BOTSWANA: 3 Generation Hunt In Botswana With NKWE SAFARIS

Mike B

AH enthusiast
Mar 13, 2017
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DSC - Lifetime Member, NRA
South Africa, Argentina, US (TX, NM, SD), Botswana
I got back a few days ago from 6 days of hunting and a couple days of fishing in Botswana with @NKWE SAFARIS. It. Was. Great!

Quick back story on the trip. We told our kids when they turned 13, they could take a trip with one parent. The problem was we didn't really limit the 'where', so my now 13 year old told me he wanted to goto Africa to go hunting when he was 11 years old. I told him that if he saved up $1500 but the time he was 13, we would go. Needless to say, he made it with 6 months to spare, so I convinced my Dad to go as well and we had a 3 generation hunt on our hands! We talked to a few different outfitters and settled on Botswana because it was really important for my Dad to hunt low fence and the idea of fishing the Okavango was amazing as well.

I'll spare you most of the normal 'lead up' details because mine are boring. I WILL say that you SHOULD NOT use CVS to get test results if you have a minor in the group. The short version of the story is that we took our Covid Tests at Walgreens for the flight from DFW > Doha > JNB, got our results emailed, got on the plane, no issues. We then spent a night in JoBurg and the plan was to fly out the next day to Botswana. So back in the US we had taken a test at CVS the day we flew out of DFW, the plan being to use THAT test for the flight from JNB to Maun because our original test was now to old (past 72 hours). The problem is that CVS won't email the results, they put them all in a portal you need to log into, and the REAL problem is that they won't give portal access to minors. So the first issue was that we couldn't log into the portal from South Africa, because it's limited to US only. So I call my wife and get her to log into my portal and my Dads, and she gets those results no issue - but Noah (my 13 year old) doesn't have any results in my portal where I expected them to be. All CVS would do is deliver the results via voice - you call a number, put in some info and then they say it's negative. But that won't work for travel and the lab to get the PDF isn't open 24x7, and I couldn't get anyone that could help us until after our flight was gone. SOOOOOO, we lost a day and had to get retested in JNB, which was really easy. All in all it wasn't that big of a deal, but I hated the idea of losing a day of hunting and I hated the idea that CVS wouldn't just email results like every other company in the world.

Our flights were fine, we flew Qatar, did NOT take guns, but the the flight was easy and straight forward. Airlink was GREAT to just rebook us to the next day when we had screwed up Covid tests. Getting a Covid Test at OR Tambo was really easy - they have 2 locations you can go, take the test and we had results by 8 AM the next morning (we took the tests around noon). We stayed at the Marriott Executive Apartments in Melrose Arch and it was really nice - since there were 3 of us we had 2 bedrooms and a living room, made it really nice to kind of flop out and spend 24 hours there. Lots of places to eat that we could walk to. It was about 30 min from the airport was the only downside.

Once we landed in Maun, Ampie (pronounced Umpie) was waiting for us, we loaded up and took the 3ish hour drive to camp near Ghanzi (pronounced Hanze). We rolled into camp just before dinner and were greeted by a fire in the firepit and cold drinks! I will say up front, my Dad has Gluten sensitivity (he just feels like crap if he eats much gluten) and Godfree the cook did a great job accommodating to him. Great food the whole trip.

I'll get to the hunting on the next post, but I'll leave you with the picture of my amazing Kudu - he was just over 58"!

Beautiful kudu!!! Congrats!!!
Great start! Fantastic kudu!
Wow! I cannot wait to hear the rest of this story! A troublesome beginning with the Covid testing for your son, but the picture of that kudu makes a promising start for the rest of your adventure @Mike B !
Mike B, I'll say that is an amazing Kudu. I spent 6 days of my 8 day hunt looking for a Kudu like that. You guessed it, no luck. The best I saw was a 52 incher at best and that wasn't going to cut it. Providing your group is anything like the rest of us, you will be making a return trip before you know it. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
What a kudu!
How excellent to see 3 generations on a grand adventure! Can’t wait to see what happens!
Very nice kudu I think the throphy quality all over Southern Africa will be great again this season due to less hunting from last year and even this year.
Great kudu, waiting for the rest of the story :A Popcorn:
Back at it!

So our trip started on the 10th of June (we drove to DFW on the 10th, flew out on the 11th), but we didn't get to Botswana until the 15th with the delay. By the time we got to camp is was getting dark, so we settled in, had some food and some drinks and went off to bed early.

