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Spring Bok


ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK    One of the earliest explorers in the area, an American trader named G. McKeirnan, said in 1876, "All the menageries in the world turned lose would not compare to the sight I saw that day."  He was right. 

Visitors were required to stay in cars.  A walk in the grass to answer the call of nature could bring you face to face with the call of the wild.

Much to my delight, the animals of Etosha were so used to cars that they lingered by the roadside without fear.  We saw a giraffe soon after entering the park.  Sitings started out slowly with a couple of black hartebeest, a few spring boks, and a jackal.  Then, suddenly, there were zebras in the road.  Dozens of them!  And, not far away there were hundreds of spring boks.  Soon, we had traffic jams with zebra, guinea fowl, and black-faced impala.  I was so pleased with the success of the drive.  But, although I saw the remains of a zebra killed, I still had yet to see a lion in the African wilds.

We spent the entire day in the car, but it didn't feel that way.  We saw almost everything there was to see including red hartebeest, kudu, impala, black-faced tortoises, monitor lizard, jackals, dik-dik, spring bok, zebra, cheetah, black hartebeest, giraffe, wart hog, and - yes, finally - lions. 

We were lucky to see three cheetah in the distance since they were as hard to find as the rhinos (which we never did see).  Fortunately for Etosha, there had been a lot of rain.  But, unfortunately for the tourists, it meant animals had water holes all over the place so they could stay away from the holes near the tourist facilities.

The last find of the day was the lions, which the park officials told us we would never find.  There were two resting in grass along the roadside.  The grass was just a foot tall but they were really hidden.  No wonder Chris wouldn't let me out of the car!  And just behind them was a rainbow.  It couldn't have been more perfect.
Copyright 2000 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.