Jofie Lamprecht’s Safari Journal
22 May 2013
In a fathers eyes
21 May 2013
As the sun sets, another rises
Report about Game Guard
Report from the field 14 May 2013
There is a good friend of mine that I would like to introduce the hunting and archery world to. I am not an archer, but a hunter, passionate about the outdoors and its wildlife. Preserving the wilds of Africa and the world one young person and animal at a time. We are in such a flux of a total anti-hunting culture right now… we need to promote every avenue we have. If one day we are only remembered as relics in museums. Our images remembered as the ‘cruel ones’ that slaughtered for fun. We would have lost. We need to stand together, pulling every young and willing person with us into the passion. The passion that is real. The passion that is in our nature. In our biology. In the premise of how our specie survived and evolved the millennia.
To the World of those that understand. Please meet Jack Engel. Archery athlete, aspiring Olympian in 2020. Passionate hunter, outdoorsman, strong Christian, and an all around cool dude!
At 14 (yes fourteen) he is promoting hunting and the sport of archery to our youth. An example of what will keep hunting and the simple pleasure of being outdoors alive. Our passion. The savior of African wildlife.
You can find and like his Facebook page by simply clicking on the following link: http://www.facebook.com/JackEngelArchery?ref=hl
Report from the field 13 May 2013
We have stared into it for thousands of years and more. Not being able to change the channel yet every night there is a new story. Staring into the embers of glowing wonder many topics have been discussed, several drinks consumed and a lot of comfortable silences passed… Even alone. The hypnotic attraction of its flames, the smell and the utility of this primal discovery so outdated yet psychologically soothing.
Report from the field 5 May 2013
Reflecting on my travels end 2012 and 2013:
As I walk through an airport I know so well, DFW is alive. Where is everyone going? More important, how many of these busy souls get to experience the beauty of sunrise every day. To walk amongst herds of Elephants. To sit around a camp fire and remanis about the good old days.
Report from the field 25 April 2013
It feels good to have the glow from hunting in the sun for the last few days. Success was achieved with the George’s three desired trophies in the salt – Damara Dik-Dik, Hartmann Zebra and Kalahari Springbuck. The first two are endemic to just Namibia and are specialist species hunted by many collectors. The third in the trio of endemics is the Black-faced Impala. A striking cousin of its more plan Southern and Eastern cousin.
Now I come to ask myself. Is there a difference between hunting and killing an Elephant or a Dik-Dik and all the species in between. Is harvesting a plentiful species like an Oryx or a Kudu any more justifiable? What indeed is the difference between eating the flesh of these beautiful creatures morally and ethically? Why is it such a sensitive subject to bring up the hunting of spotted cats in a public eye?
In my opinion Ladies and Gentlemen is that there is no difference. If the numbers of a specie are such that they can be sustainably hunted without a negative and permenant effect on said specie – why not let willing hunters hunt them? The positive influence that hunters dollars have in and around the wilds of Africa must not be underestimated.
If hunting is lost, so will the lives of millions of wild creatures. Lets not recreate what happened in Kenya as from the Elephant ban in 1964 and an all out ban in 1968.
Ladies and Gentlemen – a decrease in Elephant from 170,000 to 20,000… Case and point.
Botswana at the end of 2013 has an estimated 170,000 Elephant.
How many will be left in three decades it took to kill off Kenya’s pachyderms?
Report from the field – 24 April 2013
I sit here admiring a one I raised and trained for a year. He is no longer mine.
Spat in the eye three times by Zebra Snake, blind in an eye, shot twice and almost killed by a fence once. It is a miracle for him to still be alive. He has more war stories than a battle pony.
Sadness at this loss is overwhelmed by the amazing adaptation of this amazing creature. The day his new daddy fetched him he jumped in his truck and went to sleep with him head on his lap.
“Buddy” is his affectionate name. Impy – the name for warrior or warriors in the battle tribe of the Zulu – aptly named before his character was known.
Report from the field – 19 April 2013 – Heym Invitational Shoot
Like a child awaiting a gift, it has long since been exciting for me to get a new ‘toy’. As we zipped along the narrow roads towards Gleichamberg, with rolling hills and stands of forest with every mile my excitement grew.
Between Safaris I have flown to Germany on the invitation of HEYM to attend their annual shoot and open house to show what these wonderful craftsmen can do. Making handmade rifles from scratch.
My anticipation to receive my new .500 3″ NE made by these masters is selfishly the real reason I am here… Since 1865 they have been making some of the finest German rifles with elegant lines and marvelous engineering.
In all seriousness, I am not here just to get my new rifle, but mingle with others who have the same belief that HEYM is in a class of its own.
