NAMIBIA: A New Lodge For KHOMAS HIGHLAND HUNTING SAFARIS Of Namibia

Hi Velo Dog

Wow what a great hunt!

Congrats on a fantastic hunt accompanied by Mrs Velo Dog. Great pictures and a well recounted hunting tale that has kept me glued to my seat eagerly awaiting for the next report.

Kind regards

Jon
 
Thank you for sharing. I like you am a blessed man and have a wife they just is everthing!

Your report has me anticipating our return to Namibia, will be up north in camp this time next year.
 
1,000 Kilometer Road Trip, 1st Stop —> The Beach Town of Swakopmund.

I believe it was April 19th, that we rolled out from Lodge Aub, around mid-afternoon, up there in those game rich hills of The Khomas Hochland Highlands.
But it might have been April 20th.
Not super important really.

Anyway PH, Juan was driving, me wife Kelley, in the front passenger seat, myself and Don, aka: 1dirthawker of this forum, in the 2nd row seats of the bakkie.
I don’t recall how many hours it consumed to drive there.
But I think it was 3.5 to 4 hours, approximately.
We enjoyed the scenery.

We arrived in Swakopmund around supper time and went straight to The Tug Restaurant.
We had been there 3 years prior and I was getting hungry just thinking about it, a couple hours before arriving.
The Tug is known for seafood but they also have grass fed Namibian beef, as well as game meat steaks and so forth.
The food as always was simply excellent and so we ate like royalty.

Photos:
1.
Kelley waiting in the Bakkie, while we were stopped at a quick store.
2.
Kelley and myself standing just under The Tug Restaurant.
3.
Kelley and myself on the Swakopmund pier.

Note:
Photos 1. and 2. are actually from 2021, nonetheless, picture content is the same as it would be now in 2024.

To be continued………..

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Correction:
Pictures 2. and 3. are from our 2021 visit to Swakopmund.
 
Many times we would stand totally motionless, for what seemed like a mighty long time, until the animals would again relax a bit.
Then, we would very slowly sneak forward a few paces, always trying to keep thick bushes between us and them.
Also at this stage, I kept my eyes looking only downward, so as to avoid giving them the stalk ruining “predator’s stare”.
And it helps me also not to trip over a stone, crunch dried leaves or snap a stick under my shoes.
some good hunting advice here, on top of a great story!! well done Paul
 
I am a bit late to the party, (as usual). I will contribute my hunting report soon, as i have a bit of time where i am not working/hunting. After our Namibia hunt, a week later i went bear guiding and a week later i went bear guarding, so have been away from the forum a bit other than an occasional check in. I will make an effort to fill in a couple blanks on Velo Dogs most excellent story!
 
Anyway —> Leaving Swakopmund.

After supper we got back into our chariot and travelled north about 70 kilometers to Hentiesbaai.
(“Henties Bay” in English).
It was dark by then so there wasn’t much to see as we rolled along.
But, the drive was only about an hour and the road was smooth so, this relatively short time seemed to pass quickly.

We parked in front of De Duine Hotel (“The Dune” Hotel), I think around 10:30 PM or a bit later.
Then our Fishing Guide, Gelhar, walked up to introduce himself as we were climbing out of our vehicle.
He is just as pleasant and hard working as Juan and the others, always smiling and buzzing around making sure everyone is comfortable and having a good time.

After checking into our respective rooms, Kelley and myself declined the invite for cocktails in the hotel pub, in favor of a hot shower and a good night’s REM Sleep.
Next morning (April 20th ?), we were up at 6:00 AM and entered the hotel restaurant for breakfast.

De Duines Hotel was very clean and very quiet.
Our room was very comfortable.
But, I suspect April might be the off-season for visitors.
Even the restaurant was mostly devoid of customers, although the food was outstanding plus, the waitress was friendly and quick.
That place even had a serious espresso machine and said waitress knew how to run it just right.
The coffees were consistently comparable to any good ones that I’ve had anywhere.

I have attached some photos below, from this hotel.
We are not fancy people and so, De Duine Hotel was simply perfect for us.
That said, Mrs. Velo Dog and myself are admittedly both just a teensy bit, shall we say, “selective” about food.

