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Namibia - Day 1&2

This is a discussion on Namibia - Day 1&2 within the Hunting Africa forums, part of the HUNT AFRICA category; We're in Namibia finally! And at a computer after 3 days in the bushveld. The 14.5 hr flight from Atlanta ...

  1. #1
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    Talking Namibia - Day 1&2



    We're in Namibia finally! And at a computer after 3 days in the bushveld. The 14.5 hr flight from Atlanta to JoBurg went by quickly and our hosts from Afton Guest House were waiting in the airport to help us get through with my rifle and back to there place for a BBQ (brai) dinner before bed. The time change already screwed up our sleep patterns too. Greg & I both have been waking up in the middle of the night ever since we arrived. Maybe tonight will be different.

    The next morning before lunch, we landed in Windhoek (which is about as big as a Canadian wilderness airport, and WDK is this country's capital!). It's as wild and beautiful as the pilot said it would be on the way there. There just aren't many people living outside the one big city.

    Mount Etjo lodge was a 4 hour drive north where Oelofse Safaris operates a tourist/safari business in combination with conservation practices that protect the breeding populations of all the animals there. We've been treated like royalty so far. Yeah, I know it's hard to get used to but we'll give it a try.

    We spent 2 days at the main lodge getting over our lag which gave us time to go on a game drive (sight-seeing trip) before my safari begins. The weather is cold but ideal for hunting (it was windy yesterday but we took a long afternoon nap in the meantime). They said that jack frost only happens there once very 10 ears and we had it the first 2 morning we were there.





    The second morning, Greg & I took the blue bags to the school kids and they were a big hit! A recess broke out as soon as we doled out all the balls and pumped them up. It looked like Christmas morning in those kids eyes today. One of the teachers said we were the first ones this year to bring supplies. Only wish we could've brought more stuff now that I've seen how badly they need certain things. Their playground is a pretty sad sight. (Just for my notes, they need soccer goal nets, a volleyball net, some bases, hackey sacks, dolls for girls & boys, and clothes for kids aged 5-15). I'll write more about that later. Thanks to everyone that contributed (that means you Midlothian FCCLA!). The 2 teachers loved the new lesson plans that we brought.





    It's getting late and we start early tomorrow going after kudu so I'm signing off. We've seen some incredible wildlife so far and the weather is near perfect for hunting, cold at night & sunny & still during the day with the forecast saying it's going to start warming back up slowly. So much to see, so little time...

    Day 2 - My PH Rudie picked us up at Main lodge early Wednesday morning to take us to Hunt lodge which lay 30 minutes to the north through a mountain pass. Hunt lodge is smaller, but to me it was the most beautiful place I'd ever seen so far in my life. (I'll post pics later). Joining us in camp are my friends from California Evonne & Matt Loftus and another guy named Doug from Alabama who was there with his wife & daughter hunting Kudu, Gemsbok, Sable, Roan, Lechwe & Warthog. After a quick lunch we went to shoot our rifles and then start the safari.

    For this trip, I brought m new Sako A-7 7mm-08 with a Vortex Diamondback 3-9X40 scope and a new pair of Vortex Viper HD 10x42 binocs. And let me preface this by saying it was the fastest and easiest sight in process I've ever had when sighting in the scope before leaving Texas. After 2 bulls-eye hits in a row at 100 yds, Rudie said "that's good enough."



    We took our time that afternoon and stayed close to camp since there wasn't much time left to hunt. Sun sets here at 5:30pm, but the exhilaration building up in me now is pushing up hard against my throat! There's nothing like the feeling of a hunter in the cool bushveld about to go on a 10-day safari in Namibia.
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    great report...

    WE found the same last year about the supply's , toys and candy we brought..
    James Grage - New Mexico
    Hold a steady Eye & Rifle...
    "Very few of the so-called liberals are open-minded...they shout you down and won't let you speak if you disagree with them." John Wayne

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    Thanks for the update.
    Good luck chasing that Kudu.

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    I am sure you will continue to enjoy your trip.
    Namibia is my favorite country in Africa so far, I love the landscape and have not met a person yet who is not friendly and helpful.

    On my last trip we even go pullled over for speeding and we were greeted with a smile ( and a warning to slow down).

    Keep the updates coming.

