(Photo above: When rhinos drink, ripples form on the water. Our flashlight causes them to reflect onto the animals’ bodies and form these peculiar patterns of stripes.)
After dark, when Etosha’s Park doors are closed, the smell of ‘braai vleis’ hangs in the air and talk & laughter carry over from camp fires, a special time begins. Then, some beasts that are not seen much during the day become alive. So grab your binoculars & camera and head over to the camp’s waterhole for a very special performance.
If they are not ‘on stage yet’, the mighty beast we are talking about, will soon appear: the black rhino. Whilst most animals in Etosha have left the waterholes for safety reasons, rhinos prefer to drink at night. Besides quenching their thirst, it’s a chance for them for meeting up briefly with their own kind, as they are usually solitary animals.
Much puffing and snorting – most of it part of amicable behavior - is accompanying the rhinos’ meeting at a waterhole, but is usually followed by them drinking peacefully near each other.
If you resist the temptation to snuggle into your sleeping bag or 'comfi' bed and stay on until after midnight, when the camp becomes quiet, OR if you return to the waterhole in the ‘wee hours’ of the day, you may get lucky and witness a leopard coming in for a drink.
It’s a rare sighting, but one that’s unforgettable.
Wishing you great ‘night life’ in the bush,
PS: We would love to hear from you: Which special wildlife did you encounter in the dark?