People are traveling to Africa for many reasons, but the most important are three: African safari and lots of animals; authentic peoples and silence, solitude and the beauty of intact nature.
Etosha NP on amazing way introduces us with wild but natural and beautiful Africa, where animals are the most important and people are just charmed and amazed observers.
National Park Etosha lies on North West side of Namibia and it is a little bigger than Slovenia (cca 22.000 km2). It is special because of quantity of wild animals, which, especially in dry season (from May to November with peak in summer months), are hanging around many water holes.
Name Etosha means “big white space” and it applies to big Etosha pan that covers almost one quarter of entire area of national park.
Etosha is home for many mammals, birds, reptiles and even some endangered species as black rhino.
If I am being totally honest, we wanted to see a few rhinos, giraffes, elephants and a lion. But what we saw in Etosha was much more than we expected, it was astonishing, amazing and crazy.
To see this amazing wildlife in Etosha you have to be there in dry season when animals are hanging around water holes in the park.
All you need is a map and time to drive around water holes and observe the animals. You can get the map in every camp, but it is best to print it at home.
Special thing about Etosha is freedom. Freedom to explore, as you don´t have to pay for group safari, instead you explore on your own. With obeying some rules, of course, but nevertheless free, wild and authentic.
This freedom on our travels means a lot to us. Besides health (which is always first priority) is freedom the most important quality of life in general, but as well when traveling. We loved Etosha so much because it offers a lot of that.
You have to take time to explore Etosha. At least three days, but better a day or two more. We could spend a week here and wouldn’t be bored.
There are limited accommodations inside the national park, so you have to make reservations soon, at least six months prior the trip. Most visitors decide to spend the nights in one of six camps in Etosha. Two of them are luxury ones and are quite expansive, so for most of us there are for camps to choose from.
Those are: Olifantsrus on West side and Halali, Namutoni and Okaukejo on East side of park. We camped in those three on East side, but entered camp on West side (Galton Gate) as well and saw beautiful and less visited West side of national park.
If we would decide again, we would spend for night in all four camps.
Rules in national park are clear and strict. It is not allowed to step out of the car or lean from the windows. Exception is if you have flat tire – as it happened to us , and believe me Peter changed it expressly. You can step out of the car in special places that are protected with fence, where there are toilets and places to eat. And of course in camps.
Why all this caution: because of animals and our safety. Believe me, when you are there, you understand 🙂 .
The second important rule is that camp gate closes at sunset and opens at sunrise. It is prohibited to drive around park or be there in between those hours. The reason is obvious and legitimate. Luckily this rule is consistently and strictly abides by. Besides that you are free to explore breathtaking African safari that you can´t find similar 🙂 .
Why is Etosha also so special?
Because there are water holes in every camp and you can observe what is going on by the water hole from safe spot in the camp, with beer in one hand in photo in the other. As you would be sitting in the cinema, except it is live. Not any film, but the funkiest Animal Planet or National Geografic program.
And there is also a price of visiting Etosha. Complete African travel isn´t the cheapest, mainly because of expansive airplane tickets (but they are becoming cheaper) and the price of 4W car with tents and all camping equipment. This is the expansive part. But entrance fee to Etosha itself is crazily cheap for all that you get.
Entrance fee for Etosha is 11 eur for a car (and all persons in it) for one day. On our opinion, almost for free 🙂 .
When camping inside the national park, they charge per person. We have to pay 38 eur for one night for four pesrons (three adults and one kid, as Lan has 13 years and that is considered as adult). That is not for free, but it is still cheap, considering you are spending the night inside one of the most beautiful national parks in the world, with freedom to explore and the quantity of wild animals around water holes.
It was unforgettable experience and worth every cent 🙂 .