A home to a wide range of wild life and not forgetting the vast and unique vegetation within it, the Etosha National Park which is located within Namibia is a top destination for many tourists who visit the country. The Park was opened in 1907 during the German colonial times and from the time it was opened, it has always been known as the best place for all those that want to see the big five. Due to the presence of the salt pan in the Park it can become extremely dry during the dry season and that is where the name Etosha came from as it is loosely translated as a place of dry water.
The Etosha National Park experiences the wet season between the months of October to April and this is the best time for all those that love birding to visit the Park. The Etosha Pan during this time is filled with water and attracts many bird species that is both the local and migratory birds and all you need is a 4×4 car to take you around and get ready to be showered with rain sometimes as you head out for birding.
The dry season or dry winter in Etosha National park is experienced from May to September and it is the best time for all those that want to go for game viewing. You will however need a 4×4 car to get you around due to the roads but also make sure that you carry lots of water and snacks with you as the heat will be unbearable and put on some light clothes. There will be a lot of dust as well as you drive to and through the Etosha National Park and you should be ready for it as well.
Game viewing in the Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is known to have a wide number of animals habituating within it and this has made it a top destination for most tourists who visit the country. It is a home to both small and large animals which amount to about 114 species that have been recorded and these can be seen standing around the different water holes that are strategically situated within the park to provide water to the animals especially during the dry season. Some of the larger animals that can be seen in the Etosha national Park include the springbok, lions, elephants, leopards, the Black Rhinos, giraffes, elands, gemsbok, the black Impala, Oryx, wildebeest, hyenas, zebras, kudus and many more others whereas the smaller animal species include squirrels, the bat eared fox and the honey badger.
The several camps that are located within the National park have water holes built and you will find many animals gathered around these especially in the dry winters and the best places from where you can spot the animals from are the Etosha pan and the Dolomite camp.
Visit the Rietfontein waterhole
This might not look like a place where one can go and learn more about the history of the country because it is a National Park but that is not the case as the Rietfontein waterhole is the perfect place for tourists to see the grave of JEM Alberts who was buried in the Park in the year 1876. She is one of the few people who took on trekking within the National Park and the grave serves as a monument and a good reminder of what they went through and all the efforts that were put into trekking through the Park.
Explore the different San villages
The san Bushmen were the first inhabitants of the Etosha National Park but during the 1950s they were kicked out of the Park due to their hunting expeditions and right now the only way that you can see them is by going to the villages or settlements that they settled in. a visit to the san will leave you with enough knowledge about their culture, their hunting skills, you will also be able to learn a few tricks on how to track down animals and get to taste some of their unique local food.
The san have an interesting story about how the Etosha National park was created and it is believed that once there was a village that was attacked by their enemies and everyone was killed apart from an old woman who survived and after the realization that she had lost her whole family, the old woman cried and her tears filled up the entire village flooding it and when the sun came out, it was all dried up creating the Etosha pan. The only way you can get to listen to such legends and more is by organizing with your tour operator and head out to meet the Bushmen.
Self-drives through Etosha National park
A self-drive through the Etosha National park is one of the best ways that you can explore the park and at your own convenience. There are several maps of the Park that are provided to self-drivers at the entrance of the Park and these will help you keep on the right track as you head out for game viewing. Note that the roads are gravel and you will need a good car to maneuver them but before you are allowed to self-drive, you will need permission from the authorities and you will also be tasked to follow all the rules and regulations of the park because if you do not, you might not be allowed into the Park again.
Etosha Photo Safari
The Etosha National park is well known for her unique landscape filled with vegetation, waterholes, a large salt pan and the large number of wild life species that habitate within it and all these memories are best captured behind a camera. As you head out to Etosha, carry all your photography equipment and enjoy an adventure that you might not be able to get anywhere else in the world. Get photos of the birds and animals in the area, the salt pan at a close range and all the exciting things that the park has but remember that photo safaris are best done either in the morning or evening when the lighting is perfect.
There are several camping sites that are located within the Etosha National Park and the beauty about staying at these camps is that each one of them has their own personal watering holes making it easy for tourists to actually see the various animals that come to the water holes for a drink. The park is a top destination that everyone should add on their bucket list and once you get there, you will be able to enjoy all the above and lots more that have not been mentioned and this is one of the best ways that you can spend time with your family.
