SOUTH AFRICA: ZAMBIA: NAMIBIA: 5 Week Family Safari

JES Adventures

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Sorry for the delay, hard to find time going with 4 teenagers! We moved from P.E. To Cape Town – Stellenbosch actually. My dear friend Anne Dreyer booked us into a beautiful 3 bedroom cottage at the Zorgvliet Winery. Amazing views of the surrounding mountains in the heart of wine country. My children have seen so much in less than two weeks I'm convinced their minds are swimming.

Our tour guide Steven of Stieviewondertours.com met us at the CT airport and swift us off for a tour of historic Stellebosch before delivering us to the wine estate. He had arranged dinner at the Quartier Francais Tasting Room, a true gourmet meal of 9 courses, an experience in itself. Saturday started off early with a tour of the Gugulethu Townnship utilizing a local guide named Nceba, what an experience for the family to see how a community of the South African Townships function. I highly recommend this to put the country into prospective, it is their lifestyle and something for us to experience.
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Next off to the Cape of Good Hope followed by some close up interacting with the Penguins then a lunch at the wharf. We ended the day with Mass at St.Marks Catholic Church in Stellenbosch then dinner at the Delaire Graff Wine Estate, another amazing meal. If you are into good food, good wine and incredible scenery, this is the place. As with all African Safaris, you are planning you next trip before the current one is over, same is the case here. Debra and I are already formulating a couples trip, 3 days wine tasting then the men leave for 3 days of hunting while the women spa and wine. Ended up with a 4 day bird shoot on the Rovos Rail. This trip is on my agenda day for sure bit not sure when, gotta het four kids through college first!
 

JES Adventures

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The family with Nceba the local guide while touring the township - all arranged by Seven Van Hoof of Stieviewondertours.com. A stark contrast from Stellenbosch, a great reality check for the kids.
 

JES Adventures

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Sunday morning a challenge (3:30 wake up call) as we departed very early from CT for Joberg to connect to Livingstone. We arrived at the Royal Livingstone in grand fashion. My 15 year old said “I’ve never even experienced anything like this”. True 5 star luxury, with the best service on any Continent. The masseuse hooked my wife with the welcome hand massage, thus I ended up with a spa bill that rivaled most plains game trophy fees! But after 28 years of marriage, me running all over the place hunting and her wrangling four teenagers seven days a week I never made a sound.

Nestled on the banks of the Zambezi with the Mighty Victoria Falls in view, we relaxed and enjoyed one of the Seven Wonders of the World. A great meal and off to bed early as we had a big day planned. View from the deck overlooking the Zambezi at the Royal Livingstone.

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Wow, nice looking setting over the falls! I hope to go there someday
 

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After a full, restful nights sleep and a wonderful breakfast at 9 overlooking the Zambezi we were off to view the Falls. The rainy season was great and the water flow strong so needless to say we were drenched.
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Quickly back to our rooms for a change of clothes and off to lunch on Livingstone Island. This is a special tour I arranged which is very limited, offering a private lunch on a small island in the middle of the Zambezi River overlooking the Falls. Incredible doesn't aptly describe it. Dr. Livingstone's quote “scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight" is the better description.
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My twins Jordan and Grant swam in the Angels Armchair (with a lifeguard of course) while the rest of us looked on. This was followed by a great meal on the lawn which I finished with a cigar by the falls. If you find yourself in Zambia and want to see the Falls, please do yourself a favor, stay at the Royal Livingstone and do lunch on the island, no doubt the best experience I have had on both the Zimbabwe and Zambian side of the Grand Victoria Falls.
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Smoking a cigar after lunch on Livingstone Island with my boys.

I woke today before everyone else – as usual. Interesting, while I lie in bed I could see my wife in my mind’s eye, 30 years ago when we were at Victoria Falls. I never imagined I’d be here today with my four children experiencing it to the next level. God is Great!

Back in ’86, it was a special time in Zim, the war had been over for just a few years and everyone was at peace. The land teemed with game and the country was fully functioning. I hope there is a day and time I can return to that beautiful country, go to the Gwaai Valley Hotel for a cup of tea and off to the mopane veldt to see the great herds of Sable I was so so blessed to have hunted. Here's a picture from the past, my Sable taken in the Gwaai Valley in 1986 with Chris Van Wyk - Nemba Safaris.

