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How To Take Amazing Sunset Images In The Etosha National Park

Sunset is a magical time in Etosha’s wilderness. As the heat finally subsides at the end of a long, hot day, it’s almost palpable how all life, humans and beasts alike, begins to relax.

Most creatures now grab a refreshing drink – be it a chilled Windhoek Lager beer from the cooler box or a luke-warm sip from the closest waterhole – and quench their grand thirst after a hard day in the bush.

Blue wildebeest on dusty grass plains in Etosha at sunset, Namibia © Wynand du Plessis
Blue wildebeest cross the dusty grass plains near Okondeka in Etosha National Park at sunset

But not us passionate wildlife photographers.

For us, the well-deserved tin of beer will have to stay cooled a little longer, as now is the time for great silhouettes and atmospheric sunset images. Let’s quickly dive into our photo tips, before the beer gets warm.

Tip 1: Dusty sunset images with a great ethereal mood.

The hot dry season in Etosha, especially in September & October, is the best time for dusty sunset shots. The extreme heat during midday often causes hot winds to blow in from the north-east, sweeping across the barren land and transforming into localized sand storms.

Toward the evening, however, the wind progressively dies down. The air is still again, but dust still lingers above the African savanna. Add the warm orange cast of the setting sun and this are perfect conditions for taking beautiful images with a special, ethereal mood.

Springbok and gemsbok in dusty landscape at sunset, Etosha, Namibia © Claudia du Plessis
Springbok and gemsbok gather near a waterhole at sunset.

Tip 2: Magnificent silhouettes of Etosha's fantastic wildlife.

Etosha’s flat horizon offers great opportunities for capturing magnificent silhouettes. The key is to choose a low angle, such as from a small car or from a spot along the road, that lies a little lower than the surrounding terrain. When you point your camera into the sun and compose your image with more than two thirds of sky, you’ll have a winner shot for sure.

Giraffe on the Etosha plains at sunset, Namibia © Wynand du Plessis
A herd of graceful giraffes walks into the sunset on Etosha's flat plains.
Tip 3: Turn your focus skywards.

Finally you can turn towards the sky and focus on birds that overnight in trees. They usually settle down around sunset and sometimes do so conveniently for us close to waterholes adjacent to Etosha’s camps.

So look out for these ‘sleeping trees’ in and around the camp grounds. You might be lucky to capture similar images to these of Abdim storks settling in for the night right next to the Okaukuejo waterhole.

Keen to learn more?

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