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Etosha National Park

Covering an area of over 22 000 square kilometres, this National Park in northern Namibia is one of the largest and best known in Southern Africa. The park has about 114 different animal species, 340 bird species, 110 different reptiles, 16 amphibians and only one fish species. Among these animals are elephants, white and black rhinos, lions, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, leopards, cheetahs, impala, hyena, jackals, elk and many other wonderful animals. The park caters to several days on safari whether it is by car or with a ranger.

Etosha means "large white spot" and this refers to the salt pan which takes up 25% of the park. This place once culminated the Kunune River, but changed the flow of the river thousands of years ago and the lake dried slowly. Only when heavy rains come there is some water on the salt and dusty clay-covered floor. Once there is a layer of water, blue-green algae begin to grow, where large groups of flamingos come from large breeding colonies.

Etosha consists mostly of savannah with different grasses, trees and shrubs, the Mopane tree is the dominant vegetation in the park. A more notable tree is the African Moringa with its erratic branches that normally grow more hilly terrain. 30 kilometres west of Okaukuejo is a bunch of Moringa's protected by a fence as many beautiful and unique trees are killed by the elephants. The nickname for the Mopanes's is "ghost tree" and when you see it you will understand why.

There are several camps in the park, the best known are: Namutoni, Halali and Okaukuejo. These camps you can do for a stopover when you have your own car and drive through the park and you can stay at the campsite or in (fairly basic) accommodation. The camps have a restaurant, shop, swimming pool and a garage for simple car repairs and fuel. The best thing about the camps is that the water pools are illuminated at night so guests who stay at the camp can see the animals that come to drink at night. Rhinos and elephants are often seen at the waterhole of Okaukuejo camp and Halali which has a reputation that a leopard regularly comes to drink. Namutoni generally gets less evening visitors because there are other water holes nearby. The buildings at the Namutoni Camp date back to the time of the German settlers.

In 2008 Onkoshi Camp opened a new lodge in Etosha offering some eco-friendly luxury accommodation. In the western part of Etosha (which was not open for a long time to the visitors) has another new accommodation open: Dolomite Camp, both camps are only accessible to its guests.

Outside Etosha is also a wide variety of accommodation in different price classes, most accommodations offer game drives in Etosha and possibly also in their own game reserves. Etosha itself also provides opportunities for game drives with experienced guides, who are staying in the park, among others an early morning or evening game drive. The guides have a great knowledge of the flora and fauna and often know where to find the animals well.

The paths in Etosha are passable with a normal car, there is a (gravel) road network leading to the camps and the various waterholes. Despite the good condition of the roads there are sharp stones which sometimes cause a flat tire. Please note that the gates to the park open at sunrise and close at sunset. The entrance on the west side of the park (Galton's Gate) may only be used for guests of the Dolomite Camp. Water holes are generally good places to spot wildlife, but keep in mind that not all the water holes in the park include year-round water. Etosha is a good place to visit all year round for safaris, but the months of May - September are the best and the temperatures are more pleasant in the daytime (18-25 degrees) and at night towards freezing point. The warmest and wettest months are January - March.

Your holiday begins at South Africa Specialist.