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7 Steps to Bowhunting Success Bowhunt Africa better

Otto Bock’s Cartridge

Do you need more than the 9.3x62 in Africa?


Quail with Attitude

The Best All-round Large Bore Rifle Cartridge Sectional Density and Velocity

Kayak Fishing

What to look for when you buy your first fishing kayak

The Ghosts of Marromeu

The unexplained in Northern Mozambique


Killer of the African night

Hunting Under Water

Spearfishing the elusive white steenbras

Don Juan of Mozambique Secrets of seduction in Africa


a luxury hunt 68 a dive with a Great White Shark 72 www.africanxmag.com


The African Hunting Magazine is now the African Expedition Magazine. In addition to hunting, we will now cover many more aspects of adventure in Africa: scuba diving, fishing, overlanding, climbing and many others. But mainly hunting - and whatever else is fun and dangerous in Africa. Here in Africa, if the game can pay the game can stay. Unlike many of our friends in the USA and Europe, we Africans are concerned with survival. There are a great many of us, and if the game holds no benefit for us, we will eat them and that will be that. It is ecotourism that pays for the survival of animals in our National parks - but it is hunting that foots the bill on the outside. If a farmer can not sell his Impala and Kudu, he will farm with goats. That will be extremely bad news for our indigenous species. It will stop the hunting (not the killing) of animals, but it will also drastically reduce the gene pool in our great Africa and wildlife outside of our national parks will disappear. So, we remain unapologetically convinced that hunting drives conservation in Africa. Many adventure/outdoors magazines do not openly deny it, but most keep quiet - and it is about time that someone laid it on the line. There are some hunters that are unthinking killers, and we do not associate with them. Most hunters want their children’s children to enjoy the wilds like they do, so they hunt wisely. Game farmers are paid for their animals, so they farm wisely and allow hunting only as long as the animal populations on their farms can continue and numbers can grow. That sounds like a winning recipe - and it is. Anyway, those that are so maniacally set against hunting do not bat an eyelid when eating a good steak - a steak that was part of an ox a few days before. Here the same rules govern: the farmers farm beef because it sells. If no one ate steak he would plant wheat instead. Some vegetarians are paranoid about meat (because an animal has been killed) but have no problem wearing leather shoes and belts - and you know where leather comes from. At least we hunters do not use hired assassins (abattoirs) to do our killing for us: we are there when the animal dies - and we appreciate the meat all the more for it. We know it is the way of nature and life: the one dies and nourishes the other. That’s how it has been since Adam. Anyway, if evolution is true, then how could we be blamed for surviving because we are fitter?

Mitch Mitchell

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Publisher Safari Media Africa Financial Thea Mitchell Editors Africa: Mitch Mitchell editorafrica@africanxmag.com USA: Alan Bunn editorusa@africanxmag.com Layout & Design Xtasis Media and Digital Wind Contributors & Photographers K. Botha, C. Cheney, A. Bunn, D. Edgcumbe, G. Geer, Dr. K. Hugo (Medical), C. Hugo, C. Mitchell, T. Mitchell, Dr. G. Swart (Medical) Advertising and Marketing South Africa: T. Mitchell adssa@africanxmag.com Phone +27 13-7125246 Fax 0866104466 USA: Alan Bunn adsusa@africanxmag.com (706) 2762608 African Expedition Magazine is an independent bimonthly publication promoting fair, sustainable hunting, a protected environment, adventure sports and practices. The African Expedition Magazine is published by Safari Media Africa

Disclaimer While all precautions have been taken to ensure the accuracy of advice and information provided, the Proprietor. Publisher, Editor or Writers cannot accept responsibility for any damages, inconvenience or injury whatsoever that may result from incorrect information. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher or its agents. African Expedition Magazine assumes no responsibility to return graphics unsolicited editorial, or other material. All rights in unsolicited editorial, letters, emails, graphics and other material will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and material will be subject to African Expedition Magazine’s unrestricted right to edit and editorial comment. All material and/or editorial in African Expedition is the property of African Expedition and/or the various contributors. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the Publisher.



conten 3


8 7 Steps

to Bowhunting Success

Bowhunt Africa better

18 Otto Bock’s Car-

26 Buttonquail

Quail with Attitude

33 The Best

All-round Large Bore Rifle


Do you need more than the 9.3x62 in Africa?


Sectional Density and Velocity

39 Kayak


What to look for when you buy your first fishing kayak

46 The Ghosts of Marromeu

The unexplained in Northern Mozambique 4 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE September 2008

nts 52


Killer of the African night

58 Trophy Gallery 62  Hunting Under Water

Spearfishing the elusive white steenbras

70 Don Juan of Mozambique

Secrets of seduction in Africa

78 Hunter’s Pot

African Bush Cuisine

81 True North

The Darker Regions of the Soul



Drumbeat Reader’s comments

I emigrated to the USA 2 years ago. When I heard about your magazine, I thought it would just be a little email newsletter. Wow, was I ever wrong. Great magazine, keep it up! K. Brown, Texas. Thanks K, we get that a lot. -Ed.

Great hunting articles. Makes me want to start cleaning my rifle and buy a plane ticket to Africa! J. Green, Canada. Well J, come on down! -Ed.

Thanks for thinking of us lady adventurers as well. Give us more articles on adventure - and ones written by ladies, please. S. Hanson, Sweden We are onto it. -Ed.

Many of us have considered buying property in Africa. Some did it and were very sorry afterwards. Why not do an article on the pros and cons and how to do it right? M. Limsiki, USA. Good idea. I’ll organise something. -Ed.

I must say, reading the magazine in the bathroom on my PDA works. I just copied the .pdf to my Ipaq and voila! Mobile magazine. How about more recipes? K. Hugo, South Africa. You again. How will you cook in the toilet? -Ed.

Can I forward the download link of the magazine to my friends? J. Howe, Singapore. Yes, you can - for now. We are building our subscriber base but soon we will stop allowing downloads by non-subscribers. So forward away! -Ed.

Congratulations on the really exciting new concept for outdoor, hunting and adventure enthusiasts! I loved the amazing photographs and the variety of interesting personal encounters with nature of other lovers of the outdoors. Having started I could not “put it down” (or should I rather say “stop clicking pages”?) I can’t wait for the next issue, and hope to be part of many more adventures of which I can otherwise but dream! I am even warming towards the idea of hunting .. maybe one day. Charlotte, South Africa Thanks, Charlotte. We appreciate it. -Ed.

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7 Steps

to Bowhunting Success


Bowhunt Africa better Life is complex but can be broken down into its more understandable component parts. Hunting is a complex and bewildering subject but can also be better understood when fundamental principles are identified. Bowhunting, especially to the newcomer can be a perplexing maze of unfamiliar terminology which can leave the wide-eyed novice confused and not knowing where to begin. Taking things a step at a time will help unravel some of the mysteries.

Cleve Cheney

quence. Bow setup and tuning as well as correct arrow selection are critical to optimum bow performance and accuracy. If you don’t know how to set up and tune your equipment and to select the right arrows get someone with the know how to teach you.

Seven steps to successful bowhunting are identified: •

STEP 1: Know your equipment.

STEP 2: Know your quarry.

STEP 3: Know yourself.

STEP 4: Know how to get close.

STEP 5: Know when to shoot (and when not to).

STEP 6: Know where to shoot.

STEP 7: Know what to do after the shot.

This, in a nutshell will result in food on the table or a trophy on the wall. Simple! Well in reality, not so simple: because books can and will be written on each one of these steps but if we can identify the core issues contained within each of these steps we will have traveled a long way on the road of understanding necessary to arrive at an intended destination.

STEP 1: Know your equipment


An understanding of animal behaviour and habits and how to read its body language will be one of the links in the chain of successful bowhunting

Before even considering hunting with bow and arrow you must become familiar with your equipment. You should have the right equipment for the animals you intend to hunt and hunt within the limitations of that equipment. If the bowhunter remains within the constraints of modern bow and arrow equipment they make a very effective and lethal combination. Conversely, by stretching the equipment’s capabilities the statistical probability of high wounding rates becomes an unfortunate and unacceptable conseSeptember 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE



water dependent or independent of water? You should carefully study its anatomy so that you know the position of the heart and lungs from different perspectives and know what its tracks and scat look like and other signs of its presence.


Developing tracking and stalking skills are a decided advantage.

STEP 3: Know yourself


Practicing under ideal conditions can result in unrealistic expectations in one’s own ability.

STEP 2: Know your quarry

Many hunters go to great trouble to buy the best of equipment, set it up correctly, tune equipment to perfection and spend hours and hours practicing until they can put six arrows through a keyhole at 30 meters - and forget one of the most important factors on which a successful hunt hinges: knowing their quarry! This means that you should understand the behaviour of the animal you intend hunting, how to read its body language, how it responds to perceived threat or danger, what it is likely to do if wounded, what is its flight distance, where it is most likely to be found, what are its eating habits and daily movements, is it

As with your equipment so with yourself! Know your ability - but more important know your limitations. When do you know when you are ready to hunt with a bow and arrow? Good question, because if you have hunted with a firearm for many years it does not by default qualify you to hunt with archery equipment. Shooting a bow and a rifle have a few similarities but many more differences. It is the responsibility of an ethical sportsman to get to know his equipment intimately and to use it well, before taking on the challenge of hunting - especially with a weapon that is new and unfamiliar. Becoming proficient with archery equipment and the techniques used in bowhunting takes time. More time than it takes with a firearm - simply because the bow and arrow is generally a short range, low velocity weapon when compared to a modern firearm. Many novice bowhunters practice under ideal conditions – level area, known distance, stationary target, no wind and no adrenalin – and determine for themselves a range at which they can consistently place eight out of ten arrows in a 20cm “kill zone” and then think that this is the distance at which they can successfully engage a wild animal under field conditions. This is an incorrect approach.

When stalking choose an appropriate background. On the left the bowhunter has excellent concealment and is “lost” in the background. On the right, despite wearing good camouflage the bowhunter is starkly silhouetted because of an unsuitable background.


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As most hunters are aware, hunting conditions are often far from ideal. There is the heat (or cold), crosswinds, up or downhill shots, targets that don’t want to stand still, sweat in your eyes, a galloping heart rate and adrenaline surging through your veins. So the distance at which you could consistently group your arrows shrinks dramatically in reality and it is this distance – your optimum range – which you must determine and which must establish the range at which you are prepared, with a high probability of success and a low probability of wounding, to risk taking a shot at a live animal. Most individuals overestimate their ability with the bow and arrow. We are capable of success when we shoot within our limitations but can easily miss when we attempt shots beyond our level of proficiency.

Knowing when and when not to shoot is critical to success. In these examples neither shot is on because of obstructions in front of the vitals (top) and because of the risk of a passthrough (bottom)

Research in the USA where there are around two million bowhunters shows that the range at which beginners can shoot with reasonable accuracy under hunting conditions is 8 yards, “average” skilled bowhunters 18 yards and “above average” bowhunters 21 yards. This puts things into a more realistic perspective.

