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Published: July 23rd 2010
Etosha National Park
Spent 5 wonderful days camping and driving around Etosha NP. It's a 20,000 km2 park, 2/3 open to the public. We travelled from the Western gate to the eastern staying at the 3 campsites attached to lodges at each end and one in the middle. The lodges were in lovely settings and well maintained and each had their own waterhole. We developed a routine quite quickly of getting up early , into the car, heater full on and drive to a waterhole. Have breakfast there watching the wildlife. Then spend around 4 hours driving around from one waterhole to another. The raods were good gravel roads and good signage everywhere. Then back to the lodge for an excellent buffet lunch (smoked salmon and grilled prawns one day). Then back out to sit at a particular waterhole for a couple of hours in the late afternoon. There was lock out at sundown so you had to make sure you were back inside the fenced and guarded lodge area on time. Then spend the evening at the lodge's waterhole until we were too cold. The main wildlife was all at waterholes with little to see between them.
During the 5 days there we successfully identified 40 new birds and around 30 new mammals, not bad. Some really stunning birdlife, lots of eagles, also saw a good number of rhino, lions and even a leopard, plus lots and lots of elephants, giraffe, springbok and zebra.
We watched a pride of 10 lios. First saw 4 youngsters on one side of the road under a tree. THen some roaring started and they trotted over to the other side, behind our car. We backed up a little and saw the much larger females and a big male in the background under some trees. All very dramatic.
Another day in the early morning spotted a leopard, the first I've ever seen outside of a zoo. It was sat dead still a little back from the waterhole watching. Before we saw it you could tell there ws a predator around as all the springbok were standing completely still and looking in one direction. The leopard moved slowly down to the waterhole for a drink, then slunk back into the trees, we'd watached it for about 20 minutes, excellent.
One evening at a lodge's waterhole we saw 5 rhino! One mother had a very young one with her (you can tell a black rhino from a white because the baby follows the mother). This youngster was was intrigued by an approaching very large elephant and went bounding up to it, the elephant wasn't sure about this little thing and stood dquite still. Mum rhino wasn't happy either and charged the elephant. The many times larger elephant backed off straight away. Mum then took the baby away into the bushes.
Have now visited waterberg Plateau Park and are on our way to the very north the Caprivi strip.
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