Etosha Wildlife Safari Pictures
Encounters Travel is a small-group adventure tour operator offering lively, good value Namibia Tours such as Namibia and Botswana Uncovered and Grand Southern Safari including South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Elephants hogging the Halali restcamp waterhole, Etosha National Park, Namibia in August.
Etosha National Park in Namibia, southern Africa is a massive, spectacular game reserve, with hordes of beasts in various locations, though there are no sighting guarantees, especially as far as predators (i.e. big cats) are concerned.
huge, dry salt pan is Etosha's main claim to scenic fame, but actually
the animals don't use it much as there's generally no water or food
there, only useful minerals.
Most of the wildlife action takes place in the arid scrub land and struggling trees bordering the pan, with vast herds of zebra, wildebeest and antelope trudging from water hole to feed to waterhole, interrupted only by the occasional sighting of a 4 wheel beast.
Wildebeeste grazing close to Etosha's massive salt pan that provides useful minerals for the animals.
Tourists mostly do self-drive safaris along the hundreds of kilometres of dirt roads visiting different waterholes in the hope of getting pictures of something interesting there or en route. Much depends on luck, but research also helps, web research as well as checking restcamp reception areas where reports on animal sightings are recorded.
Two young animals holding a juvenile staring contest.
Each of Etosha's three wildlife safari rest-camps has its own waterhole, night floodlights and seating area.
In Bugbog's humble opinion Namutoni is
the least successful of the three, with slightly inferior accommodation
and a less-populated waterhole. We stayed there one night, with two nights at Halali.
Halali has a hole that requires a ten minute walk and has no shade but seems to attract more than its fair share of elephants and giraffes and so is a great site for photographing bigger wildlife. Picture at top.
Okaukuejo's is clearly the winning restcamp, with constant wildlife activity at the waterhole
very close to smart, new visitor huts. If you're booking then low, odd numbers are the very
best huts .e.g. 3,5,7 and so on.
This waterhole seemed to attract the smaller wildlife but that meant that it was a target for the big cats so this was one of the few places to get lion photos.
We didn't manage to stay there, having booked late. Actually, not having booked at all. We drove in from our camp, took one look at Okaukuejo and thought, OMG, this is the place to stay!
Still, wherever you are with self drive you can visit the other two restcamps any time and actually the best bit of Etosha is the random driving from waterhole to waterhole to see what you stumble across.
Visitors staying in Halali restcamp watch a mongoose family nosing around and squeaking around their bungalow. Some cute warthogs were grazing nearby too.
The very best
time to see wildlife in Etosha is
winter (June-October), when temperatures are hot in the day and
a little chilly at night. This is the dry season so grass is shorter
giving better visibility, animals tend to wander less since water
is harder to find and importantly, there's no stagnant water for mosquitoes
to breed in so the little whiners disappear and malaria is not such
At other times the heat may be close to unbearable and critters less easy to find.
BTW, tour operators are permitted to run wildlife safaris on the far west side of Etosha where regular tourists are forbidden. We don't know if this is a good thing or not. We certainly had an fantastic time just randomly driving ourselves around in a boggle-eyed daze.
Okaukuejo restcamp waterhole, not much going on at the moment but apparently a pride of lions showed up later and took one of the dik-diks in full view of the spectators.