Etosha National Park
04.12.2007 - 04.12.2007 40 °C
Leaving Tandala Ridge we drove the half hour or so to Etosha's Anderson Gate. I really love Etosha, we have visited twice before and there is always the anticipation of what you might see around the next corner or at the next waterhole. We were also interested to check out the new renovations at all the camps. For the first time we had opted to stay outside the park - on the west side at Etosha Safari Camp and on the east side at Onguma Camp as NWR has drastically increased the camping fees inside the park.
I have to admit that on inspection the new reno work looks amazing. Gone are the tired old shabby chalets and in their place are very swanky new bungalows. (Well actually they are the same ones but you wouldn't know it) The decor and even the landscaping is outstanding. I checked out the campsite ablutions block and came out gobsmacked. From grubby barely functional pre-reno, to four star - seriously. At Okakeujo the showers/loos are all polished charcoal cement and large pebble finishes with big trendy square above bench basins and the top quality tapware. Very impressive. I wanted to take a camera in to record this for posterity but thought better of it in case I got arrested.
Once again the weather is extremely hot and the wildlife are largely resting up in the shade but you are always guaranteed to see the usual suspects: springbok, springbok and more springbok. Supremely adapted to arid conditions, Etosha boasts a very healthy population, together with zebra they are the most numerous large mammals. Gemsbok and Ostrich also tend to ignore the heat seemingly impervious to the extreme temperatures. We often saw gemsbok out in the middle of a pan in the blinding 40+ heat with no cover or water for miles.
When the heat got too much in the car we retreated back toOkakuejo camp for a cold drink and wandered over to the waterhole where we could sit under a shade tree and watch the endless procession of thirsty animals. A herd of elephants with quite a few very little babies came down and as always they are a delight to watch as they slake their thirst and then proceed to play and spray themselves with mud and generally churn up the water. Reluctantly we headed off late afternoon for Etosha Safari Camp, 10kms south of Anderson gate. (Before driving out past the reception area we decide to use the internet facilities to send a much awaited email home. What followed was a story of fate and karma, but you'll have to read the separate entry to find out! ) The camp has chalets, a pleasant small restaurant and bar, pool and a good camping area with an oasis of green lawn in the centre, clean ablutions and a kitchen sink and laundry sink available for use, all for around N$50 pppn. Food very good standard. Highly recommended for anyone wanting to stay outside the park within short drive.