NAMIBIA: Omujeve Hunting Safaris - Caprivi Strip

Rimbaud

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Keep checking your thread for updates. Hope and trust you are having a great time, and looking forward to vicariously living through you on your hunt. I am off to Zimbabwe in late June, early July for cape buff in Matetsi and very interested in your trip, especially any color on Covid travel and state of affairs in Namibia.
 

daawg1963

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So like many of us, Covid killed my 50Th birthday present to myself. 11 Days in Caprivi Strip with Omujeve Safaris. But I refused to give up. In late August I booked Qatar Airlines for arrival on OCt. 1st, the first day they were flying back into Namibia. Then South Africa opened up and I guess the airline did not have a lot of people booked. On Sunday Sept. 20th, they canceled my flight on Sept. 30th. They are not flying direct from Doha to Windhoek until Oct. 15th. On the phone early with Lori from Travel Express and I am now rebooked on Ethiopian Airlines on Sept. 27th. Use her she is great.

Area: Mashi and Bamunu Conservancy.
Animals on Permit: Non-Trophy Elephant, Trophy Cape Buffalo, Trophy Hippo, Red Lechwe, Kudu, Impala, Wildebeest, zebra
Omujeve Safaris
PH Gideon Cloete who I have hunted with before in 2016.

Travel is a bitch with no internal flights, once I land it is a 12 hour car ride. But since Namibia relaxed the quarantine rules we might make a two day trip. I would like to just get it out of the way and hunt the next day.

Just excited to get out of here. I will have a hunt report. But in the meantime they have a great promotional video. I have only watched it 50 times during this COVID mess.

For anyone thinking about it, I would suggest do it. The outfitters and communities are hurting and need the hunters. there are some great deals going around. PM me on a trophy elephant, cape and hippo deal they have. Good luck everyone.


The caprivi camp starts at 6:45
i hunted there for trophy ele 4 years ago almost got skunked and we hunted our asses off 4 12 days -but-buff 1st morning sci gold
 

MMAL

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As you can tell I am jet lagged and figured the best way to spend my time at 4 am is to write a hunt report up. I will do it in the typical day format and will bullet point a lot of the hunt.

Sunday Sept. 27th, my buddy who decided to go with me and I wake up at 4 am for the 4 hour drive to Washington DC airport. Check In with guns at DC and Ethiopia Airlines was easy. Ethiopia has a very simple one page gun application, The covid test (more on this below) was quickly scanned and handed back. The plane was @20% filled and we were checked-in, through security, at gate 2 hours before flight. Airport is empty.

For all the discussion about the 72 hour covid test, let me say that it is way overblown. Not the virus, but the requirement of the 72 hours. I am a volunteer fireman and have been getting tested pretty regularly. Because of the delay in test results, I got tested Thursday with the results coming back Friday. I was not making the 72 hour "deadline". I will state on this forum I also had a test result that I received on Sunday just prior to leaving on the plane. Not sure how I did that but you figure it out. Thanks Microsoft.

The flight to ADD was ok in business class. The seats and entertainment were great, the food was absolutely the worst I have ever had on an airplane. FYI, bring snacks.

ADD transfer with firearms is stressful. 1 hour and 20 minute layover. Meet outside aircraft by EA gate agent with a sign with our name on it. Taken below the airport terminal to inside the baggage handling area. Ask to open gun case and check serial numbers. You need an extra copy of your 4457 form, passport and the Ethiopia gun form to hand to them. The gate agent then got us back in a car, back to original gate, walked us through security and to the next gate. They held the last bus to the plane and the plane itself for our arrival. I am really not sure if that would have been done except for 1) Covid 2) two people traveling business class 3) two people with gold and platinum status on united, a partner airline or 4) the plane to Windhoek had 30 people on the 737 (I believe).

Anyway, landed in Windhoek. Walked from plane to terminal. Was asked to disinfect my hands with a foot activated disinfectant sprayer, temperature taken and into immigration. No problems there and go to baggage claim. In the area you have two people at a desk, one asked me to disinfect my hands again, same foot machine, handed them my Namibia health questionnaire, one page of easy questions, handed her my now 96+ hour covid test, no way she did the math. Was asked how i felt and was cleared. Took all of 30 seconds.

