Giraffe and cheetahs in the Okonjima Nature Reserve

Okonjima, Namibia

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I have always wanted to go to Namibia, I bought books and a year after being married my wife and I decided to go. However, Lindsey became pregnant and we decided to go to the Seychelles instead.

Last year, I got my first chance to go; to see first hand what a great friend of mine was doing by way of Early Childhood Development. James Alexandroff set up the Perivoli Schools Trust to support the care and education of under-privileged pre-schoolers in rural communities in Namibia, and he kindly asked me to help.

We went to Okonjima, in the middle of Namibia. It is a paradise, a beautiful spot west of the Waterburg Plateau where the huge plains are punctuated by ridges of sandstone and granite outcrops.

Okonjima means, in the local Herero language, ‘Place of the Baboons’, however that does not really convey what Okonjima is all about.

Okonjima is the home of The AfriCat Foundation, which is committed to the long-term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores. AfriCat supports environmental education, rehabilitation and welfare programmes, providing solutions to human-wildlife conflict issues and conducts constructive wildlife research.

It is also one of the must-see destinations of Namibia, with its open plains, thick bush, sandstone hills and the wildlife. The game roams free over 24,000 hectares – with giraffe, wild dogs, all types of antelope, AND cheetah and leopard. It really is THE place to spend time on a Namibian safari, being halfway betwewen Windhoek, the capital and the Etosha game park.

I was lucky enough to stay at the Grand African Villa, which is in a stunning location within the Okonjima game reserve. Angelina Jollie and Brad Pitt have stayed here!

View from the Grand African Villa, Okonjima, Namibia
View from the Grand African Villa, Okonjima, Namibia

I was able to go on safaris each day as well as visiting the schools that James and his team have set up in Okonjima itself and Kalkfeld.

For a truly memorable experience, I would have to say that Okonjima is my favourite place in the world; for a safari holiday, a luxury safari, a Namibian safari.

TripAdvisor has officially recognised Okonjima Lodge – home of AfriCat and the Okonjima experience as a top destination, based on customer feedback.

I will be blogging updates on AfriCat, the Perivoli schools and all matters concerning Okonjima and look forward to any comments you may have.

Mark Cadbury

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