NAMIBIA: Westfalen Hunting Safaris

Thursday August 4th, 2016

I had gotten everything on my free-roaming animal “list” but we had another day of hunting planned. Impala are the quintessential African safari animal in my mind. I wanted one regardless of the free-roaming/high fence issue. Quite frankly I had been spoiled up to this point with hunting right out of camp. John has access to a property with Impala, blesbok etc but it was a good 1 ½ away. We had discussed skipping it prior in the week but last night both Gideon and John informed me that they knew of a place much closer that had both animals. The last two on my list.

We headed northwest out of camp about 40 minutes to the farm. This was a high-fence of @ 10,000 acres. The farm was owned by one of the happiest farmers I ever met. He came out smiling and happy and gave me and my son a big hug. You couldn’t help but laugh when around him. He asked my son if he was going to shoot anything and my son, having already shot three animals already, stated not today. He then stated “ok you shoot any warthogs you see then, I hate warthogs”. You could not help but like the guy.

The farmer got into the driver’s seat and started driving us around; it wasn’t long until we saw a variety of animals. We got out of the truck and started on stalk on a group of blesbok only to be thwarted by a crazy group of wildebeest, charging by for no real reason at all. We circled around, came across a group of springbok that had an absolute monster in it, I changed my list immediately to go after the springbok, only again to be stopped and busted by a group of waterbuck. It was as dizzying then as it is now to write and read this.

We settled down, took a breath and again began a big swing downwind of the blesbok and were able to stalk to within 125 yards where I was able to drop a nice bull.

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Brought him to the farmers skinning shed and started to cape him out. The farmer as I said was telling jokes and laughing the whole time. He decided to take the testicle of the bull and create an African face, complete with hair style, eyes, nose and mouth. I was beginning to believe at this point that he was a couple of slices short of a full loaf, but I say that smiling because he had all of us rolling with laughter at the time.

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We next headed out for impala and for the life of me could not see them even after Gideon pointed them out. We had stalked to within 90 yards of a group of them. We were on our bellies, crawling left more than straight ahead. The impala were in really thick vegetation and the only way I was seeing them was through a tunnel of bushes and small trees while laying on my stomach. I had the 30-06 and had attached a bipod to it. Gideon pointed out the mature bull. I am not sure how he knew; I could not see the head or the horns. I was looking done a 90 yard tunnel, the top and sides were all thin branches from the bushes but there were a lot of them. The impala’s head was behind a trunk of one of the bushes and he was quartering away from me with his spine covered by the top of the tunnel. Once again I was aiming for the last rib and opposite shoulder. It was a very small window I had to place this bullet but as it shouldn’t be, but was here, time was an issue. I wanted to get back to the family for an afternoon event and this was the last day of the hunt, otherwise I might have passed on the shot. I could have spent 5 minutes looking at the individual branches and factoring in the height above my sightline the bullet would travel but I didn’t. I let the bullet fly and the sound it made when it hit was not normal. It wasn’t the normal thump you hear when a bullet strikes an animal, it was more like slap. The impala ran off with its hind leg trailing, at least that was what Gideon told me. After the shot I didn’t see a thing. We were worried enough that the impala might run to a thick spot only to die without us finding him that the farmer took out his .308 with a big silencer on it and we formed a long skirmish line to search for him. About 10 minutes later, as we all searched through the thick grass and vegetation, of course Gideon found him, hit hard and struggling to get up. I came up from the side and from 20 yards let another shot fly through the brush. With the wicked sound of a ricochet the bullet went god knows where because it did not hit the impala. After another quick relocation and I finished him. I can’t even say I was perfect from 20 yards on this trip anymore.


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As you can see from the bullet we recovered, I would assume the first shot deflected off a branch, starting tumbling and entered into his back hip sideways traveling up through the body and settling a little behind his front opposite shoulder. He was quartering away from me that much. Going in sideways like it did and at that angle I am surprised it didn’t bounce off the hip bone.

A fun last hunt and a unique story to end my first safari.


The afternoon event I wanted to attend so badly was the cheetah interaction located close to camp. I think I wanted to be there more to protect my four year old than to actually be a part of it but nevertheless it was crazy!