STEP 4: Know how to get close


You should know how to get within optimum bow range without initiating a flight response.

There are significant differences in hunting with bow and arrow as compared to hunting with a firearm. The most significant is that a bow is a short range weapon. When one compares the ballistics of an arrow to that of a bullet there are some glaring differences. Bullets travel at much higher velocity, have a much flatter trajectory and have much more kinetic energy. The implication of this is that the bowhunter must get much closer to his quarry than would be necessary with a firearm. What factors are involved here?

Wind Firstly the bowhunter must be aware of how he will be detected by an animal he is attempting to stalk. The first issue is scent. Animals rely heavily on monitoring their environment by smell. The bottom line is stay downwind of your quarry (or crosswind). When you are upwind your scent will waft towards your intended target which will put dis12 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE September 2008

tance between you and itself in a big hurry.

Sound Sound is a big giveaway. Walk as silently as possible and avoid talking.

Movement Some animals have relatively poor eyesight and some have good vision so things which will make you readily visible should be given attention – movement, shape, silhouette, surface and shine. Wearing appropriate camouflage will make you more difficult to see by dulling shine, breaking outline and making your shape less detectable. When stalking up to game try and picture yourself from the animal’s position and choose an appropriate background which will help you to merge into the background and avoid being silhouetted. Excessive movement is of course a big no- no! Move as little as possible, spend a lot of time in deep shadow where movement is less obvious and when

●● Don’t shoot in poor light. ●● Don’t shoot at moving animals.

Bowhunters are limited to shots at the heart lung area from a side on or quartering away presentation

●● Don’t shoot when other animals are standing in front of or behind the animal you are shooting at ●● Don’t shoot at tense or alert animals. When to shoot ●● The animal is looking away from you ●● The shooting lane is clear of obstructions ●● The animal is within your optimum range (preferably 20m or less) ●● The animal is relaxed ●● The animal is standing still ●● Light must be adequate – there should be enough light for a follow up to search for an animal that has run off or is wounded


●● You must be sure of being able to place an arrow in the vital zone

STEP 6: Know where to shoot

Where should you aim to hit? The fact that arrows have low kinetic energy when compared to bullets begs another question which is how do arrows kill?

you have to move do so slowly.

STEP 5: Know when to shoot (and when not to)


During realistic practice sessions we can determine our optimum range. As far as range goes we can now make an informed decision whether to shoot or not. There are however other criteria which must be taken into consideration which will help us make the final decision whether or not to shoot. When NOT to shoot ●● Don’t shoot if the animal is looking at you. ●● Don’t shoot if there are obstructions in between you and the animal and you cannot see the vitals. ●● Don’t attempt a shot if the animal is more than 25m away. ●● Don’t shoot at an animal with young at foot.

This is a bit of a trick question because arrows can kill in a number of ways but there is only one way which bowhunters should attempt to bring about the relatively quick demise of their quarry and that is through rapid and massive blood loss. A razor-sharp broadhead is of course necessary for this to happen. Arrows can cause the death of an animal by infection. It is slow and involves a lot of suffering. This usually happens if arrows end up in the abdominal cavity of the quarry and is something all ethical bowhunters try and avoid as far as possible. Arrows can also kill very quickly and effectively by disrupting the central nervous system. This means a brain or spinal (neck) shot. However if a bowhunter hits the spine (neck) or brain it is (should be) by mistake and not by design! Bowhunters are limited as to the target of choice. Whereas firearm hunters generally have the option of a brain, spine or heart lung shot bowhunters are restricted to aiming for the heart lung area from a side on or quartering away presentation. Shots with bow and arrow should not be purposefully aimed for brain or neck shots. The reason for this is September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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1. As you release your arrow try and register where it hits. The watermelon “plunk” of an arrow hitting the rib cage or the “crack” of a broadhead smacking bone are unmistakable. Arrows hitting rocks, branches or ground make entirely different sounds. Follow the flight of your fletchings as they will often indicate where the shot has gone. 2. As your shot lands make a mental note of exactly where the animal was standing when you released. Don’t be vague - it must be an exact spot. Pick an object like a rock or a tuft of grass - something that you can locate after the animal has run off so that you know where the animal was standing. It is here that you must look for the first signs

Follow up skills will help to bring the hunt to a successful conclusion.

that one chooses the target with the biggest margin of error to allow for the slower arrow speed (some species respond to the sound of the bowstring being released by “string jumping”) and the more pronounced trajectory. The brain and spine (neck) are relatively small targets compared to the heart lung area and continually moving, both of which make shooting at these areas with a bow and arrow high risk shots which should not be attempted. No frontal, quartering towards or rear end shots should be attempted.


STEP 7: Know what to do after the shot

The first few seconds after the shot are usually a jumble of events. You have a fleeting impression of your arrow flying towards your target, the animal exploding away, and running out of sight (unless the brain or spine has been hit). Did you miss?

Was it a good shot or was the animal just running away at the sound of your bow or your arrow landing somewhere near it? Getting an arrow into a vital area is only part of a successful hunt, for after hitting the target the bowhunter faces a considerably more difficult task - that of tracking and recovering the animal. The main thing to do is to have a strategy worked out before you need to use it and the following guidelines will facilitate the task. 14 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE September 2008

3. As the animal runs off watch it for as long as you can so that you have a mental note of the last place you caught a glimpse of it. Also listen - carefully - the sound of running may be heard long after you have lost visual sighting and this may also aid you in recovering your quarry. 4. Take careful note of the animal’s reaction as the arrow impacts and it runs off: ●● A spinal or brain shot will drop the animal in its tracks. ●● Missed shots will cause the animal to run off at the sound of the string and the arrow landing close by. After initial fright some animals like zebra for example, will sometimes return or stop and try to locate what gave them a fright and might, if you are lucky, present you with a chance for a second shot. ●● An animal hit with a good chest shot will race away at great speed after jumping or bounding high in the air as it takes off and then set off running low to the ground with tail clamped down hard against the rump and corkscrewing. Sometimes they will run into obstacles ●● If it runs off with back arched high the chances are it is gut shot and you are going to have a long, hard trailing job to locate it. ●● A lightly wounded animal will probably have the tail held high or in the normal down position as it leaves the scene in a more upright run than for a heart / lung shot animal, leaping high over obstacles as it runs off. ●● Does the animal stagger or run off trailing a leg? If so you may have hit it in the rump, low down on the shoulder or legs. Once again it must be stressed that shot placement is critical.


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Be prepared to pass up shots you are not sure of. 5. The next thing to do is ………. wait for at least 30 minutes before you move to the spot where the animal was standing before you shot it. This wait is very important. Some animals will run off for a short way before they stop and rest or look for cover. If you approach too soon they will run off a long way and make recovery extremely difficult. 6. There are a few exceptions to this general rule: ●● If you have actually seen the animal go down and expire. ●● It begins to or was raining at the time of the shot. All spoor and sign will be obliterated if there is moderate to heavy precipitation. ●● If an animal is shot just before dark. Consider postponing follow up until first light. If you decide to follow up in the dark make sure you are not contravening any hunting laws. 7. Now assuming the animal has run out of sight, smell and sound, you can recover your arrow (if it is not in the animal) and examine it to give an indication of the type of wound that has been inflicted. 8. Mark the place where the animal was standing when hit and begin the follow up. 9. As you follow sign, mark the trail with some easily seen biodegradable material like toilet paper. This will enable you to backtrack should you lose the spoor or become lost. Looking back it will also give you an indication of the flight path direction. This step might not be necessary if you are accompanied by a local guide.

10. As an ethical bowhunter you have an obligation to find the animal you have shot. Be patient, walk silently and keep your bow and arrow handy should the animal need to be dispatched with a second arrow. 11. It is likely that the animal will move to thick cover or water. 12. Remember that a fatally wounded animal can bleed internally and leave a poor blood trail. 13. If the blood spoor dries up you must search the area in ever expanding circles as you cast about for additional clues. 14. Be careful! - a wounded animal can be dangerous. Whether it is a warthog or a lion, when following spoor don’t become so involved that you forget to keep an eye open for the animal itself (or other potentially dangerous ones). 15. Remember: don’t just look on the ground for sign. Often an animal will leave telltale splotches of blood on bushes and limbs quite high up as they brush past. Sometimes a wounded animal will stumble or bump into a tree. 16. If signs disappear - DON”T GIVE UP! Start searching likely spots in the area where a wounded animal might go. How will you do this? By remembering two things: generally a wounded animal will: ●● Follow the line of least topographical resistance as it flees, especially if it is hard hit - staying either on level ground or running downhill (Very rarely up a steep incline). ●● Might move to water. Follow all seven steps and the chances are pretty good that you will keep the freezer full and the taxidermist busy.

Cleve Cheney holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology and a master’s degree in animal physiology. He is a wilderness trail leader, rated field guide instructor and the author of many leading articles on the subjects of tracking, guiding, bowhunting and survival. Cleve has unrivalled experience in wildlife management, game capture and hunting, both with bow and rifle.



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Otto Bock’s Cartridge


Koos Barnard

Do you need more than the 9.3x62 in Africa?

