NAMIBIA: Caprivi = Buffalo + PG With Emile Kirchner & Kou Kuas Adventures In Bwabwata West

pimes

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Now that winter has ended our hunting season here in Austria, I find time to tell the AH-community about my memorable hunt with Emile Kirchner/Kou Kuas Safaris in Namibia's famous Caprivi Region in mid-July 2023

After 14 days of self-drive tour/photo safari through the NP's in Namibia's Caprivi strip, Botswana's Chobe area, the Okavango Delta now the highlight of our trip:

8 days on Buffalo and PG with Emile Kirchner in Namibia's famous Bwabwata West concession (formerly Buffalo Core Park).

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Emile Kirchner owner of Kou Kuas Adventurs is the new leaseholder of this well-known Caprivi-concession and over the last few months he has built an impressive and very comfortable camp right on the banks of the Okavango, not far from the boarder to Botswana. The camp is the base for all safaris at this more than 275,000 hectare big concession. Non-hunting companions are also well catered and they certainly won't get bored (photo safari, fishing trips, visiting local villages, bird watching, sundowner trips on the Okavango...).

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We met Emile at the entrance gate to the park and drove together to his camp where Kirstin, Emile's wife and the camp staff gave us a warm welcome. After we had the usual welcome drinks and settled into our tents, we went for control shooting. My Sauer 202 TD shot as usual - the new barrel in the 404 Jeffery caliber works perfectly...
With the knowledge to be well prepared, we went out by boat in the evening for a sundowner on an island in the Okavango with a fantastic sunset.

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Next morning we started at first light. We drove along the Okavango and looked first at the floodplains for buffalo – we saw numerous elephants, herds of 100-200 an more buffalos, Lechwe everywhere, Lions resting from the night and large numbers of aquatics and PG that were still moving to the water or coming from the water... The amount of game that concentrates here towards the riverbank in dry season is absolute impressive.

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After first impressions from the riverfront, we went into backcountry where we specifically looked for buffalo tracks. It didn't take long time, before the trackers spotted the first tracks – but all seems to be younger bulls and so we continued looking for fresh tracks. Shortly afterwards we found some, looked good - several strong tracks led from the river into the backcountry. We had been following the tracks for good one hour when we suddenly heard oxpeckers - we slowly stalked forward. The wind was good, so we quickly came on a group of 8 buffaloes. Most of them was lying only two were grazing - but both too young.
It took a while to tax all bulls - there was one buffalo in the group = really old, one horn broken off, the other one worn down - good boss, good shape and close to 39'' = a dream buffalo - but unfortunately on the first stalk - we let him pass.

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So work goes on – the next days we tracked several groups of buffalos – we spotted between 15-25 Bulls/day only by tracking (without the ones we saw on the riverbanks of the Okavango every morning/evening...). But there wasn't one we was looking after.

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In the afternoon of our third day, on the way back to camp (PG = esp. Kudus, Impala but also Zebra, Eland, Sable ... everywhere), we came on a large group of Sables around 300 Meters in front of us. Emile said he saw a bull in the group - but the bull was lying in the tall grass and he couldn't really tax him. We decided to pass the group and then stalk back carefully against the wind. In the tall grass we got into a good distance to the large group (over 20 cows + their calves) - but no bull to see. After changing position several times, Emile was able to spot the bull. He lay covered by tall grass in the shade of a tree. We tried to get a better view of the lying bull, so some cows got noticed of us and the group became restless. Emile brought the shooting stick into position and when the bull finally got up, no more words where needed = in front of us a bull of a lifetime …

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The next days we searched and tracked buffalo again - each time incredibly exciting, sometimes demanding due to the heat, sand and the distance we covered, then again surprising because we were at the buffaloes after just 15 minutes, but each time intensive buffalo hunting = like I imagined it.

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... on the 6th day = in the Morning light rain - in July in Namibia = Emile couldn't remember that... But the light rain in the morning made the fresh tracks easy to see. The amount of game that was on the trail again that morning was enormous. On the riverbank several hundred buffaloes and elephants - PG on every corner and behind every bush...
On the way into the backcountry we saw 3 buffalo from the car and tried to stalk them. We crossed the fresh tracks of another group. We changed plan and decided to follow these tracks. Relatively quickly we came at these 4 bulls - all really old warriors... It was difficult to tax them in the dense bush - we stood and looked at them for nearly one hour without being able to move. One of the bulls - the youngest - came within 20m, without really noticing us. The two older ones where standing in thick bush. Emile meant one of them is as really good bull - not deep curled but with a lot of character. After what felt like an eternity, some movement came in the group and I was able to spot the better one. I hesitated a bit because of the curl, but his mask was full of character… – Since this was the last day that Christian accompanied us, he documented the hunt with his camera for a promo video, I made the decision to shoot this buffalo. The fact that shortly before I shot a large kudu ran between us and the buffalo made the situation perfect and a dream hunt came to end after 6 shots...

