An enthusiastic wildlife photographer and writer, Cindy De Michele Hock of the Netherlands gets up close and personal with African wildlife at Etosha National Park in Namibia. Cindy spent one year in the Southwest African country recently working as a volunteer.
World's Largest Game Preserve
Picturesque and idyllic yet charmingly simple and serene, the road from Tsumeb, the dusty and sleepy old mining town in the north of Namibia, to the Etosha National Park runs through what was once the largest game reserve in the world.
At the crack of dawn, the first rays of the rising sun delicately touch the vast and infinite plains of the savannah giving new life to yet another day on the African continent.
Slowly and respectfully the sun brings this ancient world, this world of origins, back to life; the dark, starry night makes way for a dry and arid day. The everlasting circle of life.
Daydreaming Comes Naturally
The Von Lindequist Gate of the Etosha National Park is only 56 miles north of Tsumeb, and leaving town at five in the morning the road is as good as deserted. Roads in Namibia are generally good and the trip is pleasant; daydreaming comes naturally here.
The gate opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. While the morning mist silently raises from the plains, the first animals can already be spotted.
Entering the park at the Von Lindequist Gate, which is where you can find the Namutoni Lodge, you are welcomed by giraffes, wildebeests, springboks, and impalas heading towards one of the waterholes for the morning drinking session.
And nocturnal animals can be seen retreating to their hideouts. Three of the five lodges in the park have floodlit waterholes. The Namutoni Lodge has many “rivaling” waterholes nearby making it less attractive, but at Okaukuejo, rhinos and elephants are frequently spotted at night and the Halali Lodge is known to attract leopards.
The Etosha National Park is dominated by the Etosha Pan, an enormous mineral pan, attracting large concentrations of wildlife, especially during the dry season when most animals rely on the waterholes and the Pan for their water supply.
The Pan covers about 25% of the park and offers spectacular panoramas, in particular when thousands of flamingos wade in the temporary water after the heavy rains.
Driving from Namutoni to Halali and then on to Okaukuejo gives you the feeling of being part of your own National Geographic documentary. The Rietfontein waterhole offers spectacular views of large herds of zebras, impalas, and kudus.
The Salvadora and Sueda waterholes are intimate, concealed, but full of life. And at the Goas waterhole you risk running into a pride of lions.
But cat lovers should plan their stay at the Okaukuejo Lodge as the Nebrownii and Okondeka waterholes are known to attract large numbers of lions.
For true luxury, bedrooms overlooking the karts veldt and mopane shrub land amidst dolomite formations, there is the Dolomite Camp. The only lodge located in the, previously prohibited, western part of the park aimed at personal service and a more exclusive experience.
A Lion Roars Tonight
And when the day comes to an end and the sun slowly deprives the savannah of its magnificent splendour and colours, the animals of the Etosha National Park prepare for the night. The impressive dark red sky slowly gives in to the moon and the stars, bringing to life all that is nocturnal in the park.
In the distance, a lion roars before joining his pride while the smallest of the four big cats, the elusive and solitary leopard, prepares for the hunt.
Where to stay
- Namutoni Lodge – Double Bush Chalet – USD 90-132 / GBP 57-84 pp
- Halali Lodge – Double Bush Chalet – USD 66-114 / GBP 42-72 pp
- Okaukuejo Lodge – Double Waterhole Chalet – USD 84-149 / GBP 53-95 pp
- Dolomite Camp – Double Delux Chalet – USD 143-179 / GBP 91-114 pp
For More Information
For more information on accommodation in Namibia, click on the following link: Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
How to Get There
Air Namibia links Windhoek, the nation's capital, with Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa, Frankfurt, Germany, and several other African destinations. Click on the following link for more information:Air Namibia.
Cindy De Michele Hock
Born in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Cindy De Michele Hock studied law and history in the Netherlands before moving to Rome, Italy, to permanently live with her then boyfriend. She is a freelance lawyer and legal translator.
A few years later, Cindy and her boyfriend moved to Scotland, where they got married. They did volunteer work for one year in Namibia. They are now concluding a six month stay in Sri Lanka. Then it's back to Scotland.
“We'll continue traveling, especially in Namibia and Africa!!!” says Cindy, who describes herself as “an enthusiastic wildlife photographer and writer”.
“I love wildlife, the great outdoors, new cultures, and languages.”