NAMIBIA: Just back from Namib with Jamy Traut Safaris-WOW what a great time

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by Cliffy, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    Just back yesterday from 9 days in the Kalihari and further north at Panorama, Jamy's other plains game area. He also has 4 concessions in the Caprivi for dangerous game.
    The true Kalihari, red sand dunes that stretch forever. Gemsbuck by the thousands (YES thousands), Red heartebeest, elan, springbok, and LIONs. We had a pride of 2 big males (one with black mane), 2 females and 3 cubs all with in 3 miles of camp for 3 days then they wandered off into the dunes. Numerous big lion prints in the sand at various places around the 100,000 acres. Lots and lots of 39+ gemsbuck in the dunes. 24-25 inch red heartebeest, 14-15" springbok. The Kalihari camp abuts the South Africa Kalihari Gemsbuck Park so we were right on the Namib-SA border. The camp itself was separate chalets with a main gathering house for meals and boma fires. Water was from a well so good to drink (bottled was available though). hot showers at any time wanted. Great queen beds, lights all night long and the food was terrific. Moved up country to the Panorama site for the last 4 days. Again thousands of animals on the property. Main place is 25,000 acres plus and additional 200,000 available to hunt contiguous to the main property. Kudu, gemsbuck, heartebeest, springbok, elan, black and blue wildebeest. If you haven't seen just one of many valleys with over a thousand animals insight at the same time you ain't been to Panorama yet.
    Housing is in "safari style" tents (12X15') with queen beds, electric blankets, en suite bathing facilities that rival anything in a 4 star hotel. all on top of a tall hill overlooking the largest unoccupied landscape you've ever seen. As far as the eye could see, not a light in sight except for one small one 12 miles away.
    Jamy went way overboard in making sure we had a good time and were able to get a decent shot at what we wanted for trophies. His wife was in charge of the food at Panorama and what food we had. GREAT every meal.
    More to come later with pictures.
     
  2. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Come on you can sleep later.LOL need to see the pic's and hear more about the hunt.He is one of the guys on my list for the namibia part of are trip next year.
     
  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Can't wait.
    Red dunes and Gemsbok by the ton.....
     
  4. tap

    tap AH Enthusiast

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    I too am taking the family to namibia next year. I want a place with lots of gemsbok for the kids. Maybe myself and that worthless slug billc will be camping together. He's been dying to be my designated gutter on my next trip.

    I am definitely interested in seeing those pics as well. I have been looking at the torra conservancy but maybe this place will look better.
     
  5. RogerHeintzman

    RogerHeintzman AH Enthusiast

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    way to keep us hanging cliffy. look forward to the Paul Harvey (the rest of the story), story.
     
  6. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    ..........still waiting.........:dot:
     
  7. timbear

    timbear AH Enthusiast

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    Okay, we know you slept well, ate well, and saw lots of animals. The hunt, Cliffy, the HUNT!!! Tell us about every stalk, the thrills, the disappointments, the light, the sounds... Remember, you just were there, while all we can do presently is sit, read and dream. So tell us the whole story!
     
  8. safari gal

    safari gal SPONSOR AH Veteran

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    Cliffy ~ so glad to hear about your trip. Like the rest of the crew, just waiting for the photos! We'll be sharing a campfire with several friends/clients at Jamy's camp in early July and so looking forward to it!!!
     
  9. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    OK OK It's 3Am and I still feel like I'm on African clock time-can't sleep anymore so I guess I'll have to write for a while. You know, keep the rabble rousers quiet with another installment.

    The Trip Over
    As I live in the most remote city in the country, Page AZ we have either Phoenix or Las Vegas to chose from for flights (4 hr drive to either) Chose LAS because tickets are always cheaper from this city.
    At the last minute I decided to take my oldest rifle instead of my one rifle African battery, a 338/06 that I made up 15 years ago for my first trip to the dark continent (Zim). My oldest firearm is an 03A3 30/06 Springfield rifle made by Remington. Had it mailed to me back around 1964 when I was just a mere lad. Of course you HAD to sporterize it back then so that I did. Has always been a good inch to inch and a half at 100 yd rifle. Dropped in some Remington 180 grain cartiriges and it showed that old ability. Hey at $20 a box (and for what I was looking for the CoreLocs would be OK) it wasn't a bad deal. That necessitated a trip to the Customs House at LAS for the ubiquitous Form 4457. That went well except for a short 2 hr wait until they could break someone loose to stamp the form. Stayed at a friends house that night and caught Delta Airlines the next morning.

