A Wild Place
It’s a wild place. A piece of Africa desert this north-eastern section of Namibia. Here Marnus saves Lions. It’s dusty and dry, yet not. There’s tall grass that reaches way above our bonnet (hood.)
As other places traveling Africa, it’s flat from horizon to horizon in a series of huge pans. If you stand on a coffee can you could probably see 360 degrees forever. It’s where water fills the dry salt pans about once a year, on a good year. Apparently days before our arrival thousands of pink flamingoes filled one such pan. When we drove by, one lonely one remained behind.
It’s amazing how many wild animals live in the Africa desert. Animals that have adapted to the harsh conditions.
It’s here in the Nyae-Nyae Conservancy that Marnus lives in a tent. His project is far reaching and broad in scope. Together with the villagers, the Conservancy leaders, the Namibian wildlife Authorities and anyone who cares, Marnus is on a mission to preserve a near pristine ecosystem for the benefit of lions, all wildlife, nature, and yes, humans; especially the ancient SAN People.
Our Visit to Save Lions
We spend four days with Marnus in his remote world. It is truly a one of a kind experience. a truly wild place.
We hear lions roar and jackals call at night. We watch local children walk barefoot to school on dusty paths. We see huge herds of wildebeest and springbok take off running at the sound of our vehicles approaching. We listen to the stillness in the quiet of the night. We look up at the heavens filled with more stars than we’ve ever seen before.
We run for cover after supper as thunder envelopes the bush and rain pummels the parched earth. Off-roading we track lions through the brush. We spot a pack of wild dogs. We watch raptors, bee eaters and an array of other birds in search of food.
But mostly, we are in awe at the wildness of it all as we drive rough two track trails from village to village.
The term village is used very loosely. It means a cluster of a few huts built mainly from anthill dirt, sticks, grass and sometimes rocks. Each village is home to a family, generally including some extended family and sundry relatives.
The terrain across the Nyae-Nyae varies from vast salt pans to stoney area, from scrub to trees and thick brush. The roads go from sand to challenging rocks. Near the pans the tracks are quite ‘smooth’ until it rains and the soil turns to ‘black mud’. Which they say is much like quick sand in the way it grabs and holds.
The roads traversing the conservancy go on forever. Some straight some winding, some with tall grass where the seeds fly over the bonnet (hood) like flying ants. Some barely visible to the untrained eye.
It’s a wild desolate place where if you don’t have it with you, you better not need it.
It’s a world where you’re truly out in nature in its rawest form. It’s here where Marnus works to save lions. Its here where heaven meets earth.[Update: Since we visited Marnus here in early 2018 he has moved to another area saving lions. He now works with a team of Lion Rangers protecting lions from poachers in the Limpopo Transfrontier Park.)