Especially when your neighbor knocks you down a rung on the old food chain.
A giraffe peed on Colin.
I know that's a random way to start off the blog but it was hilarious and I can't find another relevant part of this entry to mention it. Fortunately it was a baby giraffe and Colin moved out of the way before too much damage could be done. Why were we near a giraffe you ask? Well, we were camping on a farm just outside of Etosha before heading out to bush camp. The farmers had rescued the giraffe when it became stuck in a fence a few months ago and it was now living with them on the farm. I officially want a baby...giraffe (even if it did step on my foot).
You may also be asking yourself what these farmers were growing on the farm. Berries? Corn? Pumpkins perhaps? Nope. Cheetahs. Several years ago they rescued 3 baby cheetahs (I'm seeing a trend) from certain death and have raised them in their home as family pets. We were able to play with these somewhat scary house cats and watch as they noshed on some fresh donkey carcass. Fun! They have about 18-20 wild cheetahs living on the farm as well and we piled on the flatbed of a pickup truck to pay them a visit. This would have been a pleasant stroll through the farm had the truck not been strapped with two barrels of the aforementioned donkey meat. Ever really feel like prey? We have.
Now I've been called a lot of things in my day but "Cat Lover" has never really been one of them. I suppose "sneaky" and "always plotting" would be ways I would've described cats in the past. However, when the cheetahs smelled the donkey and appeared from out of nowhere to stalk the car, well, color me a cheetah lover. They are absolutely gorgeous. We had seen a cheetah before in the wild - which is awesome - but to see 20 cheetahs surround you while the sun sets is in a league of its own. (Note that when I say we were standing in a flatbed I mean that we could've easily bent down to pet one and watch as our hands went the way of the donkey meat. Like they say at Great America, keep your hands and feet in the flatbed at all times).
The owner of the farm proceeded to feed the cheetahs by chucking raw meat at them as we watched them battled for the prime cuts. To see cheetah rip a donkey leg in two is crazy (and yes Dad, it was better than watching it on HD). After this impressive predatory display we were shown back to our campsite which bordered the cheetah fencing. Not as scary as the times we were surrounded by wild hippo but enough to give you a momentary pause. Luckily our site was right next to the lair of a female cheetah and her three baby cubs. The close proximity to our campsite meant that we could sit, read our books or eat breakfast and listen for the tell tale coo of the mother cheetah. This was our cue to look up from the camp chairs and viola! there they'd be just staring at us. I loved it...but made sure I stayed a good distance after the cheetah snarled at me when I got a bit too close for comfort. Maybe I'm not ready to embrace the cat as a species after all. Anyway, I officially want a baby cheetah to be the sibling to my baby giraffe. It's too bad our apartment barely fits Colin and I or I would definatly be taking one home. A guard cat. I like it.
Editors note on the Farm: It's important to mention that the farm is in no way a zoo. It's HUGE and once they raise enough money they will add better fencing and introduce additional wild game to turn it into a game park. They have a little bar (sans electricitly) where you can drink for cheetah conservation. Cheers to that we say!
After leaving our furry friends behind we FINALLY started our 4 day bush trek into the wilds of northern Namibia. I know I've been hyping this whole "bush trek" thing for the past couple of blogs. You may even be thinking "didn't they do that a long time ago?" Well, it takes a little more planning than we thought to just make your way into uncharted territory. For those who need a bit of clarification, a bush camp is different from regular camping in that you don't stay at a designated campsite. You basically find a flat piece of land in the middle of nowhere and pitch a tent. The idea is to really get away from it all, be one with nature, sleep under the stars, etc., etc.
When Col and I were reading about Namibia we were really interested in visiting the Kaokoland region in the northwest part of the country. It's home to the Himbas, one of the last tribes in Africa to retain their tribal way of life (and not just to fetch a dollar or two for a photo). I suggest looking up Himbas on google so you can see why were were fascinated by their culture. Unfortunately (or fortunately, which ever way you look at it) getting up to that part of the world is difficult. To quote from the guidebook we had regarding this area, "it's beautiful and ever changing scenery make this a magnificent place to visit. However, due to the unpredictable nature of the roads and few inhibitants we have decided not to include any information on how to travel to this part of the country." Hmmm. Foreshadowing?
We packed the car with food, fuel, water and our sense of humor and set out for a real adventure...
To Be Continued.
(To learn more about our trek into the bush you'll have to wait for the next blog entry. The suspense! I used to love when sitcoms did the To Be Continued. And to learn more about Namibia and the Himbas visit your local library. More adventure calls....)