Formed in 1907, and once the largest reserve in the world, Etosha National Park remains one of the most important animal sanctuaries in southern Africa.
Dominated by an enormous mineral pan, the park is a magnet for a huge range of game, which crowd in around Etosha’s waterholes throughout the year. The pan itself – originally a lake before its main feeder river changed course – is dry for most of the year, but, in the summer, when the rains are good, it fills with water, and the area is briefly transformed into a vibrant lake habitat: flamingo and pelican flock to the area; great numbers of grazers arrive; and, with them, come the blocks of predators – lion, cheetah and even leopard.
While we tend not to use them, it is worth knowing that there are 4 lodges in the park. The newest – and most modern and environmentally conscious – of these is Onkoshi Camp. All are filled to bursting point during the school holidays. However, Etosha is not the Maasai Mara, where half a dozen plus vehicles can crowd in on a single lion sighting. Nor is it Ngorongoro Crater, where viewing times are heavily restricted. The park may have an international profile, but Namibia as a whole is still an unknown quantity when it comes to luxury African safaris. More, there exists a handful of excellent luxury lodges outside the park itself, ensuring that travellers get greater choice and can take advantage of activities not always available to those staying inside Etosha’s boundaries.