SOUTH AFRICA: ZAMBIA: NAMIBIA: 5 Week Family Safari

JES Adventures

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I was up just before sunrise and had my coffee by the fire overlooking the Kavango River. As the new day came to life, I could hear a large group of buffalo working their way through the papyrus. When they finally showed themselves, they were 350 yards away and crossed from one island to the next. When the largest concentration of animals were in the water, two Lechwe bulls broke out of the cover and crossed with the buff. What a beautiful sight on my last morning in the beautiful camp.

After breakfast the landcruisers were loaded and we were off to Mangetti National Park, another of Peter’s concessions in the Caprivi. It took half the day and we arrived to the camp after 12 and ate a light lunch then hit the field in search of Eland.

Grant was pumped up about the hunt to say the least. The terrain and bush were different hear, sugar sand with thick, dense bush. The park is home to a healthy herd of Black Rhino so we always had to be aware of our surroundings while walking through the bush.

We drove about a half hour then stopped to approach the first water hole from a K away. As we slowly approached some Eland were spotted so we had to make a slow approach, low to the ground. As Grant, Peter, Polous and the Scout belly crawled the last 40 yards. I held back and videoed a bit but then sat back out of sight. The eland drank and milled about, one old cow always throwing her nose up trying to catch our wind.

After about 45 minutes they came back to me as no Bull was spotted in the group.

We carried on to the next water hole, stopping once again a K away so the approach could be made. I asked Parker to go along on the stalk and video for Grant while I stayed back with Debra and the girls. One beer and 20 minutes later we heard the shot, but no report. Then 20 seconds later another shot and Abelio said “he must have got him”. We could hear no bullet report but I speculated the shot was close and the opposite direction of us as the approach was from upwind. The cell phone rang and success was confirmed so we drove to retrieve the hunters with their prize. As we drove up, I could see the bull was better than average and Grant was very happy, a huge smile plastered on his face.

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He took a quartering towards shot and dropped the bull in his tracks from about 70 yards. The insurance shot was put in just in case. After congrats and lots of picture taking we headed back to camp. At the skinning shed, two Bulls from previous safaris were there and that is when Grant knew he had something special. In the field I said the bull was 34-35 and Peter said “no, he's 36”. The bull ended up being 36 on one horn and nearly 37 on the other! A great Cape Eland Bull, the largest one taken this season.

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Safari with the whole family is the best!

A nice hot shower with a whiskey followed by another excellent meal and cigars by the fire. Everyone was down early tonight as we have a long trip tomorrow heading for the the desert for the final leg of our trip. When we get to camp, we will have nearly traveled the full width of Namibia. Starting at the East end of the Caprivi Strip and ending less than 100 K's from the Atlantic Ocean.
 

JES Adventures

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Up at just before 5, I heard a Hyena calling in the distance. I had my coffee by the fire as the sun rose then put my bags together and had breakfast at 7. The Eland was quartered and we would stop in the village on the way out to deliver the meat to the headman. Then we would embark on an 8 hour drive across the country but I was looking forward to it as I have never been in this part of Namibia. Moving westward, it is apparent that the rainfall amounts are steadily decreasing.

The Anabeb Conservancy in Kaokaland near Kamajab. Here Bailey will have her chance to hunt Giraffe, something she has been talking about for 7 months. The balance of the group will hunt for Gemsbok and Springbok while I will look for a Hartmans Mountain Zebra, the only sub specie of Zebra I have not yet taken.

We arrived late in the evening, but the staff was ready for us and we enjoyed a drink at the fire while dinner was prepared.
The camp is built on a seasonal river under huge thorn trees, a traditional East African style tented camp. A wonderful meal of grilled tenderloin and veggies then we were off to bed.

As the sun rose I was stunned by the huge, desert mountains in the distance surrounding us. The area reminded me of West Texas or Sonora Mexico, even photographs I have seen of parts of Pakistan. After a wonderful breakfast we were off and within 10 minutes we saw a nice herd of Kalahari Springbok. It has been 25 years since I have seen one and I had forgotten how much larger they are than the Cape variety.

Our goal today was Giraffe for Bailey and the scout and tracker wanted to go to a valley where they had seen a herd on several occasions on previous hunts. By 9:30 we had located the herd of 12-13 females and young with the herd bull. He was a massive, dark old bull perfect to take out of the herd. Bailey and Peter made their way towards the herd with the tracker and scout in tow. She made a marvelous shot which took out the top of the aorta along with both lungs. She shot the 375 H&H well and Peter had her put in an insurance shot and the bull quickly fell. There were old wounds on his back just above the base of the tail that were obviously made by a lion. Incredible how big and tough these animals are. We spent the next hour getting the bull field dressed, cut in half and winched into the back of the cruiser. It was a site to see that huge animal loaded up and on its way to camp.

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The hunting area is vast, nearly 500,000 acres so for curiosity sake we checked the distance - 47 K's from camp! We arrived for a late lunch and then went out in search of Springbok for the kids. Not long and we were into a large herd dispersed out over an area of several square kilometers. Jordan was up first and she connected with a very nice old ram, standing in the shade of small trees with a single shot from about 200.

