NAMIBIA: KHOMAS HIGHLAND HUNTING SAFARIS Sept / Oct 2021

Velo Dog

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Hello again fellow Hunters,

Today is October 4, 2921.
We have been out of internet connectivity for several days now.
For that I apologize but such is Africa.
(Alaska can be like that sometimes as well).

I still need to post narratives on tracking the eland across what seemed like the entire continent and a description of stalking the springbok in a burned area.

Also, Dudders yes, those bottom two pics are from Okambara.
As you can see, part of that land has burned.
However, quite a lot of it was spared as well.
The hunting was still quite good, in some ways better than 2017, when myself and my eldest son Danny (screen name here: DoubleLunger) hunted there last.

I have never seen so many eland, impala and waterbok, in 3 days time anywhere, (this is my 6th visit to Africa) as I saw at Okambara this time, including multiple visits to national parks in South Africa and Namibia.
This reminds me that I’m getting ahead of myself here and I still need to post details of tracking eland for hours, in the Kalahari red sand and thick thornbush.
Also, I must describe the PH’s clever trick that fooled an older springbok ram we had spotted, way out in the middle of a burned off plain, there on Okambara.
Likewise, Kelley of The Kalahari and myself surf casting for, what I would describe as “African Pompano”, plus salt water catfish and sharks.
It was epic, her arms were sore 3 or 4 days from fighting the sharks.
The devil is in the details and, I will get to them as soon as I can.

We have been so many places and have seen so many things that I am grinding my teeth to write about.
But the blasted internet has been very uncooperative most of the time.

At the moment, we have driven from Walvis Bay and Swakopmund then, to and from Etosha Park, Namibia.
We drove past the Waterburg (Waterberg?) Plateau and now, at the time of this writing, have stopped at a farm belonging to our PH’s childhood friend.
Their internet is working, hurray !

This flat geography, has beautiful green crop farms, also cattle farms, with plentiful but dry yellow grass interspersed with green foliage (thornbush) as well.
Other than the thorn plants and thorn trees, this area strongly resembles the upper Sacramento Valley of Central and / or Northern California.
Well except that, there are also Thousands of hectares with thick thorn forest as well here.

Ralf (our venerated PH), says his friend’s place has better than average numbers of warthog, due to several deep wells, water holes and plentiful natural feed.
Plus, it hasn’t been hunted in awhile, due to all this Covid mass hysteria.

I will be using one of the farm rifles here.
Not sure what it will be but, I will describe it when I get a good look at it.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Also before I forget, thank you each one for your likes, kind comments and suggestions.
All are much appreciated.
I do not bother with Facebook or any other sort of mainstream Social Media activities.
All of you fellow AfricaHunting.com members are therefore very important to me.

Certainly, I do not expect everyone here to be interested in what I post.
There are a handful of members who have blocked me from reading what they write.
And so, I am guessing they don’t bother reading my rants and ramblings.
Can’t blame them really, as I know I talk too much and can be an annoying smartass at times as well.

I gather from such actions that, my jabbering is either boring or offensive to those members, probably both, whatever.
And so, to those who have chosen to each, individually activate their super secret agent cloaking device, I apologize for whatever I said to annoy you and I do wish you well in all things.
If however, if my jokes about Weatherby rifles and cartridges were / are the cause of their disdain, all I can say is…..hmm, well I can’t think of anything to say about that, LoL.

At any rate, perhaps now at last, here I should take up where I left off before the lengthy internet interruption.

3. Eland:
On September 27, approximately at dawn, Ralf (PH), Glenn (Tracker), Kelley (my wife) and myself set out from the “fort” there at Okambara.
It is located in the last hills of the Kalahari desert, a bit before the red sand dunes begin.
These dunes incidentally, if my info is correct, traverse 5 countries.
Perhaps the longest continuous sand dunes in sub-Saharan Africa ?
However, I mention the dunes only in passing, as we did not venture out to said dunes.
We hunted the hills and valleys of Okambara.
That morning we saw many different species but nothing that Ralf thought worthy of our stalking efforts.

Eventually, we returned to the fort for lunch and an afternoon cat nap.
After that, Kelley elected to stay behind for the afternoon.
So, the 3 stooges drove off without Kelley of The Kalahari, around 2:30 PM, doing the same as before.

We went grinding slowly along in the “bakki” (pickup truck), stopping at times to glass a bit.
After about an hour of this, we stopped where there was what looked like a couple sets of cattle tracks, crossing the dusty trail we had been traveling on.
Ralf and Glenn examined these hoof prints and quickly agreed the spoor was from two mature bull eland and quite fresh, yes quite.

We quietly left the vehicle and began walking after the tracks.
The weather was clear and hot, around +90 something degrees Farenheight.
We walked briskly as there was a strong breeze at our faces.
And, the Ralf said these elands were walking steadily, not slowly so, we must hurry if we are to overtake them.

In 15 months I will be 70 years old.
However, I was able to keep going, definitely not as fast as I would have liked, especially the last hour or so.
Very glad I had lost some weight and hiked many times in preparation for this eland hunt.
Onward we quickly walked, hour after sweaty hour.
These eland led us on a proverbial “goose chase” for something over three hours.
But fortunately, it was although in a many kilometers duration, in a huge half circle, not straight away from the vehicle.

