Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by BRICKBURN, Aug 23, 2011.
Thought you'd like that.
I could not take it either and had to shoot one.
Kudu be damned that day.
Let's go back to the highseat the skinny legs where nothing I can't believe how those red and white stripes blend in so we'll
I never sat in the Candy cane shack. Sure goes to how animals are colour blind.
Some nice trophies there, the warthog is fantastic!
I can't believe you have taken so long to tell this story. I hope I don't have to wait another 5 years for the rest of the story.
I am enjoying it and I imagine you are as well as you relive events.
Thank you for the encouragement.
Five years ago, I was not really sure about writing it up at all . I had taken notes and actually wrote a few pages and then stopped.... Truth be told, I am not sure why I didn't proceed.
Rest assured more is coming.
This is like a trip down memory lane.
I transited ORTambo on the way to Namibia this time around and was introduced to "Tomato toasties", a brand new favourite. I al found out just how friendly and inviting some of these South Africans can really be.
Rising after very few hours of sleep to make sure that I got to my gate on time I found the airport virtually deserted, in comparison to last night.
I slowly figured out where I needed to be and headed that way. Ticket counter/Baggage check in is where, while waiting in line, I met some musicians that were headed to Windhoek for a Festival.
They were very helpful in my sleep deprived state and we headed off to the security screening point where the officer took exception to my medication. Since I had months worth, it obviously appeared I was smuggling. I have to say it is the first time I have ever been overtly perturbed at an official. In a grumpy tone I told him my name was on everything, combined with a look on my face that conveyed I was willing to stuff him in a very small container if he persisted. That sufficed, thankfully.
At this point I am lagging behind my musical companions and they have almost made it through Passport Control. I look and note the conspiratorial manner in which one is chatting with the Passport Control officer I am about to encounter.
I walk up and present myself and my Passport and take note I have an intrigued audience of musicians.
The female officer starts to tell me about not having the required documents in a very stiff manner. Not being totally incapacitated by sleep I notice she is barely containing a smile and I break into a very wide smile and start to laugh out loud, which gets the officers on duty and the audience going as well.
I passed the test: This foreigner is not so bad.
We are ages early and head into the only restaurant that is open and they buy me an orange juice and chat for a while. My guides now take me to our gate and we eventually board our flight and are whisked off to Windhoek.
After we board the plane I know I am in Africa. One of my musician colleagues proceeds to get into cockpit and take the navigators seat.
When is that last time you ever saw one of those doors open and a passenger being invited in, never mind flying the entire trip in the cockpit?
We are not in "Kansas anymore Toto!"
My newest African friends.
This is going to be rather disjointed as I am doing memory association games and jumping all over.
I have spent what feels like many days in a blind. For someone who has never really used blinds, I am a stalker and spotter, this is such a shift for me. I am determined to take this as it comes and do what ever the locals are doing.
The PH has set the tone and I am following.
One evening we crawl up into a blind box that is set above a water tank/cistern. This is not your usual water tank, these things are huge reservoirs made from concrete.
The closest I can come to describing these structures is an above ground swimming pool.
The water trickles over the top into the trough at its base and animals, cattle to Dik Dik can water here.
When it was 32C one day I was sorely tempted to go for a swim. The water is literally crystal clear and very cold.
As we watch the sun slowly sinking animals fade in and out. No Warthogs at this time of day. Apparently they have already headed for shelter.
The Doves come in to the small pond further from the tank and flit in for a sip of water and are gone almost immediately.
I watch a mating dance on the edge of the reservoir. These are incredibly colourful birds. The iridescence is shocking.
A Black-backed Jackel slowly approached and thankfully I was hoping that Kudu would come in he was safe and just got his picture taken.
The Francolins came strutting by.
A Red hartebeest Bull came in to drink. These were just reintroduced into the conservancy and were not to be hunted yet. (the ear tag was the give away)
Seeing him wonder in and then scamper around like a little kid chasing his herd of cows was an education in behaviour.
Another Striped Francolin came in to scratch.
Another kind of Dove visiting.
At one point this raptor came screaming in and narrowly missed a Dove and then just perched in the tree and proceeded to keep everything feathered from attending for ten minutes. Finally realized that dinner was not coming while he was perched over the water, he left.