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Next was Grant and it took a bit of time but we found an impressive old male bedded in the shade. As we made the approach he stood up and Grant got him just as he was walking off, quartering away, another very nice trophy.

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After the photo session it was approaching 4 PM and we began to search for Bailey's Springbok. Now that we had two Rams over 15, Peter and Abelio were very particular as we glassed the incredible herds of Springbok. We were headed back to camp just as the sun had set when we spotted a bachelor group of 7 rams. A quick plan was made, Bailey got into position and took her ram at about 180 yards with a single shot!

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She's had an amazing day, I'm sure she'll never forget, two fine trophies from the Namib Desert. After photo's it was dark and we were less than 5 minutes from camp so I grabbed a whiskey and headed for the shower.
 

JES Adventures

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Wake up call today at 5:30 as we had Gemsbok and Hartmans Mountain Zebra on the list. It was cold in the desert as the sun rose but quickly warmed up to a comfortable temperature. We covered a lot of ground, well over 100 K's but did not find the Gemsbok. By late morning, we found an area that was densely populated with Zebra, literally hundreds. Peter spotted a suitable male in a small herd and we made a plan to get into position for a shot. I took the old stallion at a little over 200 meters with a single heart shot. They are one of the prettiest of all the Zebra and with the unusual dew lap I opted for a shoulder mount.

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Me with the whole crew - Polous the tracker, Linus he Scout and Abelio.

That being said, I asked Debra if she wanted to harvest one for a rug and she said no but let one of the kids shoot. I passed it to Jordan as she had taken a Burchells Zebra on her first safari 9 years ago and she has a shoulder mount. So, not having a rug she jumped at the chance to hunt one. She and Peter along with Polous and Parker behind with the video camera they set out walking towards a herd in the distance. Being fairly open we could watch the whole thing from a distance. Looking through my binos, I could see Jordan on the sticks and Parker just behind her with the camera. The 300 rang out and the report of the bullet hitting home was pronounced. The stallion was lunged, ran a bit then slowed down to a very slow walk. They approached and cut the distance by half and put in a second shot which expedited the process.
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When we got to them and congratulated her on the nice shooting Peter said "Yes this girl can shoot, 244 meters off of the sticks".

I have been very proud of my whole family this past 5 weeks. We have taken 61 animals (trophies and culls) with only 2 misses and one loss.

It was about an hour drive back to the camp and we offloaded the Zebras then ate a quick lunch. After a too short siesta we were off again in search of Gemsbok. By 4, we ran up on two small groups of Kudu with a bull of 54" present. What a gorgeous animals as he trotted up the hillside then turned to look at us. Just earlier in the day at the skinning shed I saw an incredible bull taken on an previous safari of 62.5"! It amazes me that this arid, rough, windswept place can produce such excellent trophies.

We carried on until the sun sank behind the mountains then made our way back to camp. We stopped to take a photo of the amazing sunset across the desert with the mountains in the backdrop. Parker and Bailey didn't get their Gemsbok, but I said to them "You have to leave something on the list for your next safari".
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After 30 years of hunting the Dark Continent, my list is getting shorter. That being said, the passion still burns as I contemplate my next safari. I've cherished every moment these past weeks watching my children fall in love with Africa just as I did back in '86.

As we sat by the fire and smoked the last two cigars, all reminisced about the hunts, the people and the places. The true value of the sport was being appreciated by all as we gazed upon the Southern Cross one last time.

An all day journey back to Windhoek to prepare for the trip back home on the 4th of July. While sitting in the airport I noticed Jordan, my oldest with a tear in her eye. I asked her what was wrong and she said "Dad, I love Africa and am sad that I have to leave". I told her "you know Jordan, the very same thing happened thirty years ago on the tarmac in Bulawayo. I looked at your mother as the plane was about to take off and with a tear in her eye I asked are you homesick and she said no, I don't want to leave".

We have been so Blessed these past weeks and I owe many thanks to a lot of people that made it possible. All of my friends, outfitters and Professional Hunters mentioned in this thread as well as all of the staff in each location that made the trip come off without a hitch. Each place offered its own unique challenges and rewards, I think that's what made this trip so special for us as a family. My sincere thanks to all.

As for us, the trip was more than ever we imagined. We laughed together, sweated together, learned together and most of all grew together. The results were new perspectives, new goals and new respect for the sport. I can honestly say, I've always come away from a safari in a better place mentally. There is something about the clean air, hard work, being challenged by the elements, terrain and your quarry while not being distracted by the modern world. An African Safari effects each person in a different way, it was rewarding to see my family went away from this trip in a better place.

One side note about air travel - We left Texas with 11 check bags and flying Air France then South African Airways through 4 countries we never lost a bag!

In closing, thanks to all those AH Members who have followed the thread. In a world filled with social media my teenagers were amazed at all the positive comments. It has been an eye opener for them that social media can be positive.
 
