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Discover Family Safari in Etosha

Refundable, Rebookable, Authentic Etosha Safari

Refundable, Rebookable, Authentic Safari

Family Safari in Etosha

There are families who have visited Etosha for generations, sometimes in family groups that range from pint-sized grandkids to grandads. Instilling a love for the park experience – exciting drives, mammal lists, tents, and searching biscuit-coloured grassland for biscuit-coloured lions – is a delight and a privilege, no matter the budget. A safari is an enormously exciting experience for most children, who will delight in watching creatures previously only seen in books and on TV walk and trumpet in front of them.

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There are some caveats – although many families will chose to ignore them; families are as different from each other as insects and mammals! Generally speaking, however, experts tend to suggest taking older children on safaris: eight-to-ten years old and up is perfect. Distances in Namibia are impressive, standard game drives far too long for wriggly tots, and it gets properly hot, which will wilt the sweetest-natured kid. Also empty landscapes, no matter how beautiful, tend to leave children unmoved.

Choosing accommodations suitable for the family will of course be paramount. The Namibia Wildlife Resorts classic camps will be full of families and smaller kids are bound to meet others splashing in the pools. Some guided tours too, will book accommodation in these camps. The camps are relaxed and casual and self-driving allows parents to cater to their children’s tolerance levels. Guided activities for small children, however, will be limited.

Family accommodations in more luxurious establishments outside the park is available – but suitable rooms, especially in the more upmarket establishments, can be limited at busy times. Book in advance. Self-driving, private tours and fly-in safaris are all options. Some lodges will not take young children, and families may have to book a private vehicle (smaller children will not be allowed on group game drives). Most lodges limit guided walks and such activities to older children too: check before booking. Parents able to choose all the creature comforts they desire may want to ensure that their rooms or family chalets have two bathrooms – extremely useful for the early morning crush before game drives or activities. A swimming pool is a great boon for children of all ages, and will often absorb all the extra time one has on safari with two drives a day.

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Upmarket lodges that cater for children may also provide a games room, short safe walks to look at plants and insects, private game drive vehicles (unfortunately rather expensive), and hides (great for leg-stretching and whispers). Rates for children will differ, from “under-threes free”, to full rates for kids of 12 and up.

Families who are not self-driving can also find guided tours to suit their needs, complete with an informed guide – bliss for those who want to switch the planning side of the brain off. These can be all-inclusive and cater to different budgets, from camping to exclusive, fly-in options. Expect set departure dates for most, excluding the most upmarket. Try and be paired with another family; the children can play together. Lower cost camping tours sometimes do not include activities: check, as it can be very disappointing to be within a stone’s throw of a dream activity, only to find it is unaffordable.

As Wanderlust notes, first-time safari goers with kids tend to be most concerned about health and safety. Etosha is considered very low risk for malaria in winter months, although repellent is always a must, as are long-trousers, socks and sleeves at dawn and dusk. In the rainy season, there is a malaria risk, although this is still considered medium to low. Many who are not travelling on to another malaria area or north to the Caprivi Strip (now called the Zambezi) choose not to take prophylactics, but consult a doctor. Of the medication available, etoshanationalpark.org suggests Malarone. If concerned about both the medication and the mozzies, pick a date at the height of the dry season and pack repellent.

All regions of Etosha are suitable for family travel, so the choice of accommodations will decide things. The western region of the park has fewest options to choose from, both inside and outside the park and the game is not as dense.

Travel Tips
  • Get the children some binoculars, and teach them how to use them before coming on safari. It’s a skill that adds huge value to the experience, particularly for nascent twitchers.
  • Get a species list from the camp shops for children to tick off or make your own: most love a treasure hunt for animals.
  • At the NWR classic camps, children under six stay free; children from six to 12 sharing with an adult pay 50%. Onkoshi does not accept children under six. Dolomite does, but is unfenced and has walkways threading between rocks; not an ideal playground.
  • Namotoni and Okuakuejo have small museums and there are interpretive exhibits up at some camps. Children will also love looking at sightings books where available – other visitors note what they have seen and where, leaving tantalising information that can help decide what waterhole to visit next.
  • Waterholes make Etosha special in winter: the animals come not only two by two, but at times by the hundred. Much easier for families than endlessly scanning grass and scrub for elusive critters.
  • As tempting as it is for children to run around barefoot when it’s hot, hardy sandals or closed shoes are recommended, especially when camping. This will avoid punctures (thorns) and stings (scorpions at worst).
  • Parents should be able to buy most essentials supplies at supermarkets in large towns. The sun may be more of a threat than any bug. Smear the kids with high-factor lotion and make them wear a hat.
  • Wifi is available at large camps; vouchers can be purchased at the camp shops. Teens will find this information essential.
  • Plastic bags are banned in Etosha.

