If you go to Namibia, you probably immediately think of a safari in Etosha. It is certainly a highlight of any Namibian trip. I don’t think you can find a single definite tour of Namibia that does not include a safari in Etosha. Because I was travelling on a long trip and therefore had all the time in the world, I spent a week on safari in Etosha! I do understand that you have to make choices and that you can’t visit all the places, but try to visit at least two so that you can spend at least three days in the park.
Etosha is one of the biggest nature parks in southern Africa. It is a unique park, which can even be seen from space because of the large salt pan in the park. There are many waterholes in the park from where you are guaranteed to see game. It’s just a matter of luck that you spot what you want to see. On my first full day in the park, I saw a rhino near a waterhole!
I came to Etosha from Ruacana and entered the park at Galton Gate. There are several signs on the road and it is easy to follow. There are a number of main roads and if you have a map of the park with you, you really can’t get lost.
At Olifantsrus I had a nice spot on the edge of the park. It is not a very big camp and they have a small museum where you can see the background of this settlement. They have a nice elevated lookout at the waterhole and so I went there to have a look around sunset. I was lucky and saw an elephant there. He was alone and had a quick drink.
Etosha West – 2 nights at Olifantsrus Camp
The next morning, I started with a cup of coffee which I took to the lookout point. When I sat there for a while and had seen something in the distance that I did not recognise, someone else pointed out to me that this was a hyena. When I looked closer, I saw indeed that it was several hyenas. How cool!
Then I went on safari in Etosha and chose to do the round on the left. That way, I would have enough time the following day to go to my second accommodation, Okaukuejo. That morning, as I drove leisurely away, I stopped at several watering holes. At one point, I saw the game you see most often, a hartebeest, wildebeest and some zebras and giraffes reacting strangely. They walked away slightly and the atmosphere changed. It became quieter, the birds also seemed to be silent for a moment… When I hung out of my window a little further, I suddenly saw a black creature approaching in the distance.
I spotted my first rhino!
What a great sight!
Slowly he walked closer… And just as a show, he ran the last bit to the waterhole. He stood there, looked around in victory and started to drink. After drinking, he walked a bit more and went into the water… He let himself sink into it and just lay down. For a moment on one side, for a moment on the other side… And after a roll he got up again and went out. What a show I had had! I was the only one who was watching this, the whole time I was alone on this car park.
Get the most out of your Etosha visit – safari in Etosha NP
After this, I continued driving. I did not get such a unique sighting as this again today. I did see many springbok and giraffes and wildebeests. At one point I also saw steenbok and hartebeest. Quite strange to see them all in groups, a number of combinations together so to speak. I also saw and heard many birds, at one point I saw a number of vultures in the distance. Just too far away to see where they were sitting.
When I was near the Dolomieten resort, I thought I would just have a cup of coffee there. Unfortunately, it was not possible to get to the resort just like that, they would pick you up with a trolley and I did not wait for that. Somewhere on their car park, in a deserted corner, I quickly peed. Yes, you have to do something when you are on the road all day, right? And I would rather pee in a semi-enclosed part of the park than in the open field of Etosha.
Around 3.30pm I was back at Olifantsrus with a very satisfied feeling.
What beautiful animals and places I had seen on this first day.
7 days safari in Etosha NP – Namibia
Get the most out of your Etosha visit
Etosha Zuid – 2 nights at Okaukuejo Campsite
When I had packed everything again, I said goodbye to this nice place. I went up the long road to Okaukuejo, day 3 of my safari in Etosha. It was not long before I saw the game walking next to me reacting strangely. I didn’t really notice what was happening yet, but I sensed thatsomething was going on. When I looked closer I suddenly saw a lion walking. He was walking in the opposite direction from me. When I looked better I saw another lion walking further on and another 3 lying under a tree!
The first one ran in the direction of a hartebeest that had already run away before I had seen the lion, I realised afterwards. Of course, I spent quite some time watching this. I lost the walking lions in the bushes, whether they went to sleep because they had already eaten or whether they were still looking for something… It remains a mystery.
It is very special to see that the other game that was walking around just stayed there. This is clearly visible on the first photo I share of the walking lion. They realised that they did not have the attention of the lion and therefore were not in danger.
