The Etosha National Park is Namibia's premier tourist destination and one of the world's finest game parks.
When it first gained official status in 1907 it was the largest game reserve in the world but over the years, due to politically-motivated changes, it has been reduced to less than 25% of it's original area.
Etosha is 100km from my home in northern Namibia and in the last month I had the opportunity to visit it twice; the first time on a day-trip and on the second visit a three-day camping trip.
There are three main rest camps in the park but I prefer Namutoni on the far eastern side because it has a lot of waterholes in close proximity.
Namutoni is an old colonial German police fort, it has been converted to accommodate a restaurant, coffee shop, and various shops selling local crafts.
'Luxury' accommodation is available but, the prices are tourist-orientated and too expensive for the average Namibian - even the camping spots are priced way above the norm. Above is a pic of our humble camp.
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 sometimes fills with water briefly in the summer.
Above is a view of the pan from a spot named 'Etosha', where vehicle access onto the pan is possible for about one kilometer.
Two of the many waterholes close to Namutoni, Gross Okevi and Koinachas.
It's the end of a reasonable rain-season here; grazing and browsing is plentiful and there are many water puddles in the bush so the game has no need to visit the waterholes, as can be see from the two pics above.
There's something magical, especially at the end of the dry winter months, in sitting quietly at a water hole watching the comings and goings of the animals - a scene that has been repeated since time immemorial ...
Animal tracks leading out onto the pans - the rainy season this year was not good enough to cause a thin (15cm) layer of water on the pan - which, when it does, attracts pelicans and flamingos.
Twee Palms waterhole - one of the few waterholes where there was an abundance of game at the time. I'll try get back to the pans later this year when it's drier and photograph a totally different landscape.
I've still got hundreds of images to work through and in the coming weeks I'll do a few posts on some of the things I saw.
Have I mentioned before that I love my digital camera?
Etosha - Elephants