26 March 2014

Namibia: Galton Gate Route through Western Etosha finally open to all

Great news for all travellers planning to visit the Etosha National Park in Namibia. The Galton Gate Route between the Galton Gate and M'Bari in Western Etosha is now open for all tourist. The road was reclassified from a "Restricted Use" Tourism Zone to an "Open Access" Tourism Zone on 28 Feb 2014. Prior to the reclassification of the route the Western parts of the Etosha National Park were only accessible to a limited number of licensed tour operators and to overnight guests of the fairly new Dolomite Camp.

View Namibia: Galton Gate Route through Western Etosha finally open to all in a larger map

Namibia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and Millennium Challenge Account Namibia hopes that through opening the Western part of the Etosha National Park to all tourists a number of new tourist routes, circuits, linkages and lodge opportunities both inside and outside the park will be created and that, due to Galton Gate's strategic location, the numerous conservancies and rural communities to the west and north of the Etosha National Park will experience an increase in socio-economic benefits.

Interesting features and attractions along the Galton Gate route are:
  • Three distinct ecological types:
    • quartzite & dolomite hills
    • flat landscape dominated by shrub mopane vegetation
    • flat landscape with mixed mopane tree savanna, steppe grasland & pan edge grasslands
  • High concentrations of game around Renostervlei and Ozonjuitji-M'Bari waterholes - especially in the dry winter month (May - November)
  • The co-existance of Hartman's Mountain Zebra (Equus equus hartmannae) and Burchell's Plains Zebra (Equus equus burchelli) - the only route in Etosha National Park where these two species can be viewed together. (Burchell's or plains zebra have a faint "shadow" stripe, which is absent in their cousin, the mountain zebra.)
  • Lion and elephant are frequently seen at the waterholes along the route
  • Some of Namibia's endemic birds including the White-tailed Shrike, Damaraland Hornbill, Carp's Tit and Rockrunner
  • The globally threatened Lapped-faced Vultures - the largest and most dominant of the vultures - commonly seen at the waterholes (via press release by Millennium Challenge Account Namibia & Ministry of Environment and Tourism)

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