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Up at 7 for tea on the patio and packing up to move on. Breakfast at 9 on the veranda for the last overlook of the mighty Zambezi. Our driver arrived at 11 and we were headed for The Kazangula Border Post to cross into Botswana for the next leg of our trip.

About 1:30 we arrived and the trucks carrying freight were backed up for over a mile. There is a ferry to cross the Zambezi and it takes up to a week for a truck to complete the queue and make the crossing. There is construction underway for a new bridge which is certain to improve efficiency and commerce. It’s been talked about for 30 years, just 7 years to go and it will be completed!

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A short 3 minute boat ride and we were in Botswana where we cleared customs. Back into a landcruiser and 15 minutes later we were at the Kasane border post. Here again we cleared customs exiting Botswana and back on a boat to cross the Chobe River to Namibia. Fifteen minutes later we were at Impalila Island to enter Namibia. So, one hour, 3 border crossings with 9 pieces of luggage – what a feat! Oh and I failed to mention a wife and 4 kids.

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Here were we would make our way to the Chobe Princess, a luxury houseboat for the next four days of fishing and game viewing.

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We boarded the boat and the manager John greeted us with a welcome drink then sat us down to lunch while the boat cruised up the Chobe. The weather was perfect, a mild breeze kept the insects to a minimum and the food was great. Lister the Chef never ceased to amaze us over the next four days. Almost immediately we saw elephant, buffalo, crocodile and hippo. The Chobe National Park is truly a remarkable place with vast herds of game. The houseboat was the absolute best way I have ever game viewed. Everything we needed was there, a great chef, attentive staff of four and three tenders for game viewing and fishing. The company is the ZQ Collection which operates three 54’ 4 and 5 room houseboats for private travel and the massive Zambezi Queen with 14 rooms for larger groups.

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We spent the next 4 days cruising up the Chobe, being within a few meters of buffalo and elephant seeing some of God’s most amazing creations . Cruising the Chobe, seeing the sights and running up the waterways to get to the Zambezi for Tiger fishing there was never a dull moment. Our guides Morgan and Raymond did there best to get us into the fish but you know how fishing goes, you need a bit of luck. Jordan, Grant and Parker all caught tiger fish – Bailey and I struck out. But to be honest, I spent more time watching my children and relishing the moments than wetting a line.

Parker with one of his Tiger's.

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Over the past three decades, I’ve had the blessing of being close to elephant and buffalo on land but never from the water. Interesting, I don't know if it's because we were in the park or that we were waterborne but the game just wasn't as wary. If you ever get the opportunity to game view from the water I highly recommend it.

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Note that all of these pictures were taken with an iPhone 6S or a Canon Elph 170 IS pocket sized camera, I was stunned by the quality.

We finished off the houseboat trip with a nice breakfast cruising back towards Impalila Island to clear Naimbian Customs. Then through to Kasane then Kazangula and back to Zambia.

Next stop the Dendro Park property adjacent owned by my friends the Bird’s of Balla Balla Safaris. Certain to be a great hunting experience for sure.
 

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WOW! So many awesome sights and experiences! I definitely need to go there!

Thanks for sharing
 

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Vic Falls and the Royal Livingstone Hotel are a must see. Great family experience, thanks for sharing.
 

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Wow, what an adventure! Loved your outstanding pictures. It appears you've been blessed with a fantastic family.
 

JES Adventures

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My friends Shawn and Jo Anne Bird met us at the riverside and we offloaded our bags from the boat onto the trucks and headed for Choma. After a stopover in Livingstone to retrieve some bags left at the hotel we had a quick lunch of pizza then off again. In Choma we met up with our second PH Richard Ducket. Richard has hunted dangerous game for years while operating his tobacco farm as well. By now it was 3 PM and Shawn said the short route to Dendro through the Kafue National Park was still impassible due to late rains this year so we would arrive in camp after dark. Once we left pavement it was 100 K’s on dirt and the deeper we got the worse the roads were. Now my children truly feel like they are in Africa!

The camp cook Charles had a wonderful meal prepared and after dinner everyone was off to bed. The camp setting is lovely, right next to a long oxbow lake under a canopy of huge trees. The lapa is built around a large tree with an inviting bar to one side, then step out onto the green grass towards a fire pit and brie.

