Not every safari adventure involves staying with the tour pack. At Etosha, you can hire your own car, as the park is lined with hard-packed dirt roads, which makes going it alone easy.
Unlike many safari parks, Etosha is uncrowded and far off the beaten track (even though it has excellent trails). You will have to reconcile yourself to the fact that a long and uncomfortable bus ride awaits you. But if you can survive that, you’ll reap the rewards of some amazing on-safari sightings. Go independent, and bypass the scheduled tour guides.
Rent A Car
Tsumeb, a neighbouring city, will be a lifeline for you. Hire a sturdy car that can handle the safari experience and drive the 70 kilometres to Etosha. You can rent online before you leave and just pick up your car when you reach Tsumeb.
Choose Halali Camp
You can stay in accommodations just outside the park, but we recommend sleeping in the thick of it. Halali Camp is slap-bang in the center of Etosha and will allow you to get the most out of your safari experience. It can be a bit pricey – your chalet will probably come to about $140 per night for two people. You do get free breakfast, a fridge, air-con, and a comfy bed included in the price though.
When you’re in Tsumeb, take our advice and bring food supplies with you. Stock up on all your favorite grub that won’t immediately perish: bread, wine, cheese, nuts, and chocolate…all the important things. You’ll find that the food in Etosha, like all safari parks, is overpriced. Food servers aren’t always the happiest people on the earth and the nosh is generally of poor quality.
The camp will close at sunset, but you can head out into the bush at night, with permission from the park (and the right vehicle). It’s a magical way to explore the African bush, with all the stars overhead.
The Five Day Rule
You can’t really have a fleeting African safari experience. Etosha is a massive park, so make the most of it by giving yourself at least five days to explore. Shorter vacays reduce your chances of the wildlife sightings you came to see.
Chillin’ At The Waterholes
We said you should be independent, and this is one of the reasons why. Rock up to one of the many waterholes, roll down the windows, and relax. Once animals see that you’re not a threat, they’ll come and join you by the waterside. This way, you’ll see some amazing creatures up close and boost your wildlife sightings.
Bring Swimming Wear
You’ll be amazed at how your sleeping pattern adjusts to the safari life. You’ll find yourself waking up just before sunrise to be the first out of the Etosha gates, then potter back at noon (or sometimes even later) for a relaxing and invigorating dip in the pool. Mornings and evenings are the best times for seeing the animals.