The great 9.3x62 Mauser is recognised in Europe and Africa as one of the best big game calibres ever, yet it is virtually unknown in some hunting circles in the United States. When it was introduced in the early 1900s, America already had the .405 Winchester which was similar in power to the 9.3 and America’s love affair with the lever-action probably blinded people to the merits of this European cartridge. The 9.3x62 has earned lasting fame in the Dark Continent as an allrounder and once was the workhorse and darling of many British and European farmers in Africa. However, like some other very good cartridges of the day, the 9.3x62 almost faded into obscurity after World War II. Designed by Otto Bock and introduced in 1905, the 9.3x62 was exactly what many farmers had been praying for. Africa was a hunter’s paradise but a farmer’s nightmare. Plantations and crops were continually destroyed by herbivores while the many carnivores, especially lion and leopard, tried their best to deplete domestic livestock. Life in Africa was hard, money tight and luxuries few and far between. Most hunters thus could only afford one or maybe two rifles. For general hunting they wanted an affordable rifle in a powerful enough calibre to not only take care of large antelope, lion and leopard but also buffalo and elephant. Bock’s cartridge was available in the high-quality yet affordable bolt-action Mauser which, due to Germany’s involvement in Africa, was readily available all over the continent. Because of the bushveld terrain which dominates large expanses of land in Africa, lightweight, handy rifles with enough short-range killing power and the ability to take the odd moderately long-range shot at plains game, were preferred. Although the slightly more powerful .375H&H - introduced in 1912 - was also available, most Europeans farming in Africa chose Mausers in 9.3 because the .375H&H was a proprietary cartridge in those days and British rifles more expensive than the highquality Mausers. Also, the .375 H&H’s reputation was marred by September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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bullet failure because the softnose bullets of the day were not strong enough for the .375’s high velocity, especially at short, bushveld ranges. World War II, however, almost abruptly ended the golden era of the 9.3x62. The destruction of the Mauser factory at Oberndorf cut off the main supply of Mauser rifles while post-war political changes and restrictions did the same for other arms factories all over Europe. Ammunition manufacturing was stopped in Germany and even Kynoch in the UK started dropping the production of many “African” calibres until they eventually ceased all production in the 1960s. British rifles, especially custom rifles, were still very expensive so African hunters and farmers turned to America for affordable rifles chambered for so-called all-round cartridges. Africa now also became the domain of the American hunter and as a result American cartridges flourished in the Dark Continent. Winchester brought out their Model 70, a rifle based on the Mauser design, and being unfamiliar with European metric cartridges, Americans opted for this high-quality and also affordable rifle chambered in .375H&H. The Holland & Holland cartridge thus replaced the 9.3 as Africa’s all-purpose cartridge. The 9.3 was dealt another blow when many African countries introduced minimum-calibre legislation for dangerous game. Although the 9.3 served with distinction, a minimum bullet diameter of .375” was set and this unfortunate legislation relegated this great cartridge to the rank of a non-dangerous game cartridge. Make no mistake, the 9.3x62 is not the ideal elephant charge stopper but with the right bullets it is any day as effective as the .375H&H on pachyderms. Some African countries (Zimbabwe is one) do allow the use of 9.3s on dangerous game these days. The 9.3 is also legal for buffalo in some of South Africa’s provinces but not in KwaZulu-Natal where I live. In Namibia it is legal for all plains game up to and including eland, as well as leopard and lion but not buffalo, elephant, hippo, rhino or giraffe for which the minimum energy required at the muzzle is 3983ft/lbs. A 286gr bullet leaving a 9.3’s muzzle at 2360fps produces 3540ft/lbs. When 9.3 ammunition became scares many hunters had their rifles rebarrelled but faithful fans kept the cartridge alive because they realised that Otto Bock’s mild medium bore was all they needed for the African bush where shooting distances seldom exceed 150 to 200 yards. Another factor that African 20 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE September 2008

Although the terrain comprise of open savannah and semidesert, rocky hills like this one often allows the hunter to stalk closer than 250m. At all ranges up to 250m the 9.3x62 is deadly on Africa’s non-dangerous game.

hunters like, is the minimal amount of meat damage this cartridge causes. Meat damage might not be a factor for trophy hunters but to meat hunters it is very important.

Left to right: 9.3x62 soft, 9.3 solid, .375H&H, .416 Rigby. Although slightly less powerful than the other two, the 9.3 packs enough punch to qualify as a general purpose cartridge for African game.

The 9.3x62 launches a 286gr bullet at 2360fps and zeroed to print three inches high at 100 yards it is dead on at 200 and six inches low at 250 yards. Many Americans are obsessed with high velocity and long range shooting but believe me, there is no need for magnums and true long range shooting in Africa. Yes, you do get the odd long shot but even that should not be a problem because most hunters (and Professional hunters/guides) nowadays own rangefinders and once you know the distance to an animal, and of course the trajectory of your bullet/load combination, placing a bullet where it matters at 300 yards is not difficult. Those who want to flatten the 9.3’s trajectory can switch to the various 250gr bullets. Nosler’s excellent core-bonded Accubond comes to mind. Launched at 2550fps and zeroed at 200 yards it drops less than four inches at 250 and less than 10 inches at 300 yards. For any plains game, even Cape eland this bullet will do the job with accurate shot placement. There is a myth that African plains game animals are much tougher than American game, but that is nonsense. Yes, we have our tough customers such as buffalo, blue wildebeest, warthog and gemsbuck, but no animal with a hole through its heart or lungs will ever get away. Hell, my favourite kudu, gemsbuck and blue wildebeest rifle/calibre combination is a Remington in .30-06 stoked with 150gr Nosler Accubonds or 130gr GS Custom bullets (a South African manufactured monometal expanding bullet). Faithful fans would not allow the 9.3x62 to die and it has been making a strong comeback in recent

years. Today Norma, Sako, Highland, RWS and PMP all produce factory ammunition while many more companies, including some from America, market 9.3 bullets as components, both in conventional and premium grade designs. Barnes and Woodleigh from Australia for instance, are known for the excellent solids they produce. IMR4046 and IMR4320 seem to be the most suitable American powders for the 9.3x62. With these it is possible to load 250gr bullets to almost 2600fps while 2400fps is possible with 286 grainers. Speer markets a 270gr bullet and Woodleigh produces a 320 grainer. Points in favour of the 9.3 are its manageable recoil, the fact that it fits in standard-length actions and that it is easy to form 9.3 cases from .30-06 brass. (Prime .30-06 cases, load them with 9gr Unique followed by an over powder wad of cotton wool or toilet paper and uncooked rice - filled to the shoulder - and another wad. Fire this “blank” off in a safe direction in your 9.3 and voila, you have a 9.3 case). Although the 9.3 x62 is a so-called mild medium bore, it is deadly on game. The lower impact velocities of the bullets ensure that they hold together and penetrate deeply. A friend, Nigel Woodroffe, is an avid 9.3x62 fan and he uses his rifle exclusively with open sights to hunt all sorts of bushveld game in South Africa. He has shot a very large number of blue wildebeest, many with solids, and has also September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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The terrain in Namibia is varied. In some parts shooting distances can be short while fairly long shots (up to 250m) are common in other parts.


The 9.3x62 fits into standard-length actions and can therefore short, lightweight rifles can be built around this efficient cartridge.

dropped buffalo and elephant with this rifle in Zimbabwe. Whenever we go to the range together I am always offered a few shots with his 9.3 and I find this mild-mannered cartridge very easy to shoot accurately from the offhand position. By the way, talking about shooting. Americans should practice shooting off the so-called “African” shooting sticks from the standing position as this is the position most often used in bushveld conditions. Long grass and other vegetation make it almost impossible to shoot from the sitting or prone position and despite the many trees there never seem to be a handy tree stump or branch close enough whenever an animal presents a clear shot. The shooting sticks I refer to is actually a bi- or tripod with legs long enough to accommodate an adult when standing upright. I prefer a tripod because it is much steadier than any bipod will ever be. Several companies in America market these, (usually made of aluminum), but in Africa many hunting guides use home-made sticks of bamboo or long wooden dowels.

Nowadays many Americans hunt in Namibia, my country of birth, which as you probably know, was a former German colony. Here the 9.3 also enjoyed great popularity. Overseas hunters favour Namibia because it is in some ways more user-friendly than South Africa. Importing your hunting rifle is easier than doing so into South Africa and this sparsely populated country still has that real “wilderness” ambiance while the hospitality of the people is simply out of this world. Certain hunting areas in South Africa are very commercialised and you often hunt within sight of towns, airports and busy national roads. Namibia is safe, affordable, has an excellent road network and a wide variety of species. In the south the semi-desert topography consists of rolling plains interspersed with rocky hills or koppies, mountain ranges and, in places, fairly deep canyons. Although it is open and very rugged country, the clever use of the rocky terrain will enable an experienced hunter to stalk close enough to get within 200 yards of his quarry. September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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This kudu bull was taken in southern Namibia. The 9.3x62 is ideal for Africa’s large antelope species.

Central and northern Namibia is savannah and bushveld country where it is normally not necessary to take shots in excess of 200 yards, unless you are one of those lazy hunters who shy away from proper walk-and-stalk hunting. Most hunting in Namibia is done on private land or ranches which we prefer to call “farms”. But do not be misled by the term “farm”. Properties are huge and the size of the average farm is around 12 000 acres. Many properties are of cause much larger due to the amalgamation of various farms. On many all the inner fences have been removed and you can travel many, many miles in all four wind directions without seeing a single fence. The latest statistics show that less than 40% of the country’s hunting grounds are fenced.


For the average plains game safari you really don’t need anything more than Otto Bock’s mild 9.3. It is plenty of gun for all antelope up to and including the regal kudu, as well as gemsbuck and eland. In the Namib desert shooting distances sometimes stretch beyond 300 yards and many would prefer magnums for such shots. However, when you book, enquire about the terrain in which you will be hunting and if it is open savannah or woodland and dense bushveld, the 9.3x62 will not let you down if you do your bit. This grand old cartridge is quite popular in southern Africa and with good reason. It has flattened game with monotonous regularity for 103 years and will probably do so as long as we have hunting on the Dark Continent.

Koos Barnard is an ex-professional hunter and a full time gun writer, having published hundreds of articles. He was born in Namibia and has been a keen hunter since his youth.

My friend Nigel Woodroffe’s 9.3 on a Mauser action. He has shot everything from steenbuck to buffalo (the latter in Zimbabwe) and uses this rifle exclusively with open sights


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Quail with Attitude


Galen Geer

I’ve shot a lot of American quail. Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Colorado, North Carolina, and Florida are just a few states where I’ve hunted quail. My hunting has been for a mixture of wild birds that flushed in coveys, or sometimes just singles and pairs. I’ve hunted pen-raised birds that had been stocked in the fields the day before a hunt. They held so well before flushing I had to boot them from the bush they were hiding under. With all that experience I thought of myself as a fair quail shot and I could hold my own at The GunShop among the Middle Arkansas River Rottweiler Retriever and Boilermaker Drinkers Social Club members. Then I met the African buttonquail. It must be one of the world’s smallest game birds; although Fred Clancey, author of Gamebirds of Southern Africa, calls the buttonquail a semi-gamebird and today it is only hunted on special permits from the appropriate African wildlife conservation office. The rewards of the experience of hunting these birds is worth the extra effort of getting the permits effort because ounce for ounce, I believe the buttonquail it’s one of the most exciting birds I’ve ever hunted. Chris Steyn introduced me to the buttonquail on our second bird hunt. We had spent the day mixing the hunting of both birds and big game. I’d killed a trophy warthog earlier and about mid afternoon Chris collected me from the lodge and we went off in search of francolins. I’d shot two birds and we were on the way back to the ranch when we drove past a field where Rocco Gioia’s father had planted mango trees. “There’s buttonquail in there,” Chris said. “Let’s hunt them.” I said. He sighed that peculiar sigh of his which I’ve come to understand is his way of expressing something akin to, “Thank God, he took the hint”. We drove to one edge of the field and got out of the truck. I was carrying Chris’ Spanish double and before we started walking the field, I loaded the shotgun with Federal field loads of 7 1/2 shot. “Be quick,” Chris said. “They’ll come up right at your feet, and then be gone. You’ve got to shoot quick.” Another magnificent understatement by Chris. Before I discovered how much of an understatement, we had marched the entire length of the field and were walking back toward the truck when a small bird kicked on its afterburners and climbed out of

the shin-deep grass. The bird flushed straight up, climbed to an altitude of two feet above the grass, rotated its wings and flew straight away in a blur. I got the gun up and pointed toward the bird when it suddenly turned its wings, stopping its forward flight and dropped into the grass. I didn’t even shoot. I wasn’t sure I’d seen it. “I told you to be quick,” Chris said. “’Quick’ isn’t fast enough,” I muttered. My first African buttonquail beat me. I shot at the next one, and another. I missed them both. I was then sufficiently humbled. Chris must have felt it prudent to return to the lodge.

