Safari 2018, A Touring and Hunting Combo.

by david on June 17, 2019

Introduction

My 8th Safari. Hard to believe I have been so blessed as to make the journey so many times to a place I have grown to love. The journey itself, visiting dear friends, trusted hunting companions and places, were all familiar aspects this trip.  It also has some firsts. I was going to be staying in country for longer than I ever dared dream, almost a full month. There would be about two weeks of touring, and the same in hunting camp. This trip would also be a first in that another couple, some very dear friends, would be accompanying my wife and I.  This was their first trip, and I always enjoy watching others as they experience the wonders of Africa for first time. The looks and expressions on people’s faces as they get up close and personal with an elephant or see their first lion and hear its roar are something I never get tired of. This is made all the better when the faces are of friends and family. It is an experience I wish for everyone to have firsthand.  It is also my hope my words can convince you to go and see for yourself.

For this trip, we would be skipping Windhoek on the way and flying straight to Kasane, Botswana from Johannesburg.  This would alleviate an overnight in in Windhoek that was required to catch Air Namibia’s domestic flight to Katima, the Namibian jumping-off point to the Caprivi.  While it made travel easier, it turned out to be a logistics problem for me and my rifles. Botswana does allow the temporary importation of hunting rifles, but the process turned out to be problematic. The paperwork itself was not too bad.  There was the importation form, a letter of invitation from the PH you were hunting with, and a letter giving your agent in Botswana to act on your behalf. The problem was there was only one place in the whole country — Gaborone — where the paperwork could be turned in and permits issued.  If your agent did not live there, he had to drive there, turn in the paperwork and wait for the permits. If he could not drive, the paperwork had to be couriered. This worked until the issuing agent decided a “T” was not crossed or an “I” was not dotted, and more trips and or couriers employed, and cost and time required kept doubling or tripling.  If you want to try taking your firearms through Botswana, start early and expect to pay a lot.

Country hopping was going to be another first for this trip.  We were going to visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Muchenje Safari Lodge in Botswana and then to our favorite houseboat, the Chobe Princess in Namibia.  From the houseboat it was back to Botswana for a bush plane to Savute Safari camp in Botswana and finally to Lianshulu in Namibia. Many border crossings and many passport stamps. This went much smoother than I thought it would and proved to be no problem at all.  Though the border crossings went well, for the most part, there were still a few bumps in the road. After all, we were in some of the most remote parts of Africa. Even our final stay at Lianshulu was a last-minute switch from a different camp. To paraphrase a saying from my book, “be ready for anything because anything can happen in Africa and usually does”, this was shown to be true on one than more occasion in this trip.  Nothing tragic, and no one was any worse for wear, and each occurrence made for a great story. So if you are of a mind to, sit back, enjoy the journey and plan a journey of your own. By the way, I owe Ms. Louise Eksteen of African Selection a huge thank you for putting the touring part together. Her work was flawless. Should you want her assistance you can find her at http://botswana-safaris.com/ .

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