Namibia safaris are incredible experiences, but with such a diverse nation it can be challenging trying to prioritize your safari itinerary. Here is a quick guide to some of Namibia’s most popular national parks.
Etosha National Park
Situated in the North West Kunene region of the country, Etosha is considered as the first and foremost Etosha National Parkconservation area in Namibia. Established in 1907 by the then German colonists, its original territory stretched over a range of 100,000km², making it the largest national park in the world. Today Etosha occupies a little under a quarter of this once colossal area, but the park is by no means any less diverse or impressive. The region is dominated by the imposing Etosha Salt Pan, which in the wetter months fills with water and attracts numerous bird and animal species including beautiful flocks of flamingo and pelican. When the water dries up, powerful cross winds blow the crystalline dust across the landscape and out into the Atlantic; this naturally occurring mineral enrichment is an important part of the natural cycle upon which many plants and animals depend in Namibia. Perennial springs offer oases, particularly in the dry season, and attract a variety of wildlife including the endangered black rhino and the endemic black faced impala.
This spectacular and rugged wilderness in the northwest of the country has a deserved reputation as one of the most uncanny, yet spectacular regions in Africa. A graveyard for ships due to the unpredictable Benguela Current, still today the decaying steels carcasses of tankers and fishing vessels can be seen littering the coastline. With an even more morbid splendor and as a constant reminder of a once thriving whaling industry now long since outlawed, the bleached bones of some these great creatures can also be stumbled across, nestling amongst the sands like half sculpted limestone monuments. Despite its rather sinister reputation, the Skeleton Coast boasts a bounty of animal and bird species almost as impressive as its landscape. Giraffe, desert adapted elephant, baboons, springbok and lions roam the plains and sand dunes and the area is also home to one of Africa’s highest populations of Black rhino.
In the Southern Namib Desert, Sossusvlei has become famous for its incredible, almost surreal landscape. Featuring some of the highest sand dunesSossusvlei in the world it is recognised as one of the most photographed locations in sub-Saharan Africa. A feature of numerous commercials, television documentaries, music videos and feature length films, the vivid pink-orange sands of the region have become an icon of Namibia. Despite being part of the Namib Desert, plant life is relatively rich here and is able to support a huge variety of species, particularly smaller mammals and reptiles who can survive with little water including jackals, oryxes, springboks and ostrich.
Over in the northeast in the Caprivi area is the less well known but remarkably lush Bwabwata Park. It is often referred to as a ‘people park’ because of the way several communities coexist within the region alongside the animal and wildlife species. Located on the banks Kavango River the park is dominated with deciduous forest with species such as seringa, copalwood and Zambezi teak. Although access by road is limited between Kavango and Eastern Caprivi you can still enjoy looking out for elephants,Kudu, Roan and wild buffalo.