Mr Namutoni- The prince of Klein Namutoni Waterhole

As we spend time in Etosha National Park on our Nature Travel Namibia and Nature Travel Birding Safaris, we as guides get to know the individual Leopards we come across based on facial and coat patterns and on the fact that we have seen the Leopard in the area before.

For us as guides it’s like connecting with a longtime friend who we have not seen in a while, however these meetings between Guide and Leopard make our guests very very happy.

This individual male Leopard hangs around the Klein Namutoni waterhole on the Dik-dik loop close to Namutoni camp, and has now been sighted on 3 of our Nature Travel Namibia safaris. The beauty of spending time in Etosha- the great white place or as I say the magical game reserve in Africa!!

Written by Marc Cronje – Nature Travel Guide

Leopard strikes twice in Etosha National Park

On one of our latest private Nature Travel Namibia safaris with awesome clients from Australia we had an incredible time in Etosha with not one but two amazing Leopard sightings in the Park

On our first morning we set off on the Dik-dik drive to check out Klein Namutoni waterhole. Just past the waterhole we had an incredible sighting of a young female Leopard spotted right next to the road by our guest with her keen eagle eyes.  We watched the Leopard grooming and moving around and eventually she tried to make a kill of a Dik-dik but narrowly missed. We spent over an hour with this female. It was a real treat and privilege to see such a beautiful animal. Leopard are not easy to see in Etosha so it was a real lucky sighting!

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Our second sighting came on day three at Kalkheuwel waterhole, when our guest shouted “Leopard!” This lead to us having the most amazing sighting of 2 sub adults all to ourselves for about 20 minutes. Both of them came really close to the car and we got brilliant views as they crossed the road in-front of us. Another very fortunate sighting for our wildlife tour in Namibia.

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Leopards are known to have remnant populations in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, eastern Ahaggar (Hoggar) massif in Algeria, and the coastal ranges of South Africa. Elsewhere, it occurs widely in the Middle East and Asia, extending into China. The Leopard is one of the five extant species of the genus Panthera, which also includes the Jaguar (P. onca), the Lion (P. leo), the Snow Leopard (P. uncia) and the Tiger (P. tigris). These amazing cats are such great hunters. They can run up to 36 mph (58 kph), jump forward 20 feet (6 meters) and leap 10 feet (3 m) straight up. Leopards’ ears can hear five times more sounds that the human ear. The Leopard’s spots are called rosettes because they look like roses. In my opinion one of the most beautiful cats to see on safari and it is always a very special treat when we do see them. What are you waiting for? Join us on Namibian wildlife safari today!

Written by Marc Cronje – Nature Travel Guide

Namibia Vet Safari Trip Report

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Day 1:

Our yearly Namibia Vet Safari trip with vet students from Murdoch University (Australia) is currently underway. The first stop was CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund) in central Namibia where the students learned about Cheetah conservation, farming with predator methods, conservation tourism and guard dog initiative. They got to see and experience an annual health check of a female Cheetah done under anaesthesia. On our last morning it was time for the Cheetah Run activity where they get their exercise by chasing a lure. These captive Cheetahs came to CCF as orphans with their mother shot and although they cannot be released into the wild they play an important role in education. Was amazing seeing them run. I love how they use their tails to balance when turning at speed. CCF plays an important role in the conservation of these beautiful cats on Namibia’s commercial farmland. Next stop Etosha!

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Day 2:

Etosha National Park was the next stop on our ongoing Namibia Vet Safari. We had a wonderful time and were treated to some brilliant game viewing. One of the highlights were our last evening at the camp waterhole where we first watched a breeding herd of Elephants drinking at sunset, followed by Spotted Hyenas, 2 young male Lions and 4 Black Rhino. We ended up with sightings of 14 different Black Rhinos of which 7 were seen during the day. What a fantastic place to learn about conservation tourism. Next stop N/a’an ku sê Foundation.

Day 3-5

We had a very exciting first couple of days at N/a’an ku sê Foundation with the current Namibia Vet Safari trip. After the introduction and a tour to meet all the resident animals at the sanctuary the students joined a Baboon Walk in the morning and Cheetah Walk in the afternoon which offers both species extra stimulation. The following day was all about wildlife vet work with a few fascinating presentations, a dart gun practical and a health checkup on one of the resident Cheetahs.

Day 6

Today the students learned more about the role of the wildlife vet in research. After an introduction on telemetry tracking, the students got to experience and practice in the field as we tracked the recently introduced African Wild Dogs onto the neighboring reserve. These dogs came to the sanctuary as puppies and now that they are big enough they were given a second chance in the wild with the introduction. They managed to make a Hartebeest kill only a few weeks after being introduced. We managed to track them down and spend a couple of hours with them.

Day 7

We started the day by treating an injured Meerkat before assisting with a Baboon castration. In the afternoon it was time for a health checkup on one of the resident Caracals. Not often you get the chance to get this close to one of these beautiful cats. Tonight it was time for a bush braai. Nothing better than sitting around the camp fire listening to a lion roar.

Day 8:

Today was one of the highlights of the trip. We had to move 10 African Wild Dogs to a new enclosure before they will hopefully be released later this year. With so many dogs it was all hands on deck and well done to all for ensuring that everything went well and the dogs are happy in their new temporary home. There was time to dart and treat an injured Impala as well. Tomorrow this adventure comes to an end but before we say goodbye it is time to do a health check on one of the Cheetahs before fitting a collar and releasing it back into the wild. What a great way to finish. We look forward to welcoming this group back next year!

The Journey Begins

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What a privilege it is to work in this industry.  Our world never seize to amaze and the Nature Travel Namibia team experience this magnificence every time we travel with our guests.

Be a part of this journey here on our blog as we update you on trip reports, special destinations and spoil you with photographs from our safaris and trips.

Looking for Leopards

This young male was spotted on the first afternoon drive of a recent Birding Namibia safari in the Waterberg area of central Namibia. We stopped to photograph a very relaxed Red-crested Korhaan close to the road and after spending about five minutes at the sighting we happen to turn around and see the leopard about 30 meters behind the vehicle. He was also very relaxed and not worried about our presence at all.

Then after dinner that same day we departed for a night drive with the main focus on Owls and other nocturnal birds. We stopped when we heard an African Scops Owl and while searching for it with the spotlight we saw the eyes of this young female leopard. She was actually very inquisitive and came quite close to the vehicle to investigate. Everyone enjoyed the close-up views until she disappeared behind our open 4×4 safari vehicle and we lost her in the spotlight when you suddenly feel very vulnerable. Luckily she just continued walking down the track and we left her in peace to continue her search for prey.

The third leopard sighting was very special. It was towards the end of the safari and we were staying at Erongo Wilderness Lodge in the Erongo Mountains of western Namibia – a very special place. Most of the other guests were out on a drive or walk and we were at the main deck overlooking a small waterhole enjoying the displaying Freckled Nightjars when we suddenly saw an adult female appear at the waterhole for a drink. The amazing thing about this sighting is that although this is a wilderness area it is not a game reserve or national park. We are very fortunate to have a very high population of free ranging leopards and cheetahs in Namibia.

Leopard - Erindi

Off course the opposite also holds true in that we normally see all the endemic and sought after birds on safaris with clients that have absolutely no interest in birds whatsoever. So in future when you feel that you have been very unlucky with leopard sightings just tell your guide to focus on finding rare birds – you might just be lucky enough to see one of the beautiful elusive spotted cats.