After a quick breakfast (a cappuccino and pancakes with chocolate cream in my case) we headed to Etosha National Park, which was 20km away from the lodge.
Etosha means ‘place of dry water’ and is a 22 750km² wildlife sanctuary.
When we arrived at Etosha’s Park gates we had to stop our car while a lady, who was not nice at all, asked us to write down our details on a paper, read the park rules and sign it afterwards. She told us to continue driving, didn’t say where and didn’t give us a map.
I found this very disorganised, because I’ve been to the Kruger National Park (South Africa) last year and the moment you arrive to the gate all the explanations are given and the staff is extremely nice.
We kept driving and we started seeing all the animals. Firstly the Springboks, always so elegant and scared. Then a big family of Zebras. They didn’t seem bothered with our presence and just kept ‘posing’ for photos. One of the cars in front of us turned around and told us that they just saw a lion. I thought to myself ‘Of course, that’s why all these zebras are so chilled!’ It didn’t make any sense, so I didn’t even search for that lion, especially because a family of giraffes decided to take a lunch break right next to our car.
Speaking of Lunch break, it was time for ours! Something very good inside the park is that the networks and the GPS works perfectly! While searching for a place to eat we found the old fort Namutoni with gift shops, toilets and restaurants. The restaurants were still closed at that time, so after a walk around the fort we kept driving till the next restaurant.
After seeing a few baboons, more zebras, antelopes and giraffes, we arrived to Halali Lodge. They had a restaurant named ‘Moringa’. It was basically fast food so I ordered a beef burger. I don’t know if it was really good or I was just starving but I found that burger delicious!
After lunch we searched for elephants and rhinos, but it’s rainy season, which means that the animals find water everywhere and don’t need to go to the main waterholes. Therefore, we didn’t get to see them.
When leaving the park, a new lady at the gate (not very nice either, I guess it’s a thing) told us that we didn’t pay for the park and that we should go back 30km and pay at the reception. It’s funny how not a single person of the staff spoke to us till they realise we didn’t pay. I believe it’s time to learn a few things with South Africans, not only to be more nice to customers, but to be organised. Also use the money you charged people to maintain the park in better conditions. We left without paying and feeling really disappointed with the park in general.
After all that stress I deserved a swim at the lodge pool. And guess what! They offered me a foot massage! Teresa, a member of the staff, gave me a very relaxing feet massage. And hey! I finally found a Namibian who smiles at me!
I was playing around with the lodge tortoises when it started raining and we could hear the thunder approaching. It was still quite hot and once the rain stopped, a rainbow showed up in the sky and all the animals decided to come to the waterhole. It was sunset time, perfect combination for good photographs!
It’s dinner time! That burger at lunch was awesome but I needed a nice last meal in Namibia. As a pre starter they gave us deep-fried prawn. As a starter I had again a butternut soup (by now you can see how much I love this soup). As a main I had the Sirloin Beef with rice and vegetables. And finally, for dessert, a very well decorated Chocolate Brownie.
I should mention that the lodge owners barely spoke to us during our stay. Not even a ‘Good morning’ or ‘Bon appetit’. We had the feeling that we were invading their space. During our last dinner at the lodge, one of the owners came finally greet us at the table. Yes, the last day!
My advise is: if you want people to come back to your lodge, it’s important that you make them feel welcome since the first day and not right at the end, because it looks very forced.
Contrarily to the owners, all the staff members treated us quite nicely and they even sang for the guests at the end of the dinner. Here’s a little video that I shot of them:
It’s the end of our trip to Namibia! A lot of good things and bad things happened. I got to meet a new country and that’s always great, but I can say it’s even greater going back to Cape Town, South Africa, where I can be a tourist every day and still feel at home.
Hope you enjoyed my Travel Journal!
|Melissa De Sousa Nunes|
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