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Things to do or see in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Etosha National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. The park is home to a variety of animals, including lions, elephants, and rhinos. It is also known for its stunning landscapes and vast open spaces, and covers 22,270 square kilometres, and has a dry, desolate landscape. The park is one of the natural wonders, including the Etosha salt pans – the world’s largest reserve of unspoiled table salt.

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Wildlife crowds round a watering hole in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Brief history of Etosha National Park and its location

Etosha National Park is located in northern Namibia and covers an area of 22,270 square kilometres. It is the country’s largest game reserve and one of the largest in Africa. The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including lions, elephants, cheetahs, and rhinos. Etosha was established as a game reserve in 1907 and became a national park in 1967.

Etosha National Park Climate

The climate in Etosha National Park is hot and dry. The average temperature in the park is 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit). The hottest months are from November to February, when temperatures can reach up to 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit). The rainfall in Etosha is variable, but most years see very little rain.

Animals and Fauna

Etosha National Park is home to a diverse range of animals and fauna. The most popular attractions are the elephants which roam around in large herds. Other animals include lions, giraffes, zebra, antelope, and many more. The best time to see wildlife is early morning or late afternoon when they are most active.

How to Reach the Park

Etosha National Park is located in northern Namibia and can be reached by road or air.

By Road:

The park is accessible by four gateways:

  • Anderson Gate 
  • Von Lindequist Gate. 
  • Galton Gate
  • King Nehale Lya Mpingana Gate

Anderson Gate is the most popular gateway and is located on the C38, approximately 300km from Outapi. Von Lindequist Gate is located on the B1, approximately 120km from Outapi. Both gates are open year-round, 24 hours a day. Galton Gate is on the southwestern end of the park. King Nehale Lya Mpingana Gate is at the northern end of the park and is about 48km from the main road to Ondangwa.

By Air: The nearest airport to Etosha National Park is Hosea Kutako International Airport (HKIA), located approximately 140km from the park’s Anderson Gate. HKIA offers regular domestic and international flights.

Natural Springs

The park also has several hot springs perfect for letting off steam. The springs range in temperature from hot to boiling. Visitors can relax in the springs, or they can swim in them.

Water holes

Etosha’s waterholes are its lifeblood, sustaining its populations of elephants, rhinos, lions and more. 

The water holes are throughout the park and offer unique wildlife-viewing opportunities. During the day, you can often see elephants, lions, and other animals coming to drink and cool off. At night, the water holes are a great place to spot nocturnal animals like rhinos and leopards.

Most popular Okaukuejo waterhole

The waterhole at Okaukuejo is one of the most popular destinations in Etosha National Park. It is a natural sinkhole that is home to a variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, and antelope. Visitors to the waterhole can see many animals up close and personal, making it a truly unique experience.

Okaukuejo waterhole is one of the most popular attractions in Etosha National Park. It is a natural oasis in the middle of the dry, barren landscape of the park. Visitors can see herds coming to drink and bathe at the waterhole, including elephants, lions, giraffes, and many others.

The best time to visit the Okaukuejo waterhole is early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the animals are most active. There is also a floodlit watering hole where visitors can see the animals coming to drink at night.

Etosha Pan

The Etosha Pan is a large, dry lakebed in the Etosha National Park. The pan is often thought of as the centrepiece of the park and is a popular spot for visitors to see animals. While the pan does not have any water in it, it does attract wildlife to its shores during the rainy season when it fills with water. During the dry season, the pan is a dusty white colour and is almost completely devoid of vegetation.

Self-drive safaris

Self-drive safaris are a great way to explore Etosha National Park. With over 22,000 square kilometres of land to explore, there is plenty to see and do. The best time to visit is during the dry season from May to October, when wildlife is more likely to be concentrated around waterholes.

There are a few things to keep in mind when planning a self-drive safari. 

First, make sure your vehicle is up for the challenge. The roads can be rough, and Etosha is a remote location. 

Second, stock up on supplies before entering the park. There are no gas stations or convenience stores inside Etosha, so you’ll need to bring everything you need with you.

Finally, be prepared for long days of driving. The park is huge and can take hours to get from one destination to another.

But don’t let all this deter you. A self-drive safari through Etosha National Park is an incredible experience you will not forget.

Lodging

There are three main camps inside Etosha National Park:

  • Okaukuejo
  • Halali and 
  • Namutoni 

Okaukuejo is the busiest of the three camps and has a good range of facilities including a swimming pool, restaurant and bar. 

Halali is in the middle of the park and has a more intimate feel than Okaukuejo. 

Namutoni is at the eastern end of Etosha near Fisher’s Pan and has a fort which was built by the Germans during colonial times.

Mopane Village

Mopane Village Lodge is a great place to stay if you’re looking to experience Etosha National Park. The lodge is on the outskirts of the park, so you can easily access all of the park’s attractions. The lodge has comfortable accommodations and an on-site restaurant, so you can relax and enjoy your time in Etosha.

Etosha national park tours from windhoek

Etosha National Park tours from Windhoek are the perfect way to see this amazing place. Situated in the north of Namibia, Etosha is a vast game reserve and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

Windhoek is the capital of Namibia and the best place to start your Etosha tour. From Windhoek, you can easily reach Etosha by road or air. Many tour operators offer day trips and overnight excursions to Etosha National Park from Windhoek.

Conclusion

The best time to see wildlife is during the dry season (May to October) when animals congregate around the little waterholes that remain.