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Self Driving to Etosha National Park

Planning Your Etosha National Park Safari

This overview of Etosha National Park will help you plan and book your own safari without using a travel agent! The entirety of the trip can be planned and booked on your own! Rent a car in Windhoek at Hosea Kutako International Airport, drive yourself up to the park, find & book your own lodging, hire a guide through the lodge you’re staying at and make an adventure of it!

Self Driving to Etosha National Park

I’ve found that the best way to immerse myself in a foreign country is to immediately hop in a rental car (often a manual & on the other side of the road!) and try my hand at navigating the new & unfamiliar landscape.

Turns out Namibia is an optimal place for such an adventure as it’s very safe, the roads are easily traversed and the road from Windhoek Airport to Etosha is approximately 5.5 hours, so it’s nice long haul to get accustomed to the local culture.

About an hour outside of Windhoek, in Okahandja, there is a lovely little craft market with local goods that makes for a nice pitstop once you get out of town. There are a few small restaurants there to get a coffee or lunch and across the road at the market you can find all kinds of trinkets and hand carved pieces that you will cherish upon returning home! Definitely recommend checking that out…


Lodging in Etosha National Park

Book early!

Etosha National Park seems to have limited lodging and rooms sell out fast! I was booking 6 months in advance and found most places were already sold out. We were fortunate enough to end up having a really nice stay with Etosha Aoba Lodge (in the Honeymoon Suite, no less! As that was all that was left…) but there are lots of other great places to stay if you can snag them!

How to Self Book

I never like using travel agents so one trick that I found is that most lodges use the Nightsbridge booking engine to book online. If you Google the lodge name and Nightsbridge (example: “onguma the fort nightsbridge” will take you here) and you can find their booking page and check availability yourself! That was a game changer!

Onguma The Fort - Etosha National Park

(Images from lodge websites)

Etosha Aoba Lodge

Etosha Game Drives


Safari Tips

Hire a Guide

Hiring a local San Bushman guide makes all the difference! They know where to find any & all animals that you’re looking for or will do their best to make it happen! They also have connections with other drivers and can radio over to each other when there’s a rare sight to see. The best part is that you don’t have to drive yourself and get a real safari experience!

Take the Morning Drive

It’s going to be early and it might even be cold, but it’s totally worth it! You’ll get to watch the sunrise, see hundreds of animals before 10am and the coffee & rusks break will somehow be the best tasting food of your life.

Animals in Etosha

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