Africa is filled with amazing sights of the Big 5 and Namibia http://www.namibiatourism.com.za is no exception! From desert adapted elephants to Etosha National Park’s bounty of wildlife and birdlife, here you can tick all the boxes.
The Etosha National Park http://www.etoshanationalpark.org covers an area of 22 270 km which includes the Etosha pan area. The speed limit in the park is 60 km/h which also benefits you as animals move all the time, so you have a good chance of seeing the Big 5. Don’t speed, enjoy the park and be patient, as you will be rewarded. There are 4 gates to enter the park and to enjoy the full park you would need to stay a minimum of 5 days.
We only spend 2 days in the park and entered through Andersson Gate, http://www.etoshanationalpark.org but the wildlife we spotted was epic and we could tick all the boxes, including the cheetah. This was purely because we had a brilliant eagle eye tour guide from Safari 2 go. Seeing the cheetah stride with a purpose was impressive, he was hungry and you could see it in his eyes that the cars watching were not deterring him from finding food to eat. He looked ahead and could sense some good young meat somewhere waiting for him. After watching him and getting to drive close up, the cheetah eventually went further in and we lost sight of him, but we were thrilled that our Safari guide had spotted him from such a distance. This is definitely the benefit of going with a guide, on our own we would never had seen him.
Etosha National Park you are spoiled with many waterholes and a vast Saltpan which offers breath-taking scenery. Many herds of elephants can be spotted at the waterholes in the dry season, as they enjoy to splash and play in the mud and drink. Fisher’s pan is excellent for bird watchers, and the best time is early in the morning. During raining season you will have the opportunity to view flamingos, pelicans and turtles. The park has various vegetation-types and colours from stark white, egg shell cream to lush green. The white flat areas are so bright that spotting wildlife is hard as they seem to blend into a palette of creamy white paint on a canvas.
Apart from all the antelope, zebras, giraffes, black back jackals and the rare Cape hare we also saw the Big 5!
We also enjoyed an elephant showdown. The oldest and most dominant female in an elephant herd is called the Matriarch. As we waited at a watering hole, we noticed The Matriarch lead the way as the rest of the herd followed suit, lots of cows and calves. They were coming for their sun-downers at the waterhole. Each walked in and splashed while some played, they each drank enough and then moved out again. They went in and came out in line like marching soldiers. The herd of elephants had so many baby elephants that you would think it was a nursery school outing. The long line of elephants, males included finished drinking at the watering hole and marched out to the open plains again.
An encounter with wild cats is not uncommon, and we were blessed to see cheetah, lion and leopard!! We spotted a lion having a good afternoon sleep, and after a long time in the vehicle waiting for him to awaken, we eventually left. A little later after enjoying some other wildlife we returned to the sleepy lion. We waited patiently again, and noticed he had turned position.
We waited and waited, then made a turn around to visit a waterhole nearby and came past for the 3rd time, and this time not in vain. He got up from his sleeping patch and came across into great eye view, stood proud in front of us and gave his roaring roar which sent shivers down our spine. We were enthralled and so excited!! The first time I had witnessed a roaring lion right in front of me, the perfect shot! A few yawns and then he took a step forward and lay down again. His show for us had come and gone so quickly, the mighty lion sleeps again.
Then after witnessing the cats we were blessed with watching a game of chess with the King and a Castle, aka the Leopard and the hyena. The leopard had killed an antelope and the hyena wanted to steal it. We saw them both at a close distance, their eyes and senses fixed on one another. The hyena acting as if he was not interested and the leopard played dead. After some time of interval the hyena moved and the leopard lifted his head, then the hyena would lie down again and act uninterested and the leopard put his head down as well. This game between them played on for a quite a while, slowly the hyena moved away and hid behind a tree. The leopard was not fooled, and he did not move. He gave a huge yawn to let the hyena know he was tired of this game. It was a great moment for fantastic photography and we managed to get winning photos of the leopard yawning. We were all waiting for the leopard to chase and attack the hyena but the game of chess ended as stale mate. We too lost interest and left the scene.
Etosha National Park had a lot of firsts for me on a game drive. We saw Cape foxes and wild cats which was so exciting to see in nature. Also the roaring lion was a first ever for me, and I really felt like a packet of Simba chips to celebrate, ha ha 🙂 The national antelope of Namibia is the Oryx, spotted all over Namibia from Soussovlei to Ethosha. Chosen for its courage in the Desert sand and for elegance.
It is a pity that Rhino horns need to either be poisoned or cut off to try and save our planet!
We booked our Safari with The Cardboard Box Travel Shop, our guide Eddie was the best like a Rock star in finding wildlife from the Big 5 to the small. namibian.org/travel/namibia/etosha.htm Cardboard box was brilliant and professional with our booking and all the details, we highly recommend booking a tour with them namibian.org We did the 10 day Namibian highlights which gave us a great insight into Endless Namibia and enjoyed the comforts of a guide and the excellent Gondwana properties: https://gondwana-collection.com/