Etosha National Park (East)
This page covers the eastern section of Etosha National Park, between Halali and Namutoni restcamps, plus Fischer`s Pan which is tagged onto the main Pan`s southeastern corner. Detailed information on this area and the wildlife encountered there during several visits can be found on the Namibia (Main) and Etosha Waterholes pages.
My wife and I have visited Namibia three times now and on each occasion our base for covering the eastern section of Etosha was Mushara Outpost which, being only 10 km from the Von Lindequist Gate, is ideally situated for self-drive trips into the park. The Outpost is one of three high-end properties owned by the Mushara Group, all of which are located close to one another beside the C38 road.
There are just eight custom tent-like units at the Outpost, each with its own wooden deck and veranda. The accommodation is well spaced amongst the woodland at the rear of the main boma-style building which houses the reception and dining area. The tents have all been enlarged and upgraded since our first visit with an open-air shower and individual room Wi-Fi supplementing a reception building hot spot, although the signal is intermittent.
© Mushara Collection
During the warmer months guests gather round a fire on the lawn for a `sundowner` before dinner. The food here and quality of service are first-class and the staff help to create a relaxed and happy atmosphere. The grass is kept neatly trimmed thanks to the efforts of the local warthog family who can often be seen lazing at the poolside after a hard day`s work! More information on Mushara Outpost and the other properties in the Mushara collection can be found on the official website: www.mushara-lodge.com.
© Mushara Collection
Please bear in mind that all images on this website and my blog are Copyright. They are not free to use and have been embedded with a digital watermark.
© Mushara Collection
The outdoor eating area is a new feature and dinner alternates daily between here and the indoor restaurant, weather permitting.
Below: There is a viewing hide at Mushara which overlooks a small waterhole in a picturesque woodland setting. When we first arrived, a pair of small antelope were drinking but took off immediately, however, after we settled down a steady stream of thirsty creatures appeared. Elephants, Rhino and large predators are supposedly absent from the immediate area but even so it`s worth spending some time here if you were having a relaxing day and not heading into the park. You may not have to leave your room for a wildlife encounter though - this impressive arachnid paid us a visit one evening!
Namutoni Restcamp is the main accommodation option located within the eastern section of the National Park but there`s also Onkoshi, a low-impact, exclusive lodge that runs mainly on solar power. It`s located to the north of Namutoni in the remote north-eastern section of the Park overlooking the Etosha Pan. It`s quite small and visitors are not permitted to drive to this location themselves and and have to be shuttled there from Namutoni by a member of staff.
The 15 suites have a natural and organic feel with thatched roofs, canvas walls and a wooden framed door. There is a restaurant, bar, small curio shop and swimming pool. There is no waterhole here and consequently animals sightings are few and far between, but when the rains come this is a prime spot for waterbirds with some spectacular reflections thrown in. Thousands of flamingos can gather in the pan close to the chalets and these birds, along with amazing sunsets are a major draw for photographers. (All Onkoshi images © Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR)).
Namibia, previously known as German South West Africa, was claimed by Germany in August 1884 having been deemed the only overseas German territory deemed suitable for white settlement. This period became known as `The Scramble for Africa` with various European powers, including Great Britain, reinforcing or securing new land on the continent, often by force. As increasing numbers of German colonists arrived, they occupied large areas of land, ignoring any claims by the Herero, Namaqua, and other indigenous peoples, causing a great deal of friction and discontent. In 1903, some tribesmen rose in revolt and about 60 German settlers were killed. Troops were sent from Germany to re-establish order in what became known as the Herero Wars but the military effort only succeeded in dispersing the rebels.
The Germans were outnumbered but were equipped with modern artillery and machine-guns, therefore the Herero were forced to lead a guerrilla campaign, conducting fast hit-and-run operations then melting back into familiar terrain. A large-scale, conclusive battle eventually did take place, however. On 11 August 1904 at the Battle of Waterberg in the Waterberg Mountains, rebel leader Chief Maharero believed his six-to-one advantage over the Germans would guarantee victory but the Germans had time to set up their heavy weapons. Both sides took heavy losses, but the Herero were scattered and defeated. It took the Germans until 1908 to re-establish authority over the territory, by which time tens of thousands of Africans had died.
