Namibia`s national parks, reserves and conservancies all contribute something unique to its beauty and bio-diversity. The local Namibians are also very proud of the their national parks and reserves. It is within these protected environments where conservation is put into action and where visitors can experience nature in its purest form. The parks and reserves cover a vast area, each offering its own unique attractions and beauty representative of the region. Each park, reserve and conservancy offers a rich diversity of fauna and flora that is extremely well adapted for that particular ecosystem. If you require any additional information on any of the parks and reserves please contact us.
ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
Etosha National Park is the country’s pride and often steals the spotlight. The park is located towards the northwestern part of Namibia and its main attraction is the loads of WILDLIFE! The park was proclaimed a game reserve on the 22nd of March 1907 and was elevated to National Park status by the then Republic of South Africa in 1958.
The park covers an impressive area of 22,270 square kilometers! To put that into perspective: that is about the surface area of Israel, Belize or El Salvador.
The Etosha National Park derives its name from the stunning Etosha salt pan (meaning: Great White Place) that is at the heart of the park. For the biggest part of the year this 120 kilometer lakebed is dry and hypersaline meaning that a limited number of wildlife species can inhabit this harsh environment. However during good rainy seasons, the pan fills with water briefly and this is when this unique ecosystem turns into a paradise of excited wildlife and even attracts flamingos and pelicans.
Life sustaining waterholes are distributed throughout the park which attracts hundreds of animals throughout the day. Visitors can drive through the park at a leisurely pace and stop at the waterholes to view large herds of animals that come to drink and cool off in the water. The most impressive and breathtaking animals visiting the waterholes are herds of elephants and visitors will surely be in for a breathtaking experience.
The park offers three beautiful rest camp each with its own, extraordinary history:
Namutoni Camp is located towards the eastern side of Etosha Park. It is probably the most striking of the camps. What makes this camp so extraordinary is that it has incorporated within its boundaries the historical Namutoni Fort that was built in 1896 by German colonial forces. It was originally a German Police post and a veterinary control point. During World War I it housed English prisoners of war. Nowadays it serves as a stopover and viewpoint for visitors travelling through Etosha National Park.
The Okaukuejo Rest Camp is the larger of the rest camps within the park and serves as administrative office of Etosha National Park. It was established around 1896 and served as a veterinary control point. A German fort was constructed at Okaukeujo around 1901. The Okaukeujo Rest Camp is located towards the southern part of Etosha National Park and is popular among visitors as it has a beautiful, large waterhole that attracts hundreds of animals especially at sunset and during the night.
Halali Camp is situated approximately midway between the Okaukeujo and Namutoni camps. The camp is surrounded by more lush vegetation of Mopane trees and lies at the base of a dolomite hill.
The Dolomite Camp is a more recent addition to Etosha National Park’s rest camps and is located towards the western side of the reserve. Due to minimal human interaction and activities within the western side of the Park, rare wildlife has had the opportunity to flourish and re-established in this area. The western side of the Park is open to only a limited number of visitors and since the camp is unfenced wildlife can roam freely between the luxury tents.
Olifantsrus Camp is the newest of the camps and this caters for visitors that like to sleep under the stars. Since the camp only offers camping facilities visitors that are in search of seclusion and the beautifial African bushveld will find it here.
Onkonsi Camp is another one of Ethosha Park`s more secluded camps and is ideal for visitors looking for exclusivity and serenity. The camp is built on wooden stilts that overlook the expansive Etosha salt pan. Onkonsi Camp is located towards the secluded north-eastern part of the Etosha National Park.
The Namib-Naukluft Park is one of Namibia’s national parks and visitors are very likely to pass through the park enroute to their destinations.
The Namib-Naukluft Park partly includes the oldest desert in the world - the breathtaking Namib Desert - and partly the beautiful Naukluft mountain range. It covers an astounding area of 49,700 km2 which makes it the biggest game park in Africa and it`s larger in size than Switzerland. Since the the Namib-Naukluft Park encompasses the Namib desert it`s home to some of the highest dunes (up to 300 meters!) in the world and includes popular sites such as Solitaire, Sesriem and Sossusvlei. Closer to the Atlantic ocean the oldest plants in the world can be found, the Welwitschia Mirabilis.
As from 2010 the Namib-Naukluft Park was incorporated within the Skeleton Coast National Park that encompasses the entire western coast of Namibia.
