In general, the best time to visit is during the drier winter months (May–Oct), when more animals are concentrated round the waterholes, predominantly scattered around the southern edges of Etosha Pan. Viewing is easier then because the vegetation is sparser, and the lower temperatures make a stakeout at a waterhole a more pleasurable experience. On the other hand, when the wind gets up, the landscape can become enveloped in clouds of dust. Visitor numbers are inevitably higher in winter, especially in the European and Namibian school holidays, though the park is so large and the waterholes so numerous – 86 in all – that it never gets unbearably busy. In the wetter summer months, however, the lusher vegetation is much easier on the eye, and the water-filled pans attract an abundance of migratory birdlife, especially between November and April. In the rare years when the rains are really heavy (usually Jan or Feb) and the water lingers, Etosha Pan becomes a vast pink-and-white carpet of pelicans and flamingos, which flock here in their hundreds of thousands to breed.

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