Etosha is one of Africa’s greatest game reserves. Located in the northern part of Namibia, it encompasses 8,600 square miles (roughly the size of New Jersey) and is home to the Big 5 (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard & water buffalo) as well as a variety of other animal species.
The Etosha Pan is the main geographic highlight and is a vast depression in the center of the park. While dry most of the year, it will fill to a couple of inches during rainy season, when a couple of rivers deposit their contents into the vast depression.
Giulia and I arrived late after our long drive, and made preparations to spend two days driving the park. Our first day was to be spent driving the western loop and the second day would be spent driving the eastern part of the park.
During our two days of driving, we encountered the following members of the Wild Kingdom:
Elephant (with zebra and oryx bonus)
Ostrich (with Oryx bonus)
Animals have the right of way in Etosha
And for good measure, let’s just throw a bunch of animals into the same pan
Unfortunately, we did not have the luck to see any rhino, leopard, or cheetah – three of the species of which I was hoping to catch a peek. As visitors must stay on the roads in the park, there is a vast amount of territory where the animals can roam in obscurity. Whether one sees these animals comes down to just pure luck.
After our first day touring the park, Giulia and I paid a visit to the home of the bartender of the lodge at which we were staying. Kosmos is a member of the local Bushman tribe, and as such, his people live in Etosha, a concession provided by the Namibian government because the Bushmen have lived in Etosha for many centuries.
Giulia and I were not sure exactly where Kosmos lived, but it turned out to be very easy to find him as he is the only person in the area with that name. Ask anyone in or around the park, and they all know Kosmos.
We arrived late in the afternoon to find him in front of his home, with the neighborhood kids all running up to our car. We were quite the novelty for the day. Kosmos introduced us to his two beautiful daughters, and then Giulia spent the next hour photographing the kids while Kosmos and I talked about any number of things.
The kids were fascinated with Giulia’s and my cameras, which we would hand to them to take their own pictures (thank God for the economies afforded through digital photos). The kids were natural subjects, comfortably striking poses for us whenever the camera trained its lens on them.