The Okonjima Experience

The Okonjima Nature Reserve sprawls over 200 square kilometres of undulating plains, mountainous outcrops, and riverine thickets, and it is here that leopard (Panthera pardus), the most adaptable of all the wild cats, thrive. Read more about our Leopard Research.

These intelligent, solitary predators occur in high density in the expanse of Okonjima Nature Reserve’s multi-faceted topography. The Reserve’s predator research programme has spanned three decades, and its findings have provided great insight to leopard behavioral patterns as well as offered an upbeat prognosis for a sustainable future for the species in today’s Africa.

A two-day Okonjima stay offers the best chance to view wild leopard in Namibia, as well as those collared for research purposes, in their natural habitats. Research programme leopard are actively tracked, and their collars are an invaluable resource for locating, and then returning to the Reserve, cats which have migrated to surrounding farmland where they are perceived as threats to livestock.

The Okonjima Nature Reserve, a huge protected area set amongst the rugged commercial farmlands of central Namibia, comprises a diversified ecosystem representative of both the larger and small mammals of Namibia, as well as most of the country’s endemic birds.

Game drives and guided bush walks offer visitors an intimate, up-close perspective of Namibia’s wildlife and, especially, its most protected species.

The Okonjima Nature Reserve is home to, and runs extensive research projects on rare and endangered species, big and small.

For more information on our research projects follow the links below.

leopard at okonjima
leopard on okonjima lodge

Experience the Okonjima Nature Reserve and all our conservation projects that we sustain in our private reserve...

The AfriCat Leopard Project - IN THE OKONJIMA NATURE RESERVE

The Okonjima Nature Reserve spans over 200 km², and provides a safe haven for the wildlife that live within. Fully surrounded by electrified predator-proof perimeter fencing, it creates an enclosed conservation area that protects resident carnivores from the surrounding communal and commercial farmland. Such protected wilderness areas are increasingly important in the battle for wildlife conservation, especially when human encroachment of lands and the concurrent focus on human survival and dominance prevail. These enclosed conservation areas provide safe areas for wild populations to live and breed, without the inevitable persecution from humans as the animals search for prey amongst farmland and livestock. However, AfriCat are very cognizant of the fact that such protected envelopes alter the natural flow of carnivore movement and population dynamics, and this is addressed in the Leopard Density Study.

leopard on okonjima lodge
brown hyaena and leopard in Okonjima reserve
brown hyaena and leopard in Okonjima reserve
brown hyaena in okonjima nature reserve

THE OKONJIMA NATURE RESERVE

The Okonjima Nature Reserve sprawls over 200 km² of undulating plains, mountainous outcrops, and riverine thickets, and it is here that leopard (Panthera pardus), the most adaptable of all the wild cats, thrive. Read more about our Leopard Research. These intelligent, solitary predators occur in high density in the expanse of Okonjima Nature Reserve’s multi-faceted topography. The Reserve’s predator research programme has spanned three decades, and its findings have provided great insight to leopard behavioral patterns as well as offered an upbeat prognosis for a sustainable future for the species in today’s Africa. The Okonjima Nature Reserve, a huge protected area set amongst the rugged commercial farmlands of central Namibia, comprises a diversified ecosystem representative of both the larger and small mammals of Namibia, as well as most of the country’s endemic birds. Game drives and guided bush walks offer visitors an intimate, up-close perspective of Namibia’s wildlife and, especially, its most protected species.

The AfriCat Brown Hyaena Project - IN THE OKONJIMA NATURE RESERVE

This research project is investigating the inter- and intraspecific relationship between different carnivore species in the 200 km²(20 000ha) Okonjima Nature Reserve, an enclosed conservation area. Study animals included cheetah Acinonyx jubatus (2000-2019), leopard Panthera pardus (1997 -2020), and brown hyena Parahyaena brunnea (2019-2020). Interactions between predators, both within and between species are studied with the aid of VHF-telemetry, GPS-collars and camera traps. The study will assess the extent of intraguild predation and determine the size of home ranges and territories for individual animals within the reserve and how they relate to those of other predators. In addition the study will provide valuable information on the success of carnivore rehabilitation in the reserve. To effectively manage carnivores within a closed reserve, a thorough understanding of their altered ecology is needed to make informed management decisions. Thus, this research is aiming to assess the interactions between different large carnivore species that are sharing a limited space, to determine the degree of intraguild predation among the sympatric carnivores in the nature reserve and which predator avoidance strategies are implied by lower order carnivores such as cheetahs in an area of high leopard abundance. Regular monitoring allows us to establish data on whether and to what extent the perimeter fence that surrounds the reserve affects the self-regulation of population densities and if it represents a disadvantage for carnivores with large home range requirements, such as cheetahs, due to habitat saturation. The findings obtained will constitute a valuable input for the national and range-wide carnivore programmes that can be theoretically and practically be applied in large carnivore conservation.

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Species Checklist