2017-07-16: Highlights of Little Ongava

 

The second stop on my recent trip to Southern Africa was at the beautiful Ongava Game Reserve adjacent to Etosha National Park.  Like at our first camp, here we also found a familiar face, as the camp manager we met on a previous trip to Namibia had moved over to this region, and was running the lodge during our stay.  We had a wonderful time catching up with Maggie; I am still amazed that we not only found familiar faces so far from home, but that people remembered us as well 🙂

Typically, we went into the national park to explore on our morning game drives, and the spent the afternoons on the private reserve. The Etosha region had also received higher than average rainfall, and was very lush and green during our stay. Right before we arrived, they had a day of heavy rain, and on our first game drive we ended up stuck in the mud on one of the roads on the Ongava Reserve.   After about 45 minutes, our awesome guide Willy managed to get the vehicle moving again.  We were all covered in splattered mud from head to toe, but laughing and smiling; its all part of the safari adventure.

We spent time with elephants and rhino, lions and wildebeest.  We saw zebra, oryx springbok and impala, and an abundance of birds.  The reserve had a lovely hide, but due to the rains in the region, water sources were abundant and the man-made dam near the lodge was not being frequently used during our stay (with the exception of the resident terrapins).  It was a beautiful region that I hope I have the opportunity to explore again in the future.

Here are a few images from my 3 nights in this beautiful area.

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A bull elephant on Ongava Game Reserve.  This big guy was attracting quite a crowd, as he is one of only four elephants on the reserve.  All the elephants ended up there after breaking in from neighbouring Etosha, and then deciding to stay.

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We saw many herds of zebra during our drives through Etosha.  

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This young wildebeest was part of a sizeable herd, but was unfortunately injured and hobbling around on a broken leg.  This one will definitely be the animal the lions size up as a potential meal, the next time the pride and the herd cross paths.

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We were fortunate to see both white and black rhino during our time in the Etosha area.  Such impressive creatures.

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One of the highlights driving through Etosha was coming across this group of brothers chilling out next to a waterhole.  They were very close to the road, giving lots of people a fantastic opportunity to see lions up close.  One of the brothers went into stalk mode, and crossed the road towards a group of springbok, but they had spotted him quickly so it was a no go for some springbok for breakfast.

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A rock hyrax seen near the dining area at Little Ongava.  This little one was calling out constantly and making quite a racket, but it took me a bit of time to spot it.  Apparently, this hyrax is always hanging around the camp.

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A pair of ostrich seen during a drive through Etosha National Park.

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A waterbuck on the Ongava Private Game Reserve.  Waterbuck are not a naturally occurring species in the area, but were introduced the the reserve around 10 years ago to see if they could cope with the terrain and climate.  The population there has been thriving.

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Our last morning in Ongava, we spent time on the reserve rather than in the park, as we had a fairly early flight to our next destination.  We were having a rather relaxed drive when another guest on the vehicle spotted a lion hidden in the grass in a thicket; we were able to drive closer and find the entire pride having a rest as the day heated up.

 

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