Etosha National Park is one of Africa's major wildlife sanctuaries, being proclaimed a game reserve in 1907 and covering an area of more than 22 750sq kms. Despite being a highly 'managed' environment featuring a cluster of man-made water-points around the central pan and having its boundary patrolled and electrified, this is indeed one of the most special game parks in Africa. During the drier months of June to November the water points exert a magnetic pull on the big game herds, and forms the centrepiece for visitors looking to see the nearly 150 mammal species to found in the Park, including several rare and endangered species such as the black rhino, black-faced impala, tssesebe and gemsbok.
The four government rest camps are managed by Namibia Wildlife Resorts – Namutoni, Halali and Okaukuejo were all extensively refurbished in 2007. The latest addition to the portfolio, Onkoshi Camp, offers a luxurious option for the discerning traveller. Game viewing in Etosha is largely about basing yourself at one of the waterholes and waiting for the animals to come and drink – morning and evening game drives with an experienced guide are also available, or you could obtain a map of the area at the entrance gate and self drive.
Namutoni is located on the eastern side of Etosha National Park. It is also the closest restcamp to the picturesque Fischer's Pan, so expect great concentrations of water birds around here after the rains – including a breeding colony of flamingos.
The camp centres around an old German Fort, overlooking the King Nehale waterhole. The Fort has been developed into the hub of activity, offering two restaurants, a relaxation lounge, a bar, crafts boutique, curio shop, jewellers and bookstore. The Fort area is for pedestrian access only, and an elevated decked walkway along the waterhole facing wall will provide opportunities for enjoying the surrounding scenery, wildlife and the spectacular sunsets.
The accommodation is spacious and comfortable, and there is a shop for purchases as well as a filling station for your vehicle.
Halali Camp is located halfway between Okaukuejo and Namutoni camps and offers exceptional game viewing opportunities from its elevated position as the animals come to drink at the waterhole. The waterhole is flood-lit and regularly visited by animals such as springbok, zebra and rhino.
Accommodation at Halali comprise of double rooms, bush chalets and family chalets sleeping 4 persons. All the rooms feature large sliding doors, allowing you to fully experience the peace and tranquillity of the camp. The camp also features a swimming pool, kiosk, restaurant, bar and shop – there are camping facilities available for the more adventurous.
Okaukuejo is the oldest tourist camp in Etosha and it currently functions as the administrative hub of the park, as well as being home to the Etosha Ecological Institute. The main attraction of this camp is that it overlooks a permanent waterhole, which is floodlit at night. Here a wide diversity of wildlife congregates and interacts. The spectacle starts at dawn, with animals coming in large numbers to quench their thirst. The excitement continues throughout the day and deep into the night. In the early evenings, it is not uncommon to have black rhinoceros, elephant and lion, all drinking at the same time.
Accommodation is provided to suit every need, the double rooms comprising of a separate lounge area for a bit of extra space. Facilities at the camp include a restaurant, bar, shop, swimming pool and kiosk. The restaurant offers both buffet and a la carte meals.
The latest addition to the NWR portfolio, Onkoshi camp provides a totally private and exclusive game experience on the eastern side of Etosha. Set away from the tourist routes or any other developments, Onkoshi’s 15 bedrooms are built on wooden decks to minimise the impact on the environment. Guests report to Namutoni camp, from where they are transported to Onkoshi. Enjoy the shimmering vistas over Etosha Pan and feel a real sense of limitless space and tranquillity.
The rooms are built with thatched rooves and canvas walls, the large doors allowing the sounds and smells of nature inside. Tastefully decorated with an African influence, the furnishings are locally crafted from wood and metal to provide an ethnic ambience. The rooms feature 2 x ¾ sized beds – the honeymoon suite provides a king sized bed. Enjoy endless luxury and comfort in this unique setting.
Etosha, meaning 'place of dry water', is centred around a huge, flat calcrete depression of about 5,000 square kms in far northern Namibia. The 'Pan' provides a great, silver-white backdrop of shimmering mirages to an area of semi-arid savannah grassland and thorn scrub. The pan itself contains water only after very good rains, and sometimes for only a few days each year, but is enough to stimulate the growth of a certain type of blue-green algae which lures thousands of flamingos.
Namibia Wildlife Resorts is now offering, for the first time in the 100 year history of the park, guided night drives from the three camps in Etosha, providing visitors with an opportunity to experience an entirely different side of Etosha's wildlife treasures. Morning and afternoon guided drives are also on offer. All guided drives are conducted in specially modified land-rovers, using experienced guides who will help you discover the wonders of nature, both big and small.