As i cleared my baggage through customs I got onto another line. This one asked my name, no passport info, and a phone contact number while in Namibia. Luckily it is outside and next to reception, my ph was there and i got his contact phone number. Gave it to her and I was in Namibia. New procedure, walk out of the airport, hard left at the curb and they now have a new outside gate that opens to collect my gun case and go through that process. Easy process as always in Namibia.

When I arrived, domestic flights were not running and not an option. That has since changed and you can get on the a flight to the Caprivi. But since it was not an option, we started our 12 hour drive to the Caprivi. It was as bad as it sounds after the long plane travel but after dodging cattle, a cape buffalo and goats on the road we made it to camp at 2am.
 

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9/29

First a little about the camp. 5 tents, 2 open dining table areas, 2 firepit/braai's. The tents were tiled floored, had a queen size mattress that were very comfortable, bug net, sliding glass doors, not zippers. Running water, shower, and full toilet. Very tastefully decorated for a bush camp. Food and Refreshments were always available and was very good. Overall one of the nicer bush/tent camps I have been to. A final note: Omujeve had four clean towels, shampoo, conditioner, new bar of soap and skin lotion in the bathroom. Very nice touch. A couple of pictures
IMG_0517.jpg
WhatsApp Image 2020-09-29 at 12.49.39 PM.jpeg


Sorry the tents themselves I have in a video and will not let me post them directly. Will try to extract a picture from the video and post later.
 

MMAL

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9/29

Got up at 7, since we got in at 2am we are not pushing it this morning. After breakfast, loaded up to check guns. I brought my Krieghoff double in 500/416 NE and a Tikka Tac A1 in 6.5 Creedmoor. As pre determined by my ph's request, the Tikka was left behind as part of his tip. The Krieghoff was spot on with both the swift a-frames and Hornady Solids. Four Shots within 2 inches at 50 yards. The Tikka was good to go after installing a scope and sighting it in. The morning was spent driving the cut road between Mashi Conservancy and the Mudumu National Park as well as some of the dry flood plains that make up the conservancy. Below is a broad picture from an app I like to use. Gaia GPS which works on an iphone without cellular service and tracks your movement throughout your hunt. I really like it just to go back and see where I was.
IMG_0733.PNG
Each color represents another Hunt. You do not see all of them in the overall view but you get the idea of where I was hunting. This am we saw a bunch of plains game a bunch of tracks and had one stalk on a kudu that was unsuccessful.

Back to camp for a nap and lunch and back at it around 2:30pm.

In the afternoon we went down to the Kwando river that separates the conservancy and Botswana on the lower part of the area and Bwabwata East National Park.

The boat trip up the river was one of the best things I have ever done on 4 different safaris. The river is low due to Sept/Oct being the driest part of the year but we saw hippo, cape buffalo, tesssabee, lechwe, elephant, baboons etc. We would fly toward pods of hippos to see them disappear and every single time we did that my ass would pucker thinking this animal as to bump or attach the boat. Again the river is low and there are only so many deep areas that a hippo can submerge itself and allow the boat to pass.

Having trouble loading pictures. I will post this and continue on the next post.
 

MMAL

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Sorry for the pole in the way but you get the idea. We would go over the hippo in the boat as that was where the channel was and then the hippo would pop up and be pissed. Wild ride and a very memorable experience.

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We stopped to check out some herds of buffalo on the Namibia side but nothing yet. Toward the end of the day we came across something depressing. In the water, there were over 50 dead Cape Buffalo. All calfs and young ones. No older buffalo. Ultimately we do not know what happened but everything from poisoning, to bad algae bloom in a water hole, to lions running the heard into the river where it was deeper or the far side of the river did not allow an smaller buffalo to get out was discussed. Hate to see it but more about this later.

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Ultimately we ended the day on the river with sundowners and back to camp for a great meal overlooking the dry flood plains.

*** Sorry the pictures are not showing up. If you click on them they download but having problems. Will figure it out before going on with the hunt. ****
 

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cpr0312

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Enjoying so far, look forward to more!
 

Ridgewalker

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This is great! I so wanted this hunt! It is a dream of mine to hunt the Caprivi!
Sad about the young buffalos.
OK, I’m dying for the next episode!
 

gillettehunter

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Great report so far. Looking forward to more.
Bruce
 

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***It seems the pictures I took with my Sony big camera save them at 28MB and are too big to load into the story, will try and use cell phone pictures"""

9/30

Breakfast at 6, in the truck at 6:30. The plan is always non-trophy elephant or Cape buffalo first. On the boat ride yesterday we saw a huge male hippo on the kwando. Even I saw that his head was 1.5-2 times the size of others. We have him located and will try mid-day to catch him on land. Thus Cape and Elephant.

