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Destination Series Namibia - Etosha National Park

Yet another gem of our beautiful country is Etosha National Park - Namibia`s wildlife sanctuary housing 4 of the big 5. Yes, it has many rare and wonderful creatures, including over 340 birds, scores of reptiles, 114 animal species and a fish species. Yes, it has and is surrounded by several luxurious options for your stay. BUT what makes it truly special is the vast expanse of an oval-shaped salt-encrusted pan.

In the Bantu language, Etosha translates to “great white place” that refers to the almost 4800 km2 Etosha Pan, a conservation area protected inside the 22 750 km2 of Etosha National Park since 1907.

Photo credits: Etosha Oberland Lodge

Timing is Everything

Depending on which time of the year you plan to visit, you`ll experience two contrasting sides of the park. In winter everything is coated in a fine layer of white dust - the mark of the dry season and a bon voyage from the Etosha Pan.

Photo credits: Ute von Ludwiger, Etosha Game Drive, Naturally Namibia

This is also the busiest time of the year with phenomenal game-viewing opportunities as the wildlife congregate around waterholes or meander across open plains. Herds of zebras, impalas, springbucks, red hartebeest and blue wildebeest gather in masses, while other antelope like kudus camouflage in the nearby woodlands. Giraffes, their pelts vivid against the white-washed landscape, stretch their long necks to nibble on tree canopies and the tallest elephants in Africa are found in abundance. Then, of course, there are the infamous big cats prowling or simply lazing about and the rare sight of black and white rhinos.

If you`re planning on seeing wildlife in abundance, then the dry season, June to October, is an optimal time to visit.

Photo credits: Giraffes, Wildebeest & Leopard - Stefan Redecker, Elephants - Ute Ludwiger. Naturally Nambia

A couple of months later, November to May, as the temperatures start to rise, comes the rain. Etosha transforms. Like anything untamed and beautiful, the park becomes a bit more treacherous with occasional floodings and muddy roads.

With every drop Etosha shakes off her dusty cloak and morphs into a haven of lush life. Newborn animals wobble their first few steps, vegetation sprouts blanketing the ground in greenery and birds flock to their home for the summer. The wildlife is spread throughout the park seeing as water is now found in abundance.

Photo credits: Ute von Ludwiger, Naturally Namibia

Etosha Pan

Most of the year the salt crusted surface and high temperatures renders the pan mostly uninhabitable. White dust devils dance across its expanse and the black of ostriches wandering deeper into its depths, stand in stark contrast. Other antelopes rim its borders enjoying the natural springs, shrubs and grassland. Few predators dare to tread deeper.

But with exceptional heavy rains the pan becomes a beautiful shallow lake luring large flocks of birds like pink flamingos, pelicans and gulls.

Photo Credits: Hans Rack, Naturally Namibia


Game Viewing

The park has plentiful game viewing opportunities including the flood light waterholes at most of the camps. Some even have hides for optimal photography experience and most have decks to view the wildlife from.

Photo Credits: Etosha King Nehale, Gondwana Collection

Walking Safaris

Although the park has no trails, there are guided walks for those interested in a close-up experience with nature. Remember this is no theme park – this is wilderness. Therefore, your expert guide will brief you on any safety precautions beforehand. A walking safari is a uniquely intimate activity with nature that often leaves tourists with more personal and memorable encounters.

Photo credits: Onguma Nature Reserve

Game Drives

One of the best excursions is a morning or afternoon game drive with an experienced and trained guide. Not only will you witness a variety of wildlife from your open 4x4 vehicle, but you`re also surrounded in a symphony of sounds, the kiss of a breeze and the wild taste of Etosha National Park.

Photo Credits: Etosha Game Drive, Onguma Game Reserve

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