We left the Ruacana Falls (or Rock Face!) and went south to enter the Etosha National Park from the West side but on the way down I wanted to stop in and have a look at a massive Boabab tree. It was huge as can be seen in the photos, hundreds of years old and used by the look of it as a drinking spot by the locals!
We had been unable to book any campsites in the Etosha National Park due to it being the high season and most people book their sites up to 12 months in advance. Now if you have a four week holiday booked for 12 months time it is easy to make that booking but for us we had no idea when we would arrive so couldn’t book in advance. Anyway just before we arrived at the park gate we came across a Vet Control point which is in place to stop the transport of beef and poultry out of the north and into the south. It is there to stop the spread of Foot and Mouth disease and a poultry disease. Well our contribution of beef, chicken and eggs would have kept them in tucker for at least a week! So on to the gate we went and with the most pitiful look on our faces we asked if we could get a campsite at the first camp inside the park. “Do you have a booking” we were asked, “well no because we are overlanding through Africa and could not do that” we said all the while being oh so sweet and happy! So the lovely attendant rang the camp and the first answer was “no, we are fully booked” but then the attendant said something in her own language and the second answer was “oh just send them through”. So we only had just enough time to get to the camp before sunset when no vehicles are allowed to be on the roads within the camp. On arrival at the Olifantsrus camp we were given two nights and put into what was called the overflow area but in actual fact was really the Day visitor area but they don’t get day visitors! We were not the only ones in there but around another eight other vehicles in the area and we all got on well together. The next morning we had a bit of a late start because we were all getting a bit exhausted but then went out around 11am and straight away realised that we were in for some great sightings.
Over the next three days we saw lion, elephant, back and white rhino, leopard, zebra, giraffe, kudu, gemsbok blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, mongoose, springbok, black faced impala, warthog, did die, steenbok and loads of different birds.
One negative is that the Namibian Wildlife services are really not looking after the park very well with the roads being very badly corrugated, the rest areas within the park had toilets that were filthy and in the main unusable and just the general upkeep of the rest campos was very poor. One wonders where all the money from the daily park fees and accommodation fees are going because it certainly wasn’t going into maintenance and we hardly ever saw any game wardens.
Anyway we still loved our time in the park because the sheer numbers of wild animals was quite outstanding. We then moved on down through the park to the middle rest camp Okaukuejo but were not successful in getting a camp spot so we were just about to keep going out of the park which would have taken another four and a half hours and just would have got us out by sunset when I thought it a good idea to familiarise myself with the map. I saw that there was another exit gate only 20 minutes to the south so I had a quick look on the iOverlander app and discovered that there were some private campgrounds outside the park. So we went south and sure enough managed to get a campsite at the second place we went into. So we based ourselves there for three nights and drove into the park each day to do some more game viewing.
This area was spectacular with waterholes surrounded by 100’s if not thousands of animals and at one waterhole we saw a family of around 40 elephants and at two others there were more than 20 elephants. We then moved on and out of the park at the east gate just past Namutoni and camped at another private campground just outside the gate.
At this stage Veronica due to many reasons decided to no longer stay with us on our journey north and was to return to Windhoek where her husband Chris would meet up with her and spend some time traveling through Botswana before heading back to Port Elizebeth in South Africa to ship the truck home. It was sad to see her go after having been on the road now for 3 months but we have enjoyed our time together even if we did have a few challenges along the way. Pauline and I continued north to the Caprivi Strip.