ZAMBIA: Nchila Wildlife Reserve Zambia

Blueduiker

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Hello,
a friend and I are heading up to the remote North-Western corner of Zambia, between Angola and DRC to hunt at a place called Nchila Wildlife Reserve.
We excited as anything about this hunt, the outfitter and PH( Landowner ) have given us plenty info, websites are comprehensive, etc,. Just curious if anyone has hunted up there, or specifically at Nchila and has any additional info, news, tips, etc,.
Im going for Blue duiker, Puku, Oribi and possibly Lichtensteins Hartebeest.
thanks
 

tap

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Well I do know their lodge is up for sale. In addition I spoke with them last year when planning my sable hunt and at the sci vegas convention. From what I found out they have a top notch operation and great accomodations. However if you are going hunting there and are leaving sable off your list you are messing up big time. Your chances of taking a sable in the mid to upper 40" range is about as good there as it ever will be anywhere. Sure their sable prices are steep but they have some monsters. If i were you I would go get a bank loan and add a monster sable to your trophy list.
 

TOM

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Looks very nice but pricey. Have fun!
 

LouisB

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I have not been at Nachila personally but have been in the area beautiful landscape and monster Sable!

All the best of luck and enjoy.

Best Regards
Louis van Bergen
 

Blueduiker

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I fear the budget may not make it for Sable, but I am aware that they have some monsters there, aparently the closest to Angolan Giant Sable, from a genes point of few.

I will keep you posted....pics to follow when I get back!
 

Blueduiker

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Returned from a great hunt at Nchila Wildlife Reserve, Zambia

Philipp Puku.jpg


We just returned from an amazing hunting trip to Nchila Wildlife reserve in the far top corner of North Western Zambia, bordering the DRC and Angola. The reserve is run by the Fisher family, great people and wonderful hosts!

We; my girlfriend Julia and hunting buddy Deon and I took the hunt over from a friend, who couldn't make the trip due to work related reasons. Lucky for us, as it was one of the most memorable hunts we have ever been on. The sheer amount of game on the reserve, the unique set up and exceptionally remote location make this a unique place to visit. Flying in from Lusaka on a Cesna 182, over the Kafue river and the endless floodplains, even crossing over a small corner of the DRC make this an exciting experience in itself.

Africa.jpg

Nchila and its neighboring reserve Nkwaji are privately owned by the Fisher family, but combined with the numerous missions in the area, the schools, hospital and and other community related projects, it feels more like a Campfire project than an exlusive private safari camp. The surrounding communities are directly incorporated into the hunting industry at Nchila.

Roan plains.jpg

All the old foot paths linking various tribal communities are left open, so that access is not prohibited to anyone in the surrounding areas. Locals traveling form village to village across the reserve simply check in with a game guard at a gate and check out once they have left the reserve.

All staff on the reserve are from the surrounding Lunga villages and because a large percentage of the trophy fees go directly to the community, poaching has virtually been eradicated completely on the reserve. This is unfortunately is not the case in the adjoining areas, which are rather devoid of game. By implying non-aggressive anti-poaching methods, as the community "takes care" of that problem themselves, this concept based on trust and working with , as opposed to against the community, has worked very well for the Fisher's. Quite obvious, considering the loss the community would have if an animal is poached, as opposed to paid out for in full .

Deon Puku gang.jpg

Right, now to the hunting . The first thing one notices on the reserve is the incredible number of Sable. They are HUGE and everywhere. Peter Fisher has the largest privately owned herd of Sable in the world ( close to 900 animals), he has bulls in excess of 50" and they are apparently the closest relatives to the Angolan Giant Sable, and this has been confirmed through DNA tests. He is meticulous about his Sable breeding and this is evident when driving through the reserve and seeing the sheer amount of huge bulls. For Sable, I think there are few places in the world that can match Nchila, and from my travels and hunting trips through SA, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, I have never seen anything like it. The +43" Sable on one of the attached pictures was "just an average" bull. Though competitively priced, considering the quality available, they were out of my budget range on this trip, so they were just a bonus to see while out hunting other game.

East Angolan Duiker.jpg

Philipp Angolan Duiker 1.jpg

Blueduiker in the miombo.jpg

Philipp Blue duiker.jpg

Deon Blue duiker 1.jpg

Big Sable.jpg

Sable and Bushbuck from Lodge.jpg

Sable in the Miombo.jpg

Another thing I noticed was the presence of Forest sitatunga. Though I have never hunted in Cameroon, Uganda or the CAR, I reserve judgement, but from the reading I have done and from my observations at Nchila, this too has to be right up there as one of the better places in the world to bag these elusive trophies. In five solid days of hunting I observed 2 big bulls and over 10 females. I was not dedicating any time to hunting Sitatunga, nor did I spend anytime in any of the numerous Machans scattered along the forest edges. I just bumped into them while hunting Blue duiker and Puku. The best part was, I saw most of my Sitatunga in the mid morning hours, simply browsing along the edges of swampy "dambos", bordering the thick forest edges.

Sitatunga female.jpg

Sitatunga Baby Caracal Kill.jpg

My main focus species on this hunt where Puku (a must if in Zambia), Oribi ( of which there where plenty and these are very hard to obtain in SA) and Blue duiker, my #1 on the list.
I have hunted Blue duiker in SA wherever they occur, have had fleeting glimpses here and there and missed the odd opportunity with a bow. My Blue duiker count at Nchila; +20 sightings! which resulted in a selective shot at a large ram on the third day.

Still-hunting these elusive little guys in the thick brachystegia and miombo woodland with Mike Borman ( resident PH) and local Lunga trackers Kenneth and Rhodes was a highlight on this trip. We tried calling Blues on numerous occasions, but it seemed to be the wrong time of the year, as all we had coming in were female Angolan Bush duikers. This was another species I was at first hesitant to take, as I could not quite see the difference between the East Angolan and our local Southern Bush ( Grey) duiker in the Cape of South Africa. I'm glad Pete and Mike convinced me otherwise and I took the opportunity to shoot a very old ram while still hunting for Blue duiker on the second morning of the hunt. I believe for an East Angolan duiker his 5 6/8 " horns will score very high in Rowland Ward. On closer inspection they also look rather different to the Southern Bush Duiker, as they have a far redder colored coat, a more pronounced back blaze on the face and white rings around the eyes as well as a very white belly and leg stripes.

Duiker hunting int he Miombo.jpg

My Puku proved to be more challenging than I expected, given the large amount of Puku one sees out on the plains and dambos while hunting. I shot the ram with the broken horn tip with Pete's borrowed .243 in one of the dambos in the North of the reserve. We also found a dead baby Sitatunga while stalking, which had most likely been killed by a caracal ( see pics). Considering the light caliber of the borrowed .243 I did not want to risk a shot at anything over 100 meters, and given the flat terrain on the open dambos, an approach on a herd of +50 Puku, surrounded by Common Reedbuck and one very alert Tssesebe bull, proved to be a patience testing game. P.H Mike Borman applied a very interesting technique and mimicked the Pukus whistles, which at one point actually enticed the ram out of the group and moved him into a favorable shooting lane. Well done Mike!

My girlfriend Julia, who just started hunting, was able to take a big Warthog sow on our last day of hunting, while we were out looking for an Oribi . This too was an absolute highlight for me, as I was able to film the stalk as Paddy Fisher and Rhodes, the local tracker, guided her and ultimately ended with her taking a 120 yard shot, from a Bog Pod after a well executed stalk.

Julia Warthog.jpg

Another bonus at Nchila is the availability of firearms and equipment. Since traveling with Firearms can be a right pain these days, having Peter's selection available to us was a real pleasure. What a selection it was; ranging from various .22's, Anschuetz 222, M77 Ruger in .243, .270, 7 x 57 a .300 Win Mag, Steyr M. 9.3 x 62, 375's, .416 and a custom made Rigby 500! Apart from that we could use Peters HD Sony Pro. film camera to capture the entire hunt. Nchila is very well equipped and there was no shortage of the equipment one might be able to do without but, sometimes hopes for on a hunt.

Mess.jpg

Nice selection.jpg

My friend Deon bagged his first "Harnessed/Chobe Bushbuck" ( the debate still continues), a phenomenal Oribi ram, as well as a good Puku and Blue duiker. An American hunter from Ohio, also in camp at the time, killed a very old Buffalo bull with exceptionally thick bosses. Nchila and the neighboring Nkwaji reserve have Buffalo and Hippo on their Big/Dangerous game list.

Buffalo on film.jpg

Deon Bushbuck.jpg

Deon Mike Oribi.jpg

Philipp Oribi.jpg

We took 9 trophies in 5 days of hunting. Being selective and opting for as much walk and stalk as possible, I can say you can make the hunting at Nchila as hard as you would like it to be. It's perfect terrain for walk and stalk and the mix of woodland and forest, with interspersed patches of plains and dambos, are great of plotting stalks. For the older or physically challenged hunter, there are also ample opportunities to collect a desired trophy, again, due to the highly trained staff, good set up and ultimately large game population on the reserve. I noticed Nchila applies a rather strict hunting conduct of no shooting from any vehicle ( big thumbs up!) and no alcohol consumption during the day, unless one plans to stop hunting for that specific day.

Lastly, I have never experienced food like this on a hunt, ever! Virtually everything other than the wine or the Tabasco sauce comes from Nchila. The bacon comes from their own free range pigs, eggs from their chickens, milk and yoghourt from their cows, bread from the grain fields adjoining the reserve and the meat is a mix of local venison and livestock. Lynn Fisher and her staff are top notch cooks and after a long day of stalking through the black burnt grass or thick forests, a meal in the traditional mess, with views of Sable and Puku in the plains was something we all looked forward too.

We regret not having had more time to enjoy the comforts of the lodge, to see the source of the Zambezi ( on the farm!) or to get a closer look at their many community based projects, but we have already started planning our return, once the Sitatunga piggy bank is full :)
 
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enysse

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Wow, thanks for the hunt report! Nice sable!!!
 

Bobpuckett

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Thanks for the report, Fantastic hunt. That picture with the Sable and Bushbuck would still have me kicking myself which one to shoot.
 

James.Grage

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Thank you for the follow-up report with great pictures...
 

bluey

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thanks for the awesome report and pictures ,it certainly looks as though the fishers run a state of the art outfitt with an abundance of game i think i need to start my own piggy bank to fund a sable and situatunga
hunt
 

davidhein

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Thanks for the great report.
And of course congratulations on all your trophies! Sounds like Nchila is a must visit for all serious sable hunters and of course those of us that dream of hunting Zambia.
 

Nyati

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Congrats for a fantastic hunt and great trophies. That Puku has me :drooling:

Thanks for sharing !
 

svinejakt

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Congratulations. Looks like an amazing place to hunt. Nice trophies!!
 

BCHunter

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I just read your aricle and viewed your pictures with great interest. My son and I will be hunting at Nchila Reserve at the beginning of June 2013.
The main goal will be to get a couple of good sables. After that, who knows...
 

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