Etosha National Park
Etosha National park, located in the Kunene region of Namibia, is famous for being home to Africa’s largest salt pan. Formally a lake, but due to climate change, it is now a large natural mineral pan, the Etosha pan covers 23% of Etosha national park, and is so large it can be viewed from space. This area is considered to be the only major breeding area for flamingos in all of Namibia; at times during the rainy season it is possible to view over 1 million flamingos in the pan. However Etosha national park has much more to offer, and is a great option if you are considering a safari holiday.
Etosha is one of the few parks in Africa where animals are still able to roam relatively unrestricted by human influences, due to the size and relatively small population of Namibia. This 22,270 sq km park is home to approximately 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 126 types of reptiles and amphibians, and typically only 1 species of fish but occasionally flooding season temporarily brings in additional species. Etosha is home to some of the biggest elephants in Africa due to the minerals and nutrients in the ground, it is also very common to see lions, giraffe, zebra, caracals and other wildcats, jackals, hyenas, meerkats, mongoose, honey badgers, ostrich and so much more in this vast area.
Visiting Etosha during the winter months makes wildlife viewing much easier, due do the lack of vegetation and water at the time. Safari goers simply have to drive within close proximity to a watering hole, where the animals tend to congregate this time of year, and wait for the animals to appear!! The winter month are very dry, and due to the large salt pan, tend to be very dusty, so be prepared to leave the park covered in dust - it’s part of the adventure! Following the rain, the summer months bring lush green vegetation, meaning you will have to search harder for wildlife, as they won’t be congregating around the water holes. The rains can also make the roads muddy and difficult to navigate, however a visit during this time of year can reward you with sightings of baby animals, as well as flamingos and many other bird species that won’t be in the area in the winter months.
Due to the distance between Etosha and any major cities in Namibia, it is recommended that you plan this as a multi-day safari, as opposed to trying to do a day safari.There are various options in terms of the lodging you choose, ranging from camping to private lodges. Many of which offer floodlit watering holes, with raised viewing areas for the tourists. It is highly recommended that you take advantage of this opportunity and visit a watering hole at night, since many of the animals come out when it is cooler. Adventurous travellers may even consider bringing their sleeping bags, and camping out at the viewing area, as there is nothing quite as exhilarating as being woken up by instinct, looking down at the watering hole, and seeing a pride of lions, or a herd of elephants that was able to sneak up without you hearing a thing. Don’t worry you are completely safe from these animals, however this isn’t for the faint of heart, as there is no protection from the creepy crawlies!! I can assure you it is a night you will never forget and will not regret!!