Etosha National Park, Namibia’s 8,600 square meter wildlife sanctuary which is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds and reptiles, could easily be mistaken for God’s backyard.
Young springboks sip quietly around a waterhole, and on the green spread-out plains, zebras and their young graze between giraffes. The gigantic African elephants prefer – as do we – the asphalt above the rough, shrub-strewn sand grounds. The rain run-off from the tar brings greener vegetation to its verges.
This is not only the biggest national park in Africa, but quite possibly the most alluring. We’re allowed to drive around on our own, without a guide, and that makes the safari just that extra bit special. No wobbly buses jam-packed with bothersome tourists blocking your view with their camera, or traffic jams of jeeps chasing a lion for the perfect shot.
We wait 15 minutes for a chameleon to cross the path in front of us and gape for what seems like hours at a warthog giving her children a mud bath. We are completely alone when a rhino comes barging through the shrubbery, making a path for itself – an absolutely amazing sight. The animals here are as excited as their visitors. They have very quickly become used to cars and camera lenses posing little danger during daylight. The majority of the meat-eaters come out just after sunset. A freshly woken lioness prepares herself for the next hunt, and a hyena searches for the rest of her clan.
Back at camp, we watch the animals drinking from a moonlit waterhole just outside the fences.