Justins World

Leopard loving

The last major stop on my trip to Namibia was to a little known private Okonjima Reserve, home to the Africat foundation. It was here that if i didn’t see any leopards in Etosha, I felt I had the best chance to see a leopard. Thankfully I’d seen my first leopard so the pressure was off the guides here. Our lodge room was spectacular, with a window looking out over the savannah, from where we saw zebra, giraffe, kudu, springbok, jackals and guineafowl traverse the landscape.

We doubled down at dinner on our first night by getting a table by the waterhole, where the nightly show also included some really small Steenbok visiting for a drink. The next day was another early start, for a holiday we’ve had way too many of those to visit the Africat foundation education centre. We learnt about the issues in Namibia especially with the farmers fencing off the land and shooting big cats as they kill their livestock. Their goal is to educate people about these magnificent cats. They also help researchers study the cats by attaching radio collars onto the leopards in the park, to understand their movements and territorial behaviour. We then got to see some cheetahs and lions that sadly can’t be returned to the wild, but are living out their lives in captivity in very large enclosures with room to run.

As is now customary, our other planned activity was a sundowner drive, this time to track leopards. Our first leopard that we were tracking was called Isaskia. It was quite a challenge to first find a radiosignal to find her, then our guide took us bush bashing through thorny bushes several times having to turn around, but eventually we found Isaskia with an unknown male leopard. The only reason leopards come together is to go on a date and make baby leopards. the two leopards quickly rushed deeper into the bushes and we called off that tracking adventure.

Vamos the leopard

We then went to see another leopard that another leopard tracking expedition found called Vamos. She was a much younger leopard and was enjoying some fresh oryx she had caught. We had our gin sundowners (gin and dry ginger ale is a new fave of mine) and watched the leopard eat, then decide to hang her oryx kill in a tree before coming back down again. Forgot to mention we also saw one of the smallest antelope speices, the Dik-dik.

I can’t believe i’ve now seen 4 leopards on this trip. Such an amazing experience to be here at Okonjima and help support the Africat Foundation. I’d highly recommend anyone heading here to stay here. Alas all good things come to an end. We headed for our final night in Namibia in the Kalahari desert about an hours drive from the airport. A nice remote spot with a pool, a lovely cactus garden and clayhouses for the rooms. Today we caught our flights back to Cape Town and will depart in the next day or two. My trip was awildlife experience i won’t forget anytime soon.

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