​Expert Reviews – Etosha NP

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Ariadne van Zandbergen   –  
South Africa ZA
Visited: Wet season

Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.

10 people found this review helpful.

Etosha, best visited in the dry winter months
Overall rating

As a photographer, I’ve often looked longingly at the numerous excellent wildlife images taken in Etosha National Park. In many cases you don’t even have to read the caption; Etosha pictures tend to be quite distinctive. The white bleached calcite soil is a good give away and I guess there are few places where such numbers and variety of animals can be seen at any time at a waterhole.

I went to Etosha in the middle of the rainy season and I didn’t get to see any of that. As can be expected, wildlife was very dispersed and the grass was long. Sitting at waterholes, which would normally be the way to work Etosha National Park, proofed to be a waste of time. I still had some good sightings: the very active jackals were a pleasure to watch and the birding was great with black korhaans showing off their mating displays. The very localized black-faced impala and Damara dik-dik were all over the place. My highlight was a black-rhino, which allowed me to watch her without running towards or away from me, as most black rhino tend to do. I guess, another place I need to get back to sometime.

Lucy Corne   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: February

Lucy is travel writer for a range of publications, including Lonely Planet's guides to Africa, Southern Africa and South Africa.

3 people found this review helpful.

Sandy plains and starry skies
Overall rating

Four of the Big Five inhabit Namibia's premier National Park (no buffalo), along with hyena, cheetah, bat-eared fox and honey badger, among others. Antelope can be spotted from afar on the sparsely vegetated, flat 'sandscape' whose dusty roads stretch far into the distance. In this arid park, animals congregate around the many waterholes, a great place to set up your camera and picnic for an afternoon. Some waterholes are easily accessible from camps and watching for animals at a floodlit pool after dark was a park highlight, even if we didn't really see much. Instead, we turned our eyes skywards and enjoyed a safari of the celestial kind.

Mary Fitzpatrick   –  
United States US
Visited: Multiple times

Mary is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including South Africa, Tanzania, East Africa and Africa.

Abundant Wildlife & a Vast Salt Pan
Overall rating

With its arid scrublands, the searing, barren expanses of Etosha Pan and rather impersonal rest camps, it’s easy to underestimate Etosha. Yet, allow some time to get to know the park and its appeal is guaranteed to grow. One of the main draws is convenient access to a truly impressive array of wildlife. Among the highlights are both black and white rhinos, as well as lions, especially in the park’s southern and eastern reaches. During the Dry season, elephant, giraffe, zebra, ostrich and a variety of antelope are almost guaranteed.

While the park rest camps get very full during the peak Dry season months, they offer fine camp-based wildlife watching. The waterhole next to Okaukuejo camp is especially well situated for observing the nighttime parade of thirsty animals coming to drink. Thanks to its easy tarmac access and a network of well-maintained roads, Etosha is well suited to self-drive safaris. The location also conveniently lends itself to combination itineraries with other areas of Namibia.

Average Expert Rating

  • 4.1/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

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