Under Namibian Skies

While in Namibia recently, I spent three days in Etosha National Park. Etosha is considered one of the best places in Southern Africa for game-viewing. (Although if you are really into seeing animals, December is not the best time to go to Etosha. There’s a lot of water in the park at this time of year so the animals aren’t forced to come into the open and drink at the waterholes, as they are during the dry season. In December you have to look a bit harder.)

Anyway, we did see lots of amazing animals and I will show you my best animal shots in the next post. For me though, the best thing about Etosha is not the animals, but the sky.

sunburst instagram

We didn’t see many animals at the Etosha waterholes, but damn, did we see some waterhole sunsets. This is an Instagram of the sunset over the Halali waterhole.

I used to think that South Africa had the most beautiful skies in the world. I must amend that now, and bequeath the 2Summers Most Beautiful Skies Award to Namibia. Particularly Etosha National Park in December. See for yourself.

morning moon

One our second morning in Etosha, we got up at 4:30 a.m. to catch the morning game drive. It was painful but worth it. There was a full moon the night before so we saw the sun rising on one horizon and the moon setting on the other.

waterhole sunrise

The view on the other horizon.

tawny eagles

Pink sky behind a pair of tawny eagles, just after sunrise.

morning moon2

One more look at the morning moon.

storm clouds over tree

Afternoon storm clouds over a flat plain.

clouds over etosha pan

Storm clouds over the Etosha salt pan, a 120-kilometre-long geological wonder that covers most of the surface area of Etosha National Park. 

sky and water

Instagram of morning clouds and water on the pan. Water only collects on the pan during the wettest part of the year, so it was cool to see that.

sunburst sunset2

A slightly different take on the same sunset shown in the first photo.

halali sunset

The greatest sunset I saw, also at the Halali waterhole. I shot this frame with my iPad and did not alter the image in any way. This is exactly how it looked.

Coming up: Graceful giraffes, hilarious hyenas, and a few words on where to stay when visiting Etosha.

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43 Comments

  • Reply The Wanderlust Gene January 14, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    You’re right – pretty special – beautiful colour, gorgeous cloud formations and the additional attraction of water adds the coup de grace 🙂

  • Reply Tonito January 14, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    Love that morning moon shot! 🙂

    • Reply 2summers January 15, 2013 at 8:12 am

      Thanks! Yea, I was really lucky to see that.

  • Reply SusanB January 14, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    I’m scrolling in anticipation of each photograph, and you didn’t let me down. Beautiful.

  • Reply Justcallmegertie January 14, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    So gorgeously beautiful! These are stunning!

  • Reply Justcallmegertie January 14, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    So gorgeously beautiful! These are stunning!

  • Reply twotiretirade January 15, 2013 at 5:30 am

    Keep that lens on the horizon and send us more nostalgic scenes. Thank you for sharing. Keep safe.

  • Reply twotiretirade January 15, 2013 at 5:30 am

    Keep that lens on the horizon and send us more nostalgic scenes. Thank you for sharing. Keep safe.

  • Reply [email protected] January 15, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Wonderful colours in the “Instagram of morning clouds and water on the pan . . .” photo.

    Willie and I have several questions for you with regard to your visit to Etosha. I’ll list them here – maybe you can build them into your future post(s).

    – What do you think is the optimal amount of time to stay in Etosha (was 3 days enough?)
    – Which camps did you stay in? What was the accommodation like? We may be camping to cut down on costs.
    – Which areas of Etosha did you explore on game drives?

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • Reply 2summers January 15, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Hi Lisa,

      All great questions and I’ll do my best to address them in my next post. However, I think the answers will depend drastically on when in the year you go to Etosha. From what I heard, Etosha in the rainy season is completely different from Etosha in the dry seaason. In the dry season, you can just go sit at a waterhole all day (there are tons of beautiful waterholes) and view game coming and going. But when we were there, there were almost no animals at all at the waterholes. There had been so much rain that the animals could find water anywhere! So we really had to modify our approach. I have no regrets though — it was still an amazing visit.

      I’ll definitely have some answers for you about where to stay though — stay tuned.

      -Heather

      • Reply [email protected] January 15, 2013 at 8:17 am

        We are planning to go in August. So it’ll be winter there and dry.

        • Reply 2summers January 15, 2013 at 8:19 am

          Should be great then! Maybe the skies will be less dramatic (fewer clouds) but you’ll see more animals 🙂

      • Reply Jeroen January 15, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        I was there in August, camping at two of the restcamps, 3 nights total, which was just enough for me. The camping is basic, very dusty on loose sand, facilities comparable to SANparks. We entered the east, departed from the southwest part of the park, self-driving. The drives are beautiful, there’s a huge sense oc space, more than in Kruger, and we saw plenty of amazing animals and I was especially by the Oryx and herds of just about everything, including hundreds of animals at the water holes (looks like a scene from a Disney movie) and large flocks of ostrich wandering the salt plains.
        August is high season and you need to book well in advance, there are lots of sometimes annoying groups in the park (and at all of Namibia’s highlights) – Sept would have been better, when the Italian groups are back home.
        Booking for Etosha was slightly frustrating due to their failing system, calling/emailing their Cape Town office was the best bet for us. It’s much pricier to visit than Kruger NP, but still good value for the amazing park. Cold at night in August, dress warm.

      • Reply 2summers January 15, 2013 at 4:31 pm

        Thanks for the helpful input Jeroen, as usual!

