Monday, November 2, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015: Our Drive Through Etosha National Park

Since we wanted to see the animals in the park, we were up at 5:15, packed, grabbed a cup of coffee/tea and the prepared breakfast boxes, and were on our way to the Namutoni Gate of Etosha National Park by 6:15, arriving soon after it opened.  As we drove the 30 km to the park we were surprised by how many animals we saw along the roadway - warthog families, small antelope - dikdik, steenbok, & duiker.

When we arrived at Etosha we paid the entrance fee and purchased a park map. We wanted a good map of the roads and water holes, we were ready to head into the main park at around 7:30. We are on a self-drive tour instead of in an open park ranger vehicle with a scout & guide!  I told Cal he is now the driver, guide and scout!! 
This park is well organized as the watering holes are marked on the map, some near the main road and for others there is a 5 km plus drive from the main road.  Usually, at this time of year, before the rains, the watering holes are the popular spot for animals, as they all need water.  This was the case in Etosha as well unless the watering hole was dry, as was the case for some. 
The unique part of Etosha National Park is that most of the Park is a very large dried Salt Lake called a “Pan”. Rivers flow into the Pan and disappear.  The animals need the salt and minerals in their diet so they migrate this way solely for the purpose of salt – our domestic animals have “salt blocks” to lick.
It was very interesting how from the edge of the Pan you saw a mirage of water in the distance, time and time again. But when you arrived to what appeared as wet water from a distance, it was just a dry area.  Extremely interesting. 
The Pan

Walking on the Pan

Zebras near the Pan
We saw herds of Burchell Zebra (they have the shadow stripping) several times; lots of the larger antelope – the largest – Eland, the colorful Oryx, Kudu, Wildebeest, & Hartebeest; and lots of the smaller antelope - impala, steenbok, & springbuck. There were a large number of giraffe, and we saw 1 rhino, and 1 pride of lion. Elephants – we saw lots of droppings, but few elephants in comparison- however we saw one large bull right beside the road. Our most unusual sighting of the day was the Rhino, two Jackals and one Hyena. Overall, we saw a large amount of wildlife today. For us we found more wildlife in the eastern area of the park.
We stopped for lunch at the Parks middle rest camp, where we have the soup & salad bar. We continued driving on some of the lesser traveled (poorer maintained) park roads, but did not necessarily see more wildlife than along the main road.  We had driven through the park by 4:00 pm and left the park by the southern gate.  We had an hour drive to our reservation, Erorongwe Lodge, in the town of O-utjo.
We are glad we returned Livingston 3 days early and were able to change our flight plans, so we could spend these extra days in Namibia, thus allowing us the time to enjoy Etosha National Park.   

Entrance to Etosha Park

Warthog along the Road


Baby Elephant

Burchell Zebras



Lions Lounging in the Shade

Animals gathering at a Waterhole

Giraffe Drinking

Steenbok - about 20 inches tall


Migrating European Bee-Eater




Impalas keeping cool under a tree in the heat of the day

Blackbacked Jackal

Elephants at a Waterhole

An Elephant Challenge

Other animals at the Waterhole after the Elephants are gone

Termite Hill - Notice the red soil

1 comment:

  1. I have just downloaded iStripper, so I can have the best virtual strippers on my taskbar.