Namibia – Etosha
Etosha National Park
To those people that have been to many Southern Africa national parks they will have either heard of Etosha or will have at some point visited this park. I had heard many people tell me about Etosha from their travels through to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park when I volunteered there several years ago.
Etosha NP takes in around 20,000 sq km of land that forms part of the white coloured Etosha pan. It was setup as a reserve in the 1900’s to protect the diminishing animal numbers. The entry fee per person was 120 Namib Dollars or £12 and is reasonable for a National Park.
I have to say that I have mixed feelings about this park, in one respect as the park is one massive pan (mainly dry) with little or no bushes or trees in the majority of areas you are guaranteed to see some wildlife in all shapes and sizes and that is never a bad thing.
We saw some beautiful herds of springboks and zebras together with many different bird species such as the Lilac breasted roller and the black shouldered kite.
I have visited many national parks in Southern Africa and East Africa and I think that this park is perfect for the novice nature lover that has never seen many animals in their own natural habitat before but for me the park never changed in it’s terrain as you drove from one gate to another and so was not so special for me because of that.
We did have the luck to see a cheetah about 50 metres away stalking a couple of springboks in the tall grass but sadly for us the springbok were onto him as they stood still for a good hour and the cheetah wasn’t going to rush his attempted dinner so he patiently waited in the long grass enough for us to make a move before the gate closed and not see what actually happened in the end. Moments like this are rare but exciting if you are lucky enough to see them and that’s why visiting any national park is always a matter of luck but you can be treated to some very special moments.
Grootfontein – Camping
This town lies 300km north of Windhoek and seems to be a good resting point for many travellers either heading to Etosha National Park or coming from there going to Windhoek. It’s a small town but like many other towns in Namibia has all the essentials that you will ever need. The SPA supermarket is well stocked up on all kinds of meats and goodies needed for your camping needs and like all other towns there are at least 2 petrol stations. We stayed in Grootfontein a couple of days on separate occasions and stayed just outside Grootfontein at a great camping site called Maori run by some crazy German Namibian fella who is on another planet but has a lovely camping area that is peaceful and like most campsites in Namibia has clean showers with hot water and cost £5 a night.