NAMIBIA: Last Minute Caprivi Hunt Safari

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Bruce, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. Bruce

    Bruce AH Elite

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    https://www.africahunting.com/threads/last-minute-namibia-caprivi-hunt-safari.51275/


    OK...so huge apologies first off for such a delay. I "lost' my mobile fone with all data etc. It was on silent so could not be traced by ringing it!
    I started rewriting etc and collecting fotos from my son and the PH... RECENTLY the fone appeared, so here goes..
    DAY -1:
    We caught the Windoek flight from Cape Town, short stop over in Walvis Bay.
    The outfitter could not get us on the Windhoek Katima Mulilo domestic flight as it was full...we were met by an agent at Windhoek International and driven to Grootfontein, about 4,5 hrs drive, where we overnighted at the PONDOKI REST CAMP just outside Grootfontein. We arrived well into the night, but the owners left us some food and cold beers so we were sorted!
    NOTE: This was a special hunt to supply meat for the annual festival held by the Chief of the area. This is a HUGE event and caters for tens of thousands of people, with invited dignataries from neighbouring countries also attending. The TRADITIONAL AUTHORITY( ta) arranged and supervised the whole thing, with various quotas being released to suit animal numbers in the various conservancies.
    In ALL INSTANCES, the quotas referred to NON TROPHY and NON EXPORTABLE animals only.
    OUR QUOTA-:
    1x non trophy elephant
    1x non trophy buffalo
    1x non trophy hippo
    1x zebra
    We had the option to hunt additional 1x elephant, 1x zebra and 1x hippo ( not additional buffalo unfortunately)
    DAY 1:
    We awoke to a freezing cold Namibia morning at PONDOKI, -3°C which for us is bone shattering!!! Are a well prepared breakfast and we're met by our PH Jaco, who then drove us the remaing 8,5 hrs to our hunting camp!!
    On both drives, the roads were good and we saw plenty of game along the way.
    Marvellous Kudu, eland, warthog, Impala and if course Oryx( gemsbok). The scenery also spectacular varied from sand to semi desert to bush, but showed the results of the awful drought experienced in the country.
    We arrived in our camp in the LUSESE CONSERVANCY, met the camp staff in the traditional meet and greet style with cold cocktails and warm towels to refresh our sweaty hands and faces . Dropped our luggage in the chalets and set off for a quick drive around and to check the rifles.
    NOTE: Due to sudden, recent changes in South Africa, I could not take my own rifles as EXPORT PERMIT applications need to NOW be applied for 90 days in advance!!
    We were to use borrowed scoped 375H&H Magnum and open sight 416 Rigby. Both rifles shot spot on and we drove around until subset getting familiar with the layout etc
    The Caprivi flood plains were BONE dry, save for a few deeper canals with these vast open expanses home to thousands of zebra.
    First night in camp around the fire catching up on old and new stories and getting to know our young PH better.
    DAY 2:
    Sunrise quite late in winter, so we only took off at 06h30( still dark). Got into first decent elephant tracks at 09h00 and tracked until 11h00, but these proved to be nothing. Decided to head off for the water canals/ pools and see what hippos they held...
    We stalked onto a sleeping hippo lying in shallow water. This entailed negotiating very uneven hardened clay covered by calf length grass. The closer we got to the river canal the wetter it got and we found ourselves walking on burnt out reed beds, sometimes slipping down into knee deep stinking mud! Myself and 1x tracker stayed back and Thomas, the PH and other tracker stalked closer to get a decent shot.
    The hippo sensed them, jumped up onto all fours and Thomas put it down with a well placed heart shot and backed up by Jaco ( using his 416 Remmington Magnum). The shot was at 13h30.
    Sone locals with a Mkoro were called to assist with getting a rope around a leg and the hunting vehicle winched the carcass onto dry land, where butchering started immediately!!
    The local Induna, Mr Chibungu, was called vis mobile done and he arrived together with the camp recovery vehicle.
    The Induna had to verify the kill and that all was in order, as per TA regulations.
    He complained to me that the hippo was small...I promised to get him a bigger one the next day!!!
    We left the butchering crew to their work and went off to the elephant area again.
    Got done tracks at 17h00, walked into the herd at 17h15 which showed a young bull, another bill with short thick tusks and many cows and calves.
    I was thinking.." No way...so quickly onto a shootable Ellie...WOW!
    BUT, as we know, elephant hunting is full of surprises and twists!!
    We were within 20m of the slowly moving herd, they in quite thick trees and bush, totally unaware of is. We had to follow along parallel to the moving herd, waiting for one of these bulls to move out from the cows and offer s shot.
    NOT TO BE...the cows kept themselves in the way and although the wind was perfect for us we could not get in a shot.
    Darkness descended on us in an instant almost screaming at us..." That'll teach yer!!!"

