wildlife of Namibia
Introduction: There can be no other species whose distributional range has decreased as much as the lion (Panthera leo). Many are shot, trapped or poisoned when trespassing on farms, or die when there prey ratios are reduced by drought or disease. Lions are great wanderers and spend much of their time hunting, patrolling territories, playing and sleeping. Although they live in prides of up to 30 individuals which is comprised of between 4 and 12 related females, it is the lioness that remain in the pride for life, while male lions form coalitions and defend the females of a group from rival males.
Lions are territorial animals and can defend a territory of up to 400km². Between 2 and 3 years old young male lions leave the pride and become nomadic for around 2 years. At the age of 5, male lions settle down with their own pride. Females do the majority of the hunting, hunting as a team.
Apart from roaring, lions also communicate by scent-marking their surroundings, and even by their facial expressions and body postures. Lions display aggression by showing their impressive canine teeth, flattening their ears and displaying the dark patch behind the ears, their tails twitching in irritation.
Distribution: Lions can only be found in the north of Namibia. Between 250 and 750 lions live in Etosha National Park while smaller populations exist in the Caprivi, Bushmanland and in Kaokoland. Lions have recently returned to the Skeleton Coast Park.
Diet: Lions feed on a wide range of mammals from mice to buffalo, birds up to the size of ostrich as well as reptiles and even insects. Attacks and kills on wildebeest, gemsbok and zebras are common and they are also known on occasion to tackle young elephants and hippo. Their food requirements depend on species available.
Colouring: The lions coat is ideal for hiding. It is a brownish yellow, the same colour as dead grass, another camouflage extra. Their underparts are whitish with a general tawny to sandy tinge. Rosettes and spots are characteristic of young animals and females often retain these on their underparts. Only males have a long tawny mane on the sides of the face and on top of the head. In some individuals this mane can be much darker, especially in the black-maned lion of the Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Breeding: Lions are non-seasonal breeders, yet females of a pride often synchronize births. After a gestation period of 110 days, 1 to 4 cubs are born and start taking meat after 10 weeks. Females suckle their own and one another's cubs for up to 6 months. After birth, cubs are hidden for 6 weeks after which mothers bring them to the pride's crèche. The young remain dependant on the organizational success of the pride for up to 3 years.
Size: The lion is the largest of the African carnivores and a male usually weighs from 160 to 180kgs, but some weigh up to 230kgs. Most males are about 3m long from nose to tail and are 1.1m tall at the shoulder. Lionesses are smaller than males and they weight only 110 to 140kgs and are about 30cms shorter.
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A mid market lodge, situated on the Ongava Private Reserve, very close to the main, Andersson, entrance to Etosha Park
On a small hill on the extreme western side of Etosha - Dolomite is the newest (and fifth camp) to open within the park boundaries. It is a smaller lodge as opposed to the traditional resort feel of the other camps within the park
Value for money accommodation in a well designed tented camp
Traditional slightly formal up-market lodge. Situated on same property as Eagle Tented Camp
Only 10km's from the park, Etosha Safari Camp offers good quality budget accommodation
Within 10km of the Etosha entrance this mid-range lodge offers an ideal base from which to explore the park
40 Room lodge only 4km from the park. Offers self catering units and a restaurant
Situated just north of the town of Outjo around 90km south of the Park
One of the five camps situated inside the park, generally less popular with visitors than Okaukuejo or Namutoni but has the advantage of a secluded quiet spot lit waterhole
On the far western edge of the park, just outside the Galton Gate, this is an excellent location to explore Etosha, Damaraland and the remote Kaokoland area
Luxury accommodation, each unit with private pool, great place to spoil yourself. Guided tours on private nature reserve and inside Etosha Park
Value for money self drive option situated 32km from the park
Accommodation in permanently erected tents, 14km south of the park
Extremely popular and busy accommodation inside the park with a good spot-lit waterhole, great choice if location is deciding factor on where to stay
A brand new campsite inside Etosha Park. No accommodation is available here and this only caters for self-sufficient campers. A highlight of the camp is the unique hide which overlooks the camps waterhole
Upmarket accommodation, situated on private game reserve with easy access to the National Park
On the same property as Ongava Lodge, but offering a more traditional tented safari style experience
Once called Etosha Gateway lodge this is a budget accommodation option which has recently been renovated.
This small family owned and managed guest farm is situated in easy driving distance of Etosha. The tranquil gardens and homely atmosphere make for a relaxed stay far from the crowds of the more commercial lodges