ZAMBIA: 2018 Luangwa To Livingstone With Strang Middleton

flatwater bill

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Like many things in life, there is nothing quite like the first time. It makes an impression. You have captured it well in your report. Enjoyed it immensely ....FWB
 

MikeNC

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Hunting Day:8

Crawshay's Zebra for Mike and Sable for Charles

Today was a lot cooler, and it took my wool base layers to break the morning chill. We went to the Strang’s house and had breakfast and then loaded up in the truck to start the morning hunt. Not far from camp when we had a good herd of Crawshay's zebras cross the road in front of us. Strang pointed out a good stallion, and I got into position with the .375H&H. I settled the crosshairs, released my breath, squeezed the trigger and…….nothing. I quickly glanced down and noticed that in my excitement, I forgot to flip off the safety. I quickly flipped it forward, settled my crosshairs again, and took the shot. It was not a perfect shot and required couple follow up shots to finish the job, but I got my Zebra and learned just how tough an animal they are!

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I know many people are under the impression that hunting a Zebra would be like shooting a horse in a pasture, but after several failed stalks and seeing just how skittish they are it's anything but an easy hunt. We got the stallion cleaned up and ready for pictures. I took a few moments to admire an animal that had been third on my wish list for a long time. The zebra is such an iconic animal of Africa, and this particular subspecies is unique in the fact that they have no shadow stripes and the stripes are also thinner and denser and also extend to the underbelly and down to the hooves. Buffalo, kudu, and, zebra were my top three for my first safari, and with this stallion down I had my three! He will make a beautiful rug.

We loaded the zebra up and took him to the skinning shed. Later that morning we went in search of bushbuck, sable, impala, and anything else that might cross our paths. We saw plenty of game, but nothing that we wanted to put a stalk on, so we headed back to the lodge. Strang commented that he is still not feeling well and suspected that it was malaria. We took a few hours to rest before we headed out about 3:30 pm. Eventually were able to get onto a good sable bull for Charles. I won't spoil the action that he has written about in his report, but I will say that at this point Strang was getting worse and called an end to the day. He felt that if he didn’t get some rest he was going to be in the hospital. We went back to the camp and took showers. Strang's wife was gone, so he asked if we minded cooking for ourselves. We had a grill and hartebeest back straps.
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Charles cut up some steaks, we got the grill going, and had a fantastic meal washing it all down with a couple of Mosi’s. We turned in early hoping that Strang would feel better the following day.

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Sorry it has taken me a bit longer than I expected to get the report finished up and I apologize for the delay to those that have been following and I will get it finished up in the next couple days. Thanks!
 

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Like many things in life, there is nothing quite like the first time. It makes an impression. You have captured it well in your report. Enjoyed it immensely ....FWB
Thank you for the kind words! I am working to finish it up!
 

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MikeNC

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Hunting Day:9

Lichtenstein's Hartebeest for Mike and Lechwe for Charles

We started our day off around 7: 30 am. It's not as cool today as it was yesterday. We spotted a couple of good Hartebeest bulls and Strang told me to grab my rifle for a stalk. I told Charles I was going to use the Remington on this stalk and he passed it down to me. Strang and I procedure to walk through some brush to be able to get into position to look over the bulls and see which one I want to take. The bigger of the two bulls presented us with a good shot, and I got on the sticks.

When planning my trip to Zambia, I spent a good amount of time looking over animals that I wanted to take, and specifically animals that were native to that portion of Africa. The Lichtenstein's hartebeest really caught my attention. They don't have the biggest horns, but they are a great looking animal with a beautifully colored hide. The name comes from German zoologist, Martin Hinrich Carl Lichtenstein. Coincidently, he and I share the same birthday, just a few hundred years apart. I also was reading Big Game Hunting in North-Eastern Rhodesia by Owen Letcher in the days leading up to the trip and the Lichtenstein Hartebeest was mentioned in there and that really helped to seal the deal on wanting to hunt them.

I steadied myself on the sticks, pulled the trigger, and I will admit that I rushed the shot and possibly jerked more than squeezed. The bull was hit, and he took off. I was disgusted, but Strang said not to worry that we would cut him off. We were able to catch back up with him, and I finished the job.

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I was glad I had brought a Remington rifle with me, and while I only used it to harvest one animal, it was a full circle moment for me. A Remington rifle in 30.06 was what I used to take my first deer when I first was able to start deer hunting back in High School. I have spent many days in the deer stand with a Remington in my lap dreaming of the day I would be able to hunt Africa. The dream had become a reality, and I had a good mature hartebeest down.

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This was an old bull with polished horns and scars from fighting. He carried a very prominent scar on the front of his muzzle. I ran my hands over his horns and admired his ivory tips and the rich colors of his hide. With all the scars and character, he will make a fine shoulder mount.

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We took pictures and loaded the hartebeest up and continued looking for what else we might come across.
At 8:30 am or so we saw an old solitary lechwe bull. Lechwe had not been on Charles’s list, but after seeing so many fine bulls each day and talking it over with Strang, the die was cast and he decided that he would collect a good head to bring back to North Carolina. (I won't spoil his part for those who haven't read his account yet!)

