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vultures and Marabou Storks Gathering at Etosha National Park

On our slow drive towards Okaukuejo, we noticed several big birds gathering on the grassveld in the distance. We stopped. We pulled out the binoculars and the zoom lens. But the scene was just a bit too far away for us. :-( We could see vultures and Marabou Storks in the flickering heat as well as two fast-moving animals, possibly jackals or hyaenas? Well, it was too far away. We could not identify them.

Blackbacked Jackal (Canis mesomelas)

And then this blackbacked jackal quickly crossed the road in front of us. He was carrying something, apparently coming from the scene in the distance. As there were some bushes between the road and the scene, we did not see him coming earlier, so we were quite surprised when he sat down roughly 5 meters (16 ft) in the grass to enjoy whatever he has been carrying. Too bad, we could not identify what he was eating.

Blackbacked Jackal with Springbok nearby

Right behind the jackal was a Springbok, looking puzzled and not shy at all. There seemed to be something that the Springbok was interested in, but not enough to start a fight with the jackal. The jackal, on the other hand, did not care at all about the Springbok. In a way, it was quite surreal.

Blackbacked Jackal at Etosha National Park

And then, to our right side, there was a second jackal, drinking some water from a puddle. It looked alert - and very hungry. He started to approach the first jackal...

Blackbacked Jackals at Etosha National Park

...but he lost the short fight after a few seconds. He was just biten away by the stronger jackal.

Blackbacked Jackal eating

So the jackal kept on eating, jerking and pulling on that object he had captured.

Blackbacked Jackal in grass, eating

And he looked quite satisfied with his prey! Here we could see for the first time something in his right pad that looked like - horns! Was this a Springbok?

Blackbacked Jackal with Springbok

We got the final confirmation when the jackal began to be nervous - not because of us, by the way, but the additional attention from vultures and marabou storks was apparently too much for the animal. The jackal moved a few feet away, carrying his prey. It was a Springbok head, complete with horns and ears and fur!

Blackbacked Jackal in grass

And then the jackal moved away with his trophy. The scene was somewhat scary, because we suddenly understood how real the life in the National Park actually is. This is not a zoo, it's life and death, and we were witnesses to some important part of it. The whole scene lastet for about 30 minutes, and we did not even noticed how the time flew by!

Okaukuejo Waterhole

So we moved on to Okaukuejo, checked in to the resort, and visited the local waterhole. There is a small stand at its right side, providing even better views across the waterhole, but this evening there was not much action going on. (Yeah, we know that we have been spoilt by the "bathing elephants" last night.)

Sunset at Okaukuejo Waterhole

But we admired another georgeous sunset, with birds sitting right in front of a mirror-like waterhole. Gosh. This is awesome.

Sunset at Etosha National Park

And yet another photo of the sun going down at the Etosha National Park. The next morning would see us heading south, to Outjo, and then to Twyfelfountain. It will be a long day, with roughly 350 km (220 miles) and more gravel road to come.

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