Etosha - game viewing in summer
THE dry winter months, when the animals congregate around the waterholes, are generally considered the best months for game viewing in the Etosha National Park.
But the summer months also have their own attractions – despite the heat and the fact that you are unlikely to see large numbers of elephants as they tend to disperse widely after the first summer rains. Summer is the time when you can witness the renewal of life – ewes drop their lambs, cows their calves and zebras their foals.
Watching a newly born blue wildebeest calf getting up onto its wobbly legs or the playfulness of the new arrivals is indeed a special experience. Depending on when the rainy season starts, huge concentrations of plains game, sometimes numbering in their thousands, can be seen as the herds follow their annual migration pattern.
The Etosha National Park is home to between 14 500 and 21 300 Burchell’s zebra – a species which concentrates in the Namutoni area and the Andoni plains at the start of the dry season. At the start of the rainy season they move to the plains west and north of Okaukuejo.
Herds of springbok, some several hundred strong, can be found grazing on the sweet grassveld plains along the edge of the Etosha Pan, while large herds of blue wildebeest and gemsbok are on the move from their winter-grazing area around Gemsbokvlakte to the sweet grassveld north and west of Okaukuejo. Following the herds are the predators – lion, cheetah and clans of spotted hyena. Summer is also the best time for birding when the number of resident species is swelled by a variety of summer migrant species.
The Etosha Pan is one of the most important breeding grounds in Southern Africa of Greater and Lesser flamingos and when the oshanas flood large areas of the pan, up to a million birds converge on the pan. Accommodation in Etosha National Park is available in three rest camps managed by Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) – the historic Namutoni in the east, Halali in the centre and Okaukuejo.
A variety of options ranging from double rooms, family chalets and bush chalets to campsites are available. Other amenities at each of the rest camps include a restaurant, bar, swimming pool, shop where basic necessities can be bought and a filling station. Each of the rest camps also has a floodlit waterhole. Several privately run accommodation establishments are also available in close proximity to the eastern gate (Von Lindequist Gate near Namutoni) and the southern gate (Andersson Gate near Okaukuejo). In addition to these two gates, visitors can also enter or leave the park through the King Nehale Lya Mpingana Gate which provides a convenient link to the main road between Tsumeb and Ondangwa.
For more information about the Etosha National Park, visit www. tournamibia.net. Go to Regions and then click on North on the dropdown menu.