Olifantsrus Camp is Etosha’s newest camp, the only camp in the park to offer an all camping experience, and the only campsite in the western section of the park. While most visitors to Etosha continue to stick to the routes and camps in the east of the park around the fringes of the Etosha Pan, there are plenty of advantages to staying at Olifantsrus, or at least combining it with some of the other camps.
First and foremost, Olifantsrus has only ten campsites with a maximum of eight guests per campsite allowed. This makes it considerably quieter and less busy than camps such as Namutoni or Okaukuejo, even when it’s at full capacity. The camping area is spacious and well-maintained, and there’s a shop and cafeteria for food, ice, beer and other essentials.
Olifantsrus also gives quick access to the Western section of the park, which is distinctly different to the rest of the park, with denser, greener vegetation and more undulating landscapes. Although the Galton Gate now gives direct access to this section of the park, it’s still not unusual to have excellent sightings all to yourself at the various waterholes, and the roads are generally pleasantly empty too.
The west of the park offers good sightings of rare species such as black rhino, black-faced impala and Hartmann’s zebra. These last two are not found anywhere else in the park.
For those coming through from Galton Gate or exploring this section of the park from other camps, there’s a good shaded picnic spot at Olifantsrus that is open to day visitors.
Olifantsrus is also worth a visit for those interested in Etosha’s history – the name of the camp translates as ‘elephant’s rest’, and it is so-called for the large number of elephants that were culled here some decades ago. You can still see the remnants of the camp’s former life dotted around the place, while a small museum on site explains more.
Another of the camp’s major drawcards is the state-of-the-art double-story hide just beyond the perimeter fence, which overlooks a manmade waterhole popular with elephants, plains game, rhinos and jackals. The glass-encased bottom level offers an eye-level encounter with the drinking animals. The hide is accessible via a wooden walkway and open 24 hours a day, so you can pop in to see what’s going on whenever you feel like it, perhaps with a gin and tonic in hand.
Even if you’re not inclined to leave the comfort of the campfire, you’ll still hear the unadulterated sounds of the animals that are coming and going from the waterhole reverberating all around you.
If you’ve been to the more established Etosha camps before, Olifantsrus and its surrounds will provide a very different and much more off the beaten track view of the park. If you’re a first timer, combine a visit to Olifantsrus with other camps for a fuller picture of this immense and endlessly fascinating park.