Namibia – Many Firsts
We have been in Namibia for only a few weeks, but have seen and taken part in so many incredible things. Sometimes it is hard for me to comprehend where we are living. Then, while sitting around the fire at night, we’ll hear a Lion or Hyena, somewhere out across the desert, and I remember where we are, half way round the world on another continent, under an unfamiliar night sky. Here in Namibia each day we meet inspiring people, who are so supportive of us, and what we are doing here, in their country. We are experiencing wild and exciting things every day, experiences hard to find words to describe. Its simple differences that make up the lifestyle we are lucky enough to share for the next few months. Things like cooking over a fire each night, listening to Jackals under a sky full of so many stars, playing broom ball with the Game Guards, soccer with the children in Bersig, or hiding from the sun in the shade of an Ana tree. A typical morning in Wereldsend starts with every one pushing the car so it will start, and then us driving into the mountains of Torra to search for the Black Rhino, or set a camera trap, or practice for a game drive.
One of my favorite nights so far was when we all piled into the back of the pickup and drove out of camp at sundown to see what kind of wild life comes out at night. We scanned the terrain on each side of the truck with our flashlights, watching for eyes reflecting back the light. We saw our first Hyenas, Jackals, and an African Wild Cat. As we drove the road got smaller and bumpier, and when it eventually came to an end we kept driving up the river bed in search of more animals. That was a night I will not forget, the cool night air, the wind on our faces, and that night sky.
I originally thought it would be easy to fit a week into words, however this time there is too much to say. So I would like to tell you about the time we set out to find the desert Elephants. Our Elephant quest started in the village of Bersig Pos at the communal well where the sand had been trampled by a herd of Elephants who had come to drink in the night. We learned to look at the tracks and determine, by how intact the mosaic of ridges left by the wrinkles in the Elephants feet where, how long ago the Elephants had been there. Their tracks led us into a Mopane filled riverbed. We drove from village to village asking if anyone had seen the Elephants. Ostriches pranced beside the car and goats browsed on the shrubs and trees as we passed. The road took us up into the mountains of Torra, a landscape of red rocks and green Euphorbia damaranas bushes. Little herds of Springbok, Zebras, and Oryx where scattered on the hillsides. We never found that herd of Elephants but several hours later after driving through the mountains on little bumpy roads we dropped into the sandy Huab River bed and found ourselves following really fresh tracks made by two male Elephants. We found them a short distance up the river bed and sat in the shade of a Camelthorn tree watching them pull branches down with their trunks. It was so cool to find these Elephants in this vast landscape, so you can only imagine what it was like to come around a corner to see a herd of twenty one Elephants of all sizes. From “The Boss,” a huge bull, to small calves that couldn’t have been much older than six months. That night we made camp in a sandy river bed. We set our tents in the shade of the Mopane trees, made a fire, cooked dinner, and fell asleep to the sounds of Barking Geckos, Crickets, and jackals, under a sky like you would not believe.
Contributed by Wyatt Mayo