Darkness finally overtook us and we had to surrender our defeat to the eland.
Ralf said we were close.
Another half hour and we would have most likely gotten a look at them.

We cut our half circle and made it to the “road” (2 tire tracks in the desert).
Then we arrived at the vehicle in much less time than we had spent trailing the eland.
I had sweat so much and walked so far for a geezer that I was physically ill that night.
I had consumed water but I should have spiked it with sugar and salt.
Back in camp, I didn’t drink beer, but only water.
Was sick enough to not sleep well throughout the night.

Next morning I was still a bit in tatters but getting better, little by little.
On this morning, I drank a lot of orange juice and I took potassium tablets as well.

I told Ralf that I had suffered dehydration sickness during the night and was not back up to 100% yet.
And I didn’t think I could go another 10 kilometers this morning, especially at an eland’s pace, LoL.
But I could walk.

Always professional, good old Ralf assured me that in the cool temperature of early morning hours, we can hopefully track some eland more cautiously and not have to do a marathon “power walk” across the entire continent of Africa after them.

To be continued…….
 
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flatwater bill

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Awesome report, Paul............looking forward to more.......one of the operators I'd like to hunt with someday, so am enjoying the details.......................................Bill
 

Hookboy88

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Paul, glad you’re enjoying yourself. I greatly enjoy your writing.
While I did not get the chance to hunt with Ralf myself while there I did greatly enjoy his company in camp. He seemed to be a great hunter with love for wildlife.
Congrats on the Eland BTW. They are on my buck list for next trip with Philip and his company.
 

cpr0312

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Thanks for sharing, enjoying the read! Congrats on the hunt!
 

Velo Dog

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Hello again fellow Hunters / Fishers, etc.,

I apologize for my many delays.
So much has happened (**mostly all good).
At the moment, Kelley of The Kalahari and myself are in jolly old London, England.
Here it is Saturday, October 9th, around 2:30 PM / 1430 hours.
We are sadly now on our long = 2+ days flying (3 days if there are any layovers of 7 or more hours), journey toward home, to The United State of Alaska.

As I write this, we are having cocktails in the British Airlines South lounge, Heathrow / London Airport.
Everything here in the lounge is **no longer self serve, except for ice, soda pop and bottled water.
Neither are the bartenders receptive to any pathetic whimpering of thirsty travelers, such as myself.
The one I contacted told me, (noticeable annoyance in his voice) that, I must return to my table and use my cell phone to order food and drink.

Now, you have to scan with your cell phone, a super secret spy code strip that’s glued to most (but not all) table tops here.
A menu pops up, from which you order, again via your cell phone.
Then, within about 20-30 minutes, your drinks and / or food FINALLY arrives.
My wife ordered for me a double gin & tonic.

I tasted NO gin it it, zero, zip, nada…only tonic and the wee lime slice provided.
Then, she ordered for me a scotch on the rocks.
It was called “Singleton of Glendullan”, 15 year.
Indeed, it tasted like a bonnie single malt, however faintly so it was (obviously diluted).

So, here’s the trick.
Order your whiskey neat.
Then while they are planting the grains, waiting for the harvest to ripen, reaping said grains, brewing from it, the ale and then distilling said ale, meanwhile go to the area with the bottled water, soda pop and buckets of ice cubes.
Grab a glass then, using the tongs provided, fill your glass with ice cubes.
Return to your table and your drink will eventually arrive.
Add your ice and voila !
Full power whiskey on the rocks.

Also, for those of you who take your whiskey mixed with soda pop (and you know who you are), repeat the above steps but, add your Coca Cola, Sprite, etc.

Be all of that as it may, perhaps since their service is snail-in-jail slow and their drinks are now obviously diluted these days, perhaps they will feed us crab legs and caviar on the plane, to make up for their deficit, (sure they will…when monkeys fly out of my butt).

Moving right along ……
Eland Continued:

Still at Oasis Okambara, aka: “Elephant Camp”, in the last hills and valleys of the Kalahari Desert, before the famous sand dunes begin.
On the morning of Sept 28, before daylight, keeping a stiff upper lip andaccompanied by my best wife, we joined Ralf at the dining table for coffee, (from fresh ground Kenya coffee beans) fried eggs (Okambara has a mob of chickens laying daily), bacon, tomato, cheese, thin sliced ham, toast (coarse and serious German style bread is made in house), jam, butter, etc.

Then, off we roll (by now joined by Glenn, our Tracker, of the Damara people), in our bakki, toward where Ralf figured that once again, we might cut eland tracks.

We crawled along in 4 wheel drive, slowly.
We stopped here and there to glass the valleys, shadowy side hills and water holes.
There were baboons and jackals everywhere.
Likewise, we saw elephant, Burchell zebra, giraffe, waterbok, impala, steenbok, gemsbok/oryx, hartebees, female and a few young bull kudu, as well as both black and white rhino.
We also saw one female bush duiker.
However, since Okambara is primarily a “photo safari / white table cloth / red wine” sort of place …. (and by the way, I highly recommend it), we were not to shoot baboons or jackals.

