We awaken at 4am to the makings of another beautiful day in Africa. The sky is slowly taking on the steel-grey hues of first light, as we sip coffee and pack our vehicle, all the while keeping one eye on the waterhole outside.
At the first opportunity, we are out of the camp gate and on our way to Sprokieswoud (Fairy Tale Forest) which is about 2 hour’s drive from Okaukuejo, our first nights stop. Wanting to catch sight of Etosha Pan as close to sunrise as possible, we have opted for a circuitous route which takes in some of the nearby waterholes. Our early start is rewarded with the sight of a porcupine shuffling off to bed.
The Road to Fairy Tale Forest
Okondeka waterhole delivers an almost constant parade of Africa’s most common animals – zebra, impala, giraffe, and wildebeest. They approach cautiously and drink, watched by the resident pride of lions which have settled under the distant trees for the day.
The dry waterholes of Adamax and Natco yield nothing of particular interest but a large shape comes into view under the tall mopane trees near Grunewald waterhole.
We spend some time in the company of this lone bull elephant and eventually make our way to the forest. At this point our hastily packed snacks make an appearance in lieu of breakfast. After admiring the twisted shapes of the Moringa trees for a while, we head back to camp along the main road.
Next Stop – Halali
After a brief rest we set off for Halali Camp. This area of the park is known for its excellent game viewing opportunities and we get sight of most of Etosha National Park’s resident species along the way. After hours on the road, a quick lunch at the camp restaurant followed by a swim in the onsite pool provide welcome relief.
Our comfy two bedroom bush chalet give us the opportunity to enjoy a braai in privacy that evening before settling down at the floodlit waterhole for a couple of hours. Our efforts are rewarded with the sight of a leopard slinking down to drink late in the evening.
On the Road to Namutoni
Our last day in the park commences with another crack-of-dawn departure to our final stop – Namutoni.
Etosha View Point delivers with incredible early morning scenes. Lunch is enjoyed at a picnic spot near Springbokfontein and our day is complete (4 hours later) at our final stop.
The long, tiring journey is not without its rewards. We spot a bat-eared fox hustling for cover just outside the camp, and see elephant and cheetahs at Okerfontein. A lone white rhino arrives among the herds of springbok at Springbokfontein, and there’s a magnificent kudu bull at Koinachas just outside camp.
This historic fortification is a delight and we wish we had booked for a longer stay. It makes the perfect end to our rigorous safari efforts, as there is less game to see around here. This gives us a chance to put our feet up for the afternoon, before a late afternoon drive to Fischer’s Pan.
Although the famous flamingos are absent at this time of year at least we can say we’ve been there!
Our day ends with a steakhouse dinner back at camp, a last chance at watching over the floodlit waterhole and a comparatively early night. Come morning, its back to reality via Von Lindequist Gate and a melancholic end to our long-awaited trip.
Are you keen to find out where our travelers travel to next? Catch up with them in the next installment of Road Tripping Around Namibia – Erindi Private Game Reserve, or backtrack to Road Tripping Around Namibia – Day Two in Etosha National Park.
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