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Secrets of the San

Track &Hunt

Africa’s Black Death The man who survived a buffalo attack

Legacy The most feared animal in Africa

• Overlanding from Desert to Delta • The Monster from Namibia • • Battling Tigers in Africa • White Water Rafting • The Poor Man’s Leopard • Marshpig’s Father • www.africanxmag.com



It is sobering experience when considering global warming. Whether it is a natural cycle or man-made (I go with the last option) it means that the many wild places I love in Africa are about to change drastically. The Okavango swamps will get drier and the animals will move with the water. The Chobe river will dry up and my favorite photographic spot will be dry and animals will have moved on. Etosha will be so dry that animals will be scarce. The mighty Victoria Falls will become an unimposing stream with occasional overflow. The Zambezi river will shrink and it’s roar will turn to a whimper. My game farm in Namibia will get dry and the many Kudu, Gemsbuck and Warthog will be gone. Our good times there will just be a memory. All the places I love are going to change dramatically over the next years - and with it, floods, drought and famine will come. Very worrying indeed. Not that the book of Revelations has not foretold it many years ago, but still, it seems so soon. Will I be able to take my grandson hunting on our farm when he is old enough? What about his future? What about ours? I believe it is time to live pedal to the metal. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. The many things I worry about are just making me sick. If it helped at all to worry we should do more of it, but of course it does not. We almost always choose the safe path. Least risk = most security. As if such a thing such as security really exists on this side of the grave. Banks fail, governments are toppled, stock exchanges take a dive. What about those that risked it all to gain it all? They lived full throttle and really lived. Columbus risked all to find a new world. The American founding fathers risked being executed for treason. The old Testament prophets risked death to speak the truth. And Jesus, the truly untamed risk-taker, risked all on a rescue mission behind enemy lines. We buy a lottery ticket or try a new restaurant. So it seems to me that to live wild and free is to take risks - good ones. And if ever there was a time to take risks, it is now. You are alive now. Do things that most people are too afraid or too weak to do. Love your family properly. Grow some cojones and live what you believe. Love God. Have a faith that scares other people. Invest - don’t just spend - your time. Borrow money and take your son hunting in Africa while it is still beautiful. Take your wife on holiday. Go on an adventure with your best friends. You can always get more money - but time? You only have so much.

Mitch Mitchell

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.



con 7 Track better, hunt better Secrets of the San

19 Overlanding from Desert to Delta

The Best of all Possible Worlds

29 The Monster from Namibia The new number 1


33 One on one with Africa’s Black Death

Surviving a buffalo attack

43 Battling Tigers in Africa Fighting Africa’s freshwater superpredator

53 White Water Rafting

Riding the untamed Rivers of Africa

ntents 59 The Poor Man’s Leopard Hunting the Spotted Hyaena

66 Lethal Legacy

The most feared animal on the African continent

75 Press Releases 79 Trophy Gallery 5 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE November 2008

86 Marshpig’s Father

The Namibian Champion of Ugly

91 Hunter’s Pot

African Bush Cuisine

94 True North In the End

Drumbeat Reader’s comments

I received my printed copy today - great quality, looks like a coffee-table book! Keep it up. H. Boshua, South Africa. Thanks! You can now get it in colour covers with black and white pages for cheaper. -Ed

I see on your web site that I can now extend my subscription for an additional 2 years - for free? Come on, there’s got to be a catch! K. Chesterton-Brown, Ireland. Yes there is a catch - but a small one. There is a new concept that is sweeping the internet and one which you will be hearing much more of in the future. With TrialPay, you can try or buy an offer from your favorite brands and get your original product for free. It is the first payment platform to let customers benefit from advertising dollars. Click here or on the image to try it . The bottom line is, you win. The middleman does not get his cut anymore. Ain’t that a shame. -Ed.

Why don’t you do product evaluations? I think it would be useful to get info on products evaluated in African conditions to see how products developed elsewhere perform there. S. Vonnegut, Norway. Good idea, but we are already on the job. We are in the process of getting products to evaluate. -Ed.

Thank you for your uncompromising stand on hunting and conservation. In a politically correct world where everybody is afraid to speak the truth, it is very refreshing. A. Grobler, New Zealand Thanks A. We get a lot of flack because of this and some advertisers refuse to work with us. Protecting a species is of the utmost importance, but the life of a single individual animal is not. We have no option but to choose - and we choose to protect the species as a whole and the ecosystem. The 7,000 elephants too many (which no-one wants to buy and which is destroying the ecosystem by pushing over thousands of trees) in the Kruger National Park is a case in point. Bring your family to Africa one day and I will take you there to see for yourself. - Ed.


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Track better, hunt better

Secrets of the San



ost hunters are occasional or recreational hunters. They spend most of their time in city or officebound jobs dreaming about being in the bush and only once or perhaps a few times a year actually get an opportunity to go hunting. At heart these individuals are true and dedicated hunters, but the demands of earning a living prevent them from spending the amount of time they wish they could in pursuing their passion. They have to content themselves for the most part by vicariously participating in the adventures of others through the reading of hunting magazines, watching hunting DVD’s or tinkering with their hunting equipment in preparation for a long planned-for excursion into the wilds. Many sport hunters therefore rely on the skills of trackers or professional hunters to help them interpret natural signs, locate animals they intend hunting, getting them close enough and into position for a shot and are sometimes reliant on trackers to help locate wounded animals. By having to rely on the tracking and bush skills of others to bring a hunt to a successful conclusion means, by implication, that the occasional hunter is not a “complete hunter”. Compare the “hunter” who spends most of his existence in an urban environment to that of a Kalahari bushman who must hunt and forage for food and water - and successfully so - to survive on a day to day basis. The skills of the city dweller are cultivated and refined for urban existence and survival: how to cross a road safely during peak hour traffic, be-

ing aware at a stop street at night that a highjacker might be lurking somewhere in the shadows waiting to pounce, keeping doors locked, ensuring that your children are always under adult supervision and home before dark, being suspicious of strangers, regarding it as quite normal to have your hand luggage subjected to scrutiny before boarding a commercial airline. Finding shelter, food and drink are not generally an urban problem. And so the city dweller’s senses become attuned to a completely different set of variables compared to that of the bushman to the extent that although the urbanite enjoys exposure to the wild outdoors he is generally (consciously or subconsciously) aware of the fact that he is out of touch with what happens in wild places and is essentially an outsider – an alien in a strange land. Many of the sounds, smells, tastes, textures and sights are quite foreign to him and he is obliged to rely on an “interpreter of the wild”. The bushman by contrast must be able to “read sign” if he and his family are to eat and survive. “Reading sign” is perhaps an inadequate term that leads to some misunderstandings with respect to what tracking skills actually involve. Most people think of “tracking” as following a set of paw or hoof prints registered in the soil. This, although being an integral component, is but a small facet of what tracking involves because firstly it is confined to the visual sense and secondly is restricted to only one of the hundreds of visual clues to which the trackers vision is drawn like iron filings to a magnet. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE



Tracking is, however, not only confined to what can be seen. Sounds, smells, tastes and touch also convey information. Tracking would be more accurately described as a holistic sensory integration process which conveys a complete environmental awareness picture. The accomplished tracker takes in information from all his senses and is simultaneously aware of the composite meaning of it all. He not only sees the tracks on the ground but is listening at the same time for sounds and testing the air with quivering nostrils, touching the place where an animal lay, feeling a light breeze cool the sweat on his forehead. He sees not only the tracks but from them deduces which animal made them, when, the direction of travel and the condition of their author. His eyes search for additional signs which may indicate the passage of the animal being followed or the presence of others. He listens for animal, bird, frog or insect calls or the lack thereof which may indicate the flight path or warn of danger. His ears are pricked for the sound of a snapping twig, the scrape of a hoof against rock, the clatter of dislodged stones, a growl or an alarm call. His nose tests the air for distinctive smells – dust stirred up by hooves, the aroma of approaching rain, smoke from a bushfire. Many animals have characteristic smells which he quickly recognizes – zebra, waterbuck, lion, wild dog, elephant and many others have their own signature odours. The cool turbulence on his forehead informs him of the direction from which the breeze is coming and he instinctively knows he is positioned well for his approach towards the animal he is tracking.

He does not have to be consciously aware of this - he just knows. Although sensory signs are separate and distinct from one another the accomplished tracker integrates it all to form a complete picture of the environment he is walking through. The urban dweller gets most of his information from the morning paper, listening to the radio or watching television broadcasts. The tracker reads the soil, smells, listens to and touches his world to be aware of the natural goings on all around him - and yet there is more, for the trackers perceptions are not confined to the five senses alone. His intimate knowledge of the ways of wild things “puts him in their heads”. Stated differently, he is able to “think” and “reason” the way an animal does and is therefore often able to predict with a remarkable degree of accuracy what an animal will do in any given set of circumstances: where it will go if it is hurt or wounded, how it will react to being approached, places it will hide if it feels threatened, where to find its preferred habitat and when it will go down to a waterhole to drink. This intuitive knowledge comes through patient, persistent and long observation of wild creatures in their natural environment under different circumstances. The occasional hunter, in a manner of speaking, suffers from urban induced sensory deprivation and is to varying degrees blind, deaf and challenged in tactile, taste and smell perception to things present and perceived in wild places. The hunting experience is therefore incomplete because the recreational hunter has “bush senses” which are partially blunted through lack of use. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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tracking skills CDs available with an abundance of visual material and “how to” tracking techniques and principles. By carefully studying and working through these CDs and other books will go a long way in helping you to become a better tracker. The CD’s will show the types and differences between mammal tracks, bird tracks, reptile tracks and examples of sign that you can be on the lookout for in the bush. If you know what to look for and identify what you are seeing, you are already on a different level of tracking proficiency. The CDs will also tell you what to listen for and ways to smell and observe and will give you practical hints of how to exercise these senses in and around your own home. The senses are something like our muscles. If they are not trained and exercised, they atrophy and waste away. Given the correct way to exercise they become stronger and more efficient.