    I had borrowed a new gun case for this trip. All aluminum, WELDED construction, for 2 rifles. I brought over a second rifle for a friend to use (we booked the same hunt). He's a lefty and needed a Savage 16SS lefty model that I just happen to have bought from him the month before. He was using British Airways through London and had no way to bring a rifle so I "lent" him mine. The gun case brought several comments like, "you could drive a truck over that and not bend anything". Just what I wanted!
    Delta check in went very well and off to wait for the departure.

    I use Delta now (as I did last year) for they fly 777s by BOEING! If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going! Having flown for the airlines for decades on several Boeings and the Airbus A320 I LIKE BOEINGs! Period. I don't like to be on the Scarebus. Just a personal idiosyncrasy. Also they can make it non-stop ATL to Jo'berg where the SAA A340 can't. Delta has treated us well on all 4 flights now. The coach seating is ok, the service while not overly friendly is very efficient and cordial. Remember, in the airline world this is a very senior trip to bid for, so all the long time "galley queens" bid this trip for a lot of flying hours in a few short days a month. Not your 20 something, bubblegum popping flight attendants. The FAs are however well organized and service orientated.

    Delta has a few coach seats with twice the recline and more leg room for a slight up charge but we didn't buy those. Get your seats in the forward coach cabin so your food comes first :) We'll get to the food later. And don't sit next to the lavatory in the back of the front coach section. Don't sit in the exit row in the front of the rear coach section for the extra leg room either. That's where everyone stands all night long waiting for the lavatory. If you want to go business class, figure on 5 times the seat cost of coach. Yes, around $10K. But you do get to lay down flat and sleep the entire trip up there and wine is poured from 4 bottles instead of out of a box. Bringing a school size back pack with your needed stuff is a good idea. I also use it to prop up my feet and legs a little. You'd be surprised at how much help 4 or 5 inches of leg lift does for your comfort. We book the isle and window seat to try and get a row by ourselves (not happening going over but it did coming back) and we offer the window to who ever shows up thinking they have a middle seat. Get to ATL, stay "in-transit" and pile on for the 16 hr ride to Jo'berg.

    As we are going to Windhoek Namibia and can't make a connecting flight we stay at the Afton Guest House once again. A great place for the layover. Very Clean (spotless as a matter of fact) the service is always outstanding with a very good breakfast the next morning. They'll take you to a restaurant for dinner also if you want. You'll usually mingle with several other hunters transitioning to other flights the next day.

    We have a quiet morning get driven back to the airport mid-morning. A note on tipping at Afton. There is a "tip can" at the front desk for the laundry help but the driver works hard for his separate tips. He goes way overboard with help on rifles, luggage and ticketing. Do I make myself clear?

    We pile on to SAA to Namibia. When we arrive and check through Customs and the Police Office for rifles we exit to the main terminal and NO JAMY! OK, What now?

    Rifles and Customs as it is Today

    Getting the 4457 form from US Customs is a no brainer. Show up at their office and walk in WITHOUT your firearm first to let them know what you want and give them a heads up that you'll be bringing in a rifle in a few minutes. Fill out the form yourself (down loadable from the net), they check the serial numbers (make damn sure it's unloaded, preferably with the bolt out), they stamp the form and off you go. It's good forever now. I was told to get them laminated so they won't deteriorate.

