Night Viewing At Moringa Waterhole in Etosha National Park
Africa is all about the animals. The people are amazing, the scenery is incredible but its the animals that blow your mind.
Coming from Australia where our largest native animal is a Kangaroo, it didn't matter how many times I saw Giraffe's or Hippo's or Elephants – it was always exciting. What we didn't often get however was a great night view. Well there was that time in Serengeti when an pride of lions walked past my tiny tent…. Anyway I digress…
I had done a couple of night safari's in South Africa and while they were fun, I had never managed to see any animals at all. The Moringa watering hole at Halali Campground in Etosha National Park however turned out to be in a league all of its own.
Cook duty strikes again!
So as expected, I was on cook duty this evening (I always seemed to get cook duty when something good was on!), so after getting into camp late, cooking, cleaning up and packing away, I finally got to the water hole about 9:30pm.
A quick sprint to the little shop asap we arrived at the came ensured that I had managed to secure a bottle of Amarula, so I headed up there with my bottle ready to sit in for an hour or so. I passed heaps of people coming back and they were making comments that everything had left but I really wanted to wind down for an hour or so and was in my warmest clothes, so African Baileys in hand I kept going.
There wasn't much going on for around 40 minutes I guess and there was really only around 10 people left. Just when we thought we might have missed it all, a family of hyena's slunk in. I say slunk in because that's exactly what they did. No-one is talking because of course you don't want to scare off the animals, but there is the odd whisper going to and fro and then the man next to me nudges me and points over the far side of the pond and I swear I was looking for a full minute before I saw them. There must have been 15 Hyena's and they had just snuck up and started drinking without anyone seeing them.
Those Hyenas seemed to break the spell. From that point on there were Elephant herds, Zebra's, a few different types of Antelopes and even Rhino's! One Rhino in particular was so funny. He forgot how he got onto the island and kept putting his feet in going “Oh No that's too deep” and did the entire circumference of the island before finding the shallow spot to get out.
The elephants seemed to always come in a certain order. The biggest bull would saunter in, have a drink, look around and then somehow silently signal to the balance of the herd. They would all then trot in and as a group drink their fill. The Rhino's were singular to arrive and left as a pair (hmmmm) and the zebra's didn't seemed concerned about any kind of routine. They just came and went and milled around. I sat there for hours grinning like a tool and loving every second.
I finally went to bed about 1am which wasn't the smartest thing as if you are on Cook Group for dinner, you are also on for Breaky! But it was so worth it and despite the slight Amarula headache the next day, it remains one of the highlights of Namibia for me.