Etosha is magical, and once you experience it, you’ll never want to leave. Picture: Supplied.

Imagine a giant salt pan, stretching all the way to the horizon – for almost 5000 square kilometres. That’s the Etosha Pan, the largest salt pan in Africa, and Etosha National Park’s most distinctive and dramatic feature.
 
You can even see it from space, but you don’t need to launch yourself into the cosmic realm to get the best view. A scenic drive works even better, to appreciate the panoramic, unspoiled vistas, making it one of the best roads to drive in southern Africa. 
 
The giant salt pan is a vast, bare, open expanse of shimmering green and white, and covers almost a quarter of the Etosha National Park, that lies between Oshivelo in the east and Kowares in the west.
 
From Windhoek, follow the main B1 route to Otjiwarongo, and then along the C42 and C38 past Outjo to Andersons Gate. The road to Etosha is on tar, but you will be travelling on gravel in the park, so remember to meander with caution and wear your seatbelt. Avis Rent a Car recommends renting an SUV like the Toyota RAV4. The raised ride height makes for better all-round visibility, and there’s ample space for luggage.
 
If you’re a budding nature photographer, Etosha will not disappoint. It has some 114 species of animals, including predators, zebra, blue wildebeest, gemsbok, eland and springbok as well as black rhinoceros, elephants, lions, leopards, and giraffe. If you’re an avid bird-watcher, there are 340 bird species to keep you enthralled for hours. During the rainy season, if you are in luck, you will see a mass of beautiful pink flamingos. It is the only known mass breeding ground for flamingos in Namibia. At times, there can be around 1 million flamingos in the pan.
 
Etosha is magical, and once you experience it, you’ll never want to leave!
 
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