On this topic, to our surprise, and much to our delight, this Mom & Pop styled, very small hotel, in a very small town, served food noticeably better than anything we’ve had in most** of the fancy 5 star hotels we’ve tried.
One or two (not all) expensive hotel restaurants in Italy** served about as good of food as De Duine’s food was.
Some food in Italy’s restaurants (hotel and otherwise) was surprisingly bland and some was outstanding.
But that is for another forum thread.

The half dozen or less expensive hotel restaurants we’ve tried in Seattle and Los Angeles served food that was unremarkable at best and in one place, over-salted at worst.

That’s not to say we have stayed in very many high dollar and fancy hotels.
But we’ve done so a few times.
Anyway, when we can return to Hentiesbaai someday, indeed we will ask to stay in this hotel again.

Back on topic, right after breakfast, we climbed into the bakkie and travelled north from Hentiesbaai.
Gelhar, his teenage son, a Photographer and a couple of young women were in Gelhar’s bakkie.
We followed them.

I have forgotten the two ladies names and the cameraman’s name as well.
(Old age is slowly defeating me).
Anyway, Ghelar provided all the fishing tackle, bait, etc.
All the gear was high quality.
I liked the way Gelhar’s truck looked, with several approximately 14 foot surf casting rods fastened to the roof.

Cheers for now ………

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some good hunting advice here, on top of a great story!! well done Paul
Thanks Don, as you know I’m up to my armpits in tasks and distractions right now.
But as soon as I possibly can, I will type more about our surf casting plus additional stops and activities.
(And I’ll see you tomorrow).:cool:
 
April 21 - 2024, Surf Casting for Sharks:

After breakfast, we all climbed into the two vehicles, Kelley, Don, myself and Juan in ours, following Gelhar and his crew in theirs.
We travelled north, along the coast from Hentiesbaai, perhaps 20 or 30 kilometers ?
Then we turned off the road and went out to the beach, in 4 wheel drive mode.

The breeze from across the water was cool enough to warrant a light jacket or more, in the morning.
But the sand was so warm that our feet were more comfortable without shoes.
The Atlantic Ocean water here is very cold.
So if your feet get to hot, just let the sea water hit them and they suddenly won’t be.

We fished this general area for two days.
If we didn’t get any bites in one place, we would drive a few kilometers to another and re-try our luck.
As it turned out, we had good fishing both days.
We hooked and landed several spotted gulley sharks.
We hooked at least 2 that I recall very large sharks, only one of which were we able to land, (bronze whaler), as those giants were experts at cutting our lines off against sharp rocks and / or whatever dead boat pieces might be under the waves.

Gotta make a run for it now and so I will write more and post more photos after a bit.

Cheers for now …….

Photos:
1.
Our setup for fishing and general relaxing on the deserted beach.
2.
Gelhar’s Jack Russel Terrier, named “Peanut”, wanting the shark we just released.
3.
Kelley & myself, abiding in the no stress zone.
4.
Kelley, tending her surf rod.
5.
Don and myself with 2 spotted gulley sharks we landed simultaneously, one is a male and the other is a female.
We released them back into the sea.
6.
Kelley battling a “spotty”.
7.
Victory !
She then released it.
I have video of Kelley releasing a spotty, plus other events but, I cannot get videos to load here for some unknown reason.
8.
Kelley & Don with 2 more spotties they landed simultaneously.
Now and then, all 3 of our sets had sharks lurching on them.
9.
Ship wreckage.
Someone told me that this part of the coast is especially dangerous for ships and all the wrecked hulls along there are the reason this area is called “The Skeleton Coast”.
 

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Love it!!! What an adventure. Keep it coming. (y) (y)
 
Greetings Fellow Outdoor Enthusiasts,

April 22 was our 2nd day of surf casting.
Beforehand, again we gathered in De Duine (The Dune) Hotel Restaurant at 6:30 AM, for another splendid breakfast.
Then everyone climbed into the two bakkies and away we went, north from Hentiesbaai, to cast for sharks and / or whatever else might be cooperative.

