Etosha, meaning 'Great White Place' is made of a large mineral pan. The area exhibits a characteristic white and greenish surface, which spreads over 4,800 km2. The pan developed through tectonic plate activity over about ten million years.
Etosha was first established in 1907, when Namibia was a German colony known as South West Africa. At the time, the park's original 100,000 km² (38,500 mile²) made it the largest game reserve in the world. Due to political changes since its original establishment, the park is now slightly less than a quarter of its original area, but still remains a very large and significant area in which wildlife is protected.
The Etosha Pan dominates the park. The salt pan desert is roughly 130 km long and as wide as 50 km in places. The salt pan is usually dry, but fills with water briefly in the summer, when it attracts pelicans and flamingos in particular. Perennial springs attract a variety of animals and birds throughout the year, including the endangered Black Rhinoceros and the endemic Black-faced Impala.
This area boasts a number of exclusive and upmarket lodges around the famous national park.