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Etosha National Park Safaris

These recommended tours for Etosha can be tailor-made to match your budget.

When is the best time to travel to Etosha National Park?

Peak Low Mixed
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Etosha in January

Mokuti Etosha Lodge Average temperatures hit a sticky 34°C. It’s rainy season: incredibly for a place one thinks of as arid, this can mean mud in patches! A 4x4 will be useful and comfortable, but it is a lot more costly, and the majority of Etosha’s roads remain accessible in an ordinary city car. Park authorities also tend to temporarily close roads that will be a problem. The weather is simply unpredictable: there can be clear sunny skies, but Etosha can also be overcast for…

Etosha in January

mokuti etosha lodge Mokuti Etosha Lodge

Average temperatures hit a sticky 34°C. It’s rainy season: incredibly for a place one thinks of as arid, this can mean mud in patches! A 4x4 will be useful and comfortable, but it is a lot more costly, and the majority of Etosha’s roads remain accessible in an ordinary city car. Park authorities also tend to temporarily close roads that will be a problem. The weather is simply unpredictable: there can be clear sunny skies, but Etosha can also be overcast for days at a time, with the chance of some quite heavy rain. As such, potentially not the best time for photography, although there may be dramatic skies and sunsets thanks to thunderstorms. The beginning of January is still peak local holiday travel time, so the park will be packed. Things quieten down drastically later; by month-end some private lodges can even feel a bit echoey! All the more attention for those lucky few. If the rains have been good, there will be water in the pan itself, and Fisher’s Pan near Namutoni could have turned pink with flamingos, which breed here in good years. Those charismatic big guys, the elephant and rhino, will have gone walkabout toward the east, i.e. moved from the waterholes to thicker bush. As the park roads tend to link waterholes, this can make sightings less accessible.’

etosha national park safari

Etosha in February

The peak of the rainy season. Vegetation will be as lush as it gets in Etosha for the next month or two – which makes game viewing more challenging. If the rains have been good, there will be water in the pan itself (and migrant waterbirds); Fisher’s Pan near Namutoni could have turned pink with flamingos. All the details mentioned for January still apply in terms of the desirability of a 4x4, thunderstorms and potentially, patches of dodgy weather. Elephant and rhino will be more…

Etosha in February

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The peak of the rainy season. Vegetation will be as lush as it gets in Etosha for the next month or two – which makes game viewing more challenging. If the rains have been good, there will be water in the pan itself (and migrant waterbirds); Fisher’s Pan near Namutoni could have turned pink with flamingos. All the details mentioned for January still apply in terms of the desirability of a 4x4, thunderstorms and potentially, patches of dodgy weather. Elephant and rhino will be more elusive, feeding in thicker bush while they have the chance to be further from the waterholes. Heavy showers can cause dry riverbeds to suddenly flow, although it’s usually over in a matter of hours rather than days. The park has lower visitor numbers, which some find a great boon, but experts actually tend to tell first-time visitors in search of big-game drama that this isn’t the best time for Etosha. That said, this is a fenced park (although bigger than the US state of New Jersey), and the animals move around within it: they are there; one just needs more time to get lucky. The Namutoni area (and the east in general) can be more productive.