Up on the FIRST day of hunting early, we all went and gave a test shot to make sure guns were zeroed in and ready to roll. We were borrowing guns because I didn't want to mess with logistics of traveling with guns and Covid-19. My son and I were using a CZ in .308 with a suppressor that was really nice and my Dad would be using a 7mm Mag. I went first and was bang on the money. Noah was up next and he shot true as well (his bullet hole was actually overlapped with mine!). My Dad went last and shot well, slightly left, but he has had some issues with his eye, and being off an inch or so wasn't going to affect anything. We loaded up, Noah and I with Bertus and my Dad with Ampie.

We started our hunt on the high fence portion of the ranch, approx 12,000 acres that has to be high fence for a few of the species they had. They have access to several other ranches, all low fence. I know we hunted Kudu on 2 different ranches, each over 30,000 acres. We also stopped into a 3rd ranch, but I didn't get the size, but I would guess at least 20,000.

As we started driving the main target was going to be Gemsbok for Noah, but as is the case, we kept our eyes open for anything Africa had to offer. Our tracker, Abram, had great eyes and we kept spotting Gemsbok, only to have them run off before we could really judge them well. It was thick bush we were hunting in and many times all we could see was a face and then shapes running away. While we were walking one section of the ranch, chasing a Gemsbok, we heard a shot ring out a long ways off - it was my Dad and we would find out later he took a cull Wildebeest. I guess he just couldn't wait to shoot something in Africa!

Our search for Gemsbok took us all over, and at one point we ended up switching from Gemsbok to tracking some Eland tracks, heard some Zebra in the distance then bumped 2 Kudu (neither shooters) and a wildebeest. I LOVE hunting in Africa! The diversity of game is always so amazing to me! We didn't have any luck in the morning, and went back to camp for lunch. When Dad showed up, he filled us in on his first African animal, all the time with a grin from ear to ear. We took a short nap and headed back out for much of the same, chasing Gemsbok and them bolting before we could really get a shot. There were a couple opportunities a seasoned hunter could have gotten on the sticks and taken a shot, but Noah has a bad case of 'buck fever' so he had to take a little more time. Bertus was amazing the whole time, never rushing him and never letting him feel like he should have taken a shot. Back on the truck and puttering along, when I noticed some Impala for the first time! We hoped off and started the chase. They would move a couple hundred yards then stop, we would get in, get Noah on the sticks and then they would move off. I think we did that about 4 times, and I was hanging back 30-40 yards so as not to cause more noise or expose my movement and ruin a shot opportunity. On the 5th time, we got in close, Bertus got Noah on the sticks and BANG! Hit and down went the Impala. It didn't make it more than 40-50 yards, a perfect shot in the shoulder! High fives and hugs all around! Noah had not only taken his first African animal, but his first animal ever (not counting rats with a BB gun!).

We loaded up the Impala and headed back to camp. It was late in the day, so we decided to just chill and wait for Dad to come back. While we sat around the fire, we heard another BANG a ways off and the impala we had passed (a second group) on the way back to camp hadn't really moved. So Dad took his impala as well! (I don't have Dad's pics yet, but his was a tiny bit longer than Noah's, but not quite as heavy).

Day 2
We headed out ready for another great day of hunting, but just couldn't get anything to stand still! after a spending most of the morning trying for Gemsbok we ended up following Eland. it took about an hour of walking and then we got into 40-50 Eland, but nothing worth shooting. As we kept stalking, we ran into more Zebra, Gemsbok and Wildebeest. Unfortunately, Noah had decided to stay on the truck so he didn't get a shot at any! Lets just say, lesson learned! While we were still stalking some tracks that looked to be a bachelor group of Eland, we ran into another big heard, 50-70 animals strong. There were a couple 'good' ones, but Bertus thought we could do better, so the next road we came to, we called for the truck.

After lunch, we went back out and all the animals decided to hide on us! It was a slow afternoon and when we least expected it, a warthog came trotting across the road! Since I hadn't taken anything yet, I was happy to oblige!

That ended up being the end of Day 2 and Dad struck out as well. The animals just weren't having it for the afternoon!

I have some more work I need to get to, but I'll add some more to the story later tonight!
Sounds like you’re having a great time. Congrats
Day 3 - Eland!

We awoke to another glorious morning, tea in the room to get us going and then a great breakfast. I love getting up, heading over and sitting next to the fire while they finished breakfast prep. It was just a wonderful way to start each day - and Noah (13 year old) has brought the tea habit back home! Every morning since our hunt, he makes tea for himself (and anyone else that wants it) at home. These are the reasons I love to travel with my kids!

