NAMIBIA: Hunt Report - Khomas Highlands Hunting Safaris Namibia Aug-Sep 2019

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Matt_WY, Sep 8, 2019.

  1. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Returned a couple days ago from hunting with Philip Hennings at Khomas Highlands Hunting Safaris in Namibia. Awesome trip. Philip and his grew did a great job. Hunt report as follows....

    Dates: 11 days, 25 Aug - 4 Sep 2019

    Package: Namibia Top Ten

    My KH team:
    Every day I had Hendrick as PH and Charles as a driver. Dino joined us until for all but about three days to help open gates etc. Adab came along one day as a second PH; Isaac came along several days as a second PH.

    Travel:
    I booked my travel through Lori at Travel Express. She was always helpful and answered all of my questions. There is no way to go anywhere quickly from WY, so my route was: 2 hour drive to Billings airport; BIL->SLC->JFK->JNB->WDH. Took three days to get there, including 2 red-eyes. Same route in revers for the return trip but only 2 days travel due to time zone changes. Lori warned me that I would probably need to pick up my firearms from Delta and check them in with South African Air in NY. However, when I checked in the lady told me I wouldn't and marked them all to go all the way to Windhoek. Of course, Lori was right. I had about a 5 hour layover at JFK and 3.5 hours into it I get a call from Delta special luggage handling lady saying 'are you going to pick this thing up so you don't miss your next flight?' This resulted in a cross-terminal scramble to pick up the back, have NY Port Authority check it, check it back in with SA Air, and have TSA check it. Fortunately, I made the flight in plenty of time. All other travel there and back was uneventful.

    Arrival:
    I did not submit my firearms import permit to Namibian police online but I did have it filled out and printed so all i had to do was sign and hand it to the officer. Process was painless and only took about 10 mins. He didn't ask for 1/2 of the documentation that their requirements say you need. Philip met me at the airport outside of baggage claim and we were off!

    There was one other group of hunters there when I arrived -- three Kiwi's; they were a hoot. (More on that later.) They were there for the first half of my trip and I was the only hunter after that.

    Lodging is very comfortable. I had a room to myself with 2 beds and my own bath. there is a breakfast room and a dinner room. Most lunches we at on the porch.

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  2. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Arrival day, evening: I arrived a little before dinner time, but too late to hunt that day, so had some nice time to settle in before the Kiwis rolled back into camp.

    Had a great dinner. Afterwards, we took Mad Max (the Kiwis' name for philips beat-around cruiser) and went chasing spring hares. It was seriously hilarious entertainment. Alex (aka Von Julio), Philip's intern from Germany, was definitely the spring-hare catching master.

    Hunting day 1:
    Charles, Hendrick, Dino and I made a good start at 7:30 after breakfast. I was hunting in Africa!!! These guys were immediately pointing out animals that I couldn't even see. I was consistently impressed with their game-spotting ability. It wasn't too long before Hendrick whispered that he saw a couple kudu bulls. Stopped the truck and we began the stalk. We had several good stalks on this trip, but this one was my favorite. We were slinking through the landscape between rock piles and bushes to close the distance. When the sticks finally went up we were at 55-60 yards; there was one kudu and he was still feeding and didn't even know we were there. (We never figured out where the other one slipped off to.) The 300 WM barked and my first African game was down. Can't imagine a better way to start a hunt! Magic getting to finally put my hands on some spiral horns.

    Philip was doing a brat in the bush with the Kiwis that afternoon, so instead of hunting I went along with them. It was fun and delicious.

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  3. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Looks like a great start to a hunt report,,Sorry about the Kiwi's
     

  4. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Before I go on with the hunting, I am going to make a side-note on the rifles I brought: Dakota 375 H&H with 300 grain swift a-frames and a Christensen Arms Mesa with 185 grain Berger Classic Hunters.

    In theory I didn't need to bring anything but the 300. However, (1) I have a hunt booked for next year in Tanzania and the 375 is going to be my primary rifle on that hunt, so I wanted to get some time-on-game with it; (2) I tried all summer to get the Christensen Arms to group well and couldn't do it...tried a-frames, partitions, barnes, in different weights, all kinds of different powders, seatings depths...it was all over the place. A week before the hunt I was about ready to throw the gun in the trash whenI tried the Bergers, and it shot them sub-MOA and they flew just like the ballistic calculator said they would all the way past 500 yards. So I took the rifle, but I wasn't as confident in it and I wasn't happy with the bullet I was using. On the flip side, the Dakota runs like a champ and it is dead-nuts accurate with those big a-frames.

    So I started the hunt with the Christensen and after morning of day 2 switched to the Dakota anytime we were chasing animals besides baboons, warthogs, or steenbok.

    For this interested, here are a couple sample bullets we recovered. it's pretty clear which are the 375's. Notice one of the burgers has completely lost it's core!

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  5. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Hunting day 2:
    Adab joined us in the morning and we set off at the regular time. I took the 300 again. Came upon a nice gemsbok early in the morning. Great stalk and put him down from about 200 yards.

