At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Can you spot the cheetah?

Day two out on safari here at Etosha National Park. And, our second cheetah sighting! This one, we found all on our own.

We planned a shorter day out yesterday. We found that six hours sitting in the vehicle was too long, and unless you go to one of the fenced washrooms, you do not get out of your vehicle. We ended up doing the loop around Fisher's Pan, 57 kms (35 miles) in four and a half hours.

You have to plan well because outhouses are few and far between. So don't drink too much before heading out! And remember to have snacks and water in the cab of your vehicle and not in the box or the trunk.

You don't have to drive far outside the camp gate to see wildlife. In fact giraffes are really common as soon as you exit the gate. Sometimes you can even see them through the fence from the campground itself!

We bought a small book at the camp store N$37.50 ($4.05) that shows a lot of the animals and birds. That way we can try and identify them for you. Still, we have found a couple that we weren't sure about. So when we label a picture, be sure and tell us if we're wrong!

This is a kori bustard. They are fairly big, about 24" tall, with a thick neck.

We had only left the campground around 8:15am and shortly after we had pulled onto the first part of the loop. We try and keep our eyes peeled out only one side of the vehicle each. And we drive slowly, rarely making it out of second gear. Sometimes, you stop and backup because you "think" you saw something. And it turns out to be  a broken log or a tree branch, or a pile of giraffe poop!

And so only twenty minutes into our day, I stopped and backed up. Asked Ruth for the binoculars, and sure enough...another cheetah! It was lying down, so really hard to see. I'm not even sure how I did see it.

What does Kevin see? Oh, by the way...he loves his Tilley hat!

Can you spot the cheetah? He is lying on the ground to the left of the largest tree on the right. Can't see it?

There it is! Of course it is a little easier to spot when it lefts it's head to look around.

If you're going to stop for any longer than a minute, it is worthwhile to open your windows and shut the engine off. We sat fr about a half an hour watching this cheetah. As we sat, three other tourist vehicles drove by at separate times. Each one slowed, had a quick look, and continued driving! I mean, you come here to Etosha for this exact reason...to see a cheetah. And then they drove right by one! We don't understand people. 

So of course the lesson here is...if you see a vehicle stopped by the side of the road, there is probably a reason! Sit and watch with them for a while. Shut your air conditioning and your engine off and enjoy the sounds of nature.

Eventually, our subject sat up.


And wandered behind the tree and lay down again.

As I said yesterday, many people come to Etosha and never see a cheetah. So we are very lucky! Having said that, we haven't seen a lion yet, nor a rhino. And we didn't see any elephants yesterday, so it's easy to understand that if you only have a couple of days in the park you may not see everything you had hoped to. That's one of the reasons we planned six nights here!

This is a steenbok. What big ears they have!

Finally got a shot of a blue wildebeest. Lion food!

Cutting things a little short this morning because we have a long drive to the opposite side of the park. See you at Okaukuejo campground!

10 comments:

  1. Love that sitting cheetah pic... you guys are having a surreal experience!!

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  2. Sounds like another great day out but now appreciate how much better it was for us to have done it in the motorhome where we could move around, cook food and more importantly use the loo. Still you are figuring out the best way in your vehicle and you are so right in that you need to stop if another vehicle is pulled up and the slower you go the more you see. We also had great sightings by going out as soon as the gates were opened at dawn. Happy hunting.

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  3. Hi

    You are already so in tune with what is required on a Safari. You deserved that Cheetah viewing and to think you were pretty much all on your own too because others do not share your mindset. We were from the group of people who did not see a cheetah!

    Thanks for the bird photo-would be great to have 1 per day :). Yes it's a Kori Burstard. Really striking birds.

    I loved the antelopes in Africa and it seems you seen quite a few.

    I know you like lists Kevin, so I hope we'll have ones detailing animals and possibly birds you've seen.

    Let me know if you see any Cranes or Storks. I love them.

    Sft x

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  4. I like the close-up of the cheetah lying down - his spots blend in well with the surrounding vegetation.

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  5. Amazing how much you can see in one spot if you just stop and listen for awhile! When we're hiking we have to stop people sometimes, they don't understand why we are standing still looking up in a tree. Duh!

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  6. You certainly have the right idea of going slow and stopping. Is a lot of hours of sitting in the rig. I find going out in the earliest am for 3-4 hours then back to camp during the heat of the day and return to the drive in the late afternoon.

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  7. I am loving this safari. Not sure I could go too many hours without a loo stop. This way I get to just enjoy.

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  8. What great camouflage that cheetah has. It blends right in with the surroundings. Good sighting!

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  9. would assume big ears is a way of survival.
    Wish I could be with you. I'm with you I don't understand some peoples reasoning
    when they just rush through. I am as inpatient as the next guy but would be
    fascinated by these creatures

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  10. Oh, I understand those people's reasoning - they'll drive all over the place, if it's convenient, then head home to tell of there extraordinary adventures! Well, it's thier loss. I love your Cheetah photos - good on ya'

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