NAMIBIA: Prequel Great Hunt With Tiene & Michael Duvenhage Of Uitspan Hunting Safaris In August 2016

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by gesch, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. gesch

    gesch AH Veteran

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    Namibia: Prequel—Great Hunt with Uitspan Hunting 2016

    Special Thanks to: Kathy (my fantastic spouse)for encouraging me to go; Brother Kevin for inspiring me to go; and, Brother in Law Keith for being a great hunting brother!

    George Lucas of Star Wars fame has written many of his movies out of chronological order. So the “prequel” has entered our vocabulary. If Mr. Lucas can do it so can I! I recently wrote a report of a great hunt I experienced with Tiene and Michael Duvenhage at Uitspan Hunting in April of 2018. Well, I also hunted with them in August of 2016 and had an amazing hunt as well. So, I thought now that I discovered that posting is not as daunting as I first thought I will write the “prequel” to the 2018 hunt.


    First some data:

    Outfitter and PH: Tiene and Michael Duvenhage of Uitspan Hunting/Kalahari, Namibia

    Rifle: Remington 700 in .270 caliber

    Ammunition: Federal Premium Nosler Partition 150 grain

    Beginning of the beginning--August 2015

    I had no desire to hunt in Africa. I never really thought about it. I was quite content to hunt in Wisconsin and also perhaps in the Rockies again. Whitetail deer, rabbits, pheasants, squirrels, ducks and geese were more than enough for me. They were enough that is until my brother Kevin began talking about Africa. On Saturday mornings at about 6:15 am I am typically to be found at Kevin’s house down the road from mine drinking coffee and solving the world’s problems. Kevin is a fantastic teacher at our local Christian High School. He has taught for many years a course dealing with the history and contemporary issues of South Africa. Unbeknowst to me initially he was also longing to hunt in southern Africa. Kevin married a daughter of Dutch immigrants, studied in the Netherlands, and speaks dutch. So his interest in the history and culture of South Africa is natural. We also come from an area that is of dutch background. Well, after many years of telling me all about South Africa he mentioned that his wife, daughter and son in law were probably going to go hunting in South Africa or Namibia. I was quite surprised. Christian Schools in America are not known for their high pay scale. I assumed the costs were beyond his and my reach. After he explained how wrong I was about the price structure my interest was peaked. And so as he planned his trip and narrowed down his outfitters to a select group I found myself getting more and more interested. His hunt was planned for June and early July of 2014.

    When Kevin and his family returned the “Africa Fever” hit me with intensity. The stories of his hunt on the Kei River in South Africa had captured my imagination. I wanted to go to Africa and hunt! Well Kevin is nothing if not thorough! I had no desire to research where to go as I knew brother Kevin had completely researched the outfitters. Kevin regularly corresponds with quite a number of outfitters. He has learned to read and speak Afrikaans and regularly reads RSA newspapers and other material. I simply asked him: “Where should I go to hunt in Africa?” He told me to go to the Duvenhages at Uitspan Hunting. He said that they are great people and that I would really like them and their operation. So I asked my brother in law Keith if he wanted to go to Namibia (we had hunted together in Wyoming and Alabama so I knew we were compatible). He said I will check with my wife. He called back the next day and said yes and furthermore stated that through Church connections she was quite familiar with these people as mutual friends had hunted and more were going to Uitspan! That sealed it. I see it literally as the sovereignty of God! To Namibia we would go.

