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.

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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.

Predators Galore in Etosha

Although Etosha has had a lot of early rain this year with the park green and beautiful we still had excellent wildlife sightings. The highlight was definitely spending the last few minutes of daylight yesterday with a very relaxed young leopard. After giving us excellent views close to the vehicle she had to get out of the way of an approaching Hyena before she moved off after a herd of Impala.

Another fantastic sighting was first finding a pride of lions on the move just before a huge thunderstorm hit and then finding the same pride the next morning with two Zebra kills. They must have used the approaching storm and strong winds to ambush the Zebra as they were killed not far from where we had to leave them as the camp gates were closing. With the two carcasses lying on both sides of the vehicle and close to the road everyone had excellent views of the pride which consist of a big male, 5 lionesses and 4 sub-adults feeding, resting and then deciding to drag one of the carcasses to a shady spot.

A personal highlight was a rare sighting of a very relaxed African Wild Cat in broad daylight at about 09h00 in the morning near Okondeka Waterhole north of Okaukuejo. After the initial sighting of this normally shy and secretive nocturnal cat and expecting it to move away from the vehicle, we were surprised and very happy as the cat approached our vehicle to within a few meters searching for potential prey all the time. A truly magical sighting that does not happen very often.

Other predator seen during the few days in Etosha include a female Cheetah with cubs, plenty of Spotted Hyenas and then finding the dens of Cape Fox, Bat-eared Fox and Black-backed Jackal within a few kilometers of one another. A truly great time to visit Etosha with plenty of baby animals around and very few other people.

Besides the predators seen on this trip we also had great sightings of Black Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Damara Dik-Dik, Banded Mongoose and a great variety of bird-life with all the European migrants present. Etosha National Park is open throughout the year and is part of our Classic Namibia, Etosha, Caprivi, Chobe and Victoria Falls and Namibia, Botswana and Victoria Falls Spectacular Safaris. We hope to see you on safari very soon!.

Five Aardvarks on one safari

On a recent Namibia endemic birding and nocturnal animal safari, we did two night drives on consecutive nights in Damaraland where we saw 3 of these strange looking animals on the first night followed by another the following night.

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Two of them actually came close to the vehicle to investigate, which gave us a chance to really enjoy this rare sighting. From here we moved to a reserve/concession bordering Etosha National Park where we saw two more on a night drive!

The Aardvark is one of the most elusive of all animals to find on safari in Africa and yet the signs of them being around is everywhere. They feed on ants and termites and with their spade-like nails and stout legs they are capable of digging excessive burrows to find food and to provide shelter during the daylight hours. These burrows are then used by a variety of other animals for shelter and denning. They prefer open woodland or scrubland but are found in a variety of habitats. They are found through most of Africa south of the Sahara but are absent in the central African forest zone.

Besides being so lucky with Aardvark sightings we also managed to see Porcupine, African Wild Cat, Cape Fox, Bat-eared Fox, Cheetah, Springhare, Aardwolf (an incredible 6 of them in total), Spotted Hyena and Lion on the night drives. We are planning another nocturnal wildlife safari in June 2018 and can be arranged on request if you have special interest in nocturnal animals.