We head off to the various "dry" flood plains. I put them in quotes because to the people of Caprivi these are dry, but they still hold plenty of water. Quick check of two areas yields nothing that we can see. Heading to another area, we (ok them) spot some tracks crossing the road. We have seen a lot of these tracks but they were always heading toward one of the parks or Botswana. These two tracks of an old elephant were heading into the conservancy and were fresh. Jump off, load up, Hydrate and we are off. Unfortunately, 1/2 hour into the tracking job my PH throws up his hands and states that the elephants are just doing a big U. Call in the truck and we are back down the road to other flood plains.
As you can imagine, some areas of the river/plains are easily viewed and some require some more work. We were in a more work area. (Just to be clear, more work for the truck or them, not me) We were just about to top a rise overlooking the plain and we get a tap/tap on the roof. I love that sound btw. I should say I love that sound but hate it as well. I don't have the mirror or understand Afrikaans. Thus Tap/Tap means I spend the next 10 secs figuring out first where to look, then what am I looking for. This time it was even worse, it was a full minute before my PH turns and says elephant, in the trees/forest on the left. We were currently in a depression and people in the car could not see them, in the back they were having difficulty seeing what they were, other than that they were elephant.

We drive 1000 yards in a big C to get the wind right. Unload and load up. The stalk is not long, distance wise, but we are in some thick forest/bush area that is obviously above the flood level. We slowly work our way to the area the elephants are spotted and at 40 yards I see a part of an elephant. We (ok them) then proceed to take @20 minutes to identify the elephant but more importantly other elephants in the area. Not sure which one the trackers original saw but ultimately we determine there is an old bull with both tusks broken or wore down. He is with two younger bulls and we start again.

We back out and approach from a different angle to keep the wind good and get to the old guy in the middle. Unfortunately he is facing away, with his face into the wind, with the younger bulls on each side and each one facing a different direction. I was really enjoying just being 30 yards from them and seeing parts of them, hearing the noises as they eat, just the whole experience.

My suggestion to other hunters especially new ones to Africa is try and remember all the details of a hunt, not just the stalk, your animal or the shot.

Anyway, it was not long until the big guy turns to eat another tree and then rotates his body. Gideon looks at me and whispers, its gonna be close. We use brush, trees etc and get close. My neck is physically looking up at the elephant through a bunch of brush/trees at an animal making sounds on the other side. I see just outlines and movement, nothing definitive through the vegetation.

At this point I disregarded my instructions above and the only two things that came to mind were:

elephant_distances_2.jpg


elephant_shot_simulation.jpg


I slowly step around the bush and at 7 yards i am full frontal to an elephant with a tree blocking his left eye. I can clearly see him reach out to grab some more food, aim and shoot.

A mournful trumpet sounds and the animal starts to turn (thankfully he doesn't go straight). As he turns I put the second barrel into what I believe is the heart lung area. Gideon says lets go and we start running after him. @50 yards later, I am reloaded and at the edge of a clearing. Confirm that that is our elephant and two more shots. One into the hip area and one top center for the spine. He still is running away. We cross the clearing and up onto another high area with less vegetation than the original shot. We see him standing at 70 yards broadside, two more shots into heart lung area. He turns and runs again through some brush. Reload and through the brush and see that he is down 50 yards away. Run up and one more to finish him. Total distance maybe 400-500 yards.

My heart is pounding, I am out of shape. High fives and back slaps, I have my first elephant.

IMG_0409.jpg



As we replay the hunt, my initial shot was too low. it was slightly below the eye level. I believe that when he reached out to eat, my brain said that i should lower the shot a little because of the tilt. I was wrong. I am certainly not a professional, see the above hunt as an example, but mentally I made a note that if I am ever able to to this again, the shot will be above the eyes, always.

My second shot was a good one to the heart and lung area. I did not know that at the time because it was a snap shot through brush. The third and fourth shots were excellent in my opinion. Two shots at running elephant 70 yards away with a double rifle. Both shots hit the elephant, excellent right!? But the right hip shot was four inches too far to the left and the spine shot was more of a texas gut shot.

