Servals, puppies, goats and Hi Fi

Our early Christmas party round Laurie and Bruce’s house was… interesting.  We decorated a dead and leafless tree, whilst I stood around watching people drink alcohol I couldn’t drink and eat dessert I couldn’t eat.  And then we were forced to sing Christmas carols.  At that point, I decided to leave.  Here’s hoping Christmas Day itself will be slightly better, although I fear what they may try to make me in the vegan department…  Salad and sauceless pasta, probably?!

After all the felid delight of last week, we also stumbled across (or should I say, nearly ran over) a small serval as we were driving back from a waterhole count.  Servals are smaller felids with spots like cheetahs, long legs and short tails – they look very out of proportion but are adorable nonetheless.  It was amazing to see one, especially as they are so rare and illusive.

I got woken up last night to the sounds of jackals yapping, hyenas wooping, dogs barking and baboons wahooing.  I then got up in the morning to see raptors circling around, so with an educated guess I can estimate that something got killed close to my house last night and a predator feeding frenzy began.  I wonder what it was that was offed.

I finally got a chance to hang out with some of the animals here this week – puppies a few days ago, kid goats yesterday and cheetah “cubs” (we call them cubs but they are more like teenagers) today.  The goats were so overly excited and kept trying to jump on me, bite my hair, bang into my head and generally cause a ruckus. Hours of entertainment!!

Last week, Laurie took me to a meeting she had set up with a lodge 2.5 hours from here to discuss the possibility of creating a conservancy there to bring economic development to the local area, along with creating a management plan for wildlife.  It was nice to get out of Otjiwarongo for a bit and see some of Namibia.  We went further west into the semi-desert and it was really beautiful to see a different landscape.  It reminded me a bit of what I expect the Grand Canyon to look like.  Coming back we drove past some traditional women selling trinkets by the side of the road.  We stopped to have a look at what they had on offer, but I refrained from buying anything.  It was interesting to see their tribal dresses and look at their traditional beaded jewellery that they had made by hand.

There is a resident male cheetah that lives on CCF land called Hi Fi and we like to keep a track of here he is using a radio collar.  However, the battery in his collar appears to have failed, so we trapped him in a cage and replaced the collar - whilst he was under anaesthetic of course!  During this time, we gave him a quick health-check and noticed he had THOUSANDS of ticks all over his body. Mission Tick Removal ensued, and we had 8 people huddled around him to extract as many ticks as we could within an hour.  We then released him on the old air strip and after running a brief distance away from us, he turned around and came closer, looking at the crowd of humans staring at him.  Just as we were wondering what on earth he was doing, he then decided to change his mind and run off again.  How peculiar!


  1. Nikki - you look beautiful and happy. Your hair is longer since Texas. It looks great. Keep pursuing happiness. Congrats on completion of the Masters.


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