CAPE CROSS SEAL RESERVE
The Cape Cross Seal Reserve is regarded as one of Namibia’s natural wonders. Cape Cross is a small piece of land that projects of the coast of Namibia, into the cold and tumultuous Atlantic Ocean. It is of important biological and historical signficance.
The Cape Cross Reserve is home to the largest colony of Cape fur seals in the world and seal numbers range in the thousands. The number of seals are estimated to reach up to 210,000 during the breeding months from November to December. There is a lot of controversy regarding the annual culling of the seals to control their numbers and protecting the important fish stock, an important source of income for Namibia.
Cape Cross also has a very special history. During 1486 a Portugeuse explorer, Diego Cao landed at this coastal region on his way to the equator. He planted a stone cross at Cape Cross to mark his arrival and discovery. The original stone cross was however removed in 1893 and taken to Germany. A replica of the stone cross was erected at Cape Cross in 1895.
DAAN VILJOEN GAME PARK
The Daan Viljoen Game Reserve is the closest to Windhoek and relatively smaller in comparison to the larger and well-established parks in Namibia. Due to its close proximity to the capital city, it is popular among the locals. Game and wildlife is not as numerous in comparison to the other parks and reserves that are located further away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
DOROB NATIONAL PARK
The Dorob National Park lies within Namibia’s Erongo region. It was declared a national park on 01 December 2010. The Dorob National Park lies directly against the Atlantic Ocean and extends from the Kuiseb Delta to the Ugab River. The Dorob National Park is home to approximately 75 bird species.
KHAUDUM NATIONAL PARK
The Khaudum National Park is located towards the north-eastern part of Namibia and borders Botswana. Due to the limited number of visitors annually the area is relatively untouched and wild. The Khaudum National Park boasts free roaming elephants, African Wild dogs, cheetahs, lions and Roan antelope. The park is largely unfenced allowing animals to travel unhindered between Namibian and Botswana conservancies.
MUDUMU NATIONAL PARK
The Mudumu National Park is located within Namibia’s Caprivi region. With a surface area of 737 km2, the park forms part of the important wildlife migration routes from Botswana to Angola, in particular that of the African elephant.
The park was established shortly before Namibia’s independence in 1990. The rainfall in the park is estimated to be between 500 to 700 millimeters per year, which is quite an impressive figure considering the overall arid nature of Namibia. The wildlife species of the Mudumu National Park is quite diverse and besides elephants other wildlife species include: Cape buffalo, cheetah, lion, spotted hyena, giraffe and the common impala just to name a few. The Mudumu National Park’s western border is the beautiful Kwando River which means that tourists can also expect to see crocodiles, hippos and an abundance of birds. The best time of the year to visit The Mudumu National Park is during August to November before temperatures start soaring. The park is located in the northern part of Namibia which is regarded as a high-risk malaria area. Visitors are advised to get a prophylaxis before travelling to the most northern regions of Namibia and to take along lots of mosquito repellant. It is recommended that visitors explore the park either by 4x4 vehicle and preferably travel in groups of two vehicles or more. When travelling on the main connecting C49 road no permit is required. However visitors must be able to provide a valid permit if they are planning to deviate from the main road and explore the Mudumu National Park.
NKASA RUPARA NATIONAL PARK
Nkasa Rupara National Park is the sister park of The Mudumu National Park. The park is composed of the Nkasa and Rupura islands which lies within the Kwando river in the south-western corner of East Caprivi. Within the park visitors will find channels of reed beds, lagoons and islands, wetlands and marshes. Rainfall average 600 - 700 millimeters per year - and extraordinary amount of precipitation for Namibia.
Due to the rich vegetation it is without saying that wildlife flourishes in this area and their numbers are abundant. Wildlife species range from rare antelope species such as sitatungas, red lechwe pukus and reed buck - just to name a few - to elephants, hippos, buffalo, spotted-necked otters, kudus, impalas and many other mammals and reptiles. Approximately 450 bird species have been recorded in this area that include a number of endangered species such as: wattled crane, black-cheeked lovebird and Pel’s fishing-owl.
Since the park is located in the north of Namibia, it also lies within a high-risk malaria region and visitors are advised to take the necessary precautions when visiting the park and surrounds. Facilities are minimal and visitors are advised to plan well in advance since there are no shops, filling stations or other facilities within the park.
