Tours Travel

Africa adventure travel at its finest in Namibia’s Etosha National Park

If you haven’t completely finished making your “Wish List”, may I have a suggestion? Consider a visit to Etosha National Park in Namibia, a park with an Enchanted Forest and exotic animals.

The Enchanted Forest is unlike any forest you have seen anywhere else on the planet. Not because it’s filled with evil queens or magical creatures, but because of its unique gnarled trees found only in this former German colony. The locals believed that they had been thrown out of Paradise, as it appears as if they had landed upside down.

If that’s not reason enough to add Etosha to your bucket list, how about I tell you about the Black Rhinos? This is just one of the 150 mammals that live within this 22 thousand square kilometer wildlife sanctuary. If you want to see elephants, lions, zebras, impalas and oryx in one place, you have found it.

Most of the activity within Etosha takes place around its 33 waterholes. All kinds of other African animals come here to drink, eat and rest. Most of them congregate around the Okaukuejo, so it’s nice that there are several chalets to spend the night in after a long day watching games.

Namutoni, on the eastern side of Etosha, has a few Bush Chalets, built on top of an old German fort, offering open-air showers (private, of course) and swimming. Camp Onkoshi is small, only 15 units, with thatched roofs and terraces to house all the local vegetation and animals.

Right in the middle of it all is Halali, where the leopard and elephant roam on a normal day. The night tours here are exceptional, and the nature walks are truly educational.

Just remember that Etosha’s summer (January to March) is hot and humid with a rainy season beginning in November; and winter night temperatures can drop below freezing, but daytime temperatures average 18-25C (64-77F). That’s pretty comfortable and the best time to go game viewing at the watering holes.

You don’t have to be alone in the water to find Namibia’s other unique and exotic animals. It can be a lot of fun trying to identify the hundreds of species of birds that live here. Those lucky ducks. Whoops, no pun intended there. Oh look! He is a White-tailed Shrike, a Ruddy-cheeked Nightjar, and a Bare-cheeked Charlatan. The flamingos, however, love the 5,000 square kilometers of salt flats. I’m sorry you’re jealous, Florida, you don’t have a monopoly on spindly-footed pink birds.

With so much to find within Etosha National Park, it’s a surprise this isn’t at the top of everyone’s wish list. Trust me, you’ll love it.

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