The sun was low on the horizon at the Waterberg National Park in Namibia. Our camp was positioned on the edge of a small cliff overlooking the riverbed and desert below us. Well I say ‘camp’, but I mean four walls about 3 feet high and a corrugated tin roof. No doubt about it, we were open air and in nothing but sleeping bags ready to get the whole southern African experience. My parents were sat about 200 meters away on the edge of the cliff while my sister and I were chilling on the camp wall.
Out of nowhere, a troop (or whatever the collective noun is) of baboons emerged and began to form a circle around the camp. Now if you’ve ever seen a baboon up close, you’ll know that they are mean looking animals which often act as such. Just the morning before, one of them had swiped my mum’s handbag while we were brushing our teeth and we were extremely lucky to retrieve it.
But now this whole baboon troop were closing down on the two of us.
It became a bit like a siege out of Game of Thrones, with one or two of them making it onto the wall but the majority just barking their heads off a couple of meters back. Luckily though, amidst some serious panic and near brown-trousers-time, we managed to make enough noise and throw enough stones to convince them to leave, just before our parents came rushing back. In hindsight, an amazing experience, however at the time I will happily admit I was very scared. But we defended the camp. So call me Tyrion.
Then when we were asleep that night, my mum and I were awoken by a couple of porcupines tickling our feet with their quills. I’ll tell you, porcupines look the size of elephants when you are lying on your back! But they are scaredy-cats at heart and lack opposable thumbs, so disappeared pretty sharpish when they finally heard us.
Overall, quite the bush experience with some up close and personal memories to carry for life. So if Namibia is on your radar and you’re a proper adventurer, spend a few nights in the Waterberg (after seeing Etosha National Park of course). You’ll have plenty to talk about when you return!