Last updated on September 28th, 2018 at 09:44 pm

Etosha National Park, located in Northern Namibia, is one of Africa’s most unique National Parks. It’s main characteristics – apart form boasting 4 out of the big 5 – is that at its center is the Etosha pan – a salt pan large enough to be seen from space! Believed to have been formed over 100 million years ago it is 130km long and 50km wide. (It’s actually bigger than the entire Kruger National Park in South Africa!)
When the Europeans discovered the area in around 1851, they were accompanied by the Ovambo Traders. Etosha can be loosely translated as “Great White Place” in the Ovambo language – due to the salt pan and dusty landscape in winter – and it is their traditional name for the land that stands to this day.

Etosha National Park Namibia Photo Tour

Etosha National Park, Namibia – A Quick Travel Guide

Quick Note: These photos are from my trip to Africa in 2016. I like to think my photography was OK back then (it did get me noticed by Google and invited to Christmas Island as one of their wildlife photographers in December 2017), but it has improved dramatically since then. Take a look at my photography page or recent Hong Kong Photo Guide for a taste of what 2 years on the road + my upgraded camera gear puts out!)

Etosha is home to thousands of animals across hundreds of species. With 4 of the Big 5 including Elephants, Leopards, Lions and both White and the endangered Black Rhino, you’ll be spoilt for choice for wild game (only missing out on seeing the great African Buffalo). With multiple waterholes located throughout the park you’re almost guaranteed sightings of at least a couple of the 5.. and if not there are plenty of giraffes, zebra, ostrich, hyena, and every type of antelope under the sun to go around!

Being able to watch these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is one of the most incredible travel experiences I have ever had, and one I would repeat in a heartbeat should the opportunity arise. From listening to safari guides explaining about the wildlife and their habits, to watching it unfold before you eyes, you’ll never want to step foot inside a zoo again. But for those who are not able to visit Africa, I hope this photo tour gives you a little glimpse into our wonderful natural world – and if this inspires you to hop on a plane and see for yourself, the quick tips below will help with your planning!

Etosha National Park Quick Tips & Info
– Best Time To Visit: Winter (May – December) when the park is dry and game viewing is easier with the number of waterholes within the park
– Park Fees:
approx $80 NAD per adult
– Self Drive
is possible in a high suspension vehicle. Trails are easily marked and it is one of the easiest South African Parks to overland or road trip yourself.
– Guided Game Drives:
$610-650 NAD per adult (available Morning, Afternoon + Evening)
– Where to Stay: 
Gondwana Etosha Safari Lodge (in Okaukuejo, 10km from Anderson Gate inside the Park) or Gondwana Safari Camp staying inside the camp and hearing the animals all around you as you go to sleep is ah-maze-ing! Okaukuejo is also home to the large illuminated waterhole that I feature later in the post.
– Essential Things to Bring: Sunglasses, Sunscreen,Binoculars,Mosquito Repellent,
and a sun hat
– See More of Namibia
on these Overland Safari Tours (which includes Etosha and so many other amazing Namibian sights and experiences like Sousselvei, Fish River Canyon & Spitzkoppe)

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Etosha National Park in Photographs

The landscape is just incredible in the dry season with vast emptiness as far as the eye can seeuntil you drive into a dust storm! If you visit in Summer (the wet season) this is transformed into a lush green animal hiding haven. Think of visiting in the dry season as a Safari for beginners with much higher chances of seeing lots of wildlife at the waterholes, making for an amazing Safari experience.

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourWe sat at this waterhole for over an hour watching the animals come and go. But this tower of giraffes grabbing a drink were one of my favorite sights.

Giraffes drinking in EtoshaIt’s no mean feat to get water down that long neck. New research suggests that there is a ‘plunger pump’ at work. Want to know more about how this works? Click here!

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourThe ostrich is the largest flightless bird in Africa and they can run up to 43 miles per hour – that’s 70km! In South Africa Ostrich’s are bred for their feathers and skin – but here in Etosha, they can roam wild and free.

