Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is one of Southern Africa's finest and most important Game Reserves
The Etosha National Park located in Northern Namibia is the epitome of wildlife comfort. Etosha means "place of dry water" and is about 22 500 square km. Here, visitors can witness some of the best game around. Zebra and Springbok can be regularly viewed and if you're really lucky you might get a glimpse of the endangered black rhino. You can also get to see the majestic lions, lumbering elephants and there are also large numbers of graceful antelope to be seen and admired.
The park is a malaria free zone and the various camp in around the park provide ample accommodation for visitors from all over the world. As visitors arrive at the park, they are greeted by open grasslands and a massive pan that spans 4731 square kilometers. The areas around the park that are thicker in vegetation are home to larger animals such as elephants, Etosha has some of the largest elephants in Africa; visitors can also catch glimpses of the endangered black rhino as well as leopards. The king of the jungle, the lion, camouflages itself in an area that matches its pale gold color, the grasslands, whereas the giraffes tower above most of the dry vegetation.
Etosha is also a dream come true for birding enthusiasts, often after somewhat heavy rainfall, the salt pan will fill with water and attract a large number of birds, over 340 different species in fact. These include the ever popular flamingos as well as some that migrate into the country such as the European bee-eater. Visitors can also see the world’s largest bird, the ostrich as well as the world’s heaviest flying bird, the Kori bustard.
Winter at the Etosha is an extremely dry one. This is a time that most of the wildlife congregates at the waterholes to escape the sweltering heat for a while, springbok and zebra are a regular feature in the park at this time. Summer, however, brings with it heavy rains which turn the park into a veritable oasis. This time, usually means new baby animals in the park as well as birds that migrate to the park to enjoy the greenery. It is essential for visitors to be well equipped when travelling to the park in the summer as roads more often than not get flooded, so a 4x4 vehicle is a necessity.
The Western area of the park that was never accessible for visitors before is now open to visitors who are booked in at Dolomite camp. The surrounding area of this camp is vastly different from the south-eastern and eastern part of the park and in it, visitors can catch glimpses of the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra frolicking about.
Etosha has a selection of luxury accommodation including the aforementioned Dolomite Camp, Onkoshi Camp, Okaukuejo Camp, Halali Camp and the Namotoni Camp. The Dolomite Camp opens up the once restricted western side of Etosha to its guests. Guests are housed in permanent luxury tents that give guests uninterrupted views of the park and the rare black rhino and black-faced impala that have settled into the area. The area also has a large number of waterholes that attract animals such as the elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, springbok, gemsbok and the red hartebeest. Guests at Dolomite also have exclusive access to the western part of Etosha through the Galton Gate. The camp has a restaurant that serves the guests delectable meals and a rim flow swimming pool gives guests a place to cool off and escape the sweltering heat that Namibia is known for.
The Okaukuejo rest camp is famous for its floodlit waterhole and it also the administrative center of Etosha. The rest camp was once a military outpost founded way back in 1901 and its characteristic stone tower was added in 1963. The rest camp is situated in the south of the park and is 17km away from the Anderson gate. Okaukuejo also has a petrol station as well as a shop. The restaurant at the camp provides guests with delicious meals and the bar provides various refreshments. It also has a swimming pool that guests can use to escape the heat. The waterhole at the camp draws large numbers of animals and floodlights illuminate it after sunset, this is the ideal time for guests to see the endangered black rhino.
The area in which Halali camp is situated is rather flat and has thicker vegetation, which makes it a popular breeding ground for leopards, rhino and elephants. It is located halfway between the Namutoni and Okaukuejo rest camps. It is also in close proximity to the most popular waterholes in the park and has excellent game viewing opportunities. Halali is a German word roughly meaning the traditional ending of a hunt.
Last but not least is the Namutoni camp, which used to be an old German fort. From the walls of the camp, guests can enjoy an elevated view of the King Nehale waterhole which attracts great numbers of game. The camp is situated in the eastern part of the park and it is accessible through the Von Lindequist Gate. The camp’s close proximity to Fisher’s Pan makes it a favorite for birding enthusiasts. The camp also has two restaurants, namely the African Fusion and The Steakhouse, a craft shop where guests can pick up some souvenirs of their trip and a viewing deck to relax on as well as a petrol station.
The Etosha National Park is a must-see place that anybody and everybody should tick off their bucket list. Four out of the Big 5, hundreds of zebra, antelope and giraffe; over 300 species of birds; amazing accommodation and stunning views, what more could anyone ask for.