Namibia, Khaudum National Park Elephant Tales Part 2 – The Shower must go on

No business like shower business, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

No business like shower business, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

After an unexpected amount off wildlife display here at ‘Khaudum National Park’ yesterday, I was looking forward to another exciting day in the Kalahari Desert. No doubt that plenty of elephants and some antelope would show up sooner or later, but I was particularly hopeful to see the real king of the desert! The black-maned desert lion. There wasn’t much of a plan, but instead of driving around aimlessly, I wanted to spend time in a Hyde to wait and watch.

Early morning glory over the Kalahari Desert, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Early morning glory over the Kalahari Desert, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Zimba and I were on the move before sunrise again. A young Caracal quickly crossed the track in front of me, way too fast for a photo. Last time I saw a small cat early mornings was the Serval at “Lower Zambezi National Park’. That day, I witnessed 5 lions taking on a herd of buffalo. A positive sign I thought. But really, what are the odds? It was rather quiet at ‘Doringstraat Waterhole’, only a few Roan Antilope were carefully drinking.

The track to ‘Leeupan Waterhole’ (lion plains) is extremely soft sand. I drove a few hundred meters of this track yesterday, only to turn around in hot conditions. This track was much easier handled this morning. Reaching ‘Leeupan’ eventually, only a 5-meter diameter mud puddle was left. Not surprisingly, that no wildlife was anywhere near. The well was pumping a trickle amount of water, which can not catch up with the water supply needed. 

Park rangers do the best they can to keep all wells pumping, a great effort to keep wildlife alive. ‘Tsau Waterhole’ is the biggest of them all and I was a bit more hopeful. Surely it would attract some wildlife, possibly a predator. It was quiet even here. It seemed that the gusty south-easterly winds had blown all animals out off the park. Nevertheless, I was determined to stake out in the sheltering Hyde.

A herd off Roan Antilope at Tsau waterhole, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

A herd off Roan Antilope at Tsau waterhole, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

A few Roan showed. These shy Antilope get even more skittish around waterholes.

Different drinking technique, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Different drinking technique, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

It really doesn’t take much for them to run off again. Yep, not much happening here either. Maybe I was just really lucky yesterday? Let’s go back via ‘Doringstraat Waterhole’ and if there is no show there, I would have a relaxing afternoon back at camp. A good plan.

A large amount off elephants at Doringstraat waterhole, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

A large number of elephants at Doringstraat waterhole, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Arriving at ‘Doringstraat’, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Elephants were all around, as far as the eye can see.

Elephants near and far, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Elephants near and far, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

At least hundreds of them, near and far. Like ants in the distance, it was an elephantastic spectacle once again. Simply outstanding.

Overcrowded well at Doringstraat waterhole, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Overcrowded well at Doringstraat waterhole, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

The water well was well overcrowded with elephants pushing to get through. There was a bit of tension in between herds, I better check the situation first. I couldn’t park Zimba anywhere near.

Shiny and refreshed, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Shiny and refreshed, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Some elephants returned from a mud bath to have a drink, looking all shiny and new. These wells are about 5 meters long and subdivided in smaller compartments to avoid elephants having a bath or destroy the whole system.

Too much a well could handle, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Too much a well could handle, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Yet, I was a bit worried about the number of elephants squeezing for a drink.  There seemed to be a queuing system going on. Herds lining up from far moved in, whilst the drinking herd moved on to the waterhole.

Cheeky little smiles, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Cheeky little smiles, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

These two youngsters looked like they had some mischief in mind. The waterhole is what took my interest mostly, this is kids territory.

Mud bath explorer, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Mud bath explorer, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

This youngster decided to see if he could walk through.

Full body dive, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Full body dive, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Being a bit cautious, to begin with, he went for a dive.

Feels so good, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Feels so good, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

He really liked the idea of that.

Sunny reflections, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Sunny reflections, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

The sun shone directly on his shiny skin, giving almost perfect water reflections. This was fun, let’s do it again.