Most hunters would agree that the enjoyment of the hunt does not hinge solely around shooting a trophy. It is the total experience that is cherished. Sitting around a campfire at night with good hunting friends, the challenge of the hunt, in some instances the flavour of risk when dangerous game is taken and many other facets which contribute exponentially to the satisfaction derived from the hunting endeavor. But the experience could be significantly enhanced and the ability of the hunter increased proportionately as his tracking ability is improved. Now I know what you’re thinking. You are wondering how you can improve your tracking skills if you live in an urban environment. The answer is that you will never become as proficient as the person who lives in the wilds and who is continually exposed to it. Sorry. However the good news is that the occasional urban bound hunter can significantly improve his tracking skills despite not being in a bush environment.

Here’s how. 1. There are a number of good books available and an excellent set of teach-yourself 12 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE November 2008

2. Study animal behaviour. There are a number of ways that you can do this in an urban setting. Observe your pets and other domestic species: Cats, dogs, cows, goats, pigs and sheep are the domestic equivalents of wild counterparts and there are many similarities in their behaviour. Your cat behaves in a similar way to wild cats, caracal, serval, leopard and lion and the basic form of the tracks of your favourite tabby are very similar to those of wild species. So next time your cut is lying purring contentedly on your lap, examine its paws carefully and you will have learned something of value that can be applied in the wilds. Watch how your cat goes to the toilet and how it stalks a dove on your front lawn. You will then have learned something about wild cat species. Your dog behaves in many ways similar to jackal, and wild dog and has tracks which are akin to wild species. Cows behave much like buffalo, goats like antelope and so on. The scats of the domestic animals are also very similar to those of their wild cousins. The scat of cows looks (and smells) like that of buffalo, that of sheep like wild antelope, that of cats like wild cat

3. Watch wildlife DVD’s / videos and nature TV programs: You can learn a significant amount about wild animals and the way they behave by watching and carefully observing wildlife footage. Look at the activities of animals, birds and other wild creatures – the way they interact, feed, drink, walk, and run and you can then form a picture in your mind how these actions will be registered in their tracks and other sign. Listen carefully to the soundtracks of these productions. Many of them have good background bush sounds, animal and bird calls. There are also some excellent CDs and DVDs available with bird, animal and frog calls.

species and so on. So, careful observation of the tracks, scats and behaviour of domesticated animals can teach you a great deal about tracking which can be applied to the wild context.

You can learn to identify these in the comfort of your living room and will then be able to identify them in the bush when you hear them. Learn to relate these calls to animal and bird behaviour and you will realize that vocalizations will inform you about the actions and intentions of wild creatures that motivate them to audibly communicate. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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4. Take a trip to your local zoo where you will be afforded the opportunity to observe animals at close range. Observe closely the structure of their feet, the way they walk and the tracks they register. Listen to their calls and catch a whiff of their body odour. 5. Be aware of your senses and exercise them. We use most of our senses on a subconscious level and when we do this they become lazy. When we consciously exercise our senses they become more efficient. Ask yourself the questions: What an I seeing? What can I hear? What am I smelling? What am I feeling / touching? What am I tasting? When you have made yourself aware of a sense then consciously analyze what you are experiencing. What am I smelling – is it pleasant or unpleasant, strong or subtle, sweet or pungent? What am I seeing –

what are the colours, hues, textures, lighting? And so on. When you are hunting you will find yourself becoming more aware of using your senses and analyzing what the incoming sensory information is revealing to you. 6. Make use of a tracking garden A “tracking garden” is any area that is exposed to the ageing effects of a natural (outside) environment (heat, wind, cold, dew, rain) where you lay down sign and learn to identify the changes that take place in sign over time. You could do this in your garden or even on the sidewalk. You can make a footprint in the soil (or get your dog to walk across a substrate that will register a track), place some vegetation and fresh dog scat on the study area, urinate on the patch (out of sight of the neighbours) and prick your finger to get a couple of drops to fall on the vegetation and on the exposed soil. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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7. Use your imagination and introduce different types of sign into your study area. Then visit it at various times, taking careful note of how the sign ages with time. Link this to past and prevailing weather conditions. The amount of tracking knowledge you can glean from a tracking garden in terms of aging of sign is quite phenomenal. 8. Observe people. Careful observation of people – which you can do anywhere, on the sidewalk, in your workplace, at a shopping mall – can teach you a lot about tracking people. Look at the way people walk, the length of stride they take at different speeds, the way they place their feet, the difference between men and women, young and old. Take note of how someone walks when they are carrying a heavy load and how this effects stride width and stride length. Watch a person with a limp or who is inebriated and walking with a weaving and unsteady gait. Look at the wear pattern on your own and other people’s footwear as this will give you an indication of their walking patterns. What sign does a person leave when they are sitting down, resting, eating, drinking and carrying on with

normal daily activities. Look at tread patterns of footwear and how observing a track from different angles changes how much detail can be seen. Walk downwind from a smoker and see at what distance the smell of cigarette smoke and the body odour of a smoker can be detected Listen to how loudly people generally talk (because of background noise levels) and bear in mind how far this sound will carry in a relatively quiet bush environment. The possibilities are endless but being aware of how your senses monitor the activities of humans will assist you in being a better tracker in a bush environment. 9. Learn to identify endemic trees, flowers and grasses and relate these to the feeding habits of wild animals and birds. Some of these representatives of the floral kingdom may be present in your own garden. If not you can pay a visit to your local botanical gardens and learn to identify trees and plant species. Hopefully this short article has illustrated that it is possible to improve your tracking skills in an urban environment and that when you are afforded the opportunity to go hunting or find yourself for whatever reason in a wild setting, your experience of the outdoors will be that much more enjoyable and you will also be a better hunter for having improved your tracking prowess.


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. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Overlanding from Desert to Delta

The Best of all Possible Worlds



hen you make your decision to visit an African country like Botswana in Southern Africa, you are faced with a myriad of travel options. At the top of the scale is the fly-in-five-star-lodge experience (comfort at a price). The more adventurous way of doing it is to hop on an overland truck, with a whole bunch of other adrenalin junkies and party on (great, but not for those who value their privacy). I decided to try something new, adventurous, private, safe and affordable – the guided, self-drive safari. You may wonder how on earth you can have all of this in one package. It’s actually quite simple. You rent a 4-wheel drive vehicle (there are a number of rental companies available) and you link up with a credible 4X4 operator (such as Bhejane 4X4 Adventures). Then, you let them do the rest for you – the navigation, tent pitching, cooking, interpretation, en route driver training …. Everything but changing nappies!

Gordon Johnson

That’s the icing on the top. Now for the cake …… “Bhejane” is the Zulu word for Black Rhino and this stems from the company’s owner, and our guide, Frank Carlisle who had his roots in Black Rhino conservation in KZN’s Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game Reserve. Frank met us, and the other members of our safari party, in the town of Letlakane in Southern Botswana (we were given detailed instruction on the route, places to stay, border procedures, etc prior to departing). After a meet and greet, drivers’ briefing and handing out of two-way radios (one for each of our 8-vehicle convoy as our new bushveld ‘telegraph’) it was time to hit the dirt. I soon realized how important the radios are as Frank used them to warn us of stray chickens, pigs, goats, cows and the ever present donkeys on the dusty roads. Two wonderful surprises awaited us – the vast, ghostly expanse of the world’s largest salt pan, the Makgadikgadi and the appearance, like a wonderful mirage, of our camp for the night – dome tents under giant baobabs and the camp kettle brewing on the fire alongside a pot of venison stew and home baked bread. Our journey then took us north, alongside the Makgadikgadi Pans and on to the tourism capital of Botswana – Maun – for a restock and refuel stop. For those who wanted to, we had a privilege of opting for a fixed wing flight over the world’s largNovember 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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est inland delta – the Okavango. Seeing it glimmer from the air, was testament to its title, ‘The Jewel of Botswana’. This liquid wilderness is made even more profound by the fact that it is surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. Once back down, it was time to explore the delta from terra firma as we headed for our camp on the western side of the Delta’s panhandle. This time, with our expectations already raised, it was no surprise to find that the ‘magicians’, Frank’s logistics team, were again ten steps ahead of us and we drove into a camp set up on the banks of one of the Okavango River’s main channels. Swamp Stop, suitably named, is nestled amongst a green carpet of 22 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE November 2008

floating papyrus. The next day it was time to leave the dust and tyres and take to the water. We spent a day cruising papyrus lined canals, seeing the odd croc and hippo while serenaded by that haunting call of the Fish Eagle – Africa’s original sound track. Our next port of call was on the banks of the Okavango River in the Caprivi Strip in north eastern Namibia. However, this was, after all, an adventure safari, so there was not to be a direct route. Rather, we snaked our way to the eerie Tsodilo Hills, Botswana’s highest point and home to over 4 000 original Bushman paintings. This humbling experience set the tone for the rest of our travels.


