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Day 73 – Etosha

Blog — By on December 3, 2012 6:17 pm

Today we have a day off, and time to visit the Etosha National Park in Northern Namibia. The park, at 23,000 sq km, is half the size Switzerland and larger than Wales. It is one of the biggest in Africa. We set off just after 6am (again!). We drove towards Etosha Pan. The pan is dry most of the year but fills during the wet season. As they have just had a very wet spell with 100mm in just 3 days there was lots of water around. At 4700 square kilometers, the pan alone is one and a half times as big as Hampshire, and extends as far as the eye can see. In fact it is lost in a shimmering heat haze on the horizon.

We had a couple of memorable sightings. Firstly we saw an enormous bull elephant, probably the largest any of us had seen before. We drew up quite close behind him as he ambled down the dirt road. He towered above us at maybe 12 or 13 feet at the shoulder. This sighting would have continued had we not had a flat tyre at that very moment! C’est la vie.

Later on we saw the customary sleepy lion beneath a shady tree. Estimates vary, but it is thought that there are over 2000 lions in the park. Because it has been a protected park since 1907 all animal populations are in balance. Man has not interfered and messed things up here.

Thirdly we saw the intensely pink hue of thousands of flamingos in the pan. A long line, maybe as much as a kilometer, was a great photo opportunity. And we managed to add a few new endemic species to our bird tally including the Jacobin Cuckoo. We are now on 6 different cuckoo varieties with 9 still to go would you believe!

Our final, but somewhat less memorable sighting, was Imelda. He rejoins the group and was very excited this evening when he spotted a guinea fowl. He has a way to go before he gets his guide’s licence. J

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