Magnificent Surreal Etosha
Source: Cable & Grain, Words Fiona McIntosh
One of Africa’s most dramatic wildlife reserves, Etosha National Park is right up there with the Kruger Park in South Africa, Kenya’s famous Masai Mara and the Serengeti of Tanzania, offering sightings of big game in a magnificent, surreal setting.
The 22 000km2, malaria-free park is centred around the vast Etosha Pan, a 130km by 70km expanse of white cracked mud that shimmers with mirages and is often dotted with spiralling dust devils. Some 114 mammal species, including the Big Five and all the large cats are found in the park.
But Etosha is probably best known for its vast herds of plains game such as zebra, blue wildebeest, gemsbok and springbok. Etosha is home to several rare and endangered species, including endemic black-faced impala, tsessebe and cheetah, as well as the largest population of black rhino in Africa. The latter are often sighted at the series of waterholes along the southern edge of the pan.
The birdlife is also incredible with some 340 species, about a third of which are migrants, to be found in the mopane woodlands, grasslands, savannah and saline desert. During the rainy season greater and lesser flamingos and even pelicans are often sighted at Fischer’s Pan in the eastern section of the reserve. Visitors can explore the park in their own cars, or take advantage of the many safaris offered by Nambian Wildlife Resorts or private lodges.