Namibia Adventure 2017
Etosha National Park
Namibia. That scorched piece of land in the South West corner of Africa. Sand-dunes and sun. Nature in a constant battle to survive in a hostile environment parched of precious, life-giving water. Not so much on my last visit there....! :-)
I returned to Namibia in February this year after the country had experienced some much welcome and prolonged periods of rain. Damaraland was still pretty dry even though rivers were flowing that hadn't done so for many years. But by the time I reached Etosha National Park, the landscape was looking more like this:
The abundance of water meant the park was covered in grasses and flowers which for most visitors is a pretty unusual sight. Although this looks very pretty it did unfortunately mean that the wildlife was dispersed far and wide as they had no need to rely on the waterholes with so much standing water everywhere. So rather than waiting for the animals to come to me, I had to put in the hours to go find them.
(25th Feb) Day 1: Galton Gate to Okaukuejo
Entering at the western boundary via Galton Gate, my route would take me across the park from west to east, stopping at Okaukuejo and exiting from Namutoni. After completing the required entry procedures at Galton Gate I finally started my first Etosha drive. Although I'd been told that the elephant herds had moved north, within the first hour or so I was lucky to spot a lone bull making his way to a waterhole for a drink and to coat himself in mud.
A pit-stop at the Olifantsarus camp for toasted sandwiches and a cold drink also provided an opportunity to check out the new hide/observation platform. The lower tier of the hide is at ground level which gives a good opportunity to see view the animals from the same height however the angle of the sun and the dirtiness of the glass meant photos were not an option!
Arriving at Okaukuejo camp the accommodation paperwork was (finally) completed and we settled in to one of the waterhole chalets in time for sunset. It was nice to be able to stroll across to the waterhole but apart from a few impala the area was pretty devoid of animal activity during our stay there, once again due to the wet weather the park was experiencing.
(Feb 26th) Day 2: Okaukuejo Region
Waking to a beautiful sunrise after some overnight rain, the bush looked beautiful in a golden early morning light. One of the first animals spotted was this jackal heading back to his den no doubt after a night of mischief!
I wanted to check out the Okondeka waterhole at the edge of the pan to see if we could spot the resident lion pride there. The relaxed nature of the wildebeest and oryx meant a lack of felines but nonetheless it was a very nice place to sit and drink our morning coffee with the backdrop of a never-ending Etosha pan stretching into the distance.
(Feb 27th) Day 3: Okaukuejo to Onguma Reserve
(Feb 28th) Day 4: Onguma Reserve
(March 1st) Day 5: Onguma Reserve
With sunset approaching we left Namutoni gate one last time and said goodbye to Etosha, hopefully I'll get to return again another time.