David Petrus Johannes Odendaal, son of Willem Notling Odendaal and his wife Hester Sophia van den Berg, moved to the Chipinge District, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1894 with his father as part of the Mynhardt trek. They settled on Houtberg farm at Mt Selinda in 1895, where a few years later young Odendaal was able to share his interest in natural history with C.F.M. Swynnerton*. He was mainly interested in ornithology, collected birds and their nests, and trapped birds for Swynnerton to experiment with in aviaries. He contributed his field notes to a paper by Swynnerton entitled 'On some nests and eggs from Mount Cirinda, Southern Rhodesia' (Journal of the South African Orinithologists' Union, 1911, Vol. 7(1), pp. 1-20).
At about this time Odendaal settled on the farm Grassflats and married Susanna Maria Olwage, with whom he had a son and a daughter. From this time his ornithological activities declined. Later he moved to the farm Chipinge West. In later life he was a member of the Ebenhaezer Committee, which was responsible for the erection of a memorial to the Moodie and other early treks to the eastern parts of Zimbabwe.