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Located in northern Namibia and covering an area of more than 20,000 km2, Etosha National Park is one of the world's top wildlife-viewing destinations.
Here you can expect to see elephant, rhino, giraffe, lion, leopard, zebra, springbok and gemsbok, plus endangered cheetah, black rhino and rare antelope species such as black-faced impala, Damara dik dik and roan antelope.
The Etosha Pan is Etosha National Park’s most distinctive feature. At 130km long and 50km wide in places, this huge expanse of salt is similar to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, and it offers incredible photographic opportunities.
The Etosha Pan is the only known mass breeding ground for pink flamingos in Namibia and at times there can be up to a million flamingos here.
There are a number of private game reserves adjacent to Etosha, often sharing a fence. One of our favourites is the Ongava Game Reserve, this exclusive private reserve is situated on the southern border of Etosha National Park. The reserve provides the full Etosha experience, plus you’ll have an opportunity to enjoy activities such as night drives and nature walks which are not permitted within Etosha National Park.
You’re likely to spend your mornings in Etosha, whilst the afternoons are spent on the Ongava Reserve where you can enjoy game drives, nature walks, or tracking white rhino on foot with a guide.
Etosha Heights is another of our favourite reserves adjacent to the park. This vast reserve is located further west than Ongava so the activities focus on the reserve itself rather than making the long journey to Etosha. However, there is plenty to keep you occupied in the reserve and the wildlife is great, it works particularly well combined with a stay at a lodge on the eastern side of Etosha.
The best time to visit Etosha is during the dry season (May to October) as you’ll enjoy moderate temperatures, clear blue skies and very little rain. Wildlife sightings tend to be fantastic during these months as the lack of water forces animals to congregate by the waterholes such as the famous Halali, Okondeka and Okaukuejo waterholes making their movements more predictable.
In the rainy season it can get quite hot and humid, and you can expect downpours some afternoons. However the dry and dusty landscape becomes lush and green, and although this makes spotting wildlife more challenging it can be particularly rewarding seeing animals in great condition amongst a verdant backdrop. February is normally the birthing season in Etosha. Seeing newborn animals with their mothers is an incredible sight, plus of course it means that you may witness some exciting predator action on your game drives.
We include Etosha National Park in most of our example itineraries to Namibia, as it is such an iconic area it is difficult one to miss.
Within these itineraries we recommend that our travellers stay within the private camps that are just outside the national park itself. Although there are a number of government run camps inside the park, we find that the overall experience, service and levels of quality outside of the park suit our travellers. We are happy to chat through the differences with you to assess which option would suit you best.
Our preferred, luxury, accommodation is Little Ongava which is situated in the private Ongava Game Reserve. With only three chalets accommodating just six guests at any one time, Little Ongava offers a private and exclusive safari experience. Each luxury chalet has its own private plunge pool, plus en-suite bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers, as well as a bath with a spectacular view! Little Ongava is one of our favourite properties in Namibia.