You need to understand, my so called ‘toy’ will be preserving my life and those around me when I am in the field. Life and death with be differentiated by this tool of my trade and with one small mistake on my part or that of my hammer – injury or death will be certain.
Speaking German fluently is an obvious advantage to being deep in Germany. I look forward to shooting, sharing and enjoying a few drinks with like minded enthusiasts.
Below how well my double regulates at 50 yards:
Report from the field – 9 and 10 April 2013 by Jofie Lamprecht
The ‘Over qualified’ problem Elephant hunt
“Mahango” – this is a drought resistant sorghum grown by the local people in the Kavango region because there is not enough rain for corn (maize). This is like opening a 24 hour fast food joint down the road from a campus of students and expecting them to stay away…
The ‘Camel thorn’ tree was incorrectly translated from Afrikaans to English. In that language a “Camel” is a Camel, occurring historically only in the Middle East. A Giraffe in Afrikaans is a “Camel-perd” or directly translated a Camel-horse. This iconic silloute African tree should correctly be called a Giraffe-thorn. A lot more fitting since it is the diet of choice for its namesake. In April this tree is filled with seed pods. A beautiful decoration, covered in grey velvet it is also highly nutritious. 12% protein. Large and small feed on it – Elephant and Kudu specifically. This trees seeds cannot germinate if it has not passed through the digestive tract of a ruminant. This also causes the seeds to be widely distributed especially in the case of Elephant and rutting Kudu at this time of year.
4 April 2013
Today I started packing for my first elephant hunt of the season. Some elephants are wreaking havoc in the villages in northwestern Namibia and I have been tasked with helping the local people. Late last week a lady was trampled to death in her cropfield. Who—or what—was at fault? Africa is experiencing more human-wildlife conflict, while Namibia is facing the worst drought in more than a decade.
Today I am thankful to the folks at Explorer Satellite Communications, Inc. www.explorersatellite.com for keeping me safe and only a phone call away from help if there is an emergency.
3 April 2013
A look back at a successful 2012 season:
Cancellation. As a safari operator your heart sinks. Life is what it is, but sometimes you find yourself wondering… WHAT!? How are you going to recoup the loss of revenue even with a good deposit that has been forfeited? With just more than two weeks to go before the start of the hunt, will we be able to find a hunter?
Turning to our emailing list, as well as Barbra Crown at the Hunting Report, we set to work. I was on another safari in the Okavango Delta in pursuit of one of the last tuskers to come from there. With only satellite phone connection, appreciation to Explorer Satellite Communications, thankfully the tag was quickly sold.
Back home to an explosion of beloved Jack Russell terrorists, I quickly started responding to the email confirming the receipt of funds. A shocking response was received. “Do you have a second trophy Elephant for me?” After the relief of being able to sell the first, I almost fell off my office chair. Well, this is a great problem to have. No more Elephant in that concession, but I put my ear to the ground. A second Elephant was found north of the first area. The hunt for Two Giants was on.
Report from the field 23 September 2012
We are bouncing down the road in Namibia’s Bushmanland. Sun is scorching in the early afternoon. “Burn season” is underway. As P.H.’s in Namibia, we are not allowed to set fires. Fires come anyhow.
When I last wrote the story, which is coming soon – “Tragedy in the Delta” – I was sitting on a log in Botswana’s Delta contemplating the honor in sending a client home without ‘the’ trophy he was looking for, rather than sending him home with simply ‘a’ trophy. Is it honorable? I think so. In a world driven by success, on ever increasing time pressure, I ask you to take pause and think about this. What is success? What is ethical? Is it realistic to set goals based on trophy size, or is it the experience that is paramount?
We have a tall order for this safari. We have fourteen days to secure two trophy Elephant bulls. In my opinion, the client’s attitude is a good one. “Let’s see what we can find, do our best, and then measure our luck”. This is truly a marvelous and rare attitude.
We have two bulls in two separate areas. First south, and then north of Khaudum National Park in Namibia. The first area has produced two hundred pounders in the last eight years. The second certainly has the potential to produce good Elephant.
As I get time during our busy, hot and sweaty days, and after miles on the ivory trail, I will update you on our progress. The three giggling Bushmen trackers and I send our regards, as always, from the field.
Report from the field 24 September 2012
Today we looked at more cracks than one would at a podiatrists convention. Size of feet, width of cracks and the look of the track as a whole. Salt stains my shirt with untold miles comfortably walked in my Russell Thula Thula’s is with my double over the shoulder.
It is truly great to be back in the bush in pursuit of my favorite prey – Elephant.