Quasi-Quail? After my first humiliating attempt at hunting African buttonquail, I decided I’d better know a bit more about the birds. I asked Rocco if I could rummage through his extensive library to learn something about the birds. Rocco is one of those professional hunters who is always pleased when his clients show a little more interest in the game other than just killing it. He led me through his spacious home to the library. “You should be able to find what you need here,” Rocco said. He left me alone to learn about African game birds. After spending hours in the library, I was able to combine my limited hunting experience and newly absorbed reading material with the information I’d gleaned from Rocco’s and Chris’ discussions around the lodge braai. I was learning about the birds and fortunately, I had two excellent teachers. The 19th Century outdoor writer Henry Herbert believed that a good hunter should understand both the quarry and the means needed to get the game, so, to me, the time spent reading about hunting African game birds was time well spent. I was surprised to learn there are three true quail species in southern Africa, in addition to the buttonquail which are of a different family. All of these birds have similar profiles but quail are from the order Galliformes and of the Phasianidae family. This includes the francolins whereas the Numididae family includes guinea fowl. A common trait of these bird families is that they are similar to domesticated fowl in appearance and are strong runners. Sizes range from only a few ounces to two or three pounds (for the guinea fowl). They are all fullbodied, with strong wings and all are considered game birds. My nemesis, the buttonquail, is from the September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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order Gruiformes which includes cranes, coots, rails, moorhens, and bustards. I found this initially confusing because the buttonquail prefer the grassy fields rather than the shoreline habitat where its cousins live. My frustration was building as I tried to gain some understanding of the birds, but Rocco patiently reminded me that no one ever said learning about the birds would be easy. I secretly suspected he was well aware of the habits of the various species. I already knew the buttonquail to be small birds. In the skillet, they amount to as much meat as a sparrow so they’re seldom hunted to make a meal. However, I did manage to find a single reference by one 18th Century turn-of-the-century writer who shot enough of them for the pot. I suspect though, that a person planning a meal of these birds would probably get mighty hungry before having shot enough for even a toy skillet. Hunting Buttonquail is frustrating. They hold very, very tight, waiting until the hunter is nearly on top of them before flushing. Every time I’ve hunted these birds, they’ve blasted from the grass seconds before I would have crushed then with my boot. I’m sure a competent bird dog would make hunting them less difficult, but on the occasions when I’d hunted them at Casketts Ranch there wasn’t a bird dog available. There is also another rather important consideration-snakes. In Africa I’ve always made it a point to walk creating a lot of noise in the thick grass giving any resident snakes ample opportunity to find new quarters. A working dog wouldn’t be so considerate. Given conversations I’ve had with South African hunters who own working bird dogs the presence of venomous snakes is given considerable thought before sending any dogs into the field. Being limited to hunting buttonquail without a dog may have kept Chris and me from kicking up more birds than we did. As I’ve pointed out, buttonquail hold tight, but they will flush when the hunter is right up on them. Of all the birds I’ve ever hunted, however, the flush of these diminutive speedsters is the most distinctive and consistent of any game bird. The buttonquail launch themselves straight up out of the grass under the feet of the hunter—which is also a favored haunt of any one of southern Africa’s venomous snakes. The sudden and always surprising flush will take a few minutes off of your life. With each flush the time I recovered my wits and realized I’m not about to be nailed by a mamba the bird is dropping back into the

grass. The direction they take away from the hunter, however, is pot luck. Some birds will fly in the same direction the hunter is walking, or very nearly so, thus giving him some sort of a reasonable shot. Also, most game birds I’ve hunted try to gain a little altitude to feel secure and the hunter can see the bird above the horizon. Not the buttonquail. Every bird I kicked up exhibited the same flush. They rise from the grass until they’ve got at least two—but never more than five feet—clearance over the cover. They then accelerate straight away on any point on the compass, regardless of what direction the hunter was moving. I’ve shot at them in front of me, behind me, and to each side. After the buttonquail have flushed, the game is generally up, or at least becomes more challenging! The birds will fly thirty to sixty yards and plummet to the ground. With a good tail wind they may fly as far as eighty yards before rotating their wings and stopping their forward flight. My luck has been the thirty yard flights. I tend to shoot holes in the air where the bird should have been. By the time I squeeze the trigger, the bird has dropped from the air and straight into the grass. Of course the buttonquail hasn’t finished taunting the hunter. The minuscule tormentor has now set the stage for part two of the hunt. After their erratic descent into the veldt, the buttonquail run for several yards and hide! Without a dog to dig them out of the grass the birds are gone. Only once have I ever seen a buttonquail fly into a particular stand of grass that I could identify as the exact spot where the bird landed. I was actually able to walk to that spot and flush the bird a second time. Of course, I missed it then, too, but that isn’t the point—I have shot at the same bird—twice! On our African bird hunt Doc Greenlee was anxious to have his own go at buttonquail and before leaving the states we spent several days in the mountains practicing shooting at our improvised version of buttonquail. We set up our Trius traps with the throwing arm parallel to the ground. Our thrower, usually another member of our Rottweiler Retriever Club, would throw the clay birds for us, as low to the ground as possible. Both of us got fairly good at hitting clay birds. The first day out for buttonquail Doc managed to drop two of the speedsters. The small size of buttonquail is intriguing. The length of the bird is not much more than a shotgun shell although they are listed as having a length of 5 1/2 September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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inches to 6 1/2 inches in official bird books. The official measurement is taken with the bird stretched out and is from bill tip to tail tip. Their weight is even more surprising. The average adult is less than two ounces but what they lack in size they make up for in challenge. I have noticed that when the birds first flush, they often have their legs dangling so they resemble a stunted Wilson’s snipe, but their flight is much more direct—nothing like the darting motion of the snipe. Buttonquail, the experts maintain, seem to breed throughout the year, but October to March is the peak breeding season so there is little risk of shooting a brooding pair during the safari season. Each pair produces a clutch of two to four eggs and the next generation can fly within ten days. There are actually two species of buttonquail, the kurrichane, and the blackrumped buttonquail. The kurrichane is found throughout

most of Southern Africa except the southwestern region. The blackrumped buttonquail is similar in size and has many of the same markings. Its distinguishing feature is its black rump clearly visible as it disappears in flight. The blackrumped buttonquail is found only in the more easterly region of southern Africa, including Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and along the eastern rim of South Africa south to the Cape. On my first buttonquail hunt I used Chris’ Spanish double. I was shooting Federal Field loads in 7 1/2 shot. Of course, I was thinking “typical quail.” On my second hunt I carried my own Remington Wingmaster 28 gauge, also loaded it with 7 1/2 shot. When Doc and I hunted I carried my Remington Premier over/under 12 gauge. Doc Greenlee was carrying a Browning Citori 12 gauge and he was shooting 8 shot. After he’d killed two quail he told me his theory for successfully hunting the tiny quail—”Be quick.”—exactly what Chris had told me. To heed their advice the next time I hunt Africa’s speedster quail I’ll carry my shotgun in a ready position more suited to the trap range than a field of grass. Maybe the split second I save will be enough to let me put a couple of buttonquail mounts on my bookshelf. Galen L. Geer is a former United States Marine Drill Instructor and Vietnam veteran. A professional outdoor hunting, shooting and gun writer, he has published 2000 magazine articles. He has been a contributing editor to Soldier of Fortune magazine for thirty years and is the author of seven books.


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Steven Bowers

The Best All-round Large Bore Rifle Cartridge Sectional Density and Velocity What is the best all around rifle cartridge for a large bore rifle? Also, what is the best test to determine that top candidate? I would like to expand on a statement by Finn Aagaard (Safari Rifles, Craig Boddington – Pg 378), where he says, “I have never been able to detect any difference in the field on game, between the .458 and .500/.450, .465, .470, or even the .500 Nitro Express.” OK, maybe just another man’s opinion, but it is a concept I combined with another author’s remarks declaring that a bullet with the sectional density of .300 and a starting velocity near 2000 fps or better, is needed to take down an elephant (Richard Harland, NDLOVO The Art of Hunting the African Elephant, page 380). So, I came up with the following theory. Sectional Density times Velocity, for solid rounds, appears to be the universal equation that levels the playing field and removes all the voodoo, folklore, and literary romance from the discussion. This value September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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to me is the clearest penetration calculation check of a caliber encompassing mass, cross sectional area, and velocity.

reading found no abusive language and this caliber found in the same sentence; it is a saint. The Section Density times Velocity target value is 682.

This value stops short of John Taylor’s theory in creating a KO factor.




0.51 0.458

0.338 275 0.375 300 0.416 500 0.458 0.475 0.51 0.51 525 500

275 2550 300 2650 400 2150 500 500 600 525 2400 2000

2375 0.344 2300 0.305 2400 0.341 2300 2150 2125 2300 0.288 0.341

Sec Dens. 0.348 877 0.305 808 0.33 733 0.341 0.317 0.33 0.288 691 682






Gun 338-06 338 Win Mag 375 Flan 375 H&H Mag 416 Rigby 458 Win Mag 458 Lott 470 Nitro 500 Nitro 505 Gibbs 500 Jeffrey 458 WM Reduced Velocity of 2000fps 458 WM Reduced Velocity of 1950fps

0.338 0.375 0.458

Taylor’s factor is Bullet Mass in grains, Velocity in feet per second and Bullet Diameter in inches multiplied together then divided by 7000. A 30-06 has numbers near 21, 375 H&H around 41, 416 Rigby at 57 and a 458 Win Mag comes in at 70. These values are of a general nature (bullet weights and velocity) to indicate the step increase in the cartridge’s power levels, and show the brilliance of John Taylor in his time. His life experience, in taking large numbers of game and being able to correlate his values to his field observations, is something few have attempted. In this case, the bullet diameter is a plus as a larger bore rifle firing an equivalent bullet weight at the same velocity is a better “thumper” based on Taylor’s calculation. Regarding this analysis of penetration, the opposite is true with a bullet of higher sectional density hence a smaller diameter for the same given weight and velocity will provide better penetration results. Listed below is a small sampling I have put together comparing some of the common African rounds with some general velocities and bullet weights. The benchmark I use is the 470 Nitro as my years of

