West of the Waterberg Plateau Park, the vast plains are occasionally broken by the remnants of ancient sandstone outcrops which once...
West of the Waterberg Plateau Park, the vast plains are occasionally broken by the remnants of ancient sandstone outcrops which once covered large areas of northern Namibia. Nestled among the Omboroko Mountains lies Okonjima, a Herero name meaning "Place of the Baboons".
This is much more than just a lodge; Okonjima is also home to The Africat Foundation. Africat became internationally renowned after featuring in an award-winning documentary that was filmed for the Discovery Channel in 1995 and 1996. Namibia is home to the world’s largest wild or free-ranging cheetah population. The majority of this country’s cheetahs and leopards can be found on approximately 7,000 commercial farms. These large carnivores occasionally prey upon the livestock that roam unprotected in the veld.
As a result, carnivores are often regarded as vermin by the livestock and game-farming community and are deliberately trapped and killed. Africat has had to take on a large number of captive cats and carnivores no longer wanted by other establishments. Among the carnivores being rescued, researched and rehabilitated by Africat are cheetah, leopard, lion, caracal, wild dog and hyaena.
Okonjima is a family-run business. Wayne, Donna and Rosalea Hanssen, who co-own and live on the property, bought Okonjima from their parents, Val and Rose, in 1993 turning the then cattle farm into a conservation project. Today The Africat Foundation is the "world’s largest cheetah and leopard rescue and release programme", and has saved more than 850 cats since 1993.
Okonjima offers several types of accommodation, ranging from Bush Camp chalets and suites to Main Camp double en-suites and The Villa. The Grand Villa comprises two rooms and two suites and can accommodate eight to 12 guests, while Bush Suites comprise two rooms, sleeping a total of four guests. The Bush Camp features eight unique thatched African-style chalets sleeping a maximum of 16 guests, and the Main Camp's 10 en-suite double rooms sleep a total of 20 guests.
All four camps have a swimming pool, outside fireplace, and an independent kitchen with restaurant and bar facilities. The Villa, Bush Suite and Bush Camp also have an indoor fireplace and each have a waterhole where wildlife may be viewed.
Activities at Okonjima include leopard-viewing, cheetah tracking on foot, nature and Bushman trails, photography, and bird-watching. Visitors can also observe some of The Africat Foundation's programme at work and learn more about these amazing and beautiful animals.