Etosha National Park is by far Namibia’s most well-known and frequently-visited game park. There’s good reason for this. Although the vast saltpan and low, scrubland scenery can get a little monotonous after a while, the open landscape around the pan provides few hiding places and the abundant wildlife couldn’t be easier to spot. This is especially true during the dry winter months when water is extremely scarce and the animals are forced to gather in their thousands at a limited number of permanent waterholes.
Highlights of the region
Etosha’s waterholes are its main attraction. Each of its six rest camps has one, but Okaukuejo Camp’s is particularly famous. From raised benches, behind a low stone wall, you can sit back and watch the animals come to you. It’s not uncommon to see rhino, zebra, elephant, oryx, kudu and giraffe all splashing side by side as they jostle for a clean place to drink. Etosha National Park has four of the Big Five (no buffalo), plus numerous other iconic species, and sights like these are common at the waterholes across the park. Of course, predators need to drink (and eat) too, and things can get very lively when a pride of lions arrives on the scene.
Practical + driving advice about the region
It’s about four and a half hours from Windhoek to Etosha, all on paved roads. You don’t need a 4x4 to explore the park, although a high-clearance vehicle is recommended for the road west of Okaukuejo. Winter is the most popular time to visit – from late May to October. The park gets especially busy from the end of June through to the end of September so it’s best to book well in advance if you’re visiting then. By October it’s very dusty and hot, and during the summer rains it can get very humid, and the risk of Malaria increases. Most travellers opt for 4x4 rental Namibia, to accommodate their travel plans.