Kent’s Adventures in Namibia Part V – Okonjima and Africat

November 26, 2013  By: Gretchen

I don’t have many “firsts” on safari anymore, but I did on this trip. This was the first time I tracked cheetah on foot, and not only tracked them on foot, but saw a mother and juvenile with an impala kill. We were standing just a few yards from them! Admittedly, the cheetah are either rescued or born on property at Okonjima, and are looked after by the people at the Africat Foundation. Many are collared, so game viewing here isn’t a truly wild nature experience. But even so, it was great.

Okonjima’s AfriCat Foundation focuses on the research and rehabilitation of Africa’s big cats, especially injured or captured leopard and cheetah. During a visit here, close encounters with leopard and cheetah are not guaranteed but are nearly certain. Activities offered include leopard tracking by vehicle, an introduction to the cheetah welfare project, and game viewing at the night hide where nocturnal animals such as porcupine, caracal, honey badger, and even leopard may be seen. Visitors and fans can adopt cats or even just a spot or two. Donations help fund the programs at the center, including education of local children.

Our group saw leopard, cheetah and porcupines, in addition to warthogs, impala and other prey species. We also heard lions, although guests don’t yet have the opportunity to view them. And while the reintroduction program at Africat is still a work in progress, the education center was very interesting and the accommodations were great.

 

We stayed at Okanjima Bush Camp, which has eight roomy chalets plus a honeymoon suite. The main camp is a bit less fancy and is under construction for an expansion and remodeling project. The Bush Suite has just two rooms but was super cool and my favorite of them all. The exclusive villa has four rooms and lots of privacy, and was the choice of Brangelina when they brought their family to visit.

So, while Okonjima is not the wildest place in Namibia, it’s certainly worth a stop if you are in the area.