With Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park is one of the most famous parts in Namibia. Located in the North of the country, it is a huge protected area around a salt pan. The park offers great viewing opportunities and is the home of 4 of the Big 5. Here is a guide to help you plan your visit.
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The Wildlife in Etosha
In Etosha National Park you can spot 4 of the Big 5, 114 species of mamals and 340 birds.
- Elephants, zebras and lions are common
- This is one of the best place to see the endangered black rhinoceros
- there are other endangered species such as the black-faced impala
- you can also spot; leopards, giraffes, cheetahsn hyenas, wildebeest, jackals springboks, kudus and more.
Check out my photo essays on the animals of Etosha:
Getting to Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park has 4 access gates. Fees and opening times are avalailable on the park's official website.
- 5h30 (440km) from Windhoek to Okaukuejo camp
- 6h40 (510km) from Swakopmund
- 17h (1200km) from Livingstone, Zambia
Maps of Etosha National Park
The Etosha National park Website has some great maps of the area:
How long to stay in Etosha National Park
You should plan to stay at least 2 days in the park, but it deserves its own holiday.
- Roughly 2 hours between Okaukuejo and Namutoni (without stopping to see animals)
- Roughly 3 hours between Okaukuejo and Dolomite (without stopping to see animals)
Driving in Etosha National Park
Etosha is accessible all year for 2WD. However during the rainy season few tracks can only be accessible to 4WD.
- Roads are gravel roads in good conditions
- Speed limit: 60km/h - recommended to drive at 40km/h to spot widlife
- No off road allowed
- Do not get out of your car except in the indicated picnic area and toilets. Remember there are wild animals uot there!
- Keep a good distance for the animals
- Do not open your window
- Make sure you have your gaz tank is full and that you have plenty of water
Staying at Etosha National Park
Etosha has 6 main camps:
- Okaukuejo camp: Main camp, adminitrative area of the park. Chalets, rooms and camping available. Waterhole lit all night with protected viewing area.
- Namutoni camp: Built into an old German Fort with a choice of accomodations (chalets, rooms and camping) and facilities. It has elevated view of the King Nehale Waterhole. Good spot for sunset and bird lovers.
- Dolomite camp: on the west side of the camp. Less touristic, luxurious tents. Elevated views on the plain.
- Onkoshi camp: chalets on wooden platform near the Etosha pan. Great location for sunrise and sunset.
- Halali camp: halfway between Namutoni and Okaukuejo, it also has a lit waterhole. Thicker vegetation attracks leopard, Rhinos and elephants. Chalets and rooms availabe.
- Olifantsrus camp: Camping only. great waterhole especially for elephants. Situated in a remote section of the park (130km from Okaukuejo and 50km from Dolomite)
Okaukuejo: my favorite waterhole in Etosha
Etosha natioanl Park has many waterhole scattered around the park. So you have plenty of opportunities to see animals. However you can never plan and there are no 'best viewing spots'. Some attract more rhinos, other more lions etc. But you can never know as they are wild. However for the facilities my favorite was the Okaukuejo waterhole:
The Okaukuejo is the most famous waterhole in the park. Situated next to the same name rest camp, it is clear of vegetation. A platform with benches has been set up for viewing and it is lit at night.
A large variety of animals come drinking at this waterhole especially elephants and rhinolate evening and at dawn. At 5am I saw a herd for 20 elephants!
Sleep at the camp or in one of the chalets (with view on the waterhole) and spend time on the platform during the night. This is a great experience!
The animals are quite close but do not forget your binoculars!
Want to see MORE of NAMIBIA?
Discover more things to do with photos and planning information in my online Namibia Travel Guide.
What animals do you want to see most?