Timing and Touring Tips in Etosha National Park

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Timing and Touring Tips

Two to three days will allow you to visit the eastern and central parts of the park, as well as Okaukuejo. Taking in the "newer" western part of the park properly will require at least two days due to its relative isolation from the rest of the park—it's only 180 km (112 miles) to the next camp, but the speed limit is 60 kph (37 mph). Throughout most of the park there are numerous water holes to visit, but that's best done in the early morning and late afternoon when the animals are more active and temperatures are cooler.

The park is huge—22,270 square km (8,598 square miles), 300 km (186 miles) wide, and 110 km (68 miles) long. The western part, which makes up a third of the overall park, is open to the public through the Galton Gate. It's only for tourists who've booked accommodation at NWR's Dolomite Camp. If you prefer to visit the park on one of the many safaris offered by various tour companies, make sure you choose one with an open vehicle or pop-top with few passengers—you probably don't want to find yourself in an air-conditioned 75-seater bus. That said, the best way to see the park is to drive yourself so you can stop at your leisure (don't exceed the 60 kph speed limit, and stick to marked roads). A two-wheel-drive car is fine, as the roads are good, but the higher up you sit, the better your view, so opt for the more expensive combis (vans) or 4x4s if possible. In addition to patience, you'll need drinks, snacks, field guides to the animals and birds, binoculars, and your camera. There are more than 40 water holes, with Rietfontein, Okaukuejo, Goas, Halali, Klein Namutoni, and Chudob regarded as the best for game-watching and taking pictures, but nothing is certain in the bush. Keep your eyes and ears open, and you may come across game at any time, in any place. Arm yourself with the MET map of Etosha (available in the camps), which shows the names and locations of the water holes and indicates which roads are open.

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