Prickly Porcupine of Okonjima | Sense Africa
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Jenny's Blog

Prickly Porcupine20th July '15

“Would you like to go on a night drive or visit the night hide?”

I was having a truly scrumptious meal at Okonjima Bush Camp, Namibia.  There were only seven of us around the table and the Bush Camp provides a wonderfully genuine bush experience with the added extra of been able to go and visit the night hide.  I immediately jumped at the opportunity because I had been told that quite often you could see porcupine from the hide is well as honey badgers. It had been a long time since I had seen a porcupine and I thought going to the hide would nicely round off  a spectacular day.  Earlier on in the afternoon I had been on a game drive and had seen both leopard and cheetah, so I was feeling lucky that day.

Only 3 of us decided we would like to go to the hide and we were told to come to reception in about half an hour and when we were ready we would go.  I had enough time to get back to my room and get my camera before the allocated time.  I was really lucky, my room was the furthest room from the main part of the camp and wonderfully situated in the African bush.  Each room had a bed that faced out into the bush and mosquito netting protected year from curious visitors.  But at night you could still see the stars twinkling in the African skies.  There was also a beautiful lounge area with numerous books for me to look up what I’d seen that day.  Everything had been so well thought out.

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“Ready to go?” we were asked, of course we were.  The three of us piled into the vehicle and we had our own mini night drive to the hide.  On the way we saw drafts, kudu, heard numerous birds and were even treated to a mongoose disappearing into the undergrowth.

The hide looks over a flat area that feels as if it is a natural amphitheatre as it is surrounded by a rocky outcrop.  We had got a few leftover vegetables that were scattered on the ‘stage’ and I settle down for a bit of a wait.  I had anticipated that may be some time before we would see anything at all.

I was so wrong.  Within minutes there was a rustling in the bushes and a porcupine appeared from stage left.  It was enormous!  People are often surprised at how large porcupines are, but even this one surprised me.  He was closely followed by his mate and as I held my breath as it doesn’t want to spook them I watched in awe as they settled down to the serious business of eating butternut skin and the remains of lettuce. The air was still and I could hear every single crunch, snort and gnaw made by these animals.  You could even hear their quills clanking together as they change position to get the best angle on their food.  It was mesmerising.

IMG_1451After mum and dad had settled down a youngster appeared who would obviously learned the tricks of the trade from his or her parents.  The youngster was a little bit more wary of the surroundings but eventually also settle down to it eats away at their delicious snacks.

We spent about an hour watching bees animals, what a privilege it was.  It is amazing how something as simple as watching a porcupine needs can make you appreciate the good things in life.

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I would thoroughly recommend staying at can Okonjima but if you do want to see the porcupine and also those elusive honey badgers (which I did not see that time) then you need to stay at the Bush Camp rather than Plains Camp. Plains Camp no longer offers excursions to the hide.

However, my excitement of the night didn’t finish there.  I was kindly driven to my rather remote accommodation and as the vehicle pulled up we spotted an animal around the small lantern outside my room.  I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was an aardwolf – very rare.  It just so happened that on that particular night the termites had taken Wayne and were flying out of an nest in order to expand their territorial.  This had attracted the aadrwolf for his midnight snack.  I did try to get a photograph of him but it wasn’t very good…but I certainly have the memory of seeing him.

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