Antelope Hunt in Namibia
It got me. Although I never wanted to believe it before, when other Africans told me about the symptom of the Africa virus, namely the unconditional will, after my first visit to the African continent, this Africa virus also attacked me. My experiences on my first trip to Namibia were so positive, and in particular, all concerns about crime and insecurity were dispelled that had mesmerized me and this country in general, and the southern part of Africa in particular. And so it was not a question for me where my next trip should go, of course, Africa. This time again Namibia, but I wanted to get to know a new area, so I decided to go to the north at Etoshapark, this time for an area near Windhoek.
Already on the day of arrival you go hunting
After an entertaining flight with AirNamibia, because the flight was not fully booked I was lucky and a complete row of 4 for me to sleep, even received my professional hunter at the airport and it went to the farm. Thanks to the proximity to Windhoek, about 40km, we were able to go hunting in the afternoon on the day of arrival. After the obligatory test firing to check that the gun got through the flight well, it started already. The first goal should be an old oryx, true to my experience from the first Namibiareise I was already on patience, since the Oryxjagd had lasted the longest time. But I should be taught a lesson. Already after 500m we were on the cattle farm we saw the first group Oryx, several young bulls trotting away from us in a slow gallop. We continued on groups of Hartebeest over the plain towards a small mountain range. Again and again warthogs crossed our path and we saw another 3-4 oryx groups, with one or two good bulls. Horst, however, said the really old ones are standing on the slopes of the mountains, so that we did not spend too much time with the game in the plain and only used the time to shoot a few pictures of the oryxes and hard bearers. Arriving at the mountain range, we were already greeted by the shouting of the baboons, who saw us as invaders in their territory. To our advantage, however, these were quickly deducted, so that they could give no warning for the rest of the game.
Slowly the Landcruiser tormented the steep mountain and we kept looking for the oryxes. At first without success. We saw some Kudubullen drag along the slope but otherwise the bush was so dense that even a springbok or Hartebeest standing upright would hardly have been visible. Arriving on the top of the mountain we glazed off the opposite slopes and discovered quite inconspicuous movements in a field of thorn bushes. Since we did not recognize anything at first, we decided to rest a bit and to wait and see if the game might pull on the open space to the left and right of the thorn bushes. After about 10 minutes we suddenly saw long black tips through the bush that moved straight towards the open space, Oryxe! Without losing time, Horst immediately gave the signal to leave and we stalked about 200m below the open space, hanging parallel to the Oryx group.
Since the wind came directly from the mountain we had no problems to move unnoticed on the path to below the Oryx group. Once there, the thorn bushes, which appeared from above knee-high, presented themselves as oversized bushes, which did not allow us any view of the oryx. Not to speak of a firing position. After first exhaling the environment, we made a small rock, which protruded over the thorn bushes and could possibly provide us with a shooting opportunity. We cautiously stalked towards the rock and climbed onto the ledge to search the oryx group again with the glass. At about 200m they were now on the open space in front of us, 5 old Oryx bulls. I positioned myself on the rock with my bipod and after selecting and releasing the appropriate bull by Horst I could kill the Oryx bull by a full leaf shot. In Europe, the Vollblattschuss is not really our preferred result, since we have too much game board destruction, in Africa, however, it is important that the game as possible on the field because African game is very shot, so a bladed is advisable here.
After the first joy over my oryx but also began the hardships, which appeared from the bottom as a relatively simple terrain on closer inspection and running to a true hell for man and material. 200m steepest slope with loose boulders and man-high thorn bushes made the ascent with the Landcruiser to the hanging party. At the end we had finally made it and could load the killed Oryx bull on the pickup and start the way back. In the evening with the delicious 3-course-menu we let the day pass and afterwards I fell exhausted into bed.
The 2nd day of hunting
The next day we drove to a more distant cattle farm to hunt for Hartebeest. We drove and stalked all morning but saw only oryxes and springboks. Around lunchtime we stopped at a waterhole and watched the game from a small high seat. Again we saw some Oryxes as well as Warzenkeiler and brooks with freshlings as well as Blesböcke, but no Hartebeester.
