Etosha National Park Travel Tips: When to go, how to get there and what to pack – Part 1

Etosha National Park Travel Tips: When to go, how to get there and what to pack – Part 1

If you are in Namibia, you must include Etosha National Park in your itinerary. Etosha is undoubtedly Namibia’s top and most visited destination. Whether on a self drive holiday or organised safari tour, spending a few days in Etosha is highly recommended. Etosha National Park, meaning “Great White Place”, is one of the largest and most important game reserves in Southern Africa and covers an area of 22 270 square kilometres.

Home to 114 mammal species, well over 300 bird species, reptiles, and amphibians, Etosha is a wildlife enthusiast’s dream. Visitors will likely see many different buck species, giraffes, rhinos, elephants, and even lions. If you are lucky, you may even glimpse a leopard or cheetah.

There are also fuel stations within Etosha National Park, so don’t worry about running out of fuel while you are driving around Etosha; just be sure to fill up whenever you get the chance. All three of Etosha’s main camps (Okaukeujo, Halali, and Namutoni) have fuel stations. There are also restaurants and shops selling food and other goods at these three camps.

When to visit Etosha National Park

This depends on what you would like to see. The rainy season is from November to April– the hottest and wettest months of the year. The pans fill with water, and the animals give birth during this time. Bird watching reaches its peak at this time of the year. The vegetation in the park transforms from dusty & dry to green and lush. Therefore, animals and wildlife don’t necessarily visit the central watering holes and may find it more challenging to see. A travel tip for visiting Etosha at this time of the year is to ask other travellers in the park what game they have seen and where they have seen it. One can also ask Etosha’s game wardens and staff where to go and see the game.

The dry season (May till October) is considered the best time to visit Etosha. The animals congregate around the main waterholes to quench their thirst. The grass is also low at this time of the year, allowing for much better game viewing. At times, there is so much game waiting at the waterholes for their turn to drink water – it is remarkable to see so much game at one time and the interactions between them all waiting for that much-needed time to drink water. The main waterholes are located at Namutoni, Okaukeujo and Halali.

Between May and July (winter months), temperatures range from 18 to 25 degrees Celsius during the day, with cold temperatures experienced at night.

How to get to Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is approximately 5 hours from Windhoek if you are driving. It is best to drive slowly to be safe, although the road can be easily navigated in one day. Etosha’s main gates are Von Lindequist (west of Tsumeb), King Nehale Gate (southeast of Ondangwa), and Andersson Gate (north of Outjo). Visitors to Etosha can also access the western side of Etosha via the Galton Gate (north of Kamanjab). It, therefore, depends on where you travel to Etosha and which gate you will use to enter Etosha.

Many guests stay at lodges outside the park due to the quality of accommodation….although accommodation & camping are available inside the park via Namibia Wildlife Resorts, which the government operates. Many lodges outside Etosha offer private game drives in their reserves or Etosha. So, if you don’t feel like driving around Etosha, you can go on a guided game drive-in Etosha, where you can sit back, relax, enjoy, and focus on game viewing. Visitors should note that the park is only open from sunrise to sunset, and travellers staying outside must ensure they have exited by sunset.

What to pack for Etosha National Park

Visitors should always pack warmer and cooler clothing for any visit to Namibia to ensure they are prepared for all types of weather. The semi-desert climate means hot days and cool nights, so summer clothing for the daytime, a sweater or jacket, and long pants for the evenings will work well.

Here are ten things you really should bring on your trip:

  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses, sun protection and a hat
  • A good map of Etosha and the various waterholes.
  • A good pair of walking shoes
  • Swimming costume (there are swimming pools at the various Namibia Wildlife Camps).
  • Binoculars and camera, and any additional cables, and memory cards you may need
  • Torch
  • Mobile phone, charger and adaptor
  • List of emergency contact numbers
  • All travel documents, including medical/travel insurance
  • Take snacks and plenty of water while driving around Etosha.
  • Find out more about information about Etosha

We hope you enjoy your trip and that you have loads of great memories to share with us on your return! Etosha is sure to create many great memories!

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