On the road south of Epupa Falls we met an unfortunate fellow traveler. Dutch Richard had been stuck at the side of the road for three days already after one of the wheels of his van had sheered off. We gave him some food for breakfast and our sympathy until the local mechanic from Opuwo came back with a mobile generator and a large angle grinder to try to free the stuck wheel studs. We don’t know exactly what happened from there on but by concidence we met the mechanic later again in Etosha National Park and he claimed the van had burned down!?
Opuwo itself turned out to be a dusty frontier town with an eclectic mix of tribes people going about their business. A rough track led us west and deeper into Kaokoland and we spent the night in total isolation between low scrubs. We turned into the dry river bed of the Hoarusib River and followed it for a whole day in search of the few residential desert adapted elephants. In between huge rocks, over stony patches and through deep sand the Land Cruiser crawled along until we eventually spotted a group of 5 animals munching on trees and drinking from the few remaining puddles of water.
In the rocky Palmwag Concession further south we tried our luck at some game spotting again and stumbled upon two beautiful aardwolfs fleeing in the afternoon light. These termite eating animals are actually belonging to the hyenas and are nocturnal and therefore rarely seen. Zebras, springboks, oryx, giraffes, jackals and some spotted hyenas with cubs also showed their faces and we could hear lions roaring around our camping spot at a dry river bed throughout the night.
After a pit stop at Oppi Koppi we wanted to visit Etosha National Park one last time and explore the recently opened western part of the park. We stayed at a campsite just outside the gate and in the middle of the night a lion jumped from a rock right next to the car. In Etosha we saw plenty of animals of all kinds again and this time were even spoilt with lion sightings totalling 23 over the course of three days. Other highlights included a male lion chewing on a zebra kill, a jackal trying to sneak closer and closer to get a bite as well, another jackal devouring a bird, hundreds of zebras, large groups of elephants numbering over 50 animals congregating at waterholes, 4 black rhinos, many dikdiks which are the smallest of the antelopes and incredibly cute and a large group of ostriches drinking at a water hole with their snake-like necks.