When it was proclaimed a National Park in 1907 by the then German colonial government, the Park covered most of northern Namibia and stretched as far as the current Skeleton Coast National Park.
As much of the communal land of various indigenous tribes was taken away, as they were not allowed to live within the parks’ boundary, the park was later made smaller to accommodate these tribes and today the park covers an area of 22’270km².
Consisting of saline desert, endless grass plains, acacia savannah and mopane woodlands, the National Park is one of the largest Game Reserves in Africa and also one of the most diverse.
Its definitive feature is the Etosha Pan, a vast, shallow depression of approximately 5000 km², which is lined by numerous artesian springs that supply the area with water throughout the year.
Of the 114 mammal species found in the Park, several are rare and endangered whilst others are endemic to north-western Namibia and south-western Angola. About 340 bird species occur in the Park of which a third are migratory.
At first glance Etosha National Park might seem nothing more than a dry and desolate expanse of land. The name translates to ‘place of dry water’ which in itself doesn’t seem all too appealing.
In reality though, Etosha is a rich mix of wildlife and history, and a great destination for anyone who’s interested in discovering what Namibia and its wild places are all about.
Go bird watching
If you love bird-watching, you’ve come to the right place. Etosha National Park is home to more than 340 species of birds, 46 of which are raptors.
In summer (November to April) especially, you’ll have no trouble spotting birds of varying colour and rarity, eagles and vultures cruising high in the sky and thousands of flamingos that feed on the algae that gathers in the temporary waters.
Common birds to spot include crimson-breasted shrikes, violet-eared waxbills, northern black korhaans and pale chanting goshawks.
Slightly less so are red necked falcons, white headed vultures and blue cranes among others, and you should feel proud if you spot them. But if you manage to see the following birds, then you should consider yourself incredibly lucky and be sure to take a photo!
Go on a guided game drive
This is one of the things you won’t be forgiven for if you don’t do. Guests can choose to go on a morning drive, afternoon drive or a full day guided excursion into Etosha National Park from Mokuti Etosha Lodge.
Of course, you could self-drive through the park, but you’d be missing out on the experience and extensive knowledge of a guide, who can suggest and follow alternative routes to ensure maximum exposure to the animals.
Indulge in a spa day
If the bush hasn’t relaxed and rejuvenated your body and mind enough already, why not book a spa treatment? Mokuti Etosha Lodge’s Spa – 4 minutes from Etosha’s east gate – offers visitors a range of massages, holistic treatments, beauty treatments and hot stone therapies.
There’s also a gym for those looking to get a bit of a workout whilst enjoying the sights offered by the waterhole right next door.
Admire the elephants and other wildlife
The Big 4 (Etosha does not feature buffalo which you can see in nearby areas like Caprivi) – and incredible abundance thereof – tends to be the main thing that draws visitors to Etosha.
But the park offers even more wildlife, just over 100 species actually! And the real thing that makes Etosha stand out from other parks is the fact that you are able to get really up close to the animals, which makes for great photo opportunities!
Expect to see the endemic black-faced impala, cheetah, hyena, silver-backed jackal, lion, leopard, gemsbok, kudu, giraffe and a bunch of elephants.
Have a Boma dinner under the stars
Sitting around the fire and enjoying a slow-cooked meal whilst discussing the day’s many bush adventures has been an African tradition since the beginning of time.
Mokuti Etosha Lodge’s Boma Restaurant caters for this experience, with their open-air grilling stations and traditional “potjies” under a large thatched roof.
Night time visits to the waterholes
Your best strategy for seeing as much wildlife as humanly possible while at Etosha is just to park off at a waterhole and wait. Chances are, you won’t have to wait for long! Animals trying to escape the extreme dryness of their surroundings and quench their thirst spend a large amount of time at waterholes dotted around Etosha.
And the best news of all? With Etosha’s three floodlight lit waterholes, you can now keep watch for your favorite wildlife even after the sun has gone down.
Who knows who might visit ellies? Buck? Maybe even a pride of lions for the incredibly lucky. And hey, even if the animals aren’t thirsty tonight, you still get to bask in the silence and enjoy the quiet drama of the bush at night.
See the Etosha Pan
The Etosha Salt Pan is a bare expanse of land that covers around 25% of the Park. It’s so big and barren that it’s even visible from space. So why is it worth seeing? For exactly those reasons!
Once a lake fed by the Kunene River in Angola, now it’s Africa’s largest salt pan and remains dry unless there are heavy rains, and even then, it will only hold water for a very limited amount of time.
Despite this, the pan attracts all sorts of wildlife who snack on the mineral-rich salts and take advantage of any pools of water that may remain.
Where to stay
Mokuti Etosha Lodge
On the eastern doorstep of world-famous Etosha National Park, in the moping woodland of the region, lies Mokuti Etosha Lodge, a flagship of Namibian safari hospitality.
