A Trip to Namibia: Full English Version
Prior to the trip.
And so, it was time for another trip to Africa! We had spent two weeks in Tanzania in 2011, a sun- and safaritrip. The trip was amazing but was also stained by the littering and the culture of bribery. But as the saying goes, if one has been to Africa once, you want to go again! It’s true. The family consists of me, Lennart, my wife Annika and our sons Björn and Oskar. We decided that if we went back to Africa, the hunt and the experience of nature should be prioritized! But where to go? Africa is a huge continent and the hunting-offers are infinite. Before the decision I read a lot and listened to many. We wanted an ethical hunt and the experience itself was high up on the wishlist. Namibia has established a great reputation as a hunting-destination and of course it was in the back of our heads. But one does not go to Africa every year, we had to be thorough. From a acquaintance, we got a tip about William Safaris. They had a great reputation and we contacted them. It felt amazing right from the start! The service made us feel happy, and safe enough to put the itinerary in the hands of Ewa and William Safaris. She recommended a place just south of Etosha National Park – Game Ranch Transvaal and the Heimstädt-family.
We didn’t know so much about the country before our trip – but it’s double the size of Sweden and with 2.5 million inhabitants. In other words, quite sparsely populated! The capital, Windhoek, only had 380 000 inhabitants. The country was earlier ruled by the Portuguese and the Germans, and after WWII, South Africa. Namibia became independent in 1990, so the nation is very young.
Upon arrival in Namibia, we were greeted and picked up from the airport by Fanie Heimstedt. He is a person who it is hard not to like! The great advantage of flying to Namibia from Sweden was the fact that we did not get any jetlag. One does not have to endure any change of time zones and after a ten-hour night flight it felt nice to meet Fanie in the arrival hall. Now, we had almost five hours drive ahead of us.The trip included a couple of short stops, lunch at a crocodile farm. Some of the family members had crocodile for lunch, others had antelope. The trip to the farm went smoothly and gave us the opportunity to get to know Fanie – who was going to be our host for the week. The ranch consists of 10 000 hectare, and combines hunting and animal husbandry. There’s mostly savanna bush, but also some savanna and some grazing-landscape with a few trees very close to the farm.
Upon arrival were we checked-in into our double room. It had a great standard and comfortable beds. The facility also had a pool and a jacuzzi, which we used often after the hunts. Obviously, we also received a lighter welcome drink and a guided tour. Before the day was over, we also tried out our loaned weapons. We had been advised not to bring our own weapons since it could be problematic depending on the choice of airline companies. After this, we took a short trip out on the hunting grounds – and we already saw the signs of the wildlife. We were really looking forward to the next morning when the adventure would begin. The sons had a ’’hunting trip-package’’ which is called ’’Introduction to Africa’’. This package included a Blesbok, Oryx and a Springbok – but one could also complement the list if desired. Personally, I had decided to get an Oryx and during the rest of the trip I would only shoot with my camera.
The evening was concluded with an amazing dinner. During the entire trip, the dinners were enjoyed together with Fanie’s family and with the Swedish flag swaying in the roof. We felt utterly welcomed! Fannie had also promised to treat us with puffades (more commonly known as boerewors). It was a kind of sausage with meat from the Oryx. Fanie and Oskar made it from scratch and later cooked it over open fire – the taste was sublime.
Hunting day 1.
The day started with breakfast at 7.00 a.m, the sun was rising and we saw a huge herd of antelopes right outside our window. The wife and I ware placed right by a waterhole with our cameras – ready and exited! The towers and hide-outs were comfortable. Fannie brought the sons on a stalking. The terrain mostly consists of low trees and shrubs, very rarely there’s a shooting-range that’s over 100 meters. By the waterhole, we saw many animals – Kudu, Jackals, Warthogs, Black wildebeest and Red heartebeest and some birds. The hours past very quickly. When we were picked up for lunch, we were vey exited – earlier we had heard some shoots, did anyone get anything? Of course! Oskar had gotten a very nice Blesbok and Björn an Oryx – both medalists. The hunt continued in the afternoon and then we decided to join our sons and Fanie. Oskar shot an Oryx.
On the farm, the animals are helicopter-inspected every two years. There’s mainly antelopes of various kinds – Oryx, Springbok and Blesbok are the main game. But there’s also a great population of Eland, Kudu, Impala, Zebras, Waterbuck, Red hartebeest, Blue- and Black wildebeest, Lechwe, Giraffe and Cheetah.