As the sun dips below the orange and violet horizon, we think of tomorrow’s challenge to bag a big Bushman land Tusker!
Report from the field 25 September 2012
I find myself sitting in a favorite place for anyone on safari, next to the warm fire in the glow of early morning. The smell of percolator coffee excites my olfactory sense as the cook pours steaming water over strong German grounds.
At the first pan, we discover four bulls’ tracks that are disappointingly too small. A Bushman tracker suddenly veers off. Nose down, ‘tail up’. This is a big bull. The incoming track looks good, but it has Hyena and Roan on top of it and it seems weather worn. The gentle little man explains with hooked hand that this is the same bull. “He walked into water, drank, bathed and then with mud filled cracks walked out.” Amazing…
With our gear on, off we go…. spotting a track going straight down the Elephant path for a good long while. As the gear settles in, the walk rhythm develops and my double is on my favored shoulder spot.
The tracks veer lazily off the path, and with that the pace slowed. An amazing wave of damp earth and acidic mushroom aroma engulfs us. A few paces further, we happen upon a strange onion with a flower atop it. With their cracked feet, they pushed open the earth to expose these seasonal delicacies. The entire area was made a mess by these earthmoving beasts.
As our quarry slows, our pace increases. Miles melt behind us. The Bushmen are in ‘Wild Dog style’ and silently with small hand gestures they track in relay. Anticipation is in the air as we advance. Surely our quarry is sleeping already. The September sun starts frying our brains and heat radiates through our boots. The track changes direction peculiarly…and our pace slows. Round and oval feet lead us into dense bush. They must be close. The sweet scent of pachyderm in our nostrils is simultaneous with a loud plopping release of gas from a nearby bush. We come to a full stop. Ash bottle instantly out, lead wood ash drifts in the desired direction. We instantly know that there are two bulls near. What are they carrying?
Slowly and silently we make our way closer. The air tensely quiets, when a sound loudens as we approach. We once again come to a full stop. It takes a few seconds to register. Snoring. The bush is thick, but not impenetrable. We go closer. These are the biggest-bodied Elephants in the world. Where could they be hiding? My steamed foot freezes in midair as I look down a long piece of white-gold, elegantly curved before me. 20 yards away, the ivory is pointing away from us. This giant bull, lying on his side like a dog, is snoring happily. If his head is at that distance, his tail is very close…
We inspect his ivory. It is long, holding its weight and is good and thick at the lip. The bull’s head is GIANT…. The trunk thick between his tusks…
His young Askari gets up from scant shade, patiently waiting for his mentor to rise. They must find better shade before the sun gets higher. After some time, the giant bull rises. He stiffly gets to his feet, and keeps rising to a colossal height before us. We have all stopped breathing. Before us stands a bull of bulls, out-weighing other mature African bulls by several tons.
There is no shot from where we are. We withdraw and wait. Rifles are checked and on “safe”. Watching the noonday wind starting to swirl, we wait for the pair to make their move. The Askari disappears. Lazily on his heels, the old Man follows. We scan the treetops and see a towering Camel Thorn tree freshly sprouted with tiny leaves that will provide plenty of shade. Not going on the tracks, but following logical instinct, we advance to the tree.
‘Our’ bull has dominated the best shade; while his apprentice has again lain down to sleep the heat of the day away. We sneak closer, gently placing our feet on open patches of sand around crunchy leaf and brittle branch. As we draw closer, I silently cock my Krieghoff .470 double, holding it in my left hand, and grab the client’s shirt with the other. We peek around the dense bush and at 17 yards we are ready for action. With his forehead resting against the tree, he has resumed his slumber. His head is exposed for a side-on shot.
We step out into a clear shooting lane, and Chris raises his Szecsei & Fuchs of Innsbruck .416 Rem. repeating double to his shoulder. The silence is broken and the old Gentleman throws his head up, back stumps while folding beneath him as his giant head comes to a rest against the tree. His slumber was never disturbed. We advance quickly, with a safety shot placed on his shoulder.
Our goal achieved, rifles are cleared, and we all fall into a reflective silence at what lies heaped and humbled before us.
Report from the field 26 September 2012
We arrive back at the sight of the previous days’ events. As the trackers and local community cut the last piece of the road in, I go and spend a few last moments.
