"you know you are truly alive when you are living among lions"
karen blixen, out of africa
we're now on the last leg of our trip through namibia. we are heading south towards okonjima, then to windhoek where we began, completing a somewhat wonky circle around the country. leaving etosha late morning put us at outjo town just in time for lunch. outjo had an open bank, petrol and the best pizza in africa! we ordered takeaway since it was near 100 degrees outside and no shade to leave the truck in. we chose the special: 2 small pizza's $72.00 n (around $8.00 u.s.) . and then we waited... had a cold beer each, read the paper (chuck) wrote in journal (lori) watched a large group of overlanders come in, buy pastry's and soft drinks (big decisions) considered another beer, but we are driving. when eventually out of the kitchen came a smiling cook holding a very large box. our small pizzas. it almost didn't fit across the front seat of our car. omg, oh my gosh, was it ever good. we made a mental note, must return sometime to outjo for more someday. :)
passed through otijiwarongo...
okonjima - home of the africat foundation. set amid the rolling omboroko mountains, this protected 20,000 hectare wilderness is a place chuck has wanted to return to for 17 years.
for the last 20 years the africat foundation and the hanssen family have rescued over 1,000 cheetah and leopards that have been trapped as a result of human/wildlife conflict on the farm lands in namibia. over 85% of these big cats have been returned to the wild. as with most animal rescue programmes, there are those individuals which cannot be released immediately. injured as well as orphaned cheetahs and leopards, too young to be on their own in the wild without their mothers, are taken into africats care.
(told to us by our funny guide jonas). this morning we are looking for cheetah.
we began walking off the road through the bush. stickers and thorns catching on clothes, every step bringing up a small cloud of dust. it was hot. and exciting. about ten minutes later the woman behind me began complaining. i could hear her, even if i couldn't understand her language. then, she tapped me on the shoulder and said 'excuse me. how long must we keep walking?' i just shrugged and smiled. more walking. and then, we stepped out into a clearing, and far across to the other side, i saw a termite mound, and then nearby a spotted tail flipped up out of the long grass.
we kept walking, not directly to the cheetah, but circling around coming closer all the while. i am looking back at chuck and grinning ear to ear, he winking at me. the woman taps me again 'how much closer must we go?' i whisper to her 'it's okay' and keep following jonas. we are about 3 car lengths away now and the woman calls jonas loudly, she says she is not comfortable and we must stop now! jonas tells her it is fine and motions her to quiet. and we walk on. we are on the edge of the bush, not in the open, standing single file,
they stayed for only a short time, before getting up and disappearing into the surrounding bush. i am sure the woman was thrilled too by now, she seemed to lose her fear and began taking photos. we all smiled (quietly). whew!
it was then i saw that peter had carried a large kind of board with him. on the way back chuck found a porcupine quill and gave it to me!
the next morning we were going to look for leopards. i couldn't sleep in anticipation. and because lions have been calling all night. they sound so close, as if their outside our door. ROAR ROAR roar huff huff huff. this is how it sounds. the first roar is the loudest and then it gets softer, until all you hear is the deep huff huff huffing. i really love it. it's 5:30 am, wake up call, time to go!
we drove around, greeting the wakening bush veld. we saw: oryx, sand grouse, banded mongoose, squirrel, red-billed frankolin, swallowtail bee eaters. and then jonas said 'there is a leopard in the tree'. WHAT? he whispered it again as we drove through trees and brush, thorns poking, a branch even broke off and i had to pry it off my seat. but all the while never taking my eyes off the trees in front. WHERE? we couldn't see.
until we drove directly in front of an acacia and jonas pointed up. 'there'.
last night in the bush, last sundowner
REST - rare and endangered species trust
this is seamore! a great eagle owl. he was found in the midst of a cattle kraal, not moving and was in great danger of being trampled, he was rescued and brought to r.e.s.t, to be cared for by maria.
our trusty ride(yellow plate). we put almost 3000 kilometers on this vehicle.
not to be missed, joe's beerhouse, windhoek , namibia
remember jonas and the photos he asked for?
thank you for great memories
there are many things that didn't make it into these posts, but i have kept your attention long enough. i don't think it's possible to describe all that we saw and experienced, but i hope these posts gave an idea of the beauty and wonder of this country namibia.
if you are thinking of planning a safari here is a travel agency we have used and highly recommend, we've booked two trips through them now and will definitely do so again.
rhino africa safaris, based in cape town.
thank you for coming along, it's been a pleasure!