Location Windhoek, Namibia
It seemed like the whole trip through Namibia had just been paid off. The endless hours on the road, that handfulls of money falling our of our pockets like it was a fucking strip club, all meant nothing for those ten minutes with two giant lions. Still shaking with excitement we continued and found our luck actually continue. In the next waterhole not 10 Km away, we found a black rhino, my first, and the rarest in Africa since the poaching skyrocketed.
I wish they had a program where I could go and hunt the poachers with a rifle. Anyway, a few good shots of the rhino and we found ourselves in the next camp, Okaukeujo, the biggest in Etosha and our last night in the park with more than 3 to 4 days drive to make it back to Cape Town. We booked in, found our lovely 2 bedroom, 2 floor premium chalet overlooking the lighted watering hole that we could watch right from the balcony of the second floor. While i took the smaller bed downstairs.
Okaukeujo was big, with a pool and a bar, I added a cocktail to my diazapam and felt just lovely as I got a quick tan by the pool before a thunderstorm rolled in and we quickly loaded our shit into the room as the desert filled with rain. With the watering hole less than 100 meters from us I was really hoping for my African leopard to come and make me shoot to the moon. The rain continued, then lightened, then got heavy again and the concern raised that it may not be the best night to have a chalet above the lighted pan just after the rain in the desert. The great thing about the summer in Etosha is water is so limited you can just head to each of the marked watering holes and find game. But with the rain, and the dry desert sand, there would be watering holes every ten feet.
We waited, the sun slipped away and we were all ready to stay up late and get up early to hopefully catch the shot of the year, hopefully of a leopard or cheetah. In the mean time we made a plan to drive the following day to Windhoek, 5 hours away, stay there, then, following with 7 hours to the Kagalagadi Transfrontier Park in Botswana that bordered Namibia and went all the way past the border into South Africa on the way back to Cape Town, which from the park was still 12 hours drive away. Overall my theory that if you smash as much of a country as you can in the first few days, you can take the last few to catch up, rest, drink and party to celebrate your achievements.
That night the lighted pan was quiet, the quiet of the evening didn’t matter though, as between the bar, Germans, Australians and Americans who couldn’t shut the fuck up, no animal would come within 10 miles of that watering hole. Instead, I decided to wait until all the cunts went to bed and I would wake up at 4 to see if I could catch a glimpse of something spectacular.
At 4 I reluctantly rose from my comfortable bed, brewed a kettle of tea and sat out in the rain for a good hour and a half in the dark in front of the lighted waterhole, drinking tea and smoking my Marlboros. With the exception of a few birds, there wasn’t an animal I could see near the hole for miles. I could hear the deep, grunts of lions in the near distance, so I waited a little longer. I could feel the noise in the chest, deep in my chest, close enough to make it actually vibrate from the echo of the sound within me. I knew they had to be close. Eventually I went back to bed, woke again at 7 to find the same empty watering hole. It didn’t bother me much, with the exception of a few elephants we got to see quite a lot of animals and nothing could steal those lions from us. Its an experience I will take to my grave. As the crew prepared their coffee, I washed the African red dust off my body from all the driving in the sand and dust and prepared for the day. We checked out by nine, did a few things in town and took a short run to a couple waterholes with no luck aside from a couple springbok, a few giraffe and an ostrich, which at this point in my overall African adventures, were nothing but tasty biltong (jerky, well, maybe not the giraffe).
On the way out, a little distance from the gate a saw some of the Himba people selling trinkets on the side of the road, something I wanted desperately to see before I made my way there. They were all painted red, all over their skin and caked heavily into their hair to protect them from the sun. The women were topless and I approached and asked to take their pictures, they politely responded and asked that I pay them 200ND which was more than worth it, I had been searching for them the entire time in country. One of the little boys, about two years old was behind me trying to rub off my tattoos on my legs, which made me giggle as I explained that they didn’t come off and were there until I died. As we were turning around to leave one of the elders grabbed me by the shoulder and said, twins...soon! holding up two fingers and pointing at me in a way that fucking made my blood run cold. That freaked me the fuck out, enough to not tell Molly who has twins that run in her family. but that has got to be at least the 15-16th fortune teller that has said something similar.
Back in the car we went and the trip seemed to just get easier and easier, I was taking more and more valium added with redbull and Provigil. I was dancing to Peter Gabriel, Huey Lewis and the News and others just to keep the energy high and keep pour Annette happy and smiling. Annette had beat cancer, and recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis and fucking lupus. So most of the trip, I tried to make sure she was comfortable and happy. When we finally arrived in Windhoek, we looked for accommodation, which was incredibly expensive and surrounded by casinos, which was a complete turn-around from my experience from the rest of the country. We eneded up staying in these two bedrooms executive suites on the top floor of a shopping mall. It was pretty weird, but comfortable. We just chilled out, did some shopping, all while I made plans on a place to stay in Kagalagadi, the distance to the camp and entering and exiting the park without any troubles. Without any time to do any washing I just bought a couple shirts in the mall below us and starting writing, then decided on making a quick trip to the pharmacies within walking distance, which all denied me. Instead I made a quick stop into a doctor’s office that was just about to close, who within minutes was handing me a new script for 30 more 10mg diazepam. I filled the script and practically skipped back to the apartment where I found Annette and Alex watching Tv and eating dinner. It would be a 7-8 hour drive to the park in southern Nambia and on through the South African border so it would be an early morning, all the same I blasted some more valium, wrote enough to catch up and edited photos until Alex and I finished our film that night.We started our trip to the center of Namibia, the capitol, Windhoek. It took us 9 hours to drive there on dirt roads that turned into tarred roads all the way into the city felt like a fucking vacation. It was wonderful, I was dancing and acting the fool the whole damn way, making my friends laugh at my ridiculousness.
We arrived in a small town to get gas and some lunch, conviently next door to the shop was a small pharmacy where I made up a story that after purchasing my diazepam in Swokopmund it fell from my pocket. With a devlish, flirty smile to the pharmacist behind the counter, I was handed 30 more pills and my grin went from ear to ear, especially after I learned it would only cost me 35 Namibian Dollars (just short of $3USD).
I was excited for the next day, a brand new park, the chance to see the black mane of the Kalahari Lion in the heart of the desert and the epic drive to get there. What a fucking life I get to lead. Im counting my blessings; right here on this page. Thank you universe, thank you Apollo thank you Mother, thank you Father, thank you ancestors, thank you Earth.