Etosha National Park is considered Namibia’s top destination for game-viewing. The park is centered on a vast open salt pan, which takes up about a quarter of the park’s land and is surrounded by grassy savannah plains and acacia woodland. The area is nicknamed the “Place of Mirages”, due to the horizon-less haze that outlines the pan. The elephants that emerge from the haze are often seen with a thin layer of white clay to protect themselves with the intense Namibian sun and are known as “Great Whites” to many visitors of the park.
The area is best known for its network of watering holes, which attract wildlife in great numbers. The animals in this park are therefore very easy to find, which in turn attracts many self-drivers to the park. The density of wildlife in Etosha is unrivalled in Namibia, that is certain, but those looking for a more authentic game-viewing experience are better suited to the more remote areas of the country where the wildlife sightings will be more challenging, but there will be far fewer crowds.
The best way to approach Etosha National Park is to stay in the higher quality private reserves situated around the periphery of the park. From here you can take day trips into the park itself, but can retreat into the lusher terrains of the private reserves which offer more exclusive and intimate wildlife experiences.