Etosha National Park in Namibia

etosha np

One of Africa’s greatest safari destinations, the 22 000-square kilometre wilderness of Etosha National Park is a top highlight for many travellers to Namibia. Made up of grasslands and woodland savanna and dominated by a giant salt pan, Etosha is home to 114 species of mammals, including four of the Big Five and the world’s largest concentration of black rhino.

wild dogs attack

A visit to Etosha during the dry months of June to October means you’ll be treated to some of the best wildlife viewing that you can have on the continent. The lack of rain forces animals to congregate around the waterholes spread out in the park, so seeing black rhino, herds of elephant, prides of lion, as well as herds of zebra, giraffe and springbok takes no more effort than parking next to a waterhole and waiting for the animals to arrive.

kusini collection Credit | Kusini Collection

The rainy summer months have their own appeal though: at this time of year, the vegetation is lush and green, and for keen birdwatchers there are the million flamingos that use Etosha as a breeding ground, and the host of migratory bird species that make the park their temporary home.

Highlights

etosha water holes

The best experiences in Etosha are all about spotting wildlife at waterholes during the dry winter months. There are a number of them which are spread throughout the park near to accessible roads, so all you have to do is park your car, sit with a flask of coffee and wait for the animals to arrive. Each of the camps inside the parks features a waterhole that you can sit around for hours in the afternoon doing the easiest wildlife viewing possible. Of all the camp waterholes, Okaukeujo waterhole (at the camp of the same name) is a stand out. There’s a low wall around one side of the big waterhole so you can sit on a bench just a few metres away from a herd of elephants having a mud bath: Etosha magic at its best.

Practical advice

  • Etosha is a perfect choice for a self-drive holiday: the roads are easy to navigate and are in very good condition – and suitable for 2WD vehicles, although you might prefer a 4WD for better visibility.

  • There are several camps inside the park that offer camping grounds, self-catering chalets and luxury rooms, but the lodging options outside of the park gates are also excellent.

  • Etosha National Park is best visited in the winter months of June to September, when it’s much easier to spot animals than in the rainy summer months. The winter months can get very busy, however, so be sure to book your lodging many months in advance.


You might also like

A photography holiday in Namibia

Etosha National Park offers fantastic photo opportunities | Credit: Ongava Tented Camp Namibia is a photographer’s dream destination. The country’s spectacular desert landscapes of soaring sand dunes, vast horizons and cracked pans, its rugged mountains, dramatic canyon and…

Sossusvlei in Namibia

Namibia’s most visited attraction is one of the best places to experience the serene beauty of the Namib Desert: that quintessential landscape of undulating burned orange and apricot coloured dunes towering above the desert floor that you’ve seen on a thousand postcards and posters.…

Family safari in Namibia

Namibia is a wonderful choice for a family vacation: it’s safe, easy to travel around on a self-guided journey and offers a wealth of attractions and activities that will delight outdoorsy kids. Namibia also has a much lower malaria risk than many other southern African countries. There…


Tours

Popular Namibia Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Scenery

Luxury Namibia: Sossusvlei, Damaraland and Kunene

Experience Sossusvlei's red dunes glowing in the early morning…

Northern Namibia Self-Drive Camping Adventure

An adventure that encompasses areas like the Central Highlands…

Botswana and Namibia family safari

Enjoy both Botswana's Okavango Delta and Namibia's Caprivi…

Namibia safari adventure

Namibia is an ideal destination for travellers seeking an…

South Africa and Namibia Classic Self Drive Adventure

This is a great adventure, travelling up the West Coast of…

Namibian Etosha Self Drive Adventure

Drive yourself through the majestic landscapes of Namibia…

Red dunes

Short and Sweet Sossusvlei Sojourn

Reconnect with nature in Namibia's southern desert and marvel…