Self Drive Etosha

zebra at Chudop waterhole eastern Etosha NP Namibai

Making the most of your Etosha National Park Self-Drive Safari.

Okondeka Waterhole and Etosha Pan - Okaukuejo side of Etosha NP Namibia

People often ask us whether they will see as many animals, when they self-drive Etosha as they would on a guided tour. The answer is absolutely yes!
You can get as much out of it as anyone else. But enjoy the added luxury of doing everything at your own pace. With just your favorite travelling companions for company, and no compromising!


Here are a few general tips to help you..

Read our book “The Photographer’s Guide to Etosha National Park,” which will help you plan your route. You can then choose which waterholes to concentrate on at which time of day.

Guided vehicle in Etosha national park

Drive slowly it is surprising how much more you see, when you keep your speed to around 30 km per hour or less.

Sit and wait a while. Many people just pull into a waterhole, have a quick scan around and then leave without really looking. Take out your binoculars and check the bushes. Ask anyone who is already there. I think my record was six and a half hours at Salvadora waterhole. We where watching lions hunting. They lay in ambush, attacked and failed four times. They eventually killed a zebra, exhilarating stuff and here is my reward.

Check the sightings books in each camp and talk to fellow travelers.  We are all in Etosha for the same reason. People love to share their good sightings.  If you feel you have missed a sighting as you are a day late then remember that leopard and lion are territorial so they are likely to still be around the next day. Cheetah concentrate on an area for several days before the herbivores move on , so go back and see if they are still there.

Leave camp at sunrise as it is the best time to see carnivores at their most active. The light is stunning and there are fewer vehicles in the park.

Cheetah in early morning light detour road north of Reitfontein near Halali Namibia

Animals act strangely for a reason. Herbivores all staring in one direction usually means there are carnivores nearby so just follow their stare. Birds dive bombing or alarm calling usually means the same.

Use all your senses, not just your eyes. Sounds and smells can lead you to a sighting so drive with your windows down regardless of the heat! Vultures can often pin-point a kill.

Enjoy your sightings safely – often we are so excited when we get to a great sighting, we forget to check all around us. This is particularly important with elephant herds where we may be able to see 10 elephants on one side but have missed the 10 on the other!
My advice is always to get beyond the herd and then angle your vehicle so everyone has a good view. This way you have given yourself an exit point and it is much easier to drive forward than reverse…

If you would like to find out more about trip like this. Or any of our other Safari holidays please contact us here

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