The day had only just started and then I saw several lions.
Just like yesterday, after half an hour on the road, my day was a success!
Today, too, I stood still for a while at the various watering places. It is great to see that something appears in the distance.
Get the most out of your Etosha visit
At the end I came to a place called the Sprookjesbos (Fairytale Forest). It was an area with quite a lot of trees, I couldn’t really call it a forest because it remained quite open. I saw hundreds of springboks and also a lot of zebras. Super nice to see them all. I enjoyed it and stood still for quite a while at some places in this area.
After this, I drove on. I felt like spending an afternoon by the pool and it was getting quite warm. You still want to hear the sounds from outside and so you have the windows open and the engine off when you are standing still. If you sit still in a car like that with the burning sun on it, even though you are in the shade, it gets pretty hot.
At Okaukuejo I had a lovely time at the swimming pool, also at their terrace and towards sunset I went to their beautiful waterhole. They have it very nicely done and from behind a wall you can get a good view of the place. You are really close if there is a lot of game coming. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot. But suddenly a lot of mongooses arrived. They came from behind, from the campsite, it just scared me a bit. In the twilight, all those little animals. They all climbed over the wall and sat in the bushes just behind it. They looked at me just as suspiciously as I looked at them 🙂
7 days safari in Etosha NP – Namibia
The next morning I went riding and chose to do the round trip to the Adamax Pan in the morning. It didn’t seem very long and so in the afternoon I could do a section from the other side, in the direction of Gemsbok Plain / Aus.
Shortly after I drove off, I saw a black-backed jackal, it was walking away from me so I couldn’t take a good photo of it. It was great to see the animal wandering over the plain. When I drove on a little later and saw the pan on one side of me, I saw on the other side a honey badger running away into the bushes. How cool! That was really not an animal I had expected. I stood there for a while, hoping it would appear again, but alas. In the surroundings there were two enormous birds... They were grey and had striking yellow eyes. Unfortunately they were too far away to be photographed.
Almost had the 5 five in Etosha NP
When I got back to Okaukuejo, I did some shopping, bought some internet and after some food, I started driving again. This time in the other direction. I stopped at a waterhole, it was super quiet. I started to write and just relaxed there. When I slowly drove on, a rhino suddenly appeared in the distance!
He was walking in the middle of the field, not afraid of anything…
He crossed over and continued on the other side. I stood watching it for a while and followed a bit parallel…. What an imposing animal. This one did not have the horn on its nose intact like the previous one. At one point it disappeared between a few bushes. How cool!
At the end of the afternoon, I wanted to drive around for another hour. I had seen a side road that I wanted to take and I had heard that they had had a nice sighting of a rhino with its little one. So, as the gate would remain open until sunset, I could leave a little longer. I quickly went that way, and came across a guide who pointed out the sighting he had just had, the mother with the baby. So I drove slowly down that road but unfortunately I didn’t see them again. I did see more than 10 giraffes who were quite active. They were even running.
How majestic they looked! With those long legs, short back and long neck…
I also found that experience super!
At sunset, the time indicated on the internet, I arrived back at Okaukuejo. To my horror, the gate was already closed! I called out something, eh, for a moment I was outside my vehicle… And just when I wanted to make a phone call, I saw someone pointing out that I could take another, alternative gate… When I got there, the security was there and they fortunately let me in!
That evening I cooked my own dinner, enjoyed the cooling weather and of course stayed a while at that beautiful waterhole.
7 days Safari in Etosha NP
Etosha – 1 night at Halali Campsite
I drove to Halali on the long road, many waterholes are situated along it. It was raining, I didn’t see any game… I just drove on slowly. The only thing I saw was an elephant that disappeared just before me… When I reached Halali I did some shopping in their shop, I bought a CD. The radio in the car doesn’t work in many places, so a bit of music was very welcome! I bought a South African Jazz CD.
Now I still play this CD in my car every now and then and I imagine myself to be back in Namibia.
It is so nice what music can do to you!
That afternoon I drove Rhino Drive, saw nothing… At the sign for Goas or Eland Drive, I switched to Eland Drive…I hadn’t seen anything yet other than a small wild boar. When I had gone halfway down Eland Drive it was closed and I had to go in the direction of Goas…. I was just driving along and so the world slowly passed me by until in the corner of my eye I saw something lying under a tree in the tall grass. When I looked closer I saw that it was just 2 lions lying in the shade under the tree! How cool!
