Etosha National Park Parks and Reserves, Top Destinations
Etosha National Park is Namibia's top game-viewing destination, rated as one of the best safari destinations in Africa. Covering some 22 270 km² of dramatic landscapes in northern Namibia, Etosha is home to a rich diversity of wildlife and birds, despite its stark appearance. The open terrain and sparse vegetation are ideal for spotting animals, especially when they congregate at watering holes during the winter months from June to August. The unique Etosha Pan stretches out over about a quarter of the park in an endless dry expanse where mirages rise in the heat, except when the rains come and transform the barren desert into shimmering, shallow lakes.
* Etosha National Park Highlights
- ∞One of the best game parks in Africa
- ∞Game viewing up close at watering holes, floodlit by night
- ∞Dramatic Etosha Salt Pan scenery
- ∞Wildlife concentrated at waterholes
- ∞Established rest camps and private lodges
- ∞Good road network for exploring the park
- ∞White salty sands cause trademark 'white' elephants
Dominated by the desert-like Etosha Pan of northern Namibia, towards the Angolan border, this famous national park provides a stark and captivating setting for watching its high concentration of African wildlife. The action-packed wildlife show of Etosha Park boasts a dazzling cast, including the endangered black rhino and black-faced impala, among its 114 mammals species.
In Etosha, visitors see big game wandering along the fringes of the vast white-sand pan, emerging from the mirages to roam across the open plains. The easiest way to spot an assortment of game is to stay put at one of the many watering holes that dot the bush, south of the dusty pan. Out here in the harsh environment of Etosha the dramatic battle for survival plays itself out as hyenas, lions, cheetahs, jackals and other hunters compete for prey. The smorgasbord of fair game for hungry predators includes zebra, giraffe and a varied selection of antelopes, such as gemsbok, eland, kudu, roan, red hartebeest and blue wildebeest.
Exploring Etosha - Inside the Park
Etosha game drives mostly explore the open grasslands and plains along the southern edges of the inhospitable Etosha Pan from Namutoni in the east to Okaukuejo in the west. The rolling hills in the western part of the park, lying further from Etosha Pan, offer a slightly different game viewing experience to the barren pans.
Oliphantsbad (Afrikaans for elephant's bath) in the southern part of the park, closest to Okaukuejo Rest Camp, is known as a good place for sighting elephant. Okaukuejo itself has a reputation for being the best place to watch rhino at the camp's watering hole after dark, as well as being a good spot for seeing a variety of large game throughout the day. Halali's waterhole, mid-way between Namutoni and Okaukuejo, is known for its frequent leopard sightings at night, along with good lion and rhino sightings. The newest of the camps, Dolomite, sits in the previously-restricted western part of Etosha, where high concentrations of wildlife roam.
Staying in Etosha Park
The main camps are well-maintained and feature a variety of amenities and accommodation options catering for low to moderate budgets, from basic camping to luxury chalets. The three older rest camps each have a floodlit watering hole for spotting nocturnal wildlife and birds after dark. The main public camps are Namutoni, Halali, Okaukuejo, and the newer, more exclusive Onkoshi Camp, on the edge of Etosha Pan, and Dolomite Camp, tucked away in the west. The main camps feature restaurants and bars, fueling stations, shops and swimming pools.
The drive between Etosha and Windhoek takes about six hours on a well-maintained tar road. There is no public transport to and from, or within the national park; you can either travel with a tour company or embark on a self-drive safari from Windhoek. Etosha is one of Africa's most accessible game parks as it is easy to reach and explore in a sedan (2WD) vehicle. The park can be accessed via four main gates - Anderson in the south, Galton in the west, Von Lindequist on the eastern side and Nehale lya Mpingana (King Nehale) Gate on the northern border. When travelling to Galton gate, arrive before 13:00 if you're heading further than Dolomite Camp; if passing through King Nehale Gate, check that it will be open at your time of travel.
For more images from Wim van den Heever, please visit Tusk Photography
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