Camps inside Etosha
There are three national parks restcamps inside Etosha, all of them very similar – offering good simple facilities at reasonable prices. Each has a range of accommodation, including bungalows and a campsite, swimming pool, shop, fuel station and a restaurant.
Aim to spend a minimum of two nights at any camp you visit. Remember that with a speed limit of 60km/h, it will take you at least two hours to drive between Namutoni and Halali, or Halali and Okaukuejo.
Booking accommodation in advance at the NWR in Windhoek is wise, but you need to be organised and stick to your itinerary. The alternative is to plan on camping, whilst hoping for spaces or cancellations in the chalets and bungalows. For this you'll need to ask at the camp office just before it closes at sunset. This is often successful outside the main holiday months, but you need a tent in case it is not.
Note that during the main holiday seasons, around Easter and August, even Etosha's campsites are fully booked in advance. If you haven't a reservation, you must stay outside the park and drive in for day-trips.
Accommodation: styles and costs
All the camps have roughly similar rooms and bungalows – see the NWR's current Accommodation Guide for Tourists
for the fine details of the facilities at each.
Generally, all the rooms have private toilet and baths or showers, a fridge and a kettle. Towels and bed linen are always supplied. Most are air conditioned, and the VIP units even have cutlery and utensils. Bungalows also have hotplates and kitchen facilities, whilst rooms (which used to be called 'bus quarters', and are now usually referred to as 'de luxe rooms') generally do not. All are normally clean and well kept, though functional rather than luxurious.
Accommodation prices vary slightly between camps, though a camping pitch is always N$160, for up to eight people and two vehicles. This makes camping cheap for large parties.
The reception office at each restcamp opens from dawn to dusk, and there you pay for your stay, as well as any park fees due. Don't forget to pay all your park fees before you try to leave the park. You can't pay them at the gate.
Each camp has a shop, which usually sells a remarkable assortment of foodstuffs: frozen meat, sausages and firewood (with braais in mind), as well as tinned and packet foods and often bread, eggs, and cheese. Beer, lots of cold drinks, and a limited selection of wine (but no wine can be sold on a Sunday) are also found here. Take your own cooking equipment.
Aside from food, these have the usual mix of tourist needs from curios, T-shirts, print film (occasionally slide, but nothing too unusual) and wildlife books to postcards and even stamps. These shops open 07.30–09.30, 11.30–14.00 and 17.00–20.00. Nearby is a payphone; you can normally buy phonecards at the shop. Those at Namutoni and Okaukuejo seem to have a little more stock than the one at Halali.
Where to eat
Each restcamp has a restaurant where most visitors eat at least one of their meals. In recent years these have been privatised, introducing buffet meals rather than silver-service à la carte menus. However, they have all carefully retained some of the old feeling of school dining halls.
Breakfast is served 07.00–09.00, lunch 12.00–14.00 and dinner 18.00–21.00, though if you arrive after 08.30, 13.30 or 20.30 respectively, the staff may refuse to serve you. In any case, buffet meals mean that it is much
wiser to arrive earlier rather than later if you want a good choice of hot food.
Expect dinner to cost about N$60 for three courses, plus N$35 for a bottle of wine. It's not haute cuisine, but is varied, good value, and generally has a good choice of vegetables for vegetarians.
Outside of the prescribed meal times, there's normally a kiosk that sells drinks and snacks. These open between meals, 08.30–12.00 and 13.30–18.00. After dinner, the bar normally stays open until about 21.30.