Day nine of Gordon Donovan's journey back to Namibia's Etosha National Park. It's time to start heading back towards civilization even though I don't want to leave.

Not a good nights sleep with the anticipation of having to leave Etosha. I packed the night before and was anxious to make an early start of things. I brought several items to the truck the night before and kept what I needed in the room. I was out the door while it was still dark and went to checkout. No one was at reception. I walked to the restaurant for breakfast. They were not ready to serve at 6:00 AM. Several employees were walking around in circles and finally someone brought hot water out for tea. As I went to add sugar, I noticed an ant infestation all over the counter in the sugar bowl and near the breadbaskets.

Just a banana and apple for me as I just went on a diet this morning. I checked out and waited for the gate to open. I spoke to the gatekeeper and asked if he heard anything during the night? He said he heard screams somewhere to the left down the road a bit. I headed towards the left at first to find nothing. Then I went to the Klein Namutoni waterhole and just laying in the grass were lions enjoying the early morning sun. Apparently the pride of nine lions had breakfast already were preparing for a busy day of napping.

It was difficult to photograph the lions because of the distance from the road and position of the sun. I tried shooting with the sun at my back but it was too far even with a 500MM lenses with an extender. So I waited and sat on the edge of road closer to the big cats with the blinding morning sun in my eyes. I did the best I could with what I had. I wanted to these beauties to get up and walk past me into the woods. There was no one else around.

Suddenly a rhino approached the nearby waterhole and made several of the young lions perked up a little. I am sure what the three youngsters were not sure what to do. Reminded me of my house cats getting excited when they see a pigeon sits on windowsill. So for two hours I watched these cats’ nap, stretch, clean their paws and walk towards a covered area nearby to sleep in the shade, as the sun grew warmer.

I was suddenly feeling a dilemma of staying for a few hours waiting for these beauties to move or head out and make my way east and then south towards Okonjima. It’s a four drive and I really did not eat. I will be hungry and last time I left Etosha, or didn’t want to leave, I almost did not make my next destination at Erindi before sundown. Some I gave in and said good-bye after two hours of playing big cat chess. Perhaps Okonjima will be just as good as the last three days.

130125_wm_etosha_namutoni_C45H8439 130125_wm_etosha_namutoni_C45H0486 A lioness pops her head up in the grass
lion gets playful with a sibling wo lions synchronize scratches while laying around in the grass Several lions enjoy their day off in the grass
rhino makes his way towards the woods rhino makes his way towards the woods No luck for this lion looking for someone to play with
lion gets up and stretches A rhino gets some attention from several young lions A lion sits around in the grass planning their day
lion does some grooming in the grass Several lions relax in grass sun rises behind the tree

Photos taken Jan. 25, 2013 using a Canon EOS-1D Mark IV Digital SLR with a EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Standard Zoom Lens, EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens, a Sigma Telephoto 500mm f/4.5 EX DG APO HSM Autofocus Lens for Canon EOS with/without a 1.4x DG EX APO Teleconverter.

Photos taken today: 274
Total photos taken: 6803