Etosha National Park

Many travelers only come to Namibia for the Etosha National Park. Scrubby savannah characterizes the western part of the park and mixed woodland covers most of the east. The Etosha Pan is a huge, flat, salt desert that holds water only after the occasional rains. It is the main source of water for the park's wildlife. In the winter, the pan attracts scores of wildlife, including numerous birds, elephants, giraffes, lions, zebras and some cheetahs and leopards. Protected species like the black-faced impala and black rhino can be seen in Etosha as well. Sometimes, when rains are exceptionally heavy, the pan might hold up to 1 meter (3 feet) of water and thousands flamingoes and pelicans arrive to feed and breed. The biggest change of seeing animals gathering around the water holes is in the summer between May and September, when the pan holds little water and the animals have to move in closer.

Etosha is the largest game reserve in the world, covering 22,270 kmĀ², so it is impossible to see everything in just a day or so. The best way to explore it is to stay a few days and camp in one of the three rest camps (Namutoni, Halali and Okaukuejo). There are places where you can put up your tent, or park your caravan, but rooms are available as well. The facilities are of very high standard. The distance between the camps is about 70 km (43 miles). Etosha is more than 500 km (310 miles) northwest of Windhoek. The nearest commercial airport is in the town of Tsumeb. From Windhoek public transport will take you as far as Tsumeb, but after that you will have to rent a car or join a tour group.

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