It is 3 a.m. Two elephants have just entered stage right. They join a giraffe and a large number of unseen ungulates. Black rhinos have acted like they own the waterhole for the majority of the evening and didn’t take too kindly to a herd of over 50 zebras crashing into the water before disappearing into the darkness as quickly as they magically appeared.
Owls and bats have zoomed close by, fearless jackals have wandered within touching distance, and ghostly white mantises, much smaller than the brutes encountered in Borneo and Madagascar, have provided intrigue on a smaller scale. They appear to be much happier and more successful than the Romeo and Juliet wriggling date beetles that have crashed at my feet, their final death throes confusing the busy ants whose well-trodden path they have disrupted.
A lone springbok has just joined the party. Should I feel bad for wandering when he will become a meal?
Genuine awe interrupts the pondering as, at the moment of writing, a resplendent, healthy genet casually saunters by my feet. It isn’t rare but it is rarely seen. A nocturnal highlight. Surpassing the pride of lions that came down for a tipple and caused the invisible ungulates to stampede further into the distance. Did I not mention the lions? I didn’t mention the elusive brown hyaenas, either. I care considerably less about them following my genet encounter.
I don’t have a photograph of that particular meeting. I was paralysed with rapture. I will have to rely on my memory. Luckily, and I think back to a night staying up at Treetops in Kenya over 20 years ago, my night at the Okaukuejo waterhole in Ethosha, Namibia, will quite probably prove to be one of the most memorable nights of my life.
Written by Patrick Griffiths on .