Monday, 16 July 2012

7 July 2012 - Namibia

Yesterday evening after the 'seremony' and great dinner the men stepped aside for an informal meeting. Only one thing was on the agenda, today's hunting safari. We had to decide who, when, where and what. Exciting times.

Oom Piet promised dad he can shoot a kudu if he comes to visit. Dad, in return, allowed me to try and shoot the kudu. It is my first ever attempt and one of the things on my bucket list. Oom Piet suggested that we go by daybreak. We would drive around on the back of the Land Cruiser and see if there was anything within range, but not before attempting some target shooting...

I got up just before 6am Namibian time, nervously excited. We all had coffee together and went outside to learn how to work Oom Piets .308. I was first up with an anxious crowd behind me including Dad, Rolandi, sis Melindri, Oom Dick, Oupa and Oom Piet. The target was set 25 metres aways with 4 crosses on it. When I pulled the trigger a deafening sound silenced everyone. I just saw dust behind the target and thought I shot right over the target. The men walked closer to inspect and I have to admit, I was anxious. I shot about 3cm right of the middle of the cross, not bad, I thought. I told Rolandi that I would not attempt another shot as I was happy with that one. Don't tempt your luck!

After some of the other men also shot at the target we jumped on the Cruiser to start driving around. We did this as it was very cold with the wind blowing. Oom Piet believed that, because of the wind the kudu's would be in the hills. They hide there from the wind. The drive also gave us a chance to see a bit of the farm. We stopped at Kentucky, the old farmhouse to give some feed to the workers there. We also saw some Blesbok very close to the house.

I spotted the first kudu of the day, about 200 metres from us. You could only see the head and I had to stand and shoot without a base to stabilise myself on. Before I could even take a shot it ran off. The guys gave me some flack for not attempting and later in the day I would wish that I did try! We drove around until 10am and then had a brunch back at the house on Tsobaas where we stayed.

Brunch took very long again as any meal results in storytelling and discussions. Very enjoyable, relaxing moments. We left again at about 1pm for our hunting expedition. This time Oom Dick would sit at the 'pos' on Kentucky, while Dad and I would go to a 'pos' on Tzaas. By doing this you would sit on a platform in a tree and wait for the animals to come and drink water. If they get close enough you are able to stabilise yourself and have a clear shot.

Dad and I took 2 bottles of water, some sweets and a lot of biltong and dry wors with us to the post. You have to be extremely quiet and sit still so that you don't scare the animals off. We discussed our strategy and waited. And waited, and waited. Nature was very quiet with just the wind blowing and the sound of the wind pump turning in our ears. Many birds were around so you could listen to every sound. Time was not a factor - true bliss! It felt like we were in paradise!

The first animal we saw was a warthog. Dad spotted it and we followed it with our eyes only. We couldn't afford to move. It drank water from the crip and ran off, I am not sure that it spotted us... A while later we saw another kudu. It was small and about 150m away. It came closer and closer, but was nervious. I was not used to the platform in the tree as it was new. When it was about 50m away it ran off. A pity, I thought, though it was small.

At about 17:00 I saw another kudu. i just indicated to dad, but he could not se it as he was obstructed by a branch. I got into position and fired a shot. My ears were ringing again and I just saw dust and how the kudu ran away. Dad said he could hear that the kudu was shot and that we must go and find it. He also saw it running off. I thought I missed it.

After about 30 minutes of searching we could not establish a trail, not did we see any blood. It was dark now and we undertook to come back in the early morning to find it. The veld was thick and we hoped that it would not get to far from the 'pos'. Oom Thys came to fetch us and we went back to the house on Tsobaas.

It was time for dinner again and the ladies prepared a feast. Kudu-steaks and some vegies with rice. Dinner was accompanied by stories again and we sat there till very late. Oom Dick did not have a shot since no kudu came to the 'pos'. We would go out again tomorrow. I did get a few comments for missing, or almost missing... but the experience was great and we still have tomorrow. Looking forward!

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