Olifantsrus: What a first impression!

Amarula Cream
July 20, 2017
Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge
July 27, 2017

Text and Photographs Nina van Schalkwyk

Campers Only… and elephants and springbok and zebra and birds, and, and, and…

Olifantsrus is the perfect place for selected animal watching. By “selected” I mean you select your seat at the hide and buckle down for some serious eye trawling over the medley of animals at the waterhole. Did I mention this is the same place where poor old ellies had their last rights read to them back in the day? Olifantsrus has quite a severe history, which you can read more about here. Now, though, they walk slowly up to the hide and slurp up the dark blue water right in front of the ogling spectators. The sounds the female elephant was making weren’t very ladylike though… #JustSaying

What a View

I had no idea what to expect when we got to Olifantsrus, as it was my first visit. It’s not a big campsite—I mean, not hectares of ground, but I’m guessing the foreigners don’t like being too far from other people, or else I don’t know why one couple chose to put up their tent so close to ours! Well, it didn’t really matter, as we spent most of our time in the hide. It’s amazing how much time can pass while you sit in an enclosure several meters above the ground, with nothing around you but silence and the soft noises of wild animals. We angled our binocs down toward the Little Jacana, following him as he made his way over the muddy mounds, getting lost from view when he stepped into one of the massive holes, presumably made by elephants’ feet.

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It’s everyone’s party until the elephants arrive

We’d arrived and set up camp before we first made our way up the ramp to the hide. The waterhole was quite busy (as waterholes tend to be in winter), with all the smaller animals taking a turn to sip some H2O. All was well, everyone was relaxed, and there was no scent of a lion or other predators, so the animals seemed content to chill with their mates and have a good time, not unlike Afrikaners at a braai. Then the elephants showed up. Coming across the horizon, swaying precariously like two drunken giants. The other animals scattered, giving them space…and space they needed. We couldn’t scatter anywhere, we were trapped in our tower. Trapped by a wonderful view of leathery faces and long lashes right before us. That’s when mother elephant made her slurping noises, but I’ll forgive her for that. She’s got other things counting in her favour; like her massive bulk, which females of other kinds usually shy away from. Miss ellie can stand on those four tree trunks she has for legs if it means we can eye her up close and personal through the hide’s open windows.

Olifantsrus is an exceptional campsite, different from any other I’ve experienced. The fact that it is for campers only is fantastic, but the close proximity to the animals and the intense atmosphere takes it to a whole other level. Definitely worth it.

Keep your eyes on the page for more in the Nina’s Namibia series.

Olifantsrus is approximately 60km from Etosha’s Galton Gate, 130km from Okaukuejo and 50km from Dolomite Camp. The camping area consists of 10 campsites taking a maximum of 8 people per site. Currently, there are flat cement bases on which a fire can be built. Little islands dotted around the site offer visitors electrical power points and the bathrooms are sufficient for all basic needs.

List of birds to see:

The top 100 birds of Etosha

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Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. With riveting stories, first-hand encounters and magnificent photographs showcasing tourism, travel, nature, adventure and conservation, TNN is the ultimate and most comprehensive guide to exploring Namibia. Travel News Namibia is published in five different editions per year. These include four English- language editions and one German. Travel News Namibia is for sale in Namibia and South Africa.

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