The name ‘Etosha’ means the ‘Great White Place’ or ‘Place of Emptiness’, which so aptly describes this vast salt pan that covers an area of 4760 square kilometres and was declared a game reserve in 1907. Etosha is appreciated by many, explored by many and of course visits here are longed for by many too. It is where the wildlife legends reside, call it home and await to entertain you during your visit.
Below are a few tips on how to appreciate your visit to Etosha National Park:
Points of entry:
You’ll most probably be making your way to Etosha National Park from the breathtaking north-eastern corner or the captivating north-western corner of Namibia. As the park spans across 22 935 square kilometres it only makes sense that there are various entrances too. So, whichever side your Namibian adventure emanates from you can find the suitable entrance gate to the park. Entry from the southern end of the park is through the Anderson Gate accessible via the C38 from Outjo. On the eastern side is the Von Lindequist Gate, which connects to the B1 and is accessed via Tsumeb. In the south-western part is the Galton Gate north of Kamanjab and the King Nehale Gate is at the northern end only 106 kilometres from Ondangwa. Please note that the park gates are only open from sunrise to sunset and therefore entry times differ seasonally.
Once you have arrived at the point of entry to your Etosha adventure, park fees will be charged at the gate, so do remember to have cash handy.
Where to stay:
There is something for everyone when it comes to accommodation. If you prefer to stay within the park, check out the Dolomite Camp, Halali Camp, Namutoni Camp, Okaukuejo Camp, Olifantsrus Camp or Onkoshi Camp. If you are more adventurous and prefer to stay outside the park but still within close proximity, have a look at the Etosha Safari Lodge, Etosha Safari Camp, Etosha Safari Camping2Go and Etosha King Nehale opening in July 2020.
This is what you’re here for! The best time of the year for game viewing is during the cooler period from May to September, preferably at sunrise, although afternoon drives also deliver great viewing. A game drive is the perfect opportunity to view a variety of wildlife including kudu, springbok, elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, giraffe, Burchell’s zebra, oryx, eland, Damara dik-dik, jackal and many more.
Wildlife is found at the various waterholes or seen roving throughout the spacious park, browsing and grazing through the bushveld. Whether you are on a guided game drive or doing a self-drive, drive only on the demarcated tracks, within the 50 kilometres/hour speed limit and for safety reasons stay in your vehicle at all times.
One of the best things about the Etosha National Park is its unspoilt nature. The vegetation is predominated by mopane trees (Colophospermum mopane) or Omusati as they are called in the local Aawambo language and they are dense in the north-western part of the park. You will also find the African moringa (Moringaovalifolia) and the red bushwillow (Combretumapiculatum), the leaves of which are enjoyed by wildlife due to the nutrients they contain. Other common species are the water-thorn (Acacia nebrownii) and trumpet-thorn (Catophractesalexandri).
Leave no trace:
National parks are protected natural and wildlife areas and it is therefore vital that they are preserved accordingly. When enjoying time in the park, whether birding, game viewing or taking photographs, please ensure that all waste material you generate is properly disposed of outside the perimeters of the park. Future generations should also be entitled to experience a pristine park.
Silence is vital:
When approaching wildlife, either on a guided game drive or self-drive, please switch vehicle ignition off and be quiet while enjoying the viewing, as loud noises tend to distract or annoy the locals of the park ‘wildlife’ and other visitors.
Where else in the world can one experience such endless vastness filled with captivating life? I highly recommend that you make your way to one of the biggest national parks in Africa as soon as you can. See you there!
What do you look forward to experiencing when visiting Etosha or if you have visited before what are some helpful tips for future visitors?
Author – I’m Nela, from a small village called Ongha in Namibia. I am intrigued by research, writing and photography as it is an ideal way to gain knowledge about people and the world. And of course… to share it too!