RELATED: Ready for more animals and National Parks? Take a Tour of Chobe National Park in Botswana

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourThis is a black rhino. One of the most endangered animals on the planet. Despite both white and black rhino’s being the same colour, you can tell them apart by the shape of their mouths. Black Rhinos have a small rounded mouth, whilst white rhinos have a quite prominent square jaw. (Apologies for the less than crisp image quality, my Lumix Fz70 was stretched to capacity trying to capture this moment from a few km away and on short notice before he walked behind the bush!)

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourZebras are one of my favorite animals, but did you know that no two Zebra are exactly the same? The striped pattern is different on every zebra and acts as camouflage from predators. This is because those big cats (lions/leopards) cannot tell where one zebra ends and another starts when they run as a herd. How cool is nature?!

RELATED – Etosha – and Namibia in General – is one of the Best Places to Visit in Africa. Click to read the full post and find out more!

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourOh, and speaking of lions… this lonely male was seen out on the prowl. Unlucky for him (and us!) he was no where near any potential food source when we spotted him! As morbid as it sounds, to see a ‘kill’ – the whole circle of life encapsulated in one event – is still at the top of my Africa wish-list.

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourOh my. Those eyelashes! Simply Gorgeous!

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourThe Oryx are one of the biggest species of antelope and can weigh up to 170kg!

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourYou may be thinking, hey – Vicki said there were no buffalo in Etosha – and there are not, if you are counting them as the Big 5. These are in fact Water Buffalo, and they originated in Asia. I’m not entirely sue on how they ended up in Namibia.. but they did.

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourBlink and you’ll miss this spotted hyena – how well camouflaged is he?!

RELATED: Going on a African Safari is one of the Best Wildlife Holidays in the World. Click here to find out what the others are!

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Zebras in EtoshaHow many zebra can you see? I think we stopped counting at 100!!

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo Tour

Did you know that Ostrich’s mate for life?! The male has the striking black and white coloring which is said the attract the females, who are a light brown in color.

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourDon’t Springbok’s (part of the antelope family) have the prettiest faces?!

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourThese gorgeous creatures are known as the lesser Kudu – also part of the antelope family – and are enjoying a little drink at the waterhole.

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourAll the animals together on the pan – check out how tiny the springbok look beside the giraffe!

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourThese two are Jackals. Closely related to the wolf family, they are carnivorous scavengers who are filled with disease.. Not as cute now, hey?! These are the critters can be found stripping the carcasses of dead animals that have been left by other predators. I have footage, but it’s a bit graphic. They are  also small enough to get into the campsites at night and will steal your flip flops if you leave them outside your tent.. (true story)

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Etosha National Park Namibia Photo TourIf you only have one day/night in Etosha – make sure you stay in Okokaukuejo, located 10km from Anderson Gate inside the park. It boasts a large waterhole that is illuminated throughout the night and surrounded by benches (behind a wall and wire) so that you can sit and watch the animals come an go all night.

One of my absolute highlights of my time in Africa was this night when 30+ elephants rocked up to the waterhole and stayed for over an hour. This night I was on the cooking team and nobody got dinner until very very late!

Want to know more about the Cooking Team? Read My post on What to Expect On An Overland African Safari

Etosha National Park Namibia Photo Tour… and when I thought it couldn’t get better – say hello Mr White Rhino!! Look how small he is compared to the baby elephant in the background! Just incredible!

RELATED – Mammals not your favorite kind of wildlife? Take a peek at my Christmas Island Red Crab Migration Photography Guide and be amazing as millions of crabs take over the coastline’s of Australia’s Christmas Island.

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Sunset in Etosha National ParkAnd make sure you don’t miss sunset. The red hue as the sun goes down is beyond beautiful!

So there you have it! I hope you enjoyed my photo tour of Etosha National Park in Namibia – and I hope you get to see all of this and more if you ever get to Africa!

And if this post has got you curious as to what the rest of Namibia looks like – take a look at these beautiful Photographs of Namibia and if you’re curious about other attractions in Namibia – read this Namibia Travel Guide.

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