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Discover Private Concessions in Etosha

Refundable, Rebookable, Authentic Etosha Safari

Refundable, Rebookable, Authentic Safari

Private Concessions in Etosha

It is possible to combine the best of two worlds: Spend hours at some of Etosha’s most desirable waterholes, ticking off a Noah’s Ark-sized list of species – and then escape to the quieter surrounds of a lodge or camp on a private reserve for the night. Etosha is completely fenced, unlike, for example, the Kruger National Park in South Africa, where fences between the public park and its plush private neighbours have come down. That said, there are some notable private reserves on Etosha’s borders, impressive not only in size but for the quality of the game viewing on offer. Many also have waterholes, and while predators are scarcer, some harbour a good selection of game including specials such as sable, roan and rhino. As they are also not bound by park rules, guests can be offered more diverse activities, like guided walks or rhino tracking – very welcome for families or active visitors who like to stretch between game drives. Nature trails wind through some properties without dangerous game, also wonderful for down-time hours.

enter image description here Credit: Ongava Tented Camp

An astonishing 25% of Namibia is conserved through national parks, communal conservancies and private reserves. One key thing to check when booking in a private area is whether the conservancy offers hunting (a few do); this will be incompatible with some visitors’ personal ethics.

Accommodations are varied and couples searching for romance as well as wildlife, solo travellers and families are all catered to. Places to stay range from rustic campsites to fine lodges or exclusive-use villas, complete with your own guide for game drives. Unlike many high-end safari lodges in other parts of Africa, those around Etosha tend to offer different kinds of packages. Most will have an accommodation-only option for self-drivers with various activities and meals charged separately – but also all-inclusive options for those who want to park the car on arrival (or who hop off a charter plane). If all-inclusive, most needs are catered to, from local beverages and meals, to game drive vehicles with experienced guides. Guests who want to go on many guided drives may wish to assess the activities costs before booking, as at times an all-inclusive rate is better value. Spa treatments are available in some spots, as are various activities from clay pigeon shooting to visits to hides. Safari staples such as boma or outdoor dinners, and drinks around fire pits are common. There’s nothing like a log fire sending up sparks to rival the stars above.

enter image description here Onguma Bush Camp

Private reserves close to Von Lindequist Gate, in the east of the park can easily be accessed by road, but some of the lodges will have an airstrip or share one with a neighbour, so fly-in safaris on charter planes are an option for those pressed for time. Proximity to the park gates really is a plus, both to enjoy more cool early-morning and late-afternoon game viewing hours in the park itself, and to get home sooner for sundowners when tired. Private reserves on the eastern side of the park include an important 34,000 hectare reserve, and a well-known 4,000-hectare property that borders Etosha.

Closer to Andersson Gate is a large 30,000 hectare reserve which protects parts of the tongue-twisting Ondundozonanandana foothills (the wonderful name translates roughly as the mountain where the boy took the calves) and a multitude of smaller reserves and properties. Accommodations can range from exclusive and romantic “premier” lodges, luxury tented camps and family-friendly options to camping. Of course not all properties have Big Five species, but a couple will have lion and/or black and white rhinoceros. Staying outside the park and being able to explore on foot may also allow contemplation of smaller species, more vulnerable to the traffic of Etosha: impossibly cute elephant shrews, springhares, lesser bushbabies and many more.

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Galton Gate accommodations options are definitely sparser, but there is a casual, community-owned lodge with three of the Big Five on 8,800 hectares and an airstrip.

A Discover Africa expert can help match specific needs and desires to the right accommodations.

Highlights

Certain reserves outside the park offers guided walks – and the chance to track resident rhino. A walk in any reserve with a representative or two of the Big Five can be thrilling: walking in silence in single file with an armed ranger, feeling your senses come alive and gradually tune in to the sounds of the bush: alarm cries from birds, the crunch of hooves on stone, the smell of hot vegetation. To approach the enormous bulk of a rhinoceros on foot is an awesome experience in the old sense of the word. It is like seeing concentrated time and evolution and power in one breath-taking moment. In fact, any nature walk, even on a private reserve without Big Five species, is recommended. Specialised guides can point out birds, read animal tracks as if they were newspapers, locate fascinating insects and smaller reptiles and rodents, and generally transport guests to a world that plugs one into the web of life.

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Sundowners Private reserves are indifferent to gate closing times. This means that should a group see a remarkable cheetah on the move as the sun slips towards the horizon, there’s no need to leave. Vehicles can stay with her for as long as she allows… Alternatively, guides will stop for sundowners at particularly beautiful spots, all the better to watch the skies turn pink and orange as dark approaches.

Practical Advice
  • High-end lodges pride themselves on the skill of their guides; many will have special interests such as birds or botany: let the lodge know in advance of your interests.
  • Self-drivers must offset the hassle of getting to the gates at sunrise and sunset with the advantages of being outside the park.
  • Etosha National Park gate times must be respected. The opening and closing hours are based on sunrise and sunset hours, and change weekly. A detailed timetable will be provided by most accommodations.
  • Not all high-end lodges welcome children; do check child policies before setting your heart on a particular property. Over-12s are generally accommodated.
  • A swimming pool is a real asset in summer – as is a waterhole in winter.
  • Booking in advance to avoid disappointment is recommended during high season and December and Easter local holiday periods.
  • While animals in Etosha are so habituated to people that wearing bright colours is not much of an issue, neutral-coloured clothing (not white) is recommended for walks and activities in private reserves.
  • Lodges do not supply all guests with binoculars. Do bring a pair; it revolutionises game viewing and birding.
  • Guests will have heard of the terrible poaching threat to rhinos in Africa. Lodges may ask that you delete GPS or location data on pictures taken of the animals; this is recommended in Etosha National Park too.
  • Charter flights limit luggage to just 20kg (including hand luggage and cameras) and bags must be small, soft and flexible to fit into the craft: no inflexible suitcases.

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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

enter image description here

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

enter image description here

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

enter image description here

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

enter image description here

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

enter image description here

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

enter image description here

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

enter image description here

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.

Very professional and organised

Q & Fab

06 Nov 2018

Very good

Benno

16 Nov 2019

Thank you to Matthys and the rest of Discover Africa team. We had a tremendous experience

Craig and Sue Wood

12 Sep 2017

Made the trip of a lifetime so much more

Alex

04 Mar 2019

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Jorge Toledo

23 Jul 2018

Wonderful vacation went off without a hitch

Cameron

22 Mar 2018

Dream Work Through Team Work

Zelda Mycroft

01 Oct 2015

Wonderful service and great adventures!

SBH

29 Apr 2017

Matthys was professional and very helpful in presenting several options for our family Safari

Jim

14 Jun 2021

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Cheryl

07 Jan 2020

Amazing experience!

Preeti

01 Dec 2019

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