Safari 2018 #40 Moving day, Bamunu and the Kings Festival.

by david on September 16, 2019

Tuesday, September 25

We tried in vain to find some elephant tracks this morning.  It seemed the elephants were avoiding Lusese like the plague.  We gave up midmorning and went to pack for a move to Bamunu. We made it to Kasane in time for lunch.  A burger sounded good so we stopped at the same place as before. Yep, it was still good.

We made good time to Bamunu.  If we hustled and only dropped gear, we had time to hunt that afternoon.  Not counting today, there were only two days to supply game for the King’sFestival.  The King’s Festival is a huge party thrown once a year by the Chief and conservancies leaders.  All the people living in the area as well as their extended families are invited for a weekend long bash.  It starts on Friday evening and lasts until Sunday afternoon. The Namibian government gives a special license for a predetermined number of animals to be hunted, and this provides food for the party.  In this particular case, Peter and I were to provide two elephant, two buffalo, a hippo, and half a dozen zebra. Since we were not keeping anything and were hunting food for the festival, we were given a greatly reduced price for out hunt.  I had no idea how many people we were hunting for until we got to camp. The estimated turnout was 7000-9000 people. Everyone would eat and drink way too much for the weekend. It ought to be a blowout of epic proportions. We had our work cut out for us.  Gear dropped and rifles in hand, we headed out in search of game.

Bamunu is a huge, mostly open conservancy.  After the rains, a good bit of it is covered in reeds.  These reeds are in the neighborhood of 12 feet tall and grow close together, making huge swaths of impenetrable vegetative wall.  The natives’ solution is to burn them. The burning gets rid of them, alright, but year after year after year of burning has turned the soil into a fine black powder that can and will get into and cover everything.  Every step you take sends a small cloud of ash and dust into the air. Multiply one step by 400 as in a herd of zebra and the resulting dust cloud can completely obscure the animals if you are 75 yards or so away. Even the Landcruiser is momentarily enveloped every time we stop at a new location to glass.  Having no luck on our own, we headed off to meet up with Byron and Peter. We hoped they would have seen some activity. They were on a small hill glassing a floodplain overlooking the Chobe River. The plan was to catch some elephant crossing the river from the Botswana side, but there were no jumbo tonight.  We saw a decent group of buffalo but it was too late in the day to start a stalk, with very little to hide us from a whole herds worth of eyes. We mixed a quick sundowner (or three) and celebrated being together again. Cold drink in hand, we were treated to another spectacular African sundown.

The zebra induced dust storm eventually begins to subside. The zebra induced dust storm eventually begins to subside.

 

We are treated to yet another spectacular African sunset. We are treated to yet another spectacular African sunset.

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