Etosha National Park, Namibia is a unique safari destinations for many reasons. But one of the things that makes it truly special is the wildlife’s necessity to visit the waterhole. You don’t have to go looking for the animals, the longer you stay the more you will see. you just need the patience to sit and wait. 9 times out of 10 they come to you.
One of my favourite waterholes to spend a few hours at is Chudop on the Namutoni side of the park. Not only is it scenic, the reflections are beautiful. The light is good all day and exceptional in the late afternoon.
Why is Chudop so rewarding?
Always check out Chudop first thing in the morning. The big carnivores often drink here before settling down for the day.
Lions – Chudop forms part of what I call the “Chudop Trilogy” of waterholes. All 3 are only a few kilometres apart. There are some very large lion prides in the Namutoni area. If they are not at Chudop there is a good chance they are at one of the other two.
Lions – Check the bushes at the back of the waterhole for sleeping lions. Don’t do what most people do and drive in and out without checking.
At the back of Chudop, beyond the waterhole there is a spotted hyena den. The clan members return most mornings after a night of marauding to drink before returning to the den. My record was 27. The longer you stay the better.
Black Backed Jackals – are always entertaining and the resident pair have learned the art of catching doves at the waterhole. I watched the female catch 5 in one hour once.
Giraffe – Chudop is famous for its giraffe. Because the waterhole is below the parking area you can be eye to eye with them which is usually difficult with an animal 18 feet tall!
Many other herbivores come to drink all day and it is not unusual to have eight different species around the waterhole at the same time.
Tawny Eagles, there is a resident pair. They live on the tallest tree at the back right hand side of the waterhole. He is dark but she is a beautiful pale cream specimen. They often hunt the guinea fowl which will keep you amused all day with their antics.
Elephants – Chudop is a favourite waterhole for elephants who sometimes come and drink, bathe and dust bath before sunset – and the light is exquisite.
Black Rhino – this is also a good area for seeing black rhino who tend to drink for a long time just before sunset.
Eland – Africa’s largest antelope. Chudop is one of the best places to see this enormous but shy ox-like antelope. The big males are unmistakable but take a moment to listen as they walk as they make a loud clicking noise with each step. Scientific opinion is divided as to why.
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