Inside the 7,000ha Eland's Joy game reserve, The Babson House serves one purpose: cheetah conservation. If you’re visiting this part of the world, wildlife will be pretty high on your list of priorities and nowhere else on Earth offers such an intimate, uplifting encounter with these overwhelmingly impressive creatures and their overwhelmingly precarious plight.
Cheetah do not thrive in game reserves - they need much more space and other big predators dominate and even hunt them. So they live like outlaws, the enemy of the farmer, protected by nobody and fending for themselves in an ever-shrinking habitat. Due the country’s size, low density population and progressive conservation policies, Namibia is the world’s last stronghold of cheetah and, thanks to the work of dedicated conservationists like Dr. Laurie Marker and the CCF team, population numbers have stabilised.
With a celebrated top speed of 110km/h (70mph) reached in just 3 seconds from standing, the cheetah has a full-speed stride of 7 metres (23 feet) and it can make 4 of these monumental bounds in a single second. That’s a spectacle our grandchildren would probably want to witness for themselves.
Safe behind your game fence, The Babson House sleeps up to six guests with three large and tastefully furnished en suite bedrooms, a large living area and verandah and your very own personal chef.
Activities and options abound on this 7,000ha game reserve and, though on the pricey side (but of course well worth it), the proceeds go to realising Dr. Marker’s mission to expand and re-populate the already vast cheetah and wild dog conservancy known as the Greater Waterberg Complex from its current area of 160,000 hectares (400,000 acres) to a whopping 400,000 hectares (1 million acres).
The reserve is run as a model livestock farm integrated with the full spectrum of Namibia’s wildlife including many species of antelope, wild cheetah and leopard along with hundreds of bird species.
Exclusive-use, full board accommodation in a luxury private guesthouse; three en suite bedrooms; large lounge and verandah; private chef
The CCF has a menu of activities the most sought after of which being the cheetah run at 8am daily in which they are fed with a lure system that mimics their natural prey; a general game drive through the reserve and more in-depth immersive activities are also well worth shelling out for.