SD*V 827 702 792 784 682 701 662

A comparison of the numbers supports Mr. Aagaard statement with most rounds equaling or exceeding 682. I also looked at 458 Win Mag in detail by dropping the velocity and found I could match the 470 Nitro at 2000 fps and match the 505 Gibbs penetration factor at 1950 fps. I started with the .338 caliber as I have come across a number of articles with the 338 Win Mag being used on Lion and Cape Buffalo very successfully and I personally own one. Top honors go to the 375 H&H, 416 Rigby, and 458 Lott - showing why they can take large game at almost any angle. The winner is the 338 Win Mag based on this comparison, a true scalpel in the hands of a professional using the 275 Tungsten African Grand Slam bullets. Unfortunately, Speer no longer makes these. I will concede that the 338 lacks the frontal area of the 375+ calibers (even the 375 is questionable at times) to be regarded as any type of charge stopper, but with proper shot placement dispatch anything it is pointed at. I was also able to locate a wonderful set of test data, “Comparing the Big Bores” by Dave Estergaard (http://www.470mbogo.com/BigBores/BigBores.html), September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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where he used penetration of ¾ inch plywood planks to compare the following rounds. Adding a column to evaluate the Sectional Density times Velocity factor, we have the following table: Gun 416 Rigby 458 Win Mag 450 Ackley 470 Nitro 470 Mbogo 500 Nitro 505 Gibbs 500 Jeffrey 500 A Square

0.458 0.458 0.475

0.51 0.51




0.416 500 500 0.475 500 0.51 0.51 525 600

400 2150 2380 500 2500 600 525 2400 2400

2400 0.341 0.341 2150 0.317 2125 2300 0.288 0.33

Sec Dens. 0.33 733 812 0.317 793 0.33 0.288 691 792

SD*V 792 66 92 682 72 701 662 62 73

Penetration 71.5

57 62 60

Your African hunting safari is a unique experience. Now you can document your hunt day by day and revisit those exciting times for years to come. 31 Full days of journaling space with vital information: ●● safari clothing ●● personal item checklists ●● health and first aid ●● mammal identification information with photographs, tracks, dung and SCI and Rowland Ward qualification minimums.


Know how to administer CPR. Deal with dangerous animals up close. Identify and treat bites from snakes, spiders and scorpions. Know the right emergency numbers to dial in an emergency – it’s all there. A must-have item for every serious hunter. Sturdy PlastiCoil binding for durability and easy opening, 110 pages, 6.0 x 9.0 in. Full color covers and cream interior printed in black and white.

Graphing Bullet Diameter vs. (Sectional Density times Velocity Factor)

N.E.” – from my data is fair, reasonable, and accurate. The 505 Gibbs was a surprise, coming in very near the bottom in both calculated factor and plywood penetration – maybe bigger is not always better.

Graphing Bullet Diameter vs. Plywood penetration.

The leader in this penetration analysis is the 338 Win Mag and a challenge to the 375 H&H for the allaround title for best cartridge. In most of my readings of African cartridges, time and time again I come across words of respect for the 318 Westley Richards and 333 Jeffery (African Rifles and Cartridges by John Taylor, Chapter 5, The

These two graphs have striking similarities, which lets me know we are on the right track, so I went to the next level and graphed our Sectional Density times Velocity Factor vs. plywood penetration, and came up with a correlation coefficient of 0.74. Not bad, but the 458 Ackley data appeared to be a little off, so I recalculated the data again minus the Ackley and came up with a respectable correlation coefficient of 0.94. In conclusion, this data is not taken from animal shots in tissue and bone, nevertheless it appears to be a relative simple and effective tool for estimating bullet penetration in game. Finn Aagaard’s statement, “I have never been able to detect any difference in the field, on game, between the .458 and .500/.450, .465, .470, or even the .500

Medium Bores). Medium calibers with a light report are not charge stoppers, but with a good solid bullet, they can leave four pachyderm or bovine feet pointed towards the blue sky. Three Cheers for Finn. September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Kayak F

What to look for when y



you buy your first fishing kayak

Brett Challenor

It is early morning and the ocean waves are smooth as glass. The wind is still and there’s a silent peacefulness about the world. You watch that red ball slowly rise above the hazy horizon as the new day dawns, when suddenly the silence is broken by a reel screaming in protest as a powerful game fish takes off with your Rapala firmly clamped in its jaws. That’s kayak fishing at its best and anyone who tries it will agree. The kayak fishing fraternity has grown exponentially in the past 5 years and there is a never-ending hunger for information Throughout this series I hope to bring you everything right from the basics to some of the most expert advice. The world of kayak fishing has very little educational information out there and my aim is to not only educate you but turn you from a novice to a master angler. The sport of kayak fishing has been around for a fairly long time however it has only been in the last five years that we have seen a huge influx into the sport and along with this growing interest some serious advancements in kayaks, tackle and techniques. September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Kayak fishing is not just a sport; it’s a lifestyle and a healthy one at that. One of the great things about kayak fishing is that it will take you to some of the most beautiful places

What is kayak fishing? In simple terms it is the use of a kayak to go and catch fish. The angler sits on a kayak and fishes from it. Taking a leisurely paddle on a lazy summer’s day, enjoying the spoils the ocean has to offer is really what it’s all about. Watching the dolphins playing just off the back line, turtles diving over the deeper reefs or whales cruising by are all just added bonuses. Knowing that, it’s easy to see why there is so much interest in the kayak fishing lifestyle. The simplicity and cost-effectiveness of the sport has also definitely aided in its growth. With the sudden influx of new participants, it’s very encouraging to see the technological advances in the crafts in particular. Fishing kayaks have come a long way since the days of fishing off the rescue crafts from the lifesaving

clubs. They’ve evolved into the serious fish catching machines we have available today. At first it may seem like a difficult way to fish however the success rate of kayak fisherman far exceeds most other types of anglers. From many years ago the big heavy two man Crocker skis kayak fishing has evolved into the very serious lightweight advanced kayaks of today. These kayaks have been designed and adapted in many ways to make fishing from them a pleasure and a lot of fun. Not only have they been improved but they are also a lot lighter and far more manageable than their predecessors.

The Beginning I remember around 17 years ago when we used to fish from our racing surf skis. These were super unstable and very difficult to balance on and to stay sitting on never mind even fishing from them. It was back here that we first talked about trying to make a ski more suited for fishing than just racing. From using lifesaving surf skis, to rescue skis and now to September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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the evolvement of our current day fishing kayaks The kayaks we use today are far more suitable in every way…

Getting started Getting started with kayak fishing is not just buying a ski and off you go - one needs to choose a kayak and a range of equipment wisely. Lets start with the most obvious and of course biggest decision.

Choosing a kayak The biggest mistake I see many people making is thinking that any kayak with rod holders makes it a fishing kayak. This is most definitely not the case. There are a lot of kayaks out there in the marketplace now. Some of these have been adapted to be used for fishing by just adding some rod holders and similar adaptations - however if you are a serious about your fishing I hope to help you make the right decision in choosing the correct an most suitable kayak for you. A recreational kayak that has been adapted is nowhere near as easy to fish off as a purposely-designed fishing kayak - and, after all, the easier it is to fish off a kayak the more fun and enjoyable it is Lets run through the design of a fishing kayak and what makes them so much more suited for fishing than just any kayak.

Stability The biggest difference between a surf kayak and a fishing kayak is your stability. The more stable your platform, the easier it is to fish. A simple explanation is that a fishing kayak is a kayak that is designed for a complete novice to fish from taking maximum stability into account. Where as a surf or racing kayak is a kayak that is designed for a paddler to go as fast as possible with stability as a secondary priority - merely an afterthought. Modern day fishing kayaks are extremely stable and suited to absolutely anyone, and it really doesn’t matter if you have never even tried to paddle before. Good Stability can be the difference between enjoying your fishing and battling to balance all the time.

Size The right seating position or making sure you fit into 42 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE September 2008

the seating of the kayak is a vital part of making sure the kayak is comfortable and suited to you. A basic rule is the three fingers or fist rule, which is a guide to establish whether the kayak is suitable for your body length. This rule works by checking the space under you knee with your hand when seated in the kayak. Make sure you are sitting right back and comfortably in the seat and your heels are touching. You will find that by just sitting in a kayak you will feel whether the kayak is comfortable, taking into account that you could be sitting in your kayak for up to five hours while you enjoy a great days fishing. A size that is too small can be terribly uncomfortable and also give your kayak a very false sense of stability, while a sizing that is too long can be very uncomfortable on your back and legs and feel very unstable as well. Before buying your new - and especially before you buy a second hand kayak - make sure the kayak is the right size for you. Modern kayaks are easily adjusted to make the size better suited to you while your older design kayaks are a fixed size and should be checked before purchasing.

Hatches Your next important item on a kayak is your hatches. A good fishing kayak will have two main hatches with a main hatch for fishing rods, and much more as well as a smaller dry hatch. When you are standing on dry land all hatches on your kayak look good, but the most important thing to note here is that when you are in the water they should be accessible and easy to use. If you can not reach them easily, they are virtually useless. Your most important hatch is your fish hatch or centre hatch. This hatch is the majority of your storage and even your rods and your gaffs and some of your tackle fit comfortably in here with more than enough storage for plenty of fish as well. A well designed fish hatch has a rod shoot to fit all your rods in comfortably and contributes to the overall strength. The hatch lid should also have a good seal. On a good day you may need to store over 80Kg of fish in your hatch. The other important hatch is the rear hatch or “ dry hatch”. This hatch is situated right behind the seat and is easily accessible while out on the water. This


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hatch is used for the storage of extra tackle, lures, clothing as well as your cell phone or safety equipment. This hatch is a separate compartment from your centre fish hatch and really comes in handy in terms of extra storage. Although referred to as a “dry� hatch. it is recommend that anything that is valuable or important is stored in a waterproof pouch.

Steering A good fishing kayak has a steering system with peddles and a rudder. What this system allows you to do is steer your kayak when you are paddling. The real advantage to a steering system is not only that it allows you to control you kayak extremely well in surf conditions and waves, it is also ideal to use when fighting a big fish. You can steer your kayak after the fish you are fighting and control the direction your kayak goes as the fish changes direction or continues to tow you. Keep-


ing your kayak under control while fighting a fish is a must to make the fight a lot easier for you. The rudder and peddle system is very simple but extremely effective.

Rod holders Of course an important item to have on the kayak is rod holders. These are essential to make fishing a little easier and a lot more manageable. A standard kayak has two easily accessible 50 degree rod holders right behind the kayak seat making the rods easy to get to at all times. Extra rod holders can be fitted to a kayak and these can be used to store a third rod or a even a spinning rod. It is also to used as a baiting-up rod holder. Make sure that your rod holders have a saddle or something similar so that your rods can be secured with leashes while in the rod holders.

Handles Handles are nor really a necessity but makes carrying, holding or dragging your kayak a lot easier.

Webbing Extra webbing on the deck can also be quite handy. Although webbing on your front deck although looks good it is not accessible in the water. Extra webbing on the rear can be easily reached and has numerous uses.

Kayak design One of the last items to look at when choosing your kayak is the kayak’s design and angler recommendation.

Kayak design is a matter of individual choice. Leading brands will offer you a range of options and you should check with the salesman to see which kayak suits you as an individual. It is also a good idea to check with owners of the kayak you are considering to get their opinion on the craft.