      • Reply Jeroen January 17, 2013 at 12:22 am

        😉

  • Reply [email protected] January 15, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Wonderful colours in the “Instagram of morning clouds and water on the pan . . .” photo.

    Willie and I have several questions for you with regard to your visit to Etosha. I’ll list them here – maybe you can build them into your future post(s).

    – What do you think is the optimal amount of time to stay in Etosha (was 3 days enough?)
    – Which camps did you stay in? What was the accommodation like? We may be camping to cut down on costs.
    – Which areas of Etosha did you explore on game drives?

    Thanks in advance! 🙂

    • Reply 2summers January 15, 2013 at 8:11 am

      Hi Lisa,

      All great questions and I’ll do my best to address them in my next post. However, I think the answers will depend drastically on when in the year you go to Etosha. From what I heard, Etosha in the rainy season is completely different from Etosha in the dry seaason. In the dry season, you can just go sit at a waterhole all day (there are tons of beautiful waterholes) and view game coming and going. But when we were there, there were almost no animals at all at the waterholes. There had been so much rain that the animals could find water anywhere! So we really had to modify our approach. I have no regrets though — it was still an amazing visit.

      I’ll definitely have some answers for you about where to stay though — stay tuned.

      -Heather

      • Reply [email protected] January 15, 2013 at 8:17 am

        We are planning to go in August. So it’ll be winter there and dry.

        • Reply 2summers January 15, 2013 at 8:19 am

          Should be great then! Maybe the skies will be less dramatic (fewer clouds) but you’ll see more animals 🙂

      • Reply Jeroen January 15, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        I was there in August, camping at two of the restcamps, 3 nights total, which was just enough for me. The camping is basic, very dusty on loose sand, facilities comparable to SANparks. We entered the east, departed from the southwest part of the park, self-driving. The drives are beautiful, there’s a huge sense oc space, more than in Kruger, and we saw plenty of amazing animals and I was especially by the Oryx and herds of just about everything, including hundreds of animals at the water holes (looks like a scene from a Disney movie) and large flocks of ostrich wandering the salt plains.
        August is high season and you need to book well in advance, there are lots of sometimes annoying groups in the park (and at all of Namibia’s highlights) – Sept would have been better, when the Italian groups are back home.
        Booking for Etosha was slightly frustrating due to their failing system, calling/emailing their Cape Town office was the best bet for us. It’s much pricier to visit than Kruger NP, but still good value for the amazing park. Cold at night in August, dress warm.

      • Reply 2summers January 15, 2013 at 4:31 pm

        Thanks for the helpful input Jeroen, as usual!

      • Reply Jeroen January 17, 2013 at 12:22 am

        😉

  • Reply chuckv88 January 15, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Love the sky pics. You’re gonna be famous!

  • Reply chuckv88 January 15, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Love the sky pics. You’re gonna be famous!

  • Reply Owls January 15, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    How absolutely beautiful!!!

  • Reply Owls January 15, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    How absolutely beautiful!!!

  • Reply Shaikha January 16, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Wonderful views

  • Reply Shaikha January 16, 2013 at 6:28 am

    Wonderful views

  • Reply Sine January 17, 2013 at 5:18 am

    I would agree that while the animals in Namibia are great, what you really go there for are not the animals. In my mind, it’s the landscapes. They are so stunning, and yes, the skies that go with them too. We were there in August, like Jeroen, and I agree about the cold nights, as we got to experience especially when the tent we were supposed to sleep under broke just at the moment we wanted to enter it, and almost flew away. It was sleeping under the stars from then on, and what a sky THAT was. I didn’t have my good camera with me then as we were canoeing on the Orange River, but I would have loved to set it up and keep the lens open the entire night, to see how the stars moved. I’ve never seen such a night sky in my life.

    By the way, the best place for animal viewings was the Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha. You can just sit on the balcony of your chalet under a warm duvet all night and see the comings and going. Though I’d also agree with Jeroen on the rather annoying tourists during August. September would have been better when Europe has gone back to work…

    • Reply 2summers January 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      Yes, we did see animals at Okaukeujo (see my next post!) although nothing like what you would see in winter. We didn’t see the stars in the same way either, as there were so many clouds at night. But man, we’re those sunsets amazing. Must have been cool to sit at your chalet and watch the watering hole!

  • Reply Sine January 17, 2013 at 5:18 am

    I would agree that while the animals in Namibia are great, what you really go there for are not the animals. In my mind, it’s the landscapes. They are so stunning, and yes, the skies that go with them too. We were there in August, like Jeroen, and I agree about the cold nights, as we got to experience especially when the tent we were supposed to sleep under broke just at the moment we wanted to enter it, and almost flew away. It was sleeping under the stars from then on, and what a sky THAT was. I didn’t have my good camera with me then as we were canoeing on the Orange River, but I would have loved to set it up and keep the lens open the entire night, to see how the stars moved. I’ve never seen such a night sky in my life.

    By the way, the best place for animal viewings was the Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha. You can just sit on the balcony of your chalet under a warm duvet all night and see the comings and going. Though I’d also agree with Jeroen on the rather annoying tourists during August. September would have been better when Europe has gone back to work…

    • Reply 2summers January 17, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      Yes, we did see animals at Okaukeujo (see my next post!) although nothing like what you would see in winter. We didn’t see the stars in the same way either, as there were so many clouds at night. But man, we’re those sunsets amazing. Must have been cool to sit at your chalet and watch the watering hole!

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