Northwest of the Brandberg Mountains ( a granite mass left somewhat incongruously on the landscape, after the continental upheavals of the Early Cretaceous rifting, some 130 million years ago) flows a dry sand river, the Ughab. Its riverbed is a ribbon of green twisting and turning as it pushes its way between black rocks on its inexorable journey to the sea. The Ughab appears to be dry but the water runs deep beneath the sands. Every so often a waterhole rises close to the surface, reaffirming that the most important giver of life lies underneath. Each waterhole is surrounded by tall reeds and thick bush, suggesting a haven of immense proportions as you approach, but only to disappoint as a muddy “puddle” is all that you will often see. All life has to come here, because of their necessity to drink.
Namibia is a desert landscape with a sparse covering of grass so the big herbivores are few and far between. You are most likely not to see a thing and if you do it will be a single gemsbok or a couple of black faced impala. desert elephants roam here, short tempered, probably because of the difficulties of getting enough to eat in this sparse landscape. If you are very lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the white rhino itself.
Lions we have never seen at the Rhino Camp, not even the remnants of their spoor weathered by time. This is because a small pride will roam over a territory of 400sq miles in order to have enough prey animals. We do see the spoor of the solitary leopard as this land suits them well.
At a bend in the river, a gap in the hills has allowed Namibia’s Save the Rhino Trust to make a bush camp and it is here where we stop for a while and put our tents up in amongst the acacia trees. Around each camping place are reed shelters with a sign attached warning of elephants and lions, shelters that do not look lion proof to say the least!!. Mind you we do not concern ourselves too much as there is a protocol, a system of listening and looking, never expecting that the lion will not appear and no one is allowed to wander off, just in case. This landscape holds a certain excitement, and an anticipation of a chance meeting with the wildlife with the knowledge that you cannot just walk free, as in England and this makes you appreciate being alive I think.