Thursday, November 25, 2010

In which Mr Blog saves the German crown jewels

Yes, yes, yes, I know... I've been neglecting all my many blogs, but honest, guv, it's because I'm once again drowning in edits. Just about got the edits all done on novel number 8, and in came some more on non fiction book number 3.

Racked (wracked, crookedpaw?) with guilt, I decided I would send you all some pictures, in the hope of keeping you from switching channels.

And so today, we have some images (I can only load five per post) of our recent sojourn to Etosha National Park.

Tough, ferocious, and usually elusive it's not often you see a honey badger (above) in broad daylight - especially not three metres away. The German tourist camped next to us in Halali Camp in the middle of Etosha (all tourists in Namibia are German, except us) had to ask me what this little fellow was.

"Honey badger," I said.

"Excuse me?"

"Ratel," I tried, exhibiting my comprehensive knowledge of Afrikaans (koeksister, ratel, snot klap, lekker, renoster, voetsek).

"Excuse me?"

Clearly I wasn't getting through. Mein neighbour proceeded to walk up to the honey badger with his tiny digital camera. When he was two metres away I called out "Stop-en-zee."

"Excuse me."

Clearly I had to talk louder to this man and resort to sign language. "Dangerous! Grrrrrr," I used my hands as claws for effect. "Scrotum!" I placed a hand on mine and mimicked extreme pain and severe blood loss.

"Ah!" said the man. Few (male) travellers to Africa have not heard of the honey badger's legendary modus operandi for bringing down prey as large as a wildebeest... they rip their victim's scrotum out. Something clicked in the neighbour's mind and he backed off.

Etosha Pan (in the background) and Etosha lion in the foreground. Enough words from me.

Each of the three camps in Etosha: Namutoni, Halali, and the other one (it's Okukuejo or something like that - I can't be bothered checking the spelling, Crookedpaw) has a permanent floodlit waterhole. Stacks (hobos/maninge/plenty) of animals come to drink. We saw black rhino, elephant, giraffe (they're giraffe, above) and many other grass eaters at each of the camps. At Halali we saw one of the aforementioned honey badgers bite a female rhino on the bum (no joke). Just as well it wasn't a male rhino.
The waterholes are great, and they sound like someone getting their tyre stabbed in a Francistown car park. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. There are signs ordering "Silence!" everywhere, which is funny because just beyond the ring of hushing tourists is, like, a thousand other tourists and staff chatting and drinking german beer and braaing bratwurst and inflating their air beds etc. Whatever. It's still pretty cool.

Black rhino. These poor things are getting clobbered at an alarming rate again, all because some f*ing idiot of a Vietnamese government minister (no other PC way to say that, I'm afraid) claimed rhino horn is a cure for cancer. I'd like to set the honey badger on whoever came up with that pearler. Anyway, Etosha is a great place to see black rhino (they have no white rhino). Go see them... before it's too late.

The leo-pard - my favourite of the killing animals. We bagged this lovely young specimen near Rietfontein Waterhole. I love the light in this pic and in a high res version (not sure if you can see it in this opne), you can see the sun's reflection in her eye.

Etosha's a great place. It's very pricey these days and the camps are absolutely chockers (crowded). However, there are only the three camps and they're not all that big compared to, say, Kruger's camps. The park, on the other hand, which runs along one side of the gigantic Etosha salt pan, is very big, so you never really feel crowded out when you're out game viewing.
It's stark, arid, dusty and beautiful. I know at least one of you is going there soon. Have fun, and watch out for the honey badgers.
(I'll be blogging more on Namibia and Botswana again soon in my relatively serious Getaway blog).


Crookedpaw said...

Racked is the correct word in this instance.

You can be racked with pain, you can rack your brains, and you can have a nerve-racking experience. Ultimately, though, all these thing can lead to you being totally wracked.


Tre said...

Must stop saying 'Honey stop badgering me' instead will just say 'rack off' to her now

RobertLW said...

Great photos. The honey badger and the bin particularly. And the leopard too. And the black rhino. They're all wack photos!

Flea said...

love the pictures, keep it coming!!

Jess said...

I think we may have come across that little fellow in Etosha as well. He would make the rounds at sunset each night, checking what lovely scraps the tourists in the camp sites had left him that day. My boyfriend was intrigued by Mr badger until I informed him of their tendancy to go for the jewels. He backed off very quickly and took photos from a much safer distance!