The last stop on my Namibian circuit was Ongava Tented Camp. Tucked away in the 116 square mile private Ongava Game Reserve just outside Etosha National Park, the camp overlooks an active waterhole where wildlife passes through to quench their much needed thirst throughout the day and night. A highlight of the private reserve is a walking safari in which you track both black and white rhino, accompanied by an armed ranger.
Etosha National Park is Namibia’s top wildlife attraction and one of the largest game parks in Africa. The park’s primary characteristic is a salt pan so large that it can be seen from space. Yet there are large populations of lion, leopard, cheetah and elephant.
My stay was brief here, but in the two half days of gameviewing, we experienced outstanding wildlife sightings. Shortly into a drive, we came across two adult female cheetahs with three baby cubs. We sat for almost an hour watching the young cubs learn their hunting techniques by playing and chasing each other, under the attentive eye of their mother. Cheetahs are the fastest land mammal in the world, capable of reaching speeds of more than 60mph. Our guide explained that there has been a drastic decline in cheetah numbers, and that 75 % of cheetah cubs don’t live to be older than 3 months. And much to my surprise, cheetahs are on the top 10 most endangered species in Africa.
I thought we could never top this brilliant sighting until we came across three white rhino grazing in the grass. Namibia is home to one of the largest black and white rhino populations in Africa thanks to their successful Save the Rhino Trust, which was formed to reduce poaching and save these animals from the brink of extinction.
All I could think of as we headed back to camp, was that I hoped this magnificent creature is still roaming around in the near future, giving my children and their children the same opportunity I had watching them in the wild. I couldn’t imagine an Africa without rhinos.