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Ekuma River and Etosha Pan, Namibia

18.7S 16.4E

April 20th, 2011 Category: Rivers, Salt Flats

Namibia - April 15th, 2011

The Etosha Pan is a dry, saline desert in northern Namibia that used to be a large, inland Pliocene lake. Normally, the cracked, whitish clay is split into hexagonal salt-encrusted fragments, and wildlife is sustained only by surrounding freshwater springs.

The pan is located on the interior plain of Ovamboland. Elevation ranges from 1,071 m to 1,086 m. It is the largest pan system in Namibia and consists of a flat, saline depression that is roughly 129 km from east to west and 72 km from north to south (6,133 km2 in total).

The mean annual rainfall of the Etosha National Park is about 430 mm. Climatically there are normally three distinct seasons; hot and wet (January to April), cool and dry (May to August), and hot and dry (September to December).

This image was taken towards the end of the rainy season, during which the pan is usually subject to periodic, partial flooding. Direct rainfall accounts for only a small proportion of the pan’s water; three rivers supply the majority: the Ekuma, Oshigambo, and Omuramba Ovambo.

The Ekuma River, which flows seasonally from the southern shores of Lake Oponono, situated about 70 km north of the pan, can be seen crossing the upper left quadrant and spilling greyish sediments onto the pan.

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