We only had permission to hunt specifically certain antelopes and no other.
Not to worry though.
African antelopes are pretty much the main animals that my dreams are made of.

Anyway, our “work” went on for a couple hours.
Eventually, we ground to yet another halt, atop a slightly higher place, overlooking a wide expanse of moderate to thick sea of thornbush and stunted trees (camelthorn), interspersed with ankle to knee high dry grass, on rolling low hills.

We glassed silently for about 15 minutes, in all directions, seeing various species, some of which as mentioned above.
Ralf then whispered “eland”.
I shifted my focus to the direction Ralf and by now, Glenn were aiming their binoculars toward.
However, as I settled on that patch of Namibia, Ralf signaled for me to bring the Brno .375 and follow him.
Although as of yet, I hadn’t yet seen the elands, I did as instructed, deliberately and quietly.

Upon just setting foot on the ground, Ralf motioned for me to chamber a round.
I did so, as quietly as possible, considering that it was a repeater.
As Ralf hot-foot it slightly down hill, I followed close on his heels, muzzle to the side, as Glenn was behind me.
And, Glenn wore my backpack.
Soon enough I learned he had placed 3 - one liter bottles of water in it.

My true love chose to wait in the vehicle, as
Ralf, Glenn and myself quietly eased away from the hunting car (Toyota Bush Cruiser, aka: “baaki” or “bakki” or “buggy” … or, in USA jargon: “pickup truck”).
On we pressed, not speaking.
I kept my eyes on the ground, trying to place my steps exactly on Ralf’s, so as to not snap a twig or scrape a stone.

After about 30-40 minutes, Ralf dropped to the ground, behind about a 6’ x 6’ very thick, green thorn bush, slowly pointing with his index finger, symbolically through said bush.
Simultaneously myself and Glenn went to ground as well.

Via slow hand signals, Ralf indicated that Glenn was to remain there and I was to follow Ralf.
At first we crawled in the red sand.
Then, we “duck walked” a bit, then we crawled some more, always remaining low and behind this bush or that bush.
I had not yet seen our quarry.
Too busy trying to avoid making noise and / or skewering a hand or knee cap on abundanttooth pick size thorns.

Eventually my little bottle of waterless hand wash slid from my shirt pocket as we crawled forward.
There are untold square kilometers / miles of soft red sand in the Kalahari.
But do you think that infernal thing could land in it ?
No way Jose’ (or hose B).
It landed slap bang on my rifle barrel, with a deafening CLACK !

The elands buggered off.
You should’ve seen the look Ralf gave me, and well deserved it was.

However, all was not lost after all (thanks to Ralf being born and raised in the bush).
We stayed motionless for what seems like forever.
The eland had only bolted about 75 to 100 meters, before slowing down to look back for their noisy intruder (me).

Eventually, we crawled forward to another bush and stayed motionless there for a good long while as well.
(My little hand wash bottle now was in my front pants pocket, so that it could not again fall out, unless I stood In my head).

Suddenly, Ralf rises and quickly duck walked to our left front, reaching some thick bushes within only 3 or 4 minutes at most.
There we stayed silent and motionless again.
Eventually, Ralf again quickly rose to his feet and upright, he fast walked to another thick clump of thorn bushes, hard to our left.
I rose to the occasion, so to speak and remained as always, his shadow.

These thorn bushes were tall enough for us to stand totally upright behind, without the eland seeing us.
As I stood staring through the thorns, a huge, “blue” bull eland began to materialize, about 75 meters straight ahead.
He was uncharacteristically broadside to me, facing to my right.
I could not see his horns whatsoever, only from his tail to his shoulder…s
At that, his shoulder (right shoulder) was partially concealed behind both bushes and low hanging tree branches.

Ralf set the sticks just ever so slightly to our right of the brush from behind we had last been hiding, simultaneously whispering to me “shoot him”.
I did.
Bangflop.

My 300 grain Federal brand round nosed soft hit this eland a tic high but otherwise spot on the shoulder nonetheless.
He went down hard and stayed there.
However, Ralf had me give him another bullet to be sure.
And Ralf himself also put in a solid from his ever present t .357 revolver, just to be totally positive.
After shaking hands and slapping each other on the back quite a lot, Ralf went back and fetched Glenn.
We all celebrated with the water Glenn had carried.

Soon we heard our vehicle approaching in the distance.
Kelley had heard the shots and after a time of silence (while we were shaking hands and slapping each other on the back), she elected to fire up the truck and drive toward where she figured we would be.
She was close when Ralf walked out to find her.
Soon, all of us were together, taking photos and all smiling quite a bit.

We used the winch to pull this eland up and into the bed of the truck.
Ralf estimated it’s weight at 2,000 pounds .

So at any rate, that’s it for the moment, as out plane from London to Chicago is about to board.

Cheers for now,
Velo Dog.
 

Velo Dog

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Ladies & Gents,

Today is Monday, 11 October, 2021.
Yesterday my mother-in-law picked us up at the airport here in Anchorage, Alaska and drove us home.

