Self-Drive Safari at Etosha National Park

Self-Guided Safari at Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is one of the top parks in Africa. Other top parks in Africa for safari, especially those in East Africa, can get very expensive. Etosha is a bargain compared to them. This is perfect for budget travelers and backpackers alike. It also is a perfect safari for self-driving enthusiasts. It does not need a 4WD vehicle and is very accessible.

Our guide for a self-guided safari at Etosha National Park will help with your pre-trip planning for that perfect safari vacation!

Camping in Etosha: Lion
Lion resting along the road

Content and photographs provided by Yana Kogan and Timon.

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When to Visit

The dry season is between June and October. This is the best time to view wildlife in Namibia.


Visa

Visitors from Western Europe, the USA, Canada, Japan, the UK, and South Africa do not need a visa. For other countries not listed, please refer to the Namibian High Commission for more details. Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry into Namibia. It is required to have at least one completely blank page.


Car Rental

Etosha National Park Camping: Cheetah
Cheetah stalking Springbok’s

Rent a car from Windhoek, where there are several different car companies. You can choose between a small car (Volkswagen Polo) or a larger 4WD vehicle, such as a Toyota Hilux. Etosha can be done with any car. Roads are good quality gravel roads. Expect to pay around $20/day for a small car and $60/day for a 4WD.


Etosha Entry Fees

  • $150-00 NAD per person per day
  • $50-00 NAD per vehicle per day

Etosha Park Entrances

Etosha Self Drive: Rhino
Rhino

Gate hours are from sunrise to sunset. Anderson and Von Lindquist are the most popular entrance and exit points. Anderson is the closest to Windhoek, about a four and half hour’s drive.

  • Galton Gate (West)
  • Anderson Gate (South)
  • Von Lindquist Gate (East)
  • King Nehale Iya Mpingana Gate (North)

TIP: Drive to Etosha National Park and stay outside of the Anderson Gate for one night. Here you will find lots of game lodges and campsites. The other gates have limited options outside and are more expensive. We stayed at Eldorado Guest House and Camping, which was one of our best campsites in Namibia for $120 NAD per person (Eldorado B&B). 


Campgrounds and Park Accommodations

There are five villages/camps throughout the park.

  • Okaukeujo – camping, bungalows, and private rooms
  • Halali – camping, bungalows, and private rooms
  • Namutoni – camping, bungalows, and private rooms
  • Dolomite – bungalows and private rooms
  • Sonderkop – bungalows and private rooms

Camping Costs

$246 Namibian Per Person Per Night ($20 USD)


Camping Recommendation

Etosha Budget Travel: Zebra
Zebra

We recommend entering from the Anderson Gate and departing the park from the Von Lindquist Gate. For a 2-day safari, stay in Halali and Namutoni for one night each. For a 3-day safari, stay one night each at Okaukeujo, Halali, and Numatoni campgrounds.


Watering Holes

African Elephants

Watering Holes are all throughout the park. Depending on the season and amount of rainfall, watering holes will change. Several are artificial and have water year-round. In the dry season, most dry up aside from a few of these artificial watering holes. 

Watering Holes are the best place to see animals, especially during the dry season. The two best watering holes are in Halali and Okaukuejo.


Where to Go

Etosha National Park Camping: Warthogs
Warthogs

We went in the rainy season in March. There was a good amount of water, so the animals are more spread out. Okaukuejo and Halali are known to be the best for animal sightings throughout the year. However, when we went to Namutoni, it was the best for animal sightings.

We spent one day exploring the Okaukeujo area. There were lots of animals at the watering holes Gemsbokvlakte, Olifantsbad, and Aus. There was a male lion very close to the road in the Salvadora area. We drove all roads between Okaukuejo and Halali on day one, ending around 6:30 pm. You can also visit the watering holes at the campsite (floodlight) for an evening viewing of the animals.

On day two, we drove to Rhino Drive to the Helio watering hole. We did not see any animals in the Halali area, so we drove to Namutoni. It seemed as if nearly all the animals were around Namutoni. Just off the main road, we spotted four cheetahs and three Lions.


Animals Seen During Our Safari

  • 1 White Rhinoceros
  • 5 Lions
  • 4 Cheetahs
  • 10 African Elephants

Several of the Following

Camping in Etosha: Running Giraffes
Giraffe’s Running in the Wild
  • Giraffe
  • Zebra
  • Kudu
  • Gemsbok
  • Blue Wildebeest
  • Springbok
  • Damara Dik-Dik
  • Impala
  • Duiker
  • Steenbok
  • Blackjacked Jackal
  • Banded Mongoose
  • Warthog
  • Lots of really beautiful birds also can be seen throughout the park

Packing for Etosha

Luggage Essentials

Clothing Essentials

  • Comfortable shorts
  • Jeans or hiking pants
  • Bathingsuit, sunglasses, sun hat
  • Flip flops
  • Maxi dresses
  • T-shirts and shorts
  • Flip flops and tennis shoes

Other Essentials

  • Wingspan Optics binoculars
  • Natrapel DEET free mosquito repellent
  • Camera with zoom (telephoto) lens – we recommend between 200 – 400 mm. Check out the Canon 70-200mm lens for the best quality you can get!
  • Hat
  • Waterbottle – try to help reduce plastic bottles!

That’s it – we hope you enjoy exploring Etosha National Park!


Planning a trip to Namibia? Check out our favorite books and travel guides!


Author

  • Yana and Timon

    Yana & Timon met at college in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduating, they started their professional careers. They moved to San Francisco in 2010, a city they loved living in for nearly six years.

    After working and saving up money for several years, they quit their jobs and set off on an adventure of a lifetime. They started living a nomadic lifestyle in December 2015 and have not looked back since.

    View all posts

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