Etosha National Park is located in the northwest of Namibia, in the Kunene area. The Etosha pan was first discovered by Europeans in 1851 while in the company of Ovambo Traders. The meaning of Etosha is ‘The Great White Place” in the Ovambo language.
On March the 22, 1907 the park was made into a game reserve by the governor of the German side of South-west Africa and was originally 100, 000 km. Over time the park boundaries changed, until its current size of 22 270 km in 1970.
The Etosha Park is the habitat to hundreds of animals (birds, reptiles and mammals). During the 1970s and 1980s the park suffered droughts and crossfire of the border war between Namibia, South Africa and Angola which wiped out a majority of the wildlife. Conservation efforts have seen an increase in park animals, so that it is now a great place to view them.
The Etosha pan is huge and can be seen from space. Some people believe that the Etosha pan was made 100 million years ago. The winter in Etosha is a dry season where there is plenty of time to find animals drinking, bathing or playing in the waterholes. Bird lovers should enjoy summer there as the vegetation is beautiful and lush because of all the rain so it attracts birds and other animals.
We arrived around lunch time and did our first game drive mid afternoon, where we saw lots of deer, zebras and giraffes. We stayed at the Okaukuejo campsite and we had jackals walking around our campsite as well as huge social weaver’s nests in the nearby trees.
Afternoon Game Drive
Around Okaukuejo campsite in the early evening, a jackal was sniffing around the RV looking for food and the trees nearby had huge social weaver nests.
Our early morning game drive took us to a waterhole where we saw nothing, no animals. We sat for a while and decided we should move on so we didn’t miss seeing the early morning animal activity. We drove around a while and everyone was getting hungry for breakfast so we we went back to the original waterhole and were surprised to see a lot of female elephants, babies and juveniles. While watching the elephants, mum cooked breakfast which we enjoyed.
During our afternoon game drive, we saw a lot of deer, buffalo and giraffe. I love this photo of the giraffe, just watching us from above the trees.
Our second night in Etosha we stayed in Halali Campsite and were enjoying an afternoon sun-downer when Andrew spotted the little critter below, known as a honey badger. The honey badger was pretty oblivious to all the campers but got very up close and personal with German tourists, walking right up to their picnic food and stealing their raw sausages. He was a bit cheeky.
We did another early morning game drive which had a thrilling end, when heading back to our campsite we encountered three large teenage males walking down the road towards us. Two of them ventured off the road, but the biggest was unhappy with us being there, flapped his ears and headed straight for us. Andrew threw the RV in reverse and got out of his way. Its amazing how big they are when they get that close.
Our afternoon game drive took us to more waterholes where we saw black faced impala, which are native to Namibia and banded mongoose relaxing on the middle of the sign on the road.
Our last game drive in Etosha we saw lots of gemsbok (onyx) which I think are the prettiest of the deer, ostrich and zebra.
The beautiful gemsbok
We saw zebra throughout the park, put on the morning game drive there were herds around the waterhole and we saw a real zebra crossing.
We saw our first lion at Etosha around the waterhole which was filled with zebra and deer, none of which were concerned with her being there. We also saw a few herds of ostrich on our morning drive.
I thought that seeing all the animals out there was quite spectacular and it was definetly a once in a lifetime experience. The Etosha National Park had a lot of animals in it, I especially liked seeing the lions and the cute baby animals.
During our time in Etosha, both Max and Ava had a go at steering the RV.
Tourist Information for Etosha National Park
Cost: Foriegn Adults – $80 per day, SADC Adults- $60 per day, Namibian Adults – $30 per day, Children under 16 are free.
Vehicle Costs: Motor vehicles with less than 10 seats – $10 per day, 11 – 25 seats – $40 per day and 26 – 50 seats – $300 per day.
Opening and Closing Times – The park opens at sunrise and closes at sunset, this time varies throughout the year, but you can check the website for details.
Park Entrance: There are four gates that you can enter the park:
- Anderson’s Gate – Southern end of the park via C38
- Von Lindequist Gate – Eastern side of the park via the B1
- Galton Gate – south-western end of the park
- King Nehale Lya Mpingana Gate – northern end of the park, 48 km from Ondangwa.
- Dolomite Camp – Located in the restricted western side of the park. Accommodation is in permanent luxury tents, with no enclosure surrounding them. Facilities include a restaurant, pool, bar, shop and viewing platform. Game drives in this area are only for guests staying at the camp.
- Halali Camp – Located between the Namutoni and Okaukuejo camps. Accommodation includes camping, bush chalets (2 – 4 beds and has a kitchen) or double en-suite rooms. Facilities at the camp include a restaurant, bar, pool, shop and its own floodlit waterhole.
- Namutoni Camp – Located in the eastern section of the park near the Von Lindequist gate. Accommodation includes, chalets (2 beds, en-suite bathroom), double rooms with en-suite and camping with communal bathroom. Facilities at the camp include two restaurants, pool, craft shop, curio shop, petrol station and a viewing deck over a water hole.
- Okaukuejo Rest Camp – Located at the south end of the park, near Anderson’s gate. Accommodation consists of waterhole chalets (one or two bedroom, en-suite), bush chalet with braii facilities and a campsite with communal bathrooms. Additionally it has a restaurant, pool, floodlit water hold, shop, petrol station and bar.
- Olifantsrus Camp – located in the remote western side of park. Accommodation is camping only and has 10 campsites with a maximum of 8 people per site. Facilities at the campsite include information centre, kiosk selling drinks and light meals, communal kitchen and bathrooms.
- Onkoshi Camp – The camp is located in the north-eastern section of the park and is described as an exclusive camp sitting near the salt pan. There are 15 chalets overlooking the salt pans each with two 3/4 size beds. Camp runs mainly on solar power. Facilities include pool, restaurant and game drives. Guests are picked up from the Namutoni camp.
Official Website: http://www.etoshanationalpark.org/
Written and researched by Ava, photos by mum