Namibia Day 8 - Moweni Camp to Otjitotongwe Cheetah Guest Farm
Today we would see our first Elephants and we were not to be disappointed.
After a glorious sunrise and nice warm shower we were packed up and ready to go. A couple more photos then we left.
Leaving Mowani Mountain Camp we quickly started to see springboks, ostrich, sable, blue wildebeest, dic dic, baboon, and various birds as we drove along.
However nothing could prepare us for coming across a herd of Elephants making their way through the scrub and crossing the road both in front and behind us.
Both of us were mesmerised. Driving along and just meeting a herd of Elephants is difficult to describe the feelings you go through. Unbelievable experience and definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
We needed to pick up some supplies so we searched for food, drink and fuel. We stopped at Khorexas and Kamanjab both were busy with hundreds of locals all hanging around outside the shop and at the car when we stopped which Angela found a bit intimidating. So Angela stayed with the car to keep an eye on it whilst Dave went and did the shopping.
On arrival at the gate for the Otjitotongwe Cheetah Guest Farm it said on the sign “danger enter at your own risk” .This is a little disconcerting as you have to get out of the car to open the gate. Angela drew the short straw and had to get out and open the gate.
The road continues for a few miles until you reach the actual farm. The main house is surrounded by a high fence and another closed gate. A sign on the gate read “danger do not enter ring bell” We rang the bell and found out why when Tollie the owner walked over followed by 3 fully grown cheetah .We would later find out Tollie had raised these Cheetah since they were 6 weeks old.
Tollie gave us directions to the campsite and said he would collect us at 3.15pm to feed the cheetahs. We had no idea what this would involve and boy were we in for a surprise.
At the campsite we got ourselves set up and cleaned up. As Angela walked back from the toilet block low and behold a cheetah was lying sunning itself no more than 20 feet from where we were camping and by the washing sink area with only a thin wire fence between us.
We managed to stroke it through the fence which it seemed to enjoy but always wary you might have to jump back quick. Tollie told us later it was 18 years old and a bit grumpy but mostly friendly thank goodness.
Tollie arrived to pick us up for feeding the cheetahs, not knowing what to expect we were very pleasantly surprised. Firstly we went to his house and were introduced to the three he keeps in his garden. A few safety tips before we met the Cheetah as they are still wild animals.
They wandered between us all rubbing themselves against us and licked us on our bare skin which scraped worse than a tame cat, Angela was not sure if she liked it or not especially so near the big sharp teeth.
We took lots of photos and asked lots of questions and he played with them to let us see how they interacted with him Tollie was a really nice friendly guy who gave us a lot of information never rushing anyone making sure we were all had the opportunity to experience the animals. Afterwards he fed them as we all watched them but staying far enough away just incase.
Next Tollie took us standing in his open backed pick up truck io feed the wild cheetah.
All the wild cheetahs he had trapped as they were attacking his farm animals but instead of shooting them like most farmers he fenced them into a 2400 hectare area.
Feeding these wild cheetah was a very different experience as we stayed in the truck whilst Tollie gauged the attitude of the cheetah before he could leave the vehicle, all the time never turning his back on them but even so a number attempted to jump him and he fended them off with only a stick. It was a bit worrying at times as they followed along almost stalking us and they could quite easily have jumped into the truck. The donkey meat they were being fed came out of a blue plastic drum that was sitting in the back of the pick up with us. It would have been very easy for the Cheetah to decide to come and get it themselves.
Each time we stopped to feed the Cheetah they became very agitated and Tollie was either very stupid or very brave to get out with them. Both Tollie and his son have scars on their heads to prove how vicious they can be!
When the meat was thrown they would became agressive fighting each other for the meat.
Apparently one of the Cheetah just had 2 cubs 2 weeks earlier but she kept them hidden and moves them regularly so other animals can’t find them and eat them.
At the camp we met two couples form Paris and Switzerland and we all met up again in the evening for a beer and a chance to socialise and exchange information on where we had all been and given the good and bad experiences.
Dinner for us was a bbq about 9pm with nice smoked sausage and vegetable stir fry. No donkey meat for us today.