Regarded by safari aficionados as one of Africa's greatest wildlife reserves, the 22 750 km² Etosha National Park is one of the easiest, safest and most rewarding big game destinations in Southern Africa. Families on a self-drive safari will appreciate the good roads and wide range of animals; photographers will relish the action at the game-packed waterholes; and honeymooners will love the range of exclusive luxury accommodation located on the park's borders.
Dominated by the pancake-flat Etosha Pan, a 5 000km² seasonally flooded depression, Etosha National Park is an area of open, grassy woodland and thick scrub, studded with waterholes. Yet despite its arid appearance, the park is packed with an eclectic mix of familiar faces such as elephant, giraffe, lion, leopard and zebra as well as the desert specialists like springbok and the handsome gemsbok.
It's also one of the best places in Southern Africa to see the endangered cheetah and black rhino not to mention rare antelope species like black-faced impala, Damara dik dik and roan antelope, plus there's a bird count of 340 species - an interesting blend of savannah, water and desert birds. Game viewing is best in the May to October dry season as animals are concentrated around water sources.
Etosha is however a year-round destination and easy to experience as there is a wide range of accommodation both in the park and on its borders. The Namutoni, Halali and Okaukuejo resorts are set in the park around famously busy waterholes and offer reasonable accommodation and camping but the superb upmarket lodges just outside the park borders offer a far more exclusive and intimate Etosha safari experience.
Accommodation in western Etosha is situated close to Andersson Gate and several lodges are set on private reserves, giving guests the chance to enjoy guided walks and night drives, activities not permitted in Etosha National Park. Etosha's eastern region has a similar range of luxury accommodation, located close to the Von Lindequist Gate. Given the huge size of the park, many visitors on an Etosha safari chose to spend a couple of days in each area to maximise their game viewing experience.