At the border, entering the "country" of Transnistria. Photo taken December 8, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

How to explore Etosha National Park

For some of you, this will be a look at some of the many pictures we didn't get to show you while we were there in November of 2013. For others, wanting to go to Namibia themselves, this will be primer on how best to explore the park, and the things we learned that we could have done better.

First of all, Namibia's Etosha National Park is huge.

We planned six days in Etosha, and it turned out that we think six days is just about right. Two or three days wouldn't be enough, and with six days you can take advantage of the opportunity to spend two days at each of the camps in the park.

That was one mistake we made. We only stayed at two of the three camps, and if we were to do it over again we definitely would have split our time between all three camps instead of just the two of them. You end up driving through the middle camp anyhow, so you might as well make it part of your stay and break the drive up a bit.

It is 135 kms (84 miles) from Namutoni to Okaukuejo.

No matter which gate you enter at, take your time getting to the camp. The drive from the gate to the camp is your first safari and there will be lots to see. There is a speed limit of 60 km/h in the whole park, but you will want to be going much slower.

At one of the many waterholes.

There's a tourist shop in each one of the camps and we suggest you buy an animal and bird guide that also includes a map to the park. Sure, you know what a zebra or giraffe looks like, but when you see a secretary bird will you know what it is??

A secretary bird in Etosha National Park.

Bring binoculars! Can't stress this enough. Ideally, you need one pair for each person in your vehicle. No need for big ones. We had one pair of small pocket sized ones, but we wished we would have had one pair each. 

A lone giraffe crossing the plain.

There are lots springbok in the park.

Elephant and zebras get along well together.

Had to be patient for this shot.

And speaking of patience, that is the key! Sometimes, you need to park your car and just sit and watch and listen for a half an hour. Sometimes, you will sit and see nothing for that half hour, but other times something will move and you'll be the one to see a lion or a cheetah pass through a bush.

Occasionally, you will come across someone else parked at the side of the road. It could be that they are simply watching and listening, but more often than not it's because they've seen something and they're either watching it or they're waiting for it to move. Often, an animal will be lying down and well camouflaged, but then it will lift it's head as the cheetah in the pic above did.

Check under trees!

Very often, animals will be lying in the shade of a small tree or bush trying to escape the hot Namibian sun.

A southern masked weaver.

Never have we seen so many interesting birds. We're not really "bird" people, but we enjoyed the different colorful species and so you need to keep your eyes in the trees as well!

We saw so many people zipping from waterhole to waterhole. The waterholes are all marked on the map, so it's easy to do. But we found that driving slowly (often crawling along in first gear!) was the best way to see the park.

Lots of zebras. There are over 70,000 zebras in the park.

You lookin' at me?

This poor jackal looks like he's seen better days.

If you stop at the side of the road, or at a waterhole, shut off your engine and open the windows. We found that even with the extreme heat some days we were happier with the windows open and enjoying the sounds as well as the sights!

We hope you enjoyed seeing some more Etosha wildlife pictures and hope that you make it there yourself some day. It is truly a special place!


6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Rita, we had a blast taking them!

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Peter, we have so many more that we still haven't posted!

      Delete
  3. I'm thinking Namibia on my next trip. Love the slow safari drive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you have to go Gaelyn, you would love it. It has very different scenery from South Africa but is very interesting and is much more wild. You would most certainly love Etosha!

      Delete

We love hearing from you! Please take the time to leave a comment...