Namibia Safari Guide | Wildlife of Etosha National Park
Home to over 114 species of wildlife, Etosha National Park is located in the north of Namibia, and is one of the country's top tourist attractions.
Established in 1907 when Namibia was known as South West Africa as a German colony, Etosha was once the largest game reserve in the world at an original size of 100 000km2 (39 000 square miles). Over time the park has been decreased in size slightly due to political changes, but still maintains a massive expanse.
Today Etosha National Park stretches across 22 270km2 (8598.5 square miles) and is renowned for its incredible and abundant wildlife and fascinating landscapes and scenery.
One of the largest savannah conservation areas in the whole of Africa, Etosha is home to an abundance of African wildlife including Rhino, Leopard, Elephant, Cheetah, Zebra and Giraffe.
Time spent in the nature reserve offers visitors incredible wildlife sightings, comfortable accommodation options and an African safari adventure they will never forget.
Place of Dry Water
Meaning 'place of dry water', Etosha stretches around a 5 000km2 (1930.5 square miles) huge, flat salt plan that gives the entire reserve its other-worldly appearance. The pan is usually dry but fills with water during the summer months (October - April), attracting hundreds of Pelicans and Flamingos.
The rainy season is also the time when most of the babies are born and while it is not considered the best time to visit the reserve, a visit during this period provides very different and exciting sightings.
During the dry months salt, in the form of a saline dust, is blown across the landscape and out over the Atlantic ocean, enriching the soil along the way with a life sustaining mixture of minerals that the wildlife in the area has adapted to rely on.
Intense heat causes mirages to shimmer out of the heat across the flat landscape as a line of Giraffe move gracefully across the plains towards a nearby water source.
Something shuffles out of sight into a nearby tree to your right as one of the Lions lying on a rock just in front of you stretches, yawns and uncurls its massive paw before rolling over and going back to sleep - without a care in the world.
Despite its barren and unaccommodating appearance, Etosha National Park ranks very highly as one of the best game viewing destinations one might have. The barren, level landscape makes spotting the animals relatively easy and the lack of water results in phenomenal sightings throughout the day and night at the various watering holes.
Home to over 340 species of birds, the wildlife reserve is a birdwatchers mecca with many visitors turning to peer up into the trees or further into the sky rather than out onto the salt pan.
The unique environment results in an interesting mixture of savannah, semi-arid/desert and wetland birds and visitors can look forward to rare and interesting sightings.
Staying in Etosha
The accommodation camps within the park each overlook their own watering hole where visitors can sit for a few hours at any time of the day and night and see a plethora of animals coming down for a drink.
by Katie Edge