Most people think of going on a Safari in the Serengeti in Tanzania, Maasi Mara (an extension of the Serengeti) in Kenya, or Kruger National Park in South Africa. But there are many more countries in Africa and many, many more national parks. Etosha National Park in northern Namibia is one of the most underrated national parks in Africa.
Etosha is stunning, full of animals, has the options of both self-drive safaris and guided safaris, and offers a very different backdrop to many other national parks. Of course, there are many more things to do in African than go on a safari, but still don't forget to go on at least one safari! Still, America is actually ranked one of the best countries for wildlife tourism.
About Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is one of the largest national parks in Africa. At 22,270 square kilometers or 8,600 square miles, it is larger than the State of New Jersey and three other states of the USA (and only just smaller than Vermont and New Hampshire).
- Size: 8,600 Square Miles (Larger Than New Jersey)
It was proclaimed as a game reserve in March 1907 while Namibia (then German southwest Africa) was under German colonial rule. The park is dominated by the large Etosha salt pan and the climate is very dry and arid. The Etosha salt pan covers some 23% percent of the park.
While the salt pan is normally dry, it does briefly fill with water in the summer - at which time it attracts many pelicans and flamingos.
Animals In Etosha
Etosha is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds, and reptiles - including some endangered species.
- Home: Etosha Is Home to Hundreds Of Species Of Animals
There are many animals to be found in the park, sometimes they are in large herds. Seeing zebras, wildebeest, springbok, giraffes, ostriches, impala, and kudu are very common sights in the park. Less common but still common are the African bush elephants (these are the tallest elephants in Africa), rhinos, lions, leopards, jackals, hyenas, aardwolves, meerkats, warthogs, and porcupines. Cheetahs and pangolins are present but uncommon.
- Big Five: Etosha Has The Big Five - The Elephant, Waterbuffalo, Lion, Rhino, and Leopard
Another reason that Etosha is such a great park to visit, is that is it very dry. There are grass and trees for the animals to eat, but there is not much water for them to drink. There are numerous man-made watering holes dotted about throughout the park and these attract great herds of every animal in the park. The sights at these watering holes can be mesmerizing, inspiring, and bewildering all at once.
- Watering Holes: There Are Numerous Watering Holes In The Park
There are also watering holes right by the camps. So after a day on Safari, just sit back at the camp with a beer and gaze out for hours at all the animals coming to quench their thirst.
Camps In The National Park & Fees
The park is very easy to visit, anyone can visit with any regular car and go on a self-drive safari. The park is malaria-free and there are rest camps along the roads.
- Malaria: The Park is Malaria Free
The park has a number of camps dotted throughout the park. These camps typically offer powered camping, chalets, a tourist center, guided safari tours, a gift shop, and convenience shop, a restaurant, a gas station, and sometimes a swimming pool.
- Camps: Have Accommodation, Fuel, Restaurants, Shops, And more
Accommodation ranges from luxury accommodation at the camps to bringing your own tent. There are also private lodges located just outside of the park.
The park is very cheap when compared to sometimes ridiculous prices of East Africa. The entrance fee is 150 Namibian Dollars (about $9.00 USD) per day per person, plus 50 Namibian Dollars (about $3.00 USD) for one's vehicle. If one is wanting to do it on the cheap, then camping is about $20 or $25 USD per person per night. The gasoline and diesel sold in the park are not much more expensive than regular prices outside of the park.
- Entry Fee: 150 Namibian Dollars ($9.00 USD) Per Person Per Day
- Vehicle Fee: 50 Namibian Dollars ($3.00 USD) Per Day
Rent A 4X4 In Namibia
If one is wanting to go on a self-drive safari, there are plenty of vehicles for rent in the capital Windhoek. The industry is well set up, and Namibia is a country that is best explored with one's own car.
- Tip: Hire A 4WD In Namibia
- Self-Drive Safari: In Southern Africa, Self-Drive Safaris Are Simple, While There is Red Tape In East Africa
There are many tour companies - Savanna Car Hire being one of them. Namibia is comparatively developed, the roads are comparatively good, and it is very easy to explore the country by oneself.