Southern Africa - Namibia - Huab Area and Etosha National Park
August 12 to 19, 2012

Southern Africa Map

Huab Area - August 12-15, 2012

Sunday - August 12, 2012

Arrive at Huab airfied at 11:15 AM.

Huab - Second Plane Landing
Huab - Second Plane Landing.

Huab is situated between Khorixas and Kamanjab in the Damaraland region of Namibia. Greeted by lodge builders (built in 1993) and owners, Jan and Susie. Birded from a safari vehicle on the way to lodge's reception area where a welcome drink of refreshing orange juice awaited us.

Huab Safari Vehicle
Safari vehicle

Huab Reception Building and Lodges
Huab Lodge reception building Huab Lodges

Huab Dining Area and Meal Time
Huab DiningArea Huab Meal Time

Birded from reception/dining area viewpoints. Lunch at 12:30 PM. Break until 3:00 PM to unpack and relax in our bungalow.

Our room at the Huab Lodge
Our room at the Huab Lodge Our room at the Huab Lodge
Our room at the Huab Lodge Our room at the Huab Lodge

Boarded the open safari vehicle (8 passenger with tiered seating) for afternoon birding in the dry Huab River bed and the Huab Valley, followed by a "Sun downer" to greet the sunset, Returned to the main lodge at 6:00 PM with time to refresh before doing birds at 7:00 PM and dinner at 7:30 PM. We were treated to an oral rendition of the nightly menu in two languages. The first, the Nama-Damara language which is conspicuous for its 5 clicking sounds produced with the help of the tongue and palate and was spoken by several of the Damara ladies who prepared our tastey meals. This was followed by the menu repeated in English. Wine was served with dinner each evening we were there. Bed at 10:00 PM.

Monday - August 12, 2012

Up at 5:30 AM. Coffee and biscuits at 6:00 AM. Leave for early morning birding at 6:30 AM (while temperatures were low). Full breakfast at 9:00 AM followed by more birding from 10:00 AM until lunch at 12:30 PM. Siesta until 3:00 PM. Four of us plus guides went on the afternoon outing to look for birds and Mountain Zebra. Followed by "Sun downer" libations to watch the sun set. Around 6:00 PM we went to look for a flock of Double-banded Sandgrouse as they started to arrive at their favorite watering spot. The Sandgrouse soak up water into the downy feathers on their breast to take back to their chicks. Went over the birds we saw at 6:35 PM with dinner at 7:00 PM and bed at 10 PM. Bungalows are located within walking distance of the lodge. Flashlights were provided to us each evening, and we returned them the next day. The cozy duvets and hot water bottles made the cool evenings comfortable.

Tuesday - August 14, 2012

Up a 5:30 AM. Coffee and biscuits at 6:00 AM. Leave for early morning birding at 6:30 AM. along the dry Huab River bed. Got out of vehicle to walk along the river's bank. Returned to lodge for full breakfast at 9:00 AM. Hike near pool and spa area from 9:30 until 10:30 AM. Continue morning birding by safari vehicle until lunch at 12:30 PM. Siesta until 3:00 PM. Bird from 3:30 PM until "Sun downer" and return to lodge by 6:00 PM. Birds at 6:30 PM followed by dinner at 7:00 and bed at 9:30 PM.

Wednesday - August 15, 2012

Up a 5:30 AM. Coffee and biscuits at 6:00 AM. Start birding at 6:10. Hike around pool area and rocky areas past some of the bungalows to look for the Rock Runner. Breakfast at 8:00 AM, followed by packing and getting ready for a 9:25 AM departure for Etosha National Park. This wildlife sanctuary is located in the vast arid space of Northwestern Namibia (approximately 220 Km away). Our mode of transportation was a covered, open safari vehicle. Very cold during the initial part of the drive..felt like 45 degrees. Being able to stop and bird while driving made this journey enjoyable. By 12:15 PM (half way there) we stopped for a picnic lunch and more birding between 1:00-2:00 PM.

Etosha National Park - August 15-19, 2012

Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park.

Wednesday - August 15, 2012

Enter the Anderson Gate to Etosha National Park around 3:00 PM.

Etosha - Anderson Gate
Etosha - Anderson Gate.

The Anderson Gate entrance to Etosha is located pretty much in the middle of the park, on the southern boundary close to the Okaukuejo Camp, our destination for the night. Okaukuejo is drier than the eastern parts of the park. Most of the area is covered with acacia scrub. Arid shortgrass plains border the Etosha pan,a large endorheic (closed drainage basin) salt pan, forming part of the Kalahari Basin in the north of Namibia. Since we were there during the dry season, the 75-mile-long lake bed consisted of mostly dry mud coated with salt. Birded along the way to Okaukuejo Camp (Etosha).

