Text & Photographs Anja Denker
Etosha is Namibia’s best-known and favourite wildlife park, with the pan covering an area of approximately4,800 km², 140 km in length and 50 km in width at places.
I will never forget the utter disbelief and awe I felt early one morning at first light when I was greeted by the sight of a female leopard not just casually lounging “in” a tree, but sitting calmly on top of it, gazing out at the pan. It is an image I will always refer to as the “leopard roost”. I was privileged enough to spend the entire day with that leopardess – with no other cars in the vicinity.
It is this marked contrast that lures the keen photographer to capture all facets of the spectacle of nature and wildlife reflected in Etosha.
Patience, focus, determination and a bit of luck will reward you with once-in-a-lifetime sightings, producing photographs that reflect the unique character of Etosha. The sight of an elusive leopard walking along the pan is rare indeed, and one that not many people will ever have the privilege to experience.
One of my most memorable sightings was a solitary black rhino meandering slowly across the vast expanse of the pan, with only a few springbok for company.
The pan enthrals and fascinates me. I will return time and time again to try and capture the essence of this iconic place and to reflect the love I feel for its wildlife in my photography.
No sighting is ever the same – no photo can ever be duplicated, no matter how often you visit Etosha.
Wildlife photography on or around the pan can produce some spectacular images. The starkness creates an ideal backdrop for any animal, isolating and offsetting it beautifully.
Etosha’s climate can be described in two words: wet or dry. Summer is characterized by extreme heat, with trees stripped bare of leaves and offering little shade, parched dusty earth and drab colours.