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Etosha is Namibia’s premier national park, famous for its stunning wildlife and vast saltpan. It is one of Africa’s largest protected areas, with several permanent waterholes attracting plenty of prey and predators.

The word Etosha means ‘big, white place,’ and the park is dominated by a huge, white saltpan, the pan being the shimmering bed of a dried up, shallow, inland lake – around 100 kilometres across. Permanent waterholes are plentiful along the southern side of the pan, where water that collects in the rainy season flows onto the pan’s dense clay floor. Wildlife and birds are abundant and the area is perfect for a self-drive itinerary.

The wildlife is superb, particularly in the dry winter months. Among the mammals you are likely to see here are black-faced impala, gemsbok (oryx), Damara dik-dik, eland, greater kudu, hartebeest and springbok, together with large numbers of elephant, lion, leopard, black rhino, giraffe, Burchell’s zebra and wildebeest. During the dry season large herds of plains game gather around the waterholes, along with their predators – so to see animals all you have to do is locate water and wait …

The sporadic summer rains generate a profusion of new life – pronking baby springboks and comical young wildebeest herald the arrival of the season. Etosha’s birdlife is excellent too – more than 300 species have been recorded here. Birds of prey are particularly numerous, and include red-necked falcons, Gabar goshawks, and several species of eagle and vulture. Local ‘specials’ include short-toed rock thrush, Hartlaub’s francolin, freckled nightjar and Meyer’s parrot.

If you would like to help conserve wildlife in Etosha, you may like to join our conservation trip

In the neighbouring Ongava Private Game Reserve, visitors are also offered the unique opportunity to track rhino on foot.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: black rhino, black-faced impala, damara dik-dik, African elephant, lion
  • Where: Oshikoto & Oshana Region, Namibia

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Faces of Namibia

Experience all the key areas of this superb country: the soaring dunes of Sossusvlei, the dramatic deserts of Damaraland, and the prolific wildlife of Etosha. Staying largely in private reserves, activities include rhino tracking, boat trips and walking - the complete Namibia adventure!

  • When to go: Mar-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,495 pp
  • Trip type: Just Conservation Group tour

Game Trails Self-drive

Take this classic self-drive around Namibia's ‘northern circuit’, and enjoy fantastic wildlife-viewing and photographic opportunities. Spend a couple of days at a cheetah and leopard conservation project, before continuing to the renowned Etosha National Park and the stunning desert landscapes of the Damaraland.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 14 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,595 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Carnivores of Etosha: Human vs Wildlife Conflict

Take part in the Etosha National Park lion survey and assist experts on a conservation project to identify lion movement and conflicts in communities. Helping farmers build a kraal is just one of the tasks on this physically demanding but highly rewarding adventure into the wilderness of Namibia.

  • When to go: May-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Trip type: Just Conservation Group tour

Classic Africa Explorer

This 37-day comprehensive itinerary, which visits no less than seven countries, delivers the ultimate African safari experience and a wealth of contrasts. Travel to some of Africa’s best National Parks and stay in a range of classic lodges, hotels and tented camps on this wildlife trip of a lifetime.

  • When to go: Apr-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 37 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £16,495 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Land of Contrasts Self-drive

This is Namibia at its very best: a wilderness destination of outstanding beauty at every turn, taking you north to the salt pans of Etosha National Park, the remote Kunene and its desert elephant, before heading down the Skeleton Coast to the awesome Namib Desert. Choose between self drive or guided.

  • When to go: Apr-Jan
  • Duration inc. flights: 18 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,745 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Natural Wonders

Few trips venture as far as Namibia’s northern border, but this innovative itinerary employs a combination of self-drive and guided safari to visit famed Etosha and the Caprivi en route to Africa’s Four Corners – where Namibia, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet – ending at Chobe and Victoria Falls.

  • When to go: Jun-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,795 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

On the Trail of Elephants

This 18-day group tour focuses on the elephant hotspots of Namibia and Botswana, followed by a night at the world-famous Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Explore a variety of landscapes from desert to coast and grassland to wetland, to marvel at southern Africa's beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife.

  • When to go: Apr-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 18 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,595 pp
  • Trip type: Just Conservation Group tour

Wings over Namibia

This suggested itinerary provides a complete experience of the north and south, enjoying superb wildlife viewing and exceptional photographic opportunities. Staying in some of Namibia’s finest lodges with outstanding hospitality, and flying between camps, this trip is simply the ultimate safari.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,495 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Andersson’s Camp

Located in Ongava Reserve, adjacent to Etosha National Park, Andersson’s Camp is set against the backdrop of the Ondundozonanandana Mountains. Surrounded by scrub-covered plains, It consists of 20 tents, elevated on wooden decks, each with a small verandah, en suite bathroom and open-air shower.

Little Ongava Camp

Little Ongava’s wonderful chalets are set along the crest of a hill with spectacular views onto the plains below. Accommodation comprises three spacious suites, each with their own plunge pool and a view of the floodlit waterhole. This is the ideal camp from which to base your activities when visiting Etosha.

Ongava Lodge

This luxurious property is on one of the largest private reserves in Namibia, and offers accommodation for 20 guests in ten comfortable chalets. The lodge has a floodlit waterhole, and wildlife activities include safaris in both Ongava Game Reserve and Etosha, walking safaris and night drives.

Ongava Tented Camp

This camp is one of Namibia’s best kept secrets. Located in the much-lauded Ongava Game Reserve, south of Etosha National Park, it overlooks a nearby waterhole. Constructed from stone, canvas and thatch, the camp accommodates 16 guests in eight large, comfortable, Meru-style tents.