    South Africa Gun Permits:

    Although I was going to use a service again this time, I wound up running out of time so I did it myself. Pulled the forms off of the internet along with a sample on how to fill them out and showed up at the Police office outside of Customs. All the firearms go directly to the Police Office at the airport terminal in Jo'berg. You go through Passport Control then get your free baggage carts and proceed to the baggage carousel for your luggage, go through the doors marked "Nothing to Declare" and out into the terminal where your PH is waiting for you. OH, I forgot, NO JAMY :). Then you go to the Police Office 50 feet away and get your firearms permits and meet up with your Rifle. You should have the forms already filled out (black ink only, DO NOT SIGN THEM YET as that needs to be done in front of the Officers only). They will have you open up your case, check the serial numbers and then wait a few minutes while the papers are entered into a computer and then signed. Really not a bad operation. Just be patient and cordial. Remember you're on African time, not New York hurry. You will also have to declare how much ammo you have. They didn't look at mine just asked. Also remember. ammo goes in a locked container in your checked bags and not in your gun case. DO NOT LOSE YOUR PERMITS! If you get stopped by cops anywhere in SA they will check your permits. No permits and you might see the inside of the Jo'berg jail. NOT something I want to do. Make sure your permits cover you time wise for you entire trip until you come back to or leave South Africa. An extra day might be helpful if you have a delay. You pick the valid time. You will need to show your Passport, your letter of invitation to hunt from your PH (even if it's in another country), your US Form 4457 for the firearms and your printed itinerary for your trip when you get your SA rifle permits. They looked at all of mine. Once signed by you and the Police, off you go. We had a very nice female Sargent handle our papers. She was the go between for the desk jockeys that actually did the computer work. She was very efficient and enjoyable, The desk jockeys were dower and distant and really didn't want to be there but they did their job. Be patient, be cordial and you'll get through it with no trouble what so ever. In other words, don't be an ass and an ugly American with them. Oh also remember, DO NOT use a TSA lock on your gun case period. You have the only keys that work those locks. Bring 2 keys kept separate, in case you lose one. Don't let anyone tell you to use TSA locks on your guns or ammo boxes.

    Namibian Gun Permits

    When you arrive at the airport you go in to Passport Control. Get an Immigration form on the tables for each person and fill it out (get in line for the Immigration Agent while you fill it out) You will need your address while in Namibia. It should be on your letter of invitation to hunt and it spells out what "farm" you will be using your guns on. If you are going to several places just pick one for the form. See the Immigration Agent and then go to baggage claim where you guns may or may not show up (they may go directly to the Police Office in the next door), very small room with one small Police sign). If no one is there tell someone you have rifles to check in and they will bring a cop over. We had a female cop check us in. Not overly friendly but helpful and courteous. You will need your invitation letter, 4457, etc etc again along with your hunting address. Very easy if you maintain a nice attitude. Again, DON'T LOSE YOUR PERMIT. You will need it to leave and you may be stopped at road blocks (all roads in and out of Windhoek have Police road blocks and you may run into some way out in the boonies, they're not looking for you but they will on occasion want to check your permits and serial numbers, it happened to us).

    Meeting Your PH at the Airport

    OH I forgot again, No Jamy. Well OK that's fodder for the next installment of this tome :)
     
  10. spike.t

    spike.t GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    thats great, but how long are you going to make us wait for the good hunting bit ? :nailbiter:
     
  11. timbear

    timbear AH Enthusiast

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    Nah, Cliffy, this is just the right style. Don't let anyone hurry you along! You have a nice way of telling the story, step by step with all the right highlights. Too often a hunting tale is over far too quickly ("Went there, saw this, shot that, great people, great food, went home"). I am looking forward to the next installment! "No Jamy" is a nice teaser...
     
  12. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Awesome advise Cliffy. Bang on.

    We await the tale on the instalment plan!
     
  13. Nevada Wapati

    Nevada Wapati AH Senior Member

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    Cliffy, that's pretty good for 3am. You gave a lot of good information for people going to Africa on their first trip. Looking forward to you next installment and actual hunt, that is if you find Jamy.

    Randy
     
  14. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Cliffy
    Timbear is right even if I want to see the pics right now (And I Do) your doing great love it so far.
     
  15. RickB

    RickB AH Fanatic

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    Slow and steady....just makes us want it more!
     
  16. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    The "no Jamy" part is funny!f We arrived in Namibia in 2007 way off schedule due to airline snafus, not our fault and had the same thing happen to us, No Jamy! He arrived shortly however and all was well. Looking forward to the next instalment.
     
  17. saeng101

    saeng101 AH Veteran

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    I sure like your way with words. You have us all sitting on the edge of the seat for the rest.
     
