Etosha Safari on a budget

July 1, 2015
Documentary filmmaker/ travel writer/ photographer -

Namibia’s flagship national park is, without a doubt, one of Africa’s greatest wildlife destinations. Unlike other parks, where you have to go looking for animals, Etosha National Park’s animals come right to you – as long as you’re near a waterhole. All you have to do is park your car next to a water source and wait – soon enough there will be lions, elephant, rhino and dozens of other mammals coming for a drink, making Etosha the easiest place for wildlife spotting on the continent.

Added to that is Etosha’s unique landscape, dominated by its barren and desolate salt pan, which covers a quarter of the park and is Africa’s largest salt pan. When there are heavy rains it fills with water for a few days but for most of the year it’s bone-dry and cracked like a puzzle. Watching animals on the horizon walk across the lunar-like pan is a surreal and beautiful sight – part of Etosha’s magic.

Inspired to travel to this Namibian wilderness?

Etosha pan, Etosha National Park, Namibia

Here’s our guide to an Etosha Safari on a budget.

Etosha National Park is easy to travel to on a budget, because of the great range of camping options both inside and just outside the park’s gates.

There are three camps inside of the park: Halali, Namutoni and Okaukeujo, all of which offer fairly expensive chalets and bungalows, and much cheaper campsites. The campsites are large and spread out under trees, and the camps have good facilities – swimming pools, food shops and restaurants. Namutoni is near the eastern Von Lindequist gate and Okaukeujo is near the southern Andersson gate, with Halali in between them. This set up allows you to explore the park slowly, starting at either Okaukeujo or Namutoni and then spending a night at Halali before heading to the next camp for your last nights in the park.

While it’s best to stay inside the park, those camps are more expensive than options outside of the gates. If you want cheaper accommodation, there’s Etosha Safari Camp (with a funky African-style shebeen bar) outside of the Andersson gate in the south and Onguma Safari Camp (a small fenced camp on a wildlife-rich private reserve) outside of the Von Lindequist gate in the east.

You can easily drive yourself around the park – fly in to Windhoek and rent a car and camping equipment there (it takes around six hours to drive from Windhoek to Etosha), but the cheapest and easiest option is to do a budget overlanding tour to Etosha National Park. We offer a range of budget overlanding safaris to Etosha National Park, starting from three days and going up to two months (including other regions in southern Africa), where your park entrance fees, accommodation, meals and a guide are included.

When to go to Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Etosha National Park is best visited in the winter months of May to October, when this arid region receives no rain. It’s the easiest time to spot lions, elephant, rhino and other animals at this time of year, because they all have to come to the waterholes to drink. Temperatures are also pleasant at this time of year – warm days and cool nights. In the summer months of November to April, the temperatures soar and the vegetation in the park becomes lush and green, making it slightly harder to spot animals.

Tours that go to Etosha National Park:

25 Day Cape Town to Johannesburg Adventure

24 Day Desert, Waterways and Victoria Falls Adventure

22 Day Cape Town to Victoria Falls (3 – 4 Star Lodges) – Comfort

21 Day Cape Town to Victoria Falls Adventure Tour (Comfort)

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