We had an early breakfast before packing the luggage into the trailer and checking our the Okaukeujo waterhole one last time where a pair of Tawny Eagles were new for the trip. This was a great day in Etosha beginning with a Red-crested Korhaan crossing the road in front of us as we drove to the entrance gate to pick up our safari vehicle, where another Secretarybird was seen.
This converted truck offers all-round viewing from an elevated position and is perfect for a safari – and off we set. In all today we had five different encounters with Lions today, including this cracking young male.
On the opposite side of the road a non-breeding plumaged Caspian Plover was a really good bird to see and we spent quite some time watching it.
|A distant Caspian Plover|
Further on, we called in a stunning Rufous-eared Warbler before coming across three Spotted Hyenas that were hiding in a culvert under the track.
|Spotted Hyena by Tom Bray|
They had obviously just been feeding on something as they had blood around their muzzles and kept trying to return to their hiding place, coming very close to our vehicle. Then a Black Rhino was seen, followed by Rufous-chested Swallow, a group of White-crested Helmet-Shrikes and a pride of Lions at a waterhole.
We kept criss-crossing the flat, stark Etosha landscape and found several pairs of Burchell’s Coursers including some recently fledged young before reaching yet another waterhole. This one was crowded with a variety of animals including a group of African Elephants, Blue WIldebeast, Burchell’s Zebra, Black-faced Impala and Springbok. The interesting thing about this spot was a Lioness was hunkered down behind a fallen tree waiting in ambush but she never had any prey close enough to pounce on.
Meanwhile two young male Lions were sleeping in the shade of some bushes a little further away! A Lanner was also present here along with an African Jacana. As we headed to Halali in a gale and sandstorm a pair of Bat-eared Foxes were seen running alongside the road – a really good quality mammal.
At Halali we had lunch, saw a day roosting African Scops Owl and best of all a few Bare-cheeked Babblers.
Moving on, there was Purple Roller, Bateleur, and another Lioness with a small cub.
The undoubted highlight was a family of 3 Cheetahs walking across a vast, open plain and this sighting came totally out of the blue – a great 18th birthday present for Tom.
|Cheetahs - wow!|