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From the pictures alone I can tell that you and your family had a great trip.
From your written report I felt like I was there with you. Thank you for sharing.
Namibia is on my list!
 
Friday August 5th, 2016

We left camp early in the morning and headed to an orphanage that John and Juliana help support that is on the way to Swakopmund. We planned to head to the coast and spend three days doing things for my wife and kids. Shopping, dune tours and tv, before heading home. The orphanage was about two hours into a seven hour drive, in a town called, Khorixas. 45 minutes into the drive along c35, a gravel road, we passed the farm I shot the eland on. If I remembered the way I could have taken the rental car over the back road. Those rental cars go anywhere and it probably wasn’t worse than Etosha. The orphanage houses 23 kids whose parents died of Aids. I was pleased to see that when we arrived @10am that all of the older children were at school. We got to interact with the younger kids and give them almost three full bags of toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, medical supplies, hats, clothing, some toys and a bunch of books, dictionary’s and school supplies. I am currently hoping that the woman in charge understood us when we tried to explain the dosing limits of the children’s’ Advil, etc. We also took back the athlete’s foot cream and BenGay that someone had donated. I could not imagine if they put the BenGay on the wrong part of some poor kid.

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I was amazed at the Namibian people. A lot of them have no home to speak of, need to worry about where their next meal is coming from, don’t have much of anything and have nothing saved for tomorrow, yet they are happy and just plain thankful. I might also add that all of the Namibian people are tremendously nice. The kids at camp and even these kids live in conditions that all kids in 1st world countries would revolt over, yet they laugh, smile and I am grateful just to have met them. I am glad we could help in some small way.


The last days of our trip were spent in Swakopmund. Atv and Land Rover tours on the dunes, horseback riding, the seals at Cape Cross, shopping and TV/Olympics for the first world kids. Although we went to the best restaurants in town, the kids were disappointed compared to the food at Westfalen. It was that good.

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Final note:

Although this is my first safari I have been to enough outfitters to know when you are in the company of a well-run organization. As I re-read this review I am trying to think of the “bad” that should go along with all the good that I wrote. I can tell you that I didn’t include the bad because I can’t really come up with anything. Maybe I am missing something that another outfitter does, but it was not missed during the trip. The worst thing I could come up with was I couldn’t get coffee before 6:30am when I woke up early. (If you want to hear bad, ask me about my Elk hunting trip last year in Wyoming on horseback. I got plenty to say on that.) John and Juliana welcomed my family into their camp and home and were truly a pleasure to be around the entire trip. They worked hard to make sure that my family and I had a great trip. Gideon and Renout are an outstanding hunting duo that, as you can tell, have obviously worked together for the last 9+ years and are excellent at what they do. The area they have is huge and John and Gideon are committed to free-range trophy hunting. 12 animals in 6 ½ days hunting.

On the way back through JoBurg can you believe we found my youngest son’s personal bag at the lost and found. The DS and the ipad mini were still inside. Again with the 1st world issues, but I was stunned that the bag was found.

If you are reading this Westfalen crew, thank you again for an outstanding first safari, I have requested a hot water bottle in bed from now on but my wife and kids think I am joking. They don’t get it.

I have gotten the disease and only going back will help to control it, hopefully I am never cured!

The numbers below are from the license. Each and every animal was awesome in its own right and I consider all of them true trophies, but it does help that most if not all of this make the NAPHA gold medal list on for the most part a free-range hunt on an extraordinary piece of property Westfalen runs.


