Safari, Namibia 2016: Next Link In The Chain. Blog #10 Dinner in the Middle of Nowhere

by david on April 27, 2017

Up at 5:00, and on the road at 5:30.  The wind laid down a little overnight and we were all hopeful. Johann and Doug headed one way, and Johnas, Josh and I the other. Once again we saw game but not really anything that interested me. We finally spotted a very nice kudu. Johnas thought it was at least 55 inches and perhaps a little better. The stalk was on, and off we went. We played cat and mouse with the kudu for over a mile. Next thing we knew, the “grey ghost” lived up to its legendary nickname and vanished without a trace. It was literally there one minute and gone the next. Had it not been something I was interested in hunting, it would have been really cool to have witnessed. Once again, Africa let me know she was still in control. On the way out, Johnas decided to peek over the top of a kopje and spotted some very good gemsbok. We were sure and let Doug know over lunch. On the way back, we did a quick drive by to see if we could spot a cull Klipspringer for a replacement cape, but it was to no avail.

We got back for lunch in plenty of time and end up hearing a little bit more about Conservation & Hunting Combined. CHC is the consortium Johann, Byron, and Ruan would be forming if everyone could come to an agreement. Ruan was not supposed to arrive until 3:00 for the official start of the meeting, so there was time to kill. Byron is as big a gun nut as I am, so we ended up spending the time talking about firearms, calibers, and our pet formulas for reloading our own rounds. Time flies when you are having fun.  Before I knew it, it was time for the meeting to start.  Doug, Johnas, and Josh leaded out to try and find the gemsbok we saw earlier, while Johann, Byron, Ruan, and I sat down to discuss the CHC concept and what it would take to get things moving. The meeting went well but there was a lot to digest and the guys were ready for a break about 5:15.  Personally, I think the idea has merit and would be a great marketing idea. 5:15 just also happened to be the time Ilouwna wanted us to leave for the bush braai (bush BBQ) she had been planning all day.

We all piled into the land cruisers and headed out into the veld. We stopped in the middle of a large patch of sandy earth that had one lone tree. When we arrived, there was a roaring fire.  Everyone headed straight for it. The sun had started down and the temperature was following close on its heels. The ride in the open safari trucks had added to our chill and the heat coming from the flames was most welcome. As if by magic, sundowners magically appeared, and there was warmth from the inside as well as on the outside. The first few sips allowed me a moment to look around taking note of Ilouwna’s efforts. There was a handful kerosene lanterns hanging from the tree, providing light for the serving table underneath. Off to the side was a formal dining table complete with linen tablecloths and china. Beside the crystal stemware were carafes of wine to accompany the meal, and what a meal it was. There was lamb, beef steaks, sweet potatoes all cooked on a bed of coals from our fire. Fresh bread was baked onsite in Dutch ovens.  There was a host of other vegetables and sides. There were even starters and desserts. This was one of the finest dining experiences I have ever had in Africa. The setting sun, and night sky that followed, were a delight for the eyes and the night sounds were a serenade for the ears. The whole evening moved seamlessly from one stage to the other. I really hated for it to end. Everyone else must have had similar feelings as we all stayed out too late. It was the perfect evening in the bush. Thank you, Ilouwna — you are a valuable addition to the Shona staff.

A BBQ in the middle for the bushveld. A cooking fire to the right. Bonfire for light and warmth. Finally a table set fit for a king. A BBQ in the middle of the bushveld. A cooking fire to the right. A bonfire for light and warmth. Finally a table fit for a king.


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