Salvadora, one of Etosha`s most picturesque locations, lies just a few kilometres east along the Pan`s southern edge from Sueda. The site is best known for its evergreen mustard tree, Salvadora persica, which gives this waterhole its name and makes a fine backdrop to proceedings. The parking area is elevated with a steep drop-off, providing panoramic views out towards the Pan, and an almost birds-eye view of any animals directly below, sometimes only a few metres away.
Overall, this is one of the park`s most popular spots with photographers and on my first visit, long lines of antelope and Zebra stretched into the distance, wandering over the grasslands on their way to or from the waterhole creating a classic African scene. Although I`ve never seen any predators here, Salvadora is a well-known lion hotspot and the big cats regularly ambush their prey after lying in wait among the bushes and reeds.
Cheetah also make frequent appearances. Bird-wise, irrespective of the season, there is usually something of interest with Ostrich often seen shimmering in the far distance and Blue Cranes among the species at the water`s edge. Pied Crows from Charitsaub visit the parking area to beg for treats and even though feeding any animal or bird within the park is prohibited, they obviously have a good deal of success.
On my last visit, in October 2018, my wife and I were driving from the east side of the Park to Okaukuejo and we stopped here around midday to discover an impressive gathering of Zebra revelling in the newly formed pools created by early overnight rainfall. We had been staying at Mushara Outpost and the downpour was accompanied by thunder and, sheet lightning. The canvas sides of our tent were flapping wildly and a particularly strong gust blew down an internal curtain rail. Although the storm only lasted around twenty minutes staff had to cancel dinner in the outdoor boma and move everything indoors. The sky was largely overcast at dawn and it appeared that the rain had been even heavier in the west of the Park where numerous puddles had formed. We saw Springbok and Zebra drinking at several water-filled roadside ditches near Halali which is not usually possible until a bit later in the year.
Soon after we`d arrived at Salvadora, Springbok and long lines of Wildebeest began to move in and we could have sat for ages watching the interaction and niggles between the various animals, especially as many were so close at hand. Unless you`re spending the night at the Halali Restcamp, you are always conscious of the time when visiting waterholes in the centre of the park, so it`s best to be fairly selective and only check-out those with a good reputation for wildlife sightings.
Stone location markers within the Park also instruct visitors to`STAY IN YOUR CAR` but the writing on many has faded, often due to animals rubbing themselves against the sides. Despite these on-site warnings and the well-publicised national park rules, visitors do occasionally get out of their vehicles at waterholes and place themselves in danger.
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The Zebra pictured below has been fitted with a radio-tracking collar which enables park officials and scientists to study its movement and migration patterns. During my time in Etosha I`ve also encountered elephants and a lion wearing similar devices.
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