May & June 2019 Photography

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Etosha National Park must be one of the most startling photogenic safari scenery in Africa, especially during the dry season when herds of animals can be seen at watering holes called Pan’s.

‘Etosha’ translates as the Place of Mirages’, ‘Land of Dry Water’ of the “Great White Place.’  I found Etosha’s landscape to be endless silvery-white sand, Acacia trees, and fascinating termite hills, or mounds.

The main feature of the park is the huge Etosha Pan (roughly 110km from east to west and 60km from North to South, covering an area of 6,133km (about one-fourth of the parks surface)), with flat silvery sand.

Everywhere throughout Namibia and South Africa you will see sweet little woven birds nest in the trees, like decorations. Male yellow African Weaver Birds construct their intricate nests during mating season, using them to attract prospective mates. The bird takes about two days to complete the nest. Last step is to come back with soft grass to upholster the nest and make it comfortable for the offsprings to come. Sometimes, after the male has completed the basic structure of the nest and a female has approved it, the female will help him to complete the nest, but until she is satisfied she makes him rebuild it until she has approved the final construction. Too Cute!

Etosha is so special for the animals, because of the concentration of waterholes that appear on the southern edges of the pan. The best way, and most of the time we would just sit in our vehicle by a waterhole and watch and wait for the animals to move in and out, after drinking. You are not allowed to leave the vehicle at any time; therefore, the animals were used to and comfortable with their audience, and the clicking camera’s.

Acacia trees, (the tree most used as a signature for the African Continent) were in abundance in the park, but what was most interesting to me to see everywhere in Namibia and South Africa was the termite mounds, they were like the frosting or the jewel topping for the landscape.

The structure of the termite mounds can be very complicated. Inside the mound is an extensive system of tunnels and conduits that serves as a ventilation system for the underground nest. The mounds sometimes have a diameter of 30 meters (98 ft). Most of the mounds are in well-drained areas. Termite mounds usually outlive the colonies themselves. If the inner tunnels of the nest are exposed it is usually dead. Sometimes other colonies, of the same or different species, occupy a mound after the original builders' deaths. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, and many are constructed under or near trees. Some, like Odontotermes termites build open chimneys or vent holes into their mounds, while others build completely enclosed mounds like Macrotermes. The Amitermes (Magnetic termites) mounds are created tall, thin, wedge-shaped, usually oriented north-south. I am sure we saw every variety throughout our travels through Namibia and South Africa, it almost became a challenge to find the best ones.

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