Day 11: Windhoek - Etosha National Park

Okaukuejo Travel Blog

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giraffe in Etosha
On our way to Etosha we stopped at a little town which seems to exist solely of curio shops. According to Riaan this was the cheapest place for curios along the entire trip, so we reckoned this would be the best place to buy our souvenirs.
I try to buy a little stone or wooden statue in every country I visit, so my quest was to find something typical for Namibia. And since I hadn't bought anything in Botswana I figured I might as well buy my Botswana souvenir here as well. Who would know, right?

The two animals which most dominated the first week of our trip were the kudu and the hippo. Well, and the elephant, but we'd seen so many elephants that they'd become boring. So Robbel and I set out to find a nice kudu and a nice hippo souvenir.
black rhino

We checked out a couple of shops, looked at what statues they had (kudus proved to be difficult) and not before long we were approached by many shop owners who knew exactly what we wanted. We didn't even have to go inside any of the shops any more, as soon as we passed on the owner would call us in if he'd have a kudu of hippo statue on sale. ("Kudu? You want Kudu? I have nice Kudu! Come inside my shop please")

After the short break we continued on to the Etosha National Park. This is one of the best places for viewing wildlife in the world. As we would soon find out indeed. As we entered the park with the truck it was not before long that we had to stop for a giraffe on the road. And then we saw some ostriches, and then a couple of rhinoceroses.
The Rhino is considered one of the Big Five, the list of animals every tourist in Africa is obsessed with.
zebra, zebra, zebra
The big five are the elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard. These are considered the most difficult animals to hunt because all five will pursue its attacker if wounded. And in the case of the elephant and the buffalo, these animals sometimes even attack humans unprovoked.

So with the rhino in the pocket we now only had one more to go: the leopard (which, unfortunately for us is also the most difficult to spot).

After a short stop to check in at the camp-site we continued the game drive through the park. This was a new experience, doing a game drive with the truck, rather than one of those lunch box vehicles. From the truck we had a much better vantage point that we had had from the lunch box in Chobe.

We drove to a waterhole which was just teeming with wildlife.
many different animals at the Etosha waterholes
Giraffe, zebra, elephant, ostrich, wildebeest, springbok, steenbok, gembok and whatnot, all congregating at the water hole. At the other side of the road four lionesses lay basking in the sun, observing the wildlife at the waterhole across the road. It was amazing to see how the animals at the waterhole all seemed very aware of the lions, but this did not deter them from drinking at the waterhole.

This was such a wonderful experience, to see this many different animals congregating at the waterhole. It was so different from what we'd seen before in Chobe and Okavango, here you could just stop at a waterhole and wait for the animals to come to you, instead of you driving around the park in search of animals.

The camp-site we stayed at is world famous for its waterhole right next to the campground.
lioness lazing under a tree
Any time of the day you can walk up there have a seat and wait for the animals to come. There is something happening at pretty much any time of the day.

The camp-site also has a lookout tower from where you can watch the sunrise or sunset. Tonight there wasn't much sun to set though, but instead a different spectacle unfolded. Like yesterday there were thunderstorms and from the lookout tower we could see lightning strike 360 degrees around. Everywhere we looked bolts of lightning struck the ground, or they arced from one thunder cloud to the other. This was a really spectacular view.
In the distance we could see some parts of the park had caught fire.

Unlike in Ghanzi this time the thunderstorms did bring rain, and not a tiny bit either. It came pouring down, coupled with gusts of wind and within minutes our camp-site resembled a battlefield.
afternoon game drive
Tents were blown over (we had never had to peg them down before, so nobody thought of doing it today), and a couple of them even collapsed.
Fortunately we had a kitchen area which was covered, so we could shelter a little bit while eating dinner.

Normally Etosha doesn't get rain until late October, so the rains were really early this year. Also, normally a shower doesn't last longer than an hour or so, these storms continued all night. The results of global warming, most likely, though in the case of more rain there won't be that many people complaining about it, because Namibia is one of the driest countries in the world. On the other hand global warming also has the opposite effect in other parts of the country: The Kalahari and Namib deserts get drier and bigger every year.
more spectacular lightning


At night we went to have a look at the waterhole, but because of the rain there were puddles everywhere, so there was no need for the animals to come to the waterhole to drink. We didn't see much, apart from a couple of jackals, but these scavengers could be seen roaming the entire camp-site (raiding rubbish bins and even tents), so that was not something to go to the waterhole for.

When there was still nothing happening at midnight we retreated to our wet tents. And wet it was, despite the waterproof cover still quite a bit of water had managed to seep in. This was the first night on the trip that I wasn't too happy about the whole camping idea any more.
That said, despite the rain camping in Etosha was quite an experience and almost felt as if we were out in the wild. In the distance we could hear hyenas and lions roar, while jackals were howling right next to our tent.

Koralifix says:
Fabulous pics, pretty cool!
Posted on: Oct 24, 2009
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giraffe in Etosha
giraffe in Etosha
black rhino
black rhino
zebra, zebra, zebra
zebra, zebra, zebra
many different animals at the Etos…
many different animals at the Eto…
lioness lazing under a tree
lioness lazing under a tree
afternoon game drive
afternoon game drive
more spectacular lightning
more spectacular lightning
Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park
our truck
our truck
handing out pens to local kids
handing out pens to local kids
many different animals at the Etos…
many different animals at the Eto…
many different animals at the Etos…
many different animals at the Eto…
elephant
elephant
lions eyeing out their lunch from …
lions eyeing out their lunch from…
squirrel
squirrel
gemsbok
gemsbok
many different animals at the Etos…
many different animals at the Eto…
zebra, zebra, zebra
zebra, zebra, zebra
many different animals at the Etos…
many different animals at the Eto…
giraffe
giraffe
springbok
springbok
giraffe
giraffe
lions in Etosha
lions in Etosha
lioness in Etosha
lioness in Etosha
afternoon game drive
afternoon game drive
more spectacular lightning
more spectacular lightning
more spectacular lightning
more spectacular lightning
more spectacular lightning
more spectacular lightning
Okaukuejo
photo by: WorldXplorer