Being lucky enough to have more time than usual for our visits to South Africa, we added on a trip to Namibia and Botswana. From Cape Town we flew to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, where we hired a vehicle and headed north to Etosha National Park. Etosha is dominated by a huge salt pan but has plenty of wildlife in the areas you can access in your vehicle. Our first afternoon travelling from the entrance at Okaukeujo was productive for birds and other animals.
We spent one night at Halali camp and the waterhole at the camp delivered some special sightings, including African Elephants drinking, a Black Rhino and a group of the endemic sub-species of Black-faced Impala.
Halali is a lovely old-fashioned camp with chalets as well as a campsite. It proved a good spot for birding, with a couple of interesting new species added to my list (the Wood-Hoopoe and Hornbill), as well as a few old friends.
On the trip from Halali to Namutoni we had some good elephant sightings (they are so pale, presumably from the dust) and saw quite a bit of other game on the edge of the pan. Conditions were a bit challenging for photography, with bright sun and strong shadows, and the glare from the pan.
Namutoni has changed a bit since I was last there ( a very long time ago) with the accommodation more upmarket (but not in a hugely successful way) and other things, like the old German fort, rather rundown. A drive around Fisher’s Pan was interesting (not the best season for birding, sadly) and we did find a couple of Damara Dik-dik just as we headed back to camp before the evening gate closure.
Being winter, it was quite chilly overnight and we had to waste some time the next morning waiting for the fuel pumps to be able to deliver diesel, so I found a few subjects warming up in the sunshine inside the camp environs. Then farewell to Etosha, until next time (I hope).