We went back to Etosha this weekend. Mark and I had been on call one weekend each and we were very keen to get out of Khorixas!! Siew Wee and Celia went with us (Siew Wee is the Singaporean pharmacist who lives with us, and Celia is a physio from Bristol who works in Grootfontein. Grootfontein isn’t very close to here, about 3 hours if you have a car, but Celia hiked (hitched lifts, for which you pay by the kilometre) and met us in Outjo.
We tried to leave work promptly at 5, but is somehow just didn’t happen. The Gates of Etosha close at sundown (7 pm) so we camped at a lodge about 9 km from the park gates. We got up at 6 (yes, 6 on a Saturday) and drove. We saw thousands of springbok, oryx and zebras. A lot of them. A lot. And wildebeest, quite a few of them. Celia and Siew Wee were really keen to see something else, but Mark and I were just amazed by these prolific animals. They were just loving it; the grass, the water.
It’s not the best time of year to see game, because it’s rained so much. Etosha pan is usually an enormous flat bed of sandy whiteness. But we saw it full of water, stretching away. About 100 km by 40 km. Immense, shallow. In 6 months (or less?) it’ll be dry again.
Later in the afternoon we did see some giraffe, but the whole scene was quite beautiful. We spent the night in another campsite (fantastic hot showers, better than home). And Braii both nights (It means barbeque, but you can cook anything: we had a veggy stew and roast potatoes (or roast sweet potatoes)).
On Sunday (again getting up at 6) we explored north. We’ve decided all this driving is not the way to go. You just find a waterhole you like and sit there for a while…. Like 10 minutes… and the elephant just walks up to you! And drinks. And blows bubbles with it’s trunk. It was by itself, really quiet, and really cool.
There was also this amazing bird, a purple breasted roller. And eagles. And busterds. (Pics soon.)
Etosha is a weird place in a way. It’s so expensive, and the tourists are mostly white, the staff mostly these grinning black people. It’s beautiful, but completely artificial in a way. (I mean, the animals are wild enough, but still contained)
So we came back, and Monday morning waking at 6 am, (the joy of going back to sleep and sleeping in till 7!) going into work. Oh what a change! CD4 counts, difficult patients, patients who won’t talk to you, patients who talk too much, patients who just don’t get it: (when your CD4 count is 50 (normal >500) and haemoglobin is 3 (!) (Normal 12) you’ve something more to worry about than constipation- or potency, for that matter)