Etosha National Park wildlife
African elephants that have become accustomed to the relentless cycles of drought in Etosha and map its water sources in their memories. From just 26 in 1954, their numbers have swelled to over 2,500. It was in Etosha that a study proved that elephant can communicate using infrasonic sounds; they literally ‘bounce’ these off a thermal inversion layer in the atmosphere. This allows “conversations” they can hear for 100km further than normal.
A particularly beautiful and bountiful antelope with distinctive colouring, horns that outline a heart shape and immaculate white tummies, despite the dust. They “pronk”: bounce with all four feet alternatively on and off the ground, for what seems to be pure joy.
Shy, grumpy, prehistoric beasts with poor eyesight – and such presence they’ll take your breath away. Browsers, not grazers: if you see a rhino mowing grassland, it will be a southern white.
Oryx, called “gemsbok”
Pronounced correctly, with a harsh and rolling ‘g’, the word sounds nothing like the perfect angles and subtle patterns this lovely antelope displays. It has spectacular spear-like horns that even lion treat with respect.
A pint-sized antelope, often no taller than a big coffee-table book, with a squeaky cry and a zig-zagging escape tactic.