They were really a few metres away from me and for that reason I did not dare to switch off the engine. I reversed a little so that I had a good view and stood there for about 10 minutes admiring them.
7 days safari in Etosha NP – Namibia
I also came across the sign for a viewpoint over the Etosha Pan. Also a place you should try to visit. There you get a better view of how gigantic this pan is. You can see it from space, I only understood that when I was standing in front of it…
When I drove on to get back to camp, I came across a few more kudu. There was one, a young kudu, very curious.
Look at that cutie!
I also took some photos of birds. You need a bit more time for that. So I spent a few hours of the day on that. There are so many birds that you see walking, flying and hearing in the distance every day. Below you see the koritrap, secretary bird and the Gabar hawk. But I also saw the beautiful hoopoe, the colourful bee-eater and the korhaan which calls / screams so loud every time….
Also take time for the multifaceted birds in Etosha NP
Etosha 2 nights just outside Etosha – Onguma Bush Camp
After one night on the Halali campsite (which was more like a car park), I drove on to leave Etosha. Also this day, I didn’t see a lot of game, again because of the weather. It was quite rainy and so the game hid itself. At one point, I did see a large camper. The camper was really cool, it was painted like a zebra. So it is a very good one to take on safari in Etosha or anywhere else. I saw them walking back and forth in the camper, from the front to the side to sit a bit higher so that they had a good view.
I also looked in that direction and it took me a while to see what they saw. There were 2 lions lying in the high grass. They moved slightly and that’s how I saw them. It had rained a lot lately, which has advantages and disadvantages. The grass is high and you see a lot of non-…. but the waterholes are all popular because there is water everywhere.
After this I drove on to finally leave the park via the VonLindequistGate. My destination for the day was Onguma Bush Camp and that was really around the corner. When leaving Etosha NP I had to turn left immediately to enter the gate of the big private park. They have several places to stay in their big private park. I found it a very beautiful park and I had two great nights there. I had a rondavel house close to the nice restaurant.
Onguma has other options from very expensive in the fort to camping next to the Bush Camp where I was… The place was very nice. I had my washing done there, which is always nice when everything comes back nice and fresh. Looked at everything in their lobby shop and sat for hours in their nice chairs in the lounge area of the restaurant with a view of their waterhole.
I also met Alik, a German Namibian. He was born in Namibia but has lived in Germany for a long time. His mother lives in Swakopmund anyway and so he was often in Namibia, his homeland. He was almost at home in Onguma and now, because it was raining, he stayed not in the tent but in a rondavel.
We went on safari together in Etosha in the afternoon of my second day. The weather had cleared up so we had time to go into the park. Alik had a season ticket and in the end I was not checked and could go in the car with him. There, we chose to do the round to the right around the water, this is the most right in Etosha, next to the NWR resort Namutoni.
7 days safari in Etosha NP – Namibia
Our safari in Etosha started with an incredible number of giraffes, and Alik was also surprised how many there were. We even started to get a bit corny. They were on every corner of the street and at one point there were 40 to 45 of them. We also saw a springbok, a wildebeest and a kudu and then in a shock we saw a rhino. He was standing at a distance. We were very shocked by the sight of it.
He looked confused… he was damaged… We saw blood near his nose and the lower horn seemed to be cut off! What a horrible sight. My first impulse is: I want to do something! I want to help the animal. I felt very angry… You can’t do anything, you don’t have the contacts to do anything and felt very sorry for the animal….
Alik was also very conflicted; he didn’t want to alarm anyone because he didn’t trust the people he would be alerting. The animal was still standing, came to and seemed to be doing fine. It was not bleeding, but it looked bloodied… BAH! After half an hour, we slowly drove on…
Just outside the park, in the area of Onguma, we saw another rhino. This one was also walking behind the fence and therefore in the area of Etosha.
After another night at Onguma, I left the next day and spent another rainy night in Ghaub in the Otavi Mountain Region before moving on to Waterberg where I again had beautiful weather and visited the most beautiful places.
I was by now on day 37 of my 72-day journey….
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