SKELETON COAST PARK
The Skeleton Coast Park is Namibia’s coastal diamond so to speak. The park encompasses approximately one-third of the western coast of Namibia and stretches from the Kunene River in the north of Namibia to the Ugab River in the south of Namibia - an astonishing distance of 500 kilometers. The Skeleton Coast Park offers a wide variety of landscapes and environments including sand dunes, canyons and mountain ranges. The cold Benguela current of the Atlantic ocean courses next to Namibia’s western coast and often results in dense fog and cold ocean breeze - not what visitors would typically expect from a dry and arid country. The dense fog however brings much needed precipitation to the desert region which sustains fauna and flora of all kinds.
The Skeleton Coast got its name from the many whale and seal bones and skeletons that dotted the coastline during whaling operations and seal hunts. The area is also known for its rich history that included many shipwrecks. The remnants of these unfortunate ships that encountered their end along Namibia’s dangerous coastline can still be seen to this day. There are stories and legends of shipwrecked sailors walking many kilometers through Namibia’s coastal deserts in search of water and food. The Bushmen aptly named The Skeleton Coast, The Land God Made in Anger while the Portugeus explorers called it the Gates of Hell.
Despite the harsh environment the wildlife have adapted and thrived within this region and include: desert-adapted elephant colonies, endangered desert lions, cheetah, black rhino, oryx, springbox, zebra and brown hyena.
The Atlantic Ocean has just as much to offer. Avid anglers flock to the coast during December and January for recreational fishing activities. Sea mammals such as the Benguela dolphins, killers whales and humpback whales can sometimes be seen as well.
Fly-in safaris are popular among visitors and tourists that would like to have an aerial view of the magnificent landscape. These fly-in safari can be arranged in advance or booked in Swakopmund.
TSAU //KHAEB NATIONAL PARK (Sperrgebiet)
The Tsau //Khaeb was previously called the Sperrgebiet National Park. The Sperrgebiet National Park is probably the most undisturbed and most natural of all of Namibia’s parks. After the discovery of diamonds near Luderitz - at Kolmanskop - the area was cordoned off to the public since 1908. For nearly a century the area has been minimally exposed to human intervention and activities which has greatly contributed to the protection and flourishing of the delicate Succulent Karoo ecosystem. The area is regarded as having the highest diversity of succulent flora in the world.
The park is approximately 22,000 square kilometers in size and covers approximately 3% of Namibia’s land surface area. The most spectacular feature of the Tsau //Khaeb National Park is the 55 meter high rock arch that dips into the Atlantic ocean, called Bogenfels (bowrock).
WATERBERG PLATEAU PARK
The Waterberg National Plateau Park is situated towards the northern part of Namibia, close to Otjiwarongo. In 1904 the Waterberg witnessed the battle between German colonial forces and Herero warriors.
In 1972 the Waterberg Plateau Park was proclaimed a sanctuary for rare and dwindling wildlife. The park has thus seen a gradual rise in wildlife numbers and this helped restock wildlife numbers in other parks and areas within Namibia. The most beautiful feature of the reserve is the huge sandstone mountain that is approximately 50 kilometers long. The surrounding vegetation contributes to the beauty of the mountain and its surrounds, and is a safe refuge for a diverse range of wildlife such as Rockrunners, jackals, leopards and sable antelope to name a few. The Waterberg Plateau Park is Namibia’s own little paradise and at night offers the most spectacular views of the Milky Way.
The Waterberg Plateau Park offers a rest camp that offers bungalows and camp sites. There is a large swimming pool, restaurant and kiosk that caters well for visitors’ needs. Visitors can also book game drives at the park office. Another great way of experiencing the Waterberg Plateau is by means of the 48 kilometer hiking trails and guided wilderness trails.
/AI-/AIS HOT SPRINGS PARK
The /Ai-/Ais Reserve lies deep within the south of Namibia and is home to the world famous, Fish River Canyon that forms its eastern part. The Fish River Canyon is the second largest natural canyon in the world and is estimated to be 600 million years old.
The word /Ai-/Ais is derived from the indigenous Nama language that means burning water as there are hot, sulphurous hot-water springs found within the park. The park is relatively smaller in size compared to the much larger reservations, and covers a surface area of just over 4,000 square kilometers. The area is mainly mountainous and extends all the way towards the southern border of Namibia.
Fauna and flora is diverse and visitors can expect to see a game and succulents that is typical of Namibia. The Fish River Canyon and surrounds are popular among visitors and local alike as it offers an outstanding hiking experience, within the Canyon. Hiking within the Fish River Canyon is only permitted during certain times of the year and visitors have to be fit and have a clean bill of health before being permitted on the hiking trail.