With a few hours spare between our morning and afternoon activities at Okonjima, I pick The Giraffe Trail as the most interesting of the three formed tracks – and my first hike during our trip through Namibia. We’re staying at the Plains Camp, which is inside a 2,000ha fenced area that’s within the 20,000ha Okonjima nature reserve. Rehabilitated cheetahs, wild dogs, and hyaenas roam the reserve. But not, I am assured, within the smaller fenced area where the walks are located.
That’s a reassuring thought, as I head off in the heat of the day from the parking area, which is a short drive from Okonjima Plains Camp where we are staying for two nights.
The Giraffe Trail is well-marked and easy to follow. Occasionally the footpath crosses one of the 4WD tracks, with arrows pointing the way to where the track resumes on the other side of the road.
Although it’s not unbearably hot, there’s not much shade. The walk is through Terminalia woodland, which refers to a species of deciduous tree that is native to southern Africa. While it’s early Spring, there’s still no leaves on the trees and not much shade. Other than me, the only other animals stupid enough to be wandering around in the midday sun are some guinea fowl. Endemic to Africa, they are commonly referred to as “bush chickens”. The helmeted guinea fowl commonly found in Namibia are great runners, and can walk over 10km in a day. When startled, they run rather than fly, and they generally don’t come across as particularly intelligent birds…
About half-way along the circular walk there’s a a short and rocky trail that leads from the main Giraffe Trail to a viewpoint that’s at the edge of the long escarpment.
From this lookout there are sweeping views over the Okonjima Reserve, which consists of vast areas of woodland surrounded by the Omboroko mountain range
An aerial view shows the generally flat and lightly-wooden terrain, punctuated by the low mountain range.
The way back is similar – the landscape doesn’t really vary at all on the walk, and it was the lookout over the park that was my main reason for picking this walk over the others.
Reaching the car after just over an hour of walking, I’m glad to get out of the sun. On the short five minute drive back to Plains Camp, I see more animals resting near the road than on my hour of walking!
More information on the Giraffe Trail (Okonjima)
- Okonjima Camp – nature reserve and AfriCat Foundation