The first conservation area in Namibia, Etosha National Park covers an area of 22,000 km². The Etosha Pan, the largest salt pan, lies on the north-western edge of the Kalahari Desert. Until three million years ago it formed part of huge, shallow lake that was reduced to salt pans when the Kunene River that fed it changed course and began to flow towards the Atlantic Ocean instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha Pan is nowadays only filled with water when sufficient rains fall in Angola to the north. Consisting of grassland, mopane woodland and savanna, game viewing activities tend to concentrate around the numerous waterholes that are the lifeline of the resident wildlife here, and where it is possible to witness some incredible sightings of the many different species altogether at one time. Etosha National Park boasts some 114 mammals, including elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, oryx, zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as over 300 species of birds. The vision of vast herds of game against this stark and desolate backdrop, referred to locally as ‘the great white place of dry water’ makes the Etosha game viewing experience truly unique.