A vast area on Namibia’s central plateau, a haven for 93 mammal species and 340 bird species, the park’s focal point is the Etosha Pan – a flat saline desert, 130 km long by 50km at its widest in the eastern sector of the park. The Pan itself is believed to have originated over 12 million years ago as a shallow lake fed by the Kunene River. Subsequent climatic and tectonic changes have since lowered the water level so that the pan only holds water for a brief period each year – it teems with flamingos and pelicans in the summer. The saline and mineral residues together with moisture from perennial springs attract an immense number and variety of game and birds from mid March into November just before the new wet season starts. Etosha is known for its endemic species of impala, the black faced variety and is said to have the tallest elephants in Africa, measuring up to 4m at the shoulder. The park is also well recognised as being one of the last wild sanctuaries of the endangered black rhino.
Ongava is one of the largest private game reserves in Namibia, covering over 125 square miles and lies with Etosha National Park. The beauty of Ongava also lies in a vast array of plant life and vegetation, including the Mopane woodlands, unique to this part of Namibia. A highlight at Ongava is that it is one of the few private game reserves in southern Africa where you have a chance of seeing both black and white rhino. For those who enjoy close wildlife encounters, tracking white rhino on foot with an armed guide is an experience not to be missed. Ongava Game Reserve also has a good population of lion, eland, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, black-faced impala and a number of other antelope species.