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Animals at Halali waterhole

We had the whole day to get to our next destination, so we sat down at the waterhole for another twenty minutes the next morning, enjoying the scene: Zebras, Impalas, and Marabou Storks were peacefully standing next to each other, drinking water. But wait... What was that...?

Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumeniferus)

One of the Marabou Storks dug into the water and effortlessly picked up something to eat. Unfortunately, a water turtle was also biting into the object, and it would not let loose without a fight! So the Marabou Stork shook its head a few times, the turtle finally let loose and fell back into the water. Then the Marabou Stork swallowed the object down, putting it into its neck at first. Talk about a peaceful scene at the waterhole...!

Kori bustard (Ardeotis kori)

So we started our journey from Halali to Okaukuejo, wondering what else we might be able to see today? Well, we started slowly with this Kori bustard, at up to 18 kg (40 lb) the heaviest flying bird there is.

Springbok at Rietfontein waterhole, Etosha National Park

Then we saw this group of Springbok at the Rietfontein waterhole west of Halali, and...

Zebra at waterhole, Etosha National Park

...we met this group of Zebra as well.

Etosha Pan

Here is a view of the Etosha Pan, found between Halali and Okaukuejo. The word "Etosha", by the way, means "great white place" in the language of the bushmen and refers to the white salt covering the 5,000 square kilometers of the Etosha Pan.

Elephant at Etosha National Park

From the Ondongab waterhole we decided to take the long road to Okaukuejo, visiting the Aus waterhole and the Olifantsbad (which is Afrikaans for "Elephants Bath"). Now, that sounded promising, and we had plenty of time today. And promptly, on our way to the Olifantsbad Petra spotted this elephant in between the trees and bushes. When there was one elephant, there certainly must be more of them?! We continued our drive slowly...

Elephants taking a bath at Etosha National Park

...and yes, there they were! This herd of elephants was not taking their bath at the "offical" Olifantsbad, but at a natural waterhole about a mile away from there.

Elephants bathing at Etosha National Park

It was amazing to see how the baby elephants were trying to copy the actions of the older elephants.

Elephants bathing at natural Etosha waterhole

While some of them were certainly drinking the water, most were busy throwing mud onto their skin. This mud protects the sensible elephant skin from sunburn.

Elephants at Etosha Park

After about 10 minutes, the elephant herd decided to move on and left the waterhole. This time, two elephants took a bit longer at the waterhole, before they vanished into the woods as well.

Elephant at Etosha Park

And then, just 15 minutes after we spotted the elephant herd, the spectacle was over. We drove up to the Olifantsbad waterhole in the hope of seeing more elephants (who knows?), but the waterhole was empty, except for an eagle and some zebra.

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