What is it? In a nutshell, it’s a 4,730 sq km salt pan – thought to be the largest in Africa – that swallows up about a quarter of Etosha National Park.
There’s very little in Etosha Pan most of the time, other than the naked Earth: a dry, salt-crusted, dusty desert that’s often too hot for animals to roam. Though the pan’s outskirts, filled with greenery and natural springs, supports a host of Namibian wildlife.
After a period of heavy rain, a pool of water forms, and attracts flamingos and other birds, who then breed after a drink. And when it appears, the glistening white and green salt design is so eye-catching, need very little else to appreciate its natural prowess.
Why isn’t a UNESCO Site? It seems that Etosha Pan is quite unique as far as a varied landscape goes, it’s one of the world’s largest salt pans, and contributes plenty to the overall eco-system of Etosha National Park.
Namibia submitted it to the Tentative List in early 2016, so who knows? Perhaps it’ll achieve World Heritage Status in the near future. It has just two UNESCO sites as of 2020, so watch this space.
See UNESCO's entry for the Etosha Pan