Animals: Desert elephants, wild horses, big cats, Namibia
In a country that is almost entirely off the beaten path (unless you happen to be a diamond mine owner), you'll need to beat your way through sandy riverbeds and over rocky outcrops to see one of Namibia's most amazing residents - the desert elephant. They say only 200 remain, and they live in the wild.
They have adapted to the harsh living environment of the desert, and the best chance you'll have of seeing them is in the centre of the country.
Finding them is a bit of a hit and miss affair.
Some travellers have had the luck of having a family pass through thir camp site - I hoped for this, but we were not in luck. We finally came across 7 of them with the help of a local tracker. It was one of the best moments of my life!
I'd love to give you details about where to go, but you'll need to take advice locally about where they have een seen.
I have to give enormous credit to our guide and his connections among trackers... they gave me one of the most exciting afternoons of my life... never knowing if we'd have a glimpse of any of these wonderful creatures. We went with Chameleon Safaris, and they did it all!
The lodge/farm at Ojtitotongue proved to be a terrific little side trip for my wildlife-loving daughter. After years of dealing with the negative aspects of cheetahs and farming, the folks at the Ojtitotongue Farm decided to begin protecting (and making a little profit from) the cheetah.
They've got approximately 10,000 hectares, with about 12-15 relocated but wild cheetahs in residence. On a short drive through the property, you'll certainly see 4 or 5 of these beautiful creatures. You'll also enjoy meeting and listening to "Mario", the resident ranger/farmboy at Otjitotongue. He's a regular "Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter" kind of guy.
AND, if you've ever wanted to put your hands (safely) on some of these magnificent creatures, they have two young cheetahs (named tee-o and zee-o) that were raised from cubs. These beautiful cats will literally lay in your lap and purr, pausing occasionally to lick your hand. It's truly awe-inspiring.
Folks, we are not the sort of people who would ever support a place that didn't care for their animals in a proper way. It was easy to see that the people at Otjitotongue are doing a good job of protecting cheetahs. TRULY releasing cheetahs into the wild is a dicey proposition in Namibia. Eventually, they'll start killing cattle, and the angry farmers will kill them. This situation is the next-best thing to being truly in the wild. Enjoy and appreciate!
The Ojtitotongue Cheetah Lodge is on the C40 highway between Outjo and Kamanjab. (Approx 24 km east of Kamanjab). You will be turning north on the P2683 road, and the farm is 8 km off the main highway. There is only one sign out on the C40, but it is large and easily spotted (great pun, huh?) if you're on the lookout.
Tell Mario that those people from Florida with the 14 year old daughter said hello.
Another tip.....eat lunch at the lodge. The farm mom makes a darned good casserole, and as almost always in Namibia, there's cold beer.
The best place to watch animals is in the eastern part of Etosha National Park.
Why, because they are used to visitors and are not spooked by them. While is sounds romantic to get out to one of the more remote areas like the western part of the park, Namib-Naukluft, etc., these animals are very wary of humans and will run away as you get closer, while those in Eastern Etosha let you get up quite close.
Another thing to consider, espeically in Etosha during the dry season, is that unlike some of the other large parks, like Kruger, etc. you really don't have to go on a game drive. With limited water supplies, the animals will come to the water holes. Just sit there and wait, as they will come. You will need some patience, as the animals follow their own schedule, not yours. Pick a waterhole that has good sight lines and has no reed growth (predators can hide in the reeds, so the animals will not visit those waterholes).
If you get to a waterhole and the animals are not paying attention to you, you can be fairly certain that there is a larger danger (predator) around. You and your vehicle are quite large and imposing, and if the animals are ignoring you, they likely have a good reason to. You have to be vigilent and patient. The predators are not going to be out in the open, but are will be hiding in the bushes or behind rocks where the prey cannot easily see them. Take your time and you will be rewarded!
In Western Etosha we were litterly sitting about 3m / 10ft away from a leopard. We had to take pictures with medium length lenses, rather than the super zooms we usually use.
where?on main road B4,a few km after aus on way to luderitz,in ther desert.
you need,theorically,an official guide to meet them,because they are in a diamond zone,entrance prohibited!
people tells the horses were abandoned by german armies in 1915...adapting theirselves to hard conditions
THE DESERT ELEPHANTS
A real highlight of the Namib Naukluft are this elephants which live with very little water. In dry season, they use to visit the farms to drink from the water tanks. This is where we saw this 2 beautiful ones.