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history 2Europeans first knew Etosha in the early 1850s when Charles Andersson and Francis Galton visited it. They recorded their early impressions:

…we traversed and immense hollow, called Etosha, covered with saline encrustations, and having wooded and well-defined borders. Such places are in Africa designated ‘salt pans’ …In some rainy seasons, the Ovambo informed us, the locality was flooded and had all the appearance of a lake; but now it was quite dry, and the soil strongly impregnated with salt. Indeed, close in shore, the dommodity was to be had of a very pure quality.

They were amongst the first explorers and trader who relentlessly hunted the area’s huge herds of game. In 1876 an American trader, McKierman, came through the area and wrote of a visit to Etoahs:

All the menageries in the world turned loose would not compare to the sight that I saw today.

The slaughter became worst as time progressed and more Europeans came until, in 1907, Dr F von Lindequist, the Governor of German South West Africa (as Namibia Historywas then known), proclaimed three reserves. At the time, the park’s original 100,000 km² (38,500 mile²) made it the largest game reserve in the world. These covered all of the current park, and most of Kaokoland – between the Kunene and Hoarusib rivers. The aim was to stem the rapid depletion of the animals in the area, and protect all of the land through which the seasonla migrations passed. It was an excellent plan for conserving the wildlife – though perhaps not so perfect for the people who lived in the area.


This protected remained largely intact until the 1950s and ‘60s. Then, just as a nature conservation unit and several tourist camps were set up, the reserves were redefined and Etosha shrank to its present size.



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