Okaukuejo Camp - Entrance
Okaukuejo - Entrance

Our room at the Okaukuejo Camp
Our room at Okaukuejo Our room at Okaukuejo

Dinner at 6:00 PM. After dinner bird the permanent waterhole at Okaukuejo until 8:30 PM. It was wonderful to be so close to the elephants and rhinos that came in to socialize and/or drink. The floodlights at the waterhole gave the entire scene an eerie/surreal feeling.

Okaukuejo Water Hole

Bed by 10:00 PM.

Thurday - August 16, 2012

Up at 5:30 AM. Meet for early morning hike around Okaukuejo Waterhole area at 6:00 AM. Hike until breakfast at 7:00 AM. After breakfast bird around the Okaukuejo Camp and waterhole. Drive from Okaukuejo Camp to Okondeka Waterhole. Had a picnic lunch in our vehicle from 1:30 until 2:00 PM. Drive back to Okaukuejo Camp for a pit stop and then head to Kapupuhedi Waterhole, followed by Homob Artesian Well, Homob Waterhole, Riefontein Pan, and, finally, arriving at Halali Camp (Etosha) around 5:30 PM.

Halali Camp - Entrance
Halali - Entrance

Our room at the Halali Camp
Our room at Halali Our room at Halali

Bird list at 6:15 followed by dinner (and enjoyed the Eland) at 7:15 and bed at 9 PM. This was a very busy and exciting day with a lot of birding and big game sightings.

Friday - August 17, 2012

Up at 5:00 AM. Bird around Halali Camp followed by breakfast at 7:00 AM. Additional birding at the camp until departure at 9:00 AM. Our goal today is to drive to Naumatoni Camp (Etosha) via Etosha Lookoutt, Nuamses, and Goas. 3,000 sq. meters from the center of the Etosha Pan is Etosha Lookout. (Etosha National Park has an area of 8,600 sq. miles.)

Etoshia Lookout - Joanne & Brad
Etoshia Lookout - Joanne & Brad

The lookout was a stark, barren desert, comprised of grassveld and mopane treeveld. Saw a large herd of elephants heading away from Nuamses Waterhole. Our next stop was the waterhole at Goas around 11:30 AM. Picnic lunch in vehicle. The pride of lions that we saw lounging around here consisted of three young males and two females. Left Goas around 1:00 PM and drove to Naumatoni Camp arriving around 3:45 PM.

Etosha - Namutoni
Etoshia - Namutoni

Quickly got settled into our room before leaving again at 4:15 for some additional birding along Dik-Dik Drive.

Our room at Namutoni Camp
Our room at Namutoni Our room at Namutoni

Bird list at 6:15 PM and dinner at 7:00 PM. Bed at 8:30 PM. Due to a broken waterpipe, we were without water from 6:00 PM until 4 AM. Noticed problems with both cameras and Brad's zoom lens (due to dust..sandy grit).

Saturday - August 18, 2012

Up at 5:35 AM. Following a light breakfast,

Early Breakfast
Joanne - Namutoni - Early Breakfast

leave for birding at 6:22 AM. Bird around Naumatoni, then drive along Dik-Dik Drive. Bird the waterhole at Klein Okevi. Return to Naumatoni Camp for a full breakfast at 8:00 AM. Leave at 8:45 for more birding at Klein Okevi Waterhole until 10:07. Return to Naumatoni Camp until 11:00 AM for a rest stop. Brad and I birded around camp. Leave at 11:00 AM for Klein Okevi Waterhole followed by the waterhole at Groot Okevi. Tsumcor Waterhole was our next birding stop. Had our picnic lunch here. Around 1:20 AM leave this waterhole and drive along the main road that eventually ends up in Angola (north to Andoni). Return via Stinkwater Road birding along the way. Head back to Naumatoni at 3:35 and arrived at 4:00 PM. Didn't go on sundowner. Just took a nice, hot, outdoor shower and relaxed (good thing I did since the water went off at 8:00 PM and didn't come back on until 3:00 AM). Review bird list at 6:30 PM followed by dinner until 8:00 PM. Enjoyed a meal of well-prepared Orex. Bed at 9:00 PM.

Sunday - August 19, 2012

Up at 4:50 AM with breakfast at 5:30 AM. Drive to the airstrip at Mokuti Lodge for a 7:00 AM flight.

Mokuti Airstrip
Mokuti Airstrip

Fly to Rundu, Namibia, land at 8:35 AM, refuel, and then take off on the second leg of our flight at 9:15 AM. Land in Bagani (Namibia) located in the Caprivi Strip at 10:15 AM. Board a safari vehicle and drive through the majestic baobab woodland and floodplains of the Mahangu Game Reserve. Antelope, Lion, Cape Buffalo, and plenty of different bird species were there to greet us! Lunch from 12:30-1:30 PM at a marshy area in the game reserve. We squeezed in eating in between photographing a variety of different bird species. Cross into Botswana via the Muhembo Border Post around 15:10 PM.