Friday, September 5, 2014

Onguma Game Reserve - Namibia

I had to travel to a game resort, Onguma next to Etosha in Namibia, and for those who do not know, Google it, but believe me, it is very very far. I am to work there for a month or more. It belongs to the family of a friend. 

A friend organised someone to drive with me to Windhoek, which normally is a 18 hour drive, that is 9 hours a day over 2 days. This was at the last minute, so I was already mentally prepared to go alone.  She researched this man thoroughly, because she heard of him via other people.  He was here for his mother's funeral and have not booked his flight back yet. So when I picked him up in Paarl 4 o'clock on Saturday morning, and he had this long silver pony tail, I was a bit apprehensive.  But I prepared for the trip with lots of music and audiobooks  so I would not have to listen to some one talking nonsense.  My goodness. We immediately started talking. And did this non stop for 14 hours. (we took turns to drive and drove straight through to Windhoek in record time) The next two days my voice was nearly gone and I sounded like a smoker...) He is a landscape ecologist from Swakopmund, and very interesting, did his doctorate in Germany and travelled a lot , also with his family. 

I therefor had an extra day in Windhoek. And what do I see? In the shop @HOME, my first photo. The @HOME chain bought a few of my photographs in South Africa but I have not seen it in the shops yet. I hope there are still some for me to see in South Africa when I get back!

So that was a pleasant surprise. And on Wednesday Orms online Art gallery let me know a client wants to buy 3 of my photographs. 

So when I got to Onguma, I could see the people here does not know what to make of me. What are we supposed to do with her and how do we treat her, like staff or a visitor?  My friend being a man of few words, only gave them the minimum info. But I am staying in Aoba lodge for the first 3 weeks, then move to The Fort, the very very smart  lodge where I am meant to be working the whole time, entertaining and chatting to the people.  The manager of the Aoba lodge, Nelson, has bent backwards to make me feel welcome, and help me with everything. He is a very funny man and the guests love him.  The first day he had a whole lot of lights put up along the path I have to walk to get to my room. I sleep in the tour guide's room, so it seems that if the local "resident" leopard got hold of a tour guide, it did not matter too much... I will tell this leopard that I am a tough old bird and not worth eating...  It is a wonderful place this, and I know I am going to leave here very reluctantly. 

Last night some of the managers that I haven't met yet came to have a drink with me, and tonight we are all having a braai. 

I started my first night chatting to the guests, and got invited to eat with a Swiss couple and their son. Now this is where I do not know where to draw the line. Nelson told me to eat in the dining room, at least in the beginning, although I think I should be eating staff food. Now a staff member cannot do this! But I did. I know I am good with people, and find it easy to talk to the people. Of course it is 90 % Germans and Swiss. They all think that this place is heaven!

Yesterday morning I went on an outride with some guests, and we went to Etosha. It is my first time in Etosha, and we saw a lot of different animals. Also a lion with 2 lame back legs. Poor thing can not walk really anymore, so he will not last long. The pride allows him to eat after a kill, but he will not be able to reach it anymore! Apparently there are more of these lions and they have not been able to establish what is wrong with them. 

Also saw a 4 week old elephant and his family
and in Onguma 2 caracals or rooikatte right next to the road. 

A beautiful fully grown Kudu male.

Oryx (or Gemsbok in Afrikaans).

Two black backed jackals together with giraffe and oryx. 

Such an ungainly animal, and of course this is a very dangerous time for them, because they are slow to get up and the lions know it. So he took a long time before going down, looking around very thoroughly.

I loved the reflection in the water. Some impalas.

My favourite bird, the troupant or lilac breasted roller.

I will definitely post some more, and try to put some photographs of the lodges.