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Namutoni Resort Etosha National Park

Namutoni served as control post from 1897 onwards during a rinderpest epidemic. Later, when the rinderpest was gone, the fort was used to control the trade with Ovamboland. In 1906 it was put under the leadership of the German Adolph Fischer who became the first warden of the Etosha National Park in 1907, which was at that time five times as big as it is today. Its size was reduced in order to create room for the Herero and Damara people. The fort is a National Monument since 1950, and the camp was opened to tourists in 1957.

Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo)

And once we drove off to the Fisher's Pan, we saw a group of Banded Mongoose, funny little creatures who relaxed right next to the gravel road. They live in families up to 30 animals that go hunting as a group. When they relax, they cuddle next to each other, with the younger animals in their middle. They are considered an "almost endangered species", and I was lucky to do a few decent shots.

Blue Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus)

And then, a few kilometers towards the Fisher's Pan, the big show began. I could not resist to stop again and again for photos. This, for example, is a Blue Wildebeest (aka the Brindled Gnu) standing quietly under a shady tree, seeking protection from the glaring sun. Blue Wildebeest are social creatures and typically live in groups of 20 to 40 animals, usually consisting of cows and calves, led by a bull.

Gemsbok (Oryx Gazella)

You will encounter many Gemsbok (Oryx Gazellas), powerful-looking antelopes featuring a well-defined patterns on head and body. It can survive a long time without any water, so it's perfectly suited for the Etosha National Park. Its horns are very effective weapons, but they are also used to shake down fruit from trees. The oryx is part of the Namibian national crest, and yes, they are quite tasty as well. :-) But seriously, if you ever have the chance to eat some Oryx, just go ahead. It's fantastic.

Young Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis)

This is a very young Springbok that watches us with amazement.

Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros)

And here we have a Kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) with its enormous ears. Speaking of the ears, well, since Georg of the Etosha-Aoba-Lodge nick-named the Kudu as the "Prince Charles animal", we always had to smile when we encountered one.

Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres) approaching a tree

At the Koinachas water hole (right next to Namutoni) we witnessed this approach of a Cape Vulture to a tree. It all went quite fast: Approaching...

Cape Vulture landing on a tree

... targeting the branch for landing ...

Cape Vulture sitting on tree

... and landing. A bit unsteady at first, but this is no surprise as the selected branch is not really that thick! Now, can you imagine our excitement? We had driven just about 40 kilometers in the park, and we had seen so many animals already... But it should still get better!

Springbok (Antidorcas marsupialis)

Two springbok sit in the grass and watch the tourists passing by. It had rained the days before our arrival, so the grass was really green, giving the whole Etosha Park a somewhat surreal appearance. We were told that during other times of the year, especially during dry season, there is not a single green blade of grass to be seen. Apparently, the springbok like this fresh grass as well.

Burchell's Zebra (Equus quagga burchellii)

And there were Zebras, many Zebras. I took so many photos of Zebras that I had difficulties to select the best photos. I went for this photo of a yawning Zebra - it did not make a sound, so it was definitely not whinnying...

Zebra at Etosha National Park

...and I selected this Zebra, that looked straight into the camera. It's an amazing photo even in this low resolution, and I can tell you this much: when I enlarge the full 16.7 megapixels of the origial photo, I see all the fantastic details, like the eyelashes, with a stunning sharpness. Awesome.

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