Etosha to 2001: A Space Odyssey

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.

Chiyemi and Terry - Etosha 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.

Jackal Hauls Off Springbok Head - Etosha

Brown Spotted (laughing) Hyena- Etosha

Before that you might be wishing for something like this…

Glen Walker taking a shot of Mark Paulson reaching for a Castle

Mark Paulson Photography

…Thanks also to Mark for several shots in the Slide show/Gallery below…

Africa In Focus Group Shot - Etosha Pan

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.

Glen and Mark Shooting Beer Shot Etosha

Someone's bones on the salt pan of Etosha long ago...

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.

Slide Show

You can stop the slide show if you like (or back up or go forward) – controls on bottom of image.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

3 Responses to “Etosha to 2001: A Space Odyssey”

  1. 1 don gordon
    April 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    hi terry,
    what a great travelogue! pics are wonderful, esp. the pics of animals feasting on either other animals or slower members of your group. This is a trip I would like to go on.

    • April 17, 2010 at 12:35 am

      Thanks, Don!
      Actually it’s not all that far from Cape Town where I know you like to go. You could fly from Cape Town to Windhoek or Swakopmund and rent a car or catch a safari company. Go to both Etosha AND Chobe which is fantastic and quite different.

      Or sign on to one of the regularly scheduled Africa In Focus trip, 3 weeks and wind up in Victoria Falls – also worthwhile and meets some chicks. 😉

  2. 3 Tysen
    April 16, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Hi Terry,
    More great shots! What were the sounds and smells out there?

    Thanks for sharing these great picture with us,

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Dead Vlei - Namib-Naukluft National Park

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