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It was decided to sleep in until 7 and let everyone get settled in then go to the range for a few shots.

I broke the news to Debra last night by the fire she would be hunting buffalo this leg of the trip, something she wasn't expecting. Early on she said this trip was all about the kids so she wouldn't hunt. That sentiment changed when she got the support of all the family as a buffalo has been on her list for many years now. We’ve hunted them several times but she never connected with a mature bull.

We checked the 300 Win Mag for the kids to use and Debra had a few shots with a Mauser based custom 375 H&H she would use on the buff. It was a heavy gun with a muzzle break so very comfortable to shoot. After the range time we went out on a drive and saw Waterbuck, Impala, Puku, Warthog and a female Bushbuck. Shawn wanted to check a Leopard bait and when we got to the Impala, it was devoured. There were 566 pictures on the game camera and we got to see everything back in camp. Due to the light hunting pressure these cats were feeding in the daytime. Amazing how technology has advanced in the hunting world. I thought back to my leopard hunt in ’86 in the Gwaai Valley when we hung baits and checked the spoor for size. Then building a blind and sitting for the Leopard hoping it was a mature male. Due to the proximity to the park and the density of game on Dendro, Leopards are plentiful here so the hunting is excellent. Back to camp for a late brunch and short rest then back out at 1:00.

Grant was up first for Puku or Impala. Late in the day he connected with a nice, mature Puku ram after several stalks. One stalk very exciting as Richard approached behind the cover of an ant mound, Grant in the middle and I was at the rear with the video camera. As we got to the mound, Richard was quickly backing up and pointed just in front with the sticks said "that's what we call a Black Momba". He was sunning on the side of the mound, about 5' long. He quickly slithered away from us as we retreated.

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We arrived in camp just as the sun had set so we sat by the fire and enjoyed the evening sounds. After dinner we sat by the fire and Richard discussed the next day's plan and how we would go about hunting Buffalo. Debra was focused, discussing shot placement and getting mentally prepared for the hunt.

The Buffalo at Dendro were not transplanted but in fact are the native Kafue Buffalo that were caught inside the fence some 20+ years ago. These buff are wild and wary so we were in for a good hunt.

Up at 5AM, the brisk morning air was exhilarating as the camp started to come to life. I took Debra a hot cup of tea to enjoy while she dressed and the kids all gathered round the fire, sipped tea and coffee quietly while thinking about the day.

Just as the light appeared in the eastern sky it was approaching 5:45 so we were off. We picked up the head scout Abraham and we started off slowly driving looking for fresh tracks. Shortly before 6:15 we could see well but the sun had not quite risen when we spotted three old Dugga Boy’s bedded off the road 100 meters. We carried on past them for half a K and quietly slipped off and made a plan. Debra loaded up while Shawn and Richard checked the wind and discussed an approach. After several safaris, multiple blown stalks and never an opportunity it seemed her buffalo hunt would be simple from here. We moved slowly, taking more than a half hour to make the approach, constantly checking the wind. Abraham spotted one of the bulls ahead, still laying down about 75 meters away. Just as Richard set the sticks, the bull was on his feet and having none of this. The crashing the three bulls made was intense as Richard gathered up the sticks and advanced at a quick pace. Within a couple of minutes we were on the bull again but he was in heavy cover and there was no shot. They flushed once more like a 6 ton covey of quail and we were after them. Slowly we advanced, moving now in a button hook fashion to keep the wind we got another opportunity in less than 10 minutes. Again the Bulls were in heavy cover but we could clearly see the legs and belly line in the brush broadside at 50 meters. Debra asked which way he was facing and as Richard confirmed she settle on the sticks for the shot. Just as the safety went off so did the Bulls once again staying one step ahead of us.

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The grass is very thick this year from the late rains and we had a tough time tracking the Bulls so we moved slowly and carefully, stopping to listen while in pursuit. We lost them for nearly a half hour when Abraham spotted two of the Bulls slowly walking ahead in the brush. We button hooked again to get out front but lost them. After a quick discussion it was decided we should pick up the pace and try to bump them. Not 5 minutes into the brisk walk Abraham locked up and pointed into the high grass 80 meters ahead, the old bull.