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Wheels

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A safari for the ages. You are blessed to have made many wonderful memories with your family.

I have truly enjoyed following your families exploits. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful experience with us J.E.(y)
 

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wow you did well from a dandy eland nice giraffe and then the springbucks and zebra. You have had a dream trip by the report and pictures. Then add you shared it with your family you must be on cloud 9 now. Have a safe trip home.
 

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Thanks for all the updates, it was awesome following you and your family's adventure! Congrats on a tremendous adventure and memories made!
 

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What a safari. You have helped your children make memories that they will have forever. Each time they look at their trophies they will remember. Congrats on some excellent shooting! I'd think that there was a good bit of practice involved. Wonderful having a safari go so well without troubles. Well done sir. Bruce
 

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What a fantastic report. You can tell by your words that this safari meant the world to you with your family. It would appear that the disease is also inherited. Thanks for sharing your experience.
 

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A great report, thank you for sharing it with all of us. I tell people when you take your kids to Africa, it's a life changing event and your report certainly confirms that. I know they all went back to the US filled with great memories and very, very happy.
I've got a feeling that your taxidermist is going to be very happy too! :E Dancing:
 

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Awesome report! Congrats on getting to share such a special safari with your family, something they'll remember always. Really enjoyed getting to follow along.
 

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Well it's finally here, the trip I've been planning for two years to commemorate 30 years since my first African Safari with my then girlfriend, now wife Debra. This trip starts in the Eastern Cape, then moves to Zambia for a night overlooking Victoria Falls followed up by a houseboat safari on the Chobe River. Then to Dendro Estate with Shawn Bird for some hunting and finishing up in Namibia with Peter Thormahlen visiting the Caprivi Strip and Desert Conservancies.

We began in Houston with Air France, once again a very nice experience. This makes my second African flight with them this year and I continue to be impressed with their service. I will do my best to keep up, not always going to have wifi so there will most likely be some lag time between posts. An 11 hour layover gave us time to run into Paris and see some sights and have a great meal. When I have the extra time, I prefer to travel through Europe as it breaks up the trip a bit and gives me time to stretch my legs.
View attachment 152298

We arrived last evening and start hunting today with Swaershoek Safaris near Somerset East in South Africa. My old friend Niel Schoeman has made a plan for my four children so we will be off in search of a plethora of plains game. We are splitting up running two cars 2x1. It's been 9 years since my last visit to the Eastern Cape and it is still as lovely as ever. The game farming business is flourishing and the variety of species available now is amazing. This is the first ever African hunt for my daughter Bailey and son Parker, they are excited to say the least.
Day 1 was great, sunny and 58 degrees this morning, I was in Heavan. I woke early but when the rest of the crew got up, the first smell was coffee and bacon! Now that's the way to start the day.

View attachment 152441
We saw tons of game, literally hundreds of head. My daughter Bailey shot her Blesbok just before lunch, after her third stalk she took a grand old ram. I'm so happy for her and let me tell you, she was pumped.
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My son Parker and his P.H. Tyron Schulpfort had a long day, several stalks before lunch and no success. We headed back to camp for a wonderful lunch of braised springbok shank then went back for the evening hunt. By four in the afternoon we came across a superb springbok, beautiful horns with the hooks sweeping backwards. The shot was a bit far for a 13 year old at 220+ and he hit him a little far back but within a half our we got on him and put the finisher in. Now all of my family has taken their first African trophy! We capped off the night with a great meal, sharing the stories of the day and planning tomorrow's adventure. Next up, Jordan and Grant.
View attachment 152444
Great Ram!
 

Landman

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Regarding the WaterBEAST!!
What a Bull!!! I'm so proud of her!
 

Landman

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Awesome waterbuck. I'm really thinking I need to hunt one of those on my upcoming trip!
_____________________________________________________________________________
They are a cunning and smart beast, you'll love hunting them! A big one such as Bailey's is so rare, wow!!!
 

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Beautiful family, what a special time to have!
 

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Congratulations to the whole crew. A real family hunt.
Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
 

JES Adventures

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Thanks everyone for the kind words. My wife finally read through today and pointed out a mistake - 30 years and she's still looking out for me!

At the end of this paragraph my I wrote her comment as "I don't want to stay" when she actually said "I don't want to leave".

An all day journey back to Windhoek to prepare for the trip back home on the 4th of July. While sitting in the airport I noticed Jordan, my oldest with a tear in her eye. I asked her what was wrong and she said "Dad, I love Africa and am sad to leave". I told her "you know Jordan, the very same thing happened thirty years ago on the tarmac in Bulawayo. I looked at your mother as the plane was about to take off and with a tear in her eye I asked are you homesick and she said no, I don't want to leave".

Sorry Debra
 

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Done and dusted. I have your back. :)
 

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What a great hunt report, the stories made my week. Very heartwarming story!
 

JES Adventures

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What a great hunt report, the stories made my week. Very heartwarming story!
Thanks Enysse, it was my pleasure to share it with you all.
 

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