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Etosha Trip Report September 2008


Guest sniktawk
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Guest sniktawk

This was our first trip to Etosha since 2003 and hence our first time in the “new refurbished” lodges.

 

Game Viewing

 

Absolutely spectacular would be the only words to describe it.

Our first viewing was 2 male lions lying in the shade. We subsequently saw another 38 lions the majority of which were males.

For the first time ever in Etosha we saw a Leopard and a Cheetah and Cub (neither very good photo opportunities)

Plains Game were in amazingly high numbers with thousands of Zebra, Springbok, Wildebeest, Black Faced Impala, Red Hartebeest

Hundreds of Elephant, many, many Giraffe one group of 25 just failed to beat our largest ever sighting (in Selous).

Rhino at Okakujo water hole in daylight and at night, including a mating pair.

Many Eland and DikDik.

 

We even got our first ever Lion kill!!

 

All of this self driving on reasonably good roads. Even allowing for the vastly increased costs our total payment was N$16,000 (around US$2,000) including park fees, or roughly one night for two at Lebala. If you allow around $100 per day for car hire and petrol ex Windhoek, it is still a remarkably cheap way to see lots of wild life.

 

The only downsides to viewing are the coaches, the idiots who will not be quiet, or people getting out of their cars.

 

The “New Lodges”

 

Okakuejo

Booked on a bed and breakfast basis for our first three nights. N$ 1,300 per night for two.

All of the old rondavels at the waterhole have been demolished and replaced with 5 double storey and around 15 small rondavels each containing two “cells” containing a bedroom (with obligatory mosquito net), a bathroom with shower unfortunately already falling apart, and a fridge and kettle. There are apparently only two accommodation units which are fully self catering, although some away from the waterhole still have brais (barbecues). The waterhole area itself is fenced off from the rest of the camp but has open gates, all of the grass has been removed and replaced by plastic sheeting with grey gravel on top, this has resulted in their being no Ground Squirrels and very little if any birdlife, in the area. The waterhole itself looks as if it has been tidied up (made rounder). As we had not been told of the new accommodation when we booked we had luckily brought some camping food which enabled us to avoid eating dinner in the restaurant $200 per person. Breakfast was included in our price and was served from around 05.30 before the gates open. You cannot park near your accommodation there is a separate parking area from which you are required to carry all of your luggage to the rondavels.

 

Halali

Our next two nights were spent here again on a B & B basis for N$1,200 per night for two. The old small chalets nears the main gate are now called “bush chalets” and have a new bathroom with shower , this time only the towel rack fell off.

The bedroom far larger than Okakuejo also had a mosquito net. The camp looks as shabby as ever, no sighns of any new building that we could see.

 

Namutoni

We were expecting something rather posh as the cost here was NS3,000 per night.!! But the price did include diner. The old 4 berth huts had been refurbished to a ludicrous standard and feature a large bedroom with two small singles (no mosquito nets) a bathroom with bath and two showers plus an outdoor shower! The outside area was fenced of with wood to a height of around 2 metres as a result you could see nothing of the rest of the camp.

The biggest laugh is the new method of getting to your accommodation, you must park around 400 metres from the nearest accommodation. You and your luggage are then transported to a drop off point by GOLF CART, then everything is transferred to a trolley and noisily wheeled to your room along concrete walkways.

The old fort has been transformed into a small “shopping centre”, with a bar, chill-out rooms, two restaurants (both with the same menu), and a very small shop for those wishing to find something edible to eat. The restaurant was embarrassingly bad

 

 

 

We will probably return but need to find an alternative to Namutoni, whose sole purpose seems to be to annoy you after a wonderful day of viewing. It is also easily combined with a trip to Botswana, as Maun is only two days easy drive to Caprivi and then down the panhandle.

 

Selected photos are available at

 

http://sniktawkwild.zenfolio.com/p750490194

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Welcome home Snik. That lion kill image was great...

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Ken, your giraffe image in the sand storm is one of the best giraffe images I have ever seen. Just an amazing photograph. Thanks for sharing.

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Yeah some great photos, epecically the lion kill and the giraffe.

One question, are you sure that's a white rhino, looks like a black to me although I'm no expert!!

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Good just checking :D

I have learned the hard way with rhino not to assume it's a white rhino as I once told some clients on a game drive in Hluhlue-Imfolozi, SA that what we were looking at was a white rhino (there are hundreds of white in that park) only for one of the clients to point out that he thought it was a black rhino. A quick look through binoculars proved he was right, much to my embarrassment!

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  • 5 weeks later...

I missed this even though I had radar out for Namibia and Etosha.

 

You have a nice account of the Etosha lodging options. From a wildlife viewing standpoint, can you do a brief compare and contrast of these areas?

 

The pictures were lovely and very Etosha. I've never seen a dustier bath than the elephant bath. The giraffe in the dust is such a unique perspective and contributes to these being so Etosha. Loved the steenbok's ears.

 

Why was the rhino running? To get the drink? Or for some other reason?

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You have a nice account of the Etosha lodging options. From a wildlife viewing standpoint, can you do a brief compare and contrast of these areas?

 

ok Namutoni is in the east of the park. That area is close to Dik-Dik drive so offers the best chance to see dik-diks. In the past I've had more giraffe sightings in the east of the park than elsewhere.

 

Okaukuejo is in the west of the part of the park open to tourists and has the best camp waterhole which is visited most nights by black rhino and elephant and during the day is filled with springbok, kudu, zebra and elephants.

 

Halali is half way between the other two, and is in part of the park that is more hilly than the rest and is more densely wooded. The waterhole at the camp offers good chances forblack rhino and elephant (my record is 9 black rhino and 22 elephants at the waterhole at one time).

 

On the night drives the area round halali seemed to be the best for me but that could just be luck due to weather etc when I was there (October 2007).

 

Got to agree with sniktawks comments about Namutoni. I didnt stay there but walking round and seeing what they've done put me off it. The only good part apart from the location is the banded mongoose sightings - they are easily seen in camp around and under the wooden walkways and its easy to get lots of good photos of them.

 

Halali is the one thats had least work done on it and is the nicest one for me as a result. Listen out around dusk and at night for sounds of dustbins rattling - its normally a honey badger raiding the bin for food (the other camps get jackals rather than honey badgers).

 

A few more comments in my report http://safaritalk.net/index.php?showtopic=1804

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You must self drive it is pointless to go on game drives from the NWR camps or outside, not only is it more expensive you will never get to just sit and wait and watch.

 

I'd agree, but the night drives can be worth doing as you cant drive in the park after dark - its only the organised night drives that are allowed into the park at night.

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madaboutcheetah

I don't know how I missed this report - excellent viewing and great pictures ......... Lions galore!!!

 

My fav one is the Eland with the Gemsbok!!! Very unique!

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Thanks Sniktawk and Predator for the additional comments. I remembered your report Predator as soon as I saw the jackal photos.

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Sniktawk and predator thanks for the views on the camps. We've been meaning to go back to Etosha for years now and your report has set the mind working.

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  • 3 weeks later...

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