Etosha is Namibia’s Kruger, with roads and facilities suitable for the self-drive, budget safari. The harsh, semi-arid terrain is not to all tastes, though, with its thorn scrub, calcrete rubble and vast, shimmering saltpan. And with no rivers, you can forget about hippos and crocs.
The best ploy here is to stake out one of the park’s many spring-fed waterholes and wait for animals to arrive. The end of the dry season sucks a procession of thirsty game from the parched bush. Zebra, giraffe, oryx and others all jostle for position, giving way to boisterous elephant herds and cantankerous black rhinos. Lion prides lurk in ambush.
Each public camp overlooks a busy waterhole, floodlit by night, so during the dry season you need never leave camp. The rainy season brings lush growth and flamingos flocking to temporary lagoons. A number of private concessions in the park’s southern and western reaches offer more upmarket guided safaris.