At this point, sitting very quietly with almost no wind I took out my Blackberry and recorded the sounds of all that was happening near this water hole for about two minutes.
To this day I go back to the recording of the sounds and I am taken back instantly to that spot and time.
Something similar on the net with a little less Dove noise than I have.
The final full day of hunting had me sitting in my high seat again. Coleman was gone on his way and we were to wait for a Kudu Bull to come in.
To start the day as usual. The alarm went off and I would soon get a knock at the door if I were tardy.
I learned how integral Thomas was to my well being on this farm. He was in charge of Milk production. Fresh whole milk every day.
My butter for my bread was churned right here.
My morning tea.
My Hot Showers.
This is a Donkey. Effectively a wood burning hot water heater.
I learned, almost a very painful way, how the Donkey can also be your worst enemy.
As with any water heater, too much heat all at once creates STEAM.
If the Donkey is slowly fed small portions of wood throughout the day you have running hot water of a temperature that leaves your skin attached. If someone, to save themselves the bother, dumps a days worth of wood stoked into the Donkey you get high pressure STEAM.
I am glad I have a habit of reaching into showers and letting them run for a while. The bathroom was filled with hyper hot steam and I narrowly avoided being parboiled. I learned of the little work short cut later when I asked what was going on with the hot water.
My laundry was done by the house staff
As usual, Schlufi was guarding my front door.
Fipsi was up on the patio table guarding the cell phones. Actually, she was up there trying to stay warmer.
The workers on the farm cut wood for firewood packages to be sold in town. Anything this farm can produce to make money it does.
Occupational Health and Safety anyone.
A load of bagged wood being moved to storage.
Cleaning the garden. This was also used to transport the entire farm worker population, wives, children and the men to the weekly soccer tournament.
I brought soccer balls to Africa as gifts. Since the World Cup had just been I assumed some folks might like them. This was the most appreciative group of people I had sen when those soccer balls came out. I hope they are still in play in the area.
Those wooden fence posts being soaked/boiled in hot oil for termite protection. Everything gets used here. Old Motor oil, etc.
Note all the Warthog tusks on the top of the drum, taken from "Ration" hogs.
I have never lived in a place where you have to lock things up. In fact my doors to my home are always unlocked unless I leave for a holiday.
T his is the compound fence surrounding the farmsted.
The gate is locked every night. The family and guests on the inside, the workers and whomever else on the outside. Like clock work in the morning the gate is opened and the workers come into the house and yard to go to work.
Note some of the sunflower seed crop inside the fence.
This trip was an education in technology. The local tech guy had never seen a Blackberry, go figure. It took some work to get the "dongle" working and get me educated on the use of the SIMS in my phone and how to add minutes on the prepaid plan.
Connectivity out here was an adventure. I took this picture to share with my wife what was required to grab signal. It was reflective in the farm yard. Classic, "Can you hear me now?" stuff.
This exact spot was the best spot to email from in the entire compound. I was the brunt of some laughter, but really these people had to deal with this daily.
Today I was not tardy, but ready to go and up for the short walk to the house for breakfast with the family.
We were off down the road to the other farm in hopes of that Kudu coming out. Stefan was coming along to try and do the same successful set up we had done with the Oryx. It sure sounded good to me.
It had been very wet earlier in the year and the road demonstrated this very well. There was no other warning sign before this one appeared in the middle of the road at the hazard. Note to self: Self drive in Namibia is potentially dangerous. Pay attention.
Back into the blind
The reticle of my hired rifle. I had never used one of these before. It worked just fine.
I waited and waited. Finally some hours later an SMS arrives fro Stefan, there is a good Kudu bull coming into his clearing to get some water.
I am more than ready to go.
We are out and away trotting toward the other corner of the farm and I am looking forward to a successful repeat of this little plan.
Up the final fence line we slow right down and start scanning the clearing. Nothing.
I move up a few more yards hugging the edge of the bush. Scanning with the rifle at the ready. Nothing.
It is now that I learn exactly how hard it is to see a Kudu in its natural habitat.
I am walking ahead of Wolfgang, hunched over trying to peer around every branch. After a few minutes I start to move again, one step at a time and I catch a glint out of the corner of my eye.
