On our last morning on the Etosha Salt Pan in Namibia we came across a leopard sat up in one of the many dead trees. It seemed to become part of the tree itself: it’s limbs just adding to the myriad of dead branches. This was a compilation of a number of photos as it settled itself into its perch. Unfortunately the wagon we were in wasnt allowed to leave the road and get us a better angle so all we got were versions of this rear view, but when it turned its head it was quite majestic.
I did a couple of paintings as presents for our guide and our cook and will send them to them when I get their addresses.
I must admit on this tour of Namibia, the game reserves were the last places I wanted to go. Years before I had seen wild animals in Kenya and Tanzania and really didnt want to see any more. However, the day I spent sat sketching beside a waterhole just yards from my hotel room was very special, watching the animals and birds slowly come and go in the heat of the day and noting their behaviour as they approached and as they drank certainly kept me enthralled.
I might even try a few animal portraits from some of the material I have collected: you have been warned. Anyway, before that, A Merry Christmas to all my readers.
So on to the Etosha pan and the Okaukuejo waterhole. Our room was yards from the actual waterhole which to my dismay was artificial, but boy did it attract some wildlife. The others went off on a game drive but I just sat in the shade and watched the animals come and go throughout the afternoon. I sat and sketched them in pencil, somewhat difficult as they kept getting spooked by flocks of birds flying off the trees. A couple of the pages are below.
I then did the watercolour at the top.
After this we went to another waterhole at Namutoni, this time real, but it only seemed to attract birdlife, so I decided to paint the old German fort, incongruously next to the waterhole.
It was very sad that they were doing very little with the fort, as opposed to the old German Police station at the Waterberg Plateau park which was used as a restaurant and had a very elegant veranda running around it and where you could breakfast. Why they needed a police station in the middle of nowhere was beyond me.
I quickly did a view of the sandstone cliffs you had to climb to get onto the plateau. It needed to be fast as a patrolling baboon was
likely to return after inspecting the rubbish bins for food and make off with my painting. Unfortunately for you readers he wasnt successful.
Anyway next stop Cape Town and, hopefully, a little less rushed itinerary, which may improve the sketching.
The tour continues moving inland to the Brandberg Mountains which contains the highest peak in Namibia. This basalt plug, the remains of an extinct volcano glows red in the morning sunshine giving the impression of it being alight. This was painted in the afternoon in the manicured grounds of the lodge.
Still further inland towards the Etosha salt flats in the evening light as the distant hills constantly changed colour in the decaying light.
Today on the beach at Swakopmund on the Atlantic seaboard and a day off from the tour, having spent the last few days in the Namib Desert climbing dunes and doing the odd bit of painting as can also be seen below. I might even get to do some of the animals if they stand still long enough.