Sad to leave Namibia but glad to be home again as well.
Our mutt had a circular running fit when he saw us climb out of Grandma’s car.
And Grandma’s wiener dog had a barking fit.
Weenie boy is evidently too lazy to run in circles when greeting people.
Other than our guest room smelling like Grandma’s perfume, everything seems just like it was when we left, LoL.

Anyway, Wednesday 29 September 2021.
4. Springbok:
Still at Okambara, after a fine breakfast of bacon, eggs, cheese, thin sliced cold game meats, tomato, toast, butter, jam, coffee, fruit juice, etc, Ralf, Glenn and myself went “gummy walking” as Ralf liked to say (pronounced goomy walking).
It means riding on car tires instead of on your shoe soles.

We wandered far and wide, stopping regularly to glass about with our binoculars and / or closely examine animal tracks in mud beside the waterholes.
At one stage, we found some fresh cheetah tracks in fine dust.
Ralf said he was a big male.
Sadly we didn’t ever see this big kitty.

After not finding any critter worth stalking yet, we returned to the lodge around 12:30 PM for a fine lunch of rice, mixed with various meats and vegetables, somewhat resembling the popular dish from Spain known as Paella (pronounced “pay ay yah”).
Always a workaholic, my wife got connectivity into the lodge internet and all morning she had done some work for her job, waiting for her back at home.

3:30 PM, after a cat nap, we rose for afternoon coffee and cake.
4:00 PM, le wife decided to stay and do more typing on the computer, while the internet was available.
Me and the fellers rolled out for more “gummy walking “.

With some of the foliage burned away, we could see quite a lot of animals, including many elands, (of course now that I had previously walked my shoes off in finding one to shoot. LoL)

There were new green shoots of plants popping up everywhere across the burned off places.
And the springbokke were often seen scurrying from one little “salad” to the next, excitedly eating.
Around 4:45 PM, Ralf saw two mature rams among a small herd of springboks .

There was no cover out where they were eating the tiny new shoots, as the formerly thick thornbush had been previously burned down to the sand.
These white springbokke stood out like glowing light bulbs against the blackened earth.

Glenn stayed with the truck.
Ralf and myself walked not directly at the little antelopes but instead, at such an angle so as to appear like we were going to pass them by.
Ralf held the shooting sticks up in hopes of resembling oryx / gemsbok horns.
I carried the rifle on my shoulder, like marching in a parade, with the muzzle pointed skyward, in hopes of resembling a one horned oryx.
It actually worked.

Within about 200 meters of the critters, several of them stopped eating and glared at us.
Ralf then set the sticks and said “far left one, shoot it”.
I foolishly rushed my shot and missed the jolly whole ram, while he was standing broadside to us no less.
A little black cloud of dust poofed up just behind him, indicating my bullet passed just under him.

The animals ran another 150 - 200 meters farther away.
Ralf then held his hat in one hand, high over his head and bent over as he walked briskly forward, this time directly at the now, on high alert herd.
I too bent over to lower my profile and took off power walking behind Ralf, in this uncomfortable but necessary posture.
At about 225 meters, Ralf put his hat back on his head, stood up and set the sticks, whispering “single ram, way far left, shoot him”.

I settled and fired, at the almost broadside little animal, then hearing the distinct and satisfying “wop” of a blunt shaped bullet striking flesh and bone.
But this ram just trotted off, further to our left, as if I had done nothing more than insult his mother.
I pointed in again and said “man, I was steady and I heard the koogleslag for sure”.
Ralf grinned, saying “don’t shoot again, he is hit well”.
Just then, the ram indeed dropped dead.

For fear of missing again or worse - wounding, I had not aimed for the shoulder but instead, for the larger rib cage area just behind the shoulder.
And, that is exactly where the 300 gr round nose soft landed, exiting the corresponding off side.
The exit hole was no larger than a walnut, a very small walnut.

As these burned off thorn bushes leave flame hardened, sometimes sharp little stubs at ground level, Glenn didn’t risk puncturing a tire.
He walked way out to us on foot, perhaps 500 meters or more.
After the photos, Glenn and Ralf took turns carrying the animal clear back to the vehicle.
I offered to take a turn carrying but they declined.

The .375 H&H is my favorite caliber for so called “plains game”, from very close range, it is unnecessarily powerful for most (but not all) non-dangerous game.
However, both the 300 grain and the 270 grain bullets (even the lately poopooed “cup & core” ones) made for it evidently are intended for larger animals.
Most .375 bullets are so resistant to deformation that, when shooting small animals, these tough bullets don't expand much, if at all.
This saves a lot of valuable meat and skins for taxidermy.
Yet, if you choose said bullets in blunt shape, aka: “round nose”, they hit hard and usually little springbok do not jog 30 - 40 meters after a fatal hit, like mine did this time….usually.

Well so, our time down in the Kalahari, at Okambara / Elephant Camp had to end.
Love that place.
Tracking cape eland in the red sand, along their far ranging, wandering and seeming aimless treks, through the Kalahari bush is I’m afraid, as close to an expensive Lord Derby Eland type of hunting experience that, a blue collar working man like myself will ever know.
And, I am very thankful to have done so twice, once in 2017 and now this time in 2021.