Two horns tips are sticking up out of the brush and it takes me a second to clue in that it's a Kudu Bull. Having only seen one in the flesh before I am quite surprised by his size. Height mostly.
He has been watching us sneak up on him. Actually, sneak past him. We are within forty yards and he is with little concern just watching us go by.
Grey Ghost my ass. Sneaky bastard that was way smarter than me.
Everything was just fine until the magical light bulb went off above my head and my demeanour changed.
Deja Vu..... hunting at home where that big Whitetail Buck quite happily stands his ground and watches you go by without a flinch until he sees you see him and .......
The rifle starts coming up in one smooth motion, I know he is big enough for my Gold Medal desires and they do not grow any dumber with age and size, the Kudu wheels and starts to move quickly into deeper cover. I consider for a split second to go after his Texas Heart, but I restrain myself. This bush is too thick for my liking and that Bull beat me fair and square.
Wolfgang asks why I did not shoot. I tell him I did not get a good enough look at him. Which was not true. I can tell Wolfgang is worried I am going to be disappointed in not getting my Kudu as that is what we have been communicating about for many months.
We head back to the high standing blind. It is a slow quiet walk and I reply the vision of those horns and that Kudu turning to disappear.
We climb into the blind and wait out the rest of the day in total silence. I know that Bull is not coming anywhere near again. He is safe wandering in the bush.
The sun set on my last full hunting day as I looked out over the bush in Namibia..
I was very fortunate to be taken through the market on the way back to Windhoek and I did finally collect my first Namibian Kudu. There is one carver in this market that is a true artist and captures the animals in his carvings like no other I have encountered since.
It is a half day drive to get to the airport from the farm and I am booked on the latest flight possible today to ensure that I will not encounter any issues. However, I am not done quite yet.
Coming from a country that has more water than what we know to do with it is a little strange for me to have the kids here playing an all to familiar game that, at home, is typically done for the front seat of a car. Stefan and Sylvia play “shotgun” for the bath. To comprehend this you have to understand the desert and the value of water. The bathtub is filled ONCE and I think you can gather how important being first into the bath might be. When I discover this I am very thankful I was not that much a part of the family and I get my very own shower.
I have also found this to be a very traditional family where the diversification of labour is very well defined along gender lines. Nothing I am unfamiliar with, but I have so many girls in my life there is no way that they can not hunt and shot and do all the things the boys can. Not so much the case here.
The youngest Sylvia has not been taught to shoot. I am incredulous that a farm girl can not shoot, I show my first world nature I have "bugged" Wolfgang about not teaching Sylvia to shoot.
Well today is the day. She has never shot a gun before or hunted and it is going to happen. Sylvia is interested and I'll tell you her brother is very perturbed that "his" bath water is being spoiled. He is teasing her mercilessly.
I had a lot of fun and the pictures tell the tale very well.
The fact that the Falk’s produce their own food and create a wonderful variety of meals is amazing.
This was truly farm fresh food all the way through. Fresh homemade butter, milk from the cows, Prickly Pear Cactus and Wild Plum jelly along with delightful Rooibos tea. Wild meat is always on the table here, they do not eat the beef they raise. That is for export. The Sun Flower seeds are for bird seed. The corn is raised for feed and the cattle are left to graze.
These people are quite self reliant and it is enlightening to me.
This hunting experience is precisely what I wanted: Quiet, good plain food, excellent company and hunting with no guarantees, no high fences, just hunting wild game on the veld/bush that has grown to its potential.
At the end, Wolfgang still wondered if ”I was not too disappointed that I did not get my Kudu.” I replied to him that I would be more disappointed to have taken a small one or to have wounded the big one that got away.
I packed my belongings and lay them outside my bunkhouse and the dogs all gathered to say goodbye. I would have missed my dogs even more without these surrogates for company.
How many groceries do you grab at one time. Big country and big distances here.
This was at a check point on the way to the airport.
I tried to settle up with Wolfgang at his bank and they could not process a Credit card. No idea why I bank could not process a credit card. I told him I would have my wife transfer the money when I contacted her from Joburg and he was fine with that.