    Making plans for the hunt

    I quickly contacted the Duvenhages and we booked a hunt for 10 days in the beginning of August 2016. After discussing things with brother in law Keith we decided that we wanted: lots of spot and stalk, representative animals—to include Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, and Impala, and to take in the culture and experience Africa! Tiene and Michael (a true team effort of PHs and Outfitters) suggested a modified management hunt. It would include 6 days of hunting for the trophies and 4 days of management hunting. They suggested a package which included a kudu, gemsbok, springbok, impala and either a steenbok or duiker for each of us. We were also planning to do some cull hunting as appropriate and needed. This is the package we accepted and prepared for. Now the hard part—waiting! While waiting we began to accumulate our kit. Keith would be using a Sako partially custom 300 Win Mag with 180 grain ammunition. I would be using my Remington 700 in 270 caliber and shooting Nosler Partition but in 150 grain. I am member of the Sheboygan Rifle and Pistol Club and spent many mornings sighting in and practicing with the shooting sticks. As I practiced I saw my confidence grow. It’s amazing what practice does. I also added Keen hunting shoes/boots, my Dad’s hunting knife, a Carhart Jacket, borrowed Kevin’s belt cartridge holder, got a pair of Leupold Binos for Christmas, and acquired an acceptable backpack among other things for my kit. Before long we were approaching our departure date. I must say that the anticipation and preparation are a great part of the experience. I also read about the history of southern Africa and devoured the Africa Hunting Reports and forums. This is such a great resource.

    The Travel

    Our travel day arrived. Keith and I would leave Milwaukee’s Mitchell International airport bound for Atlanta on Delta. We then took flight 200 to Johannesberg. The concern I had for registering our fire arms was exaggerated. Tiene at Uitspan and this sight had us well prepared for the process. The person who checked us in in Milwaukee was gracious and was interested in hunting as her father was a hunter. Our flight to Atlanta was uneventful and smooth. After a layover we were on our way to Africa. I managed to sleep much of the way. When we landed in Johannesberg we found our rifles quickly and were met by Mr. X of Afton House. I highly recommend the service with the rifles. It took a lot of stress off of my shoulders. Mr. X was knowledgeable and helpful. We were soon on our way to Afton House where a great rib eye steak dinner awaited. We went to sleep quickly as our flight to Windhoek was early. We arrived at the airport and all was well. We checked in and a gentleman assured us our baggage was on the plane heading for Windhoek on Air Namibia. A short trip later we were in the International Airport.

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    Our rifles were found and easily checked by the police. Only problem no baggage! Michael was there to pick us up and said don’t worry we will make it work. We stopped at a big retail store and Keith bought some hunting clothes and boots. I stayed out with the truck. After about a four hour drive we arrived at Uitspan Ranch as it was getting dark. Tiene provided clothes and other things needed that were in our checked bags. So no real problem. After a lot of hard work by Tiene our bags arrived in about four days! Again, be flexible and all will work out. After all my concern about traveling with rifles the real problem was with my luggage. Go figure.


    The Hunt Begins

    The next morning we awoke with the crow of the rooster (Michael Duvenhage was the rooster—giving an early example of his animal calling skills) and had devotions and breakfast at about 6:30. A note on our meals: fantastic! Breakfast consisted of rusk—Boer staple, musli, and yogurt. Excellent French press coffee was always available. This is the only “light” meal of the day. After walking and stalking game you are happy you weren’t over fed at breakfast. The noon meal was usually held at the farmhouse.

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    Tiene and family friend Joannette working to make sure we had enough to eat!! They succeeded!

    We stayed in the hunting camp at night and stopped in at the farmhouse for the noon meal. The meal was a variety of delicious offerings—perhaps closer to a brunch. The evening meal was always at the hunting camp. The camp consisted of a main house with thatched roof for the family and three smaller thatched roof buildings for the hunters. Each room had hot water, toilets, and showers as well as several beds and occaisional chairs. The evening meals often consisted of the game that was taken the previous day and was cooked over the open fire—either outside or an inside wood barbeque.

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    These are some pictures of the hunting camp and our meals. We felt like royalty. Food was great. Presentation was regal!

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    During the planning stages of the hunt Tiene had asked us to fill out a meal preference questionnaire. I stated I don’t like mayonnaise or coconut! I like everything else! I love eating and the meals were a real highlight of the trip.

