Etosha National Park
The magnificent Etosha National Park is an oasis within an otherwise dry desert landscape. Situated in the North Eastern part of Namibia, Etosha National Park is one of the wildest, and most magical of places to visit. Even if you have been on a safari somewhere else in Africa, there is no place quite like Etosha. With its open spaces, its free roaming animals, and its exceptional places to stay, Etosha is one Namibian destination that should not be missed.
For many who travel to Namibia, Etosha quickly becomes their favourite place to be. The park covers a huge area, spanning some 20 000 square kilometres, and along with seeing the usual, expected wildlife, Etosha is also home to 4 of the Big 5. During the rainy season, wildlife can be seen in abundance, moving across the plains and making the most of the wet weather. And once the rains dry up, the animals congregate around every watering hole.
There are plenty of things to see when you visit Etosha National Park, and in this guide we are going to help you make the most of your once in a lifetime trip through this exciting wilderness.
When is the best time to visit Etosha National Park?
The best time of the year to plan a trip to Etosha National Park is during the dry months, which are from June to October. Whenever you go on a safari trip, travelling during the dry season is recommended because during the dry season, the vegetation is not as overgrown, the wildlife is easier to spot, and generally, the temperatures are not so overwhelmingly hot.
The lack of rain also leads the wildlife to search for water sources, which for travellers means it is easy to spot all kinds of animals just by sitting in one place for a while. The lack of rain can also make travelling somewhat easier and more pleasant.
If you don’t mind travelling in rainy conditions, the wet months also have quite a lot of appeal. For starters, the landscape looks absolutely out of this world after the rains, with everything becoming green and lush. When travelling during the rainy months, you can also expect to see flamingos and all sorts of other migrating birds.
When planning an Etosha tour, it is important to keep in mind that as a popular travel destination, there is a high travel season and a low travel season. During the high season, the park can become quite busy, with guests from all over looking to have an adventure. To guarantee a holiday during the high travel season, it can be best to book early and to book through a travel agency.
When is the best time to go on a game drive?
The best time to go on a game drive in Etosha National Park is in the early morning or the late afternoon, but guests can take a drive at any time of the day, as weather conditions are always quite good. Most park guests prefer to go on a game drive in the morning before the day gets too hot and the wildlife look for shade. Morning game drives can also give you a chance to see lions and other types of predators, who are still awake after their night time hunt.
If you do drive later in the day, sticking to the water sources might result in some memorable sightings, especially if you look under the trees and in the shadier spots.
What type of traveller will enjoy Etosha National Park?
Namibia is a destination for the adventurer, and Etosha National Park is no different. Etosha is a wild playground for photographers and those who have a real love for wildlife. Whether you plan to travel on your own or if you intend to travel as a group, Etosha is an adventurer’s paradise, and the perfect place to just kick back and relax.
Etosha National Park is also the ideal destination for those who are looking for a unique honeymoon retreat, as there are numerous luxury lodges to stay in.
Etosha National Park is about a 4-hour drive from the country’s capital Windhoek and because the country has a fairly well-kept road network, it is quite easy to get here without having to worry about the roads getting too bumpy.
Etosha has 4 entry points; the Andersson Gate in the South, the Nehale Gate in the North, the Galton Gate in the West and the Namutoni Gate in the East. Both the entrances to the park and the entrances to the various camps open and close at sunrise and sunset respectively. If you are travelling completely on your own, you will need to pay an entrance fee, and if you are travelling as part of a packaged trip, the park entrance fees can be included.
Tips for Driving through Etosha National Park
If you are travelling as a part of a tour group, you won’t have to worry preparing for the road. But if you are going on a self-drive holiday, some of these driving tips might come in handy.
4×4 is not necessary
It is important to have a vehicle that has higher clearance, but because you are not going to be off-roading, you won’t need a 4×4 vehicle. Etosha is quite well-known for having a well-maintained road system, so those who are driving themselves don’t have to worry about having to navigate troublesome areas.
The best way to travel through any kind of wildlife park, and to ensure that you don’t miss anything along the way, is to drive slowly. In Etosha National Park, the speed limit is 60km/h, although the recommended speed is 40km/h. The slower you go, the more chance you have of seeing something interesting. While travelling the extensive distances of the park, it is important that you keep an eye on the clock. You can easily lose track of time when driving slowly from one sighting to the next, and end up missing a camp’s closing time.
Watch your fuel
There are only 3 places inside the park where you can refuel your vehicle, and sometimes they run out. Make sure that you watch how much fuel you use and don’t let your tank get too low. It is also a good idea to refuel your tank whenever you pass a station, because you never know when you might get another chance.
Know how to change a car tyre
Because the destination is quite out of the way, it can be difficult to get help in a hurry. For this reason, it will help to have a little basic car knowledge, like how to change a tyre.
Some of the tour packages which include time in Etosha include:
16 Days Self-Drive Camping Tour in Namibia
Spend 16 days driving on your own around Namibia, camping along the way in various beautiful places, is one of the very best ways to see the country. One of the amazing destinations included in this tour is the Etosha National Park and on this tour you will have more than enough time to explore the safari landscape.
26 Day Adventure Tour Through Namibia
Namibia is a road trip kind of country, and with almost a month spent exploring every nook and cranny of this destination, you will feel like an honorary citizen. This 26 day tour includes plenty of time at Etosha National Park, where you see all sorts of interesting animals, including 4 of the Big 5.
8 Days Etosha, Sossusvlei with a Taste of Swakopmund
See all of the really popular natural destinations with this action packed tour. While on this tour, guests can look forward to spending 3 days driving through Etosha, catching sight of all the interesting wildlife and landscapes.
Although many of the tours include other destinations, with the Etosha Adventure, guests will spend the majority of their time in Namibia exploring the beauty of Etosha. This is a 5 day tour, and along with seeing all sorts of wildlife, you will also be treated to some luxury, comfortable accommodation.
Windhoek – Damaraland – Etosha Pan
Hitting 3 exciting destinations all in one tour, this exciting trip starts in Windhoek, and then takes guests into the Damaraland region, before it ventures into Etosha National Park. Time here will include safari game drives and a stay in wonderful accommodation.
At ATC Namibia, we are always happy to welcome travellers to this incredible nation. Our tours give guests the perfect opportunity to see the iconic landscapes, the interesting animals, and the chance to explore the fascinating culture and history of this desert country. To book a tour, you can contact us today or book a tour via our website.