African shoestrings – Namibia Day Sixty five – Okinjima
Apart from a recreational park, Waterberg is also a breeding ground for some endangered animals. Animals like rhino, sable antelope and roan are protected on the plateau by its proximity to the terrain around it. We took a guided game drive in one of the two open topped 4WD’s that run daily. I mention the word open because a sudden downpour followed by persistent rain soaked us through to the skin. To add insult to injury the animals were hiding from us, probably wisely sheltering from the rain. We did manage to see one lonesome sable antelope briefly but that was it.
Back in our tent we dried off and thought how nice it would be to sit in a nice cosy hotel room in front of a log fire. Of course we knew that the following night we would be doing something similar at Okinjima.
I think I might have mentioned that of the two of us Sue is without doubt the animal lover. I love to see them in their natural environment and I can watch them for hours with a camera in my hands but I do not have the same love and concern for their welfare that Sue has. Somehow or rather she heard about the Africat Foundation, a non-profit organisation involved in the conservation and protection on Namibia’s cats. And I don’t mean pussycats!
Their home is a place called Okinjima guest farm, a 50 kilometre drive from Waterberg. If you are reading this with the idea that it’s gonna be cheap on account of it being in this blog. Think again! At US$165.00 per night per person it cost almost as much as the twelve nights accommodation we had booked with the MET! But the cost was for full board and activities, so the only thing we had to pay for was alcohol.
This was our treat! We would stay just the one night but make sure we were there spot on check in time and leave spot on check out time. We were going to get our moneys worth! The first thing we did after checking in was to have a swim and then a shower in the privacy of our own room. It’s a funny thing about having a shower. You get used to having to use communal showers and on the whole they had been pretty good, lots of hot water, reasonable flow and quite clean. But you get tired of undressing and dressing (the latter usually in a pool of water) in a matchbox. A shower feels so much better knowing that you can have it at your pace and leisurely get dry and dressed.
The resort itself is a small area of terraced thatched units with the main building, a huge open thatched rondavel close by. Elsewhere there’s a swimming pool, a huge bird/animal hide and a patch of lawn between the main building and the rooms.
We had lunch at 1pm and then returned for coffee and cake just before 3.
It was just after my second helping of cake (I told you I was gonna get my money’s worth) that the action started. Three of the owners, Lisa, Donna and Rosalea brought out three cheetahs and feed them on the lawn. Click, click, click went our camera and those of the other guests as these women cuddled, stroked, feed and talked with these cheetahs. With the exception of one idiot, we all kept a respectable distance. I had never been this close to a wild animal of this stature before, every time I had seen cheetah I had the protection of a car body or wire fence between me and these beautiful beasts. The one idiot attempted to stroke one of them as if it were a domestic cat. I’m not sure who was quicker Lisa or the cheetah! The cheetah swiveled its head menacingly whilst Lisa dashed over and reprimanded the idiot and at the same time had the cheetah under control. These cheetahs were in fact quite tame they had all been rescued from hardship and then reared on the farm and were part of the family.
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