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Etosha in March

There still a chance of rain and the bush is thick and green and grasses tall… all very lovely, but it does make spotting animals that little bit more difficult! Not many people around, but as per February, not as much big game either, or not lolling around the waterholes waiting to be photographed. Our travel experts say this is a time for more seasoned travellers, rather than those with just one chance to tick Etosha off their bucket list. The game, however, is there, but as…

Etosha in March

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There still a chance of rain and the bush is thick and green and grasses tall… all very lovely, but it does make spotting animals that little bit more difficult! Not many people around, but as per February, not as much big game either, or not lolling around the waterholes waiting to be photographed. Our travel experts say this is a time for more seasoned travellers, rather than those with just one chance to tick Etosha off their bucket list. The game, however, is there, but as always, it’s a bit of a lottery as Tripadvisor notice boards can relate. People have reported superb sightings in March.

Etosha in April

Still nice and quiet in beautiful Etosha, although there will be a spike in tourists around Easter, when rest camps will fill up. The seasons are changing, evenings and early mornings may be cooling down by the end of the month. A less predictable ‘shoulder season’ month, but often very good for Etosha. The herds should have started to move back towards the central areas by the end of the month, but this is still not prime game-viewing-at-waterholes season; driving around will be needed.

Etosha in April

Still nice and quiet in beautiful Etosha, although there will be a spike in tourists around Easter, when rest camps will fill up. The seasons are changing, evenings and early mornings may be cooling down by the end of the month. A less predictable ‘shoulder season’ month, but often very good for Etosha. The herds should have started to move back towards the central areas by the end of the month, but this is still not prime game-viewing-at-waterholes season; driving around will be needed.

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Etosha in May

The land is drying out and long, warm sunny days will start turning the bush a million shades of brown. Average high temperatures are a delicious 29° Centigrade, with lows of 11°C. As things dry out, waterholes become the place to be once again, making it possible to pull up near one and see all sorts of action. By the end of this month, elephants are likely to be heading back to the central /southern areas of the park. It is still not prime holiday time for locals or international,…

Etosha in May

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The land is drying out and long, warm sunny days will start turning the bush a million shades of brown. Average high temperatures are a delicious 29° Centigrade, with lows of 11°C. As things dry out, waterholes become the place to be once again, making it possible to pull up near one and see all sorts of action. By the end of this month, elephants are likely to be heading back to the central /southern areas of the park. It is still not prime holiday time for locals or international, so tourist numbers are low to moderate. A wonderful time to visit the south and east areas.

Etosha in June

Good sunny weather this month, with highs of 27°C and lows a surprisingly chilly 6°C. The dry season starts in earnest. Most of the park is considered to have good game viewing potential and visitor numbers are moderate. It’s the beginning of high season, and by the end of the month, pretty busy. The waterholes will be delivering the goods: lovely tableaux of species can gather at one hole. The elephant will be back at the waterholes, barging in as and when they please.

Etosha in June

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Good sunny weather this month, with highs of 27°C and lows a surprisingly chilly 6°C. The dry season starts in earnest. Most of the park is considered to have good game viewing potential and visitor numbers are moderate. It’s the beginning of high season, and by the end of the month, pretty busy. The waterholes will be delivering the goods: lovely tableaux of species can gather at one hole. The elephant will be back at the waterholes, barging in as and when they please.

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Etosha in July

Full sunshine is the default weather forecast, with average highs of 27°C and lows of 6°C (it can and does occasionally hit 0°C). We’re now in peak season, and waterholes will be well attended by both big game and tourists! This means the central part of the park is optimum turf, and game viewing wherever there is a water source is extremely rewarding. Booking in advance is essential.

Etosha in July

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Full sunshine is the default weather forecast, with average highs of 27°C and lows of 6°C (it can and does occasionally hit 0°C). We’re now in peak season, and waterholes will be well attended by both big game and tourists! This means the central part of the park is optimum turf, and game viewing wherever there is a water source is extremely rewarding. Booking in advance is essential.

Etosha in August

Peak season in terms of weather, international tourist numbers and waterhole action. August seldom sees a drop of rain, and average temperatures are rising: highs are 31° and lows 11°. It will be busy enough in the park for those allergic to crowds to consider staying in a lodge on a private reserve outside the park borders, or look to the less-visited Western side of the park. Acacia nebrownii trees flower by the hundred in August and September, each tree bearing “hundreds of…

Etosha in August

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Peak season in terms of weather, international tourist numbers and waterhole action. August seldom sees a drop of rain, and average temperatures are rising: highs are 31° and lows 11°. It will be busy enough in the park for those allergic to crowds to consider staying in a lodge on a private reserve outside the park borders, or look to the less-visited Western side of the park. Acacia nebrownii trees flower by the hundred in August and September, each tree bearing “hundreds of thousands of yellow flowers that give off a lovely scent,” says wildlife photographer Mario Fazekas.

