Sunday, February 22, 2009

Safari in Namibia

Right now I am actually in Cape Town, South Africa, but I hadn't really had time to post about Namibia until now.  I am also using free internet in a coffee shop, which is awesome so that I don't have to use my internet time on the ship.  

But anyway, Namibia.... we landed in Walvis Bay one morning, and after a diplomatic briefing, we got a singing welcome from a girls choir from the capital, Windhoek.  They sang traditional songs as well as some in English and they were adorable.  I didn't have a ton of time to watch them because I was going on an independent safari with about 120 other people from Semester at Sea.  We had to get going quickly to get up to Etosha Park for our safari run through a company called Wild Dog Safari.

This is a picture of Jill and I on the bus ride there.  Our group had about 8 buses but each bus was on its own during the drive and actual safari.  We thought it would be 4 hours, but it was actually 8, so definitely a long long day of driving.  We finally got to our camp in Etosha around 9 pm and it was dark and raining and we had to set up tents.  Jill and me and our friend Chrissy shared a tent and evidently we pitched it well, because we stayed dry all night.  Our guides, Elias and Matthew, cooked us an excellent dinner of pasta with a vegetable sauce.  

The next morning we got up very early to go game driving all day.  We were literally in those buses (which were comfortable and spacious) for three days, but it was a great time.  Basically we would just wander around and whenever we would see animals, they would stop the bus and we would take a ton of pictures.  My bus was very lively and we definitely sang the entire Lion King soundtrack at least four times that trip.  We were subsequently obsessed with lone trees, like the one pictured below, which reminded us of Rafiki's baobab tree in the Lion King.  

Below are black-faced impala.  We saw a lot of these guys, as well as the similar-looking springboks, all day.  The two guys in the middle are fighting.  

We saw giraffes several times throughout the day.  This was actually the last one we saw, but it was the closest.  He is actually walking right now, which looks really cool, and actually surprisingly graceful.  Giraffes were probably my favorite animal that we saw.

We also saw a lot of zebra.  Here is a mom and a baby, and there were about 5 others with them too.  A few times they were very close to our bus.  

Finally, the ostrich (which I did try some of while here in South Africa).  This is a female, because she is brown.  These are not pretty animals and they just look really weird.  

Not pictured are springboks, wildabeasts, warthogs, and oryx.  We also lions at two different times from really far away.  They just look like a dark blob on my camera, so I didn't post them, but they were still really cool.  That night after game driving we also stayed in the camp and had a traditional Namibian meal of "mealie pap" which is basically like grits, but more dry with a sauce and grilled out meats and such.  It was delicious.  

The next day we had the long drive back to get on the ship.  Toward the end my bus got out and ran up a sand dune to take a picture.  Walking up a sand dune is a lot tougher than it looks.  Namibia actually has the world's tallest sand dunes, which one of my friends climbed and took 2 hours to get to the top.  Namibia was really fun, and then we only had one day on the ship until getting to South Africa.  I actually leave here in a few hours and I will try and post about it in the next few days.  

No comments: