March 05, 2011

Camping Safari Day Nine – Twyfelfontein to Etosha West and a birthday party, too!

Our overnight destination for January 6th was the Gondwana Collection’s Etosha Safari Camp just south of the Anderson Gate entrance to Etosha. I had arranged with Safari Camp to have a birthday cake so we could celebrate the professor’s birthday that night. As a northern hemisphere dweller with a January birthday, the professor had been looking forward to this since we arrived last July --his first summer birthday ever! Even more special was that he got to celebrate it with all his family together in Africa! There couldn’t have been a better gift for him.

We left Aabadi Mountain Camp early, headed to Outjo and then to Safari Camp. Other than our trek through Etosha, this was going to be our last day traveling on gravel. Once we reached Khorixas, the remainder of our trip’s drive was going to be primarily on tar.

Coming out of Aabadi and headed to C-39, we were back in rolling hills and arid expanses of farms.
Small homestead with surprising satellite dish!

Our trusty vehicle on the road to Khorixas
Along this route, we did have the opportunity to see a Welwitschia mirabilis on the side of the road. These ancient plants with only two leaves have deep roots allowing them to survive in this hugely arid landscape – indeed thrive – they can get to be 2000 years old.

We made great time to Outjo, topped up the truck’s double diesel tanks just across the stations’ driveway from the illuminating paraffin (kerosene) pump,

and had a light lunch at the bakery just across the street.

 After a quick trip to the grocery store for supplies, we drove the last 90 kilometers on to Safari Camp for the night.

At Safari Camp we had a soft, grassy site with trees all around.

The trees’ occupants were varied and each of them, very busy.

Weaver building an engineering marvel

baby African Red-Eyed Bulbuls

After relaxing showers, we headed over to dinner and the birthday celebration for the professor.

Dinner at the Safari Camp’s outdoor courtyard is always enjoyable with great buffets and dinner entertainment by their guitarist/singers. When it was time for our dessert, the guitarists left the stage and headed inside.

Returning a few minutes later, they led a long line of folks out of the kitchen -- the chefs carrying the professor’s birthday cake followed by a full chorus of cooks, kitchen staff, managers, and wait staff. With apologies for the darkness of this video, what followed was this:

If you are going to have a birthday celebration, this is definitely the way to go! The folks at Safari Camp go way out of their way to make your visit memorable and the musicality and joyfulness of this group is amazing! Even as they headed back to the kitchen, it was a celebration of sound.

Thanks to the folks at Safari Camp and our indulgent adult kiddos’ willingness to come to Africa, the professor’s first ever summer birthday was perfect – he’ll never forget it. Nor will we.

The next day was going to be the kids’ first day at Etosha and what turned out to be an amazingly close view of a very impressive (but somewhat scary) pride of lions.

P.S. If you are having a down day, come back here and replay the birthday celebration video again. It’s guaranteed to cheer you up!