Quickly the sticks when up and Debra was on him, the safety off and she and Richard whispering about the shot. I had the video camera on the bull but he was tough to see with the morning sun shining on the tall grass. An oxpecker was giving the bull some grief and he shook his head, that was the moment. Debra followed back from his ear to what she knew was the shoulder, dropped one third then a bit more and the shot rang out.

You could see the bull react to the 375 and the three of them blew out in a strong run with the wounded bull lagging behind. Richard and Abraham and I were convinced it was a good shot so we gave the bull about 15 minutes and advance to the place. It took a while but we picked up blood and started trailing him about 8:25. The bush was thick and in between the grass was over 6’ tall in some places. The blood was dark red so we discussed the shot. I suggested maybe liver, Richard thinks maybe the shot nicked an artery but no lung blood was showing yet.

Of course we moved slowly, intently scanning the bush ahead and to the side. Debra would periodically turn and look behind, all the stories she has heard over the years of wounded buffalo circling round she was ready.

We bumped the bull about a half hour later, still with the other two Dugga’s. They crashed away and we advanced to the place they were standing to find steady blood and plenty of it. The tracking was easy but we were all amazed the bull was still up. About 20 minutes later we bumped him without being able to get off a shot and now he was alone. He began to lead us in to deep, thick bush making visibility difficult. Abraham spotted the bull slowly walking but before Debra could get off a shot the bush swallowed him up. Quickly we got around front and found him laying down but the thicket so dense a good shot wasn't to be had. He finally saw us and was off again, but not far now, maybe 50 meters.

We advanced quickly but carefully and again Abraham spotted him down. As he rose up Richard said to Debra “Shoot” but the thicket was dense and she had trouble making out the shoulder. Shawn whispered "see the red patch, shoot the red patch". The blood from the initial shot barely glistened in the shaded thicket but that was all she needed to hear and the shot rang out. I could hear the report and the Bull was off, then a crash followed by the bellow. Reloading and advancing we got to within 15 yards of the grand old bull and a finisher was delivered. Debra finally had her Buffalo after a fitting hunt. From the time we got off the cruiser thinking this would be easy it was four hours and ten minutes! The 375 was spot on the shoulder, breaking the bone but later discovered the soft had fragmented and traveled downward getting low lung and artery. These Kafue Bulls are the biggest bodied Cape Buffalo I have ever encountered in 30 years of hunting. He was 1800 pound if an ounce and his massive bosses polished from years of rubbing. She sat and admired the bull while thanking Richard and Shawn for a great hunt.
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Within a half hour all the children arrived and congratulated Mom on the successful hunt and a long photo session ensued.
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Shawn Bird, Debra and Richard Ducket with the old bull.
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Family Photo
 

JES Adventures

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Back to camp for lunch and some rest then we were off again for plains game. Parker up next he made a stalk on a nice Puku ram and connected just before sunset.
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A slow drive back with a cold beer we relished the day.

Shawn had arranged for the local village to come celebrate with us by sharing native songs and dance around the fire. As they participate in the meat taken from the safari, they were excited to come and made a song about my wife and the old buffalo bull we would all share. What a great moment for my family, for my wife who has supported me in over 30 years of treks around the globe, chasing my dreams. It was satisfying to be the observer, some blessings are best appreciated though another's eyes – I was the most blessed this day.

Up again but a little late due to the great buffalo tenderloin, wine, cigars and whiskey last night!

Jordan was up now for Puku or Kudu. A single ram was spotted from a distance grazing so we moved downwind for a stalk. Slowly we moved from ant mount to ant mound providing the cover to get within range. Now at about 150, through the dense growth of the bush covered ant mound the sticks were set and she steadied for the shot. She was rewarded
with a heavy old Puku ram and she made a stunning shot to put him down.

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We carried on looking for the fourth Puku for Bailey. No luck this morning for her so back to camp for brunch then off to the local Chief’s village to deliver meat.

Interesting, when we went to collect the the meat, Shawn noticed something unusual along the spine of the carcass. After closer inspection and using his knife, it was a poachers slug that had been in the old bull for many, many years. Smooth bore, looked to be 12 gauge.

