Cat House

Nancy Vandermey, Author
South Africa/Botswana Trip part 8 Jwana Game Park/Cheetah Conservation Botswana - 22-24 November

Africa 2007 Africa 2007 Africa 2007 Africa 2007

From Ghanzi it was another 5 hours or so drive to Jwaneng, home of the Debswana diamond mine which is the base of Jwana Game Park and the home of the main Cheetah Conservation Botswana research camp. We had spent several weeks here in 2003 and wanted to revisit our former home. The chalets were freshly painted, the ground squirrels were fat, and many improvements had been made, as well as new vehicles. Time for a game drive - the west side of the park was dry, we just saw a few ostrich and a single oryx (the first we saw this trip!). Our favorite bird was still there, the black korhaan - the flying brick! The open plains in the southeast were much busier - springbok, secretary bird, warthog, ostrich, zebra, wildebeest, a large oryx herd, vulture nests, red hartebeest with young, giraffe, and eland - there was a huge herd of over 100 eland, including young. After checking into the Cezar Motel in town and having dinner, we met with biologist Ann Marie and director Rebecca and had a good catch-up. The next morning we drove around Jwana again, finding a large springbok herd and watching them pronk, jackal, and then we saw a large amount of vultures on the ground 100m from the road. You can exit your car here (there are no elephant, buffalo, or lion, although they are about to introduce rhino), so we walked over and found a dead zebra. It's possible it was a cheetah kill, as they do take down larger prey here than in parks where lions and spotted hyena are found. We also visited the site where CCB hosts local children in educational workshops, with various games and displays set up. There was a bird nest on a tower here, I think vultures?

We then drove to Mokolodi, home of the CCB offices. Veterinarian Kyle was there to show us the X-ray machine that the Feline Conservation Center had donated. Volunteer Brian has helped produce many great educational pamphlets and school workbooks, check out the Cheetah Conservation Botswana website to download them! Of course the highlight of our visit here was seeing their two tame cheetah, Duma and Letotse:
We stayed in one of the chalets on Mokolodi. We could have done a game drive here too, but were content to have a fire and watch our last African sunset. The next morning we drove the 4-5 hours back to the Johannesburg airport for our long flight home.

Part 1 - South Africa/Botswana Trip
Part 2 - Hluhluwe/Umfolozi and St Lucia
Part 3 - Kruger
Part 4 - Mala Mala and Exeter Leadwood
Part 5 - Mashatu and Planet Baobab
Part 6 - Mobile Safari to Moremi, Kwai, Savuti
Part 7 - Vumbera Plains
Part 8 - Jwana Game Park, Cheetah Conservation Botswana