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Etosha National Park

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Hugging zebras
Solo Safari: Namibia
The Longest Migration
Hugging zebras
Solo Safari: Namibia
The Longest Migration
Hugging zebras
What humans interpret as a moment of familial tenderness - in Etosha National Park, Namibia
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Solo Safari: Namibia
Sitting on what felt like the wrong side of the car, shifting with the wrong hand, and driving on the wrong side of the road, I was listening to a CD of local marimba music on my way to Etosha National Park in northern Namibia. I was going on a safari for one!

Being an animal lover since childhood, going on safari in Africa had been a dream for years. I wanted to see lions and elephants and giraffes and zebras in their native habitat, not in a zoo. But I prefer solo travel and just never could get excited about the idea of a group safari. Namibia was my perfect travel destination. With amazing scenery and wildlife, it is also considered very safe, even for solo women travelers.

Etosha National Park is a gem of wildlife-viewing in Africa, especially in the dry season from June through November when all of the animals must come to waterholes to drink and bathe. But it is relatively unknown, so not crowded with tourists. I could drive for miles without seeing another person, but couldn't go far without seeing a springbok, oryx or zebra.

Okaukuejo Camp is near the southern entrance of the park and has a permanent waterhole which attracts an amazing variety of wildlife. Though there is definitely a pecking order - with elephants at the top - all of the animals seem to coexist at the waterholes and share the bounty that is life in a parched landscape.
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The Longest Migration
Zebras' stripes makes them one of the easiest animals to spot while on safari in African savanna and grasslands. There are three primary species of Zebra: plains, Grevy's, and mountain, of which the latter two are endangered. Zebra are known to form herds of up to 200 (known as a "dazzle") and have recently been identified as traversing the longest migration in Africa - some 300 miles from Namibia to Botswana and back - within the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA), every year.

No one knows exactly why Zebras have stripes, but there are several theories. No two zebras are alike, so one theory is that it serves as a form identification within the herd. Another, is that it designed to confuse their predators when trying to single one out within the fleeing herd. The latest theory is that the stripes deter potential disease-carrying flies from landing on and biting the zebra, however, that theory has yet to be tested in Africa.

One of the best places to spot and photograph zebra is Etosha National Park in Namibia, seen here. The landscape is flat and uninterrupted. While sunrise and sunset game drives generally provide the best lighting, I find zebra photograph well all times of day.
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