As the sun broke over the horizon, we loaded up to look for Eland and Dad went looking for Kudu on a nearby ranch. The short version of Dad's day was that he ended up shooting high on a really nice Kudu and they tracked it for over 10km and finally lost the blood trail. He's pretty sure he just wasn't settled enough in the shot and it went under the spine and above the vitals. It made for a long day, but he was in great spirits when he got back to camp that night.

It took us about 30-45 min to cut some tracks of Eland that looked like a bachelor herd. We drove the rest of the block to make sure they were still in there, and as we were rounding the final corner actually saw the group we were looking for! Off the truck we went and into stalk mode. As we got in near them (it was thick stuff we were hunting) they started to 'jog' off, so we kept after them not wanting to lose much distance and hoping they would settle down. While tracking kind of parallel to them, we bumped into a herd of about 40 more eland and settled in to watch and glass them a bit. As we were watching, they started to move off, and we tracked them another half km or so, and the bachelor herd ended up mingling in with them. Bertus did some quick looking, picked out the best in the herd and I was up on the sticks picking the shot. As he whispered, "the big blue one, just past the bush, on the right" I confirmed I was looking at the same one and fired - HIT! We sat for a second while the Eland tried to figure out what just happened, they moved about 200 yards to the left and we snuck around to watch. Sitting there watching, we were pretty sure of which eland I had just shot, but didn't want to take chances because it was a big group and I didn't want to pay 2 trophy fees (he was only about half exposed so we couldn't be 100% certain). They all decide to bugger off and we went looking for blood. Nothing. I was certain it was a good hit and we heard the 'twack' of contact, but knew it was a big animal and the odds of the .308 making an exit wound were low. So we tracked the group and never found blood. We decided that instead of tracking the group, we would go back to the start and see if we could track his specific tracks from where he jumped. Turns out, he did a 180 shortly after he was hit and we found him less than 100 yards from where we shot.

I'm super happy, he was a huge bodied eland with heavy horns and the perfect stalk and shot. After we loaded up the Eland (which was a chore!) we headed back to camp.

Out for the afternoon and we decided to sit over a water hole and see if Zebra, Gemsbok or Wildebeest would come in for Noah to get a shot at. We saw some impala come in and watched all manner of birds, I even had a francolin walk to about 5 feet from me before it decided to turn around and high tail it out. A couple of minutes before dark, just as we were discussing packing it up, Noah whispers 'Zebra' and sure enough, there were 6 coming in for a drink. Bertus and Noah quickly moved to get a little closer while the zebra were behind the trees still. They got about 20 yards closer next to a big tree and then the zebras started moving into the pan. The lead mare came out pretty cautious and just stood there for a while, but it was a straight on shot so they waited for a broadside. We had been coaching Noah on the triangle on the zebras shoulder for a perfect shot. Slowly all 6 zebra move in and start drinking, but the one that Bertus had picked out kept facing directly at them or had another animal in front or behind. After a few minutes they started to turn and move back up towards the trees. As the final zebra was moving away, it turned broadside and stood there looking.

Now, let me pause real quick to tell you how a great PH handles a 13 year old with a major case of 'buck fever'. You see, as the zebra moved away from the water, Noah looked up at Bertus and said, 'I'm sorry' because he never took a shot (and he had some chances to take one). Bertus never skipped a beat, told him not to worry and kept watching that last zebra. As she turned, he wrapped his arm around Noah, pulled him in to steady him and said, 'take the shot, right in the triangle'. Noah took about 4-5 seconds to compose himself, line up and BANG. Perfect hit.

Because it was getting dark, we quickly grabbed flashlights and followed. As we broke out of the trees to an open area just beyond the pan, there was a huge amount of blood and maybe 75 yards from where I stood I could see the zebra, down for the count. Noah had a HUGE grin on his face and I can't tell you, I've never been more thankful for a PH that understood what needed to be done, calmed Noah's nerves and helped him make a confidence building shot.
View attachment DSC_0796 - edited.jpg

Day 4

The day started out looking for Gemsbok or Wildebeest for Noah and Kudu for me. We spent the morning hoping on and off the truck, chasing some animals but nothing we really wanted to take a shot at. We did see a really nice Gemsbok, but it was heavily pregnant so we backed off in search of another. Around lunch we decided to run over to a different farm and see what Kudu we could find there.