Namutoni is an Oshindonga word meaning ‘elevated place’. The first German army garrison here was established in the 1890’s to take advantage of the copious water supply and open views across vast tracts of terrain. King Nehale waterhole, located on the edge of the camp close to the striking ‘Beau Geste‘ style whitewashed fort, is named after the leader of the 500 Ndonga warriors that successfully attacked and destroyed the outpost in 1904 during the Ovambo uprising.
A small museum opposite reception displays various weapons and artefacts from the German colonial occupation and has information panels outlining the history of the fort and its garrison.
Since our last visit the shops and bar located within the fort's walls have been relocated and it's now operates exclusively as an upgraded accommodation block. A meat burger sit-down lunch at the Namutoni Rest Camp restaurant was surprisingly tasty. Although Okaukeujo, Halali and Namutoni all have shops, I would advise against relying on them if at all possible and purchase everything you need in one of the towns before entering the Park. The restcamp shops are poorly stocked most of the time although some essentials and other useful items can be found, but there are always plenty of empty shelves during peak season.
Another concern is that it's clear that at least some of the staff working within are set on skimming tourists at every opportunity. Very few of the items have price labels on them, tills seem to be ‘out of order’ quite a lot, and receipts can be hard to come by, especially when ludicrous prices are charged for small, basic items. Obvious scams were experienced by my wife and I at both Okaukeujo and here at Namutoni on our latest visit.
This memorial close to the admin building celebrates Etosha National Park`s Centenary (1907 - 2007).
Please bear in mind that all my images are subject to copyright. They are not free to use and have been embedded with a digital watermark.
The eastern side of Etosha experiences much higher rainfall than the other areas of the Park but, as far as I know, following excellent downpours in 2010 and 2011, very little rain had fallen until recently. Like those at Okaukuejo and Halali, the rest camp waterhole here at Namutoni is floodlit at night. The covered viewing area is pictured above.
As previously mentioned, the camp waterhole is named after King Nehale, the leader of 500 Ndonga warriors that successfully attacked the German garrison and destroyed the fort in 1904. The outpost was rebuilt and reinforced the following year, however, and British / South African POWs were incarcerated here for a time during the Great War.
The memorial on the left can be found close to the restcamp and is inscribed as follows: "This plate is to commemorate the 68 Ovambo Warriors who died during the Battle at Namutoni Fort on 28 January 1904. A further 40 warriors went missing, never returned home, and are presumed to have died somewhere else. 20 warriors were wounded during the battle but returned safely home. This plaque was unveiled by His Exellency Dr Sam Nujoma, President of the Republic of Namibia on 28 January 1996."
Namutoni`s waterhole (below) has extensive reed beds and is more favoured by birds than game, mainly due to the proximity of alternative supplies at Klein Namutoni, Koinachas and Chudop. Animals do visit King Nehale but usually in far smaller concentrations than those found at the other sites.
If you`re staying here overnight, the best way to find them is to scan the area of short grass between the fence and the waterhole by torchlight. I never saw any snakes within the camp during several brief visits, but this unidentified species was basking on a roadside termite mound close to the rest camp. The Mongoose was keeping watch from another termite mound just along the road, obviously unaware that a potential meal was nearby. There are eight different types of mongoose in Africa, several of which are resident in Namibia so I`m not exactly sure as to what species this one belongs.
Above: The Admin block at Namutoni. This is where you get your permit and copy of the park regulations. The toilet block is on the opposite side of the road.
Further information on Namibia and additional images taken there can be found on Clydeside Images.com. Utilise the blog`s search box or the `Overseas-Namibia` fly-out label on the right-hand side of the blog page. Please bear in mind that my Stock Photography Archive has even more shots taken in Namibia. If you wish to purchase any image(s) please email using the Contact Form and I will respond at the earliest opportunity.
There are some excellent waterholes very close to Namutoni, several of which are among the best in the entire National Park with others easily reached within an hour of leisurely driving. Here`s some Elephant action at Kalkheuwel.
A list of all the publicly accessible waterholes in the eastern section of Etosha National Park, complete with background information, tips on photography and sample images, can be found here.