Etosha National Park is one of the best and most famous wildlife sanctuaries in Africa. It was proclaimed a game reserve by German Governor von Lindequist in 1907 and in total covers an area of over 22,000 square kilometres. The heart of the park is the Etosha Pan, meaning "great white water", an extensive, flat depression of about 5000 sq km. This vast, white expanse is a place of shimmering images and mirage, and viewing the game in this unique setting makes Etosha an unforgettable experience.
Home to over 100 types of mammal, 342 bird species and 110 reptiles, the variety of fauna is remarkable. Except for fish that is, of which there is just one variety!
The Etosha pan is actually part of the greater Kalahari Basin, a huge area that was formed over 950 million years ago. 2 million years ago it was a lake fed by the Kunene River, but over the years the course slowly changes and resulted in the lake drying, leaving only the salt and clay floor. If the area gets heavy rain the bed still fills and becomes a popular place for thousands of wading birds, including flamingos. Normally however the big attraction of the area to the wildlife are the springs that run round the edge of the pan.
The best time to visit Etosha is from May to September when it is cooler, but it is possible to go there throughout the year. By October, although the wildlife densities are impressive, Etosha resembles something of a hot dust bowl. The most common big game is elephant, giraffe, rhino and lion, plus a great wealth of grazers. Inside the park there are three rest camps, run by a government department. More luxurious accommodation is found just outside the park gates and offer superb accommodation as well as guided game-drives from expert rangers who know the park well.