    Since it was still early, we continued on to see what we would find. Lo and behold, we bumped an eland bull and cow! Adab says, 'they are not in your package' and I responded 'I already told Philip I want one! Let's do it!' So we piled out of the truck and made a stalk. Unfortunately, they had seen us at the same time we saw them and we couldn't circle ahead of them. Back to the truck and we try to circle around the mountain to get ahead of them. At the top of the hill, Hendrick and Adab seem to know where the eland are headed so we are out of the truck again and making time at a near-jog pace. Eventually we stop and are looking down at a small drainage where we think they will pop up when we hear a noise to the right....eland 40 yards, 3:00! Again, they see us at same time and before the sticks are up they are gone. They head into the valley we are watching and come out the other side. Sticks go up and I'm on them, but we ranged them at 300 yards, they are moving, and I'm carrying the Christensen with those dang Bergers, so I choose not to shoot. Eland are big and I was not confident I could drop him cleanly under the circumstances. If it were later in the hunt and I had the Dakota with me, I probably would have shot...c'est la vie. This being only my second day of hunting, I figured we would get another chance at them. I later learned that they only wander through infrequently; we spent lots of time later in the trip looking for that pair or another and never found any. Had I known that up front, I'd have wanted to try to circle in front of them again. Regardless, it was super fun to see them and stalk them!

    We head back to the truck and start looking again, heading generally back for lunch. Bumped a heard of zebra and sandbags go up on the roof of the truck. Sorry guys, that's not how this works for me. I'll shoot baboons and warthogs from the truck (and I later made an exception for steenbok), but what I really want is to be on the ground! So we continue back for lunch.

    Afternoon was little slow but we eventually located some blue wildebeest. Nice bull in the group. I send it from about 250 yds, but it ends up being a little farther back than I had hoped. Crud. We know he's hit, but there is no blood. Of course, he runs with the heard and we track them for a couple miles before it starts getting dark. We leave him with plans to come back in the morning.

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  6. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Hunting day 3:
    I've had it with the 300 and switch to the Dakota. We head back out after the blue wildebeest. We locate the heard, follow them a little, and Hendrick sees the bull bedded between a couple trees. We stalk in and finish him off. He's a nice bull and I am glad we found him.

    Continued the morning hunt and spotted some red hartebeest form the truck. These guys are skittish and most of the one we had seen were far away and at a run, but these hadn't seen us yet. Made a long stalk in...hands and knees, belly crawls, through thorn bushes, etc. It was awesome. Got to about 200 yds and had a line on him through the bushes. Low sticks and shot from sitting; good hit, but he is not down and steps behind a bush. We are giving him a little time to expire when Hendrick points left and says springbok, 300 yds. Sticks are up again, 375 barks, and the springbok is down. Shaping up to be a busy morning!

    We go look at the springbok and Hendrick calls the truck. We start to head back towards the hartebeest and he is on his feet. He sees us and heads the other way. Of all the animals this trip, this hartebeest took the most lead. I had some good shots in him but this guy just kept going. We had a decent blood trail to follow so the tracking was quick (thank you 375!) He went over a couple ridges before we got him fully taken care of.

    This being only day 3 of 11, I think Philip might have been a little concerned when we pulled in for lunch with 3 of my target animals in the truck!

    After a great lunch and siesta we headed out for the afternoon hunt. It was a little slower, as most of the afternoons seemed to be, but we cruised the mountains and eventually spotted a herd of zebra on the next mountain. I felt right at home as we made a long steep stalk down a shale and boulder-choked chute. Nestled behind a rock at 300 yds we picked a target animal. We had done well and the herd was totally unaware of us. Nice rest on a rock and a stable sitting position and the 375 again did its magic. One shot and our stallion is down in his tracks. Man I love these guys. They are so freaking pretty!

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  7. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Hunting day 4:
    We are quickly going through my list of animals and are getting to the point that we are targeting specific species rather than taking the 'see what we find' approach. This day is for black wildebeest. Isaac joins us and in the afternoon we locate a nice herd with a big bull in it. We make a good stalk. At 150 yards the stick go up. They know something is up and are nervous but haven't bolted. My biggest concern is hitting the right animal, but the stick are up, and I make the shot hoping I interpreted correctly. At the shot the heard bolts and I can't see what happened to my target. They say he is down so we start waling towards where I shot. My first confirmation of a hit was a giant bubble of red....yeah, that one wasn't going anywhere. And I hit the right one. :) These guys are so ugly they are cute.

    More spring hare chasing in Mad Max after dinner. Rolled back to home on a very flat tire.

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  8. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Hunting day 5:
    We go out for impala. This one is not actually on my package list, but Philip says he thinks he knows where there is a nice ram, so we go take a look. We are driving down the bottom of a drainage and see him staring at us on the skyline of the ridge. Hendrick, Isaac and I hop out and the stalk is on. We circle wide, climb the hill, sneak in to 150-ish yards and the stick go up. Tight shot between some bushes but he is good to go. Crosshairs are settled on the front of his chest for a full frontal shot, but Hedrick says wait until he turns broadside. Fate intervenes and instead of continuing to his right and giving me a broadside he steps left behind a bush. We try to stalk in on him again but he busts us and is outa there. Isaac spotted a nice, very old warthog on the way home so we dropped him and added him to the bag.