    Doug
    Doug Dolan

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    Default Namibia - Day 3

    It was an excelsior day in the bush today. At Elephant lodge (the hunting camp), a soft 5 a.m. knock at the door and a friendly ďgood morningĒ got us stirring. We were to meet in the breakfast room at 6 for a light breakfast before striking out. Thatís where the PHís and the hunters would meet every morning to talk about yesterdayís hunts and todayís plans.

    It was almost frosty as we loaded up the jeep/truck for our first morning to hunt. It was calm, but riding creates an instant chill, which didnít matter because your first morning in this country is such a euphoric rush.

    Just before the sun peeked over the horizon, my PH Rudie stopped the jeep and put his binos on a big blue wildebeest nearby. The next thing I knew he was handing me my rifle and telling my we had to try for him because he was too good to pass up. He positioned me for a shot and right there in the pre-dawn I took my first animal in Namibia. One shot from my 7mm-08 and 140 grain barnes triple shock bullet put him down. We basked in the glow of the first rays of light as we warmed up and took pics.



    I canít tell you how many different kinds of plants & animals we see because itíll take up too much space, so Iíll simply touch on some of the highlight moments when they happen. After dropping off my beest at the skining shed, a nice gemsbok bull crossed the road ahead of us as we were on our way into a new area south of Main lodge. Rudie got excited when he saw him, but the bull was on the run and disappeared into the bush, gone in a blink of an eye. We were heading toward a big lake when I spotted a set of hartebeest horns sticking up from the yellow grass (Namibia had gotten double their annual rainfall this year so the grass was very tall) two hundred yards away. Soon as Rudie turned toward him though, he was up and gone. We kept rolling along until we got to the lake where our PH and tracker set up a table and chairs by the water for our first lunch in the bush. I could get used to this really fast!



    A couple of hours later, as we were coming through a wooded creek area, we spotted some nice impala rams in the shade of the underbrush so we stopped to get a better look. Suddenly, a gemsbuck was walking away from us on the other side and Rudie jumped up to get a better look at him. He was our bull! He was heading into some thick terrain (rolling hills thick with acacia trees) though where we could easily lose him. Our tracker pointed the way as we backtracked to try to get around on him and cut him off before he ditched us again. About as far as we could go, we spotted him crossing on the rise in front of us. There was only one opening ahead of him where I could shoot so I just set up on it and waited. When the bull got close, Rudie stopped him with some kind of antelope grunt (I think he knew the language of every animal out there) and he turned perfect for a shoulder shot. At the report, he spun around and bolted over the hill, but collapsed just the other side of it.

    What a monster gemsbok! They all looked big to me, but Rudie said that a lot of hunters hunt a long time and never take one this big. To me, that meant we had just don something pretty special. And what beautiful trophy this oneís gonna make.



    On the 45 minute drive back to camp, I scorched a black-backed jackal in the late evening sun to put an exclamation point on an already perfect day hunting Africa. We warmed up with dinner, drinks and hunting stories around the hot coals of a fire after dark. I have therapy tonight and then have to get in the bathroom for a couple of hours so Iím going to sign off soon now. I hear the Mavs/Heat game 5 is tonight. Itís weird being so disconnected from the rest of the world, and by weird I mean awesome!
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    Congrats Wheels!! Very nice animals! Sounds like your having a great hunt, keep us informed! good luck, Brian

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    There is something very special about the way the air smells and feels in the morning....it's a great feeling. Congrats on the fine animals!

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    Nice job! Glad your hunt is going well! I loved Namibia.

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    great update
    James Grage - New Mexico
    Hold a steady Eye & Rifle...
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    Nice trophies, keep it up !

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    Welcome to my neck-of-the-woods wheelz99!
    I am residing in Namibia the past 27 years - and i know exactly what you are experiencing right now - good for you man !

    Excellent hunting so far - enjoy!
    FHM3006
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    Default Namibia - Day 4

    Let me start today's entry by trying to give you some idea about how remote and pristine this country is. When we left Windhoek, we had a 3.5 hour drive north to get to Mount Etjo lodge. During that time, I counted 2 power lines, and there was 1 place where two highways intersected where there was a gas station, convenience store, a restaurant and a small open market. That was it. The rest of the time was nothing but open bush and mountains as far as you could see. I asked our driver what you do if you run out of gas or break down out here, and he said "You call a friend."

    One of the coolest things about going on safari is that each day is different and exciting. You wake up ready to go every morning because you never know what you're going to come across. That 5 o'clock knock was one of the greatest things I've ever heard. (Ok not really, but I did look forward to it.)

