Etosha Pan – a vast expanse of desiccated white clay characterised by distant mirages and spiralling dust devils – that makes the game-viewing experience in the world-renowned Etosha National Park different to any other. In September 2007 the park celebrated its first hundred years of existence, the centennial celebrations taking place at the Namutoni Resort in the eastern section of the park.
The park was originally proclaimed as a conservation area in 1907 by
German Governor Frederich von Lindequist. This entailed the region
south, west and north-west of the pan and Governor von Lindequist named
it Game Reserve No 2. (Game Reserve Nos 1 and 3 were established to the
north-east and the Namib Desert respectively.) With subsequent additions
Etosha became the largest game reserve in the world, extending over a
vast area of approximately 80 000 square kilometres westwards across
Kaokoland to the Skeleton Coast. However, for political considerations,
it was progressively diminished in size until 1975 when it was reduced
by 77 per cent to its present surface area of 22 912 square kilometres.
A total of 114 species of mammals are found in the park, including the
rare and endangered black rhino, cheetah and black-faced impala. Large
mammals include giraffe, elephant, blue wildebeest, mountain and plains
zebra, hyaena, leopard and lion.
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