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Chief Shezongo is a gracious, mature gentleman who invited us into his office for a chat while the meat was offloaded. It is a close relationship the Bird family has with he and his people as they are next door neighbor's and must work together to conserve the wildlife in the area.
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We took the opportunity to make a photograph with him, exchanged thanks and were off again to the bush.

The evening hunt was nice, but not fruitful. A lot of game was spotted but no big Puku for Bailey. Jordan made a stalk on some Kudu but the decision was made to pass as the Bulls were not fully mature. Another great meal and off to bed as tomorrow brings a new day.
 
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JES Adventures

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This morning it was just me and the girls as Mom and the boys wanted to sleep in. About 7:15 Jordan shot an Impala ram to be used for Leopard bait. We drove another 45 minutes to the place where a big Leopard track had been spotted on the road and we hung the bait. This was a nice experience for the girls to see how Leopard hunting is done from collecting the bait to choosing the place, hanging the bait and performing the drag.

Once finished we were off in search of Puku. Three males were spotted grazing and Bailiey, Richard and I got off the landcruiser for a stalk. Again, using an ant mound as cover, Richard approached slowly to the point we could see them grazing on the other side. Richard set the sticks and directed Bailey to the big ram. He was in the tall grass grazing so difficult to see. When he would raise his head, Bailey could identify the kill zone but when he dropped his head it was like he disappeared. Finally he grazed forward a bit to a more open space and Richard moved the sticks. It seemed like an eternity but the ram raised his head and she had a good shot. The 300 rang out and the ram bucked running off with a noticeably broken shoulder. Bailey was excited and we quickly found the ram dead from a heart shot. Now all four kids had their Puku and we are off in search of Kudu for Jordan and Impala for Parker and Grant.

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JES Adventures

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We hunted hard the next couple of days but did not connect on a good Kudu for Jordan and the boys are still in search of Impala. While hunting Kudu we did manage to spot a rather nice Chobe Bushbuck, but as their reputation precedes them, he melted into the heavy bush before a shot could be taken.

Shawn wanted to hang more leopard baits so we used some of the buffalo meat. The buffalo shoulder was hung at around 5:30 in the afternoon and a trail camera set up. When we checked the next morning, a female Leopard had already fed! Incredible, the time stamp shows she was on the bait less than 3 hours after setting it. This area is teeming with Leopard and Shawn says they have had 100% success with clients over the years. They only take one, sometimes two Leopard per season so they tend to book out well in advance.

It was decided we would move to Bird Estate, another property owned and operated by Shawn’s family which is closer to Choma. This is a beautiful property with a lovely, luxury tent camp overlooking a large Dam. The veldt is mostly miombo woodlands with a few open, grassy areas interspersed. Here we would finish the last two days in search of Kudu and Impala.
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The wind had picked up as a cold front moved through and was rather gusty. This kept the Kudu in deep thicket and we put in the time but never had the chance on a big bull. Jordan and Shawn were able to get up on some younger bulls and in the last hour of the last day a 50”+ bull showed himself but only for a second. Ah, that's hunting! Jordan has had a wonderful time chasing the spirals and is now thoroughly hooked. The two days of hunting were not totally fruitless as Jordan managed to connect with a very nice, old Bush Duiker. It was especially rewarding as when we first spotted him, he was quickly off into the bush. As we carried on, she spotted the male watching us from a distance and was able to make the shot.
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This is a super fun safari J.E. I am taking notes on some of your experiences for future trips for us.
 

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Wow, what an adventure! Loved your outstanding pictures. It appears you've been blessed with a fantastic family.
Thanks JGRaider, God is Great!
 

JES Adventures

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This is a super fun safari J.E. I am taking notes on some of your experiences for future trips for us.
Thanks Wheels, holler when you are planning next time, I'm always happy to weigh in. I did work for over a year planning this trip and in reality, 5 weeks wasn't enough!
 

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Grant and Parker hunted with Etienne and had a wonderful time. Grant was able to connect with a nice Impala ram the first afternoon so the next day was devoted to Parker. They struggled in the morning but by late afternoon Parker shot an extremely large Impala by Zambian standards. The ram measured 21”+ which is nearly unheard of. The Impala in Zambia are much smaller in body and horn. Also notice the lack of black coloration on the nose. As we sat around the fire that night, I once again commented to the P.H.’s that is surprises me the Zambian Impala have never been considered a sub-specie.

Grant's ram

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Parker's ram, notice the size difference.

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The Bird Estate is home to a wide variety of game. We saw several good Sable bulls of 40”+, Roan, Kudu, Lichtensteins Hartebeast, Kafue Lechwe, Zebra, Impala, Duiker, Bushpig and Nyala. Since Nyala were once present in the Lower Zambezi of Zambia, the Bird’s were able to obtain a permit and import from South Africa. They are doing extremely well and I saw one bull that was approaching 28”.

We finished off the evening with an excellent meal of Sable blackstrap and some farm raised T-Bone Steaks. The fire was abuzz with memories of the hunts, each person recalling something unique. Debra still happy with the grand old Buffalo she took as she recalls the “textbook” hunt that took place. In all, the Zambian leg of the trip was more than I had hoped for. A great wildlife experience with nice trophies, all required some work. The camps more rustic which gave the children a new outlook on African hunting. We move to Namibia for the last leg of the trip, hard to believe how fast it is going by. You know what they say, “time flies when you're having fun”.
 

JES Adventures

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Another long day on the road, but well worth it. Once again we crossed at Kazangula to Botswana then through Chobe Park to Namibia. My old friend Peter Thormahlen and his assistant Abbey of Thormahlen & Cochran Safaris met us on the Bots side and we were quickly underway.

Such a contrast when you leave Zambia for Botswana, then yet another when you are in Namibia. Katima Mulilo was bustling this Saturday afternoon with people around everywhere. Signs of positive growth and improvement all around with new buildings, shops and several banks. Interesting to see modern Africa at work, here we are close to the bush yet fairly well advanced.

It was dark when we arrived in the Mahongo Camp which is located on the banks of he Kavango River in the National Park. The staff met us with a nice iced tea and after I had a scotch we sat down to a late dinner. Bailey and Jordan were properly introduced to wild Africa when the heard a Leopard cough not far down the river while unpacking their bags! This prompted a sleeping arrangement change so of the first night one slept in my tent and the other with Debra.

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The view from the fire pit and dining lapa overlooking the Kavango River, aptly named "Mokoro Camp"

Peter has the sole hunting rights in the park which is approximately 100,000 acres along the border with Botswana. We are due west of Maun, only a few K's from the border. The area is typical Okavango Delta with sandy soils, lush papyrus flats, huge trees teeming with game and bird life. It has been 25 years since I hunted the Delta with Vira Safaris which was operated by the McFalrlands at that time. When Botswana closed, it saddened me that I would never be able to show my children what I had witnessed – a place I consider my most favorite body of water in the world. Now that we are here, I will finally be able to share this special place with them and I know they will be just as amazed and impressed as I was.

The sounds of Africa put me to sleep about midnight as the Hippo were active and rumbling around the river. A nice surprise was the hot water bottle in my bed which took the edge off of the cool night air as I was completely relaxed.

I woke to the sounds of fish Eagles, a herd of buffalo in the papyrus across the river and the ever present hippo. My love for Africa runs deep in my sole and I relish the moments to listen to the birds and sounds as the new day begins. It is Sunday so I lie in bed and pray, giving thanks for this great place, the Blessings I have been given and the experiences that my family is having. Each place we go has its own charm, own reward, own uniqueness. The trip continues to be the best safari ever and I look forward to getting out to the bush today and search for Jordan’s kudu.


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Breakfast with Abelio and Ambrosis, two of the P.H's working for Thormahlen & Cochran Safaris

Peter gave everyone the chance to sleep in and take a bit of time to organize our things so we didn't leave camp until about 9:30. Immediately we began to see large groups of Impala, the occasional group of Kudu, Tsessebe, Roan, Blue Wildebeast and Elephant. Warthog's are ever present and fortunately there is one left on license so if a big male shows himself I will become the hunter.

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A nice Roan Bull in Mahongo

The first mature Kudu bull was spotted about ten but he quickly disappeared into the bush. We carried on and saw a lot of game. Time quickly passed and before we knew it we had missed lunch! So we snacked on fresh fruit and worked our way back to the camp on the Kavango River.

The tracker Polous spotted a very nice Kudu, narrow but with deep curls so we were off after him. Moving quickly but quietly we were able to see him only once and it was too quick for a shot. Finally after we bumped him again it was decided to move on and find another bull.

It's nice to arrive in camp and be met at the car with hot towels to clean you face and hands, a simple but nice touch. Lunch was already prepared so we ate then headed back out for the last few hours of the day.

The drive didn't produce the bull we wanted but the wildlife viewing was spectacular. It's hard to say what the highlight was but watching a Sable bull that was at least 45-46” or seeing a family group of Roan with a bull of 28” was incredible. Towards dusk a group of Dugga Boys were spotted with the best bull estimated at 43”. Peter has only 4 buffalo on quota each season and he regularly produces big Bulls. There are multiple herds that number in the hundreds so it is possible to be extremely selective when hunting for a buffalo in Mahongo. This season has seen hunters take trophies from the 43-46” range. Finally, the last instance of the day was well after a sunset while slowly driving back to camp. We got between the water and a bull Hippo, needless to say he was agitated. It's a sight to see that huge beast on the move, the can cover some ground let me tell you.

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Buffalo are in abundance and we saw excellent bulls every day

After an awesome meal and a nice bottle of South African red, we enjoyed the fire and a cigar, planning the next day's adventure.
 

JES Adventures

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Up early today, we left camp just after sunrise. It was not cold but cool enough that the Kudu would be standing and sunning. Jordan spotted a Chobe Bushbuck warming himself and a lone buffalo bull well over 40. As the sun moved higher and the morning air warmed, the Kudu became more active. By 9 a good bull was spotted and we moved into position to take a shot.

The bull was very nice, over 50 and Jordan was on the sticks. I had the camera on over her shoulder and the shot rang out with an immediate report. I said “you got him” and the bull ran away under full power. After about 75 yards he stopped and looked at us but quickly turned and ran. We were on the tracks but could not find blood – strange. I viewed the video and you could clearly see a bush explode about halfway to the bull. Jordan was disappointed but I convinced her that her time would come.

We carried on and saw several good Kudu Bulls, most of them following cows. We decided we should sit for a while overlooking a small valley with a natural saline and within 20 minutes the first group of cows showed up. Not ten minutes later a nice bull in the mid 40’s following a cow appeared but he never came close. After he melted into the bush we patiently waited for the next round of visitors. I spotted a bull back in the bush and whispered to Peter “that's a different bull”. He was nice, high and wide with good curls. The group of cows approached and the bull was in tow. Jordan got on the sticks and the bull came in. After a few minutes, he turned broadside, slightly quartering and Peter told her to put the bullet right behind the shoulder. The shot rang out and the bull jumped in the air then hit the ground with a broken shoulder. A heart shot at 160 yards, the bull went no more than 15 yards and was stone dead when we got to him. An awesome old bull, 53”+ with wide sweeping horns and a beautiful mane, certainly passing his prime. Jordan was ecstatic, and all the time she has put into hunting Kudu put her trophy in perspective. Great memories were made this day and more are to be had.

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Jordan and Peter with her Kudu

After lunch and a siesta, we took the boat for a cruise out in the Kavango to game view. Several Red Lechwe were spotted along with a huge herd of Buffalo. A small group of Bushpigs rooting around and a small family group of Elephant coming to water. Polous spotted a big Croc and sunning and Peter turned the boat for a closer look. He cut the motor and we drifted in but the old bull slipped into the water before we were inside 40 yards. The biggest Crocodile I have ever seen, I was literally in awe. Peter said he knows the croc and has hunted him several times without success. He is at least 16 and may be 17 feet long. The only Croc taken this year measured 16’9” – massive, the bull measured 34” across.

When we got back to camp, Peter had the tracker and skinners bring the two sets of Elephant tusks from the previous hunts this year. The best bull was 79 and 76 pounds and the other 52 and 54. This is without doubt one of the best hunting areas I have seen in many years.

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Nice Elephant Bull at a saline

During dinner, we heard a male Lion call off in the distance and he went on for a half hour or so. The girls were sufficiently spooked and made me sleep in their tent! We never heard him again but what a blessing to be in a truly wild place, gazing at the stars and listening to the sounds of the African night.
 

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I awoke to the sounds of fish eagles and doves, plus the always present Hippo. It was a quarter of six and just as I got to the fire the sun was about to crest the horizon. Another spectacular morning and the plan was to head out in search of Kudu for Parker. We set out at half passed seven and immediately started seeing game. Several groups of Buffalo, Impala and Warthog. A few Kudu cows and calves early on but no big Bulls. A lone elephant bull with a broken tusk chewed acacia limbs near the road as we pressed on.

Around 9 AM spotted a good Kudu bull ahead about 400 yards and he was browsing peacefully in and out of the thorn brush. We made an approach and closed the distance to about 150 yards and Parker took the shot. A solid hit on the shoulder, quartering towards us so the bull was down in less than 20 yards. It was almost a replay of Jordan’s bull the day before, heart shot so no tracking was necessary – nice job once again, thanks Parker.

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After the handshakes and photo session we were on our way back to camp. About halfway through we spotted a very nice Elephant bull, alone strolling through the bush. Peter estimated the bull at between 60 and 65 pounds per side, nice long evenly matched tusks. We observed him for nearly 15 minutes until he reached a salt lick and began to eat the mineral rich soil. Just this morning Peter commented to the games scout about the fact we have not seen more big Bulls. Now, 2 hours later we were watching an incredible bull at 100 yards!

image.jpg


A leisurely day in the camp, great lunch then a siesta we were off at 3 to look for a big Warthog. I've learned over the years that finding a true monster pig is luck and determination. We have seen a lot of nice males and Peter mentioned seeing one exceptional trophy on the last safari so I had hope. As usual we saw a lot of Roan, Impala, Sable and Kudu. Several nice buffalo bulls along with some elephant as we drove through the concession. As the shadows grew longer and we were well into the magic hour a nice boar was spotted but he made it to the thick bush and lived another day. A slow drive back, watching the sky change colors as the African sun sank into the western horizon.
 

JES Adventures

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I awoke to the sounds of fish eagles and doves, plus the always present Hippo. It was a quarter of six and just as I got to the fire the sun was about to crest the horizon. Another spectacular morning and the plan was to head out in search of Kudu for Parker. We set out at half passed seven and immediately started seeing game. Several groups of Buffalo, Impala and Warthog. A few Kudu cows and calves early on but no big Bulls. A lone elephant bull with a broken tusk chewed acacia limbs near the road as we pressed on.

Around 9 AM spotted a good Kudu bull ahead about 400 yards and he was browsing peacefully in and out of the thorn brush. We made an approach and closed the distance to about 150 yards and Parker took the shot. A solid hit on the shoulder, quartering towards us so the bull was down in less than 20 yards. It was almost a replay of Jordan’s bull the day before, heart shot so no tracking was necessary – nice job once again, thanks Parker.


After the handshakes and photo session we were on our way back to camp. About halfway through we spotted a very nice Elephant bull, alone strolling through the bush. Peter estimated the bull at between 60 and 65 pounds per side, nice long evenly matched tusks. We observed him for nearly 15 minutes until he reached a salt lick and began to eat the mineral rich soil. Just this morning Peter commented to the games scout about the fact we have not seen more big Bulls. Now, 2 hours later we were watching an incredible bull at 100 yards!


A leisurely day in the camp, great lunch then a siesta we were off at 3 to look for a big Warthog. I've learned over the years that finding a true monster pig is luck and determination. We have seen a lot of nice males and Peter mentioned seeing one exceptional trophy on the last safari so I had hope. As usual we saw a lot of Roan, Impala, Sable and Kudu. Several nice buffalo bulls along with some elephant as we drove through the concession. As the shadows grew longer and we were well into the magic hour a nice boar was spotted but he made it to the thick bush and lived another day. A slow drive back, watching the sky change colors as the African sun sank into the western horizon.
 

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Hello...could you please pm me regarding what species available on this fly-camp offer....can cape buffalo be taken for instance..? Trophy prices..?
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Kevin,
Played rookie league for the Yankees in Paintsville after winning the College World Series at Fullerton State, in1979. All I could think about was the movie “Deliverance”- lived up in a hollow with some other players. Refused to go on a moonshine run because it was a dry county-no way. Met some of the nicest people on the planet there! Van Lear the home of Loretta Lynn was highlight of summer LOL.
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im happy to do these deals for 2021

i will knock off 10% off each deal if you take 2 so $18000 per package

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