Elephant submarine, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Elephant submarine, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

And down he went again, an elephant submarine.

Some trunk acrobatics, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Some trunk acrobatics, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

A little trunk display was needed.

A drink of water in between play, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

A drink of water in between play, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

And some water to drink of course.

Looking in the mirror, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Looking in the mirror, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

He was quietly impressed by his own reflections. Mirror, mirror on the mud…!

Like Phoenix from the ashes, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Like Phoenix from the ashes, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Like a fountain of youth, he got out of the waters,

One last slippery step, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

One last slippery step, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

with a little uphill struggle.

Elephants to the left, right and centre, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Elephants to the left, right and centre, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

It was a coming and going, left to right and right to left. By this time, I used an opportunity to sneak up to the half-constructed Hyde, which gave me a better overview.

Without captions, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Without captions, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

My next candidate? Well, I wasn’t sure what he was trying to achieve in this position.

Best check up on him, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Best check up on him, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Collapsing on the muddy shoreline got the better of his friend. He literally laid there for a good few minutes with his friend overlooking the situation.

Are you ok?, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Are you ok?, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Checking if he is still alive, he gave him a wee notch with his right foot.

Who is there? Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Who is there? Khaudum National Park, Namibia

He didn’t look to be impressed being so rudely awoken.

I was fast asleep, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

I was fast asleep, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Before too long,

I just wanna lay here, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

I just wanna lay here, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

he fell back in the mud leaving his friend a little dumbfounded.

Not sure about these waters, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Not sure about these waters, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Others were not so sure about the waters.

Come in and join me!, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Come in and join me!, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

They can be tricky at times.

Mud shower school, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Mud shower school, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

A few adults decided to take a few youngsters on a mud shower lesson, to get the best trunk action swing.

One to the left, then one to the right, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

One to the left, then one to the right, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

The young ones tried to copy,

That’s good class, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

That’s good class, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

but there still is lots to practice on.

Mud pool lifeguard, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Mud pool lifeguard, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

The lifeguard blew the whistle, it was halftime again.

Next herd on the well, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Next herd on the well, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Another herd moved in,

Next kids group in the mud, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Next kids group in the mud, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Another moved on to the mud bath

Next herd out, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Next herd out, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

and the other moved out.

Warning views from the matriarch, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Warning views from the matriarch, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

This herd arrived, lead by an experienced matriarch. She looked me straight in the eyes as she passed by. ‘I won’t back down’.

Two tiny cuties, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Two tiny cuties, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

With good reasons. In her herd were two very young ones, probably not even 6 months old. Little Dumbo, Khaudum National Park, Namibia. OM-D, how gorgeous are these two?

Careful now!, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Careful now!, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Being this small, they had to tread carefully around the well.

Mom with two different age youngsters, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Mom with two different age youngsters, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

The next herd was on the move already.

Pushing and shoving, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Pushing and shoving, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

The waterhole itself was kids heaven, It simply is a joy to watch them behave and play around these muddy waters. They seem to lose all senses and let their spirits run free. A real kids playground.

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Pushing and shoving, a tag team was created.

I just lay here for a while, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

I just lay here for a while, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Once lying on the ground, elephants can’t easily get up again.

I really don’t want to get up, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

I really don’t want to get up, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

But there is always a helping trunk to push you on.

Elephants all around, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Elephants all around, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

With so many elephants, it really was hard to focus on any particular. But one elephant’s behaviour really made me wonder. Elephants like trees for shade, body scrubs and chewing the rind.

Poor elephants, almost human like, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Poor elephants, almost human-like, Khaudum National Park, Namibia

This one had his trunk high up in the air against the tree trunk, as if he was looking for a connection. Other times he was leaning headfirst against the tree. Not only for 5 minutes but the whole time I was there. This I haven’t seen before. Not so strange as I found out shortly after. From here, an unexpected series of tragic events occurred, which I and the Park Rangers still can’t believe to this day. Find out when this story will be continued.

One thought on “Namibia, Khaudum National Park Elephant Tales Part 2 – The Shower must go on

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