Etosha game drives with children

Jan 11th, 2006, 03:54 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,147
Etosha game drives with children

after some good suggestions on this forum we decided to spend at least 4/5 nights in Etosha (3 in Okaukuejo and one or two in Naumatoni) next June. We have 2 children aged 11 and 4 and we were wondering how to spend those days:

- guided game drives in 4x4 from the lodges, maybe also including some short bush walks with armed guide, but any age limit for that ?


- selfdrive tours with our 2x4 sedan car among the 3 major camps and waterholes, assuming that roads allow it and that we do not miss nothing special of not having a 4x4 or a guided game drive !

any suggestions ?

thank you !
Fabio is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 05:20 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 246

Good decision to spend 4/5 nights in Etosha. I don't think you will be disappointed. And while it is nice to be settled into one camp for the entire time, I also think it is a good idea for you to see both sides of the park.

I really only have experience with self-drive tours in Etosha, and I think they are virtually as good as the game drives from the lodges for these reasons: (1) The game lodge vehicles take their guests into the park, and they spend some time at the waterhole at Okaukuejo. You can have much more time at the waterhole by staying at Okaukuejo. (2) Everyone must stay on the roads in Etosha, including the lodge vehicles, so you can go in your sedan all the same places they go in the 4x4. (3) Most areas of Etosha are flat and wide open with little vegegation; therefore, the game is relatively easy to spot. Your kids will probably have fun doing this. (4) You can set your own schedule if you drive yourself, start and stop whenever you like and spend as much time at a waterhole as you want.

That said, the advantages doing a guided game drive from the lodge would be that you have a professional guide who knows where certain animals hang out and will take you to those waterholes. A guide also knows the names of all the birds, etc., and is knowledgeable about the animals. He also knows not to block the path of an elephant! A guide would also know which waterholes are good for morning/afternoon photography.

I seriously doubt that a lodge would allow a 4 year old on a guided walk and probably not an 11 year old either. As far as I know, there are no guided walks in the park, probably just on the private land that is owned by the lodges.

If you email me([email protected]) closer to the time you are leaving, I can give you a pretty good rundown on the various waterholes. Okaukuejo has a "predator book" where people record where and when they have seen predators. Many times you can go to the same area and luck out that the predators will still be there. Maps of the park are available at the shops in the park and are easy to follow. I have always found the roads accessible by sedan except once when I was there during the rainy season and one of the smaller roads was flooded. You will not have this problem in June.

safarilover is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 05:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I was in Etosha a couple of years ago, and I would guess that the substantial majority of visitors are on self-drive visits. Since you'll be there for five days and if its your first safari, it may be worth going on a guided drive on the first day just to get the feel of a safari, but Etosha is really set up for self-drive visits. All you need is a map and patience (don't rush around, but spend time at the waterholes and let the animals come to you). You won't miss anything on a self-drive. Also, I'm sure they won't allow 4-year olds on a walking safari, and likely won't permit 11-year olds.
thit_cho is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 05:49 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Leann: thank you very much. I just opened this post after your suggestions on another of my posts. You alrrady mentioned your favourite waterhole Goas.
Also thanks that I can email you later on... I can't wait..

Thit_cho: thank you, too for your support on the other post, together with Leann.

My children, especilly the 11 years old are very excited to spot wildlife and I have to admit that they have a lot of patience, even staying in the car or bus. So we did last summer in Alaska (Denali) and 3 years ago in Banff/Jasper. The other one will be almost 5 in June.
I will save other camps and safaris in southern africa for later on when they are older and accepted by guided tours and walks.
Fabio is offline  
Jan 11th, 2006, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 987
I concur with all this advice. We always take a good animal book, with plenty of pictures, in the car with us on our self-drives, and I'll bet the kids would have fun using such a book to identify the lesser-known animals.

The waterhole inside the camp at Okaukuejo is great -- you can go sit there after dark and see some wonderful action.
Celia is offline  

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