Safari 2012 Journal Entries: Day One – Monday, July 16th, 2012

by david on August 2, 2012

     After the more or less standard 36-hour trip, I am finally back in Namibia and ready to start my latest adventures with Shona Hunting Adventures.  The flight hits the ground close to its scheduled 5:10 am time, and it is very cold.  According to the pilot, it is 19 degrees on the ground.  I am glad I packed my jacket in my carry-on bag.  I know Africa only too well and I always try to be prepared for her unexpected little surprises.  I packed my coat in my checked bag on my first trip over and, when it did not show at the same time I did, I was forced to spend a cold evening waiting on my baggage to catch up.  The walk across the tarmac is rather invigorating and everyone quickens their pace to get inside.  The airport like most other buildings is not heated or cooled and is just about the same temperature as the outside.  This is just one more of Africa’s little surprises for the uninitiated.        

I manage to not be too far back in the line, and going through Customs and Immigrations is not a problem.  I just hand them the form I filled out on the plane and my passport and I zoom right through.  The luggage has just started to show up on the carousel, and my duffel eventually shows up.  Next, it is off to the police station to claim my rifles.  Conveniently, it is in the same room as the baggage carousel and I can see my gun case sitting in the pass-through window with a few others.  There is one gentleman ahead of me, and I fish my paperwork out of my backpack while I wait.  Namibia’s firearms form is a simple one-page form that lists your rifles with serial numbers, how many rounds of ammunition you have, where you are going to be hunting, and how long you are going to be in the country.  Simple and effective.  The USA could learn from this.           

Johann has other clients to drop off today and has arranged for his dad to pick me up.  I walk through to the main waiting area and start to look for Vellies.  I scan the room for a few minutes, but I cannot find him.  No big deal.  It is 5:45 am, after all, and he might just be held up.  I’ll wait outside and meet him when he comes in.  Outside, I manage to find a spot of sunshine to stand in and it feels good.  When a half hour goes by, I step back inside just to see if I missed him somewhere.  No Vellies, but I do find Johann.  He informs me that his dad had suffered a severe asthma attack and was in the hospital.  It turns out that I had walked right past Johann and had not seen him.  I was so intent on looking for his dad that his face did not register.  I guess I cannot be blamed for a little tunnel vision; after all, I had just completed 36 hours of travel.  In all fairness, he did not see me either. 

After getting my gear into the Land Cruiser, I got a little more information.  Vellies was doing much better and it was hoped he would be out of the hospital in a day or so.  Meanwhile, we would be meeting the clients who were just finishing up their safari for breakfast.  I had met the Taylors, Jill, Joe, and their daughter Kelsi, at the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania outdoors show and was looking forward to visiting with them and finding out how their safari went.  Breakfast was really good and the conversation was better.  Their safari had gone well and they had taken most of the trophies they had wanted.  I hoped their luck would rub off on me.  After breakfast, Johann dropped me off at my accommodations for the evening and took the Taylors to the airport. 

Johann has been gone for much too long when there is a knock at the door and I get the message that had been a major screw up with the Taylors’ flight and Johann was still sorting things out.  Luckily, the Taylors had booked through Gracy Travel, and Johann was able to give them a call on their call-collect emergency number and things were worked out from the USA side.  Johann is very good about staying with clients and making sure they get through all of the lines and do all the necessary paperwork before they are left at the airport.  His delay is not such a bad thing I decide (at least on my part), I can use the time for writing in my journal.

He finally makes it back to me just in time to go have a late lunch.  We spend the rest of the afternoon running a few errands and cap the day off with a nice dinner.  An early bedtime is nice as we want to get an early start in the morning.    


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