OKONJIMA ANIMAL SANCTUARY

Halfway between Windhoek and Etosha lies the well-known Okonjima Nature Reserve. The 22 000 ha Nature Reserve is surrounded by 96 km of fence and was finally completed in 2010. Okonjima is home to AFRICAT, a Carnivore Conservation, which gives the captive carnivores a second chance to be released back into the wild and to take the time it needs, to become a completely independent hunter - in a protected area right in the middle of commercial farmland! Also in the Reserve is a 2000 ha 'safe' zone around Plains Camp, Bush Camp, Bush Suite, the Omboroko Campsite as well as the PAWS Environmental Education Centre.

Not only is Okonjima a luxury lodge, but is also home to The AfriCat Foundation, a non-profit organization, committed to long-term conservation of Namibia's large carnivores, especially cheetahs and leopards and a visit will give you an opportunity to witness some of AfriCat's work. Plains Camp design honors the Okonjima cattle-farming history - in the early 1920’s, Okonjima became a cattle farm and was bought by Val (VJ) & Rose Hanssen in 1970. They were well-established Brahman breeders and continued to farm cattle until the need for solutions to increasing livestock losses became pertinent and post-independence interest in Namibia as a tourist destination, escalated. In 1993, the herds of Brahman and Jersey cattle were sold, changing the face of Okonjima as well as that of Carnivore Conservation! Nowadays, clients enjoy a selection of activities that include tracking rehabilitated carnivores on foot; visiting the AfriCat Carnivore Care & Information Centre; and/or tracking leopards from a game–viewing vehicle. A guided Bushman Trail and birding/walking trails are also available. A superb first/last night destination and recommended. Facilities include swimming pool, curio shop, waterhole, free wifi.There is a choice of view rooms, standard rooms and the nearby garden rooms (these are a little further away from the lodge and part of old lodge - they are more traditional stone built). Note there is no air-conditioning.

Activities

Okonjima - The AfriCat Foundation

Okonjima Carnivore Care Program

The Okonjima Experience

 

Okonjima - The AfriCat Foundation

Okonjima Nature Reserve in central Namibia is home to The AfriCat Foundation. It has grown significantly since it was established as a welfare organisation in the early 1990s and registered as a non-profit organisation in 1993. Today, AfriCat’s mission is the long-term conservation of some of Namibia’s large carnivores – such as brown hyaena, leopard and cheetah, all of which can be seen during an environmental education visit to Okonjima.

Okonjima Carnivore Care Program

YOUR AFRICAT CARNIVORE CARE CENTRE EXPERIENCE…
Visit our project at AfriCat’s Carnivore Care and Information Centre. A highlight at Okonjima is learning about our big-cat passion. The Okonjima Nature Reserve is home to the headquarters of  The AfriCat Foundation www.africat.org  a non-profit organization committed to long-term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores. AfriCat has evolved over the past three decades, and what started out primary as a welfare organization has, over the years, identified the need to incorporate a focus on education and develop an ongoing collaboration with researchers, scientists, and conservation authorities. This is undertaken through practical research of species-specific ecology and behavior, as well as through the development of effective conservation and management strategies.  Some of AfriCat’s captive carnivores in our care today are too old or habituated to be reintroduced into the wild and will, therefore, remain under the expert care of the AfriCat Team. These animals have assumed the role of being Species Ambassadors for their wild counterparts.

After an informative afternoon trail, we end the day with a sundowner in an area of the Okonjima Nature Reserve which has a high density of the secretly-social and rarely-seen brown hyaena.

The Okonjima Experience

The Okonjima Nature Reserve sprawls over 200 square kilometers 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 program 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. Research program 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. bThe 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.

NoteS

During your stay at Okonjima, note that a “fee” has been included and goes to the following projects - The Environmental Education Fund has been introduced now because Okonjima and AfriCat are committed to their ideal of contributing to long-term conservation through education. The Environmental Education Fund will contribute to the running and maintenance of the 3 main aspects of our “conservation through education” program as follows:

• Perivoli Okonjima Country School (Kindergarten – Grade 4). This school aims to provide the best possible introductory schooling, with a strong environmental bias, for our resident children. This will facilitate their integration into a bigger main stream school after grade 4 with a sound foundation in environmental awareness.
• The Environmental Education Centre where visiting secondary school groups participate in an intensive environmental awareness program
• The Adult Education program which currently has two main aspects. Firstly, the continued work with both commercial and communal farms to co-exist with resident predators.