Etosha National Park must be one of the best places to see wildlife in the whole of Southern Africa. And to my mind, each of these three camps offers its own rewards.
From your perch on a small hill above the waterhole, you get an amphitheatre view of the game that comes to drink. In the evenings, forktailed drongos use the floodlights as a hunting aid that highlights insects they take on the wing, and pearl-spotted owlets perch nearby on the lookout for a quick snack. Best of all, you’re almost sure to see elephant and black rhino if you visit at sundown and are patient.
People say that if you spend the whole night at Moringa you’re pretty sure to see spotted hyena and leopard too. But although the days were warm in June when we were there, the nights were a little too cold for a marathon stake-out – at least for me.
In my view Namutoni’s campsite isn’t as pleasant as Halali’s, mainly because it’s a lot smaller. When we came back from a drive one afternoon, we found our campsite hemmed in by two Overland trucks with their multiple mounds of identical little tents and foreigners. Luckily, they were fairly quiet, except the next morning when one of the trucks hooted at 04:30 to wake and muster his ‘troops’ for the next stage of their whistle-stop tour of Namibia.
Because I love watching breeding herds of elephant so much, I was getting anxious when we’d been in the park for just over a week and still hadn’t spotted more than a few lone bulls or small bachelor groups. Then on our second last day we found a breeding herd peacefully drinking at Groot Okevi waterhole a few kilometers north of Namutoni.
Then they all melted into the bush again, leaving as quietly as they had arrived. We were left listening to the Namaqua sandgrouse flying in and away, their liquid call as soulful as any you can hope to hear in the bush.
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