Animal Reflections in Etosha National Park, Namibia #GoBigNamibia

Etosha National Park in Namibia has the most incredible wildlife sightings I’ve ever seen at a waterhole!

Perhaps this shouldn’t be too surprising since Etosha means place of dry water.  The 22 750km² park encompasses a  5000km² salt pan and comprised semi-arid savannah grassland and thorn scrub.  In other words it’s dry – really dry, meaning that the waterholes are where all the action is happening.


I could go on about Etosha’s waterholes for a whole post (which I will do, stay tuned), but in the meantime, I wanted to share these waterhole photos with you – all shot from the Okaukuejo waterhole/rest camp at sunset and in the evening.  The viewing platform is located 50m from the waterhole and is floodlit at night so that you get to see wildlife active at a time when you normally wouldn’t otherwise.  And even better, it was literally steps from my bush chalet.  Yep, you can safely sleep less than a 100m away from elephants, lions, even endangered black rhinos!


Check out these evening photos all taken at Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha:

Elephants at water hole in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Elephant family at Okaukuejo water hole in Etosha.
Rhinos at Okaukuejo water hole in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Rhinos seen at 11:00 pm at the Okaukuejo water hole – just steps away from my bush chalet.

Giraffes at Okaukuejo water hole in Etosha National Park, Namibia

The giraffes were nervous to drink, since they are very vulnerable. They waited near the water hole for about 30 minutes before drinking.


Know Before You Go to Okaukuejo Water Hole/Rest Camp in Etosha:

  • Okaukuejo Rest Camp is located 17km from the southern entrance to Etosha on the western side.
  • The waterhole makes it an incredible place for families or for couples traveling with different interests.  Somebody can be hanging out by the pool, while someone else is hanging out by the waterhole observing wildlife.
  • Bring a tripod (I didn’t) to get the best night photos.
  • There is a large wall separating you from the waterhole, so you can view all the action safely.
  • Rates for Okaukuejo can be found here.
  • I would recommend staying for at least 2 nights.  I only stayed for one and would have loved to have stayed for at least another night.
  • The best time to visit Etosha is from May to October during winter.  It’s not as hot then and wildlife sightings are plentiful.
  • #1 Travel Tip:  Book early!!!! Etosha is a popular destination with Germans who will book their accommodation up to a a year in advance.  There aren’t a lot of places to stay in Etosha and it fills up really quickly.

Coming soon:  Waterholes of Etosha, Elephants of Etosha, and Night Drives at Etosha…..stay tuned!!!!!

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Thank you to the Namibian Tourism Board for making my visit to Etosha possible.  As always, all opinions expressed are my own.


  1. says

    What an awesome adventure your entire trip must have been!! To experience African wildlife in their natural habitats is a dream of mine that I hope will come true one day soon! Are the floodlights on all night? I hope not for the animals’ sake. Thanks for the wonderful tour! By the way, are planning to write about your bush chalet? Would love to see pics! Thanks!

    • says

      @Jeff – I think you would love it. The floodlights are on all night, but they’re dim, not like stadium lights. They didn’t seem to bother the animals as far as I could tell. I can definitely write about the bush chalets I stayed in. They were all really nice.

  2. says

    Wow..I can’t get over how close you were to the wildlife. What an unforgettable experience, Laurel! Love how you captured the reflection shots. I’m with Jeff, your bush chalet sounds just as exotic and interesting as seeing wildlife this close. Looking forward to more Namibia posts.

  3. says

    Hello!! Laurel, Thank you so much for sharing such an important and great things among us which will really help those people who likes to travel or wants to see Wildlife.

  4. says

    Ahh, Namibia. It’s on my list.
    Your trip brought back memories of my Zimbabwe safari. An amazing experience that my friends and I still talk about. I doubt we saw giraffes at any of the watering holes.

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