Northwards … Etosha here we come!

I eased into consciousness, snuggled warmly under the duvet. The events of the previous day all but forgotten. Today, we could start on our holiday.

Now, we would never recommend anyone to visit Namibia for 1 week. It is just too short to see very much, the distances are far and the driving can be monotonous. So, we threw our own advice clean out the window and visited for only a week.*

Winter African mornings are chilly. I was grateful that my winter clothes had arrived the night before as I put them into use immediately. A hearty breakfast served beside a roaring fire (stoked and brought to life by the Viking) put us instantly into holiday mode. We were off to Etosha!

The roads were quiet as we set off for Etosha. I remembered this long, straight, tarred road well. The roads were as mesemerising and hypnotic as before. Travelling northwards, we faced directly into the low Winter sun The day warmed up and the winter layers were shed in favour of summer tops. There are few places I have travelled where I need thermals and winter layers in the evenings, and summer clothes by lunchtime!

Our entrance to the park lay almost 6 hours drive from Windhoek – Galton Gate of Etosha. On the way, we stoppedĀ  briefly in Otjiwarongo to pick up venison meat for dinners, droe wors and biltong (South African dried meat specialities) and a fleece blanket for me (I was still concerned about keeping warm at night). Onwards we continued, passing by the farm of our cheetah experience two years previously, and the campsite Oppikoppi in Kamanjab. We would have loved to stop at both, but time was running out to reach our campsite for the night, 60km inside the park.**

Ahhh – the smell of the bush. There is something about the aroma of animal mingled with dust, dung mixed with grasses. The dry, dry air carried the tentalising smells. There was almost no-one at the gate, and in spite of that, we still had to visit 3 offices to pay all our permits! Anyway, it gave us a chance for a leg stretch before the last drive of the day to our campsite – 60km and 2 hours away.

The park did not disappoint. We left the tarred road at the gate and started rattling along the corrugated gravel roads. Not a very well used part of the park, and the quality of roads bore testament. Our eyes were pealed. We stopped along the way at the various waterholes – some natural and some manmade – to see what animals were coming down to drink at the end of a hot day.

As the sun was setting, we finally reached the the campsite, sneaking in just as the gates closed for the night.

Finally, we were back in the bush. Animals and birds had welcomed us already and we were excited about the days that lay ahead.

* I do still firmly believe that 1 week is not enough time to visit Namibia. Especially if it is the first timevisiting the country. Because we had spent 5 weeks back in 2013, we reluctantly returned for a short week, rationing our precious annual leave. Next time, though, we will make it 2 weeks.

** I don’t like travelling this quickly, being pushed for time.

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