Sanctuaries of Namibia

Fiona Aris and Niki Akhurst decided to visit a couple of wildlife sanctuaries during their safari in Namibia.  With them went Kobus Alberts of Wild at Heart Safaris.

First on the list of wildlife sanctuaries were the Cheetah Conservation Foundation. Caring for injured animals, rehabilitating cheetah and educating people is the main aim of the CCF. Upon our arrival we visited their well renowned Educational Centre. This centre is packed with valuable information about that fastest of all land animals, the cheetah.

After the visit, we joined Steven, a CCF guide, for a “cheetah” drive. Of the seven cheetahs in that specific camp, six were seen. Both Fiona and Niki had their own favourite cheetah, and words like “beautiful, awesome, stunning” were uttered on a regular basis.

That evening we spent in the Frans Indongo lodge.

The next day saw us heading to Kavita Lion lodge. Like the name implies, the “king of the jungle” will be next to be seen. Kavita is also home of the Afri-Leo foundation, hence fit perfectly into the sanctuary safari mould. On the afternoon game drive a wild, or free roaming, cheetah was spotted. Dinner was a special affair with Tammy and Uwe Hoth joining us for dinner. Early the next morning we were taken on a game drive to the Education centre of Kavita. After this we were taken to see the lions feed. Sitting inside a hide, each lion coming in for his piece of meat were less than 20 metres away.  To see and hear such a mighty beast up close is surely an experience that will keep for life.

Okaukuejo were to be our next destination. Travelling through the Western part of Etosha, we came across a big area that had been burned down about 3 days ago.  Lightning caused the fire, and it lay to waste quite a large area.  Although no game was seen in this burnt area, both Niki and Fiona understood the raw power of nature.  They understood that it is part of Africa, and fires do happen.  Strangely enough there were other interesting sightings.  The heated soil created “dust devils” every now and again, and with all the ash laying on the ground, the dust devils were all pitch black as they twisted and turned in the air.

At Okaukuejo the waterhole were shown to the ladies, and later would be their main focal point. After dinner, the waterhole was visited, and later in the evening two black rhino came to visit.

On our way to Onguma, which would be our next overnight stop, we visited several waterholes in Etosha. We saw Zebra, Giraffe, Elephant, Blue wildebeest and then finally 2 young male lions as well.  After the Damara Dik Dik drive, where we saw 27 of these tiny antelope, we were on our way to Onguma. About 4 Kilometre before exiting Etosha, we found another Black rhino standing in the middle of the tarmac road.

Dinner at Onguma was another highlight of the safari.  While sitting down, shortly after our starters, we heard a lion roar. As the main course arrived, a male lion showed up at the waterhole, about 70 metres from where we were having dinner. Silence fell all around, and the night came alive with the sounds of Africa.

Our last sanctuary to be visited was Okonjima, home of Africat Namibia.

Africat has three different sections present. Welfare for animals that was injured and can no longer support themselves in the wild, Environmental Education and then a Rehabilitation section.

Game drives on Okonjima differ quite a lot from other game drives. We went on leopard tracking drive. Armed with an antenna the guide, Jacques, located a leopard and drove us there. Under a tree the most majestic of all the cats were lying, having a nap. What a sight it was. For more than 40 minutes the vehicle were parked and we could observe this animal in its natural environment.

After dinner the group were taken to the “night hide” Porcupines, honey badgers and the occasional hyena visits this hide. On that particular evening 5 porcupines were the guests of honour. The second largest rodent in the world, it was quite something to see them up close and personal.

And so our safari came to an end, or so we thought. We dropped in for a quick visit to Faan Oosthuisen on his farm Prelude. A sanctuary on its own, Faan and Anne his wife, cares for several species of animals. The most recent addition is a caracal called Felix. Very nice but the main attraction were Bandit, a Banded mongoose. Nikki in particular fell in love with this little rascal.

What a spectacular safari this was. So many things seen, so many things experienced. Many memories that will forever roam in our minds, especially the piglets seen and heard everywhere.

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