    DAY 3:
    Returned at 06h30 to the Ellie area, looking for fresh tracks. Walked for 2 hrs but got nothing of interest!!
    THERE'S TWO THINGS THAT I HATE ABOUT WALKING-
    1) SAND
    2) MORE SAND...
    this area is pure Kalahari sand and I paid the price, slipping and sliding, painful lower back( arthritis), blisters due to my heels continually sliding down inside the boots..but, undaunted we continue!!

    We left a teacher to continue looking for fresh spoor and drove back to the hippo pools area, but not the same as the previous day. While driving we spotted a HUGE hippo in the middle of the canal, but far off! Started the stalk across the similar muddy/ reedy terrain trying to get within shooting distance of this hippo.
    As it was smack bang in the middle of this larger wide canal it would need to be a brain shot to prevent the carcass being lost " downstream" etc...did I mention....these canals were host to various LARGE Crocs, so entering the water was not an option for hippo recovery!!
    The terrain was open and flatyidheith very sparse cover. We used a lower lying section to get nearer and then stalked up behind two very small bush/ trees..at 11h45 and from 66m off the sticks, I sent a 300g Barnes Triple Shock into the frontal brain area. The 375 did its job perfectly and the hippo just slipped underwater, stone dead!
    Recovery again using locals and a handy Mkoro took 3 hrs, with the continual beady eyed Crocs looking on!!
    Mr Chibungu duly arrived and was VERY satisfied with the much larger hippo( as promised the previous day). Butchering commenced and we drove off to a nearby conservancy, bordering Botswana. VERY beautiful area, with lots of tourist lodges across the Chobe on the Botswana side.
    Here game was abundant...lots of Ellies, Impala, kudu, zebra, buffalo, some giraffe. The trick here was that nothing could be taken within 500m of the Chobe, so it became s waiting game...timing was crucial to get the Ellies either crossing from Botswana and into Namibia to feed late afternoon ( minimal food for them on Botswana side) OR early morning as they crossed back. Inevitably, this always happened during darkness or when we were not there!
    ( To be continued)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2019
    TheoR8, WMU05, Lee M and 10 others like this.

  2. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Man I am loving this hunt report!
     

  3. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Good job! This is just what I was hoping the hunt would be like! OK where’s the next installment?:whistle: This is exciting!
    Before I forget, thanks for posting this!
     

  4. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Glad you were able to take advantage of this hunt with your son.

    Enjoying your report as well.
     

  5. meigsbucks

    meigsbucks AH Fanatic

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    Can’t wait for the rest of the report. Nice shot on the hippo.
     

  6. MMAL

    MMAL GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Keep it coming
     

  7. Lmcquin

    Lmcquin AH Member

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    Great report so far. Can’t wait to read the rest and see photos.


    Hope that are gets some rain soon. Sounds pretty bad over there. Been reading about the drought in Namibia as heading there next year in late March.
     

  8. Bruce

    Bruce AH Elite

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    DAY 4:
    Out early at 05h30 to travel to the neighbouring CONSERVANCY, Nakabolelwa ( Naka)..this is the area bordering Botswana with the abundant wildlife etc. Trying to get in early before sunrise to ambush returning Ellie's or buffalo. We await the sunrise, taking in all this beauty that the Caprivi offers!
    We see the lone buffalo bull that we saw the day before crossing from Botswana on a diagonal line into the Caprivi.
    Now, the buff is heading back to Botswana, again on a slow but determined mission
    We set off at a brisk pace to cut him off...wind is favourable, the buff ignorant of our presence. I cannot keep pace with the young PH and my son, so bring up the rear at a more moderate pace to suit an older man!!The wind starts messing around and the buff scents the hunters.
    Changed course slightly and really increases his own pace and not too long later, the buff stops...Thomas is about 120m away but after a brisk walk/ run of +-1km, he's out of breath and cannot get the shot in. The buff then decided it's time and the Chase is over...he had entered the forbidden 500m zone, crossed into Botswana and joined up with a large herd.
    We left Naka at about 08h00 returning to LUSESE and our Ellie area.
    We found fresh tracks but circling the thicker bush area by vehicle, we could see where the Ellie's had crossed over and away!!
    We decided to get to the open plains area and get a zebra. At 10h00 Thomas was on the sticks and took a very nice stallion through the heart. Pity we could not take the skin as it was FLAWLESS!!
    Loaded the zebra onto the hunting vehicle and took it back to the skinning area at the Game Scout offices. Feeling the heat and ready for a short break, we stopped off at the camp and the PH and trackers went off to try and find other elephant sign.
    They returned without good news and we all took off again at 15h30 for Naka.
    We saw a HUGE buffalo herd within the 500m buffer, slowly grazing into the Caprivi. We left the vehicle and high tailed it for a decent ambush position, bearing in mind that it is OPEN PLAINS and very little cover. Fortunately, the wind played ball and we used a low lying dry canal to stalk along and get into a suitable position. We crawled, slithered along for about 100m and settled on a slight rise. So now I'm thinking...THIS must be exactly what that famous GRASSY KNOLL was all about!!!! Thomas and Jaco(PH) were a bit AHEAD of me..about 10m, and waiting behind the small rise in the ground for the approaching buff. Due to the size of the herd, we could hear them on left, front and right...a tracker slithered up to the crest to keep watch that no nosey cows came along and gave us away. While sitting/ kneeling , Jaco got the sticks ready and they waited. I could see that the sticks, even in the shortest position, would be too high for a shot from the kneeling/ sitting position.
    Jaco and Thomas were whispering and gesturing and from behind I could see disaster coming. I got Thomas's attention and gestured for him to hold the stick keg half way up and to use his hand/ wrist to rest the rifle on. Then he doesn't have to get up at the last moment and risk chasing the buff.
    The sun was setting by now, but not dark.
    We sat patiently...a young bull grazed his way to 40m from Thomas. Thomas had the stick leg gripped and rifle resting perfectly on his hand. He took the shot, 375H&H Magnum 270g Barnes Triple Shock full in the chest. All hell broke loose and hundreds of buff took flight. The shot bull made about 40m and collapsed dead!!
    The tourists in the Safari vehicles on the Botswana side we're gesticulating, taking fotos AND probably telling us what a bunch of murdering A holes we were...I waved for their cameras!!!
    The recovery vehicle came to collect the buff and take it away for butchering and delivery to the TA cold rooms.