He is magnificent. A field measurement of his ivory indicates the total tusk length to be over 70 inches. 16.8 inches circumferences at the lip. The best news of all, this Elephant is on his M6 molar. The last of six sets grown through his life. A one-inch piece of his M5 molar stubbornly holds on. His age is estimated 49. Born in approximately 1962.
|Chris’ first Elephant dimensions|
|Right out the lip||39.5|
|Left out the lip||42.5|
|Right inside the lip||29|
|Left inside the lip||29|
|Right total length||68.5|
|Left total length||71.5|
|Trunk||Circumference of trunk above tip||16.5|
|Feet||Front foot diameter||20|
|Hind foot diameter||23 ¾|
|Age||Estimated age in years||49|
As the Bushmen descend on the body, excitement is in the air with all this meat that is at their disposal. It is important to know that without trophy hunting many of these areas with marginal amounts of game could not make any money. Getting better and better areas spoil photographic tourism and hunting is left with less and less.
Fires are immediately made. The first pieces of meat are thrown straight into the coals. The Bushmen fish out this meat with a stick after several minutes and carve the meat in slices with relish. With weeks passing to only wonder about how wonderful meat would taste, huge amounts are tonight consumed at first sight. It has been this way for millennia. The meat, cut from the bone in the field, is loaded to the brim on three pickups. An estimated 7000 pounds of meat is being delivered to the surrounding community. This is just about their only source of protein. Hunting makes up more than 65% of this communities’ total income annually in this area.
As we pull away from this now gruesome sight, there is only a skeleton, a few pieces of skin and stomach contents remaining for the Hyenas to enjoy. Parties will go through the night, consisting of celebratory singing, dancing and eating of meat. There will be a few sore heads in the morning… And even more sore bellies…
Report from the field 27 and 28 September 2012
Today we leave the camp south of Khaudum and must travel through the park to its northern boundary. We have another trophy Elephant to hunt.
It is windy, and HOT. 102 Fahrenheit at 17:00… We did not see much in the park, but it is beautiful. As the hours slipped by, the habitat changes, trees are taller and it is greener. The sand is thick, and going is slow. Khaudum is the last unhunted park still to have many undiscovered 100-pounders in its protection. Will it ever be hunted???
We arrive at our camp North of Khaudum. It is spectacular. Modern yet classic tented camp proving for every whim – but not over the top. The habitat is much different to just two hundred miles away – more like the Caprivi. As the Eagle flies, we are only 50 miles from the Okavango River.
Our first day of hunting proves game-rich. We happened upon Roan Antelope, Impala, Kudu, Giraffe, Ostrich and tracks of Elephant littered the roads. A solitary young Leopard patrolling, imprinted the trail we paced upon.
The mood is relaxed. One Elephant in the salt already! It is often the relaxed hunter that is rewarded. It is often those with no “requirements” or goals other than to have fun, that attain the most success.
Report from the field 29 and 30 September 2012
As the prevailing wind shift from its normal East to South, the temperatures become very pleasant. At night one’s comforter is welcome and early in the morning a light jacket is needed to break the crisp air.
I wake at night to the sound of Wild Dogs yapping as they stride past my tent. The full moon, bathes the Savannah, which surrounds the tent in an eerie silver light. It is light enough to hunt… and the painted Dogs of Africa are doing just that.
We wake in the glow of pre-dawn. The Cruiser groans its way down the soft two track. Warm breakfast is macerating within our satisfied bellies. Jackets wrapped tight to keep out the cold.
A hand signal from the trackers brings us to a halt. On inspection, four bulls – three young, and one with widely cracked feet. Our interests piqued, where have they gone? We cut ahead. The border of Khaudum National Park now is only a mile distant away. We want to see if we can avoid despair if the tracks lead into the park, out of our legal reach. A simple two track signifies the border. After several miles, we are about to turn and take up the initial tracks, when a hand signal again stops us. Are the bulls leaving? No. Another group of five bulls are leaving the relative safety of the park. Let’s go! Water packed, rifles loaded, let’s go see. Two of the tracks are gigantic. Two of my size 11.5 Russell’s easily fit into the oval hind foot of both bulls. Fast march. The first spherical deposits are not warm, but hot! We are just behind these long striders. At a steady pace, these paciderms can stride at 8.1 miles per hour. We Homo Sapiens can walk a mere 4.3 miles an hour. Our advantage is when our quarry stops in the midday heat. “Only mad dogs and Englishmen should be out in this heat”. As Elephant hunters, miles begin to fade behind us. It is the quest for great tuskers’ which drives us to the brink of insanity and back…
One of our trackers, “Lang Man” (meaning ‘tall man’ in Afrikaans) stops. All are relieved. With his giraffe-like legs, he has set an intense pace following round an oval spoor as he goes. In the direction of his outstretched finger, he points; “Elephant!” We see four. One is in the shadow of the tree line to our left. After dismissing two left, one right, the bull in the middle draws our attention.
