NAMIBIA: Amazing First Hunting Safari With Kowas Hunting Safaris!

blacks

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Outfitter - Kowas Adventure Safaris, Namibia
PH - Jacques Strauss
Dates - 9-18 May, 2016
Target - Plains Game

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I am now back home after the long journey back home to Australia - four flights in all, over 2.5 days, and a fair case of jetlag to go with it. But it was worth every second of travel - not to mention the years of dreaming, planning, researching and anticipation!

It was four well-worn Aussies who finally made it to Namibia. After a friendly greeting by the Strauss family at Kowas, we settled our gear into the comfy rooms and PH Matheus took us for a game drive to get a feel for the place, until darkness overtook. That night was the first of many great nights around the fireplace, with a cold beer, full of anticipation for what the next 8 days of hunting would bring!

Morning one and we headed to the range to see how our gear had fared with the airline baggage damagers, and to shake off a little nerves with a few rounds down the barrel. Happy to say my favourite rifle (Browning A-Bolt .30/06, Swarovski Z3 3-10x42, 180gn Woodleigh PP handloads) was spot-on where I had left it before leaving home, 2" high at 100m. Two shots right next to each other was enough to confirm this, followed by another couple of shots off the sticks, and then a few at animal targets in a bushland setting which was great practice.

With confidence up we headed off to scale a few hills and glass for some Impala.



The first two herds were trailed by rams that were too young, but on the third group we found at the base of a rocky escarpment, my PH Jacques noticed a mature ram at the rear of the mob, hiding amongst the thick thorns. We could not make out his horns just yet, but Jacques could tell by his bases he looked worthy of a stalk. After getting into position Jacques set the sticks at it was action stations - I took a few breaths and made a good shot, quartering on through his chest at 140m for a rapid kill. One very happy hunter with his first ever African animal in the salt on morning one. Just a beautiful ram, with the most stunning coat!




After a great lunch we headed back to the field in search of Springbok. After a long and careful stalk on a large mob, we found ourselves right amongst over 100 springbok as they spread across the thornveldt. Finally Jacques located the mature ram, of course he was right at the rear of the mob, and a difficult proposition for a shot with no chance of getting closer. After a good look through the scope and a shoulder from Jacques to support the rear of the rifle, I made a great shot, dropping him in his tracks, quartering sharply, almost facing me at a later-ranged 213 metres. Another beautiful animal and an amazing way to cap off my first day on safari. With a little light still left after dropping him at the skinning shed we headed back out of the trail of Zebra, seeing a few but without luck - little did I know this would be the start of a long saga!



Day Two was the first crack I would have at the mighty Kudu. Now, this was the main thing I came to Africa for, and I'd wanted to hunt one since I was old enough to buy hunting magazines. So needless to say, I was raring to go. Leaving the truck parked on the flat amongst some shady trees, I bid my wife farewell for the morning as she reclined with a book. Looping around and working our way a few kilometres up a long scrubby ridge, we eventually found ourselves on top of the mountain range with a commanding view over the surrounding flats. After some patient glassing, kudu cows were picked up over a km away, we glassed those for a while but with no bulls present, we stayed to keep an eye out and Jacques skipped across the top of the hill to check the other side. After a while he radioed through that he was watching a mob of cows on the opposite mountain, and to come over for a look. Settling in behind the spotting scope, Jacques' keen eye eventually found the bull, snoozing beneath some camelthorns...



We watched him and he did not move a muscle for over 30 minutes....no wonder they are difficult to spot. Jacques told me what he thought, a good mature bull, not massive but with nice shape, white tips that curl forwards, and if I liked the look of him we would try a stalk. Of course I said, "Let's go!" Leaving our tracker Max behind with the spotter and radio, we made our way down the slope and carefully across the basin, trying to stay in cover as the bull had a commanding view. Jacques had warned me this would be a difficult approach as the bull held all the cards - maybe a 20% chance of a shot, we thought...

As we crossed the basin a Baboon started carrying on at the top of his lungs...not what we needed on an already difficult stalk! Reaching the base of the other mountain we slowed right down to a crawl as we headed up through the thick thornbush. Eventually, squatting down, Jacques could see the bull's head and horns....looking straight at us and alert as ever. There was zero chance of a shot, we had to get around at least one more bush for that. Just as we tiptoed around that bush, the bull turned and bolted uphill with a loud grunt. Jacques threw down the sticks and I tried to get the rifle over them, but my hat was caught in the camelthorn above me....ripping it off, I found the bull in the scope as he quartered away uphill at 120m, a small gap showed in the scope so I let drive. The shot felt good and a loud thud floated back on the breeze....on the radio Max said he had seen the bull fall, then get up again and run, only to fall again somewere near the top of the mountain.

After a minute to let things settle (me, mainly!) Jacques picked up his tracks heading uphill amongst the sand and rocks. I just took his word for it - I couldn't pick them out from all the other tracks! Worryingly there was not a single drop of blood as we continued climbing... I needen't of worries, as Jacques paused to look for the next set of tracks I glanced across and saw my bull stone dead, rolled down behind a thornbush. What a relief! My shot had been perfect in the situation - entering high behind the ribs on his left hand flank, quartering down and through his lungs and lodging in the right hand shoulder blade. He was dead within 50 metres.

Where he fell...



And my lovely bull, 52" and very heavy. One super stoked hunter!!



It was all hands on deck to recover him, first the boys removed a lot of bush for a clear photo (they always went to great effort!) and then the whole animal was butchered and carried off the mountain, leaving only the grass out of the guts. I was super impressed!

Well, I had started with a bang, but Day 3 brought me back to earth - and unseasonably windy day, terrible conditions for hunting. We hunted Hartmann Zebra again all day (with a stalk on a Red Hartebeest in the arvo) but with no luck. The upside was my mate Mark took a grand old Eland bull on this day against all the odds...but that is his story to tell!

Day 4 I opted to take the day off and recharge the batteries, heading into Windhoek for a good look around with my wife Nikki. A very enjoyable day with a lovely lunch overlooking the main street which we both enjoyed very much!

Day 5 we were back in the field, pumped and ready to go. Heading half an our down the dirt road, we came to the property we wanted to hunt for the day, the targets being Red Hartebeest and later Oryx. Long story short, this was a red-letter day, we climbed high and glassed, Jacques planned our stalks perfectly, and we made two text-book stalks and shots for two great animals, with my wife right behind me all the way on her first ever stalks. Firstly in the morning this lovely old 24" Red Hartebeest Bull, taken at 140m...



And then late in the afternoon, on the other side of this mountain, an awesome stalk on a large spread out group of Oryx netted me this great 36.5" bull, dropped like a sack of spuds at 70 metres. We were on a roll, what a day!



Day 6 and the ongoing saga for Mountain Zebra continued...we hunted the high, we hunted them low, we worked hard and saw the animals, but every stalk was thwarted by other animals. The upside for the day was me taking this fantastic Steenbok trophy, we actually spotted him at lunchtime while heading back to camp, and a quick stalk back and a shot punching through some thick cover did the job. Man, what a beautiful little animal they are. We saw quite a lot at Kowas but they are quick....a few big ones too!



Day 7, the girls headed off for a day of pampering at Gocheganas Spa, so Mark and I decided to have a lad's day and hunt together. He shot a lovely Red Hartebeest, then late in the morning, Matheus guided me on to this very heavy old springbuck, one that he had seen a few times before but never bagged. He only gaveus a glimpse at 150m so I took the shot...after a quick follow-up on an increasing blood trail we found him wobbling at 100 metres so I gave him a quick finisher (happily my only second shot of the trip.) What a cracking old trophy he was too! The rest of the day was again spent fruitlessly hunting mountain zebra. I had a lovely mare within range in my scope....but with a youngster at foot she was off limits.



That night we clebrated fittingly, with a few rounds of 'Springbok Shooters' at the Kowas bar... ;)



Day 8 was to be our final day of hunting. Needless to say, Mountain Zebra were our target. Again we hunted hard, high and low, covering the miles. We saw one mob in the morning and a cheetah spoilt that stalk (not that I was worries, as that was an experience in itself!) Then another mob before lunch was spooked by some unseen Black Wildebeest. At lunch time I officially waved the white flag to the zebra and we went to look for a last-minute warthog. Jacques' great eyes picked up the top of a boar's head in long grass. A stalk through the paddock evetually got us close but we just could not see him in the cover, until a sow cruised through andhe poked his head up. Jacques gave a squeak and he sat up for a look, quartering away, but giving me a glimpse of his shoulder which was all I needed to send a 180 grainer home for an instant kill.