We called it a day at 9 am. Since nothing much was going on that afternoon, we all rested up and had a dinner of pan-fried lechwe. It is a great meat with outstanding flavor. I had read that there was going to be a Blood Moon, so I kept going outside to check on the progress of the Lunar Eclipse as I wanted to snap a few pictures. It was amazing to see it in this environment without any light pollution and just the vastness of the African sky with a blanket of stars.

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Hunting Day:10

Sitting on Salt Licks for Us and Impala for Charles

The plan for tomorrow was to visit a neighboring property that had plenty of Puku so Charles could hopefully mark his Puku off the list. Today we traveled around Strang’s property looking for a good Impala for Charles and perhaps a bushbuck. We went out in the morning but had no luck. Strang asked if we would like to sit on some salt licks with archery equipment to see if we can have any luck. I have bowhunted off and on most of my life and, with a couple of practice shots to dial in the equipment, Strang said we were ready. I was on one lick and Charles was on another, and it was not long before a big bull roan showed up. The roan lay down on one of the roads leading to the lick. I had a great vantage point sitting on a small hill and looking down at the roads leading to the lick and the wind was in my favor so I settled in to wait and see what might else might show up.
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I was looking in one direction and when I looked back and saw a herd of maybe 15 impalas had come down the road and it consisted of ewes and young rams. They stood around and offered shots, but I was holding out for a good mature ram.

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It wasn’t long after they left a good ram came in with a few ewes. He did not present a shot but wandered off to a small pond. Shortly, he came back with the ewes, and he offered a shot, but I had several ewes looking at me. The ewes finally turned away allowing me to draw my bow. I picked a shot, squeezed the release, and saw the ram drop down as the arrow went over his back. I got down and checked the arrow, It was a clean miss. While I didn't take an impala with a bow, it was great to add a bit of bowhunting to this trip.
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After another hour or so Strang, his wife, and his daughter came and picked me up and we went to pick up Charles. We ate lunch and went back out in search of impala and bushbuck. We got on a good herd of impala, and Charles picked the Remington and got into position for a shot. (I'll stop here, as this is Charles’s story to tell.)

It was Strang's wife's birthday, and his parents were coming over for dinner. We had a treat of sweet and sour Lechwe, which was amazing!!! (I asked for the recipe before leaving, but sadly, when I make it, I won't get to use Lechwe!) It was a great evening sharing the dinner with Strang's parents and celebrating a birthday, we called it an early night for the trip to the neighboring property!
 

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Hunting Day:11

Puku and Bushbuck for Charles on our Last Full Hunting Day

After a quick bite to eat, we were off to an early 7:45 am starts for the trip to the neighboring property. We stopped for gas and some items to fill the cool box before arriving at the ranch about 9:30 am. Today Charles would be attempting to fill his puku tag and maybe end the quest for a bushbuck! I was just going to be an observer on this portion of the hunt. We saw a couple of good Orbi rams not long after we first got on the property. We also saw some young puku, but the ram was small, so we let him go.

We continued on through the property but didn’t anything else until after lunch. (Lunch was a treat of the most amazing chicken curry pies!) As we got back to business after eating, we saw some giraffes. It was great to see giraffes outside of a zoo setting.
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We made the decision to concentrate on puku and just let the bushbuck go. Charles resigned himself to the fact that the bushbuck would be his three-year nemesis. We headed back out into what looked like good bushbuck country. We rounded a bend in the road as we were looking for puku, and there under a tree a good bushbuck ram standing in the shade. Charles tapped on the roof and told Strang he saw a ram. Strang drove a little further down the road and checked him through the binos. He determined it was a very good ram, so a plan was hatched.

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( Couple Kudu taken off the property at the skinning shed)

I won't spoil his part of the story, but check out Charles’s report to see if he gets his puku and if his 3-year bushbuck quest finally comes to an end. After whatever happened with Charles’s hunt occurred, we returned to Strang’s and enjoyed an early evening, a few beers and a great dinner!
 

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Travel Day:12

Wingshooting for Mike and Travel to Livingstone for Us

Today was the final day at Strang's before we headed off to Victoria Falls. The night before, Strang told me that we may try and get on some guinea fowl this morning. I was excited, because I really wanted to do some wing shooting while I was in Africa. We met at Strang’s house and grabbed a couple of shotguns and headed out. There was no shortage of guineas on this farm, and as we were driving, we saw a good flock. Strang dropped me off ahead of the birds, and they walked down and flushed them. They flew and I picked a guinea, shot twice, but no luck. We regrouped and found a bigger flock. This time I was dropped off and Strang went down and got the guys to flush up. I had a good group fly over me, and I picked a bird, pulled the trigger, and he folded. Strang was also able to get one down, so we had two guineas down for breakfast!

