We had some time to kill before our safari in Kruger, so we were trying to figure out what we were going to do with this extra time we had in Africa. I had heard a lot of great things about Namibia and started looking into it, only to discover that it is the home of the self-drive safari – very safe and very accommodating to visitors who wanted to drive themselves. If we had a few days, we could spend some time in Etosha National Park. We had five nights to spare, so after extensive research on costs, I talked Shawn into it.
Due to late booking, we weren’t able to get a room at the rest camps in the park, but we did find a couple of hotels just outside the park where we could base ourselves. We spent two nights on the eastern side of the park and two nights on the southwestern part of the park, with one extra night in Windhoek at the end. Due to the fact that we couldn’t stay inside the park, we kind of missed out on some of the specialties of Etosha (namely the flood-lit watering hole at Okakuejo rest camp – one of the only places you can see a black rhino in Etosha), and we could only be in the park from sunrise to sunset.
However, our mini-safari was nothing short of amazing and a great introduction to African wildlife. We had zero expectations and it ended up being an amazing time. We had a TON of lion sightings, including a mating couple, an attempted kill, some post-kill lionesses lazing about eating, and some really up-close time with both a male and a female. We also got to watch hyenas swimming in a watering hole with a young one chasing birds, as well as another chowing down on an oryx, likely stolen from a lion. We saw tons of giraffes, all different kinds of antelope (including the elusive dik-dik!), zebras, ostrich, warthogs, jackals, vultures, and more. One of the biggest highlights was when we spent about two hours observing about 60+ elephants enjoying the day at a watering hole, with different herds coming and asking to join (some got turned away!). It was incredible to watch how the elephants communicate. Later that day, we also saw about another 35 at a different watering hole, and this time they came right up near our car.
More than the animals, we were completely in love with the beauty of Namibia. It is so vast and beautiful, the people so nice, and the overall atmosphere of the place was unforgettable. We were so sad to leave the country. Our biggest mistake was that we only spent five days there! If we could change things, we’d have cut days out of Cape Town and Johannesburg so we could explore more of the country. We do know that we will be back, though, and we can’t wait. This trip to Etosha was just a little preview and we are eagerly anticipating our upcoming safari in Kruger!
Here are a bunch of photos: