It was great to know that we would be settled for a while as we would be spending a fortnight with Lyn & Tyrone in Gobabis. During this time we would visit an a big cat farm and drive right across the country to spend a week in Hentjies Bay.
Rex and Bella meet everyone at the front gate
One of the first outings we had was a ‘tour’ of Gobabis itself which took about half an hour. It was bigger than Katima Mullilo but that is not something difficult to achieve. As said in my previous blog, there is 1 main road in Gobabis, the C3 highway to the Botswana border 90kms away. Otherwise there are 3 or 4 downtown streets with supermarkets, furniture stores, service stations, schools, churches and similar to make up a quite busy town. There are also some very good accommodation venues to cater for the traffic passing through on its way to Windhoek. After that we went for a walk down their street to the large open area at the end where they were able to take their dogs for a good run.
Looking west to east down the main street of Gobabis – lovely and wide and clean
They had moved to Gobabis as Tyrone’s company had taken on a contract to strengthen and hardtop the first part of a road from Gobabis to Tsumeb. This was a dirt road which could not be used by the heavy vehicles meaning that they would have to go all the way to Windhoek and then turn north. (see map) Once the road was finished and the trucks travelled north just before reaching Gobabis it would be both good and bad for the town – good as it would reduce road damage and bad as it would affect trade.
During that first week we travelled to Tyrone’s site office which was an hour’s drive from Gobabis as it was situated in the centre of the site itself. It was our first visit to a large construction site and it was quite amazing how much infrastructure is involved. Besides the hiring and use of machinery and vehicles temporary housing and offices have to be built as well. While driving around the site Tyrone stopped to show us large plant bulb from which the Bushmen obtained a milky liquid for drinking and washing their faces.
An example of the bulb used by the Bushmen for liquid
We had a wonderful day out when we visited the Big Cat Farm near Gobabis. This privately owned farm rescues injured cheetah, in particular, to help towards the prevention of their extinction. At the end of the 1800s it was believed that there were up to a total of 100 000 cheetah in all countries where they were to be found of which the majority were in Namibia. During the 1980s the numbers dropped dramatically as Namibian farmers considered them a threat to their animals which were their livelihoods. Farmers killed almost 6 000 cheetah in that decade and another 3 000 in the 1990s. In 2004 the estimated number of cheetah was between 3 000 & 5 000.
We feel the cheetah’s fur
It was here that we learnt that a cheetah is not actually a cat as it cannot contract its claws thus making climbing of trees more effective. Although there are fences the animals have very large areas in which they can roam and run. The farm owner called the cheetah and when some came close to the fence we were able to feel their rough fur. Besides cheetah there were lions and other animals which had also been rescued. The lions were not at all concerned with our presence. No matter how hard we or their keeper tried, sleeping was all that interested them.
One of a number of tree sculptures in their garden
Four days after we arrived in Gobabis we and our daughter who did all the driving, travelled across the country from East to West to spend a week on the West Coast of Namibia at a well known fishing town, Henties Bay. It was a very busy week about which I shall tell in my next blog.