Camping with the cheetahs in Namibia was one of those weird and wonderful experiences that you are probably only going to get in Africa (no health and safety gone mad here).
Ok so I didn’t exactly camp ‘with’ the cheetahs but we were pretty darn close AND I got to have a pretty up close and personal experience with these beautiful cats.
So we arrived at the Otjitotongwe Cheetah Guest Farm early afternoon and after a dip in their pool to cool off we headed to the owners house where we were greeted by one of the staff who talked us through some of the protocol.
- Don’t rub their bellies
- Only touch the top of their head
- Don’t make any sudden movements
The gates were opened and in we walked to the grounds and straight away the cheetahs were being very inquisitive and very quickly we were all vying for the affections of these bigs cats.
At first I’ll admit I was a little frightened to be this close but after a short space of time it was obvious how tame these cats really were and how used to human contact they were as well.
The people who run the farm then chucked a few slabs of meat on the back lawn of their house and the cheetahs tucked in. We are stood back as we didn’t want to get in the way of their feeding time.
So I guess you are wondering how these three gorgeous cheetahs ended up in someones back garden right? Well we didn’t quite get the full story but from bits and bobs the family shared with various people in our group we got the story that because they run a rather large farm, cheetahs used to be a real pest. They would come on to their farm and wreck their crops and they used to shoot them.
After some time they realised that it wasn’t a great idea so somehow they ended up becoming more in contact with the cheetahs and have formed some sort of bond with them whereby they come and hang out in their garden? I’m not quite sure!
After the feeding we all jumped on the back of a trailer where one of the staff drove us around their farm to see cheetahs that are not tame and not used to close contact with humans.
The cheetahs were thrown meat from the trailer by one of the staff. It was obvious they knew that food had arrived the minute they heard the truck. These cheetahs I believe have been bred within the grounds of the farm as you can it is fenced. They did also say that they let animals like warthogs in every now and again so the animals know how to hunt.
Agree with it or not it is what it is and they have decided to have something for their camp site users to do during the day as the camp site is literally in the middle of nowhere!
It is clear they love the animals dearly and look after them. Having them enclosed obviously stops other farmers in the area shooting the animals but it does mean that they are habituated and do come in contact with humans on a regular basis.
After our cheetah encounter we all sat around the camp fire with our drinks and had a bbq and watched a storm roll in.
We stayed at this camp site on our Ultimate Africa tour with Tucan Travel
Check out my video from my time in Namibia