A visit to the Etosha National Park is a highlight of traveling to Namibia, offering unique wildlife and game viewing.
Etosha, situated in the savannah land was declared a game reserve by the German colonial administration back in 1907. Covers an area of more than 22 000 sqkms and is one of the largest and most magnificent game reserves in Africa. In its center lies a vast salt-pan surrounded by grass and thorn savannah, Mopane bushland, in the west and dry forest, in the north-east. The pan is just about always dry. However, in the southern parts there are water-holes scattered throughout the area, forming the basis of life for countless game.
Be it a lion or an elephant, a giraffe or a zebra; almost all African animal species are represented in this huge nature reserve. There is an estimated number of 250 lions in the park, 300 rhinos, 2 500 giraffes, 6 000 zebras and more than 2 000 elephants. Variety of antelope species: Oryx, Kudu, Eland, Wildebeast and Impala live in Etosha. The dainty springbok are especially numerous; at least 20 000 of them roam the reserve. Often, they can be observed in enormous herds of several hundred animals. In Etosha, 114 mammal species are found, several are rare and endangered e.g. black rhino (largest number in the world), cheetah and black-faced impala. Etosha’s elephants are the largest in Africa. The tallest, measuring up to 4m. Blue wildebeest, zebra, hyena, lions, leopard and giraffe and about 340 bird species, are also found in the area.
The area has about 30 springs and waterholes that provide excellent game viewing and fantastic photographic opportunities. Visitors should approach and depart from waterholes slowly, with as little noise as possible, as not to disturb the game. There are three most popular rest camps at the Etosha: Okaukuejo, Halali and Namutoni, accommodating the visitors in the luxurious, thatch-roof bungalows, designed in the African style. Each camp has an leisure area with restaurants, shops and swimming pool.
The main entrance to the park is the „Andersson Gate” at Okaukuejo. The „Von Lindequist Gate” lies in the east, near Namutoni. A new gate in the north-east, the „Nehale lya Mpingana Gate” (King Nehale Gate) was opened at the beginning of 2003. Etosha National Park has a good infrastructure and well-maintained gravel roads leading to the waterholes, where game viewing is at its best.