Kind of a random order post.
I remember when I was very young there was a cartoon on TV or maybe in print that featured a Gnu that was very dim and the brunt of the other animal’s jokes. The Gnu is actually a Wildebeest. The funny thing is how small they are. About the size of a pony, maybe a little bigger. Here’s one, at Etosha
We’re headed here, the entry to one of the world’s great parks, the Namutomi Gate at Etosha Park
Etosha Park in northern Namibia. It surrounds this vast pan, 4760 square kilometres
The edge of the pan looks like this
It’s one of the largest features in southern Africa
Here’s the route from Windhoek, about 600 K’s.
And here’s how we set off, 2 days to the park. Orange, for the first time
Long, mostly straight, hot as hell
Overnight in Otjiwarongo
This looks like an African picture, I thought at the time
And into the Park
Gazelles all over the place at the lodge
The walk to my door
And packs of Mongoose everywhere. They hang out in groups of a dozen or so. They have a really weird walk/trot. The body is frozen horizontally and the little legs do this mechanical scurry underneath
The next day we’re into the park early. Motorcycles not allowed, obviously, as there are lions, leopards and cheetahs to eat you, Canadians first, because we’re the best looking, if you slow down or get off.
That’s why the park is famous. Africa’s wildlife is well represented here, with the exception of hippos and croc’s, because there’s no water outside of the waterholes.
Trivia: one of the world’s largest aquifers was discovered near here. A underground lake, 300 meters below the surface, 45 miles by 25 miles in size, under the driest country in Africa! An article I read said if tapped into, it could last Namibia 400 years. That’s lucky
There have been springbok everywhere we’ve been. They’re the common theme so far
They cool off a bit in the infrequent shade
OK, a few birds first:
This beautiful animal is the Southern Pale Chanting Goshawk
And this completely crazy animal is the secretary bird, the most desirable thing to see for the birder crowd. Famous as a snake hunter. I saw 2 of them. It’s quite large, about 20″ tall. It struts powerfully, with authority, and appears very focused
Secretary bird behaviour, from Wiki
Prey is often flushed out of tall grass by the birds stomping on the surrounding vegetation. It also waits near fires, eating anything it can that is trying to escape. They can either catch prey by chasing it and striking with the bill and swallowing (usually with small prey), or stamping on prey until it is rendered stunned or unconscious enough to swallow. Larger or dangerous prey, such as venomous snakes, are instead stunned or killed by the bird jumping onto their backs, at which point they will try to snap their necks or backs
Here’s a yellow billed hornbill
Really strange looking in flight. It eats insects and finds them by turning over leaves and rocks on the ground
This is the Black Northern Korhaan
Its claim to fame is being really noisy
Here’s a huge white rhino
It would be safer without the horn. Poaching is huge here. Rather than say controversial stuff on my blog, here’s a good, if shocking, analysis of the situation in The Namibian, the paper I’ve linked to before here
Off to find giraffes, tomorrow’s post