All of Justin's dreams had animals chasing after us. The most vivid was at a school, somewhat resembling where he went to high school, and we were being hunted by a cat that was somewhere between a cheetah and a lion. We made it out of the dream, and in real life we were fine as well. Leon told us it was safe for us to walk ourselves to breakfast when he gave us our wake-up call. We walked over around 6:30, and left around 7, much more like were expecting (and hoping) to do in the Serengeti. On our way out we wished Richard and Vivian safe travels - they were headed to one more camp before heading back to the UK. We were in a truck with Paul and Joffa (sp?). From Paul's explanation of where they lived ("Seattle and Palo Alto") we figured he was probably up pretty high in the Technology field. [Postscript: He is. Very high up.]

We were headed to Etosha, a large National Park that the Ongava concession borders. They used to have animals come and go between the two, but now they're both fully fenced, as before, animals would get into the narrow corridor between the two fences, follow the corridor to the edges, and then start grazing on pastures (or hunting cattle grazing on pastures) outside the National Park and outside the concession. There wasn't much to see on our way out of Ongava; we got the impression that the road is so oft-used that animals don't spend much time around that road. At the end of the road there was a private gate, and then it was about 100 feet to the entrance to Etosha. The road into Etosha was actually paved, and it was a weird experience having a paved road in a safari area.

Not too far down the road we stopped for a bit in Okaukuejo, where there was a hotel, something resembling a castle (with a viewpoint at the top), and some touristy shops. Leon told us he needed to fill out some paperwork there, and we could wander around for a bit. It was a bit odd to have in the middle of a safari park, but probably not so different from tourist areas in middle of Yosemite or Yellowstone (which we assume exist, as ironically we haven't been to either as adults). We stopped at a big watering hole (again man-made) in Okaukuejo, and then headed eastwards from Okakuejo, checking out some of the other watering holes in the area. We didn't really see much except near the watering holes, as the land was quite barren. It was super cold and super windy, probably less than 60 degrees F (15 C). It had apparently been 100 degrees F (38 C) just two days prior, the day before we showed up. We were not expecting it to be anywhere near this cold, and were not remotely dressed for it. Crystal didn't have any warm weather clothes left, as they were all in the bag we left in Windhoek. Justin had one fleece and one warm hat, but they were both in our room at camp, doing him no good.

At around 10 or so, we stopped at one watering hole that had two lions nearby. We were ecstatic to stop, because at least by stopping, the "wind" stopped. Leon finally noticed how cold we were (the drivers have the engine heat near their feet and have a windshield in front of them), and told us we should grab some of the parkas that were in the roof. We hadn't noticed those, and grabbed them post-haste. The lions weren't doing anything [we found out after the fact from people in the other vehicles that they spent the whole morning mating, just not when we were there]. Just a couple hundred feet away there was a water hole, but the lion's presence didn't seem to have any impact on the antelope or ostrich that came to drink. We left the watering hole and went into a fenced area where there were restrooms. We could get out of the vehicle here, and it was good to walk around. We saw a yellow-billed hornbill, which Leon told us had the nickname "flying banana" because of its beak.

At every watering hole there was a weird mixture of animals, very eclectic. These were nice sightings, but seemed kind of Disneyland-ish given that most of the watering holes were man-made. We had hoped to see the "white" elephants (they cover themselves in the white dust that abounds in Etosha), but the only ones we saw were probably half a mile away. Just before leaving the park, we saw evidence that there had been a kill - lots of vultures. We couldn't go off road, so we drove slowly and looked through the brush to see if we could spot anything. Leon spotted a male and female lion kind of nearby, but they were just sleeping. We got back a little after noon, but didn't even go back to the room for a bit. We just hung out after lunch, watching stuff go by the water hole. Ther were lots of antelope and birds, but no predators. Crystal took a short nap while Justin used the excruciatingly slow wi-fi to upload pictures of the rhinos we had seen. At tea, there were these pizza-type things that really hit the spot. Since no one else was at tea, we each grabbed a second piece.

We left around 5:30, and within 10 seconds saw some giraffe. Then within 10 minutes we saw some rhinos, the same two males as the day before. We followed them for awhile, but we kept having to move because they were making a bee line for a watering hole. Leon knew exactly where they were headed, so it was easy to follow them and get ahead of them. After they got to the watering hole, we drove around for a bit, but didn't really see much else before it was time for sundowners. At sundowners, Leon told us about how he almost got married to a Himba woman several years prior, but couldn't follow through because of the multitude of things that he would have to give up or significantly change to become part of her family; and moreover, even if he did that, he'd still be a second class citizen within the Himba villages, not even able to sit or take part in certain conversations. Leon also told us how he'd like to move up to Serra Cafema and work there for a bit. From talking with him, Gerhardus, and several of the other guides, it seems like there is quite a bit of movement around the various camps for the guides and other staff members. Interestingly, Gerhardus wanted to come to Ongava, so we told Leon that he should work out a deal where they can swap spots.

Paul also had a couple interesting stories, from a small lodge that he and Joffa have in Zambia near Kafue. One funny story related to a newlywed couple on a walking safari who got charge by an elephant, and the husband basically running over/through his new wife to get away. The new husband became an ex-husband quickly. The other story had to do with some veterinarians who were on holiday, but ended up at a camp where the very first thing they heard when getting off the plane was "we just got a lion out of a snare, can you sew up its throat before it wakes up?" We headed back to lodge, and got back at 7:30. They had told us the evening before that we had to give them a time to pick us up, since we couldn't walk ourselves to dinner after dark. The evening before we had overestimated how much time we needed, so tonight we decided for a more aggressive time to go to dinner, decided on 8 instead of 8:15.

This was a great call on our part because just after 8:00 two rhinos came to the watering hole, a baby and mom, a different baby and mom than we had seen the night before. We hadn't seen the ones the night before that well, but it was obvious that the size of the baby was different tonight. They were gone by 8:11, so Paul and Joffa never saw them. After dinner, while we were transferring photos to the laptop, a black rhino showed up, our first black rhino sighting ever. This was an absolutely massive guy, and he was polite enough to sit still for seconds at a time, making it possible to get some photos without any motion blur. There were some lights near the water hole, and we squeezed every last drop of light out of those lights for our photos.

We were sitting in the bar area chatting with one of the Camp Managers (Emsie) and 2 folks from California and 1 from Miami, who were part of a group of 6. We discussed a wide variety of topics - Chelsea Clinton, Steppenwolf, Bill Clinton, the Reagans and Kennedy children, Madagascar, Borneo, Komodo, who was the "third" of Charlie's Angels (Kate Jackson, sorry Kate), and those three compared to Leakey's Angels Diane Fossey, Jane Goodall, and Birute Galdikas (Galdikas is definitely Kate Jackson, sorry Birute), Pat Riley, Miami restaurants, etc. We had no idea, but part of the group of 6 was the lead singer of Steppenwolf, and his wife of 35 years, who was the "little girl" referred to in Magic Carpet Ride. In the middle of our rambling conversation, we saw another black rhino, although it was probably the same guy a second time. We also saw lots of other stuff by the watering hole - waterbuck, zebra, and kudu. Before we knew it, it was past midnight, and we realized that while we were having a good time, we needed to get some sleep, so we waited for our shotgun-toting escort and headed back to the room.