It is proudly one of the largest and oldest National Parks in the whole of Africa combined. Easy to see why it is certainly Namibia’s number-one tourist destination for a safari.
Etosha National Park is home to 114 large and small mammal species, more than 400 recorded bird species, scores of reptiles and even a fish species. Etosha is the country’s flagship park. The size of the park, although reduced over the years still remains larger than several European countries.
It is world-renown for its spectacular wildlife specifically around their scenic waterholes that dot the otherwise expansive salt pans. Elephant, black and white rhino, lions, leopards, cheetahs, large herds of springbok, zebra, wildebeest, giraffes and a multitude of other fascinating species, are found interacting around these water sources. But what makes wildlife in this particular park even more unique is because of the landscape. It is not the typical green, tree-dotted savannah that you normally see. The white earth of the salt pans gives a dramatic backdrop to the incredibly well-adapted animals that thrive in this region.
The Oshindonga name for the pan was Etosha, meaning ‘the place where no plants grow’, but early European traders, unable to pronounce the name, called it ‘Etosha’. The pan was once part of the massive Lake Kunene fed by the Kunene River, which at some time in the distant past dried up, leaving the current pan system.
The national park of Etosha has a savanna desert climate. The annual mean average temperature is 24 °C (75 °F). In winter, the mean nighttime lows are around 10 °C (50 °F), while in summer temperatures often hover around 40 °C (104 °F). As it is a desert, there is a large variation between day and night. Rain almost never falls in the winter.
The park is dominated by an expansive salt pan and several smaller pans. Scenic waterholes have abundant game. The veld is flat and open, with the only hills around Halali Rest Camp and in the extreme west of the park.
By road - roughly 3 hours to the nearest gate
By air - you can fly there by private charter
1) Etosha's elephants belong to the group of elephants in northwestern Namibia and southern Angola. They are the tallest elephants in Africa, but mineral deficiencies mean that they have very short tusks.
2) Tsumcor, Okerfontein, Adamax and Aroe are just some the 33 water holes in Etosha National Park. Each water hole has its own character. There are natural water holes and those which are fed artificially from boreholes. It is important to remember that the water levels of the holes and the number of game to see there vary from season to season, depending on the rainfall and the migration of the animals.
- Anderson’s Gate is on the southwestern end of the park and is reachable on the C38 from Outjo. The closest camp is Okaukuejo
- Von Lindequist Gate lies in the east and connects to the B1. Tsumeb is the closest town to this gate
- Namutoni Camp is only a short drive from the gate
- Galton Gate lies on the western end of the park
- King Nehale Lya Mpingana Gate is at the northern end of the park and is 48 km from the main road to Ondangwa
- The park gates open and close according to the sunrise and sunset times of every month
- Summer months offer the most extensive window period to enter and exit the park
All animals in this area are said to be 'desert-adapted' due to how they have survived in this unique environment. elephant, black and white rhinoceros, lions, leopards, cheetahs, large herds of springbok, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and a multitude of other fascinating species, big and small, interacting in their natural environment.
Etosha has a proud record of black-rhino conservation, and the white rhino was recently re-introduced. The park has also played a major role in the recovery of the endemic black-faced impala. The Etosha Ecological Research Institute attracts scientists from around the world.
The best time to visit is between June and September when the waterholes around the salt pan are a magnet for animals. The dry, cooler months are by far the best to visit if your focus is animal viewing. Because of the incredible size of the park, it would be impossible to traverse the areas in search of wildlife, so the dry months are perfect as they congregate around the last remains of water in mind-blowing diversity.
In the wet summer months, it is a great challenge to view any animals and so the focus is then on great birding and the incredible landscapes. Avoid Summer: incredible heat and poor animal viewing.
Self-drive safaris, Private guided game drives and Specialised Rhino and Elephant walks. Photographic safaris. Birding Safaris
There are various accommodation options both within the National Park and around it. They range from luxury lodges to campsites, some of which boast modern facilities for a comfortable stay in nature.