Etosha Pan

The last stop on our tour of northern Namibia was Etosha National Park.  I had heard a lot about Etosha before coming to Namibia, perhaps more than any other place we visited.  It was described to me as the place you will see an amazing variety of wildlife roaming free in their habitat and the all talk was about the watering hole.  Etosha closes its gates at dusk and our LandRover problems really caught up with us on our drive to Etosha, limiting our speed such that we didn’t arrive before sundown.  Fortunately, Piers our guide used to work in the park and he had enough connections for the gates to be opened specially for us.  Two local ladies came to open the gate and I have never seen a more careful opening of gates before.  I could sense they had genuine fear as they shone their single flashlight out into the dark, ever so slowly opening the gate.  I later found out there is a real risk of lions being in the vicinity and they took very sensible precautions.

Once we were inside, we found the camp site to be completely packed to the point we chose perhaps the last available spot which felt a lot like pitching our tents on a parking lot.  A very different experience to being the only person with a tent for miles and miles.  At dawn we ventured out into the park.  Etosha National Park covers 8,600 square miles and includes a huge salt pan.  Within the park several man made watering holes have been created for the benefit of both the wildlife and the visitors.  As we drove around the park I noticed signs everywhere telling you not to get out of your car.  It turns out people who do, have often got out to take a closer look at the wildlife only to find themselves on the menu.  I guess natural selection is alive and well.

The park has a three camping/loges within its boundary.  We stayed at Okaukuejo which is an old German military outpost complete with its own castle like tower.  These lodges are all protected by game fences and at Okakuejo, there is a large waterhole separated by from the lodges by a wall which reminded me of being in a zoo.  This zoo is very different, the animals can roam free while the humans are fenced in.  The water hole has a parade of incredible wildlife including elephants, zebra, giraffe, springbok, rhino’s and on occasions lions and other predators.  At dusk the water hole is illuminated and it creates some surreal scenes.  If you have never seen a giraffe drink before it is quite the maneuver and I have to say I felt sorry for them having to go through contortions to get their mouth down to the water level.  I also saw my first ever baby rhino, they are uniquely cute in my opinion.

If you are looking for guaranteed wildlife viewing along with the comfort of lodges with restaurants, Okaukuejo might be just the place for you.

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3 thoughts

  1. Hi Andy,

    What an amazing shots of the Etosha pan! If you like you can upload some of your photos to our Facebook fan page and we will credit them to you. We can also link it to your website/facebook page if you like. Let me know.


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