After 18 years of rehabilitating cheetahs into the Okonjima Nature Reserve we have come to the conclusion that rehabilitation can be a successful tool in conserving cheetahs, that cheetahs are able to adapt to different environments and are able to learn how to survive in the wild and become sustainable hunters. Unfortunately, the increasing pressure of higher level carnivores like leopards and brown hyenas in an enclosed ecosystem, makes the ONR a more and more ‘unsuitable place’ in which cheetahs can thrive.
An increasing number of tourism lodges and volunteer programmes are holding cheetahs, leopards and other wild animals in captivity for entertainment purposes. Okonjima supports the conservation of wild animals IN THEIR NATURAL HABITA!
The practice of catching cheetahs in the wild for captivity is causing a drain on the wild population. Revenue earned through showing these captive cheetahs at lodges rarely goes back into conservation practices. The AfriCat Foundation has also had to take on a large number of unwanted cheetahs, when lodge owners or farmers decide that they are not worth keeping.
It is Okonjima’s long–term aim, to encourage viewing of large carnivores in the wild, rather than in a captive environment. ‘Walking with cheetahs and lions’ – ‘touching and cuddling cubs’ or any direct human–animal contact – are detrimental to this long–term approach of only viewing carnivores in the wild and is not supported or encouraged on Okonjima or at AfriCat.
Guests visiting Okonjima will still be visiting The AfriCat Foundation and learning about large carnivores in the wild like cheetah, leopard and lion, but in a constructive manner.
Under NO circumstances should animals be fed! (except birds from the room; birdseed is provided at The Villa, Bush Suite & Bush Camp. Open food in the room, citrus and sweets can cause problems with baboons, badgers, mice, etc. If baboons are fed or food is readily available, they develop bad habits and will often attack if they don’t get more/find food. Sadly they often have to be put down!
The Okonjima African Villa is situated in a secluded wilderness area, 10km from the Plains Camp, overlooking a natural waterhole that’s ideal for wildlife photography and bird watching. The Okonjima Villa is the only lodge situated inside the 55 000acre|20 000 ha|200km² private, nature reserve. This safari-chic, thatched villa has two en-suite, luxury bedrooms in the main house and two separate private, luxury mini suites, which together can accommodate up to eight adults and four children.
As of 2018, the Okonjima African Villa will be booked as: