Waterholes in Etosha
Etosha National Park boasts numerous waterholes, including both natural springs and fountains and others fed by man-made bore holes. Some of the camps in the park offer the unique experience of floodlit waterholes for night-time viewing. Overall, these various waterholes tend to offer the park’s best opportunities for both big and small game sightings, especially during the dry winter months, when more animals are drawn out of hiding to drink at the water’s edge.
However, each waterhole has its own unique personality and the animals that can be spotted at certain waterholes may vary from, even from season to season. Here is a brief overview of the best of the bunch.
Okaukuejo Waterhole is right next to the Okaukeujo rest camp. It is floodlit and draws black rhino almost every night as well as numerous elephants, especially between June and December. This is considered by many to be the best place in Africa to see the endangered and solitary-natured black rhino.
Okondeka is among the best for lion sightings, and the predators can often be found with kill here. This waterhole is a natural fountain and is situated right on the edge of the west side of the salt pan, a little way North of Okaukuejo.
Halali and Goas
For the shy and elusive leopard, Halali and Goas are probably the best bets, both of which lie roughly mid-way between the southern Andersson Gate and the Von Lindquist Gate on the eastern edge of the pan. The oasis-like natural spring at Goas is also a favourite for bird species, black-faced impala and elephants. There tends to be large numbers of wildebeest and zebra too. The man-made Halali is situated next to the Halali rest camp.
Sueda and Salvadora
The scenic Sueda and Salvadora offer stunning vistas of the pan stretching away to the northern horizon behind them and are also good spots for cheetah sightings. Nearby Rietfontein is one of the larger holes and another regular hang-out for lions.
Tips for good sightings
It’s always worth remembering though that the best waterholes to visit can change on a daily and even hourly basis, and that often it merely comes down to a combination of luck of the draw and patience. Finding a good position, switching off the engine and waiting for something to happen will often yield rewarding results at any of the park’s numerous waterholes. Guides and park and camp staff should be able to give you plenty more information on seasonal variations and on where you might be able to see the broadest certain animals on a particular day or at a particular time. Many of the camps also have a visitors book with a few helpful hints from those who have passed through recently.