In 1907, the arid plains and vast savannahs in Namibia’s northwest Kunene region were designated as the country’s second game reserve. Today, what’s known as Etosha National Park has become one of the most popular attractions for travelers to this southern African destination. Visitors can spot all of the continent’s famous Big Five on self-guided tours or sunrise, sunset and night game drives. Luxurious rest camps offer modern amenities and their well-kept watering holes provide some of the best game viewing and photo ops during dry season. Massive elephants, graceful gazelle, proud lions and striped zebras sip from the same swell side by side, in what may be one of the country’s most spectacular sites.
Etosha spans slightly less than 9,000 square kilometers, with vast saltpans, natural watering holes, sweeping savannahs and expansive grasslands. The Dolomite Hills, a known habitat for predators like leopards, are located near the Andersson entrance gate, and similar hills near western Etosha are the only place in the park where mountain zebra roam.
Etosha is most often accessed from the city of Outjo—known by locals as the “Gateway to Etosha.” It’s possible for travelers to spend a day in this park, but several rest camps including Okaukuejo, Namutoni, Halali and Onkoshi offer accommodation inside the park. Namibia’s dry season, where wildlife viewing is at its peak, goes from April to late October. Watering holes are most spectacular this time of year.