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At that time I had no idea, that this hunt would have another highlight for me - first of all we had to take care of the buffalo and celebrate it with Emile, Kirtsin and my family - a beautiful sundowner on a riverbank of the Okavango was the worthy setting for this...
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During sundowner we talked about the last days of our hunt. After me, Emile had two elephant hunts planned. That's why we wanted to use the last days to look for elephant bull and if we got the chance - hunting a roan = because i don’t know if I'll ever get the chance to hunt free-roaming roans again. So the last few days flew by - we didn't see any good elephant, but found a few big tracks, so Emile was in good spirits for the upcoming hunt. On the last day, we spotted a roan bull on a bush fire area. Emile means - definitely worth for hunting...
Out of the car and started stalking. In the relatively open area the roan had the advantage on his side and kept us at distance. So we decided to made a brake - gave the bull time to calm down. After a long break we picked up the track again. Our stalk first through dense bush, than came back on a burnt area.

Emile suddenly stopped, puts the shooting stick in position and said: 220 meters in front of us in the shade under the green tree - it took me what felt like an eternity to find the brown spot and identify it as a roan. Emile said, he is standing and facing half in our direction. I turned up the scope and tried to find the roan - finally I was sure to be on the bull and shot. We clearly heard bullet hitting the bull - the whole hunt was unbeatable in terms of excitement, so my relief and joy was huge. But this was dampened by that there was no roan and no blood at the place where he stoods - disappointment set in. We found the track clearly in the sand and so we followed. After 40-50 meters, there was some blood = hope came back... Suddenly Emile in front of me became hectic - the bull 120 meters in front of us - quickly over the shooting stick - the bull was moving and I hit him a little behind. The Roan runs away again. My 3rd shot on the running bull missed. We followed the track again. After 300-350 meters the sick bull in front of us again. Now I had time and placed a good bullet, but it took another one to bring the roan finally down = 4x .404 Jeffery – 400gr. Woodleigh SN - unbelievable how hard these antelopes are (first shot was deep through the chamber = no rejects...)
Another celebration day - on the last day an ancient roan bull = you can't even dream of a hunt like this.

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1000 thanks to Emile, Kirstin and the team for this great experience!!! - More about Bwabwata-West and Emile Kirchner = www.koukuasadventures.com

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Excellent adventure Sir with some outstanding animals killed, well done!
 
Amazing you were able to get that roan. Very well done.
 
Waidmannsheil, those are some great animals taken. Thanks for sharing!
 
That is a special part of Africa. Congrats on a tremendous hunt and thanks for sharing it with us here.
 
Wow I’m impressed. Congratulations. Any report with a wild roan really catches my interest. Thanks for all the photos. There are few areas you could see as much wildlife as you did.
 
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Congrats and thanks for sharing!
 
Beautiful photography sir. Congratulations on your buffalo.
 
Congrats on a great trip! What kind of camera setup did you use? Those were some great shots with the lens too.
 
Wonderful trophies, congratulations. Looks like a beautiful area from your photos
 
Waidmannsheil! I loved reading your report as we don't get to hear enough about Caprivi. You obviously focused on getting some good photos, which is something I always struggle with. Fantastic that you got that roan in the end, free ranging...proper roan. Fantastic.
 
Reading your report has brought back many fond memories of the Caprivi. We went through the area in 2013, Mahangu overnighting on a house boat for a couple of nights. Beautiful area, saw my first true dagga boy there, priceless. Congratulations and fine report.
 
Thank you for writing your report. Sounds like you had a very rewarding experience. Really like the Roan.
 
Great report and some fine Namibian trophies! Well done. I head to the Caprivi with Ndumo Safaris in July.
 
Congrats on a great trip! What kind of camera setup did you use? Those were some great shots with the lens too.
We were accompanied by Christian of Barral and Bow (www.barrelandbow.me) = a professional photographer who created a promo video for Emile he used a Sony ILCE-7SM3 and I used Nikon Coolpix P900 and i-phone13 = you can see the difference :sneaky::cool:
 
Congratulations. Wonderful trophies and love that buffalo.
 
Outstanding hunt and wonderful trophies. Thanks for the report and all the pictures!
 
Thank you the great hunt report. Congrats on the animals you took. Quick question: I love the fact that you did multiple NP’s prior to your hunt in Botswana and Namibia, Can I ask how you handled traveling with your gun into and around the np’s as well as getting a permit for Botswana where I don’t believe you hunted? I always thought that would be a great idea.
 
Excellent hunt. Thank you for sharing it with us!
 
Fantastic trophies! The Caprivi looks like a dream. Thanks for sharing!
 

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