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Leopard was scared off with sticks

Avatar of inke inke - 27. May 2016 - Discover Namibia

A rare sight: a leopard in the Gondwana Canyon Park. (Photo: Fritz Curschmann)

‘Mountain Zebra Drive - Permit Only’ – A couple from Hanover, Germany, came across this sign on their way to Canyon Lodge. They had arrived in Namibia just two days earlier and the husband was thrilled. “Let’s go now, we’ll pay afterwards”, he suggested. He left the regular road and off they went through the breathtaking landscape in the north-western parts of Gondwana Canyon Park. This area is the home of mountain zebra, numerous kudu, klipspringer and baboons. If you are able to spot a leopard you can count yourself extremely lucky because this fascinating big cat is nocturnal.

Mountain Zebra Drive, from Canyon Roadhouse to Canyon Outpost, covers a distance of around 40 kilometres but usually takes several hours to complete. It is a challenging route and even though the couple were driving a four-wheel drive vehicle they managed to get stuck in a sandy dry riverbed. They tried their best to get the car going again, but all their efforts were in vain. Around midnight, when the moon shone brightly, the wife locked herself into the car and the husband set out to fetch help. Luckily he had an exceptional sense of direction. He took his bearings from the Karas Mountains in the east and followed the Holoog River upstream.

There it happened that he became one of the lucky devils mentioned previously, though his luck was a little questionable under the circumstances: he encountered a leopard. Waving sticks, hurling stones and shouting at the top of his lungs he managed to scare the predator off. Then he continued on his way and walked for about 20 kilometres until he reached the main road early in the morning. A car stopped and took him to Canyon Roadhouse. Staffers of the lodge drove back to his car with him. His wife was fine but more than ready to file for a divorce. When one of the helpers climbed into the car to assist in pulling it out of the sand he realized that the 4x4 function was off. He switched in on and drove the car out of the riverbed... 

It transpired that the couple was stranded close to the end of Mountain Zebra Drive at Canyon Outpost. Had they registered for the self-drive tour in proper form they would have known that help would have been available at the Outpost.

Guests have to register for the drives at Canyon LodgeCanyon Village or Canyon Roadhouse. They are given a description of the route, useful hints and a map. After the drive they have to notify the lodge of their return.

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