Catch up on part III of Amanda and her family's trip of a lifetime through the Namibian desert in Africa.
So far, Amanda and her family have travelled through desert and mountains, from Windhoek to Sossusvlei, spent time by the coast at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay to meet some friendly sealions, before embarking on a game drive through Damaraland to observe the incredible elephants.
Day 8 – Etosha National Park
We were staying just outside the park at Andersson’s Camp. The camp is located on the famous Ongava concession and it takes its name from Charles Anderrson – the Swedish explorer who first ‘discovered’ the Etosha Pan. More about the Etosha Pan later in the final part of this blog.
In the late afternoon of Day 8 we went on the first of several astonishing game drives – an early evening drive within the private nature reserve of Ongava. After about an hour of driving, we came across a pride of lions, including cubs! We got quite up close to the family and it was thrilling. The guides are brilliant at judging how close they can drive up to animals…not too near of course!
Roaring lion at Etosha
Wild lion at Etosha National Park
We finished the game drive watching the breath-taking sunset, while in the distance a herd of white rhino gently grazed. It was truly magical experience, topped off with an evening sundowner cocktail and an array of appetising snacks whipped up in the boot of the vehicle by our guide, which we very much enjoyed!
Day 9 - Game Reserve at Etosha
Etosha is one of the most significant game reserves in Africa and is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds and reptiles. It is considered one of the best game viewing locations in the world and I don’t think we can disagree with that as we saw so much spectacular wildlife.
It is an enormous park and covers 22,000 square km. Of course, we couldn’t get around all of it in two days but our guide certainly did a fair amount of miles and we saw loads!
We started out early with breakfast at 5.30am. Entrance to the park is at sunrise, where we headed to our first waterhole hoping for good sighting opportunities. We were not disappointed and the following photos are from different waterholes and stops throughout our memorable day. Enjoy!
Zebras drinking at the waterhole
Look who's crossing the road!
Majestic Oryx with their long horns
Black Faced Impalas - we love their reflections in the water!
Elephant family and friend - can you spot the rhino?
Day 10 – The Salt Pan
Another 5.30am breakfast to prepare ourselves for another exciting day in Etosha National Park.
We headed towards the Etosha Lookout as wanted to see the view of the natural salt pan - the largest salt pan in Africa.
On the way, we saw some beautiful Mopane trees – they look very dramatic and seem to dominate the area surrounding them. They form about 80% of Etosha’s tree population. The mopane worm that inhabits these trees is a favourite food of birds and small mammals.
A few hours later, after seeing lots more wildlife, we arrived at the pan. It was originally a lake but now is mostly dry except after heavy rain. It is a vast, barren, open space covering about 25% of the park and an experience you should not miss. There were no other visitors when we arrived and as we stood on its edge it felt magical, if not slightly eerie… it’s amazing to think it can be seen from space!
The magical Etosha salt pan
After leaving the pan, we were on the lookout for the endangered Black Rhino – it was our mission! It wasn’t looking hopeful for a while, but then suddenly I spotted one even before our guide did (I was quite pleased with myself!) – an amazing black rhino. We watched him for about 20 minutes…it was so exciting!
Black Rhino at Etosha National Park
Then he crossed the road in front of our vehicle and went off into the vegetation, maybe for a little rest and some food. That encounter was incredible.
Black Rhino crossing the road
Bye bye Rhino!
We got back to Anderssons camp for the early evening and for a refreshing swim, dinner and an early night, as the next day we were off to the Okonjima Plains Camp and the AfriCat Foundation, famous for rescuing lions, cheetahs, leopards and wild dogs. Yet again another adventure – all to be heard about in my final part of this trip of a lifetime!
Entrance to Okonjima and AfriCat