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Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is unique in Africa. The park’s main characteristic is a salt pan so large it can be seen from space. Yet there is abundant wildlife that congregates around the waterholes, giving you almost guaranteed game sightings. At the same time Etosha National Park is one of the most accessible game reserves in Namibia and Southern Africa.

The Etosha Pan
The Etosha Pan is a vast, bare, open expanse of shimmering green and white that covers around 4,800km², almost a quarter of the beautiful Etosha National Park. At 130 km’s long and up to 50km’s wide in places, it is comfortably the largest salt pan in Africa and is the park’s most distinctive and dramatic feature, visible even from space. The pan was originally a lake but over time the earth’s climate forced the rivers that once fed the lake to change course and flow into the Atlantic Ocean. If one were to try find where the lake once lay today, only the dry baked alkaline clay marks would give you a clue.

Waterholes in Etosha
Etosha National Park boasts numerous waterholes, including both natural springs and fountains and others fed by man-made bore holes. Some of the camps in the park offer the unique experience of floodlit waterholes for night-time viewing. Overall, these various waterholes tend to offer the park’s best opportunities for both big and small game sightings, especially during the dry winter months, when more animals are drawn out of hiding to drink at the water’s edge.

However, each waterhole has its own unique personality and the animals that can be spotted at certain waterholes may vary from, even from season to season.

 

Best Time To Visit Etosha
The best time to visit the park is during the dry season which in Namibia, is during the winter months. This is when many of the animals are concentrated at waterholes and the grass is low, allowing for a better viewing experience.

Winter = Dry Season (May – October)       sunny
During this dry season, many European countries have their summer holidays. Back in Africa, game viewing is at its best in the park making it the best time to visit. You will find an abundance of animals at the water holes as water sources are limited. The pan is often bone dry during this time and the photographic landscape makes for unique pictures. You will need to book well in advance if you are looking to visit during this period as camps are usually fully booked when latecomers arrive.

Summer = Rainy Season (November – April)     Rain-season
In summer the average temperature during the day ranges from 25C-35C and on really hot days can reach +40C!  Etosha is transformed during this season from a dry, dusty- white landscape to a green paradise overflowing with lush vegetation. The birdlife in the summer is intense with many Northern Hemisphere birds migrating south to Etosha. The pan itself gathers water and turns into a lake attracting wetland birds and flamingos. Many of the bigger mammals (such as elephants) will move north towards the Namutoni camp as this area will have more rainfall than down south at Okaukeujo. It is always advisable to ask the rangers for information on where the animals are being spotted during your time at the park.

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