With 22,000 hectares, Etosha National Park is one of the largest wildlife reserves in Africa. Elephants, lions, rhinos, zebras and kudus are just a few of the many wild animals that can be seen in Etosha NP. Etosha is located in the northern part of Namibia, about 120km south of the border with Angola. This is the Lion King for real. Etosha NP is an absolute must-see in Namibia!
Five camps at Etosha NP
Etosha NP has tree large camps with waterholes and an airstrip:
Other smaller camps in Etosha NP are Dolomite and Onkoshi.
Etosha National Park is home to four of the Big Five. The buffalo does not live in Etosha NP.
We stayed in a charming chalet inside the park, just a few steps away from the big waterhole of Okaukeujo Camp. This means we could spot the wildlife whenever we liked, day and night, any time the various animals come to the waterhole to drink some water. Totally worth it!
We felt super lucky when a small group of three elephants came to the waterhole during our first day there. Zebras, rhinos, giraffes, kudus, wildebeests, springboks, impalas, gemsboks, etc. all followed this fascinating scenery right in front of us, like a BBC nature documentary on TV! God!
On our way through the park we spotted many different kinds of wild animals. One night we saw a mother rhino with her baby, plus a group of female lions. We also spotted a super cute Dik-Dik, a unique kind of antelope that lives in and around Etosha NP. Dik-Diks have one partner in their entire life and they stay in one place their whole life.
According to an old bushmen story they do that because once they stumbled over a pile of elephant shit, which made them so mad they decided to deficate in one spot forever, so that the elephants would stumble over their pile of shit one day. 😀
Restaurants of Etosha NP serve zebra, kudu and springbok on your plate! There simply is no chicken or beef here.
Also worth a visit in Etosha is the Sprokieswoud a.k.a. Moringa Forest, which is full of the interesting so-called ‘sprokiesbomen’ (fairy-tale trees, Moringa Ovalifolia), family of the well-known baobab trees of Madagascar. The San believe that the sprokiesboom trees were thrown from heaven and landed upside down on earth.
Etosha vs. Kruger
The reason why we decided to go to Etosha NP in Namibia and skip the more famous Kruger NP in South Africa instead, was first of all a time based decision, but was also based on stories from friends and family.
Most round trips through Southern Africa via travel agencies include Kruger NP and the so-called ‘Garden Route’, from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town. We heard too many stories from others about safari jeep traffic jams in Kruger (too busy), and many small touristy villages on the Garden Route full of salesmen and artists who more or less jump on every single new bus or car passing by…
Personally we prefer the ‘off the beaten track’, to see the authentic side of a country. Etosha has fully met our expectations, I would recommend everyone to go once in their lifetime. Who knows we can go to Kruger NP one day as well, to check if those stories are true or not?!
Where to stay in Etosha
Staying inside the National Park is more pricey, especially in high season. These accommodations can only be booked via the National Park itself. It is wonderful to stay inside the park, especially a waterhole chalet like the one we stayed in! Availability is limited though. So what’s the alternative?
Via booking.com there are lots of other options close to the gates of Etosha NP. Sometimes also close to a waterhole, which always attracts wild animals like giraffes and zebras. Check Okutala Etosha Lodge for example or search accommodation via below map.
How to get to Etosha & around
Most likely you will fly to Windhoek international airport (WDH). To find suitable flights, check availability and prices, use Skyscanner. I would highly recommend you to book flights in time as the availability is limited and prices rise.
A rental car is the most common and convenient way to get around Namibia. The ride from Windhoek Airport to Okaukeujo Camp in Etosha NP takes app. 5-6 hours (app. 500 km) by car. We split this part of the route in two days, with a night in Outjo in between, see Africa Dream Trip part 1.
For rental cars, I am a big fan of Sunny Cars. Most Dutch professional travel agents use them and they are SMART! Sunny Cars is an all-inclusive, worry free rental concept with affordable, fair prices, great service and no unpleasant surprises upon pick up or drop off. Ideal, I use them all the time! No 4×4 is needed to drive to/around Etosha NP.
Alternatively you can take a multi-day tour with a guide that will drive you around. Very comfortable and informative as the guide for sure will share his/her expertise about Etosha NP and he/she knows all the right spots!
This mobile friendly map includes most places mentioned in this article and is smartphone friendly. You can use it easily via Google Maps. Click on the top left icon to open the menu. You can (un)select categories/areas to customize the map to your needs. Via Google Drive you can copy it to your folder of My Google Maps.
Please find more detailed Etosha NP maps here.
After Etosha NP we continued our round trip through Namibia, heading northwest to Kamanjab to see the Himba tribe. You can read all about it in the third article in this blog series: Gorgeous Namibia – Africa Dream Trip part 3.
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Last update: October 2019
Have you ever been to Etosha NP? Do you think it is better than Kruger NP in South Africa or not? Please feel free to leave a comment or question below.
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