As usual, the sea breeze was cold enough to require warm clothes but oddly enough, the sand was so warm that our feet were more comfortable without shoes.
Gelhar and his son, Heinrich, hurled out our 3 lines for the 3 of us clients (Kelley, myself and Don).
The large hook on each steel cable leader was baited with liver from I don’t know what animal (some previously caught fish perhaps) ?
The rod butts we’re set into individual brackets, the long pointy end of which was jammed deep down into the sand.
All 3 of us wore fighting belts, with a rod socket on each.

Right away we began seeing the long (14 feet ?) surf rods twitching and lurching, as the fish were evidently hungry.
We caught and released more spotted gully sharks.
All of them were approximately 40 to 50 pounds (about 18 to 22 Kilograms).
These appear very similar to a specie in the Pacific Ocean, commonly known as “sand shark”.
We ate them when I lived in Soviet California.
But here, we released them back into the surf.

At this spot, we found the tracks from a brown hyena.
Juan said that at night, brown hyena and jackals scavenge dead seals, Dead Sea birds, dead fish and so forth, that wash up onto the beach.

Anyway and eventually, Kelley hooked into a huge, heavy and very powerful swimming fish.
It was roughing her up pretty thoroughly.
So after about 5 or 10 minutes, she asked me to take over.
It’s a good thing I’m young (71) :ROFLMAO: because this fish fought much more powerfully and long lasting than any other fish I’ve ever caught, including one Alaska halibut at 99 pounds and another at 110 pounds (about 50 kilos).
Large Northern Pacific Halibut are no wimps but this one in the southern Atlantic surf was a real beast.

After what seemed like all day, but was honestly nowhere near all day, we finally saw its long tail break the surface, inside the surf line, perhaps 50 - 75 meters out from the sand.
It was a large shark, a Bronze Whaler to be specific.
It evidently did not like the idea of being dragged from it’s watery home, as it suddenly regained its fighting spirit and the drag in my large spinning reel screamed as line whizzed off the spool.

This shark managed to repeatedly swim out past the waves,
Each time it did that, it then seemed as if it suddenly became confused or disoriented.
Because, it then would suddenly turn left or right and swim parallel to the beach.
This made it possible to jog along in the same direction, for short spells and frantically reel in previously lost distance of fishing line.
Long tedious story made short, eventually the shark was tired enough to be coaxed into about waist deep surf foam, during back wash but, armpit deep during incoming waves.

At this stage, Gelhar and Heinrich both ran out into the sea and began to grapple this huge fish to shore.
Heinrich had a wrestler’s grip on the shark’s tail, and Gelhar had the cable leader gripped tightly in his gloved hands.
Each time a wave curled in and broke into a wall of foam, those brave lads would be armpit deep in the surge with what I regarded as a large plus, dangerous species of shark.

It continued to fight sporadically and I was somewhat worried, as its tail remained powerful and lively.
And, as quick as I have seen sharks suddenly lurch forward under the water to grab prey, I was concerned that with Gelhar being at the business end of this toothy fish, he might be bitten at any moment.
However, those two chaps had wrestled so many large sharks onto the shore that they both emerged from the water, quite unscathed and beaching the shark as they returned.

Photos were taken and we released it.
I helped Gelhar drag it back into the water and it was a struggle, as it was quite heavy.
Gelhar estimated it to be about 108 - 110 kilos (around 240 pounds).
Within seconds of being in about meter deep water, the big fish quickly regained its energy and swam back out to sea, as if nothing had happened.

Eventually, we packed up and drove to yet another deserted beach to try our luck there.
And Don hooked into another truly huge fish, presumably also a shark.
Judging by the serious fight it put forth, I guessed it to be at least as large as the one described above.
But unfortunately, the strong Kevlar line suddenly went slack.
Reeling it up showed a sharp object had severed it above the cable leader.
Don was a real good sport about it though and remained ever jolly throughout, in spite of this sudden and unwanted turn of events.
That huge fish had evidently snagged the line on a sharp object under the water or, possibly turned his body abruptly around, enabling itself to grab the line in its jaws and sever it with its teeth.

That night after a steak and seafood dinner in the hotel restaurant, with our little fishing group, all of us adjourned to the hotel pub, there at De Duine Hotel.
We celebrated good fishing and new friends.