    Spent the afternoon looking for steenbok. Saw tons, but they were all females or small males. I never really understood the fascination with small antelope, tiny ten, etc. But I do now. I love these little guys!

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  9. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Hunting day 6:
    About 10 minutes into the morning hunt we spotted a nice steenbok and I dropped him from the truck with the 300. (I had switched back to the lighter rifle since I knew we were after steinbok and baboons and I wanted to observe my limited supply of 375 ammo.)

    Spent the afternoon looking for baboons. Saw many, shot at a few, hit none. Was definitely having trouble with the small running targets at 300+ yards, especially when I didn't have time to get an exact range.

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  10. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Hunting day 7:
    Red lechwe was another animal not on my list that we spent some time looking for. There are not many around, but Philip knew of one ram...or so he says. :) Also spent some time looking for the impala; we saw him but he saw us too. Spent the afternoon looking for eland or mythical lechwe.

    Hunting day 8:
    More time on the impala. Again found him but no shots. Mostly a game drive in the afternoon but we did see a couple jackals ... unable to get a gun in position to capitalize on those short opportunities.

    Hunting day 9:
    Walked over 5 miles looking for the impala. Eventually Charles spots him and we get close but can't find him. Then Charles spots him again and we make a legit stalk. Group of 4 of us plus the dog makes it to under 50 yards. He starts to trot across us and the sticks are up. First shot was high but the second was money. He runs, but there is a huge blood trail and he's piled up in 100 yards with big hole just where it should be.

    Chased baboons all afternoon. They are my nemesis.

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  11. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    Hunting day 10:
    Often the funniest things on a hunt are not related to hunting. Like when the driver dumps the whole front end of the truck in an aardvark hole. During the extraction, the German intern (yep, our good friend Von Julio), accidentally flings the driver's smart phone into a really deep aardvark hole on the other side of the truck. Though it was attempted, we could not successfully recover the phone. Fortunately, later in the afternoon, it was safely extracted with the help of a kid with small enough shoulders to get into the hole.

    Spent the afternoon chasing baboons.

    Hunting day 11:
    Wacky morning... Philip gives me his 22 to take a long to see if we can get some guinea fowl for his traps. I went three guineas for 20 shots over the course of the morning. Then we found a blind steenbok, which Charles and Alex dispatched. Then we found and hartebeest with an injured foot who also happened to be a total stud; the 375 did its magic and we added him to our load.

    Spent the afternoon chasing baboons and I finally connected on one, though he was rather small.

    Departure, day 12:
    We headed into town after breakfast and dropped my trophies off for dip and pack. Then went to the shopping mall and got lunch before heading to the airport. All went smoothly and I headed to the gate while Philip waited for his next hunters arriving that afternoon.

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  12. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    I couldn't have asked for a better first experience hugging in Africa. Philip and his whole team made the visit fun and productive. In addition to great hunting, I enjoyed meeting Philip and his family. The Kiwis were a hoot and it was nice to have a few days that were very social when they were there as well as a few calmer days once I was the only hunter in camp. It genuinely felt more like friends having fun rather than just being hosted at a camp.

    The food was delicious and I got to try multiple preparations of several meats, including zebra, gemsbok, and sable. I'll post a few pics of the food as well, though I will point out that I was better at capturing images of the starters than I was the main meals (because I was busy eating!)

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  13. Matt_WY

    Matt_WY AH Veteran

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    So there you go... I got on the Africa Hunting forum about a year ago and started getting edu-ma-cated as best I could. Many people on this forum contributed to the success of this hunt by proving information to help me hone the right skills, get the right gear, and go in with the right mindset. Thanks to all of you for that help. I could not have been more please with this trip.

    I hope the hunt report helps other people planning to hunt with Philip. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to PM me.

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  14. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Looks like you had a great time!! Congrats on the hunt and thanks for sharing with us!
     
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  15. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great Hunt Report ,Thanks
     
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  16. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    An excellent first Africa adventure Matt_WY! That package has always looked good to me. I usually get a package, then Africa offers up a trophy I just cannot resist!

    Glad you’re just going to use the 375 H&H on your next adventure! As the saying goes... “Beware the man with only one gun. He probably knows how to use it.”

    Thanks for the report! You did good.
     
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  17. fish hunter

    fish hunter AH Senior Member

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    Awesome report and thanks for sharing your pictures with us. Can’t wait for the day I get to return and hunt with Philip’s crew again!
     

  18. Neale

    Neale AH Enthusiast

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    Great report, some fine trophies and memories there.
     
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  19. gizmo

    gizmo AH ENABLER SPONSOR Since 2015 AH Ambassador

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    Fantastic, what an excellent experience. I’ve often kicked around hunting Namibia as a next trip. Congrats on some outstanding trophies.
     
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  20. Khomas Highland Hunting Safaris

    Khomas Highland Hunting Safaris SPONSOR Since 2016 AH Enthusiast

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    Thank you Matt for sharing your hunting adventure with our AH community! Keep in touch and hope to welcome you back one day to chase Eland in the Kalahari.
    best regards the Khomas Highland team
     
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