#Namibia2017: Day 1
We arrived in Namibia early afternoon and after retrieving our luggage, our driver, Apollo, met us to take us to the Mt. Etjo Safari Lodge. Because May is at the end of the autumn season in Namibia, there is rarely any rain fall. We must have brought with us some of the extra moisture we have been getting in Wyoming, because we followed a huge rainstorm in that cause a dry creek bed to swell with water. After sitting for a few hours waiting for the water to subside, it quickly became apparent that the water wasn’t going anywhere; in fact, it actually began to rain again for a brief time.
We enjoyed the beautiful rainbow as we waited for reinforcements to arrive in the form of a large, 4-wheel drive truck. After attaching a tow rope to our van, we successfully navigated across the stream to drier ground on the other bank. Our first African adventure, and we didn’t even have to swim!
We made it to the lodge as the sun was setting, and we saw several animals in the fading light, including a jackal, a waterbuck, and several giraffes. After we deposited our bags in our beautiful room, we headed up the lift to the observatory, where we met several other Americans who were finishing up their hunt, as well as a couple who had just started a few days before. They shared their stories and gave us some great information, and we were also reunited with Annette and Alex Oelofse, and PHs Rudi and Steve. After visiting for a while, we all headed down for a delicious dinner of blesbuck and kudu. We were all fairly exhausted by then, and with full bellies and the relief of showers washing away the travel grime, we hit the beds and slept like the dead.
We woke up the next morning feeling quite refreshed, and after breakfast, we headed out with our professional hunter(PH)/guide, Steve, and our tracker, James. We didn’t bring any firearms on this trip, so I needed to site in one of the rifles here at the lodge. The Remington 700 in .30-06 with a suppressor was a lot of fun to shoot, with no noticeable recoil. The cruiser is an easy transfer, and I can sit comfortable in the front and shoot by resting the rifle on the front of the truck with a few sandbags for stability.
The reloaded bullets we were using were causing the bolt to stick and not close as smoothly as we would have liked, so while Alex Oelofse worked on the gun, we set out to drive the property and scout for animals. We were definitely not disappointed! Addison and Russ rode in the top of the cruiser, and we saw giraffes, blesbuck, black and blue wildebeest, hippos, warthogs, jackal, impala, springbuck, steenbuck, eland, oryx, ostrich, nyala, waterbuck, zebra, tortoises, and dozens of bird species. It was like a dream, driving around and seeing all of these beautiful animals in their natural habitats.
We headed back to the lodge for lunch, and just as we were finishing up, a huge elephant bull came out to the water hole and entertained us for a while. He was having a lot of fun throwing dirt and spraying water from his trunk, and it was the perfect way to wrap up an unforgettable morning.
We headed back out around 2:00 that afternoon with a perfectly functioning rifle and the anticipation of my first hunt. I have a list of the animals I can pursue, and some of them are much harder to hunt than others. With that in mind, we started by building a ground blind near where we had seen some gemsbok. We wanted it ready in case we couldn’t find one in the open, and as soon as we finished the blind and headed out, of course, we find a nice gemsbok bull. He thought about standing still for a split second, and then his flight mode kicked in and he took off. As we continued driving, we saw kudu, eland, and zebra, but nothing either mature enough to shoot or in the right position long enough for a shot. As we headed back to the lodge, we discussed the plan for Day 2, as well as taxidermy options with full confidence that the next day would bring a successful hunt. A gorgeous sunset painted the sky in pinks and oranges, and we ate a delicious dinner of giraffe and eland under a full moon. Day 1 was amazing- can’t wait to see what’s in store for us tomorrow!