Before my time here was finished, I wanted to experience a bit of the “real Africa.” I love Cape Town, but it’s a teeming metropolis and has more of a European flair than anything. Not so Namibia. This week I enjoyed a short holiday in Etosha National Park, located in the northern part of the country. It’s a hot and harsh environment, and is said to be one of southern Africa’s best locales for wildlife viewing.
I saw pretty much everything but elephants and the big cats (lion, leopard and cheetah). From giraffes nonchalantly crossing the dusty roads right in front of me, to mischievous honey badgers having a party in the trash bin next to my tent, I loved every wildlife encounter. To see these animals in their natural habitat was one of the highlights of my time in Africa.
Etosha is also a place of quietness and peace. I have a t-shirt that says of South Africa, “No better place than a wide open space.” That could easily describe Namibia as well. Just a few hundred yards from my campsite was a water hole with an amphitheatre-style seating area for viewing the various animals as they wander in at dusk to eat and drink. As I watched steenbok, white rhinoceros and a lonely hyena take their turns, the words of Psalm 145 came to mind: “The eyes of all look to You, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing” (vv. 15-16).
There’s a lesson to be learned for us humans. As far as I could tell, these animals don’t seem concerned about where their next meal or drink of water is coming from. They just go about the business of being who God created them to be. The Creator does the rest. If only we could learn to be so content.