At sunrise the gates open to the 'Great White Place' or 'Place of Dry Water', as the Owambo people have called the heart of the country since time immemorial. Unlike its name, however, the 22 912-square-kilometre national park is a place of sanctuary and abundance.
With a variety of vegetation types, from thorn bush and woodland savannah, stands of makalani palms and the 'phantom' moringa trees (sprokiesbome) to the chalky white pan, Etosha National Park is home to myriad species of wildlife. One-hundred-and-fourteen mammal species are found in the park including the antisocial black rhino and the endemic black-faced impala.
Waterholes are dotted along the southern section of the pan providing effortless viewing. Unequalled Earthly experiences can be garnered here: watching a family of elephants silently appear and hurry excitedly towards the water, lions lazing contentedly in the shade of a bush, elegant giraffe loping across the road and a herd of handsome zebra nuzzling each other affectionately.
At the end of a full Etosha day, while some are still racing the sun, others are lounging on the sundowner deck of Etosha Safari Lodge or Etosha King Nehale or enjoying a drink at the Oshebeena Bar at Etosha Safari Camp, contemplating Etosha marvels and the thrill of being in the African wilderness.
Anticipation is already mounting for the new day. Here, at Gondwana's lodges, just ten kilometres from Andersson Gate, a new adventure begins with every dawn.