The meat was to be taken to one fo the chiefs of the conservancy for a festival later in the week. After an hour, we left the skinners to do their job and back to camp.
 
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Riksa

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Congratz! And thanks for sharing the story. Looking forward to the rest.
 

MMAL

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9/30/20

We were back to camp pretty early from the elephant hunt. Had a snack and lunch but I was too amped up from the elephant hunt to nap. In addition, it was getting Africa Hot. The temp in the car stated it was 39C or 102F. Being from the northeast USA and having hunted only in the July/August months previously, this was hot for me. We decided to drive the cut road again looking for plains game or buffalo heading to the water on the conservancy.

The Kwando river and flood plains provide plenty of water for the animals but as you move inland, the National Park only has one water hole. Omujeve has put in three water holes in the interior of the conservancy and are working on another. It is why you get animals moving across the cut line continuously.

At 2:30 we leave camp and within 75 yards we see zebra. Chapman zebra. It is on my permit! Drive past and jump off.

A quick flanking maneuver and at 100 yards I take a nice stallion with my double. Single shot with the 400 grain a-frame and he was down within 50 yards.

IMG_0435.jpg

Pictures and load him up. We were back in camp by 2:52pm.

Unload the zebra and back in the truck. We head to the flood plains and where we left the boat on the Kwando.

Throughout our travels around the conservancy you see locals. A lot of them. They live in conditions that are beyond comparison to any 1st world nation. The depend on the meat from hunts, food from small farms and sell bundles of firewood and weaved reeds for roofing for cents not dollars. You see the poverty everywhere you go but what I saw that afternoon was truly stunning and stunning in a bad way.

I am sure every conservancy and outfitter struggle to maintain the balance of local people using the land but at the same time not disturbing the animals so they move to other areas. As we drove to flood plains we saw ultimately five or six groups of people. 2-6 people in a group. One group was a woman with four kids ages @ 6-13. Each one had a knife and/or machete and some plastic bags. My PH was upset seeing the groups in areas they should not be and when we first came on a group, asked the conservancy game scout that was always with us to ask them what were they doing here.

It turns out that each of these groups were walking anywhere from 5-10 miles each way because they heard that there were some dead buffalo in the river. The buffalo we saw yesterday and had called it in to the local game council. I could not comprehend the environment that could drive people to go and get meat that had been dead and soaking in water for 2-3 days. I will never, ever forget one kid's face that was younger than my youngest, standing there bare footed, with an arm full of plastic bags to put the meat in.

I and anyone that reads this from now on has another reason and a clear example of the good hunting does for conservancies and that if we were not there, these animals would be poached out of existence.

We did still had another nice boat ride on the Kwando, saw two groups of 20-30 Cape Buffalo, two stalks but no shooters. A ton of plains game including red lechwe, another animal on my permit.
 

cpr0312

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Congrats on the elephant!!!
 

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Nice old warrior elephant! Congratulations!
 

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MMAL - what was it like traveling to Namibia, etc, w COVID-19 pandemic? I have a Zim hunt in late June, early July - cape buff - and very curious if you felt safe, etc. Thanks for any color on this.
 

MMAL

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MMAL - what was it like traveling to Namibia, etc, w COVID-19 pandemic? I have a Zim hunt in late June, early July - cape buff - and very curious if you felt safe, etc. Thanks for any color on this.

Rimbaud - Once inside Namibia I forgot about Covid. Any gas station or store you go into, you are required to sign a log book, take your temp and wear a mask. Surprisingly everyone I saw wore a mask in and around Windhoek and in all stores. Even in the Caprivi, I saw local school children walking to school, a lot wore a mask.

In camp and hunting there were absolutely no issues.

Flying was not as bad as I thought it would be. All flight segments ran between 20-60% full. Thus I was never forced to sit next to someone I did not know. I wore the mask when I eating or drinking and general felt that I needed a shower after landing. But that is the way I feel anyway.

The biggest 'issue" I had was they were starting to shut down flights again. While in Namibia, Qatar postponed all future flights until April 2021 and Ethiopia cancelled our return flight, only to reschedule us the next day. At one point I was nervous that I just wouldn't get out of the country.

Hope this helps.
 

375Fox

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I’m really enjoying seeing your report and photos so far, I hunted the two conservancies just north of where you hunted in oct 2018 and oct 2019.
 

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