Etosha National Park is situated in the Northern part of Namibia and we can definitely recommend a trip to this park. The scenery is unique with a big salt pan in the middle of the national park. Moreover, there are some pretty special animals that can be found here. In terms of accommodation within the park, there’s a place to stay for almost every budget. You can either go camping in and near Etosha or stay in a lodge. Add to this that it’s pretty accessible by car and your next self-drive destination in Africa is here ;).
Wildlife in Etosha
There’s plenty of wildlife in Etosha. You’ll find elephants, giraffes, zebras, lions and cheetahs amongst others. When it comes to antelopes there’s a high probability that you’ll see the oryx, springbok and steenbok. As said before Etosha is home to a couple of wonderful and special creatures that you don’t see that often in other parts of Namibia nor Africa. What about the black and white rhino, black-faced impala and the dik-dik? The smallest antelopes, the dik-diks, even have their own dik-dik route in the park. Good luck finding them!
Best time to visit Etosha
Not only the animals are special, the huge salt pan in the middle of the park is even more unique. The name of the park comes from the Ndonga word Etosha which means ‘Great White Place’. During Namibia’s summer months (July to October) the little water pools dry up and therefore the animals have to find water on the edge of the salt pan. This means that viewing wildlife is easier during these months. It’s also highly likely that you’ll find bigger herds in that period. Please note that you can definitely visit Etosha year-round. We were there in April and had some occasional rain but we saw plenty of game (and the park was a bit greener which was a bonus).
How to get to Etosha?
You can enter Etosha National Park by using one of their four gates. Most visitors use the Von Lindequist Gate or the Andersson gate. The latter is about a four-hour drive from Windhoek. Up North, you’ll find the King Nehale Lya Mpingana Gate. The fourth gate, the Galton Gate, is the most Western gate and is open for tourists since 2014. Although there are only dirt roads within the park they are quite accessible with a regular car so no 4 wheel drive car is needed.
Facilities in Etosha
There are three camps within Etosha: Okaukuejo (in the Southern part), Namutoni (in the Eastern part) and Halali (in the middle of the park). Every camp has got a little shop, a restaurant and a swimming pool. Do note that it can become quite crowded during the high season (July to October). In that period it’s wise to book in advance, including campsites. The distances between the camps can be quite big so take that into account when planning your trip. The distance between Okaukuejo and Namutoni for example is about 120 kilometers.
Accommodations in Etosha
Etosha caters to almost every budget. There are numerous accommodation types available. Ranging from luxurious and smaller camps to the bigger camps. What about one of these options:
- Dolomite Camp: 20 permanent luxury tents with an elevated view of the endless plains of Etosha National Park in Namibia. This camp is located near the Galton Gate.
- Onkoshi Camp: this is one of the most beautiful camps in Etosha. Onkoshi’s 15 free standing chalets face this enormous expanse that is arid in the dry season and attracts a cloud of flamingos when covered in water.
- Okaukuejo Camp: is the largest and busiest camp of Etosha. You can spend the night in a double room or chalets. The camp overlooks a busy water hole. After sunset floodlights illuminate the waterhole. You have a good chance of seeing lions there.
- Halali Camp: is a camp with different types of accommodations and is perched between a few hills and koppies. You can choose between doubles rooms and chalets. A short walk will take you to the camp’s floodlit waterhole with excellent day and night game viewing.
- Namotoni Camp: this camp is built into an old German Fort. There are two restaurants and a swimming pool. From the walls of the fort you can enjoy an elevated view of the King Nehale Waterhole allowing for great game viewing without leaving the camp. You can choose from doubles rooms and chalets.
Camping in Etosha
The three bigger camps Okaukuejo Camp, Halali Camp and Namotoni Camp do have campsites available as well. We slept on the (huge) campsite of Okaukuejo. You can read all about our experiences in this article: Our experience about camping in Etosha.
Not as well known as the others is the Olifantsrus Campsite. This campsite can be found in the Western part of the park which is only recently accessible for tourists. This small campsite (10 spots) has got a wonderful hide where you can spot some animals that visit the nearby water hole.
Accommodation outside of Etosha
Just outside of the park there are numerous great places to spend a night or two. It’s just as easy since you’ll simply drive into the park the next morning. A couple of special accommodations near the different gates of the park:
Near the Andersson Gate:
- Little Ongava is an intimate luxury camp, featuring accommodation within 5 km from Etosha National Park.
- Gondwana Etosha Safari Lodge is set in Okaukuejo, just 10 km away from the Anderson Gate into Etosha National Park. Offering views of the African bush savannah, the rooms at the lodge are air-conditioned and feature a small veranda, as well as tea-and-coffee making facilities and a safe.
- Toshari Lodge is a little further away from the gate. The rooms are scattered in a beautiful lush garden, which is the home to many native birds and includes an outdoor pool and herb garden.
Near the Galton Gate:
- Kaoko Bush Lodge is set in Kamanjab and has mountain views. It is 61 km from the gate.
Near the Von Lindequist Gate:
- Mokuti Etosha Lodge is situated 5 minutes’ drive from the gate. It is more a hotel with luxurious rooms than a lodge. There are spa facilities available so you can pamper yourself after a day safari.
- Emanya@Etosha is about 20 kilometers west of the gate. This lodge is highly recommended. We also spent the night here. The lodge has a beautiful main house and cottages. There is a large swimming pool. At dinner we were treated to a delicious five-course menu. Read more about our trip, Etosha National Park: the luxurious way
- Mushara Lodge belongs to the Mushara Collection. Mushara Lodge features a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a bar and garden in Namutoni. The lodge is located 8 km from the gate.
Camping near Etosha
Near the Andersson Gate:
- Etosha Safari Campsite is situated 10 km from the gate. You can use the facilities of Etosha Safari Camp.
- Toshari Lodge is a little further away from the gate in a quiet area. Each place has its own shower and outdoor kitchen.
- Mondjila Safari Camp has 8 camping spots with braai facilities (barbecue).
Near the Von Lindequist Gate:
- Onguma Tamboti Campsite: A wonderful luxury camp in the Onguma Reserve.
- Sachsenheim Guest Farm if you follow all their rules, it is a nice place for an overnight stay 😉
Shirts to take with you to Etosha
Flying your drone in Namibia?
Never ever fly in Etosha National Park. You will disturb the animals, annoy other visitors and harm the peaceful environment. Moreover, the park officials in Etosha National Park will explicitly ask if you have a drone with you. If so they will either keep the drone at the entrance or they will seal the drone so they know you can’t fly with it. Read more about droning in Namibia: Can I fly my drone in Namibia?
What’s the next destination after Etosha?
After seeing Etosha you can visit the Caprivi strip to relax, read more: How to relax in the Caprivi Strip. Or you can decide to head south to the Sossusvlei, read more: Everything that you need to know to see the Sossusvlei.