Safari 2012 Journal Entries: Day Four – Thursday, July 19th, 2012 (part 3) Bad Night and Mountian Zebra

by david on August 13, 2012


With the sun now completely set and darkness surrounding us, it has gotten cold.  The trek started four hours ago and it was about 80 degrees and I was dressed for that temperature.  Now it is in the 30s and my lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing is not cutting it.  I think it is just me, but everyone else is trying to stay warm as well.  The section of Namibia we are in is a very arid climate.  In other words, when the sun goes down, the temperature drops like a rock.  Johann sends Willie and Tjokkie in two different directions down to the nearest road to guide the unimog back to our location.  We sit quietly, listening to the night sounds of the African bush.  It is a little unnerving sitting there in the darkness knowing leopards, hyenas and other things that might want to make a meal out of you were in the same general vicinity.  I love sitting in the dark in the wilderness, but being in Africa makes it that much more special.

            After 20 minutes or so, I can finally hear the unimog approaching.  For those of you unfamiliar with the Mercedes Benz unimog, it is a wonderful machine for hunting the mountains around Tualuka.  It is basically a tank on wheels instead of tracks.  The wheels give it a great deal of ground clearance.  There is not much a unimog will not crawl over or through.  It is geared so that it will climb just about any grade, including those steep enough to scare the he-double toothpicks out of you.  I have personally been in one on a grade so steep that I think the crease in the seats left by my backside clamping down on it so tightly during that ride is still there years later.  After we get the truck into position, it only takes a few minutes to load the zebra into the back and it is time to head home.  There is one small last detail to work out.  Since we are way off-road, it is necessary for us to lead the unimog back to the road. 

There any number of boulders and holes for the truck to get into trouble with.  If we walk in front, we can stop problems before they happen.  As we move forward in the dim light of the ancient trucks headlights, I remember the super-duper flashlight I brought to Africa with me specifically to illuminate my path in the African darkness.  The light is safely tucked away in my backpack which is safely tucked away in the hunting truck a few miles away.  Go figure, Africa has a way of teaching people lessons they never know they needed to learn. 

            All goes well, and we make it back and head home to dinner.  I think I am finally hungry.  Maybe my luck is changing.

Safari Total:  1 shot, 1 zebra.


        Preparing the Unimog for loading 

           Winching the zebra into the back of the Unimog. Simple and easy as pie.                                       


Technical notes for those of you who asked:

The gun used to take the zebra was a custom CZ Safari Classic chambered in 9.3×62 Mauser.  It is ballistically almost the same as the .375 Holland and Holland.  I like it because it is a short action cartridge and the rifle cycles a little quicker.  The cartridge was introduced by Otto Brock of Germany in 1905.  It was designed to specifically for the German settlers in Africa.  The only cartridges of sufficient power for Africa at the time were British and very expensive.  The 9.3×62 Mauser did exactly what it was supposed to.  It gave the colonist an inexpensive round for an inexpensive rifle that could safely take any animal in the African continent.  I shoot 250-grain Barnes bullets that I hand load to a velocity of slightly over 2500 fps, and that load yields 3700 foot pounds of energy.  The original factory loads were 286 grain bullets.  The bullet was not recovered from the zebra as it passed through.


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