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We went back to the lodge, and the guineas were cleaned, cut into tenders, and fried. We had guinea tenders, eggs, and bacon for breakfast. I have grown up with guinea fowl all my life on our farm, but the wild ones fly so much better than their domestic cousins. This made them a great shoot and delicious table fare! After feasting, we returned to our chalets and packed up for the ride to Victoria Falls. This ended the hunting portion of our trip! It was great getting to see more of the country, and hearing Strang's stories about hunting and living in Zambia.

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We had a day and a half to explore Victoria Falls and Livingstone. Our reservations were at the aha David Livingstone Safari Lodge and Spa situated right on the mighty Zambezi river! Once we arrived at the lodge and checked in, we realized that the pictures we saw online had not done it justice!

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We snapped a few pictures with Strang, thanked him for everything, said our goodbyes, and went to our rooms.

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The lodge management worked with me to allow my guns to be stored in a secure area. I can't say enough good things about the staff. If you ever get a chance to stay here, it's worth it as the service is incredible and the meals are fantastic! We arrived with just enough time to book a sunset cruise. What a way to end another wonderful day in Africa! I highly encourage one of these cruises as we saw a variety of game, had plenty to drink and plenty of finger foods to enjoy.

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Pulling away from the dock aboard Lady Livingstone

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During the river cruise, we saw a variety of game including Elephants, Hippos, and Crocodiles. It was a great way to relax and offer a few moments of reflection while enjoying the beauty of the Zambezi river and another African sunset.

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We arrived back at the lodge around sunset and it was time to get ready for dinner. The aha David Livingstone lodge has a great restaurant and the meals were very well priced and it's hard to beat the view.

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I had the Asian roasted duck dish for dinner and would highly recommend this!

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After dinner, it was time to go to our rooms and rest up for the next day as we would be spending it at Victoria Falls and the Museum.

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Victoria Falls Day:13



The next day we got up and made our way over to Victoria Falls. I have wanted to see the falls almost as long as I have wanted to visit Africa. Marking this off my bucket list felt great as well. It's impossible to put the experience of visiting Vic Falls in person into words. There is nothing I can say that will do it justice. I thought many times what David Livingstone must have felt when he encountered it for the first time.
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We spent time exploring the falls and doing some shopping and before returning to the lodge for lunch. After lunch, we toured the David Livingstone Museum, which I highly recommend, as it provides an informative history lesson of the country. The museum holds many exhibits to view and explore, however they do not allow photos inside. Seeing personal items and letters that belonged to David Livingstone was a surreal experience. Pulling out a drawer and reading letters that he wrote and viewing his signature was worth the trip to the museum. I have always admired him and I loved being able to step back in time and connect with such an important historical figure. I did take a picture of the outside of the museum before we went inside.

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After the museum, we returned to the hotel and rested before we enjoyed another tasty dinner at the hotel restaurant. I loved the Asian duck so much that I had to have it again! After dinner, we retired back to our rooms to pack and get a good night’s sleep for the long day of travel ahead of us back to North Carolina.

I will end my report here, but I could talk endlessly about Africa, the sights, and the sounds and the people. I was told before I left on this journey that Africa would change me. It has, and it’s definitely for the better. I had long dreamed of hunting Africa, and I have to admit that my first safari was more than I hoped it would be.

I cannot thank Charles enough for working to not only plan this hunt but to get me to my number one hunting destination. Strang is not only a heck of a great guy but a fantastic PH. I understand why those who know him and hunt with him only have good things to say. He worked hard to get the animals we wanted, and not only on those animals but mature animals that we would be proud to take. That says volumes about him as a PH and a hunter. If you get the chance to hunt with Strang, you are in for a treat! He has some great trackers also and their diligence in spotting and tracking game paid off for us. It has to be seen to be believed.

The trip passed by way to quickly and a part of me is changed forever because of the experiences. I think back on my time there often and the times I have used a plastic bottle I have thought of the little kids in the villages yelling "water bowl" as we drove past and how grateful they were for the empty plastic bottles we gave them so they would have their own water bottles when they visited the village well. Zambia is a special place and I hope to one day return to the long grass of the Luangwa Valley. I am glad to finally be able to contribute a hunt report as I have enjoyed reading the reports of others over the years. If someone is reading this and dreaming of hunting Africa, allow me to say this.. WRITE THE CHECK! Do what you need to do to make the dream a reality. I promise you will not think of the money spent once you return. You will only think of how soon can you return to Africa. Thank you to all AfricaHunting.com administrators and members that make this site such a great resource.
 
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MAdcox

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Great report, thanks for sharing you and Charles adventure.
 

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Finally got the conclusion! Great write-up, I felt as if I was there with you! Maybe next time I will be. (y)
 

MikeNC

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Finally got the conclusion! Great write-up, I felt as if I was there with you! Maybe next time I will be. (y)

Thank you sir! Sorry it took so long to finish just had to work on it when I could! I appreciate everyone that stuck with it lol! Yes sir! Let's make that trip happen!!
 

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Thanks for the effort writing up your trip.
Congratulations.
 

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