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Between Namibia’s capital of Windhoek and Etosha National Park lies the Central Highlands, a region of gentle rolling hills and private game reserves. The highlight of this region for us is Okonjima, the home of the AfriCat Foundation.

Founded in 1991, the wildlife sanctuary is dedicated to creating conservation awareness, preserving habitat, promoting environmental educational research and supporting animal welfare. Their main focus is Africa's big cats, especially injured or captured leopard and cheetah. In the last 17 years, over 1,000 of these predators have been rescued and over 85% have been released back into the wild. Close encounters with leopard and cheetah are an unforgettable highlight of your time at AfriCat. Track leopards and cheetah by vehicle or on foot, visit the cheetah welfare project, and spend some time in a night hide to see nocturnal animals such as porcupine, caracal, honey badger and even leopards.

It is important to know in advance that the animals at AfriCat are collared because they are being researched and rehabilitated; however, this does not detract from wildlife experience, and the chance to get so close to them is truly memorable. There are also a number of lovely properties that are part of Okonjima. We particularly love the private villas and Okonjima Bush Camp.

Okonjima can be done as anything from a half -day visit en-route to Etosha or a full two-night adventure.

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Lara Ray