I also noticed that the current exchange rate had the CDN dollar a couple of points above the USD, so I suggested that I could transfer the full dollar amount in CDN. He 's gain a little and I gained by not having to be hosed by the bank to exchange the dollars. True to his nature, Wolfgang looked up at the exchange board in the airport and agreed on the spot with a hand shake I was off to board my plane.
It was a pleasure doing business with someone who operated this way. I was walking away owing this man thousands of dollars and we were just fine with it. Upon arrival at OR TAMBO I made sure my wife would transfer the money tomorrow. It took me many repeat emails over the next week to get confirmation from Wolfgang that he got paid. Typical internet on the farm, no other reason.
Sunset on the wing as I was heading east to South Africa.
I see your pig was right handed .
He was. I saw some others that were lefties though.
We must of stopped at the same market .
I think plenty of folks stop at that market.
It is one stall and I have been back in 2013 and the same quality was there for sure.
Very nice piece you got there Dory.
Saw it when i first got there .
Brought it 3 weeks later on the way to the Kalahari .
Carried it on the plane with me all the way home .!!!
Still broke his horns off .
This is a great report Wayne
Very nice report and great pictures. Eland are incredibly tough animals. Very nice trophies congratulations.
Thanks Johnny. It's a pleasure to write and share this with people who can relate.
I had scheduled my arrival into South Africa to allow enough time to ensure I can get to the school on time. You don't want to be late for your first day of school.
I had arranged to be picked up by the owner and am not expecting an overnight in Joburg. Having poor connectivity does play havoc with planning.
David has been building his new school and has a brand new farm by Vaalwater where he plans to have the schools permanent location. Previously, courses had been held at Kwalata Wilderness and this is where I was expecting to arrive.
Little did I know how close I was to come to meeting Jaco Strauss earlier than I ever thought.
(At the time I was not aware that the Academy was still under construction and taking up a lot of David’s energy and attention.)
I arrive in OR TAMBO and no one is there to pick me up. Hmm.
I have arranged a local phone number and internet dongle so I can track people down and be accessible to others while here in RSA. I swap the sim cards and start to make the numerous phone calls required to figure out what's up.
My Zulu princess technician.
He'll get back to me, but I am not being picked up now for sure as he is in Vaalwater. OK.
Time for some food and to see if South African Airlines has my Bow. One week without practice did not have me too perturbed. I now have two weeks until I start to hunt Cape Buffalo with my bow. I'd like to practice daily while at PH School.
I check my email to find that SAA has not sent me any reply on my "Lost Bag" after a 9 days. I send further emails and try to call somebody. Nothing.
I am starting to wonder now.
I am informed of the new arrangement that I will be a picked up at the bottom of the City Lodge at an appointed time. A fellow student will be coming to get me. Generous of him to go out of his way to accommodate my travel needs.
I head up to City Lodge and get a room for the night. I am rolling with all the punches here and it takes some effort on my part, as I do like a plan.
The view from my room.
Up the next morning and into the lower levels of the hotel. The tunnels to get anywhere are an interesting puzzle to solve.
I got to meet one of our regular AH members and contributing Outfitters Louis VB Spiral Horn Safaris. We had a great lunch and then he dropped me back at the hotel for my eventual pick up.
I Meet my newest travelling companion and we are off toward Centurion to pick up another classmate and then off north to Vaalwater.
I luckily get to ride up front. My other school mate is into the rear of the Baakie for this ride.
Along the way I am serenaded by voices from the South Park character Eric commenting on the driving. Various expletives about the driver’s inability to remain below the speed limit, etc.
We are on our way 2.5 hours to Vaalwater, along the N1 then along the R33 thence off on to dirt roads.
We arrive at our destination in fine form and I soon find out that I am truly back in school. Dorm rooms to be shared with assigned bunk mates.
We are assigned rooms and go introduce ourselves and get set for dinner. I have a general look around the place where I am about to reenter the formal educational system.
A taste if what I had set myself up for.
The Dorm wing.
The view from Dorm room 3
The Braai area.
Kitchen at full steam.
Laundry once per week. See what happens when you forget the day.
Someone's trophy just laying about.
In case you think you can memorize the specific horn sizes. These are the judging piles.
24 Hours after leaving Namibia I got to watch the sunset in the Waterburg.
Separate names with a comma.