Photoblog: Wildlife Encounters in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Posted on February 6, 2012 by

“Lions on your right!” Our driver’s voice crackled through the speakers in our truck. I grabbed my camera, fixed my lens to the maximum zoom and set my vision to the distance.

We were game driving in Nambia’s Etosha National Park onboard a mammoth overland truck – I didn’t expect to see much wildlife up close, any animal in their right mind would be intimidated by the size of our truck. But as we gently slowed down to a halt, we got a good view of what lay ahead and an awed hush fell amidst our group of 20 travelers.

A pack of nine lions was lying just inches away from our truck, nonchalantly flapping their ears, yawning and drooling – in spite of our presence. According to our guide, this was a herd of lionesses protecting a young male just before it enters adulthood and gets thrown into the wild on its own. We held our breathes and watched in silence as the group of wild cats lay under the shade, taking their afternoon nap and snoozing out loud. At first sight, our group had erupted into a photo-snapping frenzy, but once we realized the insanity of our oblivion, we ditched our cameras and spent the next thirty minutes observing these wild cats, marveling at the rarity of this encounter.

There’s nothing quite like watching an animal in the wild – the emotions that come along with it often stirring and awakening. As a wildlife buff, I’ve always been drawn to places with great wildlife opportunities – the main reason why I’d journeyed to Southern Africa. The dry, arid savanna of Namibia is home to a large collection of wildlife: from the ubiquitous springbok to the zebra, lion, giraffe, leopard and even the almost-extinct white rhino. All of the Big Five except for buffalos can be found here, thanks to the government’s conservation efforts. While Etosha does not readily promise as much wildlife as the world famous Serengeti, it receives much less visitors and delivers a more authentic and hassle-free wildlife watching experience.

An intimate moment between a teenage lion and its mother

Over the two days in Etosha National Park on my overlanding journey with G Adventures, we were rewarded with plenty of impressive sightings: herds of oryx (Namibia’s national animal) grazing amidst zebras; wildebeests galloping on flatland; ostriches roaming in pairs; a lonesome white rhino on an open plain; a lioness sipping water from a pond; and gentle dik diks by the roadside. But wildlife watching in Etosha can be unpredictable: we had one encounter after another on day one, but not a single sighting on day two despite trawling through the park from dawn till daybreak. Despite the irregularity, game driving in Etosha is definitely worth a go – be patient and you’ll be duly rewarded with some of the best wildlife experiences in Africa.

Here are some of my best images from Etosha, hope they’ll give you a feel of how intimate wildlife encounters in Namibia can be:


Namibia’s national animal, the elegant oryx

A zebra grazing the dry grassland

A pair of wildebeest hides under the shade

A lonesome white rhino by the watering hole

The commonly spotted springbok


A lioness sips water from a pond while balancing all fours on a rock

A pair of ostriches wandering through the vast grassland


Sniffing its way around our campsite, a mongoose busy at work

Sunset at Etosha National Park


This experience was made possible by G Adventures as a part of their Wanderers In Residence program. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Flip through more of my Etosha photos or read more about my Namibia journey here.

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

13 Responses to “Photoblog: Wildlife Encounters in Etosha National Park, Namibia”

  1. Sheila February 6, 2012 11:41 am #

    It must have been an amazing experience to see the wild that is fast fast disappearing. The photos look great, wish I can see it in person one day.

    • Nellie February 8, 2012 11:18 pm #

      Very true, the wilderness is really disappearing fast and it won\’t be long before all these wildlife disappear… :( Get there soon!

      • travelers community March 23, 2012 7:50 pm #

        It`s sad to know that! I really consider that we should do everything in our power to preserve them for our children and children's children.

      • Nathakorn November 22, 2012 9:32 am #

        Ahhhh! I’ve been to Etosha! So gorgeous! We got to see lions and rhnois there. And in Swakopmund (a small Bavarian town on the coast), they had incredible dolphin and seal cruises. We have some incredible photos from there. Great post!

  2. Dean February 7, 2012 7:39 am #

    You've captured some great photos! I know how difficult it can often be to take good wildlife shots. Sounds like a great experience and I'm really looking forward to heading to Africa in a few months :)

    • Nellie February 8, 2012 10:50 pm #

      Yes, we were really lucky to get this close to these animals. Which part of Africa are you visiting? Is Etosha on your itinerary? I\’d highly recommend it – it\’s less crowded than Kruger and Serengeti and that definitely makes it much more appealing.

  3. Lane February 8, 2012 1:45 am #

    Beautifully shot! Congrats.

    • Nellie February 8, 2012 10:45 pm #

      Thanks Lane – Etosha really surprised me, absolutely loved it!

  4. Africa Safaris April 17, 2012 4:36 pm #

    True, and if only we could take resposibility and fight for the salvation of our environmet

  5. Africa Pictures July 30, 2012 9:18 pm #

    Great photos from an amazing park in Namibia. I did have an interesting experience in Etosha at the beginning of the year. The story highlights how dangerous these wild animals can be. It was a freak accident and something that rarely happens but this lion was on a charge and took on my vehicle while I was sitting inside. You can read the full story on

  6. techincal writer August 6, 2012 4:18 pm #

    Great photos, a love the wild animals

  7. etosha National Park October 4, 2012 10:48 am #

    I found a great source of information for Etosha National Park

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