Of course we had to grind plenty of coffee to last us for two weeks. One of the essentials…John set to the task for a while on the porch of my sister’s and her husband’s house in Windhoek. Many last minute tasks were eating up our departure day. Finally, though, we each ferried loads out to our rented Toyota 4×4 and got it packed! Late afternoon departures are not ideal when traveling the roads of Namibia…or most places in Africa! We had 3 hours ahead of us…to make it to our lodging that night in Otjiwarongo. It’s winter in Namibia and gets dark at 5:30pm. Strange after leaving Seattle on some of the longest days of the year…darkness only setting in after 9pm. We made it at dusk and finally found The Out of Africa Lodge…a place that was an old Afrikaans establishment; a bit tired around the edges, but beds and everything we needed, including a bar/restaurant where we could have dinner.
The next morning, we were up early and headed to the Cheetah Conservation Preserve on the the way to Outjo. The cheetahs in captivity here were found as young kittens; abandoned, having been separated from their mothers. They are raised and fed and helped and then released into the wild, in most cases. One of their daily activities is to run in pursuit of a decoy, so that they get exercise and hone their hunting instinct. We got to go out with them and a guide while they ran. We were within 10-15 feet of them and told not to crouch down or straggle from our group of 7! We didn’t want to be thought of as prey. Amazing animals in their speed and grace and accuracy.
Onward on red dirt roads with towering termite mounds dotting the yellow grass shoulders and fields… then tarmac as we reached the entrance to Etosha National Park an hour before sunset! More on that in the next post.