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Etosha in January

Average temperatures hit a sticky 34°C. It’s rainy season: incredibly for a place one thinks of as arid, this can mean mud in patches! A 4×4 will be useful and comfortable, but it is a lot more costly, and the majority of Etosha’s roads remain accessible in an ordinary city car.

Park authorities also tend to temporarily close roads that will be a problem. The weather is simply unpredictable: there can be clear sunny skies, but Etosha can also be overcast for days at a time, with the chance of some quite heavy rain. As such, potentially not the best time for photography, although there may be dramatic skies and sunsets thanks to thunderstorms.

The beginning of January is still peak local holiday travel time, so the park will be packed. Things quieten down drastically later; by month-end some private lodges can even feel a bit echoey! All the more attention for those lucky few.

If the rains have been good, there will be water in the pan itself, and Fisher’s Pan near Namutoni could have turned pink with flamingos, which breed here in good years. Those charismatic big guys, the elephant and rhino, will have gone walkabout toward the east, i.e. moved from the waterholes to thicker bush. As the park roads tend to link waterholes, this can make sightings less accessible.

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