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Location: northwestern Namibia
Area: 22,270 km 2 (8,600 sq mi)
Nearest Airport: Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH)
How to reach:
Famous for: Wildlife, game reserves
Months Open: All year
Best time to visit: May to December or January to March
The Etosha National Park in North West Namibia is one of the finest game reserves of the African continent. With enviable biodiversity that roams its expanse freely, the Etosha National Park is named after the Etosha salt pan or the Etosha pan that covers a considerable portion of the parking area. The salt pan that is filled during heavy rains attracts flamingoes and water birds; however, the park is home to a stunning variety of wildlife that is easy to spot around watering holes. Sprawled over more than 20000 sq km. the Etosha National Park is not only the most accessible gaming reserve in Namibia but also one where the sighting of wildlife is almost easily guaranteed.
In addition to the rich and diverse wildlife that gives you the opportunity to see the various animals, birds, and plants, you will also get to witness the bare beauty of the Etosha Pan. It often hosts flamingos and pelicans when it is shortly filled with water during the summer season. You will also find the Dolomite Hills that have a high density of predator animals like Leopards, and herd animals like the mountain zebra.
The Etosha National Park has mainly four vegetation types, each one offering you the view to a different world of flora and fauna. You can see here everything from the saline desert and woodlands to savannahs, and grasslands.
Etosha means ‘Great White Place’ and refers to the salty dried pan which is believed to be fed by the Kunene River some thousands of years ago before the river changed its course and left behind the dried-up lake.
Things to do
The Park offers five camping areas to rest and safaris are the best way to sight the magnificent wildlife. Besides the organized safari drives, one can also choose to self-drive. However, make sure you are armed with a map of the park from the kiosk at Okaukuejo or Namutoni, which also gives details of which animals are most likely to visit which watering holes. Three out of the five camps have floodlights around the waterholes, making sighting of animals at night possible. The lodges and facilities are available in the camping sites, namely the Dolomite Camp, Halali, Namutoni, Okaukuejo, Onkoshi, Olifantsrus. The geography of the park includes the Etosha pan as well as the dolomite hills. The dolomite hills in the western area of the park are where the mountain zebras are often spotted. The park is home to 114 mammal species, 110 reptile species, 340 bird species, and 16 amphibian species. The animals found here include, African Bush Elephant, white and black rhinos, Angolan Giraffe, Cape buffalo, leopard, lion, cheetah, African wildcat, brown hyena, black-backed jackal, Cape fox, spotted hyena, mongoose, meerkat, kudu, springboks, gemsboks and more. The different birds found here are the different species of hornbills, storks, eagles, vultures, shrikes, waxbills, sandgrouse, waterfowl, hawks, waders, bustards, herons, owls, hoopoe, South African ostrich and more. The saline plains of the park are devoid of any vegetation; however, the woodlands mainly comprise of the Mopane trees. The other vegetation includes grasslands and shrub savannahs interspersed through the park. The varying topography coupled with the waterholes and streams that flow surrounding the pan is perfect for the wildlife of the region. The best time to visit the park is between May and September which are the cooler months. Etosha is one of the best national parks to spot the varied types of wildlife that are at ease in their arid yet comforting habitat. For novice wildlife seekers as well as veterans, the Etosha National Park remains one of the most ideal places to catch sight of its wonderful wildlife, since as most who have visited the park often say, here the wildlife comes to you. Though pursuing the animals has its share of excitement, Etosha with its water holes makes viewing of wildlife relatively much easier. Visit the Etosha National Park for it is perhaps Namibia’s most amazing wildlife experience.
How to reach
Windhoek is the nearest airport to the park at a distance of 415km away. The park is well connected via road to Windhoek. The park has multiple entry gates, such as the Anderson Gate in the south of the park, King Nehale on the north, Von Lindequist Gate in east and Galton Gate and one can choose the route accordingly.