After lunch, the plan was a dry river bed along to stalking at the edge of Hartebeester should often be. On the way to the riverbed, our driver stopped abruptly and Horst and I, who were standing in the back of the truck, did not know what was going on. Suddenly we spotted two cheetahs running through the bush at 150m. Due to our higher seating position, we were initially unable to recognize them under the shade of the trees. We watched the cats for about 5 minutes before they pulled off over the open space and we made our way back to the riverbed. The rest of the day we stalked along the entire riverbed and to every lateral change we looked over the embankment if there are possibly Hartebeester show. The sun was already burning all day but due to the lateral wind protection the temperature here in the riverbed felt even warmer. Already relatively exhausted from the long distances, the confidence for success disappeared today. Horst said 2-3 bends then we would be at the end of the riverbed and would have to go back. As soon as we saw something red-brown behind the embankment. Immediately we took cover at the edge of the riverbed and slowly pushed our way towards the next bend, and there he was finally a single good Hartebeestbulle grazing in one of the few remaining green areas in the river. Horst carefully set up the tripod and I got into position, cocked the gun and as the cop raises his head, the shot drops. Since I had run away this time on the chamber of the Hartebeest still running 30m then at the edge of the river bed with a full heart / lung shot down. Our tracker who had been waiting for the car arrived about 10 minutes after the shot with the pickup and we brought the Hartebeest back to the farmhouse.
The last day was for the mountain zebra, compared to the “normal” or surface zebra, the mountain zebras occur in more hilly terrain and are distinguished by their coloration well from the Flächenzebras. The hunting area on Bergzebras was about 1 hour away from the farm, so we left early in the morning. After a short welcome by the farm owner we went straight into the mountains. In the lowest gear with locked lock and very little air in the tires, we made our way to the summit in the crawl with the Toyota, to drive from there along the mountain trail and look for Bergzebras.
After the first two mountains had left without sighting, we saw white dots on the next mountain from the valley with the naked eye. The speech showed that there are mountain zebras but exactly on the mountain which has no driveway, so that the climb had to start completely from below and in addition, the zebras were very high up, so that 500m was through dense bushes voruns. With the goal in mind, it started. Bit by bit we climbed through thorns and boulders on towards the zebras. After we were still 200m away from these, we saw how they moved slowly away from us over the ridge. Since it would have been almost impossible to follow them here, Horst decided that we should better get off again and look for another group. So we went back to the descent, which seemed to me much longer than the ascent.
Back at the car, we continued our ride to the next mountain, a small plateau. On the way we passed giraffes, elephants, herds of impala and even the rare sable antelope or sable. This time we stopped halfway up and stalked the rest of the way up the mountain, as there were zebras on the high plateau again and again. When we arrived there was no game left. Horst, however, was not discouraged, as there were many hiding places due to the rock formations and bushes. We stalked from bush to bush until we could make out a group of mountain zebras. Among them was a very old mare which already had many injuries and had already strayed a bit. We decided to kill them. The tripod was set up quickly, the reticle stood on the target and the weapon was taut. When the zebra stood wide it made “click” and the whole herd starts to move, from sheer stalking I forgot to fully load and just underloaded, so that the firing pin went to nothing 🙁
The zebras moved to the next tree group and were initially out of sight. Shortly thereafter we could see through the undergrowth that they moved further up the mountain for a short swathe, here we sensed our chance and so we positioned ourselves with a good shot position in the direction of the swath. Closer we saw the zebras running towards the track and then switching over. The zebra we were looking for came back a bit and hoped for a good shot. The zebra went down in a bang. Exhausted from a long day of stalking in the mountains, we now went to the swath. When we approached the zebra, we saw that besides many skin abrasions in the running area, it had a broken foot and other injuries, which also explained the emaciated condition. We had definitely made the right decision, because this zebra must have been in great pain with the injuries, from which we had now released it. After the mountains we drove back to the farm and the owner thanked us very much that we had killed the sick zebra.
In the evening we had a big farewell party and talked about the experiences of the last days. After four days in Namibia the next day we went back to Germany with many new impressions and the firm intention not to have been in Namibia for the last time.