    It was another chilly morning as we left camp wrapped up in blankets to keep the cold off us until the sun came up. Nothing like the landscape of a crisp, calm, clear morning at dawn, especially here. When the rays hit, the savannah seemed to shine with the golden beauty of mid-western wheat fields before harvest. Right away, we spotted 2 jackals in the bend of the road ahead trying to fish a mouse out of the tall grass. It was go time!

    I was reaching for my rifle this time when Rudi passed it over, locked & loaded. The truck shut off and rolled to a stop. Neither jackal knew we were there which was an unfortunate combo for them. When a shot cracked there was one less than there used to be. The lucky one burned it outta there as fast as he could.



    Once again, there was silence. Silence, warm sunshine, cold air and a quiet you can actually feel in your ears. That's one of the special discoveries once you leave the 'noise' of civilization far behind. It makes you want to whisper like you were talking to a friend in the library or something.

    We took our time taking pics, loaded up the jackal and kept going toward the distant plains.

    The sun was up pretty good already when Rudi stopped abruptly again (I was starting to get an adrenaline rush every time he did it) and pointed to a reddish animal in the distant acacia trees. "Hartebeest!" he said. "It's a good bull." Just like that, the chase was on! Hartebeest ran and we trailed behind through the shrubby acacia trying to get a shot if he ever stopped for a second. Well, he did, and for just long enough for me to get my crosshairs on his shoulder (I already had the gun shouldered and pinned against the sandbag in front of me). A hartebeest stood broadside at just over a hundred yards in the morning sun. It was a magnificent sight that I didn't have time to enjoy. He bolted when I shot, didn't make it 50 yards though.



    Lunch in the bush that day was especially fabulous. Not only did it warm up to the high 70's, we had a clan of giraffe saunter by and hang out nearby for about 30 minutes. I loved these lazy mid-day routines. No matter how much sun poured down, the air stayed fresh & cool. I swear next time I'm bringing a hammock with me.



    The rest of the day was a ride through untouched nature. I was seeing plants & animals that I'd never before seen in my life but had studied while growing up. We came across a troop of banded mongeese and a two bat-eared foxes just before dusk. The almost full moon lighted our way back to hunt lodge that night.

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    Well, you are still having fun, I look forward to your next entry !

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    You have me missing Namibia! Good luck the rest of the way!

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    Talking Namibia - Day 5

    I forgot to tell you about the conversation I had with Rudie before we ever started the safari. It's one that every hunter should have with his PH. We talked about what animals we'd be going after and what kind of standard we should put on each one. Every area is different when it comes to certain animals, like the Kalahari region is known for big springbok & gemsbok, so when you're hunting this area, you should raise your standards for those animals.

    The next thing you need to ask is which animals on your list are going to be the toughest to get. Some animals are more difficult to find or get to. Those are the ones to go after first because it may take several days to find even one mature animal.

    For me, those were kudu & zebra. They were going to be the most challenging for me to get close to Rudi said. In fact, he told me we were going to have to be really lucky to see a good kudu with the moon getting fuller every night. I believed him after 4 days without seeing more than a couple of young bulls.

    Yesterday afternoon, after lunch, we went looking for zebra in an area south of Main lodge. After chasing them around and not getting close, Rudi found a water hole where there where a lot of zebra tracks. He and our tracker built a brush blind for us to use the next day. Since our chances at a kudu were so slim, I wanted to focus on a zebra stallion instead. And to get one, we'd have to sit.

    Back to today, another gorgeous morning was breaking as we gathered in the breakfast room. A small wood-burning furnace crackled in the corner as fresh cold air filtered in through a crack in the sliding glass doors. We looked out out across a small lake, bushveld & distant mountains as we ate and talked about the day ahead. Rudi said we'd go after springbok, blesbok or impala (whichever one we found first) this morning, then go sit that water hole during the middle of the day. Sounded great to me. I was ready for anything out here.

    As soon as we reached the savannah, we came across a herd of impala that had 2 nice rams in it. We glassed to make sure they were both mature animals, then tried to follow them through the brush to position for a shot at one before they ran into deeper cover. Three times we almost had a shot, but every time both of the older rams stayed ahead of the pack and out of sight. It was obvious they were on to us, smart buggers. "It just wasn't their day," Rudi remarked as they disappeared for the last time. It just wasn't our day is the way I saw it.