  18. BryceM

    BryceM AH Veteran

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    I love the report. We'll be arriving in Namibia in 4 days for a couple weeks of much needed time off the grid. This time I'll try not to loose my Namibian gun permit. Last time they almost didn't let us out of the country. Thank goodness they had saved a copy and were nice enough to go find it.

    We're doing the JFK-Johannesburg-Windhoek flight on SAA. I dread that part of the trip. I eagerly await the rest of the story.
     
  19. billc

    billc SILVER SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I want the rest of the story pretty please.Plus we need pictures or tony aka (tap) will not get anything out of this post with out them.Plus they will help me also.
     
  20. Cliffy

    Cliffy AH Elite

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    No Jamy

    So we have our guns, we have our bags (the SAA portion from JNB to Windhoek went well) and we are wandering around looking for Jamy. No Jamy, now this is strange, he said he'd be here. All kinds of people holding up signs with names but not ours. 5 mins go by, 10 mins go by and finally a guy walks up with a sign with our name on it. He says Jamy wants him to take us to the pension where we will meet up with our friends already there and he will call Jamy as we drive so Jamy can explain what's going on. OK sounds good to me. We haul the "junk" out to the parking lot, load up in a very nice taxi and head out to Windhoek. He gets Jamy on the phone and the story is told----

    OH you want the story I guess-------

    OK if I must-------

    It seems that Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe have had unprecedented rain for 3 years now. On the order of 300 to 400% more than normal (including portions of the Limpopo district in SA and that 3 days ago they had a huge rainfall in one day and the thatched roof of the palapa at Panorama Camp fell in. Of course we were going to Panorama first. Jamy is out trying to get things set up to re-thatch the roof and other items so he couldn't be there at the airport. Also, because it's coming into Easter week, he's having trouble getting 20,000 bundles of thatch to reroof with. Seems everything is wet and not cutable and everyone (the workers) are looking for time off at Easter (they take a lot of holidays in Africa). Also, the thatch company is way up near the Caprivi Strip so getting it back to Panorama south east of Windhoek is another issue (and we think we have problems with Next Day Air from FedEx). So we will stay at the Casa Picoclo in Windhoek over night and drive all the way to the Kalihari Desert the next day. Welcome to Africa!

    Casa Picolo

    Very nice and clean hotel, just a few ground level rooms around a courtyard. Well secured behind tall gates. We were the only ones there that night. Recommended if needed but someone will need to find it for you. We stayed at the Onganga Inn last time to Namibia. Also highly recommended and their food at Onganga is superb. From the Onganga Inn it is just a short walk up to the Avis Dam. We saw baboons along the dirt road and talked with fishermen at the dam when we were there 5 years ago.

    Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder- Oh wait a minute, that's a different story (USAF not Africa) :)

    How About- On The Road AgainWillie, That's Better!

    Comes next morning and we head down the road to the Kalihari. We stop at the local gas station/stop and rob/quickie mart (along with many other locals. Some things don't change around the world. Everyone needs their morning coffee and donuts. Gas up and off we go. Fairly long drive (6 hrs) and we stop for lunch somewhere down the road (sorry, I forgot to get the name and place of this one).

    Unlike South Africa (Limpopo, etc) Namibia is WIDE open country. You can see for miles any direction. The lowest population per square mile of any country in Africa from what I hear. Miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles. Wide open spaces everywhere. Very few cars on the road unless your in a town. Even then most locals are on foot. Lots and lots of hitch hikers. It's a way of life here. Many donkey carts going down the road in the middle of no where. Where are they from, where are they going? Who knows. They're out in the middle of no where. We have a glimpse here and a glimpse there of springbok but nothing real numerous. Jamy says lots of animals around just that it's so flat and brushy you can't see them. After traveling for a couple of hours it dawns on you just how wide open things are here. You see farm headquarters way off the road and then go 25 miles before you see another building. And I thought I lived in the boonies! At least I can drive 9 miles to a quickie mart for milk if needed! Now factor in being way down in the Kalihari Desert and trying to stock and run a world class hunting camp! The logistics that these hunting outfits have to overcome for our comfort is amazing.

