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Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

SF
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Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

We are planning a trip to Namibia between July 17-28, 2012. We want to spend 2-3 nights in Etosha Park. Our strong preference is to stay at a Camp within the park right at a waterhole, the goal being to see the animals as they visit the waterhole in the evenings and mornings.

My questions are:

What is the best camp/lodge at a waterhole to stay at for animal activity?

Would you prefer the park Camps or a private smaller one?

Any advice will be appreciated.

Naracoorte
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1. Re: Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

Without a doubt I think the consensus would be Okaukuejo Camp for the waterhole there. If you have a reasonable budget then splurge a bit and stay in one of the Waterhole Chalets which are two storey. The upper deck is your own private viewing platform! At night you will regularly see black rhino and lion. During the day a whole mix of game from zebra, impala, elephant, giraffe etc. However, I would also recommend that you get out into the park as early as possible for game viewing (dawn) rather than using the camp waterhole at that time of day. There are some great watering points within easy reach of the camp that can be very productive early.

Isle of Man, United...
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2. Re: Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

There are no private camps within Etosha so you use the NWR camps at Dolomite, Okaukuejo , Halali and Namutoni.

These are officially called "resorts" and can have that sort of atmosphere.

there is no Waterhole at Dolomite and only a smallish one at Namutoni (which can be good and can be quiet.)

Whilst as tryhard says most folks flock to Okuakuajo this is one of its problems. Crowds. A waterhole chalet is nice. They are not all two storey but are right by the Waterhole so no access problems.

If you don't intend to drive out into the park then I would suggest Okuakuejo may be more suited to what you need. There is always something there night and day.

On the other hand my personal favourite is Halali. It is away from the camp itself so you must get there on foot or by car from your chalet.

This to me is a plus as it is away from camp noise. I have also seen more wildlife there. Seven Black Rhino asleep by the pool tells you how quiet it is there. They came in pairs, Mother and calf, and after a drink just lay down and snoozed.

But do try a drive out yourself to meet the wildlife without a fence. You will be surprised what you find. LIon, Cheetah and maybe even Leopard. Certainly Elephants and Giraffe..

SF
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3. Re: Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

Thank you "tryhard" and "mfuwe" for your comments. These are most helpful.

Our travel agent has also mentioned Onguma Plains Camp or the Ongava Tented Camp as a more private experience with a good assortment and frequency of wildlife. Is the private resort cost worth the experience in terms of animals and atmosphere? Any comments?

Isle of Man, United...
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4. Re: Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

I would not say it was worth the money for the wildlife. Posh does not mean much to an Elephant.

Naracoorte
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5. Re: Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

I have stayed at Onguma Bush Lodge and it is lovely (they have two other camps/lodges on the same property - much more luxurious) . The service is excellent and the food delicious and the setting is very quiet and relaxing. But I would not stay there for wildlife in any of the three accommodation choices. You won't see much wildlife compared to being in the park. We stayed there rather than at Namutoni and drove into the park each day.

SF
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6. Re: Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

Thank you mfuwe.

Again, so I can understand this, apologies for being particular, the Halali camp waterhole is floodlit and accessible at night by foot or vehicle if I am to understand right?

The drive that you are referring to in your first post is the morning/late afternoon dusk drive to the other parts of the plain?

Much appreciate your elaboration on this.

Isle of Man, United...
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7. Re: Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

If you mean this

""But do try a drive out yourself to meet the wildlife without a fence. ""

Yes. I mean exit the Camp gate in a vehicle and tour around the area. No need to go far. There are good localities within 10-20km.

Yes, depart at sunrise when the gates open and again at say 4pm and get back by sunset.

I depart at sunrise to find big Cats still around and the pm drive is to a Waterhole such as Neubrowni or Rietfontein for Elephants coming to drink after a hot day.

To be clear on Halali waterhole. It is quite safe to walk there but in the dark you may feel uncomfortable. If you have some distance frm your chalet then it is normal to take teh car round and park it in the spaces allocated. Then walk the last few yards which are well lit but a torch would be useful.

Naracoorte
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8. Re: Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

To add to what Mfuwe has said: it is sometimes hard to imagine the floodlit waterholes at Okaukeujo or Halali. The waterholes in both instances are situated just outside the fenced perimeter of the camp. At Okaukejo the camp boundary near the waterhole is a natural stone wall on top of an small incline. On the outside against the incline there is also an electrified wire 'fence' to stop animals climbing up to the wall or elephants etc getting too close. The waterhole is quite close to a great deal of the accommodation and easy to walk to and from on the paved walkways. At Halali the set up is similar, however the waterhole is, as Mfuwe mentioned, not so close to the accommodation (hence quieter) and can be a bit of a hike on foot if you have a bungalow on the other side of camp! This is why some people hop in the car and drive around the camp to the little parking spaces near the waterhole. Then it is a short walk up through a walkway shielded from the view of animals at the waterhole (but please be quiet on approach :) There are natural stone places to sit or bench style seats under a shade covering and you have a rather elevated view of the waterhole. Also as Mfuwe said, many rhino come together here. We too saw about 6 or 7 black rhino come to the waterhole, many there at the same time. We also saw lions too. Others have been lucky to see leopard here in the early hours. (You can stay as long as your tired eyes can stay open!) It can get cold late at night at that time of year so it pays to dress warmly.

SF
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9. Re: Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

Thank you to both of you again. This has been most helpful.

Now onto thinking of the Skeleton Coast and Serra Cafema! and then some other places in the south of Namibia.

We are also spending 2 weeks in Borneo prior to Namibia, we wanted to contrast lush tropic with arid beauty.

Isle of Man, United...
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10. Re: Best Camp to see wildlife at the waterholes.

I think I would be hard pressed to find a bigger contast to Borneo than parts of Namibia. The actual Skeleton coast did nothing much for me but the arid north Damaraland is superb and I could go back again and again.

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