Being in the moment – Etosha
I had last visited Namibia and Etosha more than 15 years ago with my now wife and her family, learning about the rich geology and history of Namibia and Etosha. And so it was I found myself heading north with great excitement from Windhoek and passing through towns with such romantic, historic and interesting names such as Okahandja, Otjiwarongo, Otavi , Lake Otjikoto and Tsumeb to meet the Onguma guiding team.
Our training focused on 3 main areas: the guided experience and engaging guests with enthusiasm; Rifle handling & shooting and bush walking. A lot was learnt and achieved, but sometimes it is the simple things that ring home best.
By far the best time for me was spending time on foot on the reserve. We managed a few walks alternating the guides including myself. We managed to track a Black rhino for a distance interpreting the story he left for us the night before. But the most memorable walk was a morning walk along the eastern shores of Fischers Pan on the Etosha NP boundary. The sounds made it. As we walked we heard Jackals calling, Lions roaring in the distance, a flock of flamingos gargling as they flew overhead and the dusty thunder of zebra running. Wildebeest stopped and watched us, a Damara Hornbill foraged and so did we as we looked for valuable desert plants. The highlight was the Namagoerie or bushman’s potatoes. A few hours had flashed by and I we were reminded how often we complicate the guided experience. We force it into a box of facts and time-constraints, the very opposite of what most guests come to Africa for.
Namibia is such a lovely country. Its endless landscapes draw the eyes to the limitless horizons where it meets the blue sky. The wilderness is vast and mostly uninhabited. It is a harsh, dry environment but beautiful and full of surprises. It is this sense of place that guest must experience and when the opportunities present themselves, make sure that first we as the guide are in the moment, so that we can open this up for our guests as well. (Byron)