    Back to the hunt—after breakfast we went to the farm house and sighted in our rifles. After minor adjustments we were good to go. The basic style of hunt was to drive along the ranch paths (nothing paved in the area)and look for tracks. On our first day we did just that. Michael soon spotted Kudu tracks, parked the Bakki, and we were off. Keith graciously said I should be the on deck hunter on the first day. Very soon after the tracking began we were stranded in an open field when Michael hit the dirt. He had instructed us about doing whatever he did. So hit the dirt we went. Michael pointed out two young Kudu bulls sparing at about 200 yards in front of us. He said a larger bull was behind them. As we were straining to see what his eagle eyes saw he suddenly redirected us to about 350 yards to our left—big Kudu bull in the bushes. We crawled on our knees about 50 yards to get behind a small acacia tree for cover. At about 300 yards he asked if I felt confident with the shot. I had only once in my life shot at this distance, but in a burst of optimism said I could make the shot. He placed the sticks and got me settled in in a sitting position. It was a perfect setup. I was very stable and the Kudu Bull waited for my breathing to calm down. He walked into an opening and Michael called him to stop. I took the shot and down he went! He struggled to get up and I tried to shoot an angling shot but hit him in the left hip. Down he went. One more shot through the neck and it was over. I was the longest shot I have ever taken. Later when we were cleaning the animal back at the farm the first shot totally destroy the right front shoulder, but did not penetrate into the vitals. The second shot totally destroyed the left rear hip, but did not penetrate into the vitals. End result a great trophy. He was within 5 yards of the first shot location. It does give one pause to think about the range and the caliber. Is a .270 big enough for Kudu at Kalahari ranges? I think one needs to consider this. I was one happy camper. Within the first morning of my first safari I had taken an old bull Kudu. We later measured it and it was 49.5 inches. In addition he was a unicorn! (one extra small horn in middle of forehead!) He was past his prime and Michael didn’t think it would last another year. It is a wide set of horns with excellent character marks. I could not be happier with this trophy!

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    That night we had some great lamb. It was a great day.

    Day 2 of the hunt was focused on Impala. After some bad shooting on my behalf—I have trouble with the kneeling position—I shot a 21” ram-- Really pretty animal.

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    After a nice lunch we went out looking for a Kudu for Keith. Suddenly Michael said “Kudu—Cull. Brian come here!” I should mention we were on a management hunt looking for representative animals. In addition to the representative trophies we would when appropriate take the odd cull animal. Apparently this was one of these. The shot was from 220 yards from the sticks. I took the shot and it was a perfect shot on the right shoulder. He jumped up and dropped within 15 yards. As we walked to him Michael started shaking his head. It turned out this was no cull. It was a beautiful trophy—53” and 54”! The horns were narrow and partially obscured by brush when Michael thought he was a cull. I was concerned that I may have to pay for another trophy. In typical fashion Michael said he could be my cull--it was his mistake.

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    This gives you some idea of what a stand up guy Michael is. I was over the moon. Two beautiful Kudus in two days. What a hunt. The .270 150 grain nosler partition performed perfectly. It went through the right shoulder and took out the lung and heart. We found the slug just inside the skin on the far side. This was 8o yards closer than my first Kudu and the round performed flawlessly. We had a great supper this night composed of Kudu steaks. Tiene got out the accordion and we sang some American songs and the family sang some in Afrikaans. I slept great this night—actually I slept great every night.

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    Stalking is always interesting--note giraffe in background!


    The next day we stalked Gemsbok for Keith without result. It was a great day that ended at Michael’s Mother and Father’s home for a great meal of slow roasted lamb. I had no idea I liked lamb so much. It was tremendous. We got our luggage back as the airline sent a currier to Uitspan. He looked haggard when he arrived. It is a long drive from Windhoek! We played a traditional Afrikaaner gam called Juskei. It is somewhat like horseshoes but with a heavy cylindrical handle being the item that is tossed at the peg in the sand pit. I lost but had a great time. A trip to Namibia is a great hunt, but it is so much more as well. After supper we drove back to the hunting camp, unpacked our luggage (seemed like Christmas), and sat and looked at the stars. We saw the southern cross and were reminded of Scripture, “When I consider the heavens the works of your fingers the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?” Psalm 8--Another great night in Africa. Tomorrow is Sunday and we will not hunt. A great day of rest was had by all.

