Etoshia National Park, Namibia
As with any family outing tensions can occasionally flair. So when Sami and Scott arrived there was some discussion about where to go and what to do…… I wanted to go North, Amy South, Sami East and Scottie West….. After some discord, Scottie piped in, 'Enough! Too many chiefs and not enough Indians!'
After trying to ascertain which way to go we stumbled across on out fitter called Which Way Adventures….. They offered a guided safari to exactly the same places we all wanted to visit. So we rather diplomatically removed ourselves from much of the decision-making. For a mere 650 bucks apiece we signed up for an all-inclusive 19-day safari from Cape Town, South Africa to Victoria Falls, Zambia. Our route would take us through the deserts of Namibia and the Okavongo delta in Botswana.
I am writing this journal entry from one of the most famous National Parks in Namibia: Etosha. We have traveled overland for 5 days to get here. The past few days have been absolutely magical. It's really hard to believe how much one can do in a week.
Three days ago we climbed one of the world's highest sand dunes to watch the sunrise and then took a guided walk through the desert. We learned how sand dunes formed and what environmental factors lead to the sand dunes of Namibia to be some of the highest in the world.  The next day we climbed to the top of another dune and attempted the sport of sand boarding. The idea is to take the new sport of snowboarding to the desert! Outrageous!
A few months ago I tried to snowboard in Whistler and ended up breaking my rib so I
was a bit hesitant to try this in the desert.  Luckily the sand was just a wee bit softer than the packed snow. After many runs, I escaped without a scratch but I did get a bit of a sunburn. Scottie was once a snowboard instructor in Teluride, Colorado. Within minutes Scottie was screaming down the dunes. Check out this picture Amy snapped of Scottie. The only draw back to sandboarding was the lack of a chair lift. You had to hoof it back up the dune. Climbing a several hundred-foot sand dune is no easy affair. Not to mention the fact that sand got everywhere...and I do mean everywhere!
My Travel Journal
Friday, May 17, 2002
Later in that same day we all rented quad bikes and raced through the desert. It was too too much fun. We would race up these sand dunes that were probably 80 feet high. We would climb up and up and up until we would almost reach 90 degrees then we would pull a 180 and scream back down the dune. Scottie and I were having so much fun we were squealing with glee. This was even better than the cage diving. We were having an absolute ball. Amy and Sami found the whole experience somewhat baffling. They hardly appreciated the thrill of trying to propel yourself vertically up a sand dune. Halfway through the ride Sami turned to Amy and said, 'this is the difference between men and women.'
We pulled into Etosha National Park last night and crept over to a waterhole. We were delighted to find elephants and black rhinos awaiting us.
Today we went on our first safari through the bush and within 5 minutes we came across a pride of lions; one male, 5 females and 2 babies. One of the females was absolutely drenched in blood and the male looked like he had just eaten a rather large animal…. We all stared open mouthed out the window as the lions surrounded the car.
I made eye contact with one of the baby lions as it ambled across the road. The animal certainly had fiery eyes. It was a remarkable experience!
We then came across wildebeests, giraffes, oryx, warthogs, elephants, kudus, rhinos and many many more animals. This place is just teeming with life. Watching these enormous animals march about in their home turf reminds me of a Jurassic Park movie. Last night we tried to sleep while lions roared off in the distance and jackals cried out in the dark. I can't recall a more visually stunning image than watching the silhouettes of giraffes moving across the distant horizon.
This evening I watched as 23 elephants came to meet four black rhinos at the watering hole. Jackals, owls, warthogs and springboks all watched as the large mammals decided who was going to drink and who was going to wait their turn. Not surprisingly the elephants pretty much ran the show. Although, they cautiously approached the rhinos.
I think Amy is having the best time. She has shot more rolls of film than a whole truck load of Japanese tourists. She is in hog heaven. Every time I look over at Amy she is grinning like a kid in a candy store and loading another roll of film into her camera. We are planning on having a slide show party upon our return. If you are reading this you are invited. The only catch is you have to view at least half of Amy's pictures. After my mother and step father take their anual trip to South America they always make us sit through their slide show. Which usually includes about 1450 slides of birds and about 233 slides of mushrooms, lichen and various fungi. As it may now be obvious, we have an interesting family. So if you can't make it to our little viewing I will understand....

Well it is getting late and I have to get up at sunrise for another safari trek. I will leave ya'll with this image that Scottie snapped of the Gottlieb clan all safe and happy in Africa.

I hope this journal entry finds everyone well.
Much much love from across the sea,
David, Amy, Sami & Scottie