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Ngepi Camp is unique. This was our home for three nights, with a day spent game viewing in the nearby Mohangu Game Reserve and a sundowner cruise down the mighty Okavango River. An entire half day can be spent exploring Ngepi Camp – and this is exactly what I did. There is the ‘toilet tour’ where you can sample the delights of toilets of every shape, size and panorama. There is the ‘loo with the view’, ‘the world’s longest drop’ and the ‘his and hers throne’. I also spent time relaxing in the ‘wacky’ swimming pool – a hippo and croc proof cage which

floats in the Okavango River below majestic and ancient Jackalberry trees. The last leg of our journey took us back into Botswana close to the town of Kasane where we camped for another three nights. A day was spent visiting the roaring Victoria Falls and some of our convoy added to the ‘roar’ as they leapt off the Victoria Falls bridge bungy platform with an elastic band tied to their ankles. Others in our convoy enjoyed bartering at the craft markets and many of us tasted the colonial delights of the renowned Victoria Falls Hotel. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Frank has extensive training as a game ranger with expert knowledge in wildlife conservation, is a highly skilled tour guide with experience in 4x4 driver training and biological interpretation and remains committed to environmental eduction and to the practice of the highest conservation ethics.


On the last day of our adventure we climbed aboard a traditional safari vehicle and were privileged to see some of Africa’s best and biggest: the Chobe giants (those magnificent eles), two lion kills and a sleepy leopard padding along in the early morning sun. The grand finale was a sundowner cruise in the late

afternoon which took us back into Chobe National Park. The sun set on our adventure as the elephants splashed nearby our boat - a typical pink, orange, red and multi-hued African sunset. My only comment when saying farewell to Frank was, “When’s the next safari?”


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The Monster from Namibia The new number 1



e had mentioned something about “the monster” when he picked me up at the airport in late July. One of Gerard’s previous hunters told me about the size of this leopard’s track and his nickname, “the monster,” but it did not sink in until I had seen numerous other large male leopards’ tracks as I stood over this one. Now I knew what they were talking about. I had booked a ten-day leopard hunt in Namibia and five day cape buffalo hunt in Mozambique with Gerard Erasmus, of Sumsare (Erasmus spelled backwards) Safaris, and felt quite at peace with the fact that most leopard hunts are a minimum of 14 days (some 21 days) and most cape buffalo hunts are a minimum of seven days (most longer) knowing that Gerard was not only capable of delivering, but also that he was a lot of fun to hunt with. I had hunted with him before and knew he was a professional, and also felt that this hunt needed to be approached with the proper attitude. He is a great friend so this was going to be easy.

Brad Smith


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Preparing for a leopard hunt is one thing, cape buffalo, quite another. I had chosen to do both on the same trip so my philosophy was simple: I needed to get in the best mental and physical condition I could and with that, I began with a trip to a cardiologist. “Why was I here?” was the question of the day by the doctor to this 53-year-old. My response was that the visit was preventive in nature. I wanted to get checked out with the idea that I would push myself in training and on the hunt if surprises needed to be avoided. I got an A+ from the echo cardiogram and nuclear stress tests so all that remained was for me to exercise and prepare mentally. In the end, before the hunt, I had lost almost 20 pounds and could walk miles in the hills near my home daily. The difference in altitude between my home in Fort Worth, Texas and where I would hunt in Namibia was almost 4000 feet. But, I felt good and my attitude was to have fun, no matter what. I felt if I got one good opportunity at a leopard that was all I could hope for. Besides, I have always believed it is not right to judge a hunt on what you killed but on the experience itself. Even a bust could be a great trip. My hunt was to be a baited leopard hunt. Namibia allows the use of both baiting and dog hunting for leopards. Gerard’s expertise has been proven on many hunts over bait. A typical day of baiting involves checking previously baited sets, re-baiting if necessary, and checking out areas for new tracks. The idea is to set up a blind over a bait that has been hit by a large male and hunt there in the evening after such a hit. Namibia, the Khomas region specifically, has few large trees and no leopards that know what a tree is anyway, so these baits are set under brush in canyons and ravines that the leopards use as travel ways. A rabies epidemic was decimating the local kudu population so meat was plentiful for the cats during my visit and Gerard’s plan, with my approval, was to hunt with bait for the first six days, then call a hounds man in for days 7 through 10 if necessary. By day six, we had seen plenty of leopard sign, lots of large male tracks, but the baits weren’t working due to the kudu rabies issue, so the decision was made to call in the dogs for day seven. The area was full of leopards. 32 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE November 2008

The leopards unfortunately were full of kudu. The night before, as we finished a wonderful dinner outside, a leopard roared in a canyon not far away. Talk about a spine tingling bit of foreshadowing! Gerard and I talked about the differences in baiting and hunting with dogs, and he warned me about the dangers associated with a leopard charging when he sees you. The main difference in the two hunting techniques is that with baiting, you are attempting to kill a totally unsuspecting animal. With the dogs, he is mad and looking for a way to even the score. He reminded me that if given the opportunity that I must shoot straight as there was a lot of lives at stake here. I slept not one bit that night. The next morning came early. I was awakened at 4:00 AM given some coffee and off we went to the land of the big track. Gerard wanted me to get this leopard. He had baited him for over two and a half months with no attention paid by the cat to the baits. Gerard theorized he had been caught in a trap previously and was wise to a human made bait set. This leopard had killed the rancher’s livestock, perhaps as many as 50 calves and was a real problem. Needless to say, the rancher wanted me to get this leopard. On the way to this ranch the silence was overbearing. To break it up, and being the guy he typically is, Gerard roared at me which was enough to send me through the window of the Land Cruiser! Laughing, he did ask me if I had prayed that night to which I acknowledged an affirmative. He just nodded and said, “Good my friend. So did I”. We met the dog owner, Roy Sparks, and his crew at about 6:30, drove a short distance to the ranch, picked up the owner and began our search for fresh spoor. In tow were 15 very good proven dogs, blue tick hounds, blood hounds, wire haired terriers, mutts, and even a Jack Russell terrier named Oscar. We searched every canyon and ravine his track had been seen before, and running out of scent finding time, at 10:15 moved into a highly remote area of the ranch that had not been visited by even the owner in years. The trackers checked the canyon and “bingo”, a fresh male and female track! Seven of the fifteen dogs were put on the spoor along with

the handler, Gerard, and several trackers. I stayed behind with Roy and the remaining 8 dogs to bring them in when the leopard was found.

effort, got “the monster”. A beautiful trophy that will rank high in the SCI book and possibly will be the new #1 in Namibia.

It did not take long. Within 15 minutes the dogs had him and off we went. After an exhilarating fast-paced hike over a ridge and into the canyon below, Roy and I arrived in time to have the “monster” double back through the trackers and other dogs. At bay, the job of not hitting a dog and getting the leopard began. Fortunately, I did get this leopard without incident to human life. Unfortunately however, before I arrived, the leopard did to one of the hounds what they are so good at.

Unofficially he scores 18 & 4/16”. In my mind the experience was first though.

In the end, we, and I say that because it was a team


What an opportunity to see first hand, how such a magnificent creature lives and is hunted. My thanks to Roy Sparks, his dog team, and handlers. More importantly, my thanks to my great friend Gerard Erasmus, who found this leopard and pushed me to be what I needed to be, and to my lovely wife, Diane, for her patience with all of my hunting passions. And most importantly, I thank God for the opportunity, and making this hunt a safe one.

www.sumsare.net November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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One on one with Africa’s Black Death

Surviving a buffalo attack


Asensio Esteban


n a famous gun shop in Madrid there is a notice that reads: “Please, do not tell us your horrible hunting stories”. This is precisely what I am going to do. At the annual dinner of Safari Club International, chapter of Castile, celebrated last year, I had the good fortune to receive a gift from my wife in the shape of an envelope that contained a trip to hunt buffalo in Zimbabwe. Since these kind of adventures should not be attempted alone - almost at the same time as I was bidding on my wife’s behalf for this hunt - my good friend, Luis Robles, decided to join me. And this with the kind consent of his wife! To prepare for the hunting adventure in Africa, we wanted to be ready for every eventuality. First of all, because the destination of Zimbabwe was not the most advisable, and as alarms always went off with regards to certain issues and we tend to believe all that we hear on the news. During five months that preceded our trip, I tried to research everything on the political, economic, cultural situation - and especially hunting issues – as much as I could. All our initial reservations were overcome by the facts from our research. With the necessary due diligence and foresight we reserve our flights via South Africa to the airport of BulaNovember 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Honest (PH) Pedro (PH) and Luis (hunter)

wayo. The combination of flights, that at first would have been with Iberia followed by South African Airlines, had to be modified at short notice and brought forward. This meant a change of route, so Iberia flew us up to Johannesburg and from there with Air Zimbabwe to Bulawayo. Until the day of our trip, I was reading about the buffalo in a well-known book that had been published on the subject at that time as well as any other article or chapters of other books or publications that fell in my hands.

legal documentation with our weapons by both the Civil Guard and in the counters of Iberia. Their willingness to help might also have something to do with the fact that we were carrying weapons! Once we got to South Africa we met with Simon, extraordinary warm and kind person who helped many Spanish hunters. He certainly merits all my respect, thanks and gratitude. With his aid we registered the

During my research I saw innumerable photos of buffaloes grazing and hunters calmly posing with magnificent specimens in front of them. I decided that I would give it all I had to have my own buffalo and photograph, proudly posing as they did. I was looking forward to see not only a single buffalo, but to many sightings. The special day came and we went to the T4 of Barajas to check in the rifles and set out towards our destination. I was pleasantly surprised with the facility and the unbeatable help with dealing with the November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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weapons for safety and security, and since neither the companies nor the flights were connected, we were not sure our kit would be arriving at the final destination. Taking the Air Zimbabwe plane to Bulawayo gave us a different sensation; it meant that this was the real beginning of our adventure. We were transported to the plane in a bus which we shared with several tourists, some locals and a few Canadian nuns. On arriving at the plane’s parking position and on descending from the bus, we noticed that two of the plane’s four wheels were ok, but the other two were in a deplorable state. The wires were showing on the outside. If this happened in Europe, I would have refused to fly. In Africa, however, it was just another tale of survival to (hopefully) share in the future. We looked at each other - and secure in the knowledge that we have seen our weapons and baggage being loaded onto the plane – we shrugged our shoulders and boarded the plane. After a safe landing in the more or less paved runway of the international airport of Bulawayo we were

made to feel welcome from the first moment. Once inside the “airport” and as night was approaching, we met our professional hunter, which I might add; from that moment and to now we came to consider him as a magnificent friend With the help of Pedro Queipo del Llano we retrieved our weapons and baggage without problems. Our stay in Bulawayo was short and sweet: only the few minutes which the route took between the exit of the airport and the highway that led us to the hunter’s territory. We arrived at dusk to a very well equipped camp with several bungalows, good drinking water and surrounded by fields and open land. The main house with the kitchen, lounge and dining room were used as a communal area while the other buildings were for the hunters’ accommodation, trackers and other staff. On that same night we met those who were going to be our PH, specified by Zimbabwean law to be local hunters. Since we were going to hunt in 1x1 and Luis preferred that Pedro would accompany

The blood on Asensio’s trousers and head as well as the blood on the PH´s shorts (left in picture) is from the buffalo. The PH looks very relieved to be alive.


him because of his lack of English, I did not have other alternative but to join the locals.

