Feeding cheetahs and looking them straight in the eye from a few feet away is possible at the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in Otjiwarongo. It is about a 3 to 3.5 hour drive north of Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. This educational center does a fantastic job and is definitely worth a visit!
Cheetahs are the most endangered big cats on the continent of Africa.
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Otjiwarongo (28,000 inhabitants) is also known as the Cheetah Capital. Most of the cheetahs in the world are located in Namibia. The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is located in the so-called Elands Joy Farm, at the foot of the Waterberg Plateau. When you arrive in the center of Otjiwarongo, you are not there yet. From there it is still another 40 min (40 km, 25 mi) drive east of the city to the site of the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund rescues cheetahs and is also a research center. They work closely with local farmers. Farmers want to get rid of the cheetahs from their land, in order to protect their livestock. To prevent the predators from being shot, the cheetahs are collected from the farmers.
The cheetahs are lovingly cared for here in the center and patched up if necessary. They are then – if the animal’s health allows to do so – released elsewhere in nature. More than 450 cheetahs have been released since the Cheetah Conservation Fund was established in 1990. Great work!
Cheetah Conservation Fund
When you visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund you get to see many cheetahs. We arrived right on time for the feeding (weekdays at 2:00 PM, weekends 12:00 PM). Nice to watch. Then we went into the park in an open safari jeep. The so-called Cheetah Drive. This is possible on a daily basis; a jeep departs every hour from 09:30, takes about 1 hour.
Cheetahs that cannot survive in the wild due to their physical or mental limitations, for example as a result of injury or loss of parents, live in this closed nature reserve. A safe yet natural habitat, in which we were allowed to observe them from the jeep. A very nice experience. Awesome.
Did you know that cheetahs can run at speeds of up to 113 km/h (70 mi p/h)?
A couple of cheetahs rest peacefully in the shade of the trees and bushes. Others approach the jeep calmly and curiously. They stop a few meters away. I will never forget their sounds. This is Africa! What a magnificently beautiful creatures they are. Glad these stay some distance and don’t jump the jeep, because that could certainly happen in the wild, being so close.
The cheetahs are losing more and more ground, as humans continue to limit their habitat. A conflict between human kind and nature. This also creates a lack of genetic variation among the cheetahs. The survival of the cheetah in Namibia is therefore under pressure. Globally, 90% of the wild cheetah population has been lost in the last 100 years!
The Cheetah Conservation Fund has the mission to save the cheetah from extinction in the wild. The Cheetah Conservation Fund is very active worldwide in cheetah research and conservation. They work with governments around the world to protect the cheetah. And they are members of all kinds of worldwide scientific advocacy organizations.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund is an international non-profit organization founded by Dr. Laurie Marker. In 2021 there are offices in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia, plus partner organizations in a number of other countries. For example, the Cheetah Conservation Fund contributes with its program to the preservation of the cheetah population in Namibia, but also in Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, Algeria and Iran – wherever the cheetah lives.
By visiting the Cheetah Conservation Fund you will learn all kinds of interesting things about the cheetahs in Namibia. This way you will learn more about their plight, skills, behavior and character traits. In addition, you support the fantastic work that this organization is doing to preserve this beautiful, endangered species. There is a visitor center and a museum.
Staff members of the Cheetah Conservation Fund provide good, interesting information about the cheetahs. They take the time to properly answer all questions from visitors. And they clearly have a lot of love for these beautiful animals. The Cheetah Conservation Fund regularly looks for highly motivated volunteers, so if you feel like it… do it!
If you wish to volunteer at CCF yourself, contact Stephanie Natt via firstname.lastname@example.org. A 200 USD fee is needed for housing and food. Minimum volunteering time at the Cheetah Conservation Fund is 2 weeks.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund also includes a model farm with sheep and goats. There, local farmers learn how to coexist sustainably with cheetahs and other predators. Local farmers will also receive a special guard dog bred and trained by the Cheetah Conservation Fund. As a result, a farmer is less likely to shoot cheetahs to protect their livestock.
In the Cheetah Café you can get acquainted with products made from goat’s milk, such as cheese and ice cream. But also just good old-fashioned apple pie and a cup of coffee, for instance.
The gift shop sells beautiful items, from figurines to jewelry and everything in between. Note: American Express is not accepted here.
Coincidentally, December 4 happens to be both my birthday and International Cheetah Day!
Cost to visit CCF
- Guided tour CCF incl. feeding – adult N$220, child N$110
- Cheetah Drive – Adult N$605, Child N$332.50
- Cheetah Run – adult N$605 (min age 16 years)
Opening hours CCF
The Cheetah Conservation Fund is open year round, daily from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. They are only closed on Christmas. For the most current feeding times, booking your visit and activities check here.
The Cheetah Conservation Fund makes a perfect pit stop between Windhoek and Etosha Nationaal Park. As far as I know you don’t necessarily have to book in advance for the entrance to this Cheetah Paradise. At least we didn’t then. This may be different because of COVID-19? It might be useful to do. Count on it that you will easily spend 2 to 3 hours here for a visit including feeding and Cheetah Drive.
A year after Dr. Laurie Marker founded CCF, Wayne Hanssen founded the Africat Foundation in 1991. The Africat Foundation Day Visitors Center is located in the Okonjima Nature Reserve. That is about 70 km (1 hour) drive south of Otjiwarongo.
Africat is an ecological research center focused on the sustainable conservation of leopards and brown hyenas. True bog cat enthusiasts may also want to pay a visit to Africat. I haven’t been here myself, it seemed a bit more commercial to me.
Where to spend the night
Since the Cheetah View Lodge in Otjiwarongo was already full, we decided to spend the night at Sasa Safari Camp in Outjo. This property is located between Otjiwarongo and Etosha. And that turned out to be an excellent decision.
We really enjoyed the peace and refreshing pool at Sasa Safari Camp. From here we enjoyed the beautiful view over the savannah. And that while our host prepared a delicious meal for us on the ‘braai’ (BBQ). Drink with it, the sun setting… absolutely great!
The next day we drove further north on the C38 towards Etosha NP. You could also drive to Etosha in one go if you want. Or spend the night in Otjiwarongo or Outjo. Depending on how much you like to drive on one day. And at what time the sun will set when you are visiting the area.
- Windhoek – Cheetah Conservation Fund Otjiwarongo 300 km (185 mi) ca. 3-3.5 uur
- Otjiwarongo – Outjo Sasa Safari Camp 115 km (70 mi) ca. 1.5 uur
- Outjo – Etosha NP Okaukuejo Camp 125 km (77 mi) ca. 1.5 uur
We drove this route with a VW Polo rented at Sunny Cars.
For the continuation of this journey please check the article Beautiful Etosha National Park in Namibia – Africa Dream trip part 2.
Have you ever seen cheetahs in the wild? Do you have plans to go to Namibia? I hope this article has inspired you to do so, or helped you to find the right information. Please feel free to share this article on social media, to leave a nice comment, additional tip or question at the bottom of this article.
For more articles about Namibia look in the Africa Blog Archives.
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Last Updated on 03/05/2022 by Elisa Flitter Fever