Etosha National Park
Namibia

I spent several days driving through Etosha National Park in northern Namibia.Etosha National Park spans an area of
22,270 square kilometres (8,600 sq mi) and gets its name from the large Etosha Pan, which is almost entirely within the park. The park is
home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds and reptiles. Traveling in your own personal vehicle gives you a unique sense of
freedom compared to guided wildlife safaris. There is still something amazing to me to be stuck on the road
behind an elephant who has no intention of moving and can easily crush the car if so inclined. I spent
three days driving through the park and spent two nights staying at the lodges within the park,
Namutoni to the east and Okakuejo to the south. Unlike the bushveldt that I normally travel to, Etosha has
vast open areas and larger herds of grazing species.


The red lines are the roads I drove. The green dots are the camps I stayed at.


Playing ukulele in the Etosha Pan, the heart of the park.


Namutoni Gate Entrance.


Not your average "wildlife crossing."

Etosha
Standing outside the Namutoni Fort. This old German battle emplacement acts as one of the rest camp/lodges situated within the national park.


Standing at the Etosha Pan, an ongoing flat area that holds varying amounts of water, depending on the season.
This area is the lifeblood of the area and is very important to many migratory birds, including African flamingos.


This is my favorite of all the African raptors, the martial eagle.
This is the largest eagle species in Africa. I have two martial eagles that take turns staying in my house.
They came to the U.S. as part of a "depredation" program from Tanzania.


I know a falconer from South Africa that uses martial eagles to hunt small antelope, like springbok.


One of the many warthog sightings.


Guinea fowl crossing the road. Large termite mound on the left.


Each of the rest area/camp sites within Etosha has its own permanent watering hole.
This draws wildlife, which in turn draws tourists. Each watering hole is set up for guests to relax and view the animals
while being seperated by a small electrified barrier fence, which runs around the entire camp.


The Namutoni watering hole has great bird life due to the dense patch of reeds.


Guests are requested to be quiet at watering holes as to not disturb the wildlife or other guests.


Watering holes are also a great place to watch the amazing African sunsets.


Lighted walkways lead to watering holes.


Namutoni was originally established as a control post during the mad cow disease (BSE) epidemic of 1897. The fort was built be the
German Schutztruppe from 1902-03 and rebuilt in 1906 after the Ovambo destroyed the original building. The fort served as a police
post and later as a South African army base. Fort Namutoni was declared a national monument in 1950 and was opened to tourism in 1957.


A gemsbok, or oryx, at the edge of the Etosha Pan.

On the eastern side of Etosha Pan, there was still some water. You can see wading birds in the distance.


Tawny eagle.


I found this spotted hyena early one morning laying in the mud puddle of a parking area in the park.


Ducks near the pan.


Skeletal remains of some large animal.


Two different color variations of the tawny eagle. They were fighting over some piece of food.


I only found this lion, because I made an impromptu U-turn to drive down a side road. I had no idea,
but the lion was laying under a bush at the edge of the road and as soon as I turned the vehicle around
he stood up to look at me.


He walked about 50' feet away, turned to look at me again and layed down under another bush
for a cool afternoon nap in the shade.


Bull elephant covered in mud and scratching his back leg.


Many giraffes could be found throughout Etosha National Park.


This giraffe was inspecting the rib cage of a long past animal.


Secretary bird.


Springbok.


Wildebeest.


This male kudu walks along the pan's edge during the heat of mid-day. Notice the heat waves in the background.


Wildebeest, springbok and zebra graze together near Etosha Pan. Again, notice how the heat distorts the background of the photo.


A photo of the pan. The refracted light because of the heat causes a mirage and makes the pan and the sky look like
one continuous element. This is actually a dry lake bed. There was actually no water when this photo was taken.


A big bull elephant covered in mud and directly in front of my car.


He eventually moved off of the road.


Mud acts as an excellent form of sun screen and insect repellent for those animals living in the harsh African environments.




Springbok herd.


Ostrich and red hartebeest in the background.


A trick of the light. There was actually no water in the pan at this point. This is all just a mirage.


The Toyota Hilux I drove during my Namibian adventure. The 4x4 was quite necessary for some of the places I traveled.
You will notice that it is covered with mud half way up the vehicle. I also traveled with a GoPro camera attached to the hood
for some action shots while driving.


Entrance road to the Etosha Pan lookout point.


Red hartebeest passing in front of the truck.


Falcon


Sunset at the Okakuejo watering hole.


Jackals come to the watering hole at sunset.


A number of white faced Scops owls were hunting around the Okakuejo watering hole.
Not only does the water draw prey for the animals, but the lights surrounding the pan attract insects
which attracts rodents and other small predators, all of which are food for the owls.


Here you see an owl with a very large flying insect.


These photos were taken with no flash and incredibly low light.


Owl taking off.


Black rhino coming for a drink after sunset.


A black backed jackal comes over to see what the owl is eating.


These are some of my favorite photos. Can you guess what they are?




These are time lapse photos of the beetles flying around the flood lights.




Beetle
These are all beetles drawn by the electric lights surrounding the watering hole.


Originally the site of a German fort built in 1901, Okaukuejo now houses the Etosha Ecological Institute, founded in 1974.
This round watchtower is a remnant of the fort.

tower2


I love all of the true safari vehicles in Africa, set up for some serious camping.


I've always been a fan of Land Cruisers.


Some of the wildlife in Etosha National Park become desensitized to visitor's vehicles. . . . including this springbok.


The kori bustard is the world's heaviest flighted bird, weighing as much as 44lbs.


This is the massive nest of a large number of community nest or social weaver birds.


Springbok herd.


Baby giraffe.



Etosha traffic jam.


Zebra grazing with a herd of gemsbok.


Hyena hiding in the shade


A baobab tree, also called an upside down tree, because the trunk and branches look like roots.


A big bull elephent eating and hiding in the shade during the 102 degree F heat of mid-day.


A monitor lizard walking through the grass.