This farm was really pretty - more open in many places and just a lot of fun to drive around and check out. We saw several Kudu, but none that were shooters. There was one really long Kudu that had a broken horn, but since it was my first Kudu I really wanted something more symmetric. Later in the afternoon we came across a group of Gemsbok with a nice long female. They were really kind and stood there for us to glass and look at, but the old girl just kept walking around in the middle, pretty much keeping another animal in front or directly behind her. When a shot finally presented itself, Noah wasn't quite ready and we didn't want to rush him. So they all moved on to live another day! While we drove around the farm we saw and Aardwolf, which was really cool! On the drive back to camp we saw a leopard - which was amazing to see! After the leopard, we crossed paths with a porcupine as well - so it was a great day any way to slice it!

Day 5

To be honest, day 5 was kind of a bust! My Dad took a nice wildebeest, but we didn't see ANYTHING for most of the day. A little front moved in and it was colder and overcast. The animals were just not moving! We saw a few Kudu that were smaller and some other animals we were interested in, but that's sometimes how hunting goes! Just as we were driving back to camp we jumped out to chase some wildebeest, but it was honestly to dark, so we let them go.

Day 6

Our last day hunting! We still needed a Kudu, Wildebeest and Gemsbok - quite the tall order and let me tell you, Bertus almost delivered! For this last day, we were headed back to the ranch we saw the leopard on and got there early in the morning. Right away we started to spot Kudu cows and a few smaller bulls. The sun was out and it felt like a glorious day compared to the day before. As we are driving along we see a nice bull about 100 yards off the road. We tried to maneuver to get a shot, but just couldn't get there and decided it was better to keep looking than spend the day bumping this guy along. It didn't take long and we spot a monster in some really thick blackthorn. We hop off the truck and get to stalking. I don't think we went more than 100 yards when Bertus waves me up quickly and says 'take the shot, frontal, right between the legs, bottom third of the body.' Welllll, my buck fever kicked in and I made the best worst shot in the world. I shot low, right underneath that huge Kudu, but I managed to smash his back leg - I mean right down the middle. The short version of the story is we tracked him for 3 km, he broke a fence in 2 places, bled ALOT and we finally caught up to him about about 2.5 hours of tracking. I broke that leg and caused some major bleeding - I felt really bad for the animal since the goal is always a clean kill, but I was happy that I had this huge Kudu down.

We take pics, have high fives and then load this beautiful animal up. After a quick drive around to see if we can spot the Gemsbok, but we don't want to ruin the meat or the cape, so we head back to camp to take care of the kudu. A quick lunch and we head back out looking for Gemsbok or Wildebeest for Noah. There are a couple gemsbok we come across, but nothing worth taking and then, in the fading light we see some wildebeest. Off the truck we go, working to get in a shot in the last 10 minutes. Bertus worked hard to get Noah in a good spot and tells him to hold on the shot while we wait for a broadside shot. Eventually, the wildebeest cooperates and Noah pulls the trigger - another great hit! As Noah tells it, he could see the top 1/3rd of the wildebeest and the rest was behind grass, so he lined up, estimated down and then squeezed off the shot. It ended up being a perfect hit, the wildebeest didn't make it more than 40-50 yards. Noah was beaming and excited for the shot he made under pressure.

Dad took a Gemsbok in the last hour or so of the day, and made it a really great hunting trip overall! We were all so glad we made the trek, overcame losing a day of hunting to Covid and still managed to take everything except for 1 gemsbok! But, that just means we have a reason to go back!

I'll fill in some fishing pics shortly and finish up the report!

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DLSJR wrote on Will Clark's profile.
You’ve got an interesting screen name. Will the Thrill provided lots of great times for me as a lifelong Giants fan. Even though I never met him, a number of buddies either duck hunted or shared a dugout with him. He’s a great guy according to those guys. Cool screen name and if that’s your real name, it’s a great one.
in-between all the bush fire, hunting and work on the hunting area its hard to find time for fishing as well
JOHNNY30 wrote on krish's profile.
is the 505 gibbs still for sell? Thanks!
William W. wrote on Grouser's profile.
I ran across a message from you a couple of years ago while I was going through old emails. I have arranged a second bison hunt in Nebraska in September 2024, about 6-years after the first, when my supply of bison meat was exhausted. My email is [redacted].
Labman wrote on Mully's profile.
If those Schells rings fare still available, I could use them. I'm willing to pay for the shipping.