Elephant in Etosha National Park, Namibia.
Vacations to Etosha National Park, Namibia
One of the world’s great wildlife-viewing venues, Etosha National Park spans a huge area of some 22,275 square kilometers. Unlike lots of other African parks, here you can explore in your own car at your own pace. It all makes for a thrilling trip.
Etosha means 'Great White Place', and there’s a good reason for this – it’s dominated by a massive salt pan so large that it can be seen from space. In winter it’s bone dry and a multitude of wildlife congregates at the waterholes – not just in twos and threes, but in hundreds. All in all the National Park is home to 114 mammal, 110 reptile and 16 amphibian species. From elephants – the tallest in Africa – to lions, leopards, giraffe, black-backed jackal and spotted hyena, you’ll never be short of colorful sights here.
For bird watchers, the wet season is the time to visit Etosha. After heavy rainfall the salt pan turns temporarily into a huge lagoon, attracting hundreds of different bird species. Flamingos, white-backed vultures, African harrier-hawks, giant eagle owls and African grey hornbills are all common sights.
Some visitors like to stay outside the National Park and drive in each day, but there are five lodges inside the park, and four sites with camping facilities. You’ll be relieved to know that all have game-proof fences; and they’re very well equipped, with shops, restaurants and viewing decks. Some even have floodlit waterholes where you can watch stunning nocturnal wildlife scenes.
Guides and park staff will advise you where you can see certain animals at particular times, but nothing beats that magical moment of discovering a memorable sight on your own. It might be a pride of lions moving quietly into a shady spot, or some elephants and rhinos drinking side by side. Or it could be a shy leopard approaching a waterhole, or a giraffe silhouetted against the orange sun.
Remember though – the park is only open from sunrise to sunset. Outside those hours, you must be back in the safety of your camp. As you tuck in to a hearty meal, you’ll be comparing amazing photographs and swapping tales of adventure after another exhilarating day on safari.
See some of the tallest elephants in Africa
Look out for black-backed jackals and spotted hyenas
Enjoy some fantastic bird watching in the wet season
Eavesdrop on wildlife at floodlit waterholes
Etosha National Park trip ideas
Here are some trips that include Etosha National Park. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you.