Author taking the measurement

The hunts started from dawn until mid morning and from after lunch until dusk. Already on the first day after only two hours of following buffalo tracks my PH managed to get me to within sixty meters of a herd of approximately twenty that were grazing in an area of tall shrubs. The wind changed direction and the buffaloes smelt us, disappearing immediately with a tremendous noise. This was the first time that I saw these amazing animals in their normal habitat and it really impressed me, in spite of not having had the opportunity for a shot. The reality was that, when all is said and done, we had only just begun. The days that followed went from real safari to tracking. Hunting in Zimbabwe is mindblowing, wild, natural and very real. We never came across any wire fence and the animals were moving with absolute freedom and grace. As the area was sandy we saw many tracks of elephants, lions, leopards, kudu, and hyena. Nevertheless, the thing that alarmed us the most was the body of a black mamba that was laying in the dry river-bed, coiled up and headless. During the following three days we followed many tracks and on several occasions we got as close as to be able to take a shot at the herd of buffalo. We were very controlled and patient and a few times they got away because they could hear us or smelled us. This situation which all hunters know well was causing tension and this could be felt in the evenings

at mealtime - especially when your hunting partner has managed to take a magnificent buffalo. The days pass and you begin to worry because you still have nothing. Luis had fulfilled the task at hand and knocked down a magnificent buffalo with his .375 H&H with the help of Honest Ndlovu, the local PH that was accompanying the group. They retrieved the animal without any problem and we were able to take a few good photos at the camp. The topic of conversation of our meals, dinners and campfire talks were hunting, hunting, and more hunting. Perhaps as a premonition, Luis asked what to do in case of a buffalo charge. I had read in the book to which I referred earlier that there was no thing specific you can do – a buffalo is an animal that, when angry, is just going to kill you. If you run, it will catch up with you before you know it; if you remain calm and stand still, then your chances of survival is reduced by 100% - and to climb up a tree is useless and not easy considering these are mostly shrubs and not more than ten centimeters in diameter. The situation becomes very dangerous and you certainly do not want to provoke a buffalo. When Luis shot his buffalo he commented on how dangerous and powerful the animal was, especially considering it had already received the first shot. At that moment it turns and runs it is necessary to steel yourself, keep a cool head, be fully aware of the situation and begin tracking. The conclusion that we came to - and if there was no possibility of knocking down to the animal - the best to do would be what the matadors do: throw yourself November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Asensio, Luis and Pedro

flat on the ground and try to hold on to something to make it impossible for your body to be lifted in any way. This will prevent the buffalo from goring you with the horns. The placement of the horns and the shape of the muzzle prevents him from hurting us more in this position – unfortunately the buffalo would still be able to stamp on the unfortunate hunter in this position. On the following day Luis and Pedro initiated the search of another buffalo and I, accompanied by my assigned tracker, the PH and the driver of the vehicle went to look for my buffalo. After an hour and having cut the tracks of three “dagga boys” we managed to spot them on an opposite hill to where we were. The animals were grazing and we managed to get within a hundred and twenty meters from them which gave us enough space to prevent being seen or smelt by them. The PH asked me if I was sure I would be able to make the shot on the larger animal with my .416 Rigby and I answered him affirmatively and without hesitation. The rifle was to set up on the tripod and 40 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE November 2008

I aimed and took my shot. The PH doubled the shot with his .458 but missed but the buffalo nevertheless took a well placed shot from me. As he was hit he jumped and started running straight ahead. Before following up – and remembering the conversation during dinner the previous evening - I advised the PH to wait. I said he could take a smoking break and that we will begin the search in an hour. Nevertheless my PH and the tracker, after a brief conversation, concluded that the shot was well placed and that the best thing would be to begin tracking the beast. This was the real thing. When we arrived to the spot were the animal took the shot we saw the first traces of blood. It was glistening red, arterial blood and the animal was bleeding freely. We agreed that the shot was well placed and the tracks indicated that it was accompanied by another male. We started tracking the animal and observed that at approximately two hundred meters from where he was hit the animal had lain down, leaving a puddle of blood behind. From the tracks the tracker concluded that the buffalo had a broken right leg. This was obvi-

not a completely bad shot on my behalf. In this environment of thick mopane and sand,this knowledge did not help to give me a sense of tranquillity. It had exactly the opposite effect. We could not see further than twelve or thirteen meters and this added to the knowledge that a knocked down animal would be hard to spot under these circumstances. You would just come up on to it without any warning. The buffalo was aware of our approach and tried to get away with quick a burst of energy, devastating everything that he encountered in his way. The three bullets, 1st.; 2nd and 3rd

ous to the tracker as he could see that it was trying to support his right leg over his left, dragging his left on the ground and leaving a distinctive mark. The tracks of the accompanying buffalo were normal and he was obviously not hurt. We followed the animal for almost three hours in this way, making it get up and keep going every two or three hundred meters. At one stage we were crossing a forest of mopane which to me looked like an oak forest. It wasn’t the easiest of places to get across and at some stages we even had go almost on our knees to get through it. At one point, when we were going down a hill and the buffaloes were on the slope before us, we were convinced that they must have seen us. As we came up to a good position we noticed that the uninjured beast had left its companion to face its destiny alone by taking another course. Every time we got close to the buffalo we heard it in the distance moving up and down the hill. Where it had gone past the trees the bark was peeled as he rubbed his boss against them. The experienced PH informed me that it was clear that the animal was very aggressive at this point. In hindsight, perhaps the best thing to have done would have been to stop and wait, to remove the scope of the rifle and call Pedro by radio to ask him for his backup. We did nothing of the sort but resumed the search. When you have been tracking a wounded buffalo for two or three hours it is almost impossible to hold back the mixture of excitement, tension and anticipation. You certainly never expect to be met suddenly by the animal, especially when the tracker and the professional is in front of you, holding a rifle in his hands. Every step we took we saw blood, which indicated that the bleeding continued. This meant that it was

The tracker, a boy approximately twenty years old and without any doubt a professional in his field, was not doing nothing but looking at the ground and the blood track. He was walking ahead of us, closely followed by the PH with a .458 loaded with solid bullet. Last but not least came yours truly carrying a CZ .416 Rigby loaded with a soft point bullet for the first round and solid the rest. Then the worst possible thing happened. At that exact moment the tracker looked up and spotted the buffalo at approximately ten meters away. Suddenly and without warning he spun around and started running like hell in the opposite direction to the bull. As he ran past me, his face was blank with fear and his mouth twitched spasmodically as he tried in vain to mouth the words “buffalo, buffalo!”. The PH, whom I was trusting and expecting to react without hesitation and act as cool as ice, took a mighty leap up in the air and ended up about three meters to my right. Suddenly I was alone facing the black death. As it turned to the right the injured animal was getting ready to charge. At that moment -and undoubtedly inspired and helped by Divine Providence and backed up by my Guardian Angel that was accompanying me - I managed to take a direct shot to the heart, one which I was convinced would kill it. How wrong can one be! In spite of that the buffalo turned and began to charge with a gallop. I had no time to reload. I was hoping that PH would shoot it and I did indeed hear a shot from the PH. Unfortunately he shot only at the clear blue sky. At that moment - and right before the imminent attack - I did not hesitate to do what we had been talking about the previous night around dinner: I got rid of my rifle and threw myself on the ground, sticking to it like a tick to a warthog. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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If I had run, the buffalo would have reached me and I would be dead now. When the buffalo is charging there is no time to be afraid. As I was lying on the ground the buffalo got to me and I could see and feel him banging on my side, arm and leg, slashing his horns from side to side wanting to gore me. I could hear his heavy breathing and all I could think was: “ well ...he’s killing me ..., killing me ...he is not killing me!!! “. The four or five seconds that the attack lasted felt like many minutes. I kept hoping that the PH would shoot the animal to knock him down - but I was wrong again. All he did was to scream out something in Shona. I imagine that he did it thinking that the buffalo had already killed me. To his horror, only he managed to attract the beasts attention. I will forever have this image engraved in my mind: the buffalo raising his head and turning to where the noise was coming from, leaving me lying on the ground and setting off again in the direction of the professional hunter. The buffalo knocked him down and lay down on top of him. We are talking about a buffalo, people. It which weighs much more than a couple of kilograms. 42 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE November 2008