Etosha in September

Still prime dry season game viewing time. Days are hot. Average highs are around 35°C, although a warm jacket may still be welcome on early morning game drives and when the sun goes down, believe it or not. It’s still peak season for Etosha for the first part of the month, and there will be traffic and some congestion at prime waterholes, which will be seeing all the big game action. The central section of the park will be buzzing. Not the African experience you imagined? Consider…

Etosha in September

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Still prime dry season game viewing time. Days are hot. Average highs are around 35°C, although a warm jacket may still be welcome on early morning game drives and when the sun goes down, believe it or not. It’s still peak season for Etosha for the first part of the month, and there will be traffic and some congestion at prime waterholes, which will be seeing all the big game action. The central section of the park will be buzzing. Not the African experience you imagined? Consider a lodge in a neighbouring private reserve and dip into the park itself as required.

Etosha in October

One of the hottest months of the year, with high temperatures averaging 37°C. You’ll be able to tell it’s really warm when you see the tiny dik-dik breathing rapidly: it has an enlarged internal nasal area with lots of blood vessels and ‘nasal panting’ helps cool it down (elephants flap their enormous ears to do the same thing). Happily, humans have iced drinks! Visitor numbers tend to be high to moderate this month (it quietens down). As with August and September, herds are…

Etosha in October

enter image description here

One of the hottest months of the year, with high temperatures averaging 37°C. You’ll be able to tell it’s really warm when you see the tiny dik-dik breathing rapidly: it has an enlarged internal nasal area with lots of blood vessels and ‘nasal panting’ helps cool it down (elephants flap their enormous ears to do the same thing). Happily, humans have iced drinks! Visitor numbers tend to be high to moderate this month (it quietens down). As with August and September, herds are plentiful in the central areas. If pressed for time, this is the place to go and one need not visit the eastern or western sides. There should be some showers this month, but it’s not guaranteed.

Etosha in November

One of the hottest months of the year, when average temperatures spike: it’s 35° to over 40°. November is the real start of the annual rainy season. Once showers have drenched the thirsty land, vegetation springs to life – giving herbivores the chance to move into new areas to feed and become less dependent on the waterholes. November is somewhat of a ‘shoulder’ season though and visitors will see animals, fear not. This is the month that sees most cloud cover (fully…

Etosha in November

enter image description here

One of the hottest months of the year, when average temperatures spike: it’s 35° to over 40°. November is the real start of the annual rainy season. Once showers have drenched the thirsty land, vegetation springs to life – giving herbivores the chance to move into new areas to feed and become less dependent on the waterholes. November is somewhat of a ‘shoulder’ season though and visitors will see animals, fear not. This is the month that sees most cloud cover (fully overcast days), yet that averages only five to six days. Much of the rainy season is partly cloudy, with rain in the afternoons as opposed to set-in rain.

Etosha in December

The rains should have arrived, and the game will be moving east to browse in the Namutoni area and further north, beyond the road network. The central waterholes quieten down and will no longer be visited much by elephant; rhino, too, may take some seeking out. Baby animals are born and shiver into action, able to walk in no time, but vulnerable for the first few days after birth. Visitor numbers soar in mid to late December as local holidays kick in. Book way in advance if you hope…

Etosha in December

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The rains should have arrived, and the game will be moving east to browse in the Namutoni area and further north, beyond the road network. The central waterholes quieten down and will no longer be visited much by elephant; rhino, too, may take some seeking out.

Baby animals are born and shiver into action, able to walk in no time, but vulnerable for the first few days after birth. Visitor numbers soar in mid to late December as local holidays kick in. Book way in advance if you hope to travel at this time, for all accommodations inside and outside the park. Large family parties will be setting up camp in the park with everything including a kitchen sink and buzzing about in search of predators; if the crowds will intrude on the experience, choose another time. Average temperatures have cooled a bit with rains, but still average 35°. Intra-African and Palearctic migrant bird species should be here, an enormous plus for birders.

