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The awe-inspiring Etosha National Park

09 Dec Posted by in Africa, Namibia | 19 comments
The awe-inspiring Etosha National Park
 

Etosha National Park (or just Etosha for short) in Namibia was my first experience game-driving (or safari as it’s otherwise called – it’s so awesome it gets two names!) and it was one that I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.  We arrived mid-afternoon, set up camp and then headed out on a two hour game drive as the sun was setting.  In just those 120 minutes we saw zebra, elephants by the side of the road, a pride of lionesses and giraffe, not forgetting the BLACK RHINO! Yep! With only approx 3,300 left in the entire world, we saw a black rhino…that’s just how we rolled!

Etosha National Park

Gateway to beauty

The best thing about Etosha National Park though?  My campsite.  Not because it was a great campsite with good facilities (Okaukuejo camp site in case you were wondering) but because it had a watering hole next to it where animals came and went during the day and night to relax and be merry.  Ok, less on the merry bit, more on the drinking bit but you get my meaning :)

Zebras!!

So many zebras in Etosha National Park!

Ostrich family

Mum, Dad and babies; Etosha National Park

Giraffe!

Giraffe in the sunset

When we had finished the game drive we discovered that THIS  was the watering hole attached to our campsite (amazing isn’t it?!)…

Etosha campsite

Our watering hole – Etosha National Park

All the gang

Watering hole at Etosha National Park

You were asked to whisper/be silent when sitting around the watering hole, or near any animals in Etosha National Park because you didn’t want to scare them off which I didn’t mind because I was rendered speechless by how close we were getting to all these magnificent creatures.

After dinner, on our first night, we headed over to the watering hole and waited to spot something. Within two minutes, to our left, we saw a herd of approximately 12 elephants walk right over to the water. We were stunned into excited silence. We couldn’t believe that just hours after arriving at Etosha National Park, we had not only seen lions and rhinos but we were metres away from an entire herd of elephants!

Animals at night

Elephant Herd – Etosha National Park

If you look closely in the above photo however, you’ll notice another elephant to the extreme left of the picture in the distance; spotted her? She was leading the other 20 (!!!!) or so elephants that joined the party and before we knew it, within 10 minutes of arriving we were watching approximately 30 elephants drinking and nurturing each other.  I sat there in silence with quiet tears rolling down my cheeks as I realised that I was watching an entire family of elephants in Etosha National Park just metres away from where I was.

Safari in the dark

Elephant Herd – Etosha National Park

Animals at night

Elephant Herd – Etosha National Park

Just when we thought it couldn’t get anymore spectacular, Etosha National Park surprised us all over again because as the final female elephant left the watering hole, we looked to our right and noticed a huge bull elephant coming in!!!!

Bull elephant

Bull elephant – Etosha National Park

He proceeded to stay there for most of the night with his ass facing us and isn’t it a lovely ass?! :) You could see what he was doing…with his back to us, he could survey the watering hole and any potential predators that could be lurking around Etosha National Park at night (tourist not included…although a few did deserve to be stampeded on when they used their f***ing flash on the cameras!!). It’s a good job he kept his eyes on the water because not long after (if you look closely in the photo below) three, wait for it, BLACK RHINO (yes, the most rare out of the two species) came along for a slurp too! I was blown away!

Animals at night

Bull elephant & Rhinos – Etosha National Park

I spent hours at the watering hole that night and didn’t leave until my eyelids were almost shut, afraid of what I might miss out on. Despite feeling exhausted, my insomnia was kicking in big style by this point so at 4am the next morning I was already at the watering hole wondering what I was going to spot and was greeted by a herd of zebra. It was so peaceful you could hear them slurping the water with their tongue; it’s a time that I will never forget.

After another day’s game drive, I dumped my stuff, picked up my journal and headed back to the watering hole. There is something incredibly special about writing your thoughts down as you look up occasionally to check which animals have arrived whilst the sun sets in front of you; my journal now speaks a beauty I can’t describe because of it.

Sunset at the watering hole

Sunset Rhino – Etosha National Park

Sunset at the watering hole

Giraffe sunset – Etosha National Park

Sunset at the watering hole

Elephant sunset – Etosha National Park

Giraffe’s always look so cute don’t they? Well, it seems the ones in Etosha National Park are incredibly cute AND incredibly dumb because it took some of them over an hour to walk about 100m to the water because they’re such nervous animals. It was very funny but very frustrating to watch but capturing photos of them made it all worth while!

Giraffe in the dark

Giraffe – Etosha National Park

And last but by no means least we have the rhino…a black rhino to be specific (I told you they were loving us!). He came to our side of the watering hole and ended up being about 5m away from where I was sat. To say that it left me in awe would have been an understatement.

Animals at night

Black Rhino – Etosha National Park

I managed to sleep that night.

  1. The World of Deej12-09-11

    Simply amazing pics…Love the giraffes at sunset and their reflection in the pond…

  2. Beverley | Pack Your Passport12-10-11

    Toni I can’t believe you were so close to all of those amazing animals! The pictures you got are beautiful so I can only imagine (and be jealous!) of what it was actually like to be there.

  3. Lauren12-10-11

    Gorgeous photos, Toni! :)

  4. Francesca12-10-11

    Wow, amazing! Incredible photos… I love the elephant shots & the one with the baby ostriches :-)

  5. Erik12-11-11

    This must have been so moving to be there. Great pics and experience.

  6. Toni12-11-11

    Erik – even writing this post brought tears to my eyes as I remember it all. I wish I could bottle my feelings at that moment and send them to you :)

  7. Toni12-11-11

    Francesca – Thank you :) I absolutely fell in love with elephants whilst I was there…the ostrichs were pretty cute too!

  8. Toni12-11-11

    Lauren – thanks hun; means a lot when I know you take great photos yourself :)

  9. Toni12-11-11

    Deej – thank you! Yes, the sunset photos are some of my favourites :)

  10. Toni12-11-11

    Beverley – I still can’t believe I was that close hun and I was there lol. Words simply can’t explain it; I wish they could :)

  11. Nomadic Samuel12-11-11

    Great photo essay! I love the sunset shots :)

  12. Toni12-12-11

    Samuel – thanks hun! The sunset shots are some of my favourites too! :)

  13. Jen12-12-11

    This is amazing Toni I’m so jealous that you saw all of this and your fotos are incredible!! xx

  14. Monica12-12-11

    Wow, these are amazing! The elephant pics are gorgeous and I love that pink sunset!

  15. Toni12-12-11

    Jen – it really was incredible hun and I still can’t believe that they’re my photos haha :) So glad you like them sweet!

  16. Toni12-12-11

    Monica – thanks hun! Glad you like them and yep, the sunsets are definitely pink :D

  17. ayngelina12-18-11

    Those photos are incredible, what an adventure.

  18. Toni12-19-11

    Ayngelina – thanks! That means a lot coming from you :)

  19. @TravelEater02-01-12

    Wow – great post! I’m very excited because I’ll be in Etosha in July/August. Any tips for what to bring? What time of year were you there? And by any chance did you go ballooning over the dunes? It is very expensive ($500 pp) but …..
    Thanks!

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