Etosha – Namibia


The word “Etosha” means ‘Great White Place’ and aptly describes the vast white plains of the ancient salt pans situated in the Kalahari Basin of southern Africa. The floor of this expansive basin is thought to be 1 billion years old and is made up of dry, dusty clay and salt. Water comes rarely and for a short period of time.

As such an ancient remnant of Africa, this area has always been home to a variety of impressive animal- and plant life. Some of the fauna that have made their home here include zebra, rhino (black and white), cheetah, leopard, caracal, elephant, kudu, wildebeest and giraffe, amongst many, many others.

Image of Etosha Elephants.
Etosha Elephants.

In addition, the prolific birdlife presents species numbering almost 400. Eagles, vultures and even the endangered blue crane soar above Etosha, gracing visitors with their majestic beauty and power.

The Etosha National Park in Namibia provides travellers with the prime opportunity to experience the salt pans. This park has been established for over 100 years and covers over 22 000 square kilometres. Any visitor to Namibia is encouraged to pay this park and the magnificent pans that make up about a quarter of its land a visit. In fact, most tour packages include the Etosha National Park in recognition of its significance and awe-inspiring beauty.

Tourists will delight in the stunning perennial springs that border the pan, which lure a variety of stunning animals, including an impressive array of birds. Travellers are advised to visit the salt pans during the period between May and September, when it is cooler. Stunning watering holes are lit during the evenings and early mornings so that the unique mix of animals that drink and cool down during these times are clearly visible to discreet onlookers.

Image of the Etosha Plains.
Etosha Plains.

The tourist facilities at the National Park are excellent and include three camps, a restaurant, a shop, a swimming pool, and many more comfortable conveniences. Recently, a luxury lodge has also been opened right inside the park for visitors seeking an even more elegant safari experience.

This particular National Park does not offer guided game drives or tours. Visitors have the freedom to conduct their own safari, perhaps with the help of a private guide. The area is, in itself, so complex and perfect, though, that it promises a fulfilling and memorable tour regardless of how you undertake your trip.

For more information, please view: http://www.etoshanationalpark.co.za/

 

Effects Of Climatic And Environmental Changes On Ancient African Civilisations


Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the entire planet earth looked very different to what modern man experiences today. Continents were not yet divided, and the vegetation and animals were different. Significantly, the climate was also vastly different to what it is today. Climate plays an integral role in determining the plants and animal that live in a certain areas, as well as how habitable a place is for human beings.

In fact, even the theory of the evolution of man was dependent largely on the climatic influences on our ancient ancestors. It is hypothesised that the ancient versions of man were forced to walk upright, lose body hair and develop their coordination for survival in a changing environment. New skills also needed to be learned as farming techniques and living habits had to be adapted.

Ancient Africa experienced major vacillations between mega-droughts and Ice Ages, although these fluctuations occurred over thousands and thousands of years. As humans continued to develop and evolve through these phases, they needed to make major adaptations, not only to their ways of life, but also to their personal body structure. Prior to 135 000 years ago, the whole of Africa was lush and fertile, with a tropical climate. Then, the most intense mega-drought ever to occur hit the continent in the period referred to as the early part of the Late Pleistocene epoch. This is believed to have led to the migration of most of our human ancestors into other areas that were more habitable and fertile. Lake Malawi has been used by scientists as a rain gauge to ascertain water levels in ancient times. Research has shown that, during this mega-drought, the lake’s level dropped at least 1968 feet, or 600 metres! Evolutionists claim that this severe lack of water not only pushed ancient man from the area, it also forced aquatic animals (such as fish) to develop the facilities to be able to survive on dry land, thus evolving into land animals.

As people flocked out of the continent, only a very small proportion of this specific generation remained. Humankind as we know it is widely believed to have come from these few remaining on the continent, who evolved significantly and in response to the climatic changes.

These conditions continued until about 70 000 years ago, when the climate was again characterised by wetter conditions. These led to the growth and renewal of fresh vegetation, as well as an increased water supply to the region. More people were in the area during this time of abundance, and the population grew. This increase in numbers eventually led to migrations due to space limitations and the ownership of land.

Then, about 20 000 years ago, an Ice Age overcame the entire earth. This meant that the planet underwent a long-term period of cold temperatures over most of its surface. In places like North America and Eurasia, giant ice sheets covered enormous proportions of the land, making it impossible to farm and, sometimes, even live in these areas. This final Ice Age lasted for about 9 500 years. It forced most of the populations to migrate to the highlands, where they would be relatively protected from the ice sheets. Again, these civilisations had to adapt their farming methods, and change their diet, social habits, clothing and migratory patterns. This forced an evolution to a certain extent. Body hair was necessary to keep people warm, their skin lightened due to a lack of the harsh rays of the sun that they experienced during the mega-droughts, etc…

When this Ice Age came to an end 10 500 years ago, areas like the Sahara were left fertile and healthy. This made it and the other areas like it the ideal spots in which to settle as ancient man began to descend from the highlands. Animals and plants thrived in this environment, which made it very desirable in the eyes of mankind. The abundance of food, water and sunshine again changed the habits and physical structures of our earliest forefathers.

These conditions lasted for some time, but the Sahara in particular continued to experience fluctuations between humid and dry conditions. These eventually left the entire area unable to yield crops or sustain life for any extended period of time. Today, it remains a large stretch of desert. Then, approximately 2500 years ago, the group of people who had made their home in the Sahara began to follow the direction of the Nile River, which held promise of a rich water supply. The arid conditions of the Sahara and its surrounds continue to the present day.

Africa has, since prehistoric times, proven to be a place of fascination, life and evolution. Changes in the climate were often dramatic, and these were, to a great extent, responsible for determining the ancient civilisations that inhabited this vast continent. It is no wonder that many researchers and scientists maintain that Africa is the Cradle of Mankind, and research continues to yield fascinating evidence of this theory.