After many thousands of kilometres driven from Cape Town through to Namibia, we arrived in Etosha, which for those who don’t know, is one of the most popular National Game reserves in Southern Africa. It’s name means “Great Dry Place”. Basically the park surrounds a massive pan and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the Big 5, huge herds of antelope and loads of other creatures.

The first camp we stayed at was Okaukuejo. Whilst the spelling of this name also bears little resemblance to the way you pronounce it, it’s not quite as bad as listening to foreigners trying to pronounce Hluhluwe, which is near where I live. I had to ask Pepe how to pronounce it, to which she replied ” Okka – kway – oh”. Damn. I wasn’t even close…

The first morning out at Okaukuejo saw us jump on board one of the NWR game drive vehicles. We drove quite far into the reserve, but didn’t see a whole lot of stuff. What surprised me about this region of the Etosha reserve was just how much vegetation we saw. It’s definitely not quite how I expected it to be, given the drought and also the photos I’d seen of the reserve.

After about an hour of driving through the bushes we got to some areas with less vegetation and this is where you find the water holes that provide life to this thirsty place. Without them the animals here would perish in no time at all, because while its very cold in the evenings, by the time the sun has been up for a couple of hours, you find yourself feeling much like a piece of biltong (jerky) as the earth tries to absorb every ounce of moisture from your body.

An advantage of these water holes is that they are almost always crawling with animal life, as you can see above. Springboks, elephants, zebras, ostriches, black-backed jackals and gemsbok (oryx) are always gathering at their edges.

Click the photos to view the larger version

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Birdlife is abundant too.

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A mother and her young kudu.

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Zebra

We spent two nights at Okaukeujo and then said a sad farewell to two of our Safarians, namely Blu & Teresa from Portugal. Then we headed East.

After 6 hours of slow game driving we encountered a rather special place. Fort Namutoni. There’s a lot of history surrounding this German fort, but I won’t go into it here – just Google it. It was extremely hot and dry when we arrived and it took me a while to recover from the drive – I felt totally parched so after lunch I disappeared into my air-conditioned room and tried to have an afternoon nap.

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Wildebeest found along the way

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Zebras galore (the Etosha pan is in the background)

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Red Hartebeest

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The Fort Namutoni

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Water hole at Namutoni

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Sunset at Namutoni

We were at Namutoni for one night and then we headed north-east towards Onkoshi Rest Camp which is located on the edge of the pan. I’ll add shots from there in a separate post.