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I Dream Africa

I Dream Africa

Etosha National Park


Etosha National Park and Etosha Pan is one of Namibia's biggest attractions and draw thousands of local and foreign visitors each year.

Etosha National park is accessible from either Outjo or Tsumeb. It has three popular rest camps.

Drive west, and you'll find the famous waterhole of Okaukuejo rest camp. In the centre of the park lies the Halali rest camp and to the east lies the well-known restored fort of Namutoni rest camp.

During a good rainy season, water gathers foot-high in the Etosha Pan, only to evaporate in the dry season, leaving brackish sediments and cracked mud behind.

Annually, Etosha draws tens of thousands of visitors. It is favored by both Namibians as well as tourists due to its rich Wildlife as well as its interesting history.


You'll experience 24-hour theatrical performances by Lion, Elephant, Rhino, a variety of buck, Giraffe and other animal species.

Only a few Gemsbok and Ostrich dare to venture into the endless void of the pan, their frames creating strange shapes in the white shimmering sunlight.

Approximately 145 species of animal Wildlife are found in the Etosha National Park. Some, like the black Rhino, Cheetah and black-faced Impala, are on the list of endangered animals. Although Etosha’s elephants are reputedly the largest in Africa, their tusks are poorly developed due to the absence of certain minerals and genetic defects.

Other large animals include: blue Wildebeest, mountain and plains Zebra, Hyena, Lion, Leopard, Baboon and Antelopes such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Eland and the tiny Damara Dik-Kik. Smaller animals include the jackal, bat-eared Fox, honey badger, warthog and ground squirrels.

340 Bird species occur in the park and it is the most important breeding ground for the greater and lesser Flamingos in Southern Africa.


In 1907, the German government proclaimed Etosha as Namibia’s first conservation area covering an enormous 93,240 square kilometres, the largest game reserve at the time.

The protected area gradually diminished as human needs increased and in 1975 it stood at 22,270 square kilometres. Still one of the largest and most prominent African Game Reserves, Etosha National Park does mainly consist of a huge salt pan measuring approximately 5,000 square kilometres, which can be seen even from space.

As interesting as its unique Wildlife is the history of the Etosha Pan and the areas surrounding it. Certain names given to varies places in and around Etosha indicate a strong presence of San people, while Herero, Oshindonga and Nama names also occur.Afrikaans, English and German as well as Latin names are indicative of the influences of Europeans in this area.

The first European explorers to Etosha were Sir Francis Galton and Charles John Andersson who reached the spring at Namutoni in 1851, followed by missionary Hugo Hahn and the hunter/artist Axel Eriksson.

In 1879 the Thirstland Trekkers stopped over at Namutoni and Rietfontein on their return from Angola. The German government proclaimed the first hunting regulations as early as 1892 when it had become evident that without formal protection of the animal Wildlife, they would soon be wiped out altogether.

After the outbreak of the rinderpest in 1986, control posts were established at Namutoni, Okaukuejo and Rietfontein to prevent stock movement and to exterminate contaminated Game to prevent the disease from spreading. Two forts were built to replace the provisional accommodation; Okaukuejo (1902) and Namutoni (1903).
While the fort at Okaukuejo was demolished at a later stage, the first fort at Namutoni was ransacked and destroyed by an attack of Ovambo warriors in 1904 and rebuilt from 1904-1906. In its final stage, it was the largest German military fortification in Namibia. It had an impressive appearance, but was of little military value as it was built mainly from clay.

Abandoned in 1912, it served briefly in 1915 as a military stronghold, and parts of it were utilised as a police station by the South Africans. Having decayed to the extent that its entire demolition was considered, the Historical Monuments Commission pushed for its restoration in the 1950’s. It was extended again in 1983 and is now part of the main tourism rest camps in the Etosha Pan.

Okaukuejo was greatly enlarged in 1967, while Halali was taken into commission the same year. In 1974, the Etosha Ecological Institute was formed as research became increasingly important due to the shrinkage of the park and the increase in game numbers.

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