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Etosha National Park


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Etosha National Park is a wildlife safari and photographer’s dream – where Africa’s quintessential creatures assemble in numbers that boggle the mind.

Situated in northern Namibia, Etosha National Park is the country’s most popular safari destination. Proclaimed as a protected area in 1907, Etosha covers a vast 22,000km² (2,2 million hectares). The park's eastern side is dominated by the enormous Etosha Pan, while dolomite hills are the main geographical feature of the western half of the park.

Accommodation inside the national park ranges from camping sites to self-catering chalets. Outside of the national park, there are several private game reserves where visitors can enjoy a range of accommodations from luxury, fully catered lodges to budget self-catering and camping options.

Scroll past the safari packages below to find out EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about Etosha National Park.

The safaris below all visit Etosha National Park or a nearby private reserve

Everything you need to know about Etosha

Etosha is one of the few areas in Southern Africa where you will see the volume of wildlife that would normally be associated with an East African savanna safari.

Photography during the dry months of June to October can be extraordinary, with the high density of wildlife around waterholes against a backdrop of crystal clear blue skies and dust kicked up by hooves ensuring dramatic images.

The best way to maximise the Etosha safari experience is to wait at one of the many waterholes for the wildlife to come to you. See more under ‘How to get the best from your Etosha safari’ below.

Remember that Etosha is geared towards self-drive tourists - so expect high tourism volumes during local school seasons and packed accommodations inside the national park. One way to counter that issue is to stay at a lodge in one of the nearby private reserves and visit Etosha daily.

READ MORE about Etosha National Park

Etosha map

The national park is named after Etosha Pan – an enormous 4,760km² salt pan - visible from space - which makes up nearly a quarter of the national park. The desiccated and bleached soils of the pan are dry for most, if not all, of the year. The word 'Etosha’ is said to have originated from the Ndonga word for “great white place”, an accurate description of the chalky and desolate landscape.

The original human inhabitants of Etosha were the Hai//om Bushmen people, and they have their own legend as to the history of the pan. According to their mythology, there was once a small village at the centre of the pan that was raided by a rival tribe. All of the village inhabitants were slaughtered but for one woman, who was so grief-stricken that her tears created an enormous, salty lake. The lake dried eventually, but the salt of her tears remained. The likely scientific explanation for the formation of the endorheic basin is that tectonic shifts redirected the flow of the Kunene River and the lake dried up over time - probably around the same time as the formation of the Okavango Delta.

These days the pan is fed only by a network of smaller rivers which can turn the pan into a giant shallow lake during the latter part of the rain season, January to March - attracting large numbers of flamingoes and other water birds.

Surrounding the pan are grasslands surrounded by mopane and acacia woodland.

There are two things that you need to understand to get the most from your Etosha visit:

The best way to experience the best that Etosha offers during the dry winter season is to get to a waterhole or natural spring as early as possible in the morning and remain there until late morning. Once the seasonal water from the rain season has dried up, the animals are obliged to visit these water sources - ensuring remarkable wildlife spectacles that few places in Africa can match. From large numbers of antelope gathered in one place to giraffes stooping to drink, giant ‘white ghost’ elephants caked in chalk dust and big cats waiting patiently to ambush their prey as they come to drink.


Etosha, like many national parks in Africa, is intended for use by self-driving tourists, and most accommodation is in the form of campsites and self-catering chalets. This means that it can get crowded during local school seasons and during the prime safari season of June to September. The best way to avoid crowds as far as possible is to stay at one of the private game reserves bordering Etosha and to visit the Etosha waterholes every morning.

The climate in Etosha is the same as it is for most of Southern Africa - a cool, dry season from April to October and a hot, rainy season from November to March, with January to March having the highest rainfall. Temperatures range from 8-25 Celsius during the cooler dry months, increasing in September and October and 20-35 Celsius from November to March during the rains.

Wildlife viewings are best during the dry months when vegetation is thinner, and animals are forced to visit waterholes to drink - making their appearance predictable. Once the rains begin, many animals scatter into the remote interior in pursuit of fresh surface water and better browsing/grazing - and the predators follow - resulting in a drop-off in wildlife sightings.

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