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Etosha National Park is a national park in northwestern Namibia. The park was proclaimed a game reserve on March 22, 1907 in Ordinance 88 by the Governor of German South West Africa, Dr. Friedrich von Lindequist. It was designated as Wildschutzgebiet Nr. 2 which means Game Reserve Number 2, in numerical order after West Caprivi (Game Reserve No. 1) and preceding Namib Game Reserve (No. 3). In 1958, Game Reserve No. 2 became Etosha Game Park and was elevated to status of National Park in 1967 by an act of parliament of the Republic of South Africa which administered South-West Africa during that time.
Etosha National Park is a protected area in northern Namibia. Lions, elephants, black rhinos and giraffes gather at waterholes such as Halali, Okondeka and the floodlit Okaukuejo. Rough roads fringe the vast white-green salt flat of the Etosha Pan, a breeding ground for flamingos. Other birdlife includes eagles, hornbills, owls and ostriches. Camel thorn trees provide food and shelter for many of the park's animals.
The pan is just about always dry. However, in the southern parts there are numerous water-holes scattered throughout this area and supporting the life for countless game. Almost all African game species are represented in Etosha, including the "Big Five": elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. Based on an animal count done by aircraft in 2005, there are about 250 lions in the park, 300 rhinos, 3000 giraffes, 12000 zebras, 4000 wildebeests, 5500 Oryx antelopes and more than 2500 elephants. The dainty springbok are especially numerous; at least 20000 of them roam the reserve. Often they can be seen in enormous herds of several hundred animals.
Etosha is so special because of the concentration of waterholes that occur around the southern edges of the pan. As the dry season progresses, these increasingly draw the game. In fact, the best way to watch animals in Etosha is often just to sit in your vehicle by a waterhole and wait.
Etosha was really designed for visitors on self-drive safari holidays; that's how most people visit here, helped by the park's good roads and signposts. If you prefer to be guided around by a professional safari guide, then it's usually better to stay in one of the private camps or lodges.
The Etosha National Park has a good infrastructure. Well-maintained gravel roads (untarred) lead to the waterholes, where game viewing is at its best. In the three restcamps Okaukuejo, Halali and Namutoni, hotel rooms, chalets and camping sites are available as well as restaurants, stores and swimming pools.
The main entrance to the park is called the "Andersson Gate" at Okaukuejo in the south, where the park administration is also situated. The "Von Lindequist Gate" lies in the east near Namutoni. A third gate, the "Nehale lya Mpingana Gate" (King Nehale Gate) was opened in 2003 in the north-east. More information on the park and accommodation on the pages TRAVEL INFO and RESTCAMPS.
The more common herbivores include elephant, giraffe, eland, blue wildebeest, kudu, gemsbok, springbok, impala, steenbok and zebra. The most numerous of these are the springbok which can often be seen in herds numbering thousands, spread out over the most barren of plains. These finely marked antelope have a marvellous habit of pronking, either (it appears) for fun or to avoid predators. It has been suggested that pronking is intended to put predators off in the first place by showing the animal’s strength and stamina; the weakest pronkers are the ones predators are seen to go for.
The main town in the Kavango Region is Rundu, situated on the banks of the Okavango River. This is the home of Namibia’s well-known Kavango woodcarvers. Their ancient craft, handed down over generations, is a flourishing industry today. Wooden carvings are made ad offered for sale at the Mbungura Woodcraft Cooperative, which has its main workshop and office in the town. Rundu is much more than a refueling stop. Situated in the north-eastern corner of Namibia this rapidly growing town is the main administrative center of the Kavango region. As frontier town, Rundu is set to become the hub of trade and development in the north, especially with rebuilding efforts in Angola and the Trans-caprivi highway that links the country and its main port in Walvis Bay to the rest of Africa. With its diverse cultures and people, comes the skills and talents to develop Rundu into a dynamic commercial centre.