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For large mammal viewing, Etosha is at it’s best from April to September, when animals are often seen gathering at waterholes. Birdwatching is best during the summer as many species migrate into the Park.
No visit to Namibia is complete without a visit to Etosha. Located in the North of Namibia, this 22,750km² park is one of Africa's major wildlife sanctuaries, centred around a huge (5,000km²) pan or depression. The park is a managed environment and contains a number of man made water holes. These are frequented by animals, especially during the dry season which gives visitors an often unrivalled view of wildlife at close range. There are over 100 species of mammal in Etosha including the black faced impala and black and white rhinos. The park offers visitors a great opportunity to get a glimpse of the 'big 5'.
The parks boasts a great range of accommodation both within the park itself and in the areas surrounding it's boundaries.
The Ongava Private Nature Reserve is home to the Ongava Research Centre, which was started in 2006. The Research Centre is working to develop a thorough understanding of the ecosystems that make up the reserve to ensure that it can be managed appropriately and that best practice in conservation can be implemented. The reserve is home to successful breeding programmes for both the black and white rhino and for the black faced impala. Movement studies for lion and spottend hyena are also being undertaken.
The Uukwaluudhi Conservancy contains a number of re-introduced high value species, including black rhino and black faced impala. It is also a melting pot of cultures including the Wambo, Herero, Himba, Dhemba and San people.
Kavita Lion Lodge is home to AfriCat North, formerly the AfriLeo Foundation. This foundation was created to provide protection and conservation of the Namibian wild lion. A stay at the lodge includes a visit to the environmental education centre so that you can see how the foundation is communicating to local school groups and individuals in a bid to get them to understand the importance of conserving the species. The experience also provides an insight into the human-wildlife conflict that exists with this species and how the project is trying to mitigate it’s impact. A visit to the lion sanctuary which houses those lions that cannot be rereleased into the wild provides an opportunity to see these magnificent creatures in a semi-wild environment .
Located on northern border of Etosha National Park, the Sheya Shuushona Conservancy is characterised by it’s salt pans. It’s home to hartebeest, spotted hyena, elephant, kudu, duiker, steenbok, springbok and the occasional lion.
Located in the Ruacana Falls on the Kunene River (bordered with Angola), the Uukolonkadhi-Rucana Reserve incorporates the Olushandja Dam as well as species such as elephant, springbok, mountain zebra, ostrich, black-faced impala, hippo and crocodile.
Based in Okonjima, almost halfway between Windhoek and Etosha, the AfriCat Foundation boasts cheetah, spotted hyena and leopard projects. There is plenty to keep you busy here including nature walks, tracking rehabilitated cheetahs and hyenas, visiting the welfare programme and game viewing. The activities available will depend on your length of stay.
© ecoTravel Africa 2011