A spontaneous visit to the Etosha Pan

11/10/2023

Our last visit to a national park with a focus on wildlife was a long time ago. If we remember correctly, it was a visit to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in February 2023. We spontaneously decided to visit the Etosha Pan. We discovered online that Halali Camp had a few bookable days. At first, we were greeted with a «The whole Park is fully booked, I’m sorry» when we entered the NWR booking office in Swakopmund and made our request. When Guido then pointed out that the website was faulty – after all, Halali was bookable online – the lady looked astonished and made sure she knew what it was all about. In the end, we had a full week’s worth of bookings and were able to travel right across the park. Never give up – that’s Africa.

Via Otjiwarongo to Okaukuejo

From Swakopmund we drove via Otjiwarongo to Okaukuejo. The area in front of the gate offers very attractive and beautiful camps. However, we decided (as always) to spend the night in the park, even though the camp could not meet the standards of the competition. The advantage of leaving early in the morning as soon as the camp opened its gates and being right in the middle of the action was more valuable to us than finding a more pleasant camp. Okaukuejo was really full. At reception, we were allocated a campsite right in front of the toilet. At first we set up camp, but we soon lost interest. Several large groups of tourists, who were traveling in buses, came to the toilet to relieve themselves. Unfortunately, most of them had no decency and so they walked straight through our campsite, between us, our table and our donkey. One went first and others followed him like lemmings.

We are moving

At the second group, Guido stood up, bowed in a friendly manner and welcomed the group to our living room in English. Most of the people just looked stupid and one of them thanked us – none of them left the path through the middle of the campsite. We’d had enough and clarified with a security guard that we wanted to move to the furthest corner of the campsite, right next to the fence. No sooner said than done, we moved and had peace and quiet from then on. We announced the change at reception and had a reasonable time from then on. By chance, we met Martin, a Namibian who was spending a few days in the Etosha Pan with his Namibian and German family. We got to know Martin quite a while ago in Elisenheim. He is part of the weekly regulars’ table there, which we had already visited several times when we happened to be there.

The early bird catches the worm – not only in the Etosha pan

Simply driving to waterholes and standing there for hours to see animals is not our thing. Not only do the pictures become rather monotonous – we also find the process too monotonous. So we were always ready on time in the morning when the gate opened and set off full of anticipation and excitement for a day that was uncertain for us. It was always worth it in the end. We had some wonderful sightings early in the morning, within the first 15-30 minutes. After the days in Okaukuejo, we drove on towards Halali.

The waterhole in Halali provides

Halali was previously a completely blank slate for us. In our opinion, the waterhole is by far the most beautiful in the Etosha Pan. The entertainment – especially from groups of elephants – is terrific. We had a lot of fun in this camp and also had good sightings along the way. Lions and cats in general were well represented on this visit to the Etosha Pan.

 

Namutoni is where we feel most comfortable

The area around Fort Namutoni is our favorite part of the park. We particularly like the variety of vegetation and so far we have never been disappointed in terms of sightings. Once we had outstanding elephant sightings, another time a cheetah with a playful cub. This time we were able to watch two lions making love. We were lucky because the spectacle had been going on for at least a week. The lion was already very emaciated. The two cats withdraw when the offspring are conceived and he has to make love to his lady every 20 minutes over a period of 7 to 10 days. Both cats eat nothing during the entire period. An incredible feat of strength. We were once again lucky enough to be able to watch them on their last afternoon. In the morning we saw him drinking at the waterhole before he wandered off across the field.

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