Safari, Namibia 2016: Next Link In The Chain. Blog #9 “The Tripple Whammy”

by david on April 24, 2017

On the land cruiser at 5:30 and we are already fighting the wind. Doug and Johann were looking for gemsbok, while Johnas and I were back to looking for pretty much anything. The wind seemed to have picked up as the sun came up, and I was not overly optimistic. In addition to our problem with the wind, this area of Namibia was experiencing a drought. Where there used to be waist-high grass, there was now bare earth. The combination of wind and bare earth led to large clouds of swirling dust. This was tough hunting. The dust made its way into everything — like the sand at the beach ends up in places you never thought possible. I was sure I’d be finding dust in places for months after I return home. We finally spotted a nice kudu and spent the better part of two hours trying to get close. The wind was a triple whammy that day.  It really hindered us. If the wind would hold steady, we could deal with that, but it was constantly shifting directions.  There was the constant threat of the wind carrying our scent to the animals. The roar of the wind also made things difficult. The noise it created robbed the animals of their second method of predator detection, their hearing. Lastly, the dust clouds it stirred up impaired their vision. With all of their three senses gone, or reduced, the animals were extremely skittish. The result was that any little miscalculation on our part would send the animals scurrying for safer ground. After all of our effort in getting close enough to field judge we decided the kudu was another 53 incher, and, by definition, not the animal we were looking for. Lunchtime found us all tired, windblown, hungry, and without any game.

Since it was Friday afternoon and school was out for the week, Johann and I headed to town to pick up Zoe. Even though they were once common and still exist in the U.S. boarding schools, they are a foreign concept to me. Logic tells me it is the only thing that will work in Namibia’s sparsely populated countryside. Emotionally, the thought of sending my daughter away for the first grade, and all other grades for that matter, would drive me nuts. I think it bothered Johann for a while, as well, but Zoe is flourishing. He seems resigned to the fact that unless he drives into town he only gets to see her on some weekends and breaks. We used the drive time to complain about the wind and brainstorm some ways to combat it. Time flew by.  After picking up Zoe, we made it back to camp just in time for the sun to set and for the first round of sundowners.

We had extra company in camp tonight. Byron Hart is a Dangerous Game PH and one of Johann’s oldest friends. He was here for dinner tonight, along with Ruan Botha, another PH (arriving tomorrow), and would be meeting with Johann tomorrow to discuss forming a hunting consortium, with an emphasis on conservation as well as hunting. Should be interesting.

Doug and I got the general idea while we dined on kudu kabobs for dinner. The last brandy around the fire pit turned into a game of musical chairs as we all futilely tried to dodge the smoke. The smoke was ever changing its direction and convinced me it was a good night to turn in a little early. That is exactly what I did.

 

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