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Etosha means “Great White Place,” which refers to the dusty clay and salty plains of the expansive pan that comprises a huge portion of the 8,569 mi² (22,194 km²) park. The pan (a silvery white, shallow depression that is mostly devoid of vegetation) is situated in the eastern, more vegetated portion of the park. Because of the park’s wildlife diversity, it’s arguably Namibia’s premier game viewing destination.
Large populations of elephant, zebra, blue wildebeest, springbok and gemsbok precariously congregate at the park’s 40 or so waterholes, within sight of the park’s resident lion, leopard and jackal. Other animals include Black-faced impala, Damara dikidik and black and white rhinos. If you wait long enough at one of these waterholes, you can spot 8 or more of these species simultaneously, virtually guaranteeing an once-in-a-lifetime interaction.
Birdlife is equally prolific: among the 340 species recorded, the main highlights are the greater and lesser flamingos. Etosha is a regional breeding site, whose salt pans provide gathering grounds for more than a million flamingos. Birds of prey are well-represented; notable species include martial eagle, black-breasted snake eagle, bateleur, pale chanting goshawk, pygmy falcon, and red-necked falcon. Other frequently-seen species include red-billed teal, Namaqua sandgrouse, Burchell’s sangrouse, kori bustard, purple roller and crimson-breasted shrike.
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