Let's all go to Etosha National Park
Travelling through Namibia can be a fantastic experience and a visit to the Etosha National park will certainly allow you to see why! It is a massive area of the country, taking up 20,000 sq km and is filled to the brink with amazing animals, birds, reptiles and insects.
One of the most popular places anybody will visit when they go to Namibia is the Etosha National Park. It is a massive park located in the Kunene Region in the north-west Namibia. The Etosha National Park was first created in 1907 when the country was still under German rule and it was the largest game park in the entire world, with a total size of 100,000 square kilometres.
Etosha National Park is now only around a quarter of it's original size but still has various amounts of important land and wildlife that are protected. The most dominant feature of the entire park is the Etosha Pan, a large desert salt pan which is a whopping 130km long and 50km wide in most areas. This salt pan creates a vast environment which makes it impossible for most creatures and plants to live there and is highly visible from space. For the most part of the year the salt pan is dry, but during the brief periods in which it enjoys water it attracts numerous wildlife such as pelicans, flamingos some rare birds and rhinos.
To help prevent the spread of various diseases throughout the park, a large fence was built that stretches across the 850km border of the park. New waterholes have been created to help the animals in dry period and to attract tourists.
The park itself was discovered way back in the 1850s by European explorers Francis Galton and John Andersson but it didn't become a hub for tourists until the 20th century. Here, several prominent figures declared the area a reserve due to the lack of animal numbers previously seen in the area and this allowed the land area to change several times over the years until its current borders were confirmed in the 1970s.
The eastern part of the park is open strictly to the general public while the other part of the park on the western side is reserved for tour operators. If you get the chance to go on one of these tours then it is highly recommended, as you will find all manners of extra animals and experiences for you to love and enjoy.
There are numerous information centres spread throughout the park, as well as many different camp sites for tourists. When you arrive at the park it is a requirement that you check in at the visitor's centre and obtain a permit for a small fee. You then need to present this permit at your camp site, where you will pay for any accommodation balance that you may owe. All stays at camp sites are required to be paid at travel agencies or at a place in Windhoek.
It's always a good idea to book well in advance of your stay to avoid disappointment, especially as the park is extremely popular during African school holidays. Certain time periods will restrict you to a certain amount night in the park in these time periods. Give it a go and find out for yourself why the Etosha National Park is such a stunning place to visit and stay!