by Joe Dorish on 01/06/09 at 7:51 am
Etosha National Park is home to many amazing, fantastic and beautiful animals.
Etosha National Park is located on the continent of Africa in northwestern Namibia and was first named a National Park in 1907 when Namibia was controlled by Germany. Etosha National Park has a massive salt and mineral pan called the Etosha Pan. When the salt pan fills with water the park really comes to life.
Though at one time the pan was a lake fed by a river, today the pan is mostly dry and only fills during heavy rains and then quickly dries up again.
The park is almost 14,000 square miles large and home to some of the most magnificent animals on planet earth. These are some of the fantastic creatures found inside Etosha National Park.
The South African giraffe can be found in Etosha where they will fill up with large quantities of water when it is available in the pan to hold them over for the dry periods.
Image via Wikipedia
One of the heaviest birds in the world that can fly, the Kori Bustard can reach heights approaching 4 feet and weigh up to 50 lbs.
The king of the Jungle lives in Etosha which is not a jungle at all and lions do not really live in the jungle. Etosha provides plentiful prey for these beasts to fight over.
Roughly 2,000 elephants make their home in and around Etosha and they are regarded as the tallest elephants in Africa.
The smallest of the four big cats after tigers, lions and jaguars, the leopard is generally a solitary hunter and can be hard to spot in Etosha.
Warthogs are members of the pig family that live in the wild. The can grow up to 5 feet tall and weigh well over 300 lbs. Sow’s like the one pictured here will defend their cubs viciously even attacking lions if necessary. Reportedly warthogs will allow banded mongooses to groom them in Etosha.
Herds of Zebras are relatively plentiful in Etosha as the open grasslands provide ideal habitat for them. Unlike their relative the horse, Zebras have never really been domesticated to any real extent.
Both black and white rhinos can be found in Etosha where they prefer to use watering holes at night. Black rhinos (3,600 in wild) are a critically endangered species while white rhinos (9,000 in wild) are listed as vulnerable.
The largest living species of bird who also lays the largest eggs live in Etosha where they do not fly as the ostrich is a flightless bird.
Sometimes referred to as “leguaans” (iguana in Dutch) in Southern Africa, these large reptiles are reportedly not that hard to find in Etosha.
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi can be found in Etosha! Reportedly they will groom the warthogs in Etosha.
The name means jumping antelope or goat in Afrikaans and Dutch and springboks are noted for their springing in the air actions. The springbok has a growing population in Etosha and are widely hunted for their beautiful coats by humans and tasty meat by the lions, cheetahs and leopards. Springboks can run well over 50 mph.
Black Eyed Jackals
Image via Wikipedia
The Black-backed Jackal is the oldest living member of the genus Canis and are quite common in Etosha.
These small antelopes are named for the sound they make and provide food for the predators like monitors, lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and jackals that roam the park.
Thought to be scavengers at one time, hyenas are recognized today as great hunters and they have plenty of prey to choose from in Etosha. Hyenas have been known to kill humans.
Not sure if Warren Buffet’s Geico provides travel insurance to Etosha visitors but one of the lodges near Etosha is named Chameleon Backpackers Lodge.
A large antelope found in Etosha that can live up to 20 years.
Another antelope found in the park, they can reach speeds of 60 mph.
Source (Impalas are fast but cheetahs are faster)
The fastest land animal makes its home in Etosha but are sometimes hard to spot. There is nearby Cheetah Farm though were you can pet the tame felines.
Medium sized antelope found in Etosha that can run over 50 mph.
Etosha’s open grassland plains provides a good habitat for cape foxes which mate the year round unlike their cousin the red fox.
When the pan is full of water the flamingos appear.
Can be seen frequently visiting the park on a daily basis where they sometimes interact with the local wildlife.
Source (Scientist trying to bring down a darted Zebra for research)
For another great place to visit in Namibia please see Namib Desert: A Hauntingly Beautiful Place