Etosha’s most distinguishing feature is its enormous, horizon-less silvery salt pan that it encompasses, as well as the variety and concentration of game that crowd its surrounding spring-fed waterholes.
Nicknamed the “Place of Mirages”, the terrain is certainly extraordinary a photographer’s delight, especially when a pride of lions, herds of blue wildebeest or desert elephant appear through the haze to stand against this stark backdrop.
The remains of an ancient inland lake, the Etosha Pan takes up about a quarter of the park’s land and there is a variety of habitats within the park’s borders from mopane woodland to treeless plains, open savannah, becoming more hilly the further west you go.
The best time to see big game here is the dry season (July to late October) when assemblages of wildlife gather around what water remains, however the lusher terrain of the Onguma and Ongava Private Game Reserves that lie to the south and north-east of the park respectively are an all round better, more exclusive and intimate wildlife experience. Most of the accommodation and lodges we’ve chosen in the area are based in these private game reserves, from which you can take day trips to the salt pan.
When to go
The dry season from July to late October is the best time to see game at Etosha, however in the rainy season you do get the desert flower bloom scenes and better birdlife spotting.
What to do
- Daily game drives with expert guides and trackers
- Wildlife to see: desert elephant, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, springbok, kudu, gemsbok and zebra. Black rhino are a little scarcer as are white rhino, and there are good numbers of lion, leopard, cheetah, and caracal.
- Up to 340 species of bird can be seen in Etosha including eagles, harriers, falcons and vultures : the wet season is usually the best time for spotting the birdlife here; January and February being particularly good.