Charming thatched buildings in the classic safari style are nestled among vast indigenous gardens, lending credence to the name “Mokuti” which in Ovambo means “in the forest”.
Mokuti Etosha Lodge is the perfect starting point for your adventure into Namibia’s crowning glory, one of the most popular national parks in Africa.
Eagle Tented Lodge and Spa nestled in the Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a 21,010 ha reserve, the home also to the Black Rhino. Located near the Etosha National Park in Namibia, the Eagle Tented Lodge and Spa provides breath-taking views of the picturesque valleys and mountains.
The combination of luxurious tented safari accommodation combined with delicious cuisine and thrilling encounters with Africa’s untamed wildlife in its natural habitat makes a stay at the Tented Lodge and Spa in Namibia unforgettable. The Lodge uses the natural rock with thatch roofs offering 16 canvas tents.
Epacha Safari Lodge & Spa lie on the 21 100 hectares Epacha Game Reserve close to the famous Etosha National Park in Namibia, Southern Africa.
Each of the individually decorated en-suite chalets provides their balcony which offers incredible vista across the bushveld. The comfortably furnished cottages at the Epacha Safari Lodge have air-conditioning, minibar, and safe, ceiling fan as well as coffee and tea facilities.
Epacha guests staying here are invited to relax in the lodge’s lounge overlooking a waterhole or in the library, smoking room, billiard room or at the pool bar.
Epako Safari Lodge offers modern and luxurious facilities in a spectacular natural surroundings. Nestled in a scenic mountainous setting, this safari lodge borders the Damara land region of Namibia.
Guests have the chance to experience a wide variety of wildlife in their natural sanctuary, visit the well-preserved Bushman rock art sites and take bush walks. At the Cheetah rehabilitation boma, visitors have the opportunity to experience Cheetahs very closely.
Decorated in African style, the lodge features different room types each of which offers its private furnished terrace overlooking the gardens of Namibian bush.
The rooms are well appointed with en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning, mini bar, television as well as telephone. 27 thousand acres of wilderness, the lodge accommodates up to 24 guests ensuring a peaceful and intimate experience.
A unique character of stylish refinement combined with beautiful earth features makes this safari lodge a wonderful safari destination.
Etosha Mountain Lodge is located in the scenic Etosha Heights Private Reserve which lies on the southwest border of the wildlife rich Etosha National Park in Namibia.
Established in 1999, the Etosha Heights Reserve is one of the largest private reserves in Namibia. It shares a 65-kilometre border with the Etosha National Park.
Throughout the 600 square-kilometers of unspoiled wildlife, guests enjoy the unique landscapes’ tranquillity and wilderness.
It is a truly magnificent place where travelers can reconnect with nature and escape from daily life. Set within the private reserve, the Etosha Mountain Lodge nestles on the side of an iconic dolomite hill.
Gondwana Etosha Lodges, which nestle between Outjo and Okaukuejo near the Etosha National Park in Namibia, consist of two accommodation options, namely the Etosha Safari Lodge and the Etosha Safari Camp. The Andersson Gate into the Etosha National Park is only 10 km away from these lodges.
The Safari Camp offers 50 twin bedded chalets which have been set up among the mopane trees providing the unique feeling of being in the heart of the African nature. Each of the chalets is equipped with mosquito nets, private bathrooms as well as small verandas.
Okutala Etosha Lodge in Namibia, Southern Africa, provides a relaxing atmosphere and warm welcome for travellers. The lodge releases wild animals within their natural habitat. Giraffe roams free around the guest accommodation and the swimming pool making for an unforgettable experience.
Guests enjoy delicious cuisine on the beautiful open deck while admiring wildlife quench their thirst at the waterhole. From the Okutala Etosha Lodge to the Etosha Park Anderson Gate it is a 42km distance.
Families are welcome at the Okutala Lodge. The Family Rooms accommodate two adults sharing with a maximum of 3 children under the age of 12 years. It is a separated adjacent room with an inter-leading door and shared a bathroom.
The lodge offers a total of 21 rooms each of which provides comfortable accommodation with air conditioning, coffee and tea making facilities and a private shaded patio with a view.
Safarihoek Lodge nestles on top of a hill from where magnificent vistas over the plains can be admired. Characterized by flat and vast savannah, the impressive 60,000 hectares of Etosha landscape around Safarihoek features mopane woodland, riverine forest, and scattered salt pans.
Namibia’s Safarihoek Lodge offers 11 chalets which offer comfort and are well appointed. Great views can be enjoyed by the surrounding landscape and the waterhole. Eight of the chalets feature outdoor showers.
Raised above the savannah and set on wooden platforms, the chalets overlook the plains from where wildlife can be admired from the privacy of the outdoor deck.
We Kebi Safari Lodge is located on the C19 between Zaris and Hammerstein west of Maltahöhe in the Hardap Region of Namibia, Southern Africa.
Comfortable accommodation in a most unique setting awaits travelers combined with delicious meals and thrilling activities.