Day 36 – 39: Etosha National Park

Distance travelled from home: 7 095 km

From Ruacana to the western gate of Etosha the road is tarred and it was the first tarred road we drove in more than a week (previous one between Swakopmund and Henties Bay). No more Himbas, but Ovambo people along the road with more conventional houses and western clothes. Northern Namibia has had lots of rain and is green.

We camped at Hobatere Roadside Camp, opposite the Etosha Galton Gate, which was a real treat. It is a new camp in the large Hobatere concession area with wildlife. A rustic luxury campsite without electricity, own ablutions, a donkey to fire up for hot showers, and with brand new fixtures.

We saw mountain zebra herds and a group of lions woke us early with their roaring at the nearby waterhole within the camp.

And the group was resting under a bush next to the waterhole a few hundred meters from the campsite when we departed.

And for the first time since arriving in Swakopmund the night temperature was normal for the season – we could actually sleep! We have escaped the ‘Oosweer’ as this region is east from the desert.

We entered Etosha after a quick drive to Kamanjab to find a new battery for the Cruizer. Kamanjab is also a very small village, where we found the battery at the Spar Savemore shop. Then onto Galton Gate where we entered Etosha.

Etosha has had a lot of rain during the past few months. The typical white saline dusty soil is covered with grass. There is no sign of white dusty elephants as we remember it. Lush dry grassland almost everywhere, with the roads and some small patches in the veld still white. We saw footage of water in the pan before arriving there, but as far as we could determine the pan is already mostly dried up.

The eastern side of the pan was covered with grass, but with water between the grass. How far in, we could not determine. On the southern and western side small rivulets were still running on the edge, and huge damp areas deeper on the pans were visible.

Water visible in the grass..

The quantities of wildlife at the waterholes were beyond description – zebra, springbuck, wildebeest, gemsbok, kudu, giraffe, hartebeest, black-faced impala. We saw more than a hundred giraffe.

Armoured bush cricket – ‘koring kriek’ (7-10 cm body)

We came across 4 lions under the smallest bush in the open grassveld near the pan. It was funny how they were lying on top of each other to get a little bit of shade under this tiny bush.

Etosha Camps:

It was the first time we visited Olifantsrus restcamp. Fairly new, but very basic. A small kiosk where one can buy cold drinks and sandwiches. The elephant abattoir structure used 30 years ago is in the middle of the camp.


The camp hide is nice. That evening a black rhinoceros visited the waterhole at the hide, apart from the ever-present zebra and springbuck.

Olifantsrus camp hide

Okaukuejo was almost deserted with a few vehicles. The shop shelves were almost empty, with no meat or vegetables – only basics available.

Halali camp has been maintained better and we had a good dinner at the restaurant. There were quite a few campers, including an overland truck with some 20 loud Spaniards right behind us, keeping us awake long after bedtime with their noise. Later that evening 4 black rhinos visited the waterhole at the camp hide.

Halali camp hide

Namutoni had a lot of campers. Nice shade trees in the camping area, the shop was almost empty.

Driving southwards from Ruacana, we had to go through the vet fence for F&M disease, and they took all our uncooked red meat. They permitted us to take through some chicken. We could not find a butchery in Kamanjab, and the Spar Savemore had some frozen meat. We decided that we would buy meat in Etosha, since they used to stock good meat. This time: no meat available in Etosha, apart from the restaurant.

Next: Caprivi….


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