Tales from a Waterhole 1 – by Peter Ellis
The team here at Experience Holidays ask me why Africa is my favourite destination. Apart from the fact that I was born and raised in Kenya and have a life long love of wildlife, I love the fact that every time you go out in to the bush you are not sure what you will see or encounter.
I had a 3 week holiday in Namibia last November and I thought that a few tales of what we saw while travelling would help explain why I keep going back.
We arrived at a big waterhole in central Etosha National Park where we had seen a male and female lion on a baby giraffe they had just killed. The lions had gone and the remains were being squabbled over by a couple of hyena and half a dozen jackel. On the other side of the waterhole a small herd of kudu were nervously drinking. An alarm bark from one of them made them all scatter. One of the youngsters leaped forward straight in to the mud in the centre of the waterhole and sank up to its chest. The more it thrashed to get out the deeper it sank.
The rest of the herd left with barely a glance backwards.
One of the jackals saw an opportunity for fresh, uncontested meat and leapt across the water and on to the drying mud. We held our breath as it approached the rear of the kudu (images passed through my mind of a rhino we had to put down in 1962 in Kenya when it got stuck in mud in the Nairobi National Park and the hyena could reach its rear end) but thankfully the jackal started to sink in to the mud. It backed off quickly and lay down to await developments. Then a hyena walked around the waterhole and began to wade out but the water was too deep and anyway it had a belly so full it was waddling.
All the while other game came to drink and ignored the drama. The kudu kept on struggling and slowly began to break through the mud until finally with a huge effort it was free and on the bank. A huge cheer went up from the people in the 4 vehicles watching this drama.
The mud covered kudu looked lost for a moment and then tagged on to another herd of kudu that were just leaving the waterhole.
Keep an eye out for my next tale coming soon.