Go buy one! Now you know what to look for in a fishing kayak. Go and get one! Tight lines - and hope to see you on the water.

Brett Challenor represented South Africa as life saver for 8 years and earned multiple world championship medals. His kayak and surf ski designs have dominated many national championships. September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Dave Edgumbe

Ghosts of


The unexplained in Northern Mozambique 46 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE September 2008

Some years back I received a call from my friend Danie. “ Dave, I’m putting a trip together to look at a hunting concession just south of the Zambezi in Mocambique. Take time off your farming and join me.” Offers like this don’t need much persuasion, particularly as the third member of the party was another good friend Tom Yssel, a Kruger Park ranger who rose to prominence after surviving a crocodile attack. The plan, after securing visas, was to drive to Maputo, overnight there and catch an early flight to Beira the next day. Joe, our Portuguese guide and concession manager would be on hand to meet us. For me, the excitement of the trip and our departure was marred by an underlying concern for my wife, who having undergone a major operation for cancer, was left disabled and had to learn to walk again. Leaving the farm in her care was a worry, but with her usual cheerful demeanor, insisted that she would cope. So we left early one morning, to be at the Lebombo border post at opening time. With formalities concluded, over the border we went en route to Maputo. The trip passed quickly and that night we celebrated my birthday at the house of Danie’s acquaintance who had kindly offered us accommodation. Waiting in the departure lounge at Maputo Airport the next morning I somberly contemplated the airworthiness of each arriving aircraft, hoping by some miracle that we could be “teleported” to Beira without having to fly. Three sensitive heads from the previous night probably didn’t help either, but I’m sure we would have faced a charging lion with more confidence than climbing aboard a rickety plane. Well fly we had to, in an aging, creaking, groaning Boeing 737 that Noah had used to round up his animals for the ark, serviced by three massively overweight stewardesses, and piloted by a speed maniac who thought he was at the controls of a Mocambican Air Force fighter. We made the fastest landing at Beira, and I made the fastest exit. Joe was there and we thankfully climbed into his Toyota Landcruiser, shaken but undaunted. We saw a bit of Beira that morning as Joe collected two staff members and loaded drums of fuel and other provisions. We left Beira with Joe and Tom in front, Danie and September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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I perched on the open hunting seat and the two Mocambicans comfortably seated on the cargo. Danie, in true Danie style, produced a mouth organ and with us blowing and singing lustily the miles fell away and we turned north at Dondo en route to Inhaminga. Judging from the pained expressions on the faces of our Mocambican friends our musical talents were not appreciated, and their auditory discomfort became distinctly physical as we bounced from tank trap to tank trap, through water and deep mud. The Mocambican civil war had been distinctly unkind to this part of the country, with numerous road and rail ambushes, land mining, and the digging of tank traps at frequent intervals by Renamo. Indeed the number of wrecked trains between Dondo and Inhaminga was remarkable. Apart from war damage, the road was churned into a muddy morass by logging trucks and tractors. We passed at intervals through pristine forests with high canopy hardwoods ornamented with orchids and staghorn ferns – a botanists dream! We stopped periodically to ease bladders and swop seats, and when I eventually rejoined Danie on the hunting seat, I noticed that my friend became less communicative and was staring ahead with a look of quiet desperation, knuckles gripped firmly on the rifle rail. Danie’s hoarse “Joe, stop, I need the toilet”, and much banging on the cab roof brought the Cruiser to a slithering halt. Danie literally fell over the side and waddled at best speed for the bushes with his pants already around his ankles. Not even Joe’s shouted warning of anti-personnel mines which had been liberally sown along the road edge in places would deter Danie, and the last we saw was his white, incredibly hairy bum disappearing into the vegetation. The explosion that followed was not from a land mine, and when Danie’s face appeared with a relieved, but idiotic grin, our Mocambican friends who had hitherto been much embarrassed by this noisy South African’s behaviour, could no longer contain themselves and collapsed with mirth. Danie clambered aboard and we continued for about an hour. Danie started fidgeting and suddenly went white. I thought, here we go again. His cry to Joe to stop was even more desperate, but not as it turned out, motivated by his anal condition. He had left his moon- bag containing passport and the equivalent of R40000-00 in cash behind at his bush toilet. To our collective disgust, we had to turn around and retrace our steps, tired by now and sore, hoping to find a 48 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE September 2008

moon-bag in amongst vegetation at the side of the road. We found it, with Danie gingerly picking his way through the undergrowth. It was a thoughtful group of men that continued the trip to Inhaminga. Inhaminga, like Inhamitanga, where we turned east to follow the Zambezi towards Marromeu, boasted Portuguese colonial architecture in the few buildings still standing but that is about all. Years of abuse had left their mark on most Mocambique towns and these were no exception.. It is always a relief for me to leave habitation and even the sugar lands on the Zambezi floodplain held no interest. I was waiting to get into the concession that we had come so far to see. Eventually we turned south and entered Coutada 11 ( Concession 11 ) run by Joe’s company. His responsibility was to build a hunting camp and market the coutada to outfitters, amongst other things. We couldn’t see much as we arrived well after dark, tired and aching after miles of jolting, but nothing that a few cold beers wouldn’t put right. We were accommodated in reed bungalows erected on concrete slabs and slept on mattressed stretchers under mosquito nets – quite comfortable! A separate kitchen and dining area completed the living area. The next few days were spent looking for trophy buffalo through forest, swamp and grassland islands. The fact that it was the rainy season didn’t help and many of the tracks were under water. In fact the plains of Marromeu are extensive swamplands which once supported huge herds of buffalo, decimated by Frelimo and their Russian henchmen for food during the war. The remnants find refuge in the swamps and one hopes that with correct management numbers will increase. Joe did his best to give us an overview of the coutada in what became really trying circumstances for man and vehicle. When we bogged down we really went deep, but winch, jack, and ingenuity got us out, wet, muddy and relieved to get back to the comforts of camp. We found an impressive amount of leopard sign in the forested areas which pleased Danie no end, as the potential for baiting these elusive animals looked good. Time was starting to run away. I think it was the fifth night there, after sterling efforts by Joe’s cook and much evening yarning about many things that we retired. I was still hoping to hear the rumble of a

distant lion when I climbed under my mosquito net, said goodnight to Danie with whom I was sharing the bungalow and fell asleep. It is strange how outside influences can impact ones dreams. I vividly remember dreaming that I was being strangled by something/someone whose hands held my throat in a vice-like grip. I fought back and woke up, conscious of a steel band around my throat without anybody being there. As I thrashed about trying to get air I managed a gurgle and fell off the stretcher. I desperately tried to wake Danie and at the same time release the grip on my throat. Danie is fortunately a light sleeper and through a red mist I felt rather than saw Danie pick me up and shake me violently all the while calling out “what’s the matter, what’s wrong with you?” I of course couldn’t reply – I was still scrabbling at my neck, trying to remove the pressure to get air to my oxygen-starved brain. As suddenly as it started, I felt release and I gulped

great lungfulls of air. Tom, by this time, hearing all the commotion had run through from the adjoining room. His suspicious look was a mixture of concern and mild annoyance at having been woken up – suspecting a Danie and Dave prank! Once I had calmed down and could communicate in a croaky kind of way, I tried to explain that something had tried to strangle me. Danie, having witnessed my desperate, but futile attempts at breathing was more accepting than Tom, who quite naturally blamed the event on everything from nightcaps to a warped sense of humour. After satisfying themselves that I was going to live my friends went back to bed. I would not lie down again, and spent the rest of the night sitting on the steps of the bungalow, swatting mosquitoes and trying to understand what had happened. Around the breakfast table the next morning, levity got the better of Danie and Tom, and I became the butt of their leg-pulling as they recounted my

A a poignant casualty of war


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misfortune. Joe, notwithstanding my protests, accused me of staging the whole thing. Hovering in the background - and obviously listening - was Joe’s cook who could understand a fair amount of English. As we left the dining area he approached Joe and entered into an animated discussion in Portuguese. I saw them a while later in conversation with other camp staff. Joe then approached me with a very serious look on his face. “Dave, I don’t know how to explain this, but my cook at breakfast overheard snippets of our teasing and asked me for clarification. I of course told him that you had played a joke on your friends the night before, pretending to have been strangled. He protested immediately and said it was no joke, but that you had been strangled by a ghost of a dead Renamo soldier. On seeing my disbelief he called other staff together who volubly confirmed his story. Others living in the area have had similar experiences.” I could see that Joe was a bit shaken, particularly as his bungalows had been built on an old Renamo camp, on the periphery of which was a burial ground for Renamo soldiers who had succumbed during the war against Frelimo. It seems that I was the first white person to have been attacked. When Joe asked why he had never been told about these events before, the cook replied with unassailable African logic that Whites’ do not believe in witchcraft and ghosts until they experience them, and thus there was no point in discussing the matter. I wasn’t too happy. We still had two more nights there and I certainly did not want a repeat of my experience. Danie and Tom were suddenly much quieter, and Joe more thoughtful as he had to spend much time there in the course of his duties. Having had to endure my friends jibing up to this point, I tried to

cover my discomfort by planning sweet revenge. I thought that perhaps I should more gently strangle one of my sleeping companions but then sanity got the better of me. Danie for one is a powerful man and I would probably have ended up with more than a bloody nose! We still tried to find our trophy buffalo but they turned out to be as elusive as the ghost strangler. None of us slept particularly well until we left two days later. On our departure the camp staff gathered around me and with Joe translating, invited me back. It seems that they felt some kind of kinship with me, that my strange experience which they understood and had an explanation for had drawn us together. The story finishes on another strange but perhaps coincidental note. On the morning of my attack, my wife back on our farm in South Africa fell as a result of her disabled leg, sustaining multiple fractures to her left ankle. She had to undergo emergency reconstructive surgery. I knew none of this of course as there was no communication where we were. I’ve often thought back to the ghosts of Marromeu and a strange but terrifying event that I cannot explain. Danie went back to hunt there, finding his buffalo where we couldn’t. He was never troubled by ghosts, and neither was Joe to my knowledge who stayed on to manage the coutada for a considerable time. The local Africans continued to speak of disturbed Renamo spirits who roam the area at night, and the attack on a white visitor. I have not returned, but often wondered why I was the only person on the trip who had this chilling experience.

Dave Edgcumbe holds an advanced biological sciences degree and is a dedicated hunter, conservationist and outdoorsman. September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Killer of the African night Dr. Gerhard Swart


As the sun sets over the African bush and the animals brace themselves for the night to come. She is already out on the hunt. A small campfire flickers in the distance and silhouettes of dark figures move between huts and bush. There is no hesitation as she makes her way slowly and silently towards the unsuspecting intruders. She is deadly and she wants blood. Amidst the hunters she carefully picks her target and moves in.

