Although short, this name is a Hai||om word meaning: ‘The hooves of the game knock against the many stones in the area and then the animals come to drink‘. This extensive site is particularly scenic and has the potential of being one of the most productive wildlife viewing locations in the entire Park, especially during the winter months. The water supply from two artesian springs is maintained throughout the year and the level in the upper pool is constant regardless of the season. It overflows into the lower pool during the rains and the latter usually only runs out of water towards the end of October.
Herbivores often congregate here in large numbers, attracting birds of prey and predators including Leopard and Lion. It`s also a good place for water birds. From November to December, dramatic life and death struggles take place here when huge flocks of Red-billed Quelea descend en masse to drink. Some unfortunates are drenched or even bumped into the water by their eager counterparts and have to swim back to the edge, at increased risk from raptors such as Lanner Falcons, Tawny Eagles and Steppe Eagles watching proceedings from the treeline.
An added bonus at Goas is that the access road winds round the two separate water sources, enabling alternative angles on the animals and birds drinking at, or moving to and from the location, so it's possible to get decent shots here throughout the day. The first time my wife and I visited, we arrived around midday to find this large Elephant performing an `undercarriage cleanup` only a few metres away from the parking area at the top pool.
This wide-angle shot of the bottom pool looks back towards the elephant which is barely visible between the two tall trees right of centre. As can be seen, the light was poor from this position due to the time of day but during the dry season it improves at the bottom pool mid-afternoon. Despite being late in the dry season there was still a fair amount of greenery, both around the top pool and on the leaves on the trees.
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The first time here, I was focused on this Spotted Hyena approaching the waterhole and it was only when I processed the Goas images on the computer back home that I noticed the lioness walking off in the background in the following shot. The Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta), also known as the Laughing Hyena, is far more common than the Brown Hyena (Hyaena brunnea) and it can be distinguished by its more rounded ears as opposed to the pointed ears of the latter species, and a shorter, less shaggy coat. The distinctive pattern on the Spotted Hyena`s body is usually obvious, except in very old individuals. Spotted Hyenas were once widespread throughout Namibia, but are now mainly found in Etosha National Park, Kaokoland, the Caprivi Strip, Kavango and Bushmanland. Other small populations exist in the Namib Desert, and within the Skeleton Coast National Park. I`ve yet to see a Brown Hyena in the wild.
The Pied Crow (Corvus albus) is Africa's most widespread Corvid and can be found throughout much of the continent. It exhibits behaviour similar to the Eurasian Carrion Crow. Pied Crows favour mainly open country with human habitation nearby and they obtain all of their sustenance from the ground, whether it be insects, other small invertebrates, small reptiles, small mammals, young birds, eggs, grain, nuts and carrion.
In Etosha, they aren`t shy in begging for scraps and although it`s illegal to feed any creatures within the Park, these cheeky birds seem to have a good deal of success.