I’ve just arrived back from an incredible 2 days at Etosha, one of Africa’s biggest game reserves. I was lucky enough to join the Grade 4s on their class outing, I was there to help but managed to have an amazing time and it felt much more like a holiday than work. We set off on Friday morning at 7am; I was in the car with Tabs and the boys sat in the back. Brenda, the grade 4 teacher drove in the schools new minibus with the girls. The drive was a few hours which is a short journey in Namibia, Tabs played her music (which I love!) loudly the whole way there until we entered the game reserve where you have to be quiet to avoid scaring the animals. The first animal we saw was a giraffe standing by the side of the road. Me and Tabs screamed ‘GEEE-RARRRFF’ for ages and took loads of photos. We did this every time we saw a giraffe until we got bored; we saw so many giraffes that we would have been stopping every 30 seconds. We arrived at the village of Okaukeujo which had lodges, camping sites, a pool and shops and was full of tourists. I climbed the watching tower with the grade 4s and we sang ‘take my hand’ at the top (this is the girls favourite song at the moment so they sing it 24/7), climbed down and got back in the car to drive to Halali, the resort where we were staying. On the way there we saw the most amazing thing; at one waterhole we stopped to see zebras and springbok, as we were about to leave we heard a thumping noise in the distance and saw a giant white object move towards us. We all thought it was a truck but as it got closer we saw it was a massive white elephant. It ran towards us as we sat silently, it then charged at the zebras and drank at the waterhole. Me and Tabs were nearly in tears at it was so close and so big. People assume that because we’re living in Africa you see elephants and lions walking around every day but it’s definitely not like that! After watching the animals drink and bathe in the water we finished the journey to Halali. The kids set up the tents and got ready to go in the pool; I swam and supervised them as I was the only teacher who could swim! We had so much fun but we had to be quiet otherwise we would ‘scare off the tourists’. In the evening we went to the Halali waterhole, a 5 minute walk from our campsite. There were rocks to sit on to watch the waterhole and wait for animals to arrive. Tabs, Brenda and I decided that all the animals must’ve been at a party as nothing came for ages. Just as we were about to leave we heard something walking, a giraffe appeared from the bushes and didn’t see us all watching. As the sun set it drank from the waterhole, it felt like a moment from a movie. As we were taking the kids back to the campsite we got a text from Festus to tell us there were 7 elephants at the waterhole. Me and Tabs ran back even though there was now thunder, lightning and rain. More elephants had come and there were now 20 elephants drinking and washing themselves. The baby ones were so cute and even though we were taking photos they didn’t know we were there watching. As we got back to the campsite we were soaking wet and had to give the kids their dinner in the dark. They quickly went to bed and we got ready to sleep in our tent. I decided I wasn’t brave enough to sleep in a tent and risk being struck by lightning so Tabs and I slept in the warm minibus and Brenda slept in the back of the car. I had an awful night’s sleep because the children were awake by 3am! By 6:30 I still hadn’t got back to sleep so I went back to the waterhole to watch the sunrise, unfortunately there weren’t any animals there but it was nice and peaceful. Saturday morning was spent packing up, going on another game drive, buying lots of chocolate from the shop and spending more time in Okaukeujo. We had some drama with 2 boys who had runny tummies and didn’t manage to hold it in until the toilet. It was disgusting but all the kids found the funny side of it, the funniest moment was when one of the boys said ‘Miss I can’t hold it in, what should I do?’. It probably didn’t help that we then gave them all ice creams and vet cakes (like giant doughnuts)! On our last game drive we managed to see more elephants, giraffes, loads and loads of zebras, springbok, wildebeest, gamesbok, jackals and 3 lions! The lions were sitting under a tree and were so well camouflaged that you couldn’t see them in photos but we watched them stand up, move around and yawn. That was another surreal moment that I definitely won’t forget for a long time. On our way home we stopped at Okeukaujo Primary school to show the grade 4s how different some schools are to Otjikondo. It was definitely a shock, the school was very basic and the complete opposite to Otjikondo. A few girls showed us around their hostel which was tiny and filled with beds. All of the girls at the school shared this one room; I couldn’t even fit in between the beds. The kids didn’t even have lockers to store their things, their clothes were just scattered on the floor or laid on their beds. The boys at the school were very different to the boys at Otjikondo, they were aggressive, rude and liked walking around playing loud music from their phones. It was disturbing seeing such a rundown school and it made me feel ten times more grateful to be living at such a good school in comparison. The grade 4s told me the Okeukaujo Primary school was untidy and all they needed to do was give it a good clean! We drove back to Otjikondo reflecting on an amazing weekend, Tabs told me she wanted to cry tears of happiness! I loved being with Brenda, Tabs and the grade 4s and I grew a lot closer to some of the kids that I didn’t get on with before the trip. It was nice to come back home to Otjikondo but I’m determined to visit Etosha again before I leave Namibia.
Etosha! Grade 4 outing – 26th-27th October