It’s body is enormous, temples are sunk deep and it’s trunk is thick between yellow and black ivory. A striking true giant! Length is good, but there is something unique about this bull. This ivory sticks out a-symmetrically at odd angles. Something else – the thickness of each side does not correlate. Above the tip of the trunk, these bulls have an average circumference of 16.5 inches. His tusks are thicker. However looking back and forth, something does not make sense…
There is a young bull, a future tusker, with the ancient one. He walks over, picks up his most marvelous pre-hensile nose. 100,000 muscles, making it the most complex organ in the world. To me it is an unknown farewell to his mentor. My body twitches with emotion. A tear forms in my eye. As quickly as it formed it dries with the intense heat of the African midday.
We kill them because we love them.
We want them to survive. Without value these magnificent creatures would be displaced, becoming only scientific binomials in isolated places in Africa, most tragically in zoos…
I once again convince myself that we are doing the right thing.
We cannot approach in the open Savannah without detection. The young bull leaves the old bull’s side in favor of better shade. He is now alone.
We wait for ten minutes, while holding leadwood ash in one hand to check the ever-changing midday breeze. The Elephant bull is quartering at us at 30 yards. Still no shot. Our impatience eventually gets the better of us and we break cover, while heading straight towards him. We slide out from behind limited cover and then…a face-off. Within five paces, his passive expression changes from one of almost asleep to an offensive stance. Head standing tall, ears spread – he looks down his complex trunk at us. At twenty yards, I order Chris to give him his right barrel “just below eye level”. A sharp report erupts.
Head and truck are flung up, while his hind feet collapse for the last time. Mournful emotion is exchanged with adrenaline, as we advance at a speed to administer a futile coup de grace with “the left”…
What did the fifth bull look like? We don’t know. This will remain an eternal mystery. On inspection of his tracks, we conclude that they are bigger than his fallen comrade. The elusive 100pounder…???
The recovery starts.
This Elephant has better ivory than our previous Elephant’s. 66 inches in total length, and 19 inches at the lip. He is old. His tusk nerve should be almost non-existent. His M6 molars are a total of three inches in length and he is close to the end. From his molar wear, we estimate him to be 54-years-old. Born in 1954. Where? Who knows…
|Chris’ second Elephant dimensions|
|Right out the lip||38|
|Left out the lip||37|
|Right inside the lip||29|
|Left inside the lip||29|
|Right total length||67|
|Left total length||66|
|Trunk||Circumference of trunk above tip||16.5|
|Feet||Front foot diameter||23.25|
|Hind foot diameter||25|
|Age||Estimated age in years||54|
Until next time!
1 April 2013
“As I look out at the field in front of my home, washed clean and fresh. One can almost hear the plants growing – relishing moisture.”
Today is April fools and that is no lie. What is not a joke is the drought that Namibia faces in 2013. Many parts of the country have received little to no rain this rainy season. Our rains fall from the end of September through mid April. The last five days has seen mostly overcast and rainy conditions. To most the first respite from the harsh Namibian sun in ten months. Is this too little too late? We are grateful for every drop that cascades from the heavens. This late rain will help a little and we should pray for more.
As I look out at the field in front of my home, washed clean and fresh. One can almost hear the plants growing – relishing moisture.
Europe and the US are seeing one of the coldest winters and springs in recorded history. After Namibia’s decade long abundance of rain it is to be expected for a few years of drought. Many will suffer – man and beast alike. Lean times… unforgiving. A time for cutting back, a time for planning, a time for reflection of how to do better when the pot is full. The pot is empting at a rapid rate.
We can just wait and see what the heavens will provide and hope that this lean time will be short lived.
And the hunting… ? Some of the abundance will be lost. Some species that are not as well adapted to this climatic change will suffer. Even those well adapted… some will die. And the hunting… ? I think it will be as good as ever, harder than ever and wonderful. The wildlife like its humanity will make it through. Our interlaced dependency as evident as ever. We will rely on each other waiting for the heavens to open once more.
How quickly will we forget the hard times? Only time will tell.
26 March 2013
Dear friends who love safari—
We are proud to present our new and updated website, the product of many days in the bush, honing the safari experience and seeking the perfect image. I would like to thank the following people:
Monica Keasler — thank you for your input and finding Jessica.
Jessica Gruber at Buzzworks — WOW and BRAVA. Thank you for creating a website beyond words. Jessica can be contacted at email@example.com or through her own site: buzzworkscreations.com
And now . . . ladies and gentlemen, lovers of Africa who want to push the limits, we are ready for you. Let us plan the safari of your dreams. Quality without compromise!
(And please follow us on Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/jlsfacebook )
See you soon,
Photography by: Jofie Lamprecht