Etosha National Park – Namibia: Travel Blog. 3 days drving through Etosha in the wet season during Oasis Overland ‘Accra to Cape Town’ trip.
Revisiting Namibia was a highlight of our Accra-Cape Town tour with Oasis Overland. Entering Namibia from Angola was a simple process. It only took around an hour for us all to clear immigration and to be on our way. We stopped to stock up on food for a few nights, before continuing onto our first stop – Etosha National Park. Having both been to Etosha several times before we were super excited to be going back to one of our favourite places in the world!
We arrived late afternoon and after a quick briefing at the entrance, we were off on our first safari. Fittingly the first animals we spotted were the Black-faced Impala. This arid-adapted subspecies is now endemic to Namibia. Almost half the global population is found in here in Etosha National Park
One of the great things about Etosha National Park is that you can self-drive. Being on an overland truck, meant we had the added bonus of elevation. Therefore, viewing game was easier than it would have been from a car, which was even more helpful given it was the wet season.
Being the wet season, animals were more difficult to spot as they were less dependant on the waterholes spread across the park. Also, the grass was longer which offered extra camouflage. Despite that, we managed to see plenty, from the tall to the small. There were Giraffe, Banded Mongoose, Warthog, Zebra, all sorts of antelope and the mighty Elephant. The latter, despite their size, are particularly hard to find at this time of year, as when the rains start, they generally head to the northeast of the park.
The wet season also meant an abundance of birds, both resident and migratory. Etosha is said to be home to 340 different species of birds. Of which about one third are migratory. Most of which are present from November to April.
The gates in the park closed at sunset, so we had to be in our campsite, Namutoni, by 7 pm. Our last sighting of the drive was a Black-backed Jackal heading out on an evening prowl. Not a bad first evening.
After a late dinner, we spent a little time at the floodlit waterhole observing springbok and gazelle nervously drinking. We were hoping some rhino would turn up, but sadly, didn’t.
The itinerary the following day was breakfast, early morning game drive, return to camp, pack up tents, game drive to another campsite Halali, lunch, put up tents, a few hours free time (swim in the pool or visit another waterhole), then a late afternoon game drive. Over the course of the day, we saw lots. The variety of Antelope alone was impressive enough – Kirk’s Dik-dik, Gemsbok Oryx, Steenbok, Kudu, Hartebeest, Springbok and plenty more Black-Faced Impala.
Again there were birds everywhere, and none-more-so than beautiful Lilac Breasted Roller, we literally saw hundreds of them. Then there was the ‘same same, but different’ Hornbills. Below left, a Southern Red-Billed and the one to the right a Southern Yellow-Billed.
We stopped at a viewpoint at the Etosha Pan, where the Keune river once flowed for a quick photo. Photo’s can’t capture the scale, the pan is massive, so large it can be seen from space! Its covers approximately 4,800km², which is about a quarter of Etosha National Park.
As it was getting close to sunset we had to rush back to the campsite to avoid getting a fine. On the way, with the light fading fast we spotted a White Rhino and then amazingly a Black Rhino with a calf. Annoyingly we could only observe for a couple of minutes as we really had to get back to the campsite before the sun went down.
Despite the heat of the day, the clouds had rolled in and the backdrop over the park suddenly looked incredible, as did the sunset. On the flip side, a storm was brewing. We returned to a freshly rained on
Our last morning in Etosha National Park was spent game driving from Halali out of the park, via Okaukuejo Camp. We had another great drive, with the highlight being meters away from a solo young male lion by a waterhole.
A short drive away we found several more lion, both juvenile and adult napping in the open plains. Although not visible, there certainly were more lionesses napping in the thick grass with them.
We also spotted a few more handsome feathered friends. Finding another Saddle-billed Stork at the lion’s waterhole. Then at the Okaukuejo Camp a couple of birds with pretty flamboyant crests. There were lots of Grey Go-away birds and then our favourite, a Hoopoe busy scuttling around.
Coming to Etosha National Park in the wet season may have meant animals were more difficult to spot, for the reasons mentioned earlier and even a flooded campsite. But, one real bonus that was really exacerbated at this time of year was the contrasting scenery. Over our few days, we really saw a variety of landscape and it provided some beautiful diverse backdrops!
After leaving Etosha, we stopped at a town called Outjo for some food shopping before driving west towards through Damaraland and along the Skeleton Coast.
Our Oasis Overland Expedition
We travelled with Oasis Overland on the 12 week Accra-Cape Town section of their 42 Week UK-Cairo Trans Africa expedition. Doing an Overland expedition was an epic way to travel through this big and beautiful continent. It took the hassle out of travelling independently through some of most remote parts of the world. Yet, it still provided the challenges and adventures that we as well-travelled backpackers wanted. From free-camping under the stars to sweltering in the dense jungles and driving for days along dusty desolate tracks to haggling in the busy and bustling markets, this expedition had it all. We really did get a little off track!