Next morning immediately after breakfast, PH Juan, brought Kelley and myself up to Etosha Park for an overnight stay, in transit toward the Okavango River, where we planned to try for tiger fish.
Don returned to the Khomas Lodge, via one of Philip’s employees being in HentiesBaai, with enough room in that vehicle for another passenger.
Gelhar remained in Hentiesbaai as that is his home.

I will describe the Etosha and Okavango stops soon and post pictures of same.

Thanks for reading,
Mr. & Mrs. Velo Dog.

Photos:
1.
Kelley & Myself at breakfast in De Duine Hotel Restaurant.
2.
The 240 pound bronze whaler, joining Kelley, Gelhar and myself for a photograph.
3.
Kelley and Peanut, in De Duine Hotel Pub.
4.
Brown Hyena (stock photo).
5.
Don (1dirthhawker) battling a large shark that cut the line suddenly.
6.
Don fighting an unknown fish at our little impromptu fishing camp.
7.
Same fishing camp.
8.
Spotted Gully Shark.
 

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PS:
I almost forgot to mention that Heinrich (Fishing Guide’s Son) was our fish camp Chef each lunch hour.
In the photos here, he was grilling either impala or springbok steak (expertly marinated) and a type of savory sausages that unfortunately I cannot remember the name of.
All of it was tender and quite delicious.

Cheers.
 

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Etosha Park:

April - 23 - 2024, Right after yet another great breakfast at De Duine Hotel and Restaurant, we said our goodbyes to everyone.
Kelley and myself rode with Juan in the bakkie, down through Swakopmund and onward to Etosha Park.
Don rode with us as far as Swakopmund, where he then rode with some guys from Lodge Aub (Khomas Safaris newest property and lodge buildings).
Don and the other guys returned up to Aub.

Kelley, Juan and myself arrived at Etosha Park that afternoon.
We stayed at, I believe it was called, “The Etosha Safari Lodge” ?
We had stayed there in 2021 as well so you’d think I could remember the name of it.
Well anyway, it is a splendid tourist lodge / hotel, (with a well appointed buffet style restaurant and huge veranda), catering to guests who are primarily interested in game viewing and photography.

Kelley and myself stayed in a cabin just short walk down a path from the restaurant and veranda.
Juan stayed in a cabin next door.
There were semi-tame mongoose scurrying all about.
So, there were no reptiles or scorpions anywhere near there, as far as we could tell.
When the mongoose were not busy hunting, they stayed busy play wrestling, like puppy dogs do.

Once a pair of them became loud, under the veranda deck planks, as if arguing about something.
A Waiter stamped his foot on the planks and told them to be quiet.
They went stone silent.
After a minute or two they started quarreling loudly again.
A second time the Waiter stamped his feet on the boards and admonished the mongoose to be quiet.
Again they became instantly silent.
It was comical.
Later we faintly heard a pair quarreling mongoose again but, down the hill a ways, toward our cabins.
We don’t know if they were the same ones that the Waiter had previously scolded or not.
This time they were barely heard due to the distance so, everyone ignored them.

We enjoyed a wonderful buffet style dinner.
There were many things to choose from, including fish, shrimp game steaks, game sausages, steaming hot vegetables of various description, potatoes both roasted and mashed, home made bread rolls of various types, rice, salads, dressings, cheeses, fresh peeled fruits and there was a Chef slicing prime rib to order for anyone interested.

After supper, we were too full to enjoy the several excellent looking desserts the Employees had prepared.
So, we just returned to our rooms and slept well.
Next morning, we enjoyed another fine buffet style meal, with eggs bacon, sausages, potatoes, more homemade bread, fruit, hot coffee and all the rest that goes with a grand breakfast.

Having spent 2 or 3 days touring Etosha Park in 2021, we elected to skip it this time and go directly to the river.
So right after breakfast away we went with Juan in the bakkie.

Stand by for The Okavango part of this road trip, soon to follow.

Meanwhile, below are some photos from a small portion of our road trip.

Thanks for reading.
Cheers,
Mr. & Mrs. Velo Dog.
 

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PS:
Below are some pics from the Etosha Safari Lodge.

1.
Myself and my wife, having sundowners on the veranda, prior to supper.
2.
The view from our cabin.
3.
Another angle view from our cabin.
4.
Our cabin porch doors, from which I took pictures 2. and 3.
 

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