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Diary of an African Safari: Day 1

By Skip Berry

I got to Namibia on March 18 and had the joy of hunting for 10 days there. I hunted with Nimrod Safaris and they took care of every detail. I can tell you that I never even changed $1 to the local currency (can't even tell you what it was?) since my package price included EVERYTHING from moment I landed in Namibia to the moment I got back on the plane for home. 

Safari Camp, Africa
Safari Camp

I landed at about noon, got my rifle and cleared customs, then Pieter Stoffberg of Nimrod drove me to a ranch about an hour east of the capital city of Windhoek. The ranch was about 20,000 acres and we went out that afternoon, verified that my scope was zeroed on my .300 WBY, then went for a drive around the ranch where Pieter showed me some of the large variety of game to be hunted. It was incredible for me to see Gemsbok, Hartebeest, Kudu cows, Warthog, Impala and Springbok on that first afternoon....I could hardly wait to get down to some serious hunting! The next day we went out for real. We would drive to places on the ranch, glass and spot game, then try to stalk for a shot. We made several stalks on Kudu and Hartebeest in the morning without getting a shot...these animals are very spooky and it is NOT like shooting fish in a barrel, believe me...they were as spooky as whitetail deer, but with better eyesight. 

Late in the afternoon, we spotted a Hartebeest bull that Pieter was sure would be high in the record book and took off on a stalk. As we were moving into range, we spooked a group of Gemsbok that we didn't know where there as we were sneaking through the thick bush...they ran off and took the Hartebeest with them, much to our dismay. We had been seeing lots of sign and the area looked like a great place to jump something, so we maneuvered to get the wind in our favor, then snuck along a dry creek bed, peering up over the top every few yards to see what we could see.. We were startled when a Kudu bull "barked", the sound they make when alarmed like when a whitetail "snorts" was LOUD and CLOSE but we never saw him in the thick bush, but could hear him take off.

We continued circling, heading back in the direction of the hunting car, when I spotted an animal resting in the shade under a tree only 40 yards to our side, facing away from us and not aware of us yet. I knew it was a Hartebeest and could have shot him as he laid there, but did not have enough experience to know if it was a good one worth shooting or not, so I started to whisper to Pieter who was leading our stalk ahead of me.

Before I could say anything, the Hartebeest had seen, heard, or smelled us, I don't know which, but he jumped up and ran off quartering away from us through the bushes and trees. Pieter took one look and yelled "shoot", but we was gone, blocked by the trees and shrubs....Pieter yelled for me to move around a large bush where there was a clear lane for a couple of hundred yards. Pieter yelled "He will stop and take a look at us to see what spooked him!" Almost on cue, the Hartebeest appeared in the lane about 130 yards away, but he stopped and was facing right back at me, trying to see us. I normally wouldn't like the shot, standing without a rest shooting offhand at an animal facing me, for the sight picture somehow was rock solid as I looked at him in the scope, so I put the cross hairs at the base of his neck where it joined his chest and the .300 WBY roared... 
I lost the sight picture as the recoil shoved me up and back, but when I recovered from the recoil, there was nothing running and Pieter told me he had heard a solid hit, even though he never saw the Hartebeest. We took off walking down the narrow clearing and just as I was sure that we had must have walked to far, there was my first trophy in Namibia!!! The shot hit him right square in the front of the chest and the 180 grain Nosler Partition did what I have come to expect...delivered massive shock and penetrated to the hindquarter of the 350 lb. Hartebeest. It was a great stalk, good shot, and a perfect end to my first day of hunting in Namibia... Next I will tell you about day two and hunting mountain Zebra on horseback. 


Day 1 - 2, 3, 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8


Contact Skip Berry at Skip Berry Outdoors or call him at (616)813-3645

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