A seemingly endless pan of silvery-white sand, translated as the ‘Place of Mirages’, ‘Land of Dry Water’ or the ‘Great White Place’, Etosha is a land upon which dust-devils play and illusions blur the horizon. One of Africa’s most unique and remarkable game reserves, Etosha National Park protects a vast shallow bowl of sand the size of Holland and its surrounding bush. It is at its best for an African safari during the cooler dry season when huge herds of animals can be seen against a backdrop of some of the most dramatic scenery in Africa. A large concentration of waterholes that occur around the southern edges of the pan are one of many things that make Etosha National Park so special. As the dry season progresses, these watering holes increasingly draw game. The mammals and birds found here are typical of the savanna plains of the main safari areas in southern Africa, but include several species endemic to this western side of the continent, adjacent to the Namib Desert.
The more common herbivores include elephant, giraffe, eland, Damara dik dik, blue wildebeest, kudu, gemsbok, springbok, impala, steenbok, hartebeest, roan antelope and zebra. The most numerous of these are the springbok which can often be seen in herds numbering thousands, spread out over the most barren of plains. Elephant are also very common, though digging for water below the sand wears down their tusks, so big tuskers are very rare. Often large family groups are seen trooping down to waterholes to drink, wallow and bathe.