The best time for game viewing at any of Namibia’s wonderful game reserves is undoubtedly early morning and late afternoon, and it can get uncomfortable driving around during the heat of the day while the game has all retired to shady spaces out of sight, so how do you keep yourself occupied during the ‘dead-zones’ outside of prime game viewing time in Etosha National Park?
For starters, Etosha has a long and sometimes turbulent history which is commemorated in a number of monuments scattered throughout the park. These are well worth a visit during your down time, even if it is just for ‘been there, done that’ purposes.
Take a trip to the Rietfontein waterhole where you can alight from your vehicle to view the grave of Mrs. JEM Alberts, buried in 1876. This tombstone stands as testament to the hard times experienced by the Thirstland Trekkers, who struggled so valiantly to carve a living out of this unforgiving land, and is the only remaining symbol of their hardship.
Make tracks to Fort Namutoni to view a plaque and information about the Seven Soldiers of Namutoni, who lost their lives defending this place, as well as a monument to four officials who died in a helicopter crash on Andoni Plains.
Eat, do and Shop
While at Fort Namutoni, you can enjoy a meal at one of two restaurants, go for a swim, browse in the bookstore, boutique, curio shop and jewellers, or take a trip to nearby Fischer’s pan for a chance to spot elegant flamingos, African spoonbills, great white pelicans, honey badgers, caracals, aardwolfs and bat eared foxes. The top of the fort has a lovely bar area where you can enjoy a drink while keeping watch over the waterhole right outside the camp.
Precious Down Time
Floodlit waterholes such as this one are also found at Halali and Okaukuejo camp and many pleasant hours may be spent waiting for sought-after species to visit these 24-hour viewpoints. The floodlit waterholes are great for a chance to see nocturnal species like leopards.
If you are checking in to Halali Camp, take note of the stone memorial outside the office, which commemorates the six officials who died here in a plane crash in 1982.
Fairy Tale Forest, close to Okaukuejo, is one of the non-game highlights of any trip to Etosha National Park. Photographers love this spot, where a forest of unusual looking silver-barked Moringa trees pose against the stark skyline of the park creating a fairy-tale atmosphere – hence the name. What is unique about this forest is that Moringa ovalifolia do not usually grow in such great numbers in a plains environment, although they are common on the mountain slopes and hillsides of the park.
These trees have an unusual inverted appearance, similar to that of the Baobab tree, except for the knobbly protrusions on their silvery bark. They may grow up to seven meters tall and elephants consider it a real treat to uproot the trees and devour their succulent roots.
Etosha pan itself is a place to spend some time watching the world go by, while admiring vast expanses of this enigmatic feature, and the numerous waterholes dotted around Etosha National Park can yield rewarding sightings if you just sit quietly and observe your surroundings when the dawn and dusk brigades have dispersed.
Where do you like to pass the time in Etosha when you are not out on a game drive?
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.