18 Travel Namibia Moro >> News · views · people · places · conservation · community · wildlife Wildlife The giraffes arrive at the NamibRand reserve NamibRand The Cinderella waxbill is a stunning little bird that is found only in Kunene in Namibia and just across the border in Angola. Until last year, nobody had ever spotted a Cinderella waxbill nest. But in June Peter Morgan of Kunene River Lodge tracked one down. He said: " I watched the birds raise five chicks in the nest, and after it had clearly been abandoned I brought it back to the lodge where people can see it. The nest has two chambers. One chamber is on top and was where the male lived. The other chamber is a tube and was where the female was with the chicks. The two are not connected. It's very interesting". Bennett's woodpecker and the rufous tailed palm thrush can also be spotted in the grounds of Kunene River Lodge. And one of the last breeding pairs of grey kestrel is based close by. In Namibia, the Cinderella waxbill is thought to live on a short stretch of the Kunene from just east of Ruacana up to Epupa. n Want to read more on Namibia's bird In order to reduce grazing pressure on the delicate arid environment, population? Turn to p44. staff at NamibRand Nature Reserve had to capture and relocate nearly fifty Burchell's zebra. A capture boma was constructed in such a way that the walls were hidden by shrubs and natural cover, allowing the zebras to be herded into the funnel shaped enclosure by helicopter. At the end of the boma the animals were then moved up a ramp and immediately loaded onto the waiting trucks. Once on the trucks, the zebras were tranquilised to calm them for the journey to their new home. Care was taken to keep family groups of zebras together both during the capture and on the trucks, so that their social framework would stay intact once offloaded at their new homes. The animals were sold and transported to four different game farms throughout Namibia. Around 200 Burchell's zebra now remain on the reserve. Kunene River Lodge Cinderella's chamber- made Comings & goings at Three giraffes have been trucked into the NamibRand to increase the genetic diversity of the reserve's small herd, writes Danica Shaw. The long- necked travellers spent the night in the truck and, once the sun rose, were very curious about their new home. NamibRand staff prepared a temporary holding boma near a waterpoint, into which the giraffe were released early in the morning. The new giraffe were all two to three years old and initially reluctant to leave the safety of their transport truck. But, at dusk, they calmly left the boma for the wild. The following morning, staff herded the youngsters towards the other reserve giraffes and the two groups bonded rapidly. Within three months of their arrival last year both new females had calved. Giraffe were reintroduced to the NamibRand in 2003. nils odendaal A helicopter herds zebra towards the holding pen Cinderella waxbill's nest Adult Cinderella waxbill Kunene River Lodge Nils Odendaal
Travel Namibia 19 Unlike many Hei-/// chum, Jan was able to return to Etosha. Some twenty years after his eviction he applied for a job with Namibia Wildlife Resorts. He missed the bush and wanted to see his parents' graves. His knowledge of Etosha became legendary. It was said he could look at the spoor of an animal and tell you what it was thinking, predicting with remarkable accuracy what it would do next. He progressed through the ranks from labourer to warden. Working in Etosha in the 1970s was frequently dangerous. The park was unfenced, and Jan had to round up animals that had strayed onto neighbouring farmland and bring them back to the park. He enticed lions back by galloping past them on a horse, dragging an antelope carcass. With the job came a small house at Namutoni where his son Abram was born in 1985 - possibly the last Hei-/// chum ever to be born in Etosha. His father was keen to pass on his bush knowledge, and Abram dreamed of becoming a park ranger or a safari guide even before he started school. " I always wanted to be close to my father when he was working, and when I couldn't go with him on patrol, I used to throw stones at the car when he left - luckily I wasn't a very good shot," remembers Abram, who now works as a guide with Mushara Lodge. During school holidays Abram worked with his father every day, including helping when Jan was part of the team that reintroduced black rhino to Etosha. Abram carries the engraved penknife that was given Jan on his last day at work. Now, when he takes tourists from Mushara on safari, he still visits that Ngobib Waterhole where his father was born. " Ngobib means ' place where water gets lesser,' and right now it is so dry it looks like a small cave," he says. Having been brought up in Etosha, Abram's knowledge of the park - including areas that are now out of bounds - is fascinating. Recently, he accompanied a photographer who had permission to visit Mushara Waterhole, in a restricted area. " I was so excited about the trip," says Abram. " I thought that when my father retired I would never get to visit there again. I was able to tell the photographer exactly what we'd see - lions, elephants and rhino, but no leopard. We went on five consecutive days, each time for twelve long hours. It was so beautiful. On the last day we saw 15 lions". It was a sight Abram enjoyed telling his father about. From father to son Guide Focus: Abram Tsumib from Mushara Lodge Abram Tsumib is from the Hei-/// chum, a nomadic San tribe that was forcibly moved out of Etosha in the early 1950s. Abram's father Jan had to leave his birth place, half a kilometre away from a snake- ridden waterhole called Ngobib. Abram Tsumib MARY ASKEW Abram on a game drive in Etosha, his ancestral home.