It’s 5.30 in the morning when I pull down the zipper of the rooftop tent. A noisy, rattling sound follows, one of the main irritations of campers: tent zippers. It is a loud and unavoidable sound in the early morning. It is still dark and cold. I am wearing the same clothes as last night, and if I wouldn’t have had a down sleeping bag, I would’ve slept in them. Africa can be cold! In the evening it cools down from 30-40 degrees Celsius to about 5 degrees…We don’t speak to each other, in our routine we pack up the tent and throw the last things in the back of the car. The heater in the car blows hot air into the cabin. This seldom happens. I cannot remember the last time we had the heater on. We drive down a sandy drive way and onto the tar road. The car slowly heats up and our lights light up the road ahead. We are only one hour away from sunrise and on our way to the largest National Park in Namibia, Etosha.
Just after sunrise we drive through the entrance of Etosha National Park. The tarmac disappears and we continue through sand and dust. Sand and dust is clearly the main soil here in Namibia. I’ve never tried to cover up all the cracks of car with tape before to prevent the dust from getting in. And also, I’ve never before wondered about the amount of dust cars can launch into the air by just driving. As the oncoming car, all you can do is wait until most of it has blown away.
While I’m sitting in the car I get the feeling that something is looking at us. I slow down to get the chance to look around. Nothing….I turn my gaze back onto the road and speed up again. As soon as we’re back on our previous speed I get the same feeling again. I slow down again and look around. At that moment a large black rhino steps from the shadows of a fallen tree. My heart starts to beat faster and we are both leaning out of the car windows to get a good look at this magnificent animal: 2,5 tons of muscle, packed in a thick, almost impenetrable harness with a beautiful horn who waits for the temperatures to cool down in the shadow of a tree.
That night we set up camp near one of waterholes. A large part of the evening we are hidden away near the waterhole and looking at all the different animals who tentatively stop by to have a drink after a hot day.
I’m startled when a honey badger starts to make a racket just behind me while I was quietly watching the animals at the waterhole. The badger is not scared at all, but cautious nonetheless. He has four paws with large claws and it almost looks like they are too far from its body. It walks towards me when I point my head torch towards it. I jump sideways while it walks straight past me following a rocky track. It is a beautiful animal, black with a white belly. Their skin is very loose and when they are caught by a predator they are able to turn their bodies 360 degrees and counter attack. Their teeth are razor sharp and they have exceptional strength in their claws. The honey badger is the only animal who is resistant against snake poison. When it is bitten, it will simply go into a coma which it will get out of after a few hours.