I was absolutely over the moon, what a great animal and a fitting way to cap off an amazing safari. We hurruedly took a few photos and just made it to the Kowas pan in time for sundowners with the crew....a night to remember!

I would like to thank Danie, Ansie, Matheus, and the whole awesome Kowas family for a fantastic experience. They come 100% reccommeded by me. The lodge was great, drinks were cold and plentiful, my wife was in great care, and Selma's cooking was consistently top-notch...not to mention the steaks grilled over the fire by the lads (that Eland fillet!) And I reserve a special thanks to Jacques Strauss. It was though this forum over a year ago that I first came into contact with Jacques and this hunt was born. For a young man of 24 he is the consummate professional, wise beyond his years and a very accomplished hunter, having been hunting the area since he was old enough to walk. As I found when I first spoke to him through AH,we both share a lot of the same ideals when it comes to hunting, and I very much enjoyed our time in the bush.

We had one night left in Windhoek before the long jouney home, so of course we spent it at Joe's Beerhouse - what a place! Namibia could well be Australia's neighbour. I will return.

Cheers for reading,
Tim
 

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Mark R

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Nice write up Tim. We had a great time with you guys and the crew at Kowas.

Cheers,
Mark.
 

MexHunter

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Thanks for sharing trip info - great trophies!
 

cpr0312

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Congrats on the hunt! Thanks for sharing
 

Clayton

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Beautiful trophies and a very good write up. Your story makes for a good start to my day.
 

billc

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You had one great first safari. The are some great animals and one great looking area to enjoy. Plus now you can go back for that mtn zebra and more fun. Great job
 

CAustin

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You guys had a good safari. Thanks for sharing your report with us.
 

blacks

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Thanks guys, I am feeling very blessed. Great animals, great hosts, great company, and just an awesome time that I can't wait to repeat.

Now the exciting wait to get them all tanned and shipped home so that I can commence the mounting process... and then find somewhere to fit them! ;)

I'd like to go and clean up a few of the typos in the thread (I type too fast hehe!) but I can't see how to do that now??

Cheers
Tim
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Congrats Tim, glad you had a great trip!
 

gillettehunter

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What a great first safari. Some very nice animals. Good shooting on the Kudu. They can be hard to hit in the brush. Nice pics too. Thanks for sharing. Bruce
 

Scott Slough

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Great trip and report ... I think a return trip to chase mountain zebra is in order!
 

enysse

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Very nice animals, thanks for the hunt report, I love that steenbok and kudu!!!
 

BRICKBURN

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Excellent shooting.
It does appear they put great effort into the photos. It looks like they have a ready made tool for holding heads.

Animal targets in the trees is an interesting addition to the practice session.

Nice Kudu, congratulations on a successful trip. Thanks for sharing.
 

Nyati

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Congrats for a great hunt, love the kudu, very nice shape.
 

Jfet

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we stayed to keep an eye out and Jacques skipped across the top of the hill to check the other side

Jacques can flat out run up a mountain(y)
Next time I hunt with him I am going to have him carry a special bag... full of rocks so I can have a chance:E Dancing:to stay up with him

Great report. Team Fet really enjoyed our trip to Kowas. Loved your pictures. Lot's of good memories. The Strauss family is top notch.:A Big Hello:
 

JGRaider

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Congrats on a great trip, and I do agree with you 100%.....Danie, Ansie, Jacques, and the whole crew are consumate professionals. I've been twice, and the third time will come in August.

Thanks for sharing the great story and pics. My mtn zebra hunt a couple of years ago was a real ballbuster....just the way it should be. You've now got a great excuse to go again and get one for yourself.
 

Royal27

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Another good report for Kowas.

Glad you had such a great time.
 

rinehart0050

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Thanks for sharing this report ~ sounds like a great hunt! congrats!
 

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Nice report Blacks. Good hunting and good pictures. You are now another hooked Aussie.
 
 

 

 

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