Suricata suricatta

When we were still at Kronenhof, we already contacted some accommodations for availability and to enquire if there is a possibility to see an animal we both really wanted to see. Not only are these animals extremely funny, they also have one of the nicest scientific names: Suricata Suricatta. 

The non-scientific name for this animal is the meerkat, known as Timon because of the Lion King. We had already seen the warthog, Pumba, many times. Emma had never seen a wild meerkat in real life, and for Jeroen it had been over 10 years. Meerkats are a lot less common in Namibia than we expected, however, and we had found a few placed where they might have been. After the blissful drive we stayed at a campsite called 'Die Skuur', and when we were there, we found that the only accommodation who had responded, did not have meerkats anymore. Apparently the meerkat family that lived in that conservancy had moved away, bummer. 

While we were staying at the Skuur, though, another email came in. This was a place that did not have wild meerkats, but they did have meerkats that were domesticated. The price was above our daily budget, but it was not crazy high. This was something we really wanted and we had built a surplus by having quite a number of relatively cheap days. There was one remaining option for wild meerkats, but they had not responded yet, so we decided to call them. Good luck, they still have a wild family of meerkats. Downside, we had already seen online that their campsite was fully booked and the lodge rooms were very expensive. Fortunately, they did say that we could just come in the morning to try to find them. In a huge coincidence that turned out to be very close to the Skuur, which was perfect.

Since the meerkat adventure was earlier than we had expected, we went to bed early and got up early as well. We drove straight to the Bagatelle reserve, where the meerkats supposedly lived. We arrived right in time and at arrival, we asked at the reception if there was a possibility to see the meerkats. The guy at the reception said 'let me try to find them' and he disappeared. We waited for about 20-30 minutes. We started telling each other that he probably forgot about it altogether and was back to doing his work. Then suddenly he was back and asked 'Are you ready? They are a bit far, so we will go by car'. Before we knew it, we were in a game viewer of the Bagatelle lodge, on our way to hopefully find the meerkats. The guide told us they were far, so we brought our binoculars. We did not know then that they were not needed.  

After a 5 minute drive, we spotted a few young meerkats. They were at the den and they were in their famous standing up pose. The guide got out of the car and we got our camera and binos ready. 'What are you waiting for?' he asked, and he signed us to get out of the car. Before we knew it, the meerkats were all around us. Playing, eating, making noises. We were just sitting and lying down and they were all around us. This was much more than we had hoped and the experience was amazing. We stayed here for about 30-45 minutes before the guide quietly asked if we were ready to go again. We would never be ready to leave such an amazing sighting, but it would be best to leave them be. Back at the reception, this whole experience turned out to be for free, so we just gave the guide a tip. Then we were welcomed to have breakfast at the lodge, to recover from the experience and fuel for the rest of the trip that day. 

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