I took advantage of the moment and, surprised that he (and I) was still alive, picked up my rifle and loaded the next bullet. I walked towards the animal which was still lying on top of the PH. The PH kept on screaming at the top of his voice that the buffalo was crushing and killing him. Even though he was not much help during the charge, I thought it prudent to prevent the PH’s death and took a final shot at the buffalo’s spine. Once it was lying motionless, I cautiously moved closer with the rifle loaded and aiming at it. I put the cannon in the eye socket to verify that he was well and truly dead. The PH was still insisting that the buffalo had crushed and killed him. I took the animal by the tail and raised the right leg in the purest bullfighter style to try and roll him of my screaming PH. As if by magic the tracker reappeared out of nothing and helped me. Between us we managed to get the PH out from under the dead animal. In view of the disappointing performance of the local PH I did not have any other choice but to take control of the situation and sent the tracker to get the vehicle that was approximately five kilometres from the point we were standing. I ordered him to call the others on the radio and explain what had happened to us and send someone to come and collect us. Luis and of Pedro were very worried and this showed

when they finally got to us. I called my wife from the satellite phone to tell her about our experience and to announce that I had just become a citizen of Zimbabwe. I can not repeat the names she called me but I can assure you I did not need a phone to hear her shouting at me. I have to thank God nothing had happened to me or any of us. To come up to where we were the vehicle had two punctures and we had to make tracks for the car using a spade and axe, as though the day had not been hard enough so far. The dead buffalo was very old, with a massive and completely closed boss. It is a magnificent specimen and I am particularly proud to have had brought it down. Later that day and as we got to rest, it was going through my mind that this might be my first and last buffalo I will get to hunt in my lifetime. From now on I would only spend my time shooting partridges. No hunting can compare or come close to this event. On the following day after returning from Victoria Falls to take my flattened PH to the Hospital, I picked up the rifle again with the firm intention of continuing hunting buffalo at every possible occasion. My body was badly bruised and I got very used to the black and blue shades that turned into almost every other colour. It hurt like blazes but fortunately I came back alive. When we returned to the camp the skinner handed me the three bullets that the buffalo had inside all of my .416 Rigby, two softpoints and a solid one. Curiously none of them mushroomed and the first one opened only very little. If this amazing experience has taught me anything it is that the second shot that the buffalo took to the chest when it turned towards me saved my life - but what really helped was the fact that I threw myself to the ground following the good advice of my friend

Pedro. If I had ran or remained still, the buffalo would have killed me there in the mopane forest that day. The fact that it had taken a first shot to the lower leg which broke the bone also contributed immensely to the fact that it could not trample on me or walk over me when I was on the ground. Another thing is that when the buffalo charged towards the professional it knew it was already dying and it threw itself on him to asphyxiate and crush him. The buffalo is a very dangerous animal. Because of its power and size it does not tend to fall down after the first shot. When we see these pretty photos of hunters with their buffaloes we underestimate the danger of the buffalo’s might. We must take all the shots we can,. Never think that it is an easy prey. After this experience I do not doubt that it is the most dangerous animal in Africa and has marked me forever. This trip, I think, would not be advisable for hunters who must have comfort nor for record-book hunters. This was simply a commendable safari for true hunters. I cannot finish this story without congratulating Pedro Queipo de Llano on his magnificent work and pure professionalism. I also extend my gratitude to the PH, as well to Honest Ndlovu and Nobula for their work. Also my dear friend Luis Robles for his company and friendship during and beyond these trips, and last and in no way least, thank you to our magnificent and supportive wives, Susana and Marisol for allowing us to take part in this magnificent adventure in a beautiful part of the world.

Asensio Esteban is a legal consultant in civil and commercial law.


He specializes in real estate law, negotiation and dispute resolution in Madrid, Spain. www.asensioesteban.com November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Battling Tigers in Africa Fighting Africa’s freshwater superpredator Jonathan Boulton



igerfish need very little introduction. If you fish with any degree of seriousness you will have heard of them, seen pictures of them, or may well be lucky enough to have caught these aquatic super predators. The tigerfish’s savagery, speed and guile are somewhat the piscatorial urban legend. I have heard of them leaping from the water and taking swallows dipping to drink. On a recent trip I witnessed the demise of a kingfisher diving into the water for baitfish and never making it back out again! Their Latin name Hydrochynnus vittatus, directly translates as the striped waterdog and pretty much captures the essence of these fish. Sleek silver bodies with contrasting jet black horizontal stripes, fins and tails with a deep red/orange glow and teeth that tell you they are not there for show. Just as the take from your first tigerfish will never

be forgotten, so will its sheer beauty as you admire it before slipping it back into the water. Tigerfish are brutal hunters, using pure speed to stun their prey, often coming around a second time to pick up the pieces. For a long time tigerfish were pursued on the mighty Southern African waterways like the Zambezi, Okavango and Chobe. Large metal spoons and spinners as well as live and dead baits were used. Although this method is effective, like many predatory fish, tigerfish are attracted to a well-presented fly. Nowadays a competent fly rodder will usually put any spin fisherman to shame. The most practiced modus operandi is heavier rods like 8 and 9 weights with sinking lines from stationary or slow drifting boats. Heavy Clouser minnow type flies with lots of flash and a three inch steel trace, to protect the leader from the fierce dentistry, is the order of the day. It’s hard work standing in the heat of the African sun casting big flies and heavy lines but the stunning scenery usually takes your mind off things … until that take comes. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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When it does, regardless of whether it is a fish of a pound or a double figure specimen, you are always taken by surprise. I’ve best heard it described as an electric shock through the line. Clichés like freight train and brick wall come to mind, but no one I know has quite managed to capture a suitable adjective. The tigerfish has a bony jaw structure and the hooks don’t always stick. They fight in the most spectacular fashion, speeding off at such a rate that the flyline cannot keep up with the fish. To say tigerfish jump when hooked is an understatement. I am convinced that, when hooked, small to medium sized tigerfish of 1 to 4 pounds spend more time out than in the water.


I‘ve been fortunate to catch tiger fish throughout Africa. In fact I think I have caught them at the most extremes of their distribution… the Crocodile river that forms the southern boundary of the world famous Kruger National park in South Africa. In the North, I have caught them in Lake Nasser in North eastern Egypt, while fishing for Nile Perch. In between, I have pursued them on the Okavango River and throughout the Zambezi system. As much as they must be the world’s premier freshwater game fish I find the scenery, bird and wild life one encounters equally as ad-

dictive as the fishing. One of the most spectacular settings is a very unique place. An island where four countries meet and here the Chobe river flows into the Zambezi 80 km upstream of the Victoria Falls. Impalila Island is situated on the very tip of the Caprivi strip and belongs to Namibia. The German colonists to Namibia dreamt of access to the Eastern shores of Africa and pushed an obscure geographical finger as far Eastwards, as they could. The Zambezi River flows along the Northern shore of the island, Zambia being the Northern neighbour.

with Botswana to the South. The Kasai channel cuts the vertical side of the Island, connecting the Zambezi and Chobe resulting in a triangular shaped island - Impalila, which translates as ‘the spear head’. This unique location means that three different waterways can be accessed at any one time by high speed fishing boats. Additionally the renowned Chobe National Park on the Botswana side of the river provides spectacular game viewing such as exten-

The Southern shore of the Island is on the Chobe


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sive breeding herds of elephant and buffalo coming down to drink as well as a huge diversity of bird life unequalled anywhere in Africa. For this reason there are a number of highly commercialised riverside lodges, taking people along the shores of the park to enjoy the game viewing. There are however only two operators situated on Impalila Island. On the southern shores of the Island is Ichingo River Lodge and on the northern side a company called Islands of Africa owns Impalila Island Lodge and Ntwala Lodge. Although as the crow flies these two establishments are only a few kilometres apart it takes a good 40 minutes by boat via the gently meandering Kasai channel. Downstream on both the Zambezi and the Chobe an impressive rock ledge runs across the two rivers resulting in a spectacular set of rapids and of course some very interesting tigerfish habitat. Ichingo is situated right on the waters edge. Accommodation is luxury safari tents, each with spacious bathroom ensuite, shaded by the thick riverside vegetation. Ichingo owns two specially adapted et boats which allow guide and anglers to move up and down the rapids to fish the fast water as well as the upstream deeper, slower sections. The daily timetable is to arise at dawn for coffee and freshly prepared biscuits. Sunrise is not only the most spectacular time to be on the water but also a time of feverish fishing as the tigers use the twilight to ambush bait fish. A short boat ride back to the lodge and a calorie ridden breakfast awaits. For the hardcore fishermen that want to get back out on the water straight away, lots of fluids and sunscreen are the basis for survival. Another alternative is the swimming pool. Perilously close to the river’s edge, one can’t help but find yourself checking that a disorientated or deviously hungry crocodile hasn’t crept up the bank and slipped in at the deep end. As the sting leaves the afternoon sun a game viewing cruise along the shores of the Chobe National Park is a must before in preparation for an evening onslaught with the tigers in either the Chobe, the Kasai or one of my favourite spots, the confluence of the two. Ntwala Lodge is situated on the banks of the Zambezi at the head of the picturesque Mombova rapids. It is an undisputed five star lodge. Magnificently situated it is built with wooden walkways linking the rooms with the main lodge and boat jetty. Ntwala and its sister November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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lodge Impalila Island Lodge can immediately access 40-odd kilometres of the mighty Zambezi, upstream of the rapids. This offers an excellent opportunity to take a day long trip in one of the high speed boats and take in the expanse of this magnificent river, its character and the people that live along its banks. Steep eroded banks provide ideal habitat for nesting kingfishers and stunningly coloured bee-eaters. Pristine white sand banks look tempting for a dip until drag marks from an 18ft croc on the near bank put an end to those silly thoughts. The dynamics of this mighty river (played out over eons) are very interesting and affect the wildlife, surrounding communities and of course the fishing. In March/April the main floodwaters from the Angolan highlands and Western Zambia arrive. The river breaks its banks and fills the flood plains. The locals who have been grazing their cattle on the lush flood plains leave. The nutrients from the cattle and elephant dung as well as the rotting vegetation result in an impressive boom in the food chain, as hundreds of thousands of small baitfish and larger bream (tiliapia) species take advantage of the increased nutrient load. Come June/July the flood waters reside and come pouring off the enriched floodplains and back into the main river. Streamlets of warmer water deliver baitfish back into the main channel with the resultant effect on the tigerfish taking little imagination. Even though June/July and early August is the prime time September and October are also productive times for tigers on fly.

Jonathan Boulton has fished and guided all over the world from the Seychelles to the Russain Artic, Egypt and New Zealand. He currently lives in Dullstroom and owns Mavungana Flyfishing Centre, the largest Flyfishing outfitter in the country.

In saying that, fish can be caught reliably all year round on conventional spinning and live bait. June till September has the most comfortable weather and mosquitoes are at minimum. Getting to this intriguing part of the world is by flying to Livingstone, on the Victoria Falls, in Zambia via Johannesburg. After that a short combination of land and boat transfers will have you sipping a refreshing cocktail at the lodges within two hours of landing.


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White Water Rafting Riding the untamed Rivers of Africa


Kallie Zwahlen


frica is a beautiful continent, but it is also a wild and often unforgiving place. This is reflected in its rivers - the arteries of this lovely continent. The majestic Victoria Falls is breathtaking in its splendor and beauty, and below that - nestled at the bottom of the cliffs of the Batoka Gorge - flows the mighty Zambezi River, reputed to have the wildest one-day white water run in the world. South Africa itself has been tamed a long, long time ago. No more lions roaming the streets of Johannesburg! And most of its rivers were tamed as well. But that doesn’t mean there are no more places left where the wild at heart can go and play. The two big tributaries of the Umzimvubu River in the Transkei, The Tina and the Tsitsa, have only been kayak for the very first time in the last 2 years! These rivers have never been rafted yet - and they are huge. Feel like doing some exploring? Need your adrenalin fix? Come raft in Africa. White water river rafting is one of the most popular adventure activities in South Africa, and with several major rivers, ranging from mild to wild, a great climate and friendly people, it’s not difficult to see why. The rivers of South Africa have it all, dramatic scenery, remote wilderness areas, exciting rapids, and Africa’s irresistible charm. Few things come close to the experience of a multi-day rafting safari November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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on one of the many rivers in South Africa; lazily floating along on the calm flat stretches, interspersed with the excitement of rapids, camping out at night under the stars, with a camp fire going.

and 2 rapids. (Rapids are graded on a rising scale of difficulty from 1 to 6, 1 being very easy flowing water, and 6 being very dangerous, unrunable rapids and waterfalls.)

South Africa is a relatively dry country, but with some awesome white water to enjoy. The Orange River, named after the Prince of Oranje by Dutch colonials, is the biggest river in the country. It’s 2,200 km long, with it’s sources high up in the Drakensberg Mountains.

The Orange River is mostly known for its very enjoyable multi-day trips suitable for the whole family. Two-man Indian type Mohawk canoes as well as 2-man inflatable rafts known as ‘crocs’ are used in South Africa.

As the Orange flows westwards across the vast subcontinent to the Atlantic Ocean, the landscape through which it flows, grows increasingly arid, flowing through the Kalahari, a very dry, semi-desert area, and finally through the Nimbi, one of the world’s driest deserts. It is an awesome experience to paddle through this harsh environment. There are some serious white water sections on the Orange River, but most of the sections that are commercially rafted are quite placid with easy grade 1

These trips are leisurely affairs, mostly drifting along on easy white water and camping on sandy beaches at night. These trips are also known for their exquisite cuisine (by river trip standards) and you will be pleasantly surprised by the cooking talents of the guides, who must prepare meals with the bare minimum on open fires. Rafting trips can be undertaken all year round on the Orange River, even in winter, when temperatures are mild. The best time to enjoy white water rafting on most of the other rivers in South Africa, is in the November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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warmer summer month, between November and May, as it is then when the rivers are full from the rainy season. And that means – white water action! Some of the most thrilling white water rafting opportunities in South Africa can be found along the mighty Tugela and Mkomazi rivers in KwaZulu-Natal. The Blyde River in Mpumalanga is also known for its serious white water and spectacular scenery. The Western Cape around Cape Town gets winter rainfall, however. Here the Doring River stands out as a very exciting paddle to undertake in early spring. And the Palmiet and Breede rivers in the Cape are also worthwhile for a relaxed outing in nature. The Great Usutu River in Swaziland also offers really good white water most of the year.

town of Clarens, fast becoming known as the Adventure Capital in the Eastern Freestate. The crystal clear water gets tunneled from the Katze dam high up in the Maluti Mountains of Lesotho and flows down the Ash River all the way to the Vaal dam. It is the only river in the country with a constant, high, water level, enabling us to run trips throughout the year in the big 6-man rafts. Very exciting grade II – IV rapids make for an exciting day out on the river! South Africa has some awesome adventure activities to enjoy - and white water rafting stands out as one of the most enjoyable and exciting. When in Africa, make sure to use the opportunity and experience the vast beauty of this continent from a raft and satisfy the need for an adrenaline-rush at the same time!

Then there is the Ash River, near the small arty-farty

Kallie Zwahlen holds an accounting degree, but prefers paddling rivers to counting beans.


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The Poor Man’s Leopard Hunting the Spotted Hyaena


Russell Reese


y hunting buddy Mike Jines and I had just finished another whitetail season in South Texas. Neither of us took anything outstanding although I had a lot of fun, as usual, shooting feral hogs. The freezer was full of pork sausage and we were sitting in lawn chairs enjoying a few cold beers and cheap cigars at our camp near Freer. “Mike”, I said, “for all the money we spend on this lease plus stands, feeders and camp gear, we could carve out a couple weeks in our work schedule and take exotic hunting trips each year for not much more. Let’s face it; we’re not making it down here to hunt but about three times a season. We’ll get more real hunting time in on guided hunts.” Mike sat silent for a few seconds, turned to look at me and said, “I want to go to Africa.” The following months were filled with emails and phone calls back and forth – what country, what game and what outfitter. We found that planning the trip and preparing for our adventure (the anticipation) was great fun. It gave us something we could really look forward to as we slugged away at our respective jobs. At the end of the day, South Africa was our choice and plains game the quarry. Then the emails started up again as we developed our list of specific animals we would hunt. At the top of my list was hyena. I had done a little research and learned the spotted hyena is the second largest carnivore in Africa- second only to the lion. It is a fearsome hunter taking down game as large as zebra and known to drive lions from their kill. “Since I can’t afford to hunt leopard,” I thought “I’ll hunt the other spotted predator, the hyena”. Mike, of course, accused me of hunting “trash game” but I stuck to my guns. For me, the hyena would be my “poor man’s leopard”. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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September found us in the northern province of South Africa, just south of Zimbabwe and west of Mozambique. Each day we found and harvested incredible game. On our second day, Mike and I both took beautiful kudus in the same afternoon even though hunting separately. Mine measured 57 inches and Mike’s 55. At that point we began our friendly competition. The following days found us successfully hunting impala, blesbok, gemsbok, eland, warthog, reedbuck, waterbuck, zebra and blue wildebeest. Sometimes Mike bested me and sometimes it was the other way around. All the while, I would ask my PH, Hennie, “When are we going to concentrate on my hyena?” Hennie would always reply, “Soon Russell, soon. We are setting out bait and waiting until we have some hits.” What I was to learn later, after our hunt was over, is that my paperwork had been lost and the first that my outfitter and PH had heard of my wanting to bag a hyena was upon my arrival in camp. Hyenas are generally hard to find outside the protected parks. In fact, our booking agent tried to talk me out of putting the hyena on my list because of the low percentage of success in hyena hunts. As our outfitter later related, “I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard Russell say he wanted a hyena more than any other thing on his list! I immediately started calling all of the landowners and outfitters in the area to find someone with hyenas on their concessions. It really became a bit of a joke among the outfitters”, he chuckled,” since those

Author with his hyaena

types of calls are usually made to locate traditional, hard to find trophies. Nobody goes all out to find a hyena. But, we did.” In the evenings around the campfire, Mike, with a smirk on his face, would give me grief. Jokingly he would comment “That hyena is going to be awfully ugly and nasty. And, he’ll stink to the high heavens. Who’s going to skin him?” Hennie, God bless him, immediately came to my defense and answered in his husky voice “I will skin the hyena”. Later in the week, Hennie approached me after our morning hunt. “Russell, are you ready to hunt the hyena?” My answer, of course, was “You bet!” “Well” Hennie continued, we’ll first need some bait. Let’s go get us a warthog.” After driving for a short while, we spotted a mediumsized warthog in a field at about 75 yards. I placed the crosshairs of my .375 H&H behind the pig’s ear and sent a 300 grain nosler partition his way. He collapsed at the shot. “Russell!” Hennie shouted, “That’s how I want you to shoot the hyena.” We collected the animal, placed it in the back of the Land Cruiser and began our four hour journey to an area adjacent to Kruger National Park. Our outfitter had found a landowner with a hyena causing mayhem on his property. “He is as big as an elephant!” the landowner exclaimed, with an Afrikaans accent, as he held his hand level with the hood of his pickup. “He is this tall”. “Good” Hennie answered, “That’s what we are looking for”. The land-


owner then showed us where the hyena had been seen entering the property. He also showed us some of the damage the hyena had caused including a heavy, metal fuel container completely crushed by the most powerful jaws of any land creature. We explored the area and selected a site to hang our bait and build a blind – a bare knoll surrounded by thick bush with a dead tree projecting from its summit. I eviscerated the hog and attached the entrails to the rear bumper of the Land cruiser. We then dragged them from our bait site to the edge of the property and back laying a scent trail. A large roll of burlap was used to form our blind as we wrapped it around the acacias and the warthog carcass was hung in the dead tree about three feet above the ground. We covered our chairs with blankets to muffle sound and we waited. As darkness enveloped us, a harvest moon began to rise behind the bait. Our hope was that I would be able to make the shot without the use of a spotlight.

I had a Leupold LPS scope mounted on my model 70 just for this moment. The optics maker boasted 98% light transmission. For back up, we had a spotlight with a red lens. “Russell,” Hennie whispered, “If we have to use the light, you will only have three seconds to make the shot. You’ll need to get in position and signal me to flip the switch.” Three hours after nightfall, Hennie held his finger to


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his lips signaling to be absolutely silent. He then gestured behind us indicating something was approaching and raised his binoculars. A few minutes passed when Hennie pointed toward the bait. I raised my rifle but couldn’t see anything. Again and again I tried to see whatever it was Hennie was pointing at, to no avail. Finally he pointed to the spot light and I got into position. I signaled my readiness to Hennie and the red glow illuminated the area in front of our blind. All I could see were two small “lights” quickly moving behind a bush and shining through the branches. I quickly and instinctively centered my crosshairs on one of the lights and the .375 thundered. I immediately turned to Hennie and said, “Hennie, I’m sorry. All I could see were his eyes and so I shot at them. I no doubt missed him.” “Russell” Hennie answered, “Stay here”. Hennie then gathered his rifle and light and carefully walked toward the spot where we last saw the hyena. “Woohoo!” he shouted. “woohoo!” “You mean I got him?” I hollered. “Yes” Hennie bellowed, “You shot him right through the eye!” I hurried over to find an enormous hyena stone dead without a mark on him other than one missing eyeball. It had been


a lucky shot and I was on cloud nine. We snapped a few photos, and then loaded my prize on the back of the Land Cruiser. It was pretty chilly out but I chose to ride in the open back of the truck with my trophy as we made our way back to camp. We pulled in around 3:00 am and I hurried to Mike’s cot and woke him” Mike, you’ve got to see this thing. He’s enormous, with thick hair and beautiful spots!” (We later weighed my hyena on the scale at camp. He weighed 198.6 pounds- truly a huge hyena!) Mike, semi-comatose, struggled to his feet and followed me to the truck. In all the years we have hunted together, he had never seen me so excited. The next evening, as Mike and I sat around the campfire half way around the world drinking Castle Lagers and smoking cheap cigars, Mike stared into the fire and said, “You know, I might just have to shoot one of those poor man’s leopards myself.” On our return trip to Africa, he did just that.


Russell Reese is a native Texan and lifelong hunter with a passion for hunting instilled by his grandfather, a retired Texas game warden. Russell is a corporate executive with a graduate degree in English literature November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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Lethal Legacy


he charge of a wounded buffalo does not faze them too much. Give them the snarl of an angry lion in the mopani and they can deal with it. They know what to do with the grey avalanche of an Elephant charge . But when professional hunter finds a black mamba in a hide or one stands up at face level next to a trail with neck flattened in a narrow hood, the bravest of Africa’s hunters become - what is the right word- extremely careful.

The most feared animal on the African continent

paralyzed, dies from respiratory failure. Africa’s largest poisonous snake, they can grow to lengths of 4.3 meters (14 feet). It has a streamlined body with a coffin-shaped head. The back is uniform gun-metal gray to olive brown, never black. The Black Mamba is named not for it’s skin colour, but because the inside of the mouth is black. The belly is pale green, sometimes with dark blotches.

No, let me just say it - they get scared.


And well they should.

A graceful, alert and unpredictable reptile, this deadly poisonous snake hunts for it’s food during the day.

Through the ages, the black mamba has been respected and feared by Africans of every colour. A bite from a large black mamba can cause death within 7-15 hours. The venom attacks the nervous system and the victim, fully conscious but with all muscles

Hunting is done from a permanent lair (usually termite mounds, mammal burrows and rocky outcrops) to which it will return regularly. It normally attempts to escape when approached, but November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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if cornered will bite readily and numerous times. When threatened, the black mamba lifts the front third of the body and displays a narrow hood, gaping the mouth and showing the black inside of the mouth. A large mamba can raise itself up to face level. It also hisses as a threat but will retreat if you back off. Only the very foolish do not - and the Black Mamba will lift two-thirds of it’s body off the ground when the strike happens. Three black mambas, each about 2,5 meters long were occupying a heap of large creeper-covered boulders on the Limpopo river bank. Sugar birds would hover near the creeper, virtually motionless despite their whirring wings as they gathered nectar, pursuing one another in swift, darting flight, seemingly unaware of the snakes. Every once in a while one of the birds would fly too close and be snapped up, fluttering desperately as the deadly poison took quick toll of its victim. The bird’s struggle lasted a few minutes before it hung loosely in the snake’s jaws. Sometimes the birds were swallowed immediately but frequently the mamba released its grip, placed its prey on the rock and inspected it with flicking tongue before starting the meal. A change of diet was A large snake can yield about provided by a rock200-300mg of venom or more. rabbit which ventured 10-15mg is usually fatal for too close. No sooner humans, so a single bite can kill had it squatted down ten grown men. to scratch itself than Large volumes of antivenin is one of the mambas slid The Black Mamba belongs to the family Elapidae. Fangs are fixed and placed in the font of the mouth. required, usually up to 10 amfrom under the creeper, pules to counteract the venom. delivered a quick bite, instantly releasing its grip The neurotoxic venom interferes with the impulse to await the effect of the venom. transfer from nerve endings to skeletal muscles The rock-rabbit scuttled back to the crevice energetically as if it has not received a fatal dose, but the mamba waited with supreme confidence. After a few minutes it slid after its victim, dragged it from the crevice, checked to ensure that it was dead then grabbed its head and started eating.

The Venom The Neurotoxic venom is powerful, usually proving fatal if first aid treatment is inadequate or if antivenin injections are delayed too long. 68 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE November 2008

leading to paralysis. The signs and symptoms can escalate rapidly from a feeling of numbness around the mouth, to sweating, drooping eyelids, a drop in blood pressure, inability to keep the head upright, difficulty in walking, difficulty in swallowing (saliva running from the mouth) to where the patient stops breathing - and eventually without medical intervention, this will lead to death.

Treatment Within a few minutes from a mamba bite there is numbness around the mouth that progress to relent-

less widespread muscle weakness leading to respiratory failure in 60-70% of cases. Immobilize and reassure victim, who must lie down and be kept as quiet as possible. Apply pressure bandage immediately and immobilize limb with a splint to reduce spread of venom. Loosen but do not remove bandage if there is severe swelling. Take victim to hospital as soon as possible. When breathing becomes difficult ,CPR is an urgent necessity until medical help arrives. This is because the venom causes the central nervous system to discontinue breathing for death to ensue. No person needs to die when bitten by a mamba if rescue breathing can be administered. Make every effort to get the victim to a hospital as soon as possible.

The Good News Mamba bites are rare. Also, it is almost impossible to

get close to a black mamba because of it’s extreme shyness. If walking normally, the mamba will be gone before you get within 23 m (75 feet) of it. That is, unless you are stalking something and you take care to minimise the noise you make. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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It is possible that you can stumble upon an unsuspecting black mamba. The mamba will be surprised and feel threatened and be ready to strike. This is an extremely dangerous situation. Extreme caution must be taken when stalking during a hunt. When encountering a black mamba, forget the hunt and back away - noisily if you have to. While you are alive you can always hunt again some other time.

Case reports Case 1 On 17 February 1986 a 14-month-old girl (weight 10,6 kg) playing indoors was bitten on the upper side of the left shin and left calf at 07h55 by a snake. The housemaid witnessed the incident and immediately sucked at the first bite, but did not notice the second bite. The snake, a 45 cm black mamba (Dendroaspis polylepis) was killed, identified by a herpetologist, and brought to the clinic with the child. The child reached the clinic 15 minutes after being bitten. She was reported to have cried vigorously and vom-

ited once on the way. On arrival at 08h00, examination found the child very pale with cold extremities and marked sweating. Her pulse rate was 96/min and she vomited for the second time shortly after arrival. There were no neurological signs. Examination of the bite sites showed a single fang mark with 1cm of redness surrounding it on the shin; a similar bite was found on the calf but with no evidence of inflammation. The patient’s left leg was imobilised in a splint and a firm compression crepe bandage applied to the whole limb. An intravenous line was established through a scalp vein through which half-strength Darrow’s solution was given. The child’s condition deteriorated rapidly with clinical features of peripheral shutdown and severe shock. The breathing also became laboured with audible breath sounds and croupy cough. This deterioration warranted further intervention, so at 35 minutes after the bite hydrocortisone 100 mg was given intravenously, followed immediately by SAIMR (South African Institute for Medical Research) polyvalent antivenom 0,5 rnl diluted 10-fold with 5% dextrose. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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There was no evidence of a hypersensitivity reaction. The child was kept on her left side and vomited twice more, her back remaining in a bent backward position for several seconds during the vomiting attacks. After 20 ml of intravenous antivenom, her condition improved, extremities became warmer, and the pulse rate dropped to 80/min. Breathing became easier.

ing of his right hand and forearm, however, which responded well to betamethasone (Celestone) and a topical antihistamine cream. The patient was given antitetanus toxoid 0,5 ml intramuscularly and put on ampicillin 250 mg 4 times a day for 5 days. He was discharged fit 3 days after the bite and there have been no resulting conditions.

Further antivenom was given intravenously over 45 minutes. In all the patient received a total of 150 ml of dextrose saline and 70 ml of polyvalent antivenom. At 1 hour 20 minutes after the bite her condition had improved dramatically, all vital signs being stable. She was then transported to Nelspruit Hospital.

Reported cases of mamba bite are rare. A series from Triangle Hospital in Zimbabwe showed 7 cases of neurotoxic bites from elapid snakes; 1 case was confirmed as a black mamba bite and there was good presumptive evidence that the other bites were also due to the mamba.

Her condition remained stable although she had two episodes of vomiting with bloodstained vomit. She arrived at Nelspruit Hospital at 11h45, 3 hours and 50 minutes after the bite. Her vital signs remained stable, the ECG was normal and she was allowed to eat and drink. Apart from bruising around the bite sites she remained alert and active, passed urine, was stable and had a quiet night’s sleep.

There was 1 fatality in a 3-year-old child who was only given 20 rnl of SAIMR polyvalent antivenom. Another confirmed case of mamba bite in a 2-yearold black child, bitten on the head, was reported from Letaba Hospital. This child was given a total of 40 ml of SAIMR polyvalent antivenom and survived.

She was discharged the following day, ampicillin and antitetanus toxoid having been given. On day 4 she developed gastro-enteritis, was readmitted on day 8 for further observations and baseline investigations, and discharged fit 24 hours later. There have been no resulting conditions to date.

●● Firstly, the child arrived within 15 minutes of being bitten and an intravenous line was quickly established. The first dose of antivenom was given within 35 minutes of the child being bitten.

Case 2 On 9 May 1986 a 34-year-old man was bitten three times on his right ring finger by a 2,25 m, positively identified, black mamba (D. polylepis). He reached the clinic 35 minutes after the bite. He complained of pain at the bite site, a sensation of a swollen tongue, fullness in the head, dizziness and a constricted feeling in the back of his throat. He was very restless, sweating and vomited once. The blood pressure was 100/60 mm Hg, pulse rate 112/min and there was no evidence of paralysis. Three fang marks were found on the right ring finger with fairly marked local swelling. He was given a total of 70 ml of SAIMR polyvalent antivenom intravenously over 40 minutes, preceded by hydrocortisone 500 mg and promethazine (Phenergan) 25 mg intravenously. The symptoms disappeared after 40 ml of antivenom although the patient remained restless and hypotensive for 2 hours after the bite. The patient was admitted to the clinic and observed for the next 48 hours. All vital signs remained stable during this period. He developed swelling and itch72 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE November 2008

In the cases reported here several factors influenced the successful result.

●● Secondly there was no reaction to the antivenom and 70 ml was given. A child should receive at least the adult dose of antivenom. The smaller the size of the victim, the greater the dose of antivenom required in view of the venom to mass ratio. A firm crepe bandage was applied to the entire left leg. Again in the second case the patient arrived at the clinic within 35 minutes of being bitten and in view of evidence of envenomation plus positive identification he was treated quickly and aggressively. The child had been bitten by a young snake between 1 - 3 months old. The mamba is born with 2 - 3 drops of venom per fang (an adult snake having 12 - 20 drops per fang) and 2 drops of venom only are required to kill an adult human, thus making the young mamba a very dangerous snake. The adult probably received a large amount of venom after sustaining 3 deep bites from a fully grown adult snake. To summarize, the steps in treatment of a mamba bite are as follows: ●● Immobilization of the affected limb and firm

compression bandage of the part above the bite may effectively prevent venom absorption. . ●● Antivenom should be used as soon as possible, in appropriate dosage and intravenously. There is no ‘standard dose’ but as a guideline, 20 - 40 rnl initially to a total dose of 60 - 80 rnl in an adult and in some cases up to 200 ml and at least as much if not more in a child (both of the cases reported here received 70 rnl of polyvalent antivenom). Adrenaline and hydrocortisone should be readily available, preferably already drawn up, to counteract anaphylaxis should this occur. ●● Equipment and medications for cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be on hand and ready for immediate use. ●● In a referral centre full intensive-care management of respiratory failure, cardiac arrythrnias and generalised paralysis may be necessary. From SAMJ VOL 72 1 AUGUST 1987

The Antivenom The erstwhile SAIMR now falls under the National Health Laboratory Services and is now the South African Vaccine Producers. Antivenom production began at the South African

Institute of Medical Research (now known as NHLSNational Health Laboratory Service) as early as 1928. The initial antivenoms produced were limited to Cape Cobra & Puff Adder, and in 1938 the venom from the Gaboon Adder was incorporated into the immunization schedule. In 1941 this polyvalent range was expanded to incorporate the venom from the Rinkhals. During the 1950’s & 1960’s several Monovalent & trivalent antivenoms to the Southern African mambas were developed (Black, Green & Jamesons Mamba), and by 1971 the original polyvalent antivenom was extended to incorporate these valencies. Other venoms later incorporated into the immunization schedule in the 1970s were the Snouted cobra, (previously known as Egyptian Cobra), Forest cobra & the Mozambican Spitting cobra resulting in the 10 valencies making up the current polyvalent, which has remained unchanged to date. South African Vaccine Producers’ website is at http:// www.savp.co.za and they can be contacted at +27 11 3866000 or +27 11 386-6078 and faxed at +27 11 3866016. Their address is 1 Modderfontein Road, Sandringham Johannesburg or PO Box 28999 Sandringham 2131, Republic of South Africa. Information courtesy www.ultimatefieldguide.com


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Watch the video at http://www.africanxmag.com/ magazines/zarco_video.htm

Press Releases RWS™ 9.3x74R 291-GRAIN RAP-X® LOAD DELIVERS GAME-GETTING PRECISION Impressive Penetration with Excellent Precision Characterize This RWS Round Impressive penetration performance along with reliable expansion are the qualities knowledgeable hunters seek and find when choosing the RWS™ 9.3x74R round loaded with the 291-grain RAP-X® bullet. While standard soft point bullets fragment and lose their residual energy when hitting larger bones, the RAP-X bullet remains essentially mass stable — mushrooming upon contact rather than fragmenting — ensuring deep penetration is achieved and massive shock delivered to bring game down — for good! The key to the RWS RAP-X bullet’s nearly 100% residual weight retention – and thus its game meat preservation — is the special bonding process used to unite the precision hardness lead core with the bullet’s nickel-plated and tapered Tombak jacket, called “power bonding.” The aerodynamic geometry of the RWS RAP-X bullet results in ballistic precision, enabling it to achieve greater trajectory and delivery of high shock energy — even at longer distances. German standards are also evident in the choice of friction-reducing nickelplating on the bullet’s jacket as well as the ballistically optimized flexible calotte at the bullet’s tail to protect the rifle’s barrel from the high transverse stress caused by standard bullets’ rigid jacket construction. The impressive ballistics of the RWS 9.3x74R 291-grain RAP-X speak for themselves. The round charges out of the muzzle at a speedy 2,295 fps and generates an incredible 3,391 ft./lbs. of muzzle energy. At 100 yards, the bullet gives up little speed or power as it continues to move at 2,094 fps and produces 2,823 ft./lbs. energy. At 200 yards, the projectile is traveling at 1,903 fps while maintaining an impressive energy level of 2,332 ft./lbs. Hunters taking longer-range shots at 300 yards can be confident as RWS engineering results in the achievement of 1,724 fps velocity and a game-taking energy level of 1,914 ft./lbs. 76 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE November 2008

RWS is the world’s only major producer of rifle cartridges that completely produces its own hunting bullets. From ignition caps to powder to cases — only specially monitored elements are used for the RWS rifle cartridges. RWS, which stands for Rheinisch-Westfälischen Sprengstoff-Fabriken (RhenishWesphalian Explosives Factories), was founded in 1886 in Germany. This more than a century long history and tradition of premium-quality manufacturing is shared today by RWS’ employees — many of which are enthusiastic hunters. Their invaluable, hands-on experience helps to ensure hunters the world over of the production of the finest-quality hunting ammunition.

BEAUTY FOR THE BEAST – THE RWS 9.3x74R UNI 293-GRAIN CARTRIDGE Load Combines Elegance of Design with the Power of Performance! With its long, sleek appearance, the RWS 9.3x74R cartridge has been called “one of the most elegant cartridges ever designed.” Originally developed in Germany by RWS about 100 years ago, no one better than the premium German rifle cartridge manufacturer could bring this fine, old cartridge design up-to-date with modern, precision engineering techniques. The result is the RWS 9.3x74R UNI 293-grain round that offers hunters using single shot and double barrel rifles as well as drillings, a high degree of game-getting performance. The RWS UNI bullet is constructed with a soft lead core tip fused to a harder and heavier tail core. As a result, the projectile tends to have a slower mushroom effect. However, its penetration force is increased due to the hard and heavy rear core as well as the aerodynamic torpedo-shaped tail section of the bullet. The torpedo-shaped tail, with its larger base area, improves the projectile’s external ballistics by lending high flight stability to the bullet. The RWS UNI’s nickel-plated jacket, thinner at the front and thicker at the rear, helps the bullet to stay together by limiting its fragmentation to achieve deep penetration. An added benefit of the nickel-plated jacket is reduced barrel fouling