INFORMATION: RH LH RB LB

Eland 94 cm/37” 95cm/37 ½ “ 28 cm / 11” 28 cm / 11”

KUDU 136 cm/ 53 ½ 137 cm/ 54 28 cm / 11 28 cm / 11

Oryx Female 102 / 40 103 /40 ½ 16 / 6 ½ 16 / 6 ½

Oryx Male 89 / 35 89 / 35 19 / 7 ¾ 19 / 7 ¾

Oryx Male 89 / 35 89 / 35 19 / 7 ¾ 19 / 7 ¾ Springbok 38 / 15 36 / 14 ¼ 16 / 6 ½ 16 / 6 ½

Impala 61 / 24 58.5 / 23 13 / 5 ¼ 13 / 5 ¼

Blesbok 41 / 16 41 / 16 16 / 6 ½ 16 / 6 ½

Hartebeest 52 / 21 55 / 21 ½ 30 / 11 ¾ 30 / 11 ¾

Warthog 33 / 13” --------- 12.5 / 5” ----------

2 x Mountain Zebra --------- --------- ---------- ----------


RH = Right Horn LH = Left Horn RB = Right Base LB = Left Base
 
Awesome hunt, pics, and story. I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for posting the wonderful events. You are a blessed man.
 
Wonderful way to spend some time with the family. Some great animals. Good pics too. Thanks for taking the time to write out your report. We appreciate hearing about it. Glad you had such a great time. Congrats Bruce
 
Awesome hunt, pics, and story. I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for posting the wonderful events. You are a blessed man.

I remind myself of that everyday. Thank you.
 
awesome hunt and stories!
 
Great report and a great family safari. Yes, Namibia is a special place. I am a firm believer if you take your family to Africa, it is a life changing experience.

The photo of the two 30 cal, 165 Hornady GMX bullets are impressive. The GMX seems to get more than it's share of negative comments, but your photo looks pretty darn good to me.

Regarding the comment on your Remington 300 win mag not grouping: Could be lots of things but check the crown on the barrel. I have a 338 win mag that got a pretty good nick in the crown and I didn't think much of it......until I checked my grouping and what had been 1.2" was now around 5". I bought a crowning tool and put a 11 degree crown on the barrel and now have a 1" grouping again.

Dave
 
Thanks Dave for the crowning tool but I sold the gun to the PH at the end of the safari. I was amazed at what they have to do to get the gun registered. We took it to the police station and filled out the paperwork and the PH stated that it would take between 9-12 months for him to get the gun back after a permit is issued. Crazy.
 
Came upon your story while researching safari operations in Namibia for my next hunt. What a beautiful charitable family you have. You are truly blessed. The story of your adventure with Westfalen, the pictures of their hunting area and the quality of the animals will help immensely when I decide on a safari operator in Namibia. Thanks for sharing.
 
Well that was quicker than expected. Taxidermist emailed me today to say the mounts are ready to be shipped. I had negotiated terms that stated the mounts would be ready in 6 months from when delivered to them or the bill would be reduced 20%. That time frame puts them completed around March. But they are ready now. I got some pictures, not all and they are not shipped yet, but a good start. Pictures are not from a great angle and realized that I had them all posed a certain way based on where they are going. You will notice a lot of them are looking down because they will be placed over 10-15 feet high in a two story "crap" shack that my wife calls my garage. Will advise I hear more. BTW Kings Taxidermy in Namibia did the work.

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They even cleaned up the Hartebeast nose where he had a mark.
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Negotiated a time and discount!? I need some lessons!
Great report and its wonderful you have a family who want to share your experiences. I think you are teaching them well.
 
What a pig of a zebra. That will make a beautiful rug. Awesome pictures and it looks like you have a really nice family. Congrats on all the nice trophies!!!
 
I tried contacting Bidair throught their website, but all their emails bounce. Do you have a contact there that I could use?

Thanks

VIP Assist <vipassist@bidair.co.za> is the email I got from them confirming my reservation. Hope this helps.

I have also heard that http://riflepermits.com/ has this service as well. Maybe someone else can chime in. Good luck.
 
My son's zebra. I lover this mount.

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Is this rifle sold? If not what is the weight of it and do you know if there is enough difference in diameter between the 35W and the 9.3 to allow for a rebore to a 9.3x62 which is what I am after?
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BLAAUWKRANTZ safaris wrote on Greylin's profile.
We have just completed a group hunt with guys from North Carolina, please feel free to contact the organizers of the group, Auburn at auburn@opextechnologies.com or Courtney at courtney@opextechnologies.com Please visit our website www.blaauwkrantz.com and email me at zanidixie@gmail.com
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