THE AFRICAT FOUNDATION:
The AFRICAT FOUNDATION is a registered, Namibian-based, non-profit organization (# T48/93), dedicated to the protection and conservation of Namibian’s Large Carnivores in their natural habitat. AfriCat actively supports the long term survival of Namibia’s large carnivores through Environmental Education, Research, Human-Wildlife Conflict Mitigation and Community Support programmes. Okonjima is home to the headquarters of AfriCat, whereas AfriCat North, is based along Etosha’s south-western boundary,
(AfriCat’s northern project strives to mitigate Human-Wildlife Conflict on farmland especially with regards to the lion (Panthera leo), by educating the youth, encouraging adapted livestock management and conducting essential research & monitoring of wild lion populations.)
AfriCat has grown significantly since its inception and has over the years identified the need to include a focus on education, community support, research and rehabilitation as being essential to accomplishing our new mission: to make a significant contribution to CONSERVATION through EDUCATION, while still striving towards the long term survival of Namibia’s predators in their natural habitat. Visitors will be able to observe some of this programme at work and learn more about these amazing and beautiful animals.
LEOPARD VIEWING: The leopard is the most adaptable of all the wild cats and has the widest distribution. Leopards are frequently seen on Okonjima, giving visitors an opportunity to observe these magnificent predators that are ‘radio-tracked’ from our game-viewing vehicles. The leopards roam freely and catch their own prey within the 20 000ha / 200km2 nature reserve. These solitary cats however, are elusive and roam huge, sometimes mountainous terrain and acacia thickets, and therefore sightings are not guaranteed.
LARGE CARNIVORE TRACKING ON FOOT: Okonjima guests are invited to participate on foot in the radio-tracking of the ‘rehabilitated carnivores’ on the Tracking Trail within the 20 000ha / 200km2 rehabilitation nature reserve.
THE CHEETAH PROJECT: Offers visitors a valuable insight into the ‘welfare work’ of The AfriCat Foundation. At AfriCat HQ, over the past 2 decades, the ‘Rescue and Release Programme’ developed as a result of our relationship with the farming community. The welfare, in turn, was a by-product of the ‘Rescue and Release Programme’. Some of the ‘ambassadors’ in our care are young, fit and wild enough to be part of our ‘Rehabilitation Project’. There are, however, some cheetahs and leopards too old or tame to go back into the wild. These individuals are going to live out their lives under the expert care of the AfriCat team and continue to be “ambassadors” for their wild counter-parts, but some of the cheetahs you will see at AfriCat’s Carnivore Care Centre, are in-line to be rehabilitated into the private Okonjima Nature Reserve and are patiently awaiting their turn to get a second chance to go back into the wild.
(DAY-VISITORS are able to observe some of this programme’s work and learn more about these endangered, amazing & beautiful animals!)
(PLEASE NOTE: Tracking of the rehabilitated carnivores in the 200km2 Okonjima Reserve is reserved for guests staying at one of Okonjima’s lodges.)
BUSHMAN TRAIL: Experience a day in the life of a Bushman. It constitutes an easy walking trail and is highly informative. Guests get to learn about the art of making traditional artefacts and how the San adapt and survive in an unforgiving wilderness environment. Participation is welcomed!
NOCTURNAL GAME DRIVE: After dinner, guests are invited to join a guided, nature-drive in the 20 000ha / 200km² private, Okonjima Nature Reserve.
NATURE TRAIL: Self-guided walking trails of up to 8 km, for those guests who want to spend some time alone in the solitude of the Okonjima wilderness.
BIRD WATCHING: Identify some of the more than 250+ species in the area, including some of the Namibian endemics – Carp’s Black Tit, Hartlaub’s Francolin and the (Damara) Rock Runner.
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS VIEWED FROM A HIDE:
BUSH CAMP GUESTS ONLY! At the nocturnal hide visitors may view after-dinner ‘Nightlife’ such as porcupine, honey-badgers and caracal, amongst others. Plains Camp, The Villa and Bush Suite guests do not visit the nocturnal hide. If Bush Suite guests wish to join the Bush Camp guests during their after-dinner activity – prior notice must be given! The Villa & Bush Suite guests will have the possibility to view night life from their private ‘flood-lit’ water holes.
(PLAINS CAMP: We are no longer offering the night-hide activity after dinner to Plains Camp guests, due to lodge size | pax and logistics. Guest are more than welcome to join or enquire about a ‘Night-Drive’ after dinner at reception.) (additional cost)
SWIMMING: Guests are welcome to make use of the pool at any time of the day or night. All camps have their own swimming pool.
PHOTOGRAPHY: With the abundance of animals and bird life and spectacular scenery, Okonjima is a photographer’s paradise. Be sure to advise your clients to bring plenty of film (for the old cameras) and many memory cards for the new!!
PHOTOGRAPHERS TAKE NOTE:
Due to the specific nature of our rehabilitation project – many of the free roaming cats on OKONJIMA are radio-collared. ALL cats that are part of AfriCat’s Carnivore Care programme, are NOT radio-collared.
HIGH RESOLUTION IMAGES: http://okonjima.com/media/activities-okonjima-high-resolution-images/
VIDEO CLIPS OF THE OKONJIMA NATURE RESERVE: http://okonjima.com/media/high-resolution-videos/
During our cattle-farming days, we realised that the OKONJIMA soil had a phosphate deficiency, resulting in sour grazing. On changing from cattle to game and wildlife conservation, we were sadly forced to fence-in our property, as OKONJIMA is surrounded by cattle and hunting farms, where predators are seldom tolerated.
Fences prevent natural game migrations to better grazing areas, thus supplements are the only way to sustain a healthy population of plains game (Oryx, Impala, Eland Wildebeest, Zebra etc).
This is why you will pass troughs of ‘lick’ and ‘rock-salt’ on the game-drives around our property or in front of the Lodges.
The management of an ‘enclosed’ wildlife area involves taking care of every aspect within this wilderness, including responsibility for the well-being of ALL species!