Birding in Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is a home to about 340 bird species that have been recorded and all these are can be seen during the wet season which is commonly referred to as the summer season. It is a good time for all birders to visit the Etosha National Park because it is when all the migratory birds fly into the country and these can be seen in the different birding spots in the Park. Some of the bird species that you will see when you visit the Etosha Park include the Kori Bustard, the Monterio’s hornbill, the bare cheeked babbler, Ruppel’s parrot and many more bird species. As earlier on mentioned, the National park has many birding spots which are favorites due to the numerous number of bird species found there but the most visited birding spots within the Park include:
- The Etosha pan, this is best visited for birding in January and February because this is the time when the pan is filled with a lot of water. The most common bird that you will see during this period in the Etosha Pan is the lesser pink flamingo and this is because they flock to the pan in order to breed and note that the more the rain received, the more flamingos you will see.
- The Fisher’s pan, this is another birding spot that is usually flocked by tourists because of the many bird species that habitate within the Fisher’s pan and some of these include the African openbill, the pink lesser flamingo, the black necked grebe, storks and the crested grebe.
And although earlier on we had talked about birding being done during the wet summer in Etosha, if you are a fun of raptors then the best time for you is during the dry season. The National Park has about 35 different types of raptors and all these have thrive during the dry season. Some of the raptors that you will get to see in Etosha include hooded vultures, the tawny eagle, and different species of vulture and Martial eagles.
Etosha national park Namibia is one of the highlight of Namibia safaris located in the north west of Namibia, one of the largest Namibia parks and game reserves. Etosha Park is mainly mixed scrub, mopane savannah and dry woodland surrounding the massive mineral pan, from which Etosha gets its name – “Great White Place”.
Etosha pan is a silvery white shallow depression, dry except during the rainy season and even then the water disappears quickly due to the high evaporation rate. Mirages and dust devils play across the surface, which was once a part of the Kalahari Basin, the floor of which was formed around 1000 million years ago. The salt pan 130km long, along the edge of the pan are springs that attract wildlife during the dry season, the best months are from May to September.
Etosha Namibia safaris
Etosha National Park is one of Africa’s greatest parks in both size and variety of wildlife species. It covers an incredible 22,207 sq kms (8598 sq miles) and is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and, surprisingly, one species of fish.
Etosha is famous for its huge elephant population, which is most visible from May to October regularly sighted at Batia between Halali and Namutoni and Olphhantsbad near Okaukuejo. When the rains begin some elephant herds migrate north to Angola and west to Kaokoland, returning in about March. The Park is actually fenced though this does not always stop the elephants from going where they please.
Lions are commonly seen and zebra feel safer in the open expanses of the pans where lions have no shelter from which to spring an ambush. Black faced impala and Damara dikdik, one of Africa’s smallest antelopes are common near Klein Namutoni waterhole and Fischer pan during the dry season. Waterholes during the dry season draw in several other animals such as springbok, blue wildebeests, warthog, eland, black rhino giraffes, greater kudu, hyena, jackal, warthog and bat eared foxes. Special to see are rare sights of the aardwolf, cheetah, honey badger, roan antelope, silver fox and African wildcat. Ongava game reserve near Anderson gate to the south of the Etosha Park is a private sanctuary that offers night game drives, walking safaris and with god sightings of the white rhinos.
For keen birders Etosha National park is at its best during the summer rainy season, from mid-January to March, however a good variety of bird species can be seen year round at Andoni in the extreme north. Salt pans normally attract flamingoes, heron and pelicans to the park.
Other interesting places to visit for Etosha Namibia National Park include Ondundozonananandana Mountains as seen from Okaukuejo Namibia Etosha research station and Namutoni a former imperial fort for the Germans. Several waterholes in the park provide excellent birding and game sights during the dry season.
Roads run along the eastern, southern and western borders of the Etosha Pan. They link the three campsites and the various waterholes. The main entrance gate at Okaukuejo in the south is spectacular and it’s where you’ll find Etosha park offices.
Etosha National Park Accommodation
You will find established rest camps and private lodges offering a wide range of overnight accommodation near Namutoni, Hallali and Okaukuejo. Options include well furnished lodge rooms, chalets and camping sites.
Namutoni Etosha park safari and game lodges include double rooms in grass thatched chalets with showers, en-suite bathrooms and relaxing views of the game that visits the
different waterholes. Options include Khorab lodge, Mokut Lodge, Mushara Lodge, Onguma lodge abd Villa Mushara lodge.
The tented camps are options offered if you are camping west of the park. Overnight options include Epacha tented camp, Etosha mountin camp, etosha safari camp, little ongave camp, Naua Naua Lodge, Namatubi’s guest farm, Ongava tented lodge and camp and finally Toshari inn
Eagle Tented Camp Lodge is a luxury game lodge with thatched roofs over decked 8 canvas tents. The camp offeres excellent restaurants, wooden balcony, bar, swimming pool, en-suite bathrooms, excellent room service and game drive to Epacha Game reserve.