Okambara is not really a hunting concession per se.
Instead, they cater to photography.
However, they admirably serve game meat to their guests, by means of a couple of very well trained Chefs there on staff.
Normally an employee has to go out and fetch the venison in before guests are scheduled to arrive for filming elephants and all the rest.
Khomas Safaris however has a great relationship with Okambara.
They let Philip and Ralf bring hunting clients there on a limited basis.
The meat stays there at Okambara but we may bring away the non-edible parts, such as horns and skins.

Only certain species are allowed to be hunted there, eland being one of them.
Also eland are, in spite of the recent past drought and resultant bush fires, abundant on Okambara.
Even though it is in the desert, water bubbles up out of the ground, in several places here and there, across this amazing property.
There are elephant and warthog, plus some of the tiny antelopes present, all of which need water, (unlike gemsbok, kudu, etc., which don’t necessarily need to drink water every day or even every week).

Okambara is somehow staying ahead of the bill collectors, in spite of not many visitors during all this Covid hysteria.

The owner, Christoph or Christof (I’m not sure of the spelling), is a soft spoken (multiple languages) gentleman, obviously of quite high intellect and very friendly.
Even though he clearly is not poor, in talking with him, you would never guess it, as he is not the least bit detached from us simple folk of the earth.
I am very grateful to him for allowing me to hunt on his massive land holding there.

Cheers for now,
Velo Dog & Kelley of The Kalahari.

Tune in again, same bat time, same bat channel for, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund fishing from the beach……..
 
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375er

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Velo Dog, just wondering what your average shot distance was as I am bringing my .375 there next year?
 

Velo Dog

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Velo Dog, just wondering what your average shot distance was as I am bringing my .375 there next year?

Hello 375er,

Longest was well less than 300 paces this time.
Shortest was about 20 paces.
Have to go back through my notes when I get a spare minute to be sure but, seems like at least 4 animals were taken at only about 40 paces.

= Average was somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 meters ?

Admittedly, this was shorter range than my past experiences in Namibia.

Not sure why it turned out like that this time.
My best guess is that my particular PH was born with the “magic” LoL.
I suspect that although Caucasian on the outside, he is a Bushman on the inside.
Either that or he’s part wolf.
Perhaps some of both.

I cannot say enough good about the .375 H&H for hunting Africa’s thin skinned game, whether the conditions will dictate very short range shots in thick foliage, at almost sword fighting distance or, cross canyon shots, getting out to about 300 meters.
IMO, it is the very best cartridge for this, if one is to accept whatever animal the bush offers you at any unexpected moment.
Could be a jackal, an eland or, any one of the many varying species in between those, and again at any reasonable range.

I suppose ideally, the 270 grain soft would be the best compromise if you might have to shoot out to around 300 meters or so, yet likewise might jump a good critter almost from under your feet.
However, I’ve used both the 270
grain and the 300 grain in .375 caliber.
Realistically it doesn’t seem to matter much to the animals being shot.
I doubt they can tell the difference.

I do slightly prefer the 300 grainers, because of the sheer size of eland and because it is not very destructive on the tiny antelopes and skins of predators, such as jackal and baboon.

Cheers,
Velo Dog.
 
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Velo Dog

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Good to know! I am working on a load for 270 grain SAF right now for use on everything encountered.

I’m consulting the tea leaves now.
They seem to be strongly predicting that your 270 grain A-Frames will inflict a huge but happy taxidermy bill on your credit card.
 

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Walvis Bay & Swakopmund:
Thursday 30 September 2021

We packed up the salted game heads of the critters I had taken at Okambara, impala, Eland and springbok, had a leisurely late breakfast, said our goodbyes and drove away from Oasis Okambara.
A couple hours or so later, we arrived back at Khomas Safaris main lodge, up in the highlands.

There was some mild celebrating over my having taken an aged old blue bull eland.
We unpacked from the hunting and repacked our kit for fishing.
Then cocktail hour out on the viranda, over looking the Heusis River, (pronounced “hoysiss river”).
The river is mostly dry at this time of year, except for some deep, natural stone and well shaded waterholes).

Beautiful nonetheless, and since Philip doesn’t allow hunting right there, close to the lodge proper, game animals are almost always in proximity.
Likewise they seem to know we only take photos right there and the animals usually ignore our rude tourist actions of pointing at them and aiming our cell phones / cameras at them, exclaiming “wow, look at that one”, etc.

We experienced yet another perfect supper, this time it was of gemsbok filets, fried potatoes, salad (Philip’s crew includes a Gardener as well as 2 professional Chefs on staff), baked cauliflower with shredded cheese, home made bread, and melva pudding desert.
That night, we enjoyed a good night’s sleep.

Next morning, Friday, 1 October, 2021, right after breakfast, we (Kelley, Ralf and me) drove off toward the sea coast.
It’s a long but scenic drive so, we arrived in Swakopmund around supper time.
It is a quaint looking fishing village and tourist town.

