Etosha National Park, Namibia: Within 2 km of entering, we spotted a dozen zebras grazing in the grass and we were hooked on Etosha. We were immediately taken with the park’s beauty and the possibility of seeing Africa’s wildlife just feet from our camper truck.

That first day, we drove around for a few hours and saw hundreds more zebras, springbok, wildebeast and some oryx. After being in the hot sun all day and still feeling crappy from the malaria meds we’re taking, we were ready to head to camp. But we decided on one more turn, and just around the corner were 10 giraffes in the bush. We sat there in our car, cameras and binoculars in hand, watching them nibble thorn bushes and bat their long eyelashes. It was exciting to see these gentle & graceful animals so early in our visit…and so close!!

We found our campsite and headed to the watering hole. We sat there for a bit and said This isn’t going to happen. There’s no way animals come here while dozens of campers sit around expecting their arrival. But then, a lone rhinoceros quietly entered stage right. He approached the watering hole slowly while his mate and their baby sauntered over after. We gawked for an hour until they left as quietly as they appeared.

And so was our first day in Etosha – zebras, giraffe and some rhinos. We could barely fall asleep we were so excited.