    On Monday morning we were up bright and early. We spent the morning looking for a Caracal that had crossed over from Botswana. No luck. Later in the a.m. Keith got a beautiful Gemsbok.

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    After lunch we were looking for Kudu for Keith and I got a Springbok with a marginal shot. But we got it.

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    Hunting knife was my father's--Wilfred Gesch Sr.--never went to Africa, but his knife did!


    After hunting hard all afternoon for Keith’s Kudu with no luck Michael put the sticks up and told me to get into shooting position as there were some nice Gemsbok. I took a shot at about 200 yards and it looked like a miss. There was general chaos as the herd milled around. Michael said to get back on the sticks as a nice female was in the open.

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    I shot it and it went maybe only twenty yards and was down. As we approached my Gemsbok Michael was looking where my first shot was taken and told me to come over and look. The .270 had done its job at about 200 yards. I had shot the first one as well! Two beautiful animals in five minutes. Darkness was upon us as we took pictures. It was almost overwhelming. Michael’s Dad likes Gemsbok meat so we took both to his home and did the field dressing there and put them in his cleaning room for the workers to finish the butchering.

    The next day we focused on Keith getting a Kudu! We hunted hard for some time and then drove to a new area. As we were getting out of the Toyota we spooked a big Kudu bull. We began tracking him but he seemed to be in high gear heading for Botswana! We got back in the Rover and circled around to another area and after a while there he was. Keith put on a great shot from relatively close—maybe 75 yards—and he was down. He was the biggest Kudu of our trip. It was about 54” on both sides!

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    After taking him to the home ranch for butchering we went on the beginning of the specific management aspect of our trip. That afternoon we each shot a small Kudu that didn’t have great horns. The meat by the way is used in every part. The workers eat the meat from game animals and also eat some of the offal. Nothing is wasted. If there is extra meat beyond what the family needs it is sold to a biltong place in Windhoek.

    If any of you are thinking of a Kudu centric hunt this would be a great place to go. There are many of them in this area. We saw some that were even bigger than the two biggest we got.

    The next day we tried for some warthogs with no success. That evening we had a “Braai” at Tiene’s brother’s home. This is a neighbor but is still about 16 miles away. It is hard to illustrate how vast this country really is. We were included in a family gathering with more delicious lamb and all the fun of a family outing. This is something that is especially nice about Michael and Tiene. They include you in their lives. This is beyond what money can buy. Great people.

    Tiene’s sister in law had told us at the Braai that she had too many Springbok on her land and she needed some meat. Would we be willing to take six of them for her! Absolutely we would try! The next day was very windy and we had a hard time getting close to the Springbok as they were on the pan (dry lake bed with very little cover). Michael and I each tried some 300 yard plus shots—we were trying for head shots to not damage the meat. No luck. We then went into a slightly more sheltered area and we allowed Jan Hendrik—Michael’s son/13 or so—to try. Well he did not try, he did! Four shots over the next hour or so and four head shot springbok!! He is a great young man. I pretended to be instructing him on shooting (see picture). He doesn’t need instruction. He could be the teacher!

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    The next day would be our last full day at the ranch. We had pretty much gotten all we wanted and what the family needed handled for conservation and food so Michael asked if we wanted to help on the sheep ranch with banding the young male sheep! If you don’t know what that is ask a farmer. I ran more than I have in 30 years! We were rounding up sheep and pushing them into a Kraal so that they could be banded, bobbed, and ear marked. It was another unbelievable experience. We dealt with over 250 lambs! After a nice lunch in the shade we started by home. This ranch was also owned by the family but was a good 30 miles away. We just started back when Junius or Emmanual yelled KUDU! We ended up taking two of the small herd for meat for the workers and family. Keith and I each got one.