We check into our room at “Cornerstone Guest House”, a wonderful little place.
I highly recommend staying there.
It is tastefully walled and we are given a key to the gates as well as one for our room, just off the small central courtyard, back in a shady corner.
Our room inside and out was very clean and brightly painted.
Very cheery and quiet there, we slept well each night.
There was even a secure parking spot for our car, around the back, inside the wall.
I noticed that Swakopmund however did not have the common signs and symptoms of a high crime city.

Unlike many places we have been, including Windhoek, houses in Swakopmund did not have bars on their windows, neither razor wire and broken glass on top of their fences.
Many houses there did not even have tall fences to begin with.
We noticed the absence of run down slum areas, at least that we ever saw there.
Perhaps there is a slum there somewhere but we didn’t see any.
We noticed a few well groomed dogs, being walked on leash by their owners but, saw no pit bulls, Rottweilers, etc.

My hard core Alaska resident wife even mentioned that she could retire there, no worries.
We’ve been together 28 years now and previously she had never said such a thing about any place we have visited, and we have visited many places in our wanderings, over 20 countries so far.
Quite a few German citizens and Namibian farmers own retirement homes in Swakopmund.

Anyway, we walked to a nearby “Biergarten” and enjoyed a perfect supper of smoked barble fish aka catfish (saltwater catfish - a new sub species for me), side dishes and of course excellent German style beer on tap.

Next morning, Saturday, 2 October 2021, we enjoyed a complete breakfast at Cornerstone Guesthouse, eggs cooked to order, serious whole grain breads, butter, jam, bacon, fruit, yogurt, ham, salami, cereal, coffee, tea and juice.
Then, we rode with Ralf down the coast to Walvis Bay, where we boarded about a 50 or 60 foot long catamaran with only the crew of 2 plus a couple from South Africa, on holiday to Namibia.
Ralf elected to stay ashore, as he’s been on plenty of boat rides and likely is not as interested in them any more as us starry eyed tourists are.

The sea was calm and the weather was mild.
We puttered about the bay for I think about 3 hours, enjoying looking at the wildlife and eating a seafood buffet.
This included fresh oysters on the half shell and fried squid, among other good things.

We saw many species, including sea birds, marine mammals (including but not limited to whales) and cruised past an oyster farm, from which, part of our buffet was made, no doubt.
The Atlantic Ocean is very cold there but the air is warm.
The cold water is likely why the local seafood is of high quality.

Returning to shore mid day, Ralf met us at the dock.
We bought some wood carvings from local booths near the dock.

We then drove back to Swakopmund and walked around the downtown area, visiting antique stores and more artisan booths, displaying carvings and other items of local art work.
That night we enjoyed supper at another little Biergarten, also with excellent food and beer.
This place also had a small stage in one corner, on which was a man, playing an acoustic guitar and singing one pleasant song after another.
A wonderful evening.
Then we walked back to our room and slept soundly.

The next morning, Sunday 3 October, 2021, our fearless Fishing Guide, “Shane” picked us up and away we went, up the coast.
Only what seemed like a few kilometers from town, we left the paved road and drove out to the beach.
Shane baited up a couple of spinning rods with clam meat, on a single hook and a sinker below that.

We pushed 2 spikes into the sand to hold these rods.
Shane cast out each bait rig and in turn handed Kelley and myself our tackle.
Right away we were getting bites.
Kelley, always having both more finesse and better luck to an I do, landed 2 or 3 fish strongly resembling North American pompano.

Also, she landed more than one barble, aka: catfish.
These looked exactly like North American fresh water catfish and I mean exactly.
Salt water catfish are a heretofore unknown species to me.
I had heard the term “saltwater catfish” before but just figured it was a nick name for small mud sharks or sea sculpin, etc.

Shane cleaned the “pompanos” and put them on ice but retained the heads for bait.
Also, he retained the whole catfish (about a foot long, more or less) to use whole for bait as well.
We then drove further along the almost deserted beach and eventually stopped at a point that Shane said was usually good for shark fishing.

Sure enough, right away Kelley hooked and landed what I would call a spotted sand shark, (“spotty”), weighing around 15 to 16 or so kilos, felt like about 40 pounds ?

Shane told us the true names of all the various species we caught.
But the true name of the “pompano-like” fish, with my apology, I cannot now remember.
The names, “barble fish”, “spotty” and “bronze whaler” I still remember.
“Spotty” is an abbreviated name or a nick name for this type of shark.
But again, with my apology, I cannot remember the full, true name of this fish.

Anyway, as usual, Kelley was catching “spotties” one after another.
All the while, they were mocking me by stealing the bait from my hook.
No doubt it speaks volumes about my lack of brain power that, prehistoric throwback fish often and repeatedly outsmart me.
Were it not for the loud surf, I am sure we would have heard them all roaring with laughter at my fruitless attempts to catch them.

Eventually, by the time Kelley had landed quite a few, I did begin to catch a fish here and there.
At first just catfish (using a small slice of what looked like anchovie or herring).
Then I hooked and landed a typical as described size spotty, using a “pompano” head for bait.
Eventually, while Kelley of The Kalahari was using a whole barble fish as bait, on a huge “circle hook” and a length of bite resistant steel cable, above said hook, Godzilla himself struck.