    DAY 5:
    Left camp at 05h30 for Naka. Sunrise at 06h30 and PLENTY of buff in Botswana side. Looked around, but nothing exciting
    We went back to LUSESE scout camp area, where they reported hearing elephant during the night.
    Found tracks at 09h00 and started walking..25minutes later we were onto the herd!! LOTS OF THEM!!
    We stayed within 30m of the perimeter of the feeding herd, waiting for s'n opportunity. We had agreed that Thomas would shoot and Jaco and myself to back up. Stalking proved quite hairy, as the cows kept moving in and out and times we had to retreat rapidly not to be seen.
    Eventually we got into a suitable position... Thomas took a side brain shot at 10h05..and the elephant dropped straight down. The 375 H&H Magnum 270g Barnes Bandit passing through the brain and exiting the other side.
    Mt Chibungu and another senior official from the TA duly arrived and inspected the hunt. Butchering started at noon
    Jaco took us back to camp, where we celebrated Thomas's first elephant with cigars and single malt whisky.
    A VERY PROUD DAD!!!
    Thomas has been with me on many previous elephant hunts in Zimbabwe, but this was his first where he was the hunter!!

    DAY 6:
    05h10 to Naka to check for Ellie movement( ( I could take another elephant and zebra at additional cost).
    No Ellie's there. Looked around LUSESE for fresh tracks,..NADA!
    Headed for the zebra plains at 07h15.
    Got onto a herd but could not get the stallion...no clear shot amongst the mares.
    They took off. We found another herd at 08h20 and I took a stallion with the 375 H&H. Loaded the zebra onto the hunting vehicle and delivered it to the TA slaughter place.
    I decided that I would not try for another elephant and the rest of our quota, PLUS extra hippo and zebra, were done and dusted.
    We tried fishing the Caprivi canals but all netted out and had no luck.
    ( To be continued)
     
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  9. Dirtdart

    Dirtdart SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    The attached photo was taken in Salambala conservancy but the gent in the photo is Michael and he lives in Lusese conservancy. Michael was excellent help and fun to have around during my hunts in that area. Just curious if you ran into him during your hunt? Thank you Bruce for the enjoyable reading!

    20181012_160314.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 18, 2019
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  10. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    One proud father! Congratulations on teaching your son well!
    I’m amazed at a zebra stallion with no scars! Quite unusual.
     

  11. Lmcquin

    Lmcquin AH Member

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    Amazing stories. Amazing Hunts.

    And that’s a big lizard right there.

    It surprises me how much it is to hunt a crocodile (I’m a novice so forgive my ignorance) and one hunt I don’t think I’ll ever go on as desire is there but money isn’t lol.

    Would have loved to see that herd of buffalo!!! Best some dust kicked up when that shot went off.
     

  12. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Congrats.
     

  13. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Hunting with your son. PRICELESS!!!

    Congratulations on the hunt. Thanks for posting.
     
    Buff-Buster and Ridgewalker like this.

  14. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats Bruce, hopefully we will see some pictures from this great hunt!
     

  15. TheoR8

    TheoR8 AH Senior Member

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    Great stuff. (y)
     

  16. johnnyblues

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    Great stuff. Keep it coming.:D Pop Popcorn:
     

  17. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Very nice indeed. Love to see some pics. Wonderful to spend that time with your son. Good shooting on your animals. Congrats!
    Bruce
     

  18. Witold Krzyżanowski

    Witold Krzyżanowski AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    You did have a good hunting. Congrats. Thanks for sharing.
     

  19. MMAL

    MMAL GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Congrats on a great hunt
     

  20. Nyati

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    Congrats on a great experience !
     

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