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    Me, Keith, Junius, and Emmanual and a cull Kudu

    After another great meal that night we prepared for the ride to Windhoek and home. The next day we loaded up in the morning and packed. We left at about 11:00. After 4 hours or so we were approaching Windhoek when we got a flat. The spare tire bracket was basically seared to the harness. It would not budge. Michael plugged the hole in the tire, inflated it with an aerosol can and took off down the road to a construction site where he hoped the workers would help him get the tire off of the harness. They did. And we were soon on our way to a game ranch near the airport. We had a fantastic meal and time of reminiscence concerning the last 10 days. It was precious. The next morning we stopped at the Taxidermy place—Trophiedienst—and made arrangements for our trophies. (we were happy with the quality of work that was done/I would use them again). The Duvenhages helped us get checked in and through the firearms system and we were on our way home. The flights were good and uneventful. When we got back to Milwaukee my wonderful wife Kathy and other brother Jeff were waiting for us. It is good to be home!


    Total animals taken:

    Kudu 2 trophies 2 cull

    Gemsbok 2 trophies

    Springbok 1 trophy 1 cull

    Impala 1 trophy

    Common Duiker I trophy

    Keith took a total of 9 animals and substituted a steenbok for the duiker.

    Observations:

    The .270 and 150 grain bullets are quite ample on all the animals taken IF you are below 300 yards. It seems to begin to be a bit small on the larger game—Kudu—at more than 300 yards.

    The game in the Kalahari is amazing. Great quantities of it. Great variety. All a challenge.

    The people are really the best part of the trip. Michael and Tiene are great hunters (Tiene is also a PH!) and even better people and hosts! I am actually encouraged in my Christian life by how they are a living witness in their actions.

    The travel, while long, should not deter anyone. It is part of the challenge and is actually exciting in a strange way.

    The expense, while real, is very affordable compared to many others. There is a hunt that can be worked out for many budgets.

    I called this a “Prequel” as I have now been to Namibia twice (see my other—shorter—report last month). I am not sure if there is a word for future trips, but I certainly hope I can make them. I would love to have my wife go with me! Michael and Tiene Duvenhage of Uitspan Hunting should be on the short list of many of you for your next trip. Thanks for letting me write my first “novel” for my report.

    Brian Gesch

    Wisconsin, USA
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2018

  2. dobber

    dobber AH Enthusiast

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    great report, thanks for sharing
     

  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Glad you got the practice report out of the way. Thanks for sharing the "old" hunt with us.

    Good luck on the follow up.
     

  4. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Congrats on your hunt and thanks for the pics
     

  5. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for the hunt report! I'm glad you had a great time! Nothing is better than kudu hunting.
     

  6. kgesch

    kgesch AH Senior Member

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    Well done, brother.
     
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  7. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for sharing with us!
     
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  8. kudukid

    kudukid AH Senior Member

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    Great report Bryan. You really got the full experience. They sound like fantastic hosts. I love Namibia.
    As an Australian meat exporter I am thrilled that you enjoyed several meals of lamb. The USA is our 2nd largest export market for lamb. We need you guys to eat more imported lamb in order to become our number 1 export market.
     
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  9. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Sounds like you had a grand hunt! A “cull” 53-54” kudu I’d pull the trigger on any day! Guess that should have been an “oops” kudu instead;)?

    Excellent you could take your dad’s hunting knife on the trip.

    Thanks for finally sharing this. I don’t think I can recall my 2016 hunt nearly that well.
     
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  10. gesch

    gesch AH Veteran

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    Thanks for the kind words. I kept a diary of the hunt. I get emotional thinking about my Dad. Thanks again
     
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  11. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for the report Brian, that was a great hunt !
     
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  12. gesch

    gesch AH Veteran

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    The people are the best. Also I agree. Eat more lamb!
     

  13. gesch

    gesch AH Veteran

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