NAMIBIA: Omujeve Hunting Safaris - Caprivi Strip

Rimbaud

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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.
 

Rimbaud

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Thanks, MMAL. The color helps a lot. The airlines are my high vol worry. I figure we have a reasonably good chance of easy entry, but my fear is having to charter a plane to get home, or driving across Africa to make it to Europe. Fingers crossed this chapter of life ends soon. Congrats on your hunt, and welcome home. Rimbaud.
 

MMAL

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10/1/20

Head the to the north side of the conservancy along the Kwando river. Across the river in this portion of the hunting grounds is the Bwabwata National Park East. We head to a high spot to look over the flood plains and see two groups of buffalo way out there. Drive down and around, jump off and load up.

I am pretty good with navigation and as we jump off I say to Gid, " We are still not close are we?" He says no we got a hike. Now we are not following any spoor, just heading in the direction of the buffalo. We could not use the truck because as we have all seen in videos of the caprivi, there is still, even in the dryest portion of the year water in the "canals" Never really did it before but I will tell you, not really a big fan of crossing 20 yard strips of dirty brown water that come up to waist. I am told that if it was three months ago it would have been to your neck.

We get to the buffalo, my Gaia GPS app states we went on a 4 mile walk about to get here.

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Took a good look at the last bull in this group and then moved over to the next group.

This group was coming out of the tall reeds and into the flat to feed. It took a good hour for all of the buffalo to come out but ultimately nothing that was worth pulling the trigger. We also thought about how we were gonna get it out.

Walked back to the truck and decided to go look at the hippo we saw yesterday, maybe we could catch him on land.

It is mid morning and we come over the rise looking over the spot we saw the great hippo yesterday on our boat ride. Our hippo is not on land, but I am not really worried about hippo on land vs water. By no means a difficult stake but we final belly crawl to get into a position of looking over the pod.

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About forty minutes of identifying the male and waiting until he comes up at the right angle.

He finally does and one shot to the side brain from the double and he is hit. No celebratory handshakes, my ph states that the hippo reacted funny, the hippo didn't splash at all but also got under water really quick, He asks where I shot and how close to the water was my aim point.

We back out for lunch and will come back later. Lunch sucked. I mean the food was good but we have been all there with the not knowing. We head back and 200 yards down stream the fat bastard is suck on a low spot on the river. Now the fun begins.

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This last shot was taken with the river to our back. The landscape went river, 20 yard patch of dry high ground and then low marsh area. As you can see the tractor and trailer carrying a 3 ton animal is properly stuck in the mud.

I will not bore you will details but it was a comedy of errors and issues. It took us all the rest of the day as well as most of the next day to retrieve the hippo. We proceeded to get the tractor stuck twice, and a land cruiser. But it was all worth it. That hippo skull is going to look awesome.
 

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MMAL

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10/3/2020

So after yesterday, we were only on Cape Buffalo. We went due west from the camp right to the Kwando, different part of the conservancy that I had not seen yet. We left at 6:45 am, and by 7:10pm we spotted buffalo across the river on the Botswana side. A herd of 200+ and spend some time looking at them from @400 yards away.

We drive on and another 3/4 of mile we cross tracks. Fresh tracks. Jump out and load up. Buffalo tracking or animal tracking as a whole is one of my more favorite activities on a safari. But I did not get to enjoy it for very long. It was not 1/2 of a mile before we came up on a the buffalo. We took a look at them and spotted two potential shooters maybe more but the buffalo spooked and went running away around a high spot in the terrain and we followed. I was amazed that as we topped the high spot the buffalo were not 70 yards away, they had not gone far.

We settled in to study the bulls. After much discussion with my PH, age, width, boss, hardness, we are still early in the hunt, etc. etc. We or I decided to take a particular bull. We started a closer approach, I wanted to get closer, not for the shot per se but because I like to. I am a decent shot and the 70 yard was not an issue with my double, but I felt I was hunting not just shooting. In addition I had already seen close to 800+ buffalo in multiple different groups and if this didn't work, I had no doubt we would get on others.