Our Recommended

Tours in Etosha

These recommended tours for Etosha can be tailor-made to match your budget.

Our Destination Expert

Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard

Meet the Team

Alice Lombard

Alice is Discover Africa’s Sales & Product Manager, responsible for managing the Discover Africa Sales Consultants as well as all the products and itineraries that we promote.

About Alice

What does Alice love about African travel?

The people, the culture, the diverse scenery, the wildlife and of course the food & wine.

What African countries have you travelled to?

Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls), Botswana (Okavango Delta, Linyanti, Chobe), Namibia (Southern), Zanzibar, Kenya (Mombasa and Malindi), Mauritius and South Africa.

What is Alice’s favourite place in Africa?

Victoria Falls and Cape Town.

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Megan Warrington Megan Warrington Megan Warrington Megan Warrington Megan Warrington Megan Warrington

Meet the Team

Megan Warrington

Megan is an Africa Concierge Expert at Discover Africa, she is responsible for compiling travel programs for people in search of their dream safari in Africa.

About Megan

What does Megan love about African travel?

There is always a new adventure around the next corner.

What African countries have you travelled to?

South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, Botswana and Tanzania.

What is Megan’s favourite place in Africa?

Namibia

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard Alice Lombard

Meet the Team

Alice Lombard

Alice is Discover Africa’s Sales & Product Manager, responsible for managing the Discover Africa Sales Consultants as well as all the products and itineraries that we promote.

About Alice

What does Alice love about African travel?

The people, the culture, the diverse scenery, the wildlife and of course the food & wine.

What African countries have you travelled to?

Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls), Botswana (Okavango Delta, Linyanti, Chobe), Namibia (Southern), Zanzibar, Kenya (Mombasa and Malindi), Mauritius and South Africa.

What is Alice’s favourite place in Africa?

Victoria Falls and Cape Town.

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Matthys van Aswegen Matthys van Aswegen Matthys van Aswegen Matthys van Aswegen Matthys van Aswegen Matthys van Aswegen

Meet the Team

Matthys van Aswegen

Matthys is Discover Africa’s Senior Travel Consultant, with over 13 years experience in the travel industry and a keen eye for photography.

About Matthys

What does Matthys love about African travel?

Diversity and abundance of landscapes, cultures, wildlife, beaches, food and everything you can think of.

What African countries have you travelled to?

South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mauritius and Tanzania.

What is Matthys’s favourite place in Africa?

Cape Town

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Adelle Bell Adelle Bell Adelle Bell Adelle Bell Adelle Bell Adelle Bell

Meet the Team

Adelle Bell

Adelle is Discover Africa’s Senior Travel Consultant and has been in the travel industry for the past 10 years. She is a FIT specialist and has extensive experience in planning and executing dream itineraries in luxury travel.

About Adelle

What does Adelle love about African travel?

You have not lived if you have not experienced an African Safari - the early morning safari drives with the African sun rising in the distance, the smell of morning freshness, coffee in the Bush. You have got to experience a morning in Africa!

What African countries have you travelled to?

South Africa (Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands and Phinda Game Reserve), Botswana and Mozambique.

What is Adelle’s favourite place in Africa?

Kruger National Park

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

Antoinette Van Heerden Antoinette Van Heerden Antoinette Van Heerden Antoinette Van Heerden Antoinette Van Heerden Antoinette Van Heerden

Meet the Team

Antoinette Van Heerden

Antionette is a Travel Consultant at Discover Africa, with 5 + years experience in the travel and tourism industry. She specializes in luxury safari packages.

About Antoinette

What does Antoinette love about African travel?

Adventure combined leisure travel makes for the best trip!

What African countries have you travelled to?

South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe.

What is Antoinette’s favourite place in Africa?

South Africa, Botswana and Namibia.

Contact Discover Africa

Send us a message, to ask any questions, or request a tailor-made safari or experience.

Call Discover Africa on +27 (0)21 422 3498

Get in touch to find out more about the tours on offer or request a personalized no-obligations quote.

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