    [One of the neatest sights of the morning was a large herd of springbok swirling around the plain like a flock of birds, some springing 10 feet in the air with ease, as they worked out the excitement of a new day. In the sun, their little white & tan bodies shine like diamonds out there.]

    We kept going until we came upon a beautiful old springbok ram that we couldn't pass up. I don't know why, but they're one of my favorite antelope to hunt. To me, they're elegant like a pintail drake, and I was soaking in every moment as we turned toward him 100 yards away. He dropped in his tracks with one well-placed shot on his shoulder. When we rolled up to him and turned of the jeep, the deafening quiet returned to normal.


    By 10:30, we were closing the distance on our water hole blind where we'd sit in case a herd chose to come in today to drink. As we topped the rise, our hopes were dashed. A line of zebra were leaving. We sat there awhile, dejected, watching them trot away, deciding what we were gonna do now. It was obvious we were late.

    We'd sit anyway and see what came in. In the bush, you never know.


    All four of us entered the hide; me, my friend Greg, Rudi and our tracker Doctoro. As soon as we were settled, coolers were opened and we started lunch without saying much more than a few whispers to each other. It was going to be a long sit, but I'd been looking forward to sitting a water hole in Africa my whole life. It was going to be a pleasure.



    Just when I was starting to get sleepy after lunch, a young warthog boar came stomping right by us, danger close! Nothing we could do at that distance but watch him go, but it shocked me back into wide awakeness. That's for sure.

    About a half hour later, Rudi slipped off to "see a man about a horse". The next thing I knew, the jeep was running and he was coming to pick us up. When Greg leaned forward to ask me what was going on, I looked up and saw a haze of white smoke go by at just about the same moment that it hit my nose. "There's a fire and we're gettin' the hell outta here!" I answered as we all turned to see a huge cloud of smoke billowing over the rise straight upwind.

    The fire had started near Main lodge so it was a lot farther than it looked, and by the time we got over there to help, it was nearly all put out already. They're lucky it didn't get loose because there was a stiff breeze going and the country was dry. Our water hole hunt was blown though for the day.

    We had no idea how lucky we were that it'd happened. That evening, since we got flushed out of the blind, we were cruising around glassing for zebra to try to put a stalk on. We never could find them in the right spot, but lightning was about to strike. As dusk was coming on and we started back, I spotted a kudu cow in an opening through the acacia and casually pointed her out to Rudi. Rudi said something to Doctoro in Afrikaans, and Doctoro replied right away. I looked over with a familiar 'what'd he say?' look on my face, when Rudi grabbed my rifle an bolted in a shell. "He said there's a bull over there too AND he looks like a good one," Rudi answered quickly.

    He killed the engine and turned us into the line of bush that separated us from the clearing. As we coasted to a soft stop, you could see the bull. About 150 out, the thin white stripes stood out on the side of his big grey body. Let me tell you how magnificent he looked with the evening sun in his face. He had no idea we were there. We watched as he browsed on the bushes that protected him. He was in a thicket so we could only watch him right now. No way was I risking a questionable shot on an animal like this. When he perked his head up to look around, the 6" ivory tips he had on each horn really jumped out. And when Rudi whispered "He's big. You want to take him?", something I didn't think would happen on this trip was danger close to happening.

    We got to watch him for some 10 minutes before he stepped into a gap. That was the best part about the hunt. All 4 of us got to admire his majesty before the moment of truth. Plus I was trying to not get nervous.

    As he get near the crease, I could feel the energy building up inside me the way it always does before a big shot. Rudi roared him to a stop and all I saw in the scope was the top of his shoulder. The report pushed me back and he was gone like nothing had happened. His bulky 700lb body didn't even flinch when the bullet hit, but 40 yds later he was down, tipping over backwards! The prize of all African trophies was ours.
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    NIce Kudu, congratulations !

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    Great comparison to that Pintail.
    Congrats on the Kudu trophy.

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    Namibia is one the world greatest...unknown places to hunt. Your great stories are making me long for Namibia (lol). It's a great country to hunt!

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    I'm glad your dreams are coming true!

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    Wheelz

    It looks like you are having a great hunt !
    I am sure you will agree with me that not a lot of things make you feel as alive as being in the bush and hunting .

    Congratulations on the animals !
    Glad you enjoying it
    Willem Faul
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