We ease to @ 50 yards and the buffalo were not happy and ran again. But it wasn't another 500 yards and we were back on them. The good thing about them running again was that the big bull I wanted lagged and was now out of the middle of the herd and we were able to get a good shot. Using the terrain and bushes etc we got to 40 yards, sticks up and because there were buffalo behind him, I had loaded two swift 400 grain a-frames. The shot goes off I it is perfect. He doesn't drop but as the herd and the bull run, even I can tell he is hit and I see fluid (I assume blood) coming out of his nose and mouth.

Quick reload and a swift trot/walk after them. Within 70 yards we spot the bull standing dead as I call it. His vitals are behind a tree but he is 90 degrees to me. One shot left of the tree into his gut, one shot right of the tree into his neck and he drops. The rest of the herd do not go far and are milling around a further 100 yards from where he dropped.

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After we got to him and and as we were moving him for pictures. I had to stand guard for the rest of the herd was heading back our way. My buddy took this picture standing by the dead bull.

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After loading him up, we were back in camp by 9am. Nice.
 

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Ridgewalker

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Wonderful hunt! I am enjoying this so much!
 

cpr0312

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Congrats on the hippo and buff! Love the bosses on the buff!
 

gillettehunter

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Sounds like you are having an excellent hunt. Great animals and good shooting. Congrats
Bruce
 

cls

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Have enjoyed your write-up. Congratulations on a very successful hunt and great animals.
 

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Great hunt, congrats !
 

ve7poi

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Congratulations and thank you for the great report and pictures.
Loved reading it
 

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10/3/2020

Afternoon hunt we started looking for plains game. Conversancy hunting can be a lot of what is needed by the community and what is on quota. The package I purchased was a lump sum for the non-trophy elephant, Cape, Hippo and included, Chapmans zebra, 2 impala's, kudu, and a blue Wildebeest. In addition I added a red lechwe to the mix.

My buddy decided to join me for the hunt in place of my wife. Bad deal for me. He is a big fisherman but has never hunted in his life. I gave him a very good deal. If the kudu is over 55', I am shooting him otherwise he does. (I have two and no room for another). He can also have an impala.

So we started working the interior of conservancy. We saw roan, giraffe, Zebra but none of the animals on our quota or list at this time. Eventually we found a group of three kudu and jumped out to stalk them.

It was a little unfair for us to make his first time off of sticks and make it a kudu. Animals not know to give you easy close shots. Well the kudu knew we were there but Gideon who I find to be just unreal in reading animals outsmarted them and after about 30 minutes of cat mouse got my buddy on the sticks waiting for the big one to make a mistake. At @130 yards he put the 6.5 creedmoor 130 grain gameking into the kudus neck. Yes it is better to be lucky than good sometime.

We ran up and put another insurance shot in and he had a very nice kudu.

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In addition to the kudu over the next three days we shot the following

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Omujeve had an extra quota and a good deal on another zebra so:

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With all this driving around, we were also looking at all of the lechwe. On 10/5 we finally found the one I liked. Down to a new flood plain and you could see all of the lechwe. Maybe 150 of them in various groups and intermingled with waterbuck, and a couple of tsessebe. We jump out of the truck and start the stalk. For two hours we would play whack a mole with these guys. There was no cover, so we tried to use elevation changes to hide to get close. There were just too many eyes and as we all know the big guys don't get big by being dumb. First sign of anything and he stated moving away. Ultimately we threw up our hands and headed home, we would try again in the morning.

The next morning. headed back early and got on the group. The group liked to use a figure eight pattern to get away from us but we used that knowledge to our advantage and I was able to get a 150 yard shot at him walking. I know he was not stopped but he never stopped once the herd was alert. Hit him a little far back but were able to track him to some reeds. As we moved up on the location, we got to within 15 yards of him and he broke out. Missed the first snap shot at 20 yards but was able to put him down with my third shot at @40 yards.

