Situated in the central north of Namibia, the Etosha National Park covers some 22 270km², and is one of Southern Africa’s finest and most important Game Reserves. Etosha, meaning ‘Great White Place’, is dominated by a massive mineral pan – a vast shallow depression of approximately 5000km². The pan is part of the Kalahari basin, the floor of which was formed around 1000 million years ago, and incredibly, it covers nearly 25% of the National Park. Originally a lake, it was fed by the Kunene River. However, thousands of years ago the course of this river changed and the lake dried up, leaving this vast depression of salt and dusty clay. Today the pan only fills with water after rare heavy rains, and with high evaporation it only holds this water for a short time. The temporary waters in the Etosha Pan attract thousands of wading birds, including spectacular flocks of flamingos.
Home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and, surprisingly, one species of fish, safaris in Etosha National Park guarantee rewarding and often spectacular game viewing. Visitors to Etosha can expect to see elephant, giraffe, lions and rhino as well as many buck species. More fortunate visitors will see leopard and cheetah. A network of roads link the three national park camps and the string of perennial waterholes along the southern edge of the Etosha Pan, which draw large concentrations of wildlife and birds. Watch patiently at these waterholes and you will experience the wonder of life at Etosha as the animals congregate to drink in this parched wonderland.
Game viewing at Etosha National Park is excellent throughout the year, although the extremely hot summer months are uncomfortable. The best time for visiting Etosha is during Namibia’s cooler winter months - from May to September.
Luxury lodges are located close to the gates to the Park, to the south and east of the pan, many within their own private reserves bordering the National Park. These offer superb accommodations on a fully inclusive basis including game drives into the National Park, and within the fenced boundaries of their own reserves. In addition, some lodges offer accommodation on a dinner, bed & breakfast basis, with optional 4x4 game drive excursions into the park. This option is usually cheaper, and visitors can combine 4x4 game viewing experiences with game drives through Etosha National Park in their own vehicles.
The budget accommodation offered within the park is currently of a very poor standard, and we do not recommend this to our clients.