Hunting in Africa - 2009 Expeditions
In 2004, when I was still the young and agile type, I ventured into a sector of South African hunting that I had never before experienced, one that completely blew away my perceptions of this country being a ranch and fenced property destination, one that likened it to hunting in the classical sense. I found myself and a few hardy clients in a wilderness setting like no other I had experienced before, not only the surrounding desert wilderness but also the game that survived here in their indigenous habitat.
The area in question was a large tract of reclaimed land which originally belonged to a group of people called the MIER, essentially modern day Bushmen. Around 80,000 acres of unhindered and undeveloped land lay next to South Africa's largest reserve, the Kalahari Gemsbok National park (as it was known then) and in the minds of all who knew of the Mier one thing stood out - The Kalahari Desert in its true form - great rolling dunes studded with ancient twisted Camelthorn trees and of course the game: the Gemsbok or Oryx and the hardy Springbok. This section of land lay in its pristine state and had been part of the greater reserve so was home to herds of Gemsbok, Springbok, Cape Eland, Steenbok, foxes and gray cats in great numbers. Seeing a herd of 100 Gemsbok top out across a dune in single file is a rare sight in most of South Africa today so this to me was a proper hunting situation.
For those who joined me there I'm told it remains one of their most memorable hunts and certainly was one of mine, perhaps due to the unique terrain, something which I had never experienced before in such great open expanses. However it was also in the style and manner that we approached this hunt that made the lasting impression. We camped out beneath the stars each night, going to sleep next to an open fire, we cooked off the coals, fresh Springbok fillets and Gemsbok steaks, we made Biltong (jerky) and skinned our own trophies - in essence it was a hunt much like one would experience in the mountains of Colorado where you looked after yourself with very little else at hand.
It got me thinking about the styles of hunting that we offer these days and how, by the very requirements imposed upon us from both government and within the industry, we tend to provide too much comfort and luxury, so the end result makes our safaris more expensive. You see there are certain limits that Safari Operators in Africa have to exceed to be able to operate and these include things like building and stocking a camp and keeping a minimum number of staff employed at all times. Some build their camps on the bare minimums while others take it to new heights. For example, some of the camps I have hunted out of in Zambia do not even come close to what you're paying for yet clients have to accept that with excuses like you better shoot straight or else there's no meat for camp! Others have gone overboard with noisy generators, ice making machines, outlets for hair dryers and fancy imported wooden chalets for their top clients. All this adds cost and in my mind is one of the reasons our prime hunts are so expensive - there's too much bling involved.
Really, what do you need for a successful hunt, be it on a game ranch or out in the Zambian wilderness. Does an ice cream machine make you appreciate your Buffalo bull more? or does a fancy dining area with thousands of sauce and condiment bottles and an icebox mean you're going to be allot more successful than say those who trek out into the bush with a stick of Biltong in their pocket and rifle in hand?
What are the essentials of a good hunt? To me it remains the experience above all else while the success of a trophy animal is the cherry on top (and meat for the camp table). Some of the most memorable hunts for me have always been when you work that little bit harder, endure a tiny bit of discomfort but end up with a great memory that you actively participated in. The bigger trophies are the ones that require hard work, you need to get into that hard to reach place where a land cruiser won't take you!
What I've come up with is a hunt for Sitatunga in Zambia over 14 days that will be considered an expedition style safari. I cannot get away from the higher government fees so I'll give you more value and a better hunting experience to make up for it.
The total trip is over 14 days from start to finish with 10 full hunting days in the Bangweulu swamps for trophy Sitatunga. Recently one of the traditional hunting areas in the Bangweulu was closed BUT the positive from this is that new areas are there for exploring and opening up as the swamp fringes cover a massive territory and most of them are unhunted.
The 14 day trip involves arriving in Lusaka and then driving out to the Bangweulu swamps after stocking up on supplies and provisions. Once here we set up a rudimentary camp from which we hunt and explore the new region for Sitatunga sign and habitation. If they are present we build blinds and then wait for them in the mornings and evenings. If there is no sign, we move on along the swamp edges until we do find them. This hunt requires clients to participate and is based upon a mobile camp structure. We provide the tents and bedding, meals and yes, even a hot bath or shower, but the rest it pretty rough so you need to be prepared for this.
If you're interested in a hunt of this type then contact me for further details: prices are without a doubt the best you'll ever see for Sitatunga not only in Zambia but across the continent and will only be available this year for August thru October. Other species are available - the Bangweulu favorites are Black Lechwe, Tsessebe, Oribi and common Reedbuck. Additional species are available on a game ranch near Lusaka AND a side trip for Kafue Lechwe is also an option.
If you've been in the market for a good Sitatunga then you need to consider this hunt, it will not get any better than this.
I also have some well priced leopard and lion hunts available for Zambia - CHECK THEM OUT HERE
You can also elect to add on Buffalo in the Luangwa Valley and Sable at a game ranch!
Zambia's best deal for Sitatunga in 2009
We can't make a difference to high government fees so we have added MORE VALUE to our Sitatunga hunts for 2009 - bad economy means you get more!
For 2009 I have located a new sector of the Bangweulu swamps which has been un hunted for a number of years and our plan is to open up this area with our Sitatunga Expeditions.
In line with our philosophy on the true way to hunt this elusive antelope, we structure this 'expedition style' safari over 14 days with very little extra costs to you - However this is a rough trip with nights out on the open plains and in the swamps after big bulls and days spent scouting new areas and building blinds and muschanes, eating from the fire and helping out. We drive you in and out so no expensive charter fees.
Price for a 14 day trip is:
1x1 Safari Sitatunga = $12,800
2x1 Sitatunga Safari = $9,800
Dates: from August thru October 2009