Hunting day 2.
The day started of in the same way as the day before. I, Lennart, also joined Björn and Fanie out on the fields. It was very exiting to walk around the property and see the amazing wildlife. But it was also very informative since I got to understand how hard it sometimes is to actually take the shoot. Oskar was later placed by a waterhole with another guide and my wife. Here, he was able to take down a huge Warthog.
The handling of the meat on the ranch was outstanding. I am too in the meat- and hunting business and the care of the meat is important. But here, it was all we could wish for. The ranch had a good slaughterhouse and almost no antibiotics were used on the cattle. It was only used on the advice of a veterinarian and with waiting periods. The cattle are out on the grounds all year and the meat had a great standard.
When we visited Namibia it was Midsummer in Sweden. But here, it was winter. Namibian winters results in about 25 degrees during the day and 0-7 degrees during the night. The sun felt like a Swedish day in August and the need for sun-screen was sparsely needed. The rain was expected in January-March and during the rest of the year – it’s all sunny! The country was also amazingly clean. Along the roads, ee did not see any trash or littering at all.
Hunting day 3.
Today, it was Midsummer in Sweden and it was my turn to get an Oryx. However, the day started of with a marvelous Springbuck for Oskar. I was really keen on getting a trophy on my wall so I didn’t mind whether I got a male or a female Oryx. The difference is that female has longer, but thinner, horns. After stalking for a couple of hours, during which we had seen amazing Elands and Kudus, we finally found a couple of Oryxes. One was laying down but looked like a female with exceptionally long horns. Fanie recommended me to shoot it, and so I did after getting in position. When we walked up to the fallen Oryx, we saw that the horns were too rough for a female. It was a male and the trophy was a golden medal – a memory for life.
During the rest of the day, we just enjoyed life and the wife took many pictures. There was almost no bugs and we didn’t even have to use bug-spray. We were never stung and malaria does not exist in the area. Since it was Midsummer’s Eve, we enjoyed some time in the jacuzzi with a Gin & Tonic before dinner. We didn’t mind not having any herring.
Hunting day 4.
During the forth day, Björn got his Blesbok – a medalist as well! The standard on our trophies were just amazing – but also the wildlife overall. We continued to take a lot of pictures and we never grew tired of the nature surrounding us. The hunting-interest is great within the family, everyone except my wife is hunting. However, she loves photography.
When traveling around in Namibia, we also noticed how developed the road network was. The standard was great and we could notice that they had been constructed during the German period. They were straight as arrows but the landscape around them were magical – wild animals everywhere! The overall service at the ranch was amazing as well – especially the laundry service. If we needed something cleaned, it was folded and ironed in the evening. In retrospect, we could have managed with only hand luggage on the trip. All of the food was also excellent – breakfast, lunch and dinner. We got to try some of the meat from the cattle on the farm, but also a lot of game meat.
Taking the day off, day 5.
When in Namibia, we also had to visit the famous national park of Etosha! During our fifth day we went there. The national park is 2.5 million hectares – incredible! It was Fanie himself who took us there and he became our guide during the day. The evening before, we had been talking about our trip to Etosha. I had been joking about my two wishes – seeing Lions and Rhinoceroses. In return, I just got a smile from Fanie. These two wishes were not the easiest.
When we got to Etosha, it was all we had expected. Dry, dusty and full of animals. But did my wish come true? YES! Almost the second we came to the park we got to see a black rhinoceros. We also saw many elephants and a great lion within camera shooting-range. When we left we were more than pleased with our visit!
Hunting day 6.
The last hunting day and teethe before the travel home. Would Björn get his Springbok? The clock was ticking and the time was running out. But he got his chance during the afternoon-hunt and got the game – the happiness was complete! The only thing remaining was an pleasant evening by the waterholes. Camera-shots or real shots on Jackals were allowed. By our waterhole, Björn and I only saw a Warthog. However, when picking up my wife and Oskar we were surprised. They was utterly exited, why? Right before sunset, they had heard something in the bushes behind the tower. When looking they saw a Cheetah. A truly amazing experience!
The last day.
The trip had come to an end, and it was time for the return home. We took another route than the one we first arrived with. It’s always nice with some variety and we stopped for lunch and shopping. I was still amazed by the clean streets and roads. When we got to Windhoek, I just had to ask Fanie what temperature it was. There was people walking around in leather jackets, hats and boots. he laughed and answered that it was 23 degrees and sun, but that we should remember that this was times of winter.