Etosha National Park in Namibia
Etosha National Park in Namibia is more than an amazing wildlife sanctuary or a spectacular game reserve; it is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Found in north-western Namibia, Etosha covers a huge expanse of land, around 22,270km² of which almost 5000km² is salt pan. That is a hole in the ground found in deserts and arid lands, that over thousands of years have dried out, leaving salt and minerals where water once lay. The pan itself creates a dynamic panorama that is large enough to be seen from space.
During the dry season, it glimmers in hues of greens and becomes inhospitable for almost all wildlife, who then wander the park in search of a waterhole. When the rainy season returns, so do much of the wildlife, including mammals, birds, and reptiles. It is the perfect place to catch a rare glimpse of the endangered black rhino.
It is from the flat, salt pan that Etosha gained its name, it means ‘Great White Place’
The Etosha pan is towards the northern region of the park and is alongside wide-open grasslands and savannahs. Here the Mopani and large camel thorn trees grow far enough apart that their branches and leaves don’t form a canopy. Instead, the sunlight can get easy access to the ground allowing lush green vegetation to grow.
Salt pans only covers 23% of the park, the rest is Savanna woodlands which provides plenty of vegetation to support the wildlife. It is hard to believe that you are in the middle of a desert when you’re surrounded by magnificent dunes and golden grassy plains.
Etosha National Park is easily accessible via one of four gates, the Andersson, Von Lindequist, Galton, and King Nehale Lya Mpingana Gates lie on varying borders of the park. Etosha is traversed by a huge network of crisscrossed roads ensuring the majority of the park can be accessed with a regular vehicle, and not solely with a 4×4 like so many other parks.
Accommodation in Etosha National Park, Namibia
The park has 6 main camps, offering true camping under canvas experience through to total luxury with four-poster beds and room service.
Luxuriously furnish safari-style tents are available in the camp that is set into the hill on the western side of the park. It offers amazing game sightings from the viewing deck overlooking the floodlit waterhole.
Wooden chalets that are built upon platforms offering an amazing view over the Salt Pan. During the dry season, there is a spectacular of the glimmering, mirage-like shimmers created by the pan, in the rainy season there is a delicious haze of pink from all of the gathering flamingos.
This is the busiest camp and it’s easy to see why as the guests have unrivaled views over one of the best watering holes. It is possible to see elephants, lions, and the occasional rhino quenching their thirst from the comfort of your chalet.
Halali is central to the park and has the largest swimming pool. Its proximity to several busy waterholes is a draw for many tourists.
A striking camp built from the remnants of a German Fort. Sit on the walls at dusk and enjoy a sun downer as you watch in awe at the many visitors to the King Nehale floodlit waterhole.
The newest of all the campsites where you will get the opportunity to get closest to the African bush. All of the accommodation is made from canvas enabling you to camp beneath the stars.
There are multiple places to stay on the outskirts of the camp should you prefer. Etosha village caters for many tourists each year. Many other camps are available offering bed and breakfast or lodges, all of which are based close to the 4 gated entrances.
What to do in Etosha National Park in Namibia
Safari! Look at, photograph, and talk about the magnificent wildlife and their habitat.
There are also many other activities available at the camps like swimming pools, restaurants, shops and more! You can fill your time doing anything from relaxing by the pool or hiking around the camp. Whatever you choose to do while visiting this beautiful park will be unforgettable. And don’t forget about all those incredible photos of wildlife that will make any photographer jealous!
How best to see Etosha
This is one of the main attractions of the park, it is so easily accessible. Whether you choose to self-drive or to take a fully guided tour, you can reach every corner of the park, where you are virtually guaranteed to see some game.
There are even tours available with a designated professional photographer on board to ensure everyone gets perfectly composed, stunning pictures.
Travel Tips for Etosha
How Much Time do You Need to Visit Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is Namibia’s most popular tourist attraction. It is home to Africa’s largest concentration of wildlife and offers visitors the chance to see lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras and more in their natural habitat. The park has many types of accommodation available from luxurious lodges to campsites. If you have time on your hands, then it would be worth spending at least two days exploring this amazing place.
I recommend that if you are going to spend any time in Etosha National Park, then make sure that one day is spent in each of the following areas – Okaukuejo Rest Camp, Halali Campsite, or Kwando River Lodge (if staying overnight). You will need at least three days however, four to five days would be better still! Remember not every day needs to be spent viewing animals as there are some great hikes around here too so don’t forget your walking shoes!
We spent 3 days and 2 nights in Etosha on our 10-day long Namibian trip! This is by far the best park we visited during our time there. We could have stayed longer, obviously there was so much more to see, but we photographed a plethora of wildlife while there.
Open all year round, the Etosha National Park in Namibia is the perfect place to take a vacation and see hundreds of different species of mammals, birds, and reptiles in their natural habitat.
As long as you adhere to safety guidelines, families, couples, and lone travelers can self-drive or join a Photo safari group and experience the wonders of Etosha, and return to camp in a range of accommodation to suit any budget.
After all, 200,000 visitors each year can’t be wrong.