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Namibia - Etosha

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We have an opportunity to visit Etosha for 8 days from either June 5-12 or September 27-Oct 3. We will be traveling in a small motorhome. Any recommendations as to which time is better?

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    When I was panning my trip I got some recommendations for June from people I contacted in Namibia. I ended up going there in August to fit my schedule and stayed on the eastern side of the park. Things (game viewing) were a bit slow then and I learned that August was a time better spent on the western end.

    Below is a blurb from an Etosha travel site that may help you reach a decision.

    June - Warm days and very cold nights with no rain. Getting much drier and so good game viewing. Some low season rates and not that many tourists. If game viewing is the main emphasis but don't like crowds or hot weather, this is the best month to travel.

    July - Warm days and very cold nights with no rain. Very dry and excellent for game viewing. High season with rates often at their highest. Early in the month it isn't too busy but the second half is busy with bookings becoming hard to come by.

    August - Warm days and cold nights with no rain. Very dry so good game viewing but country looks stark. Often windy - not a pleasant combination if dry and sandy! High season with rates often at their highest. Peak season for tourists and bookings can be a nightmare. In our opinion, to be avoided at all cost.

    September - The first weeks see a brief period that might be termed Spring, but normally by the end of the month summer is in full swing with hot days and pleasant nighttime temperatures. Rain very unlikely but can be windy. Still good game viewing. High season. Lots of tourists but by the end of the month it gets more manageable. Change clocks back to summer time so longer days.

    October - Very hot days with a small chance of rain. Still good game viewing. High season and still quite a few tourists.

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    have been to Etosha perhaps a dozen times, most recently September 28-October 3, 2009. It was my most disappointing visit yet, as it was beastly hot (no pun intended), we were rained out at night at Okaukuejo, and the game viewing everywhere was not up to par.

    In my opinion, the game viewing is best in August or very early September. I have not been there in early June, but the days would be at their shortest, limiting the number of hours you could spend at waterholes, and it would be rather cold in the mornings and evenings especially if you plan to spend time at the Okaukeujo waterhole at night.

    Last year I booked late and had to wait till rooms were released by the tour companies--about 30 to 45 days before the arrival date. It made me nervous, but the days I wanted came through. I have had good luck working with Madeleine at the Namibia Wildlife Resorts office in Cape Town.

    A note about Halali--it is a nice quiet camp and the accommodation is good, particularly the 2-bedroom chalets. Halali is close to Goas, a really beautiful waterhole that gets lots of game. While there is a lighted waterhole at Halali, it is a distance from the chalets and you have to navigate a dark, rocky path to get there.

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    We were in Etosha in late January, which we know is off season. We ere totally stunned at how much game we saw and we had zero expectations. Sometimes, I really think luck has a lot to do with it. We hope our luck continues next March and April 2011 in India's Pench, Kanha and Bandharvgarh parks. We will never forget our wonderful experiences in Namibia.

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    June, July and August are your best months for game viewing. It can be a little chilly in June and July in the evening so you need to pack something warm to wear if you are planning on sitting by the waterholes at night. The early mornings are also a bit cold, but as soon as the sun gets up the days will be nice and warm.

    safarilover you were a little unlucky in September last year. We had some early rain, quite a lot which is not really normal, I was also up in Etosha at that time and was stunned by the amount we received! September is usually also a good month for game viewing and the temperatures are warmer.
    Rain here is rather hard to predict as you can imagine, but it would be extremely unusual to get rain in June, July or August.

    To the original poster, you may find that accommodation for June and Sept is already fairly full if not full already but don't worry, as safarilover says a lot of these bookings are on a provisional basis and are being held by larger tour operators, 30 days prior to the booking date these operator held rooms need to be paid or else NWR releases the rooms again. It is a bit of a hassle but if you start calling NWR on a daily basis a month or so before you want to travel you should not come across problems with getting rooms.

    Enjoy Etosha!

    Gemma Dry - Owner - Discover Namibia/Truly Africa

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