Safari, Namibia 2016: Next Link In The Chain. Blog #4 “Zebra Down”

by david on April 6, 2017

Lunch was great, and after the morning hunts and the excitement of the skinning shed naptime was a welcome respite. Game animals take a mid-day break and hunters should too. If not a full-blown 40 winks, putting your feet up with a good book or, better yet, making journal entries, is necessary to recharge your batteries. In my humble opinion, starting out the afternoon fresh and rejuvenated is an essential element for a successful outing. Being sharp is essential to spotting game as being rested is vital for stalking. While we were out, Johnas was extra sharp as we spotted literally dozens of game animals, including a double handful of very nice kudu. None were nicer than little brother’s, and so we let them all walk unaware we were ever in the neighborhood. There is something quite satisfying to me to be able to stalk in close to animal, make a close inspection, and retreat if it is not the animal you want, all without them ever being aware of your presence. This was one of those afternoons when there lots to look at but nothing really worth chasing.

The walk in the veld was rewarding in its own right. It had been two years since I last was in Africa, and four since I was at Tualuka. The chance to refresh my memory and retrain my bush skills (limited though they may be) was welcome. Seeing spoor on our walk and then actually remembering what caused it or where it came from was rewarding and brought a smile to my face on more than one occasion. As the shadows grew longer and the temperatures grew colder, it signaled the end of the day and it was time to head back. Once again, my rifle went onto the rack without being on the shooting sticks.

We were first back to the lodge, and I wondered if little brother was once again successful or just late getting back. After a quick inquiry, the former proved correct and we headed back out to the skinning shed. Doug had taken a mountain zebra after a rather lengthy stalk and he was beaming with joy. Matter of fact, if he had grinned any wider he would have swallowed both ears. His excitement was obvious and contagious. Soon we were all laughing and cutting up.  Little brother had come to Africa with high expectations (most likely due to my tall tales), and Africa was now indulging him.  He was happy, and I was happy for him.

The sundowners are always better after a successful hunt and that night, after two successful hunts, they were extraordinary.  Doug’s luck and the hunts themselves were the only topics around the fire pit.  We all listened as he was forced (yeah, right) to recount his adventures of the day one more time.  We had another round of sundowners and listened quietly to the stories as the gemsbok steaks sizzled over the coals.  The smell from the combination of the mopane smoke and steak on the fire wafted our way, and the growling of stomachs momentarily replaced our conversation. The brief silence allowed the sound of an ice cube striking the bottom of an empty glass to reverberate across the fire pit. That was all it took for Josh to fetch another round for everyone. Fresh sundowners in hand the celebrations continued.

Thank goodness Ilouwna rang the dinner bell and supper commenced. I was about to starve (not really, I just love gemsbok steaks) and had been anticipating dinner ever since Josh brought the pan full of steaks down to be grilled. Suppertime on safari is special.  Fresh game, fresh vegetables, homemade desserts, all washed down with some local wine, beer or fresh juice.  The food, friends, conversation, and locale all combine to make wonderful memories. After dinner, one last trip to the fire pit is in order. One last glass of dinner wine, or perhaps a brandy, is a perfect way to end the day. This is also where the next day is planned. Your PH will throw a few carefully selected ideas out for discussion and over the next 20 to 30 minutes the pros and cons of each are discussed. The really good PHs are adept at allowing clients the illusion they have a choice while adeptly steering the conversation to a forgone conclusion. In this manner it was determined (since Doug had a really, really good day today) that tomorrow I was to hunt with Johann and Doug would hunt with Johnas.

Doug's ear swallowing grin.

Doug’s ear swallowing grin

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