Situated in northern Namibia, the Etosha National Park is one of Africa's major wildlife sanctuaries, covering an area of about 22,270 square kilometers. The pan from which the park takes its name covers 6,200 square kilometers. Its origin is not clearly known: it is probable that there was once a great inland lake fed by the Kuneene river. The river changed its course over the centuries, causing the lake to dry up and form a saline desert plain where no vegetation will grow. When heavy rainfall occurs, parts of this desert plain transform into very shallow lakes where flocks of waterbirds like flamingoes and pelicans thrive.
The park is open to visitors throughout the year. Three rest camps - Okaukuejo, Namutoni, and Halali - offer accommodation in the form of self-contained bungalows and camping sites. Facilities for visitors include restaurants, shops, swimming pools, picnic sites. There are game viewing roads. Animals observed in the park include the spotted and brown hyena, big five, black-faced impala, cheetah, damara dik dik, gemsbok, springbok, eland, wildebeest, antelope and about 325 species of birds.
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