Our African Adventure: Day Four: Damaraland to Etosha National Park

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Encounters with locals

The morning of our fourth day on the road we woke to a groundskeeper making us hot water in the donkey boiler. You can see what this looked like in our video yesterday. We invited him to stay with us for coffees and asked him about his job at Hoada Campground. He said it was a good place to work and that they did 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off. He told us about the baboons and how they chase them out of the campground every day. After he left, we made a quick breakfast and got ready to drive to Etosha National Park. We stopped in at the front desk and picked up a few BBQ/Braai packs for Devon.

We were running low on food supplies and found out that the only grocery store was the one we passed in Kamanjab the day before. There were signs for ammunition and there were also many people hanging out outside it which stopped us from going in then. In hindsight, we didn’t need to be nervous. We were building it up in our head more than anything. That was a big part of this trip, we learned to get past our preconceived ideas and open up to what was happening in the present.

Typical Namibian gravel roads
The road to Etosha
Damara Dik Dik in Namibia
We spotted this beautiful “mini-deer” called a Damara Dik Dik

Etosha National Park

The road to Etosha was long and we powered through to get their early enough to explore. We entered Etosha at Anderson gate and within 5 minutes had already seen a group of springbok, zebras, oryx and a herd of elephants!

Oryx in Etosha National Park
Animals everywhere in Etosha.



Zebra in Etosha National Park in Namibia
Zebra in Etosha National Park just passed Anderson Gate
Springbok in Etosha National Park in Namibia
Springbok are abundant in Etosha

We checked into our campsite at Okaukuejo and booked ourselves in for a night drive tour for this evening.

The okaukuejo compound reminded us of Jurassic Park because we were fenced in and all the animals were outside us. The gates closed at dusk so we made our way out to explore before closing time.

Animals Everywhere

We were stopped by another car who had just witnessed a lion spotting and wanted to let us know. We soon found the pack of lionesses and cubs lounging in the shade of a tree. On the other side of the road we saw the male lion panting in the heat with no shade. He was guarding a zebra that they had taken down which was incredible to see. 

Lion cub in Etosha National Park
Lion cub sitting in the shade after a feast of Zebra. Look closely and you can see blood all over him.
Male lion in Etosha National Park
Male lion opposite the lionesses and babies, guarding their food for later
Lion cub and lioness in Etosha National Park
Lion cub and lioness
Male lion guarding his Zebra kill in Etosha National Park
Male lion guarding his Zebra kill



Giraffe in Etosha National Park
We saw many giraffes in Etosha, they were so cute!
Giraffe in Etosha National Park
Giraffe on the open plains of Etosha

Driving in Etosha National Park is like nothing else I had experienced up to this point. Being able to see wild animals in their natural habitat is an immensely moving experience. I became so overwhelmed by seeing the lions that I burst into happy tears. Poor Devon didnt know what to think! Haha.

The Sightings Continue

After our lion encounter we decided to head back towards the entrance gate to see if we could get closer to the elephant herd we had seen earlier. We found a track with recent elephant dung scattered around and trees knocked over. These are tell tale signs of elephants nearby. We felt like wild trekkers and I soon yelled for Devon to stop the truck. Incredibly fortunate, we met eye to eye with a lone cheetah. He was mid hunt and when he locked eyes with us we felt pure fear. Even though we were safe in our vehicle, we felt the primal instinct of being the hunted, not the hunter in this situation. What a gift it was to see this animal.

Cheetah in Etosha National Park
We spotted a cheetah on our own. No tips, no guides, just us and a cheetah. Incredible experience.



Cheetah in Etosha National Park

Because we were cutting it close we sped off to the our campsite before the gates closed. Once we found our site, we set up camp and made dinner. Afterwards we checked out the watering hole and got ready for our guided night drive.

Guided Safari Night Drive

Climbing into the back of an open sided safari vehicle made me realize how vulnerable we were. Talk about adrenaline! We were lucky enough to see rhinos, elephants, lions and many other animals on this drive. I became such a fan of doing these night drives, it was a great way to see the park.