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False Travel Namibia 21 Etosha is one of our favourite places because, in this bleached landscape of shimmering heat - Etosha means ‘ great white place’ - it’s possible to pick up the stories of individual animals Searching for water. Ostriches on Etosha PanAnn & Steve Toon Waterhole madness Gondwana Collection

False 22 Travel Namibia Essential Namibia young lions. Or we might catch another glimpse of the impressive black rhino bull we saw yesterday, striding across the pan in broad daylight. But where are those four cubs? We drive along the road still speculating about them. As we slow down to look through binoculars at a flock of vultures in the distance, we hear a soft ‘ mewing’ sound and look down to see where it’s coming from. Peeping over the edge of a ditch by the roadside are two amber eyes topped by a pair of teddy bear ears. It’s one of the cubs, a mischievous young male, who seems to have appointed himself leader of the gang. He’s certainly inherited his mother’s boldness. He’s followed out by another cub, and then another… The cubs have been hiding in a storm drain under the road just a few hundred yards from their mother. Enjoying an early taste of independence, they emerge from their shelter and pad curiously around our vehicle on oversize paws they’ll eventually grow into. As suddenly as they appeared they scamper off to look for their mother. She is casually walking over, calling them to check everything’s okay and calmly greeting each one with a reassuring lick, before leading them into the thorn bushes and out of our sight. TOP WILDLIFE WATCHING SPOTS n FROM NAMUTONI Kleinleinleinlein Namutoniamutoniamutoniamutoniamutoniamutoniamutoni waterholewaterholewaterholewaterholewaterholewaterholewaterholewaterhole close to camp with wildlife that’s accustomed to tourist traffic. Andonindonindonindonindoni Plainslainslainslainslains good in the summer for large groups of herbivores and attendant lions. Tsumcorsumcorsumcorsumcorsumcorsumcor andandand Aroeroeroe waterholeswaterholeswaterholeswaterholeswaterholeswaterholeswaterholeswaterholes popular with elephant herds. KalkhealkhealkhealkhealkheUwelwelwel excellent for photography in the dry season. n FROM HALALI: Goasoas waterholewaterholewaterhole – this is wildlife central in the dry season. Salvadora – a popular dry season spot for huge zebra herds and a good area for cheetah. Halali camp waterholewaterholewaterhole is good for elephant, black rhino and leopard after dark. It’s busiest in the dry season but can be quiet if there’s plenty of water elsewhere. In the camp after dark you should be able to find tiny pearl- spotted owlets, bush- babies and the odd marauding honey- badger. n FROM OKAUKUEJO: Olifsantslifsantslifsantsbad a popular spot with Etosha elephants and a good place to see black- faced impala. Natcoatcoatcoatco good for gemsbok and large elephant bulls. Okaukuejokaukuejo camp waterholewaterholewaterhole offers world- class wildlife watching in the dry season, day and night. It’s also worth visiting the ‘ Enchanted Forestorestorest’ to the west of the camp. The weird Moringa trees turn the place into an eerie dreamscape. We’re driving slowly, staring into the thorn bushes, past small groups of zebra resting bar- code heads on the backs of their neighbours Lion cubs in the wild suffer a huge mortality rate. But somehow we sense Ivy’s cubs may have a better chance than most. Four months later we’re fortunate enough to visit Etosha again. Once more, we find ourselves on the lookout for Ivy. On our last afternoon we head for a waterhole just south of Fischer’s Pan, where people have reported lions. On our approach we’re met by a dozen or so giraffe, all staring fixedly at a stand of trees behind us, mesmerised. Turning to see what holds their fascination, we see four, fat lion cubs sitting prominently by the water. Walking coolly towards them is a well- fed lioness with a brandmark we don’t need binoculars to identify. It’s Ivy and her four rapidly growing cubs, still successfully living their lives on the dry white plains of Etosha. Kicking up the dust. GONDWANA COLLECTION