Namibia : Etosha National Park
Etosha is Namibia’s main game viewing destination and one of Africa’s best game reserves. Its scrubby savannah and shimmering salt pans cover over 8,000 square miles and during the dry season tens of thousands of animals come to the waterholes to drink. The Pan itself is strictly off-limits, but a network of gravel roads runs along its edge and you can enjoy great views and photo opportunities from your car or over a sundowner back at camp. It's really easy to self-drive here, but if you want a guide, you can book one at the camps inside the park or if you are staying in a private concession outside the park they will have guides on hand for you. Etosha's drawback is that there is limited accommodation within the park and what there is can become crowded during regional school holidays. However, there are alternatives on the private concessions that border the park and you can mix the two to enjoy different experiences.
Okaukuejo is one of the three newly refurbished former government rest camps and is a popular lodge at the southern entrance to the park, overlooking a permanent, floodlit waterhole which is regularly visited by game. There are a variety of options including 40 well-priced double rooms to five double-story premier waterhole chalets with a balcony overlooking the waterhole. The two-room chalets are good for families. The main attraction of this camp is the permanent waterhole which is floodlit at night.
Ongava is a 30,000-hectare private concession on the southern boundary of Etosha National Park and has three small luxurious camps. As it is a private game reserve there is the option of going walking and on night game drives which are not allowed in Etosha., and it has its own concentration of great wildlife including giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, gemsbok and the rare blackfaced impala, pursued by lion, leopard and cheetah. You may also see black and white rhino.
Ongava Lodge is in the foothills of the Ondundozonanandana Range and has 12 rock and thatch chalets, which are very luxurious if a bit close to each other. Each chalet is glass-fronted and has an en-suite bathroom with flush toilet, a bath and a shower. The main sitting, bar and dining area is under thatch and has great views across the plains below. At night you will eat out under the stars on the dining terrace and you can sit and have a drink and watch the game come to drink at the floodlit water hole below you. There is also a swimming pool.
Ongava Tented Camp is smaller and more personable. In the centre of the reserve, it is a small classic tented camp with eight East African-style tents (one family) with open air, en-suite bathrooms at the back of each tent. The main dining room is under thatch and there is a veranda for dining under the stars. The camp also has a pool. There is a much frequented, floodlit waterhole in front of the camp and you have excellent game viewing from the bar, swimming pool and the tents. Ongava Lodge is much more luxurious and does have great views but the tented camp has much more charm and with game all around you feel part of the wilderness.
"We had a very good game drive here with lots of rhinos and lions, enthusiastic guides and amazing service. It was great to see the animals at such close proximity at the waterhole as well as on bush walks and drives."
Gail and James, Leeds
Onkoshi Camp is unique as it is the only camp within Etosha National Park. It is a new, small luxury camp set on a secluded peninsular overlooking the Etosha pan and is slightly off the beaten track. It has beautiful views across the pan and with just 15 thatched rooms on elevated wooden decks, it offers a personal and exclusive experience. The huge expanse of space gives a wonderful sense of isolation and peace, and you can go on day and night game drives to areas of the park not open to self-drive visitors, guided walks and even moonlight walks on the Etosha Pan (when conditions allow). You can also enjoy private dining under the stars and relaxation in the infinity pool.