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Namibia’s Etosha National Park

294-namibia-1-1 Etosha national park lead.jpg

Etosha National Park and its stunning landscape is located in the Kunene region of Namibia and was first proclaimed a reserve in 1907, subsequently becoming a national park in 1967. Covering 22,270 square kilometres the park derives its name from the salt pan (4760 square kilometres) that dominates it.

Etosha is certainly the most visited park in Namibia and is worthy of being the most noted because of its uniqueness. What makes this park so unique is that its main feature can be seen from space – the salt pan dominating most the park is simply huge. The surrounding grasslands and plains are home to an extraordinary number of animals and this abundant game can be seen congregating around waterholes on the edge of the pan.

An assortment of accommodation including up market luxurious lodges can be found in private reserves and concessions bordering the park as well as inside the park itself. Several campsites and parks board accommodations run by NWR include Namutoni, Halali and the famous Okaukuejo, which is noted for its floodlit waterhole.

During the rains the Etosha pan can fill with water thereby becoming a most wonderful magnet for birdlife with white and pink backed pelicans and flamingos flying in as well. The expanse of white salt pan edges, calcrete sands and brilliant blue azure waters with dots of white and pink flamingos surrounded by lime and golden green grasses, makes for wonderful photographic opportunities.

The game viewing all year road is unquestionably good. There is such a variety here - lion, elephant, leopard, springbok, zebra, giraffe, kudu, ostrich, red hartebeest and oryx.

Birdlife is fabulous too and includes: grassveld pipit, black necked grebe, martial eagle, starlings, purple roller, lilac breasted roller, pale chanting goshawk, hornbills, drongo, Egyptian geese, crimson breasted shrike, back winged stilt, red billed quelea, secretary bird, little bee eaters, Cape teal, guinea fowl and during times when the pans have water - blue crane, a very rare crane and the symbol of South Africa. Over 340 bird species have been spotted in Etosha including migratory birds which can often be seen such as the European bee eater.

In the areas with thicker vegetation one finds the elephants, but they also come onto the open pans. When this occurs one can delight in the opportunity of producing the most stunning photographs as they cross the open salt pan.

Over the pale golden grasslands zebra and springbok keep an eye out for desert lions. On the southern boundary of the Etosha pan, one can find several natural springs which supply some water to the wildlife. Well maintained tracks and roads throughout the park have waterholes en route and one should also stop at Nuases which is a look-out point peninsular jutting out into the pan.

Etosha also has interesting history with Namutoni rest camp near von Lindquist gate. The main headquarters are actually an old original German Fort built in 1904 as a base during the terrible Rinderpest that consumed the northern part of Namibia. Destroyed in 1907 by the Ovambos, it was then rebuilt by the Germans.

Pictures by courtesy of Mushara group

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