Once upon a time high in the central highlands of Namibia, there was a place of water. The Herero called it Erindi. A magical place of rock strewn mountains, steep canyons, vast plains, and hidden enclaves frequented by the early san people. Their campsites marked by rock and cave wall etchings of animals and people more than five thousand years old. Enter the Joubert family, with a vision of future conservation. They purchased this vast landscape over several years, removed the domestic cattle and began to restore the land and wildlife to its historical condition. Nearly two decades later their dream was realized. Like Noah did more than several millennia ago, they brought a wide array of species and watched them flourish, establishing self sustaining herds of plains game, and the requisite predators necessary for a good management plan. They developed the water sources, including bore holes, impoundments both great and small, and enhanced the natural wet areas. Today Erindi is the ..
We are back at Omujeve’s main lodge about one hour south of Windhoek. It is a wonderful place, excellent accommodations, food, beverages, people and home to over twenty-seven species of wildlife. Their website is https://omujevehuntingsafaris.com Omujeve lodgeWe had the opportunity to take a Toyota four door land-cruiser and have Scully, a twelve-year member of the Omujeve Hunting Safari family, and superior tracker, show us around the farm. It is over twenty six thousand acres high fenced, but the topography, bushveld, and terrain will challenge any hunter or photographer. Sand rivers, rocky mountains with cliffs and edges, camel thorn, acacia and cat’s claw, cover the canyon walls while grasses weave their way across the vlei’s and canyon bottoms. Gentle rolling hills Northwest end of farm, brush and canyons In one three and half hour morning tour we saw everything except cats or hyena on the property. Sable, roan, kudu, black faced and regular impala, springbok, blue and black wil..
The bird calls outside our tent increase in intensity, doves, fish eagles, and a myriad more voice their welcome to the coming dawn. Hippo voices are easily picked up over the bird sounds. The new day is upon us, and it is with sadness we pack to leave this most special place. Our time here in the Caprivi Strip, that most unique finger of Namibia, is at an end. We have journeyed through four hunting concessions, and three National Parks. It has been a widely varied experience and highly educational. The draw here is dangerous game, and the life sustaining water. Waterways traverse this narrow spit of land, surrounded as it is by Angola and Botswana to the north and south. Zambia and Zimbabwe to the northeast and southeast. The mighty Okavango cuts through to enter Botswana before disappearing into that country’s interior desert wasteland. The Kwando rolls south then east, becoming the Linyanti, and finally the Chobe. For most of its length in Namibia it forms the southern border with..
Please find the cat in the above photo, and may you be as swift as he surely will be! If I may digress for a moment or two, the subject of technology must be addressed here and now. It has changed most of the hunting world in so many ways, and eliminated much of the “old” way to do things. Today blinds are a “pop up” affair. Most do not even know what a machan is, and fewer still how to build a proper one. Trail cameras, scopes, and binoculars all with night vision capability provide a definite edge. I realize one cannot stop progress but I feel most of today’s “improvements” are really mis-labeled. I fully realize the cost to hunt certain species have risen to levels that to me are unimaginable, and success is paramount to both hunter and outfitter. Add in the predicament of vastly reduced quotas being implemented across the continent, and the pressure to produce is beyond the pale. However, hunting is still supposed to be hunting, not shooting or purchasing power for the sake of som..
Yesterday’s buff show was a most unique treat, and one never to be forgotten. The current client had not been finding jumbo big enough to satisfy as of yet. Having been hunting only four days, and two of those half days, it seems their expectations had run head on into the reality we were experiencing. I do NOT hold myself to be an elephant expert, far from it. But I know a little luck is required for any hunt, and for jumbo luck is generally closely tied to the amount of kilometers your feet travel. It would be nice to find the elephant of your dreams from the vehicle, make a short stalk, and have your trophy. It does happen mind you, but more than likely it is miles and miles of foot travel to find the one you want. More days of the grind would pass in a monotonous succession of mornings and evenings, dust, sore feet and dampened expectations. Maybe with more “luck” things would turn around, only history yet unwritten would provide proof. It is now day eleven, the grind is taking i..
OK, before anyone piles on, a proper buffalo is what the client prefers. As long as it is mature, heavy, wide, deep drops or shallow, scrum or dugga boy, a trophy is in the eye of the beholder. With that said please read on and feel free to comment! Word via email and a photo of a forty-six inch buff arrived at eight thirty this morning. They found him again, near dark last evening, and a hasty photo was snapped. A thirty-seven inch hard bossed buffalo was taken, also a hippo, and the search for jumbo continued. Herds of buff over four hundred strong were sighted, along with multiple herds of zebra numbering many times that of the buff. Thirty-seven separate lions were sighted, along with three males that would give the MGM cat a contest for the best hairdresser award. Unfortunately the cats were all on the Botswana side of the river. Game was everywhere and in good variety. The morning progressed through the usual chores, lunch, the afternoon nap, and then around five we went out to..
To many a hippo hunt is a challenge. To the professional and the staff the hunt is “fun”, but like many things hunting, the fun ends when the shot is successfully taken. From there on it is work, work, and more work. As many of you have experienced firsthand, the work is often directly proportional to the access to the game taken, the transportation method involved, and the size of the creature being retrieved… the most intensive two examples are hippo and ultimately elephant. In the Caprivi there are three types of hunting permits available for hippo. There is an own use permit, dedicating the entire animal to the tribal council. Next is the Traditional Authority permit where the animal belongs to the community, minus the tusks, skull, and some hide that may be retained by the hunter for export. The trophy permit allows the hunter to keep what he desires from the animal, the rest is distributed to the surrounding villages. Most hippo hunting involves a boat and a landcruiser for tra..
28 July, 2016 Today clients and professionals all slept in. The balance of us began to organize all things necessary for a proper two night, three day expedition back to the Chobe River conservancy area. After an early lunch of camp made pizza at eleven thirty the two land cruisers, one boat in tow, and fully packed were again off on safari. Camp life slowed back to its normal glacial pace in the absence of paying guests, and the Big Bwana in charge of all things (lol, though quietly and out of earshot, please). Dinner was a quiet four person affair, Koen a seventy one year wise camp watcher, Margaret, Rita, and myself. As we sat around the fire beginning at eight the camp alarm systems were off the hook. For those of you NOT familiar with African alarm systems, they are of a four legged variety, invariably a Jack Russell, or variant thereof. In our case two J. Russell’s, Saddle and Jessica, and one african tribal dog, named Lucky. Lucky became my new best friend. He is like a milli..
26 July, 2016 Ivory Camp: Morning is cold, 2 degrees C. No wind. Night fire embers are low but warm. American cients arrived last afternoon. Hopeful for 2 jumbo, 2 buff, 1 croc, 2 hippo. A problem lion killed an ele calf and several domestic cows over the last week, a license for this cat just came available. We’ll see who picks that up in lieu of the ignorant USFW regs… Rifles sighted in, check. Good nights rest, check. Breakfast, ditto. Loaded up 7 AM and now they are hunting. Alex wiping each item in referStaff life at a hunting camp is rarely observed with purpose. Clients are off hunting, ditto their PH and assorted crew. Camp manager and staff go about their daily repetitive routine. Dining room/client refrigerator is replenished with water, beers, soft drinks, wine. It is a process, as unique as the teaching of how it is to be done. Each beverage container is wiped carefully clean before it is loaded into the refer. Every one. No exception. When that is done, all dining tables..
What follows over the next few weeks is a daily journal of life in a big game hunting camp. There is a lot of misconceptions which seem to be spread as easily as the common cold about hunting in general, and African big game hunting specifically. First off, it is a well to do persons passion almost exclusively, unless you are on the working end of the equation. With daily fees exceeding two thousand U.S. dollars a day, the uninformed believe it is simply dollars spent to buy/kill innocent animals. Nothing could be a bigger lie. Nothing. Unknown to most, the dollars are not transferred by “rich hunters” to greedy outfitters. Instead the money is used to bolster the local economy, think indigenous peoples, who have little opportunity in life to better their standing and that of their families, en masse. Ivory Camp sits on ten acres of developable land, with a concession contract for a ten year period. All the infrastructure costs are paid upfront before ANY client dollars are received...