For one of them, death beginning is very near. There are very few killers in the African bush more deadly than the female Anopheles mosquito carrying the deadly disease called Malaria. Do not underestimate this disease. It is said that malaria is responsible for the death of a child somewhere in the world every 30 seconds. It infects 350500 million people each year, killing 1 million, mostly children in Africa. Ninety per cent of malaria deaths occur in Africa. Not knowing the risks and not taking preventative measures could be fatal. The hunter becomes the hunted. Malaria-carrying Anopheles species mosquitoes tend to be more active between dusk and dawn. Often biting between 5 p.m. and 22:00 p.m. and again in the early hours of morning. Usually the mosquitos are breeding in collections of water within 2 kilometres of the place where you live or camp. Malaria mosquitos have white and black spots on their wings and they sit and feed at a 45 degree angle. These characteristics make them easily identifiable to the trained eye. The Anopheles species mosquito injects malaria parasites which is contained in its saliva into its host while obtaining a blood meal. These parasites enter liver cells and after that the red blood cells where it replicates, causing the cells to break. By-products are released into the bloodstream which cause chills, muscle aches, headaches and other flu-like symptoms. These symptoms usually start after an incubation period (time since parasite injection until the start of symptoms) of 10 to 14 days. Some preventative malaria medications may prolong the incubation period.


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Four species of parasites infecting man are of interest. P falciparum is the most deadly and may cause coma, kidney failure and death within a few days after initial infection. P vivax and P ovale, also known as chronic malaria, can live in the cells of the liver for many years causing relapses of the disease even after standard malaria treatment. To kill these parasites in the liver, one would need a special type of treatment. Plasmodium malariae is another form of malaria and rarely causes death. One fact has remained true throughout the years: prevention is better than cure.

Ways to prevent malaria infection when hunting in Africa When sitting outside in the evening: ●● Wear long sleeved tops and long pants. Malaria mosquitos find it difficult to penetrate clothing. ●● Make use of mosquito repellents and burn mosquito coils. Repellents are very useful early in the evening. They are usually active for 5-8 hours, then they have to be re-applied. When sleeping: ●● Sleep under mosquito nets. Some nets are treated with insecticides. Remember to tuck netting in under the mattress or mat. Make sure there are no holes in the net and kill mosquitoes found inside the net. ●● Keep all windows and doors in the house closed. ●● Rooms may also be sprayed with insecticides.

Repellents DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) is an effective insect repellent. It is available in many formulations, including lotions, creams, gels, aerosol and pump sprays. Mosquitoes are attracted to hosts by carbon dioxide from their breath and skin odours. DEET products confuse the mosquito and make it very hard for the Mosquito to land on its host. These repellents are only effective over a short distance from the application or treated area and it is therefore not necessary to apply more repellent if mosquitoes are still flying nearby. Insect repellent containing DEET or permethrin can 54 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE September 2008


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The life cycle of malaria parasites in the human body. A mosquito infects a person,by taking a blood meal. First, sporozoites enter the bloodstream, and migrate to the liver. They infect liver cells (hepatocytes), where they multiply into merozoites, rupture the liver cells, and escape back into the bloodstream. Then, the merozoites infect red blood cells, where they develop into ring forms, then trophozoites (a feeding stage), then schizonts (a reproduction stage), then back into merozoites. Sexual forms called gametocytes are also produced, which if taken up by a mosquito will infect the insect and continue the life cycle.

This electron micrograph shows a migrating malaria parasite


also be applied to clothing, rather than directly to the skin. You may wish to use products not containing DEET which might give limited protection. Remember, Permethrin is a pesticide and exposure should be minimized. Do not apply permethrin to skin.

The symptoms of malaria vary from very mild to very severe. The most important feature of malaria is fever. Shivering and profuse sweating with headache are common symptoms. Joint pains, muscle aches, diarrhoea and vomiting may also occur. The infected person may feel better the next day, but might have another attack the day after.

When planning a safari or hunting trip to the African bush, make sure to visit your doctor for a prescription for malaria chemoprophylaxis well in advance of travelling.

Do not wait for symptoms to subside before seeing your doctor for appropriate malaria testing. It is characteristic of malaria symptoms to subside for a few hours to a day.

Your doctor will advise you on the best preventative medication which suits you best. Malaria prophylactic medication is individualised. These medications are life saving and can prevent the malaria parasite from entering blood cells and thus prevent infection and serious complications including death. Although anti-malaria preventative medication is not 100% effective it is still imperative not to leave without it. Do not take a chance. Many people have died because they did not see it necessary to take this treatment. Don’t be ignorant. It is not worth it. Also, do not believe the urban legend that it is better not to take prophylaxis because “it confuses the doctor when he wants to diagnose you”. Many who believed that are now dead. Be very wary of flu-like symptoms a few days to weeks after returning from a malaria area. Even if you were taking anti-malaria medications. Any flu-like symptoms should be followed up by a health care professional and malaria should be ruled out as a cause.


Act quickly when symptoms are

Malaria from P falciparum kills quickly, but is curable if diagnosed early, so do not postpone.

Things to include when planning a hunting trip ●● Get a mosquito net

Ring forms in infected blood cells

●● Use a repellent (DEET containing repellent if possible) ●● Get and use mosquito coils ●● Use malaria chemo prophylactic medication. Take as prescribed. Consider Paracetamol or Acetaminophen. Prevention is the key. To make your hunting trip memorable, remember to prevent mosquito bites which prevent infection. Should you become ill during your trip or after, early diagnosis and treatment will save your life.

Dr. Swart has been involved in Communicable disease control since 2004 and is an authority on Malaria, tropical and infectious diseases in Africa.


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Trophy Gallery



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Hunting Under Water Spearfishing the elusive white steenbras

Gletwyn Rubidge


You look out over the plain from your rocky lookout – out of the haze a shape materializes, cautiously edging closer. The range far exceeds that of your weapon – patience learned in your training must prevail. You are well hidden but must catalyze the partially aroused curiosity of your striped prey.

The author cradles a 16 kg White Steenbras

This is a delicate matter – if you are not subtle enough you will send it off with a series of deep thuds as the heavy tail drives into the water. Remaining too well camouflaged may cause it may loose interest and drift off back into the haze from where it came. You slightly expose yourself, ensuring that your eyes are essentially out of direct view, then tuck away completely. Only the glistening tricut tip of a 1700 mm cylinder of hardened spring steel is now visible. The steenbras’s curiosity is now overriding caution and it steers in for a fatal closer look.

The fish The white steenbras is one of South Africa’s larger sparidae family. It possesses an elongated body and a rather pointed snout which evolved for feeding on sand/mud prawns. They also feed on other bottom invertebrates, including worms, crabs and occasionally appear to scavenge redbait when single fish accompanying schools of musselcracker.

The steenbras is considered to be under considerable pressure from fishermen in certain areas such as False Bay. It is not a commercially available species. Fishermen and hunters may take only one fish per day and it must exceed 60 cm in length. Typically a 1.2 m fish may weigh 18 kg.

Preparation for the hunt It requires some effort to prepare to hunt these fish as they are rather shy and do not often occur in very shallow water. Training will typically include swimming in the pool, running, and dry apnea (breathholding).

Live specimens are silvery white with six to eight dark narrow vertical bars, which are lost after death. The scales are large with a silvery grey edge. These fish are normally found in sandy areas near prawn colonies in the ocean and estuaries. The fish may reach a size of almost 30 kg but a 16 kg specimen is considered large with specimens over 20 kg being considered rare.

Part of the training includes becoming comfortable and extroverted underwater while holding ones breath. In South Africa spearfishermen may not use artificial breathing apparatus. A downtime of 1-1.5 minutes will be needed to successfully hunt these shy fish. Training may be difficult at first, but with persistence breathholding becomes easy as a phenomenon termed the mammalian dive reflex kicks in. When this occurs, breathholding becomes surprisingly easy. Also the hunter must get to know and use the rubber powered spearguns that have an effective maximum range of 4-5 m when used for fish exceeding 15 kg.

The SA angling record is 29 kg which leaves some room for improvement for underwater hunters whose record is 21 kg.

Concurrently to self conquest in extending your breathholds you will venture into the domain of the white steenbras, seeking their feeding grounds – the September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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massive prawn beds. The ideal hunting grounds are reefs or shipwrecks near these prawn beds.

the hunter can often obtain a solid shot at any time he can aim at the fish.

Tracking the steenbras is actually rather easy to the few that know the signs. The great tails of these of these fish are raised and heads lowered when they feed. Craters up to 1.5 m across are blown onto the sand as they blast the hapless crustaceans out of their sand grottoes with jets of water from their mouths.

Some experienced hunters even predict the path of the fleeing fish and shoot where they expect it to be through the murk and still land their fish. Personally I have taken many a fine steenbras this way – often expecting to have missed the shot completely but in fact having rolled it over with a spine shot.

Even if visibility does not permit, one may easily detect their feeding activity by the thudding sound of their heavy tails against the water.


Their presence is readily confirmed by fresh bits of prawn left lying about the craters. On such days hunters will have great expectations.

Optimum conditions The ideal time to seek the white steenbras is when cold water is being raised by specific weather conditions. The upwelling of the cold water (thermocline) is normally brought about by offshore winds that cause a lifting of the water from deep in the ocean. Along the South African coastline it is predominantly the easterly winds that cause this phenomenon. The reason this rising thermocline is so effective is that fish, just like their land-based warm blooded counterparts, are also sensitive to temperature changes. The cold water herds fish up from the depths as it sweeps upward and concentrates them on reefs. The ideal scene for a steenbras hunt is a thermocline on a reef that juts up from a sand bottom, which is occupied by a colony of sand prawns. When the cold water is a meter or so above the sand but has not yet covered the reef one has a good chance of meeting the steenbras; singly or in shoals of up to 200 fish. Predators also follow such conditions as hunting is then considerably easier. Sharks such as sand tigers and bronze whalers are the most common predators of concern but the occasional great white is not excluded. On some days the surface water may be 20 ºC and the thermocline perhaps five or six degrees cooler. Thus, to increase the probability of taking a trophy the underwater hunter must expand his knowledge of underwater “weather” conditions and learn to forecast the rising thermocline on good reefs. Due to the shy nature of these fish many hunters prefer to seek them in conditions of reduced visibility – perhaps only 2.5 - 4 meters. This way they may hunt with a shorter speargun. In such poor visibility 64 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE September 2008

Typically an underwater hunter will require a good pair or spearfishing fins – either thermoplastic or carbon fiber. Freedivers, Spierre, or Rob Allen are good brands often used by South African underwater hunters. Spearguns can be either pneumatic or rubber powered, the latter preferred for their simplicity and robustness. A seven or eight mm spring steel spear with a downward barb of about 70 mm is desirable. The spear is ordinarily powered by a single rubber (elastic) of 18-20 mm, or on occasion by two 16 mm bands. A 5 mm open cell wet suit will provide protection against cold and a weight belt is required to retain neural or slightly negative buoyancy.

