Wild waterholes & desert pans
When it come to landscapes and scenery, Namibia is arguably the most beautiful country in the world. But it has it’s fair share of wildlife too, and Etosha is certainly the most known place to observe animals in their natural habitat.
The National Park itself is enormous; more than 22 000m². At it’s center is a vast open salt pan, which briefly turns into a shallow lake after a downpour in the wet season. Around this pan are large sections of grassland and scrub acacia woodland, and this is where you’ll find most animals.
More precisely; with the exception of the wet season (December to March), they’ll be be congregating around Etosha’s network of natural and pumped waterholes. So all it takes for visitors is to drive from one waterhole to the next. As the landscape is rather open, viewing animals is incredibly easy.
This abundance of wildlife attracts a lot of self-drivers, so at times the park can be very busy. There’s only three access gate to the park; east, west and south. Most self divers enter from the south and exit in the east or vice versa, and as there’s only one main road between those two gates this section of the park is by far the busiest.
A lot could be improved with better traffic management; giving self-drivers multiple routes to drive this section. But for now, there’s some road sections and waterholes that everyone simply need pass in order to get from south to east.
Luckily, there’s options to stay away from the crowds. To the east is Onguma private reserve, offering some really nice accommodation options. And to the south there’s Ongava private reserve, quite a large area that offers high quality safaris. Both reserves offer high quality accommodation and safari guiding. But perhaps the most important of all is that they both allow visitors to explore Etosha while avoiding the self drive crowds.
Which doesn’t mean you should completely avoid Etosha National park. You can still visit it from these reserves, if and when needed. And you can focus on the much quieter west section of the park. This section has another private reserve; Etosha Heights reserve.
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