Journey to the Water Hole

Juliann at the Cheetah Conservation Fund

During my time at the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia there were many memorable days. There were many times that I was in awe of nature and the research we were seeing but one day in particular has stayed with me, the waterhole count day. A few days in we went to learn about our water hole count and after hearing the words 12 hours in the middle of the reserve, many of us were a little terrified but also a little excited for a new adventure. Hearing about the wildlife living all around us it was a little disconserting to then hear we would be alone with one partner and no access to the outside world. We all rallied and were ready for an adventure at 5am, yes I said 5am, to have breakfast and then head to our stations. My station was called hog heaven, I was anticipating seeing lots of “hogs” and I was not dissapointed. My co waterhole count partner Jolene and I were really excited when the first animal emerged about 20 minutes after the sun came up. It was a huge male Eland we nicknamed Walter who hung around the waterhole for awhile before continuing on with his day. Our next animal, the first of many, was a warthog and he also was fun to watch visiting our waterhole. The rest of the day was full of delight and amazement as we watched lots of zebra, eland, oryx, kudu, warthogs, mongoose, birds, and giraffes visit us at the waterhole. By the end we had 69 warthogs and over 250 animals in total.

The animals were a highlight but being in Africa, in the middle of a reserve, was really the best part. Participating in research that will help the Cheetah Conservation fund know what lives on their reserve was even better. Since returning from Africa and all my adventures at the waterhole, I have noticed that I spend more time listening and just watching in nature. I love the peace it brings and I realize how many amazing animals we have right here in my own backyard. Wildlife can inspire and the wildlife in Africa definately did that for me but being at peace and loving the natural areas that surround me daily is what I brought back. Along with the great photos of course.

Walter the Eland, our first waterhole visitor
Our second visitor, the first of many warthogs
life at Hogs Heaven