Placing the shot The fish most often determines the shot. If unaware of the hunter, it may swim above forcing a shot from below. Most often the white steenbras

will approach and then broadside to have a good view of the alien body of the hunter in its aquatic domain. This type of side shot is most common. The ideal place to spear a big white steenbras is through the brain or just behind the head thought the spine(neck). The neck shot is risky though since if the shot is just too high the fish may tear free as there is little sinew in the flesh just behind the head. Such a wound is not mortal and will readily heal, as is the case with most fish, scales will eventually grow over the scar. Aiming directly for the heart is undesirable, unlike in hunting land dwelling animals. A 15 kg steenbras has a heart of only 2.5 cm(1 inch) in diameter and this presents a small target, especially in a moving fish. Similarly, a direct brain shot is seldom attempted. Instead a body shot is often the best option and very seldom tears out. Once speared the fish will often run extremely hard, hence the nickname white steamboat. The fish may easily bend a seven mm spring steel spear. Another shot that holds superbly is placing the spear through the fishes’ cheeks, but in this case the fish will fight hard and a bent spear is almost guaranteed. My personal favourite technique is to wait for the fish to turn and spear it obliquely from behind as it departs – in through the body just behind the gills and out through the cheek. The spear is seldom bent and the fish may run hard if not spined and the flesh does not tear significantly. Pan fried or fire roasted steenbras is excellent. Braaing (fire roasting) should include a baste to prevent the flesh drying out.

Gletwyn Rubidge holds four South African spearfishing records and represented SA as Springbok spearfisherman in 2007 in Spain. He is an author, holds a doctorate in analytical chemistry, has done over 1300 dives and spent more than 6000 hours at sea in the last 17 years.

Underwater hunting is rather similar to bow hunting where the hunter must closely approach the prey to allow for an effective shot, only that it must be achieved in an environment where man is disadvantaged by his lack of mobility and the need for air. However, the very strangeness of his presence beneath the waves combined with the inherent curiosity of fish is the catalyst that brings the prey to him.


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Don Juan of Mozambique

Secrets of seduction in Africa


Mitch Mitchell Arturo is about sixty-five years old with a wide, easy smile and a twinkle in his eye. He looks and moves like a man of forty, and his halfsmile, high forehead and close-cropped hair give him the air of a slightly amused and retired schoolmaster. More like a rascally old uncle or a close friend of the family than an employee, he had been working with my friend Dave for almost twenty years. Arturo is one of those Mozambicans who can do everything: look after the children while we go out, interpret for the farm laborers, manage the household or prepare the pregos and the prawns in superb MozambicanPortuguese style. Arturo does indeed have many talents - but above all, he is the consummate ladies man. He can not keep his hands and eyes off of them. Not only has he accumulated a large entourage of lady friends over the years, but he always has 4 or 5 girls on the line at any one time - and they weren’t matrons of his advanced age either. In keeping with his soaring testosterone level, they

were always 30 or so years younger than him. Many times Dave set Arturo up in his cottage on the farm with furniture, radio and other creature comforts. The day would then come when Arturo would disappear again, and he would only return months later. By that time he had not only spent all his money on the ladies, but paid for their services with his small television and the last of his furniture Arturo would then be much thinner and absolutely broke. He would loudly lament the fact that he again allowed his earthly pleasures to completely consume his worldly possessions. After fervent promises of reliability and fidelity, Arturo would then be reinstated in the household with much of his former authority intact and things would continue much as they have in previous years. John, the farm foreman, did not approve of Arturo or his easy life - and neither did and the rest of the laborers. They believed he did not work as hard as they did but was paid the same salary - and this while chatting with the boss and eating free food in the comfort of the house. September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Perhaps it was the knowledge of the swiftly approaching seventh decade of his life, or maybe the rapid increase of AIDS cases scared him, or maybe Arturo just decided to pursue a lifestyle more in keeping with his years. Whatever the reason, Arturo found a pretty eighteen-year old and decided to settle down with her in his cottage on the farm. Although she could not read, it seemed that Precious was not just a pretty face. She enjoyed the good things in life and Arturo was eager to provide them. What she did not want was to become pregnant by a wayward, raunchy geriatric and then be dumped for a new girl. She was painfully aware of Arturo’s past philandering and she was going to make sure that she was his very last conquest. She saw in Arturo a mature potential spouse and provider - and she would ensure he became exactly that. It seemed Precious ran a tight ship. It was not long before evidence of Arturo’s infatuation with the young Precious became glaringly obvious: Dave’s daughter Candice found her best shoes miss-

ing and decorations and other items began to disappear around the house. The levels of Amarula liqueur and cognac also dropped alarmingly – and now the persistent rumors of Arturo’s guilt became impossible to ignore. When a complete collection of rare sea shells disappeared, Dave summoned John in his capacity as foreman. Dave was determined to find the culprit – and the chief suspect in the investigation was Arturo. With Arturo busy at the house - and unbeknownst to him - the two determined investigators made their way to his cottage. They were met at the door by the comely Precious who was informed of the need to search the cottage. She reacted angrily and refused to let them in, shouting and cursing in Swazi and spitting like a wildcat. What made matters worse was that Precious was having a bath just before the intrusion and neglected to don a shirt before answering the door. This caused John to loose his concentration in mid-sentence often during the negotiations and stare wistfully at Precious’s obvious bounty. September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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After much deliberation and repeated explanations by the foreman that Dave was the owner of the farm - and therefore owner of the cottage on it as well – the men were let inside by a reluctant Precious. Sure enough, there was the evidence: the missing shoes, some unlabeled bottles with liqueur in them and the shell collection which was proudly displayed on the window sill. They also found a suitcase full of many smaller items which were not missed up to now: knives and forks, two gold-rimmed crystal glasses, a torch, and a couple of audio tapes.


When Precious perceived that her illegal hoard would be repossessed, she became even more uncooperative and would have swung her tightly clenched fist at John if her right hand was not protectively wrapped around a small but obviously valuable item. Convinced that it was jewelry, Dave ordered Precious to surrender the item. She refused, and - in spite of the fact that her soapy flesh complicated proceedings - she was forcibly convinced by the foreman to do so. She sulkily surrendered a small plastic container. When questioned, Precious replied that it was medi-

cine given to her by Arturo.

read the label aloud:

“It is iPrevent” she haughtily informed them. By that she meant that it was an oral contraceptive to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

“Baytril. For Prince. One tablet twice daily after feeding.”

The foreman examined the item, and it is at this point that Dave said the room became very quiet.

Prince was Dave’s ferocious Alsatian and the pills were an antibiotic the vet had prescribed a couple of weeks before.

Precious now stood with her arms folded over torso, her eyes blazing with indignation.

As Dave looked up, he noticed John was staring intently at the pills. He seemed deep in thought.

John slowly turned around and handed Dave the small plastic container. It had a few elongated pale yellow tablets inside it. They stood in silence as Dave

He had a small smile on his face, and Dave said he was sure he saw the beginnings of a grudging new respect for Arturo in his eyes.

Mitch Mitchell is a hunter, outdoorsman and the author of several books on African wildlife and survival.


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Hunter’s Pot African Bush Cuisine

These two recipes incorporate gemsbuck and Shepherd’s bush root taken from Kudubos, our game farm in Namibia. And yes, I admit it: I made these recipes up. So sue me. They are still really delicious, though. Here they are served with kudu biltong, pepper game salami, cheese and cranberry sauce. Garnished with wild pear (drolpeer) flowers, Buffalo thorn and stamvrug tree leaves. I hope that these recipes will dispel the vicious rumor that bowhunters can not be chefs once and for all.

Paté de Oryx Gazella 30ml vegetable oil 100g Chopped mushrooms 250g Smoked Bacon 350g Minced gemsbuck fillet 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 100 ml sherry ½ Spoon Thyme 2 Eggs, beaten •

Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the mushrooms, onion and garlic until tender. Stir from time to time.

Add the Port, thyme, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat

Stir in the minced gemsbuck, bacon, beaten eggs and sherry. Mix well.

Transfer to a small bread tin

Bake at 180 ºC or 350 ºF for one hour and 15 minutes

Loosen from the tin with a knife dipped in hot water. Turn out on a flat serving plate.

To serve, cut thickly into neat slices. Garnish with shepherd’s bush leaves

Bask in the glory


Mitch Mitchell

Kudubos Pumpernickel This bread is based on the Dutch pumpernickel and is very solid and moist. It is sliced very thinly to act as a base for open sandwiches.

300g boiled wheat kernels 1 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons molasses 1 teaspoon cooking oil 100g Shepherd’s bush root, beaten very fine and liquidised. 50g raisins Bran

• Place all the ingredients except for the bran in a bowl and mix well. The mixture will be very moist • Cover with a moist , folded cloth and leave to stand overnight • The next day, add enough bran to make a dough •

Transfer the dough into a bread tin and cover with tin foil

• Place the bread tin with the bread (not the bread) in a bigger tin in which 2.5cm (1”) of water has been poured. • Place on the lowest rack of the oven and bake for 4-5 hours at 100ºC or 200ºF. Top up the water if necessary. • Remove from the oven and let it cool before removing from the tin • Words are sweet, but they never take the place of food African proverb

Wrap in moist sandwich paper and then in tin foil and place in the fridge for 2 days

Slice in very thin slices and serve


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True North

The Darker Regions of the Soul

If a man does not find those things for which his heart is made, if he is never even invited to live for them from his deep heart, he will look for them in some other way. Why is pornography the number one snare for men? He longs for the beauty, but without his fierce and passionate heart he cannot find her or win her or keep her. Though he is powerfully drawn to the woman, he does not know how to fight for her or even that he is to fight for her. Rather, he finds her mostly a mystery that he knows he cannot solve and so at a soul level he keeps his distance. And privately, secretly, he turns to the imitation. What makes pornography so addictive is that more than anything else in a lost man’s life, it makes him feel like a man without ever requiring a thing of him. The less a guy feels like a real man in the presence of a real woman, the more vulnerable he is to porn. And so a man’s heart, driven into the darker regions of the soul, denied the very things he most deeply desires, comes out in darker places. Now, a man’s struggles, his wounds and addictions, are a bit more involved than that, but those are the core reasons. As the poet George Herbert warned, “He begins to die, that quits his desires.” And you know what? We all know it. Every man knows that something’s happened, something’s gone wrong . . . we just don’t know what it is. Post a comment on our weblog at http://africanhunting.wordpress.com/

From Wild at Heart. With permission from John Eldredge www.ransomedheart.com September 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Profile for African Expedition Magazine

African Expedition Magazine Volume 1 Issue 2  

7 Steps to Bowhunting Success ▪ Bowhunt Africa Better Otto Bock’s Cartridge ▪ Do you need more than the 9.3x62 in Africa? The best all-round...

African Expedition Magazine Volume 1 Issue 2  

7 Steps to Bowhunting Success ▪ Bowhunt Africa Better Otto Bock’s Cartridge ▪ Do you need more than the 9.3x62 in Africa? The best all-round...

Profile for axmag