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We hunted the rest of the day for blue wildebeest but ultimately decided that tomorrow we would drive the 12 hours back to windhoek and spend the rest of the trip at Omujeve's lodge which is located 30 minutes from the airport.
 

Ridgewalker

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That is one fine looking red lechwe!
 

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Good looking Lechwe. Nice mass. Congrats
Bruce
 

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DID YOU CONVERT YOUR BUDDY FROM FISHERMAN TO HUNTER?
He is getting there.

So we traveled the 12 hours from the Mashi Conservancy back to Windhoek. Internal flights are now flying in Namibia but I we couldn't leave our ph to do it on his own. Long trip but saw a ton of country you wouldn't normally see.

Omujeve Lodge is located 25 minutes from the airport. Located back in the hills and on @25,000 acres. The rooms are perfect but not luxurious, the bar, sitting area and eating table are in a big elongated C and really nice.
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The really nice part of coming back to this lodge was the heat. The caprivi was 100F during the day and if we were lucky 75F at night. This lodge gets hot during the day but the rooms have AC for the mid day nap. At night, it gets cooler.

Corne, the owner of Omujeve and a really nice and personable guy, my PH and I sat and worked out a really good deal for my buddy and I. Nothing specific but just a really nice COVID special discount as I called it.

The next morning it was just me heading out with Gideon. We drove the property looking for nothing in particular but really good animals.

Side note, there has been a lot of talk in this forum and others about free range vs. high fence. I am not entered into this debate but I will tell you right now, the animals on this farm were much, much, much harder to hunt. These animals had been hunted and they knew what a truck and/or human were and there was no hesitation in any of the animals in tightening their cinch and getting the heck out of dodge. In this comparison of free range Caprivi plains game vs the high fence ranch plains game, the ranch plains game were much harder.

So as we drove around we saw blue/black wildebeest, oryx, mongoose, giraffe (ok these guys did not run from us) roan, blesbuck etc etc. All starting at 200 yards and very quickly ending has they went over a ridge. Late in the morning we were glassing from a high spot and spotted a really, really nice sable. Wasn't in my thought process prior to the hunt, but in the caprivi while stalking buffalo we saw a @40 sable that got my attention. I realized then that they are really something special. Looking at this sable, calculating the Covid special, talking with my ph and I made up my mind that it was game on. Grabbed the 6.5 creedmoor and we were off. Got the wind right, and 20 minutes later, we ease around a bush and the sticks go up. The sable sees the movement, stands up and I know I have about .5 seconds before he runs. At 140 yards, I slide that 130 grain gamechanger just behind the shoulder. The animal turns away and starts to run off away from us. Quick cycle of the bolt and a perfect texas gut shot and the animal is down. There is absolutely no ground shrinkage.




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Just a really black, 46" monster. Corne mentioned that it was his old breeder bull that he had not seen in awhile. He had been pushed out of the herd by some of the younger bulls. Oops sorry Corne, I shot your breeder. :E Dancing:

The afternoon was spent trying to get my buddy a wildebeest or gemsbok with a couple of shots but the new hunter and spooky animals were tough and both shots were complete misses at over 250 yards.
 

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Wow, nice sable congrats!
 

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Over Dinner that night, I asked Corne if you he had any other breeder bulls that he would like me to shoot. LOL.
10/9/2020

I had always talked about shooting a Giraffe with my PH. Ever since I hunted with him 2016, I would say I should have taken a Giraffe with you, etc etc. At dinner he surprises me and tells me he bought me a giraffe! Imagine that. I don't care what he spend and I assume it was not much given the story below but the thought of the gift was what matter and I was sincerely grateful.

