Okonjima, born of the desire to find balance for cattle farmers and predators, is now a game reserve home to the beloved AfriCat foundation
Half way between Windhoek and Etosha lies the well-known Okonjima Nature Reserve. The 96 kilometre fence surrounding the 22 000 ha Okonjima private, Nature Reserve was finally completed in 2010. Okonjima, home of The AfriCat Foundation, was established as a small ‘guest farm’ in 1986. For many years, Val (VJ) & Rose Hanssen had been avid cattle farmers until the need for solutions to increasing livestock losses and post-independence interest in Namibia as a tourist destination, changed the face of Okonjima, as well as that of Carnivore Conservation.
The Ongava Game Reserve is situated in Okonjima and spands a vast 22 300 km² (8 610 square miles). It consists mostly of grassy plains around a huge salt pan, which becomes a beautiful lake after heavy rains and attracts large flocks of pink candy-floss coloured flamingo.
The area hosts a vast array of animals, including the Big Five, as well as giraffes, and rare and unusual species like the black-faced impala, Hartmann’s mountain zebra or the smallest antelope in the world, the Damara dikdik.
- Track cheetah, wild dog and hyena on foot or by vehicle
- Healthy populations of antelope and exciting nocturnal species including porcupine, honey badgers and caracal
- Excellent birding, more than 250 species including several Namibian endemic species
- Massive colonies of sociable weavers are found where bigger trees occur – see them up close at Okaukuejo rest camp
- Sprookjeswoud, west of Okuakuejo, is a strange place where fantom trees (African Moringa) form a weird looking woodland
- Etosha is a proper game reserve, but due to the lack of rivers, there are no buffalo, crocodiles or hippos found in this park. Primates are also strangely missing (other than the humans)
- The waterhole at Okaukuejo is famous for it’s night time wildlife in the dry season, including frequent visits by black rhino, elephants and lions.
- Flooded pans draw in huge numbers of water birds, including Greater and lesser flamingos and Eastern White Pelicans
- One of the highest densities of giraffe anywhere are found in the area.
- The pans are white from lime and salt – and influence the whole region, giving the area a white look, unique to any of Africa’s other great game reserves.
Summer (October – April)
Min 20°C/68°F Max 40°C/104°F
Winter (May – September)
Min 0°C/32°F Max 23°C/73°F
Rainfall: October – April. Summer is great for birds and game, autumn is for evening walks on dunes. In winter the skies light up and in spring wildlife is born.