Besides the dunes of the Namib desert, a trip to Namibia just wouldn’t be complete without visiting Etosha National Park. Etosha means “the great white place” because of the large salt pan within it. We were there during their ‘winter’ so it was dry except for the various spring fed waterholes. You can expect to see a lot of zebras, giraffes, elephants, springbok, oryx, ostriches, kudu, impala, hartebeest, wildebeest, lions and if you are lucky, the rare black rhino and the elusive leopard. The two iconic African animals you won’t see here are the water buffalo (a member of the big five) and the hippo because there aren’t any rivers or large water sources. We also saw many amazing birds, a monitor lizard and banded mongoose, including many on the lawn of one of our lodges. We spent one night outside the western gate of Etosha National Park then took the next day to drive through the park, stopping at many waterholes, including one set up like an amphitheatre that you could walk to and just sit and watch the animals in the great outdoors (protected by a stone wall and fencing for us – not the wild animals). We got spoiled witnessed a huge heard of elephants bathing when we arrived. I think we all could have sat there all day. That night we stayed just outside the eastern gate so that we could get up early the next day and do two more game drives. In the morning we saw a lone black rhino that had just finished bathing in the water hole. It disappeared into the thick bush about 5 minutes later so it just goes to show how you really can’t guarantee anything and a good dose of luck needs to be on your side along with a good driver, time and patience. The last game drive is when we finally saw our gorgeous leopard not far from the eastern gate that we were heading towards thinking that would be it for the day. Our driver Elias, hooted and did a happy dance – it was the first time he’d seen a leopard since January so we were very lucky indeed! That was also the one animal we missed on our tour to South Africa last year so I was also doing a happy dance! It was really tough to narrow down my images from over 1700 to what you see here. Enjoy!
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