A large game farm 1 1/2 hours from Omujeve had an old bull Giraffe that had torn down the fence 4 times this year. We headed out in the AM for the drive and arrived at the ranch at @8:15. Anyone that has seen or hunted Giraffe know that they are not really afraid of anything. We approached the hunt in the most sporting fashion available. The property was 30K+ acres and was flat, with tall grass and plenty of trees and cover. It was not the more open and hilly landscape of Omujeve. Dismounting the truck in the area the Giraffe was suppose to be we started to hike and cast for spoor. 20 minutes later finding the spoor we tracked the giraffe and came upon a tower(didn't know that was the word for giraffe until I googled it) of 8 giraffe. The big bull was easily identified. Trying to move into position and we were spotted, the giraffe didn't run but quickly moved off with the bull either leading or in the middle offering no shot. @10 minutes of cat and mouse and the bull presented a side shot at @70 yards. The 500/416 double went up and a 400 solid hit mid shoulder. The giraffe turned and started to run and I gave it the second barrel quartering away. Reload and follow the tower through some thick trees. On the other side of the tree line the bull is again as I say dead on his feet. He is facing us at @70 yards, the rest of the tower has stopped running @150 yards away. Another 400 grain solid into the frontal chest followed by an immediate second shot into the same area. The giraffe again turns and starts to run away and takes 2 "gallops" and drops like the Hindenburg. Let me tell you the sound of a solid hitting a giraffe resonates like no other animal and for someone that gets an almost perverse level of satisfaction from a bullet "thud" on any animal, this was very enjoyable. Beautiful old dark bull.

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Took some pictures and left the team to start the processing of the animal. They did it right in the field.

We knew it would take a while so we loaded up and went to see what else the farm offered us.

We saw a lot of different animals but I was looking for a black wildebeest and I still had an impala and blue wildebeest left from the Caprivi package.

Driving around the farm, the vegetation was thick and grass was tall. I look left and just see the white of a donkey tail swish in the grass. I mention it to my Ph and he starts to slow down but doesn't stop. He goes about 2 yards and stops and jumps out. What is going on, I ask? He looks at me and with a completely straight face says, "there are no donkeys on the farm. The white on the tail you saw was a black wildebeest." He didn't actually say the words dumbass but I heard them. I turn and I say " Well that is why you are the PH and get paid the big bucks!"

Stalk up to the well hidden animal and push him once, he is a good bull and we follow up. @3-500 yards later, he presents a 130 yard shot and I put a 6.5 into him.

The bull turns and while running at @200 yards I get another one into him. He goes down within another 50 yards. Notice the silencer we put on the 6.5. What a little dream it is to shoot now.

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We load him up and bring him to the skinning shed. We then head to another part of the farm to watch something really cool. They were doing game capture with a helicopter, the tarps, pens etc. I have seen it on youtube but it was really cool to see in person. I am sorry but for some stupid reason, I only took go pro video and have no pictures. They were catching waterbuck today and to see it in person was a real treat. We spend about 45 minutes watching them and decided that they should be done with the Giraffe by now. Our options were to have a braai on the farm or head back to Omujeve and have lunch there. It was hot on the farm close to 95 all morning and we decided to grab the crew and head back and have a late lunch at "home".

But on the way back an unfortunate Impala showed itself. Hanging out with 20 of his closest girlfriends. Jump off, load up. We pushed them once and quickly flanked them when we knew what direction they were headed. Got into position and watch as the ladies lead the way through a 10 yard clearing. The buck stepped out, a quick whistle to stop him and at 185 yards had a nice 23' impala.



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The afternoon hunt and all of the next day was filled with curses, insults, ribbing and a complete loss of confidence from, to and by my buddy. It seems the beginners luck he encounter in the Caprivi with not missing a shot (some were not good shots but he did not miss any) and shooting three nice animals in a Kudu, Zebra and Impala, stayed in the Caprivi. He missed at least 6 shots at blue Wildebeest and Gemsbok. Granted not one of them was a layup but he still missed. Personally I am glad he missed because up to that point he probably thought hunting was easy and closer to shooting than hunting.
 
 

 

 

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