Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park in Namibia was first established in 1907, when Namibia was a German colony known as South West Africa. At the time, the park’s original 100,000 km² (38,500 mile²) made it the largest game reserve in the world. Due to political changes since its original establishment, the park is somewhat less than a quarter of its original size, but still remains a very large and significant area in which wildlife is protected.
The Etosha Pan dominates the park. The salt pan desert is roughly 130 km long and as wide as 50 km in places. The salt pan is usually dry, but fills with water briefly in the summer months, when it attracts pelicans and flamingos in particular. Periannual springs attract a variety of game and birds throughout the year, including the endangered Black Rhinoceros and the endemic Black Face Impala.
In the dry season, winds blowing across the salt pan pick up saline dust and carry it across the country and out over the southern Atlantic. This salt enrichment provides minerals to the soil downwind of the pan on which some wildlife depends, though the salinity also creates challenges to farming and agriculture.
The Etosha Pan was one of several sites throughout southern Africa in the Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000). Using satellites, aircraft, and ground-based data from sites such as Etosha, partners in this program collected a wide variety of data on aerosol, land cover, and other characteristics of the land and atmosphere to study and understand the interactions between people and the natural environment.
Etosha National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Significant to it is the Etosha Pan, the area that makes Etosha game viewing experience unique.
114 Mammals species are found, several are rare and endangered e.g. rhino, cheetah and black-faced impala.
Etosha's elephants are the largest in Africa. The tallest measure up to 4m. Blue wildebeest, zebra, hyena, lions, cheetah, leopard, giraffe, antelope species and about 340 bird species are also found in the area.
The area has about 30 springs and waterholes that provide excellent game viewing and photographic opportunities.
Visitors should approach and depart from waterholes slowly and with little noise so as not to disturb the game.