Oct. 30, 2009 – Etosha, Namibia
The map doesn’t do justice to the hot, dry, mostly flat national park, Etosha. Can’t say or think that name without images crowding forward and a sense of magic, the magic of nature that is, creeping up my spine: chills every time. Most of Etosha is a vast salt pan, an endorheic (sealed from drainage to the sea) basin where little grows and animals are forced to avoid and only one of the 50 water holes can save them.
You can see our path – along the edge of Etosha from Okaukuejo to Halali to Namutoni with game drives in Benji along the way. What looks on the map like a lake (and sometimes it is) usually is salt pan.
Try and imagine walking across this in the 90 F/ 32 C faultless blue sky overhead, no water in sight nor anything on the horizon. Along the edge where we were allowed to drive: trees, bushes, more water and animals. If you walk far enough in the wrong direction you would come to the Kalahari Desert where your goose would, quite literally, be cooked. Still, you would not a total waste – nothing goes to waste – hyenas or jackals would find you and leave your bones for the vultures.
Before that you might be wishing for something like this…
…Thanks also to Mark for several shots in the Slide show/Gallery below…
Etosha, last day of three AiF spent in the fantastic game park in northern Namibia. Then off to the Etosha Pan and later to Ngepi for camping. You can see the rim of trees in the background, so we hadn’t driven far from the animal haven and water holes just behind us in the little turnout for Benji the truck.
The yellow line of the road on the map runs along the south side of the 120 km/75 mile long salt pan of Etosha. In 2001 Stanley Kubrick used Etosha as backdrop for 2001: A Space Odyssey (youtube Dawn of Man sequence – highly recommended).
I’m an enormous fan of Kubrick and sci-fi so this 1968 film (called the perfect science fiction film – why make another?) and Etosha add a frisson to the white sand and bleaching bones. I must hasten to add that Kubrick did not film all of the Dawn of Man in Etosha and that Tapirs may not have been present nor does current research support early hominids looking like this. Nor is Pan Am, nor were we visited by aliens in order to get our smarts but there is the lovely Strauss music from Also Sprach Zaranthustra to The Beautiful Blue Danube and all that musical change implies over the course of human evolution from ape men to space fliers: genius in film making with the best transition is all of flim making – the one million year leap.
You can stop the slide show if you like (or back up or go forward) – controls on bottom of image.
Etosha – Day 3 Gallery
You can click on any image for a better look at a larger image. You can even click on the larger image and get full, full size if you like.