Our journey has now come to its logical end. We are home again in the U.S. and wishing we were back on the African continent. The sights and sounds, food and friends, places and adventures are all still fresh in our minds. We wish all of you who have ever seriously thought about Africa would go NOW! It has changed dramatically in my thirty three years of African experiences. More people, less freedom. More regulation, less wild spaces. More tourism, less thought. Freedom, African Fish EagleAfrica is NOT an everyman experience, nor should it be. Today an atmosphere, not unlike the European capital tourism of the past five decades pervades all things African. Visit here, follow the crowds, enjoy seeing animals with a hundred or so of your closest new friends. Ughhh, it is NOT for me. I prefer the quiet intimacy of a camp set in wilderness or what may pass for wilderness these days. A small camp staff, reliable vehicles, comfortable accommodations, fresh food prepared on a braai or in bu..
Our journey has now come to its logical end. We are home again in the U.S. and wishing we were back on the African continent. The sights and sounds, food and friends, places and adventures are all still fresh in our minds. We wish all of you who have ever seriously thought about Africa would go NOW! It has changed dramatically in my thirty three years of African experiences. More people, less freedom. More regulation, less wild spaces. More tourism, less thought. Africa is NOT an everyman experience, nor should it be. Today an atmosphere, not unlike the European capital tourism of the past five decades pervades all things African. Visit here, follow the crowds, enjoy seeing animals with a hundred or so of your closest new friends. Ughhh, it is NOT for me. I prefer the quiet intimacy of a camp set in wilderness or what may pass for wilderness these days. A small camp staff, reliable vehicles, comfortable accommodations, fresh food prepared on a braai or in bush oven. Fresh bread, wonde..
In northeast Namibia, near the northwest corner Botswana hard on the border, there lies Khaudum Park, a very wild and remote place. Very few people visit. Infrastructure is extremely limited. It is a mind-boggling three hundred and eighty-four thousand hectare landscape and home to a variety of wildlife. Loxodonta africana exists here in a size not to be equaled anywhere else on the planet. It is here that males of the species weigh in excess of eight and half tons. This is not a guess. It is fact. Verified on a very large scale. How much do I weigh?Loading the captured jumboAfter nine years of extensive negotiations with the Namibian government, the family Joubert succeeded in obtaining permission to capture and transplant more than one hundred of these most special creatures to Erindi Game Reserve. The goal was to protect the gene pool and establish two breeding herds of this particularly outsized jumbo. It was an effort of herculean proportions, on a scale that cannot be easily ima..
I would like to share a brief piece of a rhino poaching episode on the largest private reserve in Namibia. It took place on 1 September, 2016. We had the recent privilege and pleasure to spend five days on our old familiar stomping grounds, Erindi Private Game Reserve http://www.erindi.com. On 31 August we sadly departed and were driven back to Omujeve Hunting Safaris main headquarters, about a three hour drive. During the drive I asked our driver, Gorti, if any poaching has taken place on the reserve. He answered, not to date, but it was inevitable. He further explained the Chinese were offering $20,000 $N to anyone who could sneak them onto the reserve. Also some ex employees were very attuned to the ins and outs of the daily ritual at the huge property, and sooner or later something bad would happen. Let me state here Erindi is huge, two hundred sixty-eight square miles in one block. It has three public access points and each is manned 24/7 by armed guards. Serious guys with the Af..
Namibia is a land of extreme contrasts. Between the famed Kalahari and the Caprivi Strip lies a vast expanse of harsh desert landscape, bordered by the nation’s western Atlantic coast spanning the entire length of the country. The sparse and legendary Skeleton Coast marks the northwest boundary before transitioning to Angola. Skeleton Coast BeachscapeI have been very fortunate to travel most of the length and breadth of this African nation in the company of some of its most knowledgeable citizens over the course of thirty-three years. The interesting seaports of Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, and Henties Bay offer shipping, fishing, and escape from the hot summer months, while the interior regions swelter with temperatures of over 138 degrees Fahrenheit. The sea breezes cool the shore with temps far more bearable. The vast dunes of the south offer a playground for off-road enthusiasts and wilderness campers. This country called Namibia is a great location for the adventures of your choosing ..
The morning had gone well. My client Sheldon T, had taken a brilliant Eastern White-bearded Wildebeest, which would rank high in the Rowland Ward and SCI record books. It had been a touch and go affair from the onset. The herd had sensed something amiss and was switched on. We had the wind, and we had the cover, they had the their sixth sense working overtime. The herd was coming crosswind across a large dambo, a mile and a half long by half a mile wide. The 8” high grass provided little cover for predators of any kind. We were in the edge of the four-foot tall short grass, and moving towards the herd to cut the distance. The bull we were after stood out among the hundred and fifty, or so, other animals. Joseph, my tracker, looked at me as he whispered, “Mkubwa sana.” I nodded in silent agreement and set the sticks up, and motioned Sheldon to steady himself for the shot. The herd was moving in a strung out mass, and had closed to just about one hundred yards. “Do you see him,” I aske..
Ok, you may have watched NatGeo for years, the Animal Planet, Discovery, and more than a dozen other programs on television, but you have never, ever seen anything like this! What do you think you see?This cow elephant is normal, along with her calf, but her tusks are not. Is it an act of nature during growth, genetics, or something else? Whatever it is, it makes her very unique. Cow and her calfUnique in all the world?In discussions on several forums, with staff in the general area, and National Park officials, no one has recalled seeing this jumbo before. Tusks or fangs?? One long tooth!Enjoy the pictures and please provide feedback if you have something to add!!
It was my great pleasure to have five days roaming at will on the famed Erindi Game Reserve in Namibia last week. The owner, Paul Joubert, repeatedly admonishing me that I had not seen the “big one” yet. He was correct and prophetic. I never did see the “big one”, but man did I see plenty of really good ones, 60 pounds per side and more, with one being around 120 pounds per side. A truly great jumbo, of the kind that are rarer than unicorns in todays world. Age! My trunk weighs a ton…Note rhino behindOf note these big boys carry massive ivory. 18” circumference at the lip at a minimum. Several are over 20” for reference. Their ivory is also very brittle. Really BIG feetI eat a lot, all day, everyday!I thought you guys might enjoy the photos… also I couldn’t help posting the young jumbo kicking the croc out of the mud hole! Teenager bullying a croc!The biggest jumbo pictured is around 48 -50 years of age and stands 3.8 meters high at the shoulder, as of 2013. He weighed eight and a ..
Best friends?OK almost everyone knows hippos are very vocal. Not everyone knows that the sounds you hear are the great beasts laughing. They are the comedians of the African animal world. They tell jokes underwater in their pods and come up to laugh. The amount of laughter is directly proportional to the humour of the joke. Then there is the slow hippo. One or two are so dense they do not understand the joke and when they finally do get it they are about a minute behind the group laughter… it is a bad sign. Giants coming up for airSeriously, hippo behave as if they were a benign beast occupying an unfulfilled niche in the wild kingdom. Not so. They are responsible for many deaths across the continent. One bite from that cavernous maw and you are half of what you were. Most deaths occur when you get between the hippo and his escape cover, almost always water. Leaving water to feedSleeping pod enjoying the warmth of the sunHippo do serve a major purpose in the African eco-structure. Th..
One of the major tourist drawing cards across Africa is its wildlife. Whether you go to a national park, or a private reserve, it is all about the game. From South Africa to Botswana to Namibia in southern Africa, and the fabled lands of Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa, everyone wants the African experience to capture memories for a lifetime and more. 15 feet of terrorThe legendary lands of East Africa are surely spectacular, however the countries themselves, Kenya and Tanzania, are known for their security issues and very high costs. Add to that the large group nature of the game viewing experience and you have a racetrack type format of interlaced road and radio networks alerting everyone to a notable game viewing event. Sometimes this leads to a mob mentality and the overall experience suffers. I come from a hunting safari background and cherish the one on one experience that environment provides. Special memories shared by less than a handful of people, unique to their lives. If..