    We finally start to see hill after hill of red sand. Kind of like waves stacked up on the beach. The Kalihari is right in front of us BUT we see the tops of the "sand dunes" (as they call them) and then lush green grass in between. Grass 4 and 5 feet high. The "red desert" is green! This is mostly goat and sheep country because the available food is usually weak due to low rainfall. Now, farmers are stocking lots more cattle to use the available grass while it lasts.

    We finally pull into camp and are met by the staff. Villiam, is the farm manager, Mathew is the chef and we had a couple other staff for firewood, laundry and cleaning.

    The camp was built several years ago as a tourist camp for photograph safaris. It's changed hands now and under Jamy's control it's running fine as a hunting camp. The huts are widely separated (100 feet apart ) and all come with thatched roofs, en suite bathing facilities with hot water 24 hrs, lights, queen beds with nice linens for the ladies, etc etc. (Pictures to follow if I can remember how to add them to this story like I did last year on another hunt report). The dinning facility and boma are very clean. It has a separate room for the bar facilities also. Drop off the junk at the chalet, clean up a bit and regroup at the bar for adult refreshments and the sundown show. So begins our first night in the Kalihari Desert.

    For Those With Google Earth

    Type in 25 38.99S 19 52.97E and zoom into the camp. You will notice that the marker does not show a camp building there. The picture is too old but the camp is right there on that bend of the dry river bed, south side. You can look to the right and see the original main farm house and buildings just a short distance away. If you go north 15 - 20 miles or east to the South African border you'll see the land we hunted. Sand dune after sand dune after sand dune, but all of it loaded with animals. When I say 10,000 gemsbuck I'm not kidding! Maybe 20,000 for all I know.

    More on the Camp

    The main camp is situated on a 10,000 acre island in the middle of the property fenced off with a fairly low but electrified fence around the 10,000 acres. The hunting area is outside of this fence. The fence is about 2 to 3 miles from camp at any one point (can't be seen from camp). It is used to keep the main camp somewhat free of issues brought about by the Kalahari Lions!! Yes, I said, the Kalahari Lions. Big, black maned Kalahari Lions! But, in reality, the fence is so low that any lion could jump it if it wanted to.

    Why do I bring this up you may ask? Because we had 7 lions in one pride (2 big males with black manes, @600 pounds each) within 3 miles of main camp for the first 3 days of our hunt, that's why!! More on the lions later. Again with pictures if I can figure out how to load them into the story.

    First Hunting Day

    After the normal sighting in routine where by the PH gets to see how his clients handle their firearms (you do know that is why it is done right?) the afternoon before we head out to hunt. Villiam says to Jamy (in Africaans so we of course don't know what is said) that he has this pride of lions 3 miles away on the road to the hunt area. They have killed a small gemsbuck and are staying around it till it's consumed and as long as we are going to be on the property he has "dropped off another gemsbuck to them" just to keep them in that area for a couple of days. We travel down the dirt road. cross through the electric fence gate (not really a very big fence and go out into 100,000 acres of hunting territory unrestrained by fences in any direction all the way to South Africa. About 1 mile down the road we slow down and Jamy tells us to keep our eyes open as we will see the lions. Now, here I am in the open back pickup bed with the tracker and we're looking for a pride of wild Kalahari Lions 50 yards away. YIKKES! We find the feeding site (picture to follow) 5 yards off the dirt road and then----------------------we see the lions 50 yards on the other side of the road. They are sleeping it off. Their bellies are bloated with gemsbuck and they are very lethargic. I'm sure they would move quickly though if needed. 2 huge males, 2 females (one older than the other) and---- 3 cubs about 10 months old. All at 50 to 80 yards away. I feel very vulnerable where I'm sitting. Pictures all around, Jamy says he's never been this close to a Kalahari pride ever, Villiam is watching with wide eyes and the tracker is wary. The lions don't move but do "look" at us with intense eyes. Jamy says he sees the older female start to get agitated so we move on. I ask how he can tell she was agitated and he says watch her mouth. If it's closed she's quiet, if it hangs open she's agitated, if she gets up looking at you get out of there. Lesson learned. On to the first hunt----------Oh I'm sorry, that's the next installment of this story, You'll just have to wait :)
     

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