Playing with the moggies

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Flag of Namibia  ,
Monday, May 1, 2006

A May Day national holiday in Namibia today, just like most places in the world. We did a sunrise game drive that was very nice, although we failed to spot rhinos and the only elephants we saw were 2, briefly the previous day.

The level of enthusiasm for the game drives seemed to have dropped on the truck. Most people slept or read for most of the drive. Not really my idea of how to spend a game drive, I was prone to spending most of my time with my head stuck out of the window scanning the landscape.

We got some great views of a kestrel and a chanting goshawk very close by. We also saw 5 spotted hyena that got mightily close to the truck and a group of ostrich as the sprinted full pelt across the plains. We also saw a great sight of 3 jackals as the play fought over a stick.

A couple of trees we passed had these huge nests made by the sociable weaverbirds. Very impressive indeed at about 2x2x2m in size.

There were a couple of ground squirels hanging out back at camp while we packed up. I enjoyed Etosha and would love to come back some time in the future, during the dry season when the watering hole are packed with animals.

We stopped at Outjo for lunch, the town seemed like a ghost town. Kamanjab was where we were heading and the cheetah farm called Otjitotongwe. At 4:30 we all piles on the back of a pick up truck with a bucket full of donkey meat and headed into the reserve. It was one of my best experiences so far. We could see the cheetahs in the grass stalking the truck until we stopped when they got within 2ft of us. John, who was working here for a while as part of his round the world trip threw chunks of meat at them. As soon as they had grabbed their meat they would shoot back in to the bush guarding their prize from the fellow cheetahs.

After the feed John gave me a sneak preview of what was going to happen the next day. We went down to the farm where they had cheetahs roaming the yard with farm dogs! I the house I could see one perched on the wall taking a nap. When John said 'here boy', not only would the dogs come over but so would the cheetahs where you could pet and stroke them! It was a bit of a surreal experience. John said they were just like domestic cats, if they wanted attention they would just come over and demand it like your moggy at home. The only difference I noted was I didn't think I'd feel comfortable turning these cats away!
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