, if only for one night.