Story and photos by Brett Goulston
Many people who have travelled to Namibia’s Etosha National Park rate it as the best wildlife-spotting destination in Southern Africa. Having recently taken a trip to Namibia with a small group myself, I have to agree.
Etosha is an enormous National Park – about 22,000 square kms, or about 1/3 the size of Tasmania. To see the park properly and to ensure you have the best chance to experience the variety of wildlife, you do need to move around. There are a few safari lodges on both the eastern and western sides of the park and a hamlet in the middle called Hilali. Over three nights, we stayed in all three different regions and while the effort in moving each day is a bit of a hassle, the rewards were, without any doubt, totally worth it.
Over three days in September, which is the dry season, we spotted all the major wildlife attractions we had hoped to see ... and in abundance. This included elephants galore, inquisitive giraffes who didn’t mind us getting close, many lions (including one with a cub), rhinos, leopards, kudu, dik-dik, wildebeest, zebra, springboks, jackals, hyenas and the list goes on.
However, the highlight, thanks to our amazing Namibia travel guide, was getting close to a cheetah. This was my first sighting in the wild of this magnificent big cat and, in fact, it was a highlight for all us. With binoculars in hand, our guide spotted a lone male about 2kms away (they have an amazing eye for this kind of thing). We were watching a lion when he said… “everyone sit, we have to go now”. We weren’t sure what was going on but a few bumpy minutes later and we had ourselves a cheetah – up close!
Namibia is a wonderful, unique country. There are many great things to see and do but for me, the wildlife at Etosha – and the cheetah in particular – were the highlights.
Place it on your bucket list. Join Blue Dot Travel on our small group tour to Victoria Falls, Botswana, Namibia and Cape Town. Click here to find out details for our next tour in May 2018.