At first, the drag in her reel was buzzing like a saw.
Shane ran over to her and tightened it.
This resulted in her literally being dragged over the sand, under her bare feet, as if water skiing.
At her request, I took over.
Coincidentally, at that point Godzilla made a U-Turn and began swimming back to our left.
I quickly cranked in quite a lot of Kevlar line (100 pound test ?) and I walked back away from the water’s edge as well.

However the huge fish, upon reaching the apex of passing as close to my position as he ever was going to be, then suddenly dragged my fat ass across the sand, toward the sea.
I stubbornly dug my heels in.
The beast was not impressed, as my feet simply became like plow shears, as he continued dragging me down toward the water.

Long story made short, all of us, including Ralf, took turns battling this huge shark.
Shane declared that the beast weighed approximately 180 kilograms.
In USA terms, it was about 400 pounds, more or less.
Eventually, he broke free of us by cutting the line on some sharp object out there in his domain, probably a rock, as there were many there.

Kelley’s arms were sore for 3 or 4 days.
In the end, I managed to set my hook in what I’d call a good sized shark.
Then, after a 45 minute to an hour battle, I landed a bronze whaler, weighing about 50 kilos or about 120 pounds.
All sharks were released into the surf and quickly swam back out into the deep.

At this stage, Kelley and myself were played out and decided to leave the fish to their sea.
Shane drove us back to our place and we sadly parted from him.
Great fellow, perfectly razor sharp sense of humor and incredibly effective fisherman.

After a shower, another fine supper and much needed good night’s sleep, the next morning, 4 October, 2021, right after another perfect breakfast, Ralf drove us inland again.

Etosha Park and then after that, you guessed it, more hunting……..
 
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375Fox

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Was this your first eland? I’m glad to see the interest in them as a primary animal in a couple recent reports. Namibia has some great ones. There was a thread not long ago where they were being compared to a domestic cow I couldn’t believe, they’ve always been earned in my experience and looks like yours too.
 

MAdcox

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Great stuff Paul. I love that Eland.
We were in Namibia at the same time. Would have been good to have met up there and had a beer. Looks like a great hunt, congratulations.
Mickey
 

Velo Dog

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Was this your first eland? I’m glad to see the interest in them as a primary animal in a couple recent reports. Namibia has some great ones. There was a thread not long ago where they were being compared to a domestic cow I couldn’t believe, they’ve always been earned in my experience and looks like yours too.

Nope, it was my 2nd one in six Safaris to Africa now.
I refuse to shoot a half tame one, that abides in some farmer’s small kraal.
If someone has compared eland to a domestic cow, I suspect they have never hunted a truly wild bull eland, on property that spans farther than the eye can see, in all directions.
Instead, as I have mentioned, perhaps they’ve only taken a half tame one, in some small captive environment.
Indeed that might be an experience comparable to shooting a domestic milk cow.
I would not know for sure but I suspect that’s where such a person developed their low opinion of this otherwise worthy animal.
 
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Velo Dog

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Great stuff Paul. I love that Eland.
We were in Namibia at the same time. Would have been good to have met up there and had a beer. Looks like a great hunt, congratulations.
Mickey

Hi Mickey,

Yeah…shoot, it would’ve been good to have linked up for a cold one in Namibia.
Hopefully in the future.
I’ll buy the first round.

Prost,
Paul.
 

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1.
Sable antelope on Khomas Safaris property.

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2.
Isaac (pronounced “eesock”).
Senior PH at Khomas, speaks multiple languages, including English, German, Damara and I believe I heard him speaking Afrikaans with another land owner that drove up to Khomas, for a visit, back in 2017.
I don’t know if Isaac speaks more languages than those but nothing surprises me with this man.
Besides his language skills, he was born and raised in The Khomas Hochland Highlands and knows every place animals can be found, even in difficult weather conditions.
He is an amazing man.

CE61B0C3-312B-4EDA-9676-54C9CFFB8EC2.jpeg

3.
My true love, “Kelley of The Kalahari”, enjoying a “sundowner” before supper.
On this day, it was an ice cold, tap lager, out on the veranda, up at the Khomas Safaris Headquarters / main lodge.

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4.
Khomas Hochland Highland sunrise from the same veranda.

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5.
Elephant down in the Kalahari, near an Okambara waterhole.

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6.
Impala, also on Okambara’s huge land holding.

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7.
While tracking eland, PH Ralf and myself accidentally spooked an ostrich off its nest.
This picture of me looks like I’m a starving man, about to dive into the eggs.
However, I was simply preparing to got to one knee on the ground and lose with said eggs.
Arthritis in my knees mostly quit hurting, due to the walking several kilometers / miles a day, in the Kalahari hot weather, evidently.

556A855C-8B91-42F6-9B80-D1742D687CC1.jpeg

8.
This is either sunrise or sunset in the Kalahari bush, can’t remember which.
I think sunset but not positive.
It is on Okambara land.

D7FFBCDC-31FC-4F62-A242-B3381F3C65D6.jpeg

9.
Jackal / Okambara.

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10.
Black Wildebeest / Okambara.

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11.
Oryx, you guessed it, they’re also on Okambara.

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12.
Ralf snapping some photos of the old bull eland I shot.

F22305FB-804B-47F1-9C08-1996DE69449A.jpeg

3.
Soon after tracking that blue bull half way across the continent of Africa and finally getting a rifle shot in, we began seeing quite a lot of eland, sometimes just standing around staring at us, as we drove across the desert.
But isn’t that how it goes ?
Typical smartass animals, always making fun of me.

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14.
Meanwhile back up at Khomas, we drove “home” to the headquarters to re-pack our things for a fishing trip to the coast.
This picture is just out the window of the bakki, as we returned to the highlands.

1FF787DB-E43F-4497-96FF-FC01F86D72AA.jpeg

15.
One of several very Euro-German style Biergartens / Beer Gardens (dugh) that we enjoyed while visiting Swakopmund for 3 or 4 (?) days.
Perfect German food and perfect German bier, at least from mine and Kelley’s Alaskan point of view.
We loved it.

ADFE621C-CC0C-46FF-A86A-6C97CBD3F5E2.jpeg

16.
Left to Right:
Errens (another landowner up in the Khomas Hochland Highlands and licensed PH as well.
Back in 2017, he PH’d for my son Danny, aka: DoubleLunger screen name, here in the worlds greatest forum.
Errens just bumped into us at this Biergarten, as he was down in Swakopmund for a bit of sport fishing with friends and family.

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17.
My wife, Kelley (life long Alaskan and serious fisher) with her first African fish that, I cannot remember the name of.
These resemble North American pompano and are equally quite good eating.
Like pompano, they like to feed in the surf.
This day they were biting on clam meat (clams and other shellfish are abundant around Swakopmund).
Well, at least they were biting for Kelley.
Almost any time I fish with her, she out catches me, no matter the species of fish, on any given day.

8702CC54-E35B-481D-A961-16FBEAF1F738.jpeg

18.
Kelley’s first salt water catfish.

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19.
Kelley with her first spotted sand shark.

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20.
Damara woman displaying a chunk of quarts that, nature had imbedded green turmaline into, in the shape of a capitol letter “A”.
My last name begins with the letter A and so, I bought this rock.
It now is a door stop, down in The Safari Bar (my basement man cave).

566F9231-1865-42AE-B8FB-0BF8C31F852D.jpeg

21.
Myself & Kelley beside a stone statue, at the beach, Swakopmund, Namibia.

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22.
Bronze Whaler, about 50 kilos / 120 pounds.

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23.
Prehistoric looking trees in a small town we stopped in, during our road trip to Swakopmund.

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24.
A real live dik dik, beside the road, in our way to Etosha National Park, Namibia.
Until now, I had only seen these in pictures.
During this road trip, we saw perhaps 12 to 15 of them.
Some were outside Etosha Park and some inside the park.

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25.
Elephant sniffing the air currents, Etosha Park.

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26.
Long of horn oryx, Etosha Park.

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27.
Black Rhino, Etosha Park.
Previously, I’ve seen many white rhino but this was my first black rhino, sighting in person.

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28.
Lions in Etosha.
The one on far right was pregnant.
Hope she has a Cub that grows up to look the the “MGM movie lion” from the old Tarzan movies and other early motion pictures.

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29.
Ralf on the veranda at “Etosha Safari Lodge”.

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30.
Myself with a black backed jackal that I shot with a .30-06 and 150 grain Privi Partisan brand spitzer.
(Just shortly after this one, I shot another one but, it was badly torn by the bullet. So, we decided to not photo that one).

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31.
Same but posed on a log.
This is perhaps the largest and heaviest jackal I have ever seen.
He rivals some of the coyotes I have taken in Northern California and Nevada, USA.

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32.
Small to medium warthog I shot for meat, at the request of the landowner (Florian), an old grade school and high school friend of Ralf’s who had told his employees he would see to their request of some fresh pork for a braai / BB-Q, they wanted to have.

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33.
Large warthog I also shot on Florian’s land.
This one I am having shoulder mounted.

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34.
Huge warthog (at least by my standards) that I also am having shoulder mounted.
 
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NTH wrote on JimT's profile.
Hey Jim, I read that you’re from Dequincey and just returned from Africa. I’m from Lake Charles and went there in April. What outfitter did you use and would you share your experience and pics? I won our trip to Kuche through DU.
gprippers wrote on SAFARIKIDD's profile.
Hello! Nice rifle! I have IDENTICAL rifle in 375 H&H so i was wondering what gunsmith did the work on it? Appreciate it and if you decide there is anything you are willing to take in partial trade, let me know. I have quite a few pistols, long guns and sxs & o/u shotguns as well.

Let me know if you are looking for anything in particular.

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Philip, do you still have the 416 for sale?
NTH wrote on Rick HOlbert's profile.
Nice “meeting” you Rick. I made my first trip to S. Africa this year through Kuche Safaris. We had an incredible time. What outfitter do you use? Neal
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