Etosha National Park
When it was proclaimed a National Park in 1907 by the then German colonial government, the Park covered most of northern Namibia and stretched as far as the current Skeleton Coast National Park.
As much of the communal land of various indigenous tribes were taken away, as they were not allowed to live within the parks’ boundary, the park was later made smaller to accommodate these tribes and today the park covers an area of 22’270km. Consisting of saline desert, endless grass plains, acacia savannah, and mopane woodlands, the National Park is one of the largest Game Reserves in Africa and also one of the most diverse.
Its definitive feature is the Etosha Pan, a vast, shallow depression of approximately 5000 km, that is lined by numerous artesian springs that supply the area with water throughout the year. Of the 114 mammal species found in the Park, several are rare and endangered whilst others are endemic to north-western Namibia and southwestern Angola. About 340 bird species occur in the Park of which a third are migratory.
The Skeleton Coast Park
The Skeleton Coast Park, together with the Sperrgebiet National Park, is the least accessible area found in Namibia.
The park covers an area of 16400 km. and extends northwards from the Ugab River to the border of Angola, demarcated by the Kunene River mouth. Over hundreds of years, the formidable shoreline served as a trap for stranded ships and their sailors, whose skeletons littered the treacherous beaches and who also gave the area its name. For the modern visitor, the attraction of this remote area is brought about by the untouched landscapes of windswept dunes, rugged canyon walls, extensive mountain ranges and uniquely adapted animal species such as desert elephant, desert lion, oryx, hyena as well as countless fur seal colonies.
Sadly most of the shipwrecks that lay along the coastline of the park have been covered by sand or broken up by the rough ocean waves; the southern parts of the skeleton coast (a term that is used to describe the entire Namibian coastline) however still bear witness to the tragedies that occurred here and offer shipwrecks that are more visible.
Waterberg Plateau Park
Situated between the capital Windhoek and the Etosha National Park, the small park is an important part of Namibia’s conservation efforts and is also a favorite for birders and hikers who may want to scale up the plateau. It is also the only place in Namibia, except for the Zambezi Strip, where you find the African buffalo roaming free.
These parks all form part of the largest Transfrontier Park development on earth, the KAZA (Kavango – Zambezi) Transfrontier Conservation Area which allows for uninhibited movement of large game species.
The conservation area consists of a region where the international borders of five countries converge and includes a major part of the Upper Zambezi basin, the Okavango Basin and Delta. The zone includes the Zambezi Strip (previously known as Caprivi Strip) of Namibia, the southeastern corner of Angola, southwestern Zambia, the northern wild lands of Botswana and western Zimbabwe.
Bwabwata National Park
The Bwabwata National Park, formerly known as the Caprivi National Park, has been expanded to contain the current Mudumu, Nkasa Lupala, Mahangu as well as the Khaudum National Parks.
For traveling purposes the different areas have retained their names, and Bwabwata is referred to as the stretch of land between the Kavango and Kwando rivers. At present visitors can visit the park on the 190km section of the B8 highway between Kongola and Bagani, and for the ones with 4×4 vehicles they can veer off the road to visit game-rich areas such as the “horseshoe bend” close to Kongola or the “Buffalo Park” along the Kavango River at Divundu.
Species found within the park consist of the Big 4 (no Rhinos are found here) as well as a rich diversity of rare antelope such as Roan, Sable, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Lechwe, and Puku as well as a magnitude of bird species.
Namib Naukluft Park
Originally declared a protected area for the conservation of the endemic Hartmann Zebra, the park is one of the supreme contrasts and 30 31 extremes and a testimony to time itself. Situated in the oldest desert on earth it is Namibia’s largest conservation area (5 Million km²) and, together with mountains, the highest dunes on earth and age-old canyons, there is something for every adventurous spirit and nature lover.
It is one of Namibia’s most versatile conservation areas and houses a number of natural wonders (see Attractions of Namibia), as well as Namibia’s newest World Heritage Site, the Namib dune belt