Impressions from Etosha National Park

Impressions from Etosha National Park

Welcome to a breathtaking expedition through the remarkable landscapes of Etosha National Park, a true jewel of Namibia's wilderness. Stretching over 22,935 square kilometers (8,855 square miles)¹, this iconic park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. Its diverse ecosystems, from arid savannas to shimmering salt pans, is home to elephants, rhinos, lions, giraffes, leopards, and much more.¹ Proclaimed in 1907 it's one of the most popular national parks in Africa and a major tourist destination in Namibia.

The Oshindonga name for the pan was Etotha, meaning ‘the place where no plants grow’, but early European traders, unable to pronounce the name, called it ‘Etosha’.¹

The park's climate, characterized by hot summers and warm dry winters, is a BSh climate on the Köppen climate classification. Temperatures, given it's a desert, can diverge greatly between day and night.

Map showing the borders of Etosha National Park. Source: Jokisch, Alexander. (2009). A buffer for Etosha The attitudes towards a buffer zone on private farmland at the south-western border of the Etosha National Park (Namibia) and chances for its implementation. 10.13140/RG.2.1.4368.5849.

Etosha is easily accessible from Windhoek via the national highway B1. The B1 stretches all the way from Angola in the north to the border with South Africa in the south. If you're self-driving, ensure you plan enough time, always fuel up, carry ample drinking water, and travel during daylight. The park has four gates: Galton Gate, Anderson Gate, King Nehale Gate, and Von Lindequist Gate. Galton Gate in the west sees the least traffic due to restricted access to that section of the park. Anderson Gate is reachable via the C29, while the other gates are accessible via the aforementioned B1.


Accommodation primarily takes the form of lodges. You have the option to stay either inside or outside the park. Lodges within the park tend to be somewhat pricier, but they offer the advantage of allowing you to witness the captivating sunrise and sunset within the park itself without waiting for the gates to open. During my stay, I opted for the Mushara Lodge located outside the park. Conveniently situated just a few kilometers from the Von Lindequist Gate, this lodge features its own game park inhabited by elephants and offers charming chalets.


The highlight of every journey to Etosha is undoubtedly game viewing. Early in the morning or late in the evening are the best times. Nearly every lodge has experienced and enthusiastic guides who have intricate knowledge of the Etosha pan, the flora and fauna and the diverse animal species that one can encounter during a game drive.

Amidst the vast expanses of Etosha National Park, graceful giraffes emerge as true ambassadors of the wild, their towering presence harmonizing with the African savanna. These magnificent creatures, with their distinctive patterns and serene demeanor, embody the untamed beauty that thrives within this pristine wilderness.

The iconic Burchell's zebras create a mesmerizing spectacle, their striking black and white stripes painting a vivid picture of African wilderness.

Etosha's grandeur is crowned by the presence of majestic elephants, gentle giants that traverse this timeless landscape.

The black-faced impala is restricted to southwestern Africa, occurring in northwestern Namibia and southwestern Angola only.

But there is so much more to explore – Oryx, black-backed jackals, rhinos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, wildebeests, springboks, and a multitude of other captivating animals await your discovery.

¹ Ministry of Environment and Tourism Namibia - Etosha National Park: