Safari 2014: The Caprvi Strip / Update 06/02/2014 A new World Record?

by david on June 3, 2014

I must apologize for this being a day late.  My e-mail was hacked and it took 5 days before I could send, receive and recover my files.


Last week I was telling you about doing a little fanaticizing during the down time I have between planning out my trip and actually taking my trip.  This week I want to expand on that a little more.

With my elephant on the ground, and all of the meat and other parts delivered to the locals, I hope to be able to take a trophy animal of some kind.  The animals in the concession are on a strict quote basis, and since it may take most of the hunt to take my elephant, I was a little hesitant about reserving another animal for myself.  If I ended up not having time to take it, the quota and money it meant for the concession would be lost.  What Byron and I ended up doing was to leave the second animal as a “target of opportunity”, so to speak.  After the elephant hunt we would just go and “see what we could see”.  If it looked good and was still on quota, the hunt would be on.

Well, does that not open up a whole new opportunity for the imagination to run wild, so to speak?  One of the animals that could be available is a crocodile.  I have always wanted to hunt a croc.  I have been and still am a little apprehensive about doing so, however.  First off, the shot is a most difficult one and easily blown.  You must brain a croc or he will get back to the water and disappear forever.  This will cost you a trophy and a trophy fee because if you wound and loose an animal, you still have to pay for it.  The crocodile’s brain is about the size of a golf ball and is situated in the croc’s head as to present an even more difficult target unless you can shoot from an elevated position.  Sneaking along the river’s edge looking  for crocs is another thing all together.  Crocodiles kill (and eat) more people in Africa each year than all of the other big five put together.  They do so by ambushing and snatching the unwary person with such an explosion of speed and muscle that death is almost a 99% surety.  So even getting to the hunting part is pretty much a dream come true before a shot is even considered.

If I let my imagination take over, even for a second, my hunt takes on a most desperate flavor.  The evening after I take my elephant, the SSB radio will squawk with a request for help from a village a short way down-river.  It seems a monster croc (somewhere in the 18’ range) was terrorizing the locals.  Every time they try to get water from the river’s edge, Mr. Croc has himself a little snack.  Without water things are getting quite desperate – could we please come and help?  Well, not this is just the sort of adventure someone who has never actually hunted a crocodile dreams about.  If they had actually hunted one, they would probably know better.  Since I do not know any better, we would climb in a mokoro, a homemade type of canoe used by the locals, and then head after a modern-day man-eating dragon.  Real smart, don’t you think?  Just before we round the corner to the village, we are given the “all-quiet” sign by my PH and we drift down the river like a couple of oversized logs, scanning for our quarry.

There is no noise but the waves of the river gently lapping at the side of the mokoro.  Our monster croc is nowhere to be found.  Try as we might, we can see no sign of the beast.  The command to paddle on to the village starts us forward once again, but a loud splash and blood curdling screams stop us once more.  About a hundred yards to the left, the croc has forced two young children up a tree and is trying its best to shake them out.  We make all possible haste in that direction, but I am afraid we will not make it in time.  I order the rowing to stop and steady myself for the shot of a lifetime.  At the report of the rifle, the crocodile spasms a few times and goes limp.  I mentally say a prayer of thanks at being able to hit such a small moving target while in a moving target (the most difficult shot there is) and save the kids.  When we finally get over to the bank the crocodile tapes out at 18’-6”, and is estimated to weigh about 1400lbs, and be over 60 years old.  Not half bad for an unexpected adventure.

Wow, I think my imagination might qualify for a world record after this tall tale, but it was sure fun while it lasted.  I’ll let the old imagination out for one more adventure next week.  See you then.


In the FYI department the average Nile crocodile is 15-16 feet long, 500lbs, and lives to about 45 years of age.  It is estimated that croc’s kill about 200 people per year.

Information from National Geographic


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