Day 11 – 13 October. On our way to Etosha, via the Grootberg pass and Kamanjab. We didn’t have any reservations, as the park was long fully booked. The plan was to either camp in the wild somewhere near the Galton Gate, the park’s western entrance, or try to get an overflow place at Olifantsrus Camp, about 2 hours passed the Galton Gate.
Some unique scenery en-route to the park.
At one of my favourite waterholes, Jakkalswater, where elephants never disappoint.
We arrived early afternoon at Olifantsrus Campsite, without reservation. Fortunately there was still place on the overflow places.
Day 12 – 14 October: Olifantsrus – Okaukuejo
The day before the lady at Olifantsrus was so kind to check if she could book us a place at Okaukuejo, which was supposedly fully booked. She couldn’t get through via phone and eventually forced a booking through the online system. We were really thankful, as we really wanted to spend the nights at the waterholes.
Our first lions in the park, just next to the road on our way to Okaukuejo.
At Okaukuejo we made sure all was ok for our 2 nights there, and off we went to check out the nearby waterholes.
Always a favourite, the honeybadger!
At Olifantsbad there was a dead rhino and a male lion deep in the bush. We had been waiting for the lion to make a move, but that didn’t seem to happen any time soon. So we decided to make a move back to Gemsbokvlakte, one of my favourite waterholes. Last year we saw a lion with 3 cubs and 5 bat-eared foxes, all at the same time.
A black rhino and the best daytime sighting I’ve had. It turned out that many more were to come…
And then this white rhino showed up… Black and white, both at the same waterhole! This one had its horns cut short, and was wearing a tracking collar on its leg.
A nice sunset at the Okaukuejo waterhole, but no animals… A bit disappointing. At night a few black rhino visited the waterhole, but all together it was a very quiet night… Hopefully our second night would be more rewarding.
Day 13 – 15 October: Okaukuejo
Today we decided to first check out the waterholes to the west and then slowly move to the waterholes east of Okaukuejo.
The first rain had arrived and the park was full with puddles of water. The animals clearly enjoyed this.
We had more luck this night, and plenty of black rhino came for a drink, even a few mothers with babies. At some stage there were 9 rhinos in and around the waterhole, truly spectacular!
Day 14 – 16 October: Okaukuejo – Halali
Today we were moving to the Halali Campsite, my clear favourite in Etosha. Not only because of its waterhole, located a bit away from the actual camp, but also because of the area itself, which is quite diverse in scenery as well as wildlife, compared with the area around Okaukuejo. It was also nearest to the area where last year we found cheetah, which was now again on top of our wish list…
A good start of the day!
This spotted hyena was following the male lion, at a safe distance…
And half an hour after we left the male lion we were surprised by this female, followed by 2 large cubs, and coming direct at us, crossing in front of the car just a meter away, just awesome!
The Halali waterhole.
A black rhino marking it’s territory.
We ended up spending probably almost an hour with this beautiful rhino, quietly following him from behind, down-wind. Eventually we had to rush back, to not miss the closing time of the gate at Halali.
The evening passed by quietly and we decided to relax a bit at our campsite, only spending a little time at the waterhole.
Day 15 – 17 October: Halali
Today we had one target on top of our wish list: cheetah. And I thought to know exactly where to go look for them…
White rhinos on the run.
This ostrich complete ignored us and walked along with us for at least a hundred meters, less than a meter away from our car.
Lions at Okerfontein, another favourite waterhole of mine.
On the actual Etosha pan.
I didn’t mention anything about the heat… After all, it was mid October.. Well, we managed a lot better than some of the animals. Most trees had lost their leaves, so even finding shadow wasn’t always easy…
Black rhinos in full camouflage…
Back at Halali Campsite, as usual just in time at the gate, at sunset. No cheetahs today… Tomorrow was our last full day in Etosha. It reminded me about last year, when we finally found 3 cheetahs on our last day in Etosha. Would we again be that lucky…?
An awesome first night at the Halali waterhole.
And this is how our second day at Halali ended, we couldn’t have wished better. The sheer diversity in scenery and wildlife makes Etosha really a must-visit destination.
Day 16 – 18 October: Halali
Today was our last full day in Etosha and we had only 1 target on our mind: cheetah. I was convinced that the day before we simply didn’t find cheetah because of the lions hanging out in their area. As the lions had moved on a bit was hopeful we had more luck today.
Not a bad start, 3 white rhinos..!
Yes, we thought this huge bull elephant had died… But it fortunately turned out he was just having a nap.
We had been driving back and forth along the same road for a couple of times now… And then, all of a sudden… Yes, Cheetah! And best of all, a mother with 3 adorable kittens.
Mother cheetah was continuously scanning the horizon, as the lions of the day before couldn’t be far away.
It was getting increasingly hot and mother cheetah did her best to provide a little more shadow for her kittens. I knew one thing for sure, that she was not going to stay here and had to make a move soon. So we moved our car towards the nearest area with some shadow, knowing that she’d head that direction.
Not all cheetah kittens are equal… And not all survive. This one was clearly ahead of the other two.
We had spend about an hour with these cheetahs, when they finally disappeared into the bush… Again, what an awesome experience and how satisfied I was that we found them, on our last full day in Etosha. Cheetahs: check!
Look at those legs… Why is it that elephants sometimes copy each others position..?
We had just enough time to check out Naumses waterhole. When we arrived the sun was almost gone, and not an animal in sight. Then all of a sudden this lone female came over the ridge and made for an awesome end of the day.
Our last night in Etosha, at the Halali waterhole. And what a night it turned out to be! These 2 mothers were introducing their calfs to each other, look at how little the one on the left is! Rhinos have to entirely follow their senses of smell and hearing and it was very obvious a tense moment, whit a lot of grunts, back and forward moving and even some wild charges at each other. It all ended up peacefully.
Day 17 – 19 October: Halali – Windhoek
Today was our last day and we had to go back to Windhoek. We had a couple of hours in the early morning and decided to go look for lions, one more time… We had seen a few lions earlier around Salvadora waterhole, so that’s where we were heading for.
And with a little back and forth over the plains we finally managed to position ourselves right in front of where these 2 male lions crossed the road. One of the Halali camp rangers told us that these 2 male lions were trying to take over a nearby pride, and it was indeed obvious these guys meant business!
And just when more cars arrived the guide from Halali Campsite was so kind to tell us where the females were hanging out: Sueda… Wooshhh…. I may have speeded a little bit!
And sure enough…! They were at Sueda.
It was time to go; we had to leave for Windhoek and catch our flight home, early next day. We couldn’t have wished for a better finale of our holiday. Etosha really is something… And I can’t wait to go back. Sooner than later: July 2020 🙂