The flight to Windhoek was short and mostly uneventful. Some flights required a bus to take you to the plane. As we were settling in our seats, another bus load of people came in. After about five minutes, an announcement came on “Please check your tickets. If you are going to Zimbabwe, you are on the wrong flight.” So that happened. Several people quickly collected their belongings and exited the flight. Eek!
After 1.5 hours, we were finally done with flying. One of the landing cards required us to fill out if we had been to an Ebola affected countries. US and Spain were mentioned. But we were waved through.
We met a representative of Erindi at the gate. We were on African soil (outside of the airport). Simply magnificent. Namibia has more arid terrain. It actually reminded me a bit of Cusco. It’s not barren; there were lots of shrubs and small trees. Almost as soon as we left the airport, we saw our first wild creatures. Baboons! They were walking by the side of the road. But apparently, our driver and other Namibians hate them. The baboons are troublesome and cause a lot of mischief if they get inside cars and homes.
The first 2/3 of the trip were on paved roads. We drove in the outskirts of Windhoek; it looked like a small city. Then we were out in the countryside, staring at the mountains and the storms in the distance. It’s amazing to see a rain storm far away from you. You can see the rain but you are dry. It happens every so often here in Chicago but it happened a lot there.
There wasn’t a lot of big towns between Windhoek and Erindi. We passed through some small towns, saw some farms to the right and left. And then, we got to the unpaved portion of the trip. But that’s when things got interesting. As soon as we got off the main road, we started to see some of the wild life. We saw these warthogs and their wartlings. They pick up their tails very daintly and then run like anything. We saw these guinea fowl who ran panicked all over the road, sometimes veering into the road.
And then we saw the giraffes. Hanging out on the other side of a fence, four giraffes munched away at trees. Our driver stopped the car and we sort of all sprang out to take photos. (Mind you, one never leaves the vehicle when out in the bush. But there were fences around us). Three of them ran off, which was spectacular. You aint seen anything like a giraffe galloping off. One seemed braver than the rest and sort of gazed at us gazing at him. Absolutely magical.
After another forty-five minutes, we finally go to the gates of Erindi. As soon as we got through the gates, we saw some storks hanging out on the side of the road. Our driver immediately went off-road so we could get closer. It was crazy. Until that moment, I had never been off-road before in a vehicle.
We got to Erindi finally. 46 hours. We got our keys and got to our rooms. They were amazing. They were large with views of a tiny watering hole. We had a TV, large bed (with ample mosquito netting), and a full bathroom. It was rather luxurious for us. We went to the restaurant to check out the large watering hole. In it, we could see hippos and alligators. And we could hear the hippos grunting at each other. Across the watering hole, we could see a flat area with various trees and bushes with mountains in the distance. I quickly decided that my time would be spent here, gazing out into the bush, when we weren’t sleeping or on safari.
I was ready for the safari to begin.