Even though, for once, we could sleep, Crystal still got up early. But then she managed to go back to sleep after being up for an hour or so. When we both got up for good, it was about 8:30, and we had a late breakfast around 9. We left around 10:30, and got quite the sendoff, but not because of the two of us. One of the workers, Bona, was on the same plane as us, and she was leaving the camp for good to be close to family. The whole staff came out to sing an emotional goodbye, and we got a bit choked up just watching. The whole Wilderness Safaris team seems to be very close-knit, perhaps because they are more or less by themselves out in the middle of nowhere. We liked pretty much everyone we met from there on this trip, and also in 2007.

On the way up the steep hill out of camp, we saw something than an oryx, a black baboon. Gerhardus surmised it was an older male that had been kicked out of a troop. We didn't see much else on the way to the airstrip until we were almost there. Gerhardus stopped and did a double take, thinking he had seen a cheetah. Instead it was a baby oryx, with its mother nowhere to be found. Gerhardus told us that in severe drought, it isn't unusual for a mother to abandon her baby, as the mother has no means of caring for the baby. We hoped this wasn't one of those situations. For the second day in a row, it was quite overcast, and we just convinced ourselves that it was going to rain, grass was going to sprout everywhere, and that the baby was going to be just fine. [We assume this is exactly what happened, and no we haven't gone back and checked rainfall totals after the fact.]

At the airstrip, we saw some Hartmann's mountain zebras from afar. Gerhardus told us that they are reknowned for being skittish, and there wouldn't be any point trying to get closer before our plane arrived. We left the airport around 12:30, with Crystal listening to music while Justin slept. After about 90 minutes, we landed at Palmwag to pick up another couple. We were getting ready to take off, but the flaps were not working. This was a major bummer, because one of the main goals of the trip was to see rhinocerous at Ongava, and now we were so close yet so far away. The pilot, Martin, opened up some panel, fiddled around with some wire, checked the instrument panel again, and then - amazingly - the flaps worked. He asked us if we were ready to go, but we were a bit hesitant. We asked him if he was comfortable flying, and he said sure, so we figured "if he's the pilot and he's okay, we don't have any independent reason to not believe him." Plus we figured we'd probably been on lots of planes that had issues prior to take-off that were fixed without us ever knowing about the problem or the fix. So for the second time in a just a few hours, we chose to live in blissful ignorance, and got on the plane.

Thankfully, the flight went on without a hitch. We got to the Ongava airport around 3:15, and were at camp before 4. On the drive to camp we saw some black-faced impala, Burchell's zebra, and also Hartmann's zebras (but no pictures of them, as they were quite skittish, just as Gerhardus had told us). The Burchell's zebras have intermittent brown stripes between the black stripes. We also saw some waterbuck on the way to camp. At camp, there were some waterbuck right in front of the main sitting area, drinking from another man-made waterhole. It was this waterhole that caused us to choose Ongava Tented Camp over the other two Wilderness Safari camps in the area. Every staff member we ran across at Kulala and Serra Cafema was legitimately excited that we had chosen the Tented Camp over the other properties, and assured us we had made the right choice. Denzel told us that at night we'd be escorted by a staff member with a shotgun, because it isn't unusual to have lions in the camp at night. That sounded both exhilirating and terrifying at the same time.

While talking with one of the camp managers at check-in there were some Rock Hyrax climbing in the trees. Rock Hyraxes sort of look like guinea pigs, but they are notable more for their relatives - they are the closest related animal to elephants. While unpacking, saw some massive antelopes not far away, with big pouch near their throat. We later found out they were Eland, so this was quite a sighting, because Eland are one of the most shy of all the antelopes in Africa. After getting unpacked, we headed back to the main area - no guide was necessary to walk around during the day. We met our guide, Leon, and headed off for our afternoon drive. We were in a car with a swiss couple who were also here for the sole purpose of seeing rhions, and a solo gentleman from San Francisco who was well into an extended vacation. He was nice enough to let us sit in the front row with him, right behind Leon.

Besides seeing some zebras while waiting to head out, we saw literally nothing for the first 20 minutes or so of the drive. But then we saw a couple giraffes, then some Red Hartebeest, Wildebeest, and Springbok together. Then we spotted a stopped vehicle - which is always a good sign - and it was stopped near two white rhinos. On the other truck was the other couple who had been on the plane from Palmwag - we noted that it we made a good choice to get on the plane. It was amazing how quiet the rhinos are for how big they are. They made seemingly no noise either eating or walking. We hung out with them for 15-20 minutes, then headed on our way. For us, it was "Mission accomplished," as we had now summited Kilimanjaro, saw a river crossing for the Great Migration, and seen rhinos, the three things we most wanted to see/do on the trip. At this point, everything else would be gravy.

Just five minutes later, we got some good gravy. There was a pride of lions, with a couple males, couple females, and couple cubs. We saw the cubs first, and then their mom, who they playfully attacked, only she didn't seem to like how rough they were playing. We were able to get very close, so close that it was a little eerie staring the lions in the eyes - they definitely win the staring contest. After leaving the lions and having our sundowners, we headed back to camp, only to see a mother and baby white rhino - more gravy. It was unfortunately too dark to get any photos of them, and we seemed to have startled them, as they skirted off the road pretty quickly after we came uon them. We got back just before 8, and at dinner we sat by Richard and Vivian (who had come here from Serra Cafema). We chatted for a couple hours, mostly about travel (Antarctica and India mostly) and camera stuff. Richard was a big fan of our small Sony, and determined he needed to ensure his Canon G1x had "an accident" so that he could get one. For the fourth straight night we were up until almost midnight, and we told Richard and Vivian this started when we met them, and that they were bad influences on us.