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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Namibia Trip - Okonjima and Etosha

My mom has settled in to her life in Namibia and the Peace Corps. A few weeks ago, my sister and I packed up our bags and made the (very) long trip to go see her for the holidays. For those that don't know, Namibia is in southern west coast of Africa. It's neighboring countries are South Africa, Botswana, and Angola. Namibia is roughly twice the size of the state of California and actually has a similar landscape. It's the second least populated country behind Mongolia and you can drive for long stretches without seeing other people. Namibia is not known for it's food (salty meat, millet, ketchup and mayonnaise on everything), but what they lack in culinary prowess, they more than make up for in beautiful landscapes and interesting wild life. Since my mom wasn't allowed to leave the country yet, we spent our time driving all over the country and seeing almost everything Namibia has to offer.

To break up the drive between Windhoek and Rundu, we spent one night at the Okonjima Lodge. Okonjima is the home of the Africat Foundation where injured or mislocated cheetahs and leopards are taken to be rehabilitated and reintroduced to the wild. We did a cheetah tracking mission which took us through their vast territory and we managed to get up close and personal with a cheetah that had just made a kill. It was beyond amazing to see.

Cheetah Tracking - Okonjima
The cheetahs and leopards are collared and tracked with devices that look like this.

Warthogs - Okonjima

Impalas - Okonjima
Before you see the cheetah, you see a lot of other wildlife like warthogs (which are everywhere in Namibia), various antelopes, and giraffes.

Cheetah - Okonjima

Cheetah - Okonjima
Score!

After Okonjima, we headed to Rundu a few days. Rundu is where my mom lives and works. There isn't much to do there and I got a cold so those couple of days were spent laying around trying to get better quick (which I did). From Rundu, we made our way to Etosha National Park. We spent one night at the gorgeous Namutoni Lodge and two nights at Okaukeujo. There is a ridiculous amount of wildlife in the park and we spent our days there driving through looking for animals. We saw everything from springboks (which are also all over Namibia) to lions, but sadly, the weather was too warm to see any elephants. We also had a fun (well, not so fun for my mom) moment when our 4x4 got stuck in the mud of the Etosha Pan. Thank goodness for German tourists who got us unstuck!

Zebras - Etosha
Zebras

Wildebeast - Etosha
Wildebeast

Ducks - Etosha
Ducks

Side-Striped Jackal - Etosha
Side-Striped Jackal

Springboks and Lions - Etosha
The ever present springboks. The blurs in the background are lions!

Giraffes - Etosha
Giraffes

White Rhino - Etosha
White Rhino

Sunset over the watering hole - Etosha
Sunset at the waterhole in Okuakuejo

After Etosha, we visited Swakopmund and the Namib Desert. Stay tuned to find out more about what we did in each of those places.

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19 comments:

marla said...

Esi, this post is one of my all time favorites on your blog. What a journey girl. Those photos of the animals are amazing!

Erica said...

oh my gorgeous! What an experience. I don't know which animal I would be most excited to see...but probably the Giraffes!

vanillasugarblog said...

ohhh finally!
did your mom freak when you guys got stuck? I think I would have too unless their was a guide with a gun then I'd be ok. LOL

Maria said...

Wow, what a fun trip!

susan said...

Esi - what an incredible, once in a lifetime trip. Love that your mom is giving her time and herself to such a wonderful adventure. Your photos are breath taking and I am sure this trip gave you time to think and ponder how you want to spend you life and how you want to spend your days honoring your passions. Thanks so much for sharing this with me...looking forward to seeing/reading more about your trip to Africa.

Esi said...

Thank you so much for the sweet words! It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and I'm thrilled to be able to share it with you.

Dawn, my mom avoided driving through any water for the rest of the trip!

Olga @ MangoTomato said...

my favorite photos are of zebras and giraffes! Thanks for sharing these with us.

I don't think I would have minded everything having mayo on it ;)

Eliza said...

What a stunning countryside!

Brooke said...

What an incredible journey. Beautiful vistas. I can't wait to read more!

Foodycat said...

How fantastic!

There should be some pretty good sausage in Namibia from the German colonial days!

aida mollenkamp said...

Looks like a great adventure!

Joanne said...

Oh my gosh, so beautiful! I am amazed that you saw all of this firsthand!

Kat said...

Amazing photos! and what a trip!

Nancy said...

Loved reading about your trip and seeing the photos. Definitely on my "bucket list" of places I want to visit!

Diana said...

So amazing! I'm so glad you posted this! Have been dying to see pictures! Must have felt like being in an issue of National Geographic!

The Duo Dishes said...

It's pretty awesome that you got to spend time with your mom and sister with these experiences. Your pics are perfect too! You summed up the majesty of wildlife.

Luray Caverns Bed and Breakfast said...

It will be incredible to see these animal from naked eye. I thinks your post will make people to go for safari travel.

Jen said...

this is totally lame, but I want to go to africa so i can see a giraffe. I know i can see them at a zoo but i think there's just something about seeing it up close & personal in it's habitat!! :) AWESOME.

Shannon said...

oh my gosh, how amazing! hope your mom is settling in well, and glad you were able to spend the holidays with her :)