The most distinctive characteristic of Etosha is its huge endoheric and chalk-like salt pan, which covers a vast area that dominates the northern area of the park, approximately 130 kilometres long and 50 kilometres wide and amounting to 23% of the park’s total area. The majority of the year the pan has the look of cracked white mud which glistens, shifts and hazes in the heat to create a stunning otherworldly terrain, along with some mirages! Here you can also see game roaming the pan, and during the rainy season the pan sometimes fills with water to attract flamingos, pelicans and other water birds and an impressive, shimmering sight. Generally, however, the pan is relatively dry most of the year and water is scarce.
The area surrounding the shallow Etosha pan is mainly comprised of bush and endless open plains. It is not too uncommon to witness cheetah prowling on the savannah plains, large black-maned lions lazing in the sunshine, the endangered black rhino, elephants, and plenty more desert-adapted animals such as springbok and striking gemsbok.
It is possible to explore Etosha from a base either inside or outside of the park itself. The accommodation in the Etosha region includes fantastically positioned camps with proximity to the waterholes to give unrivalled access to wildlife and some excellent game drive possibilities. One example is Dolomite Camp, set in the western section of Etosha, which overlooks the Dolomite Point waterhole with terrific game viewing and where it is also possible to see black and white rhino from the Klip-pan waterhole.
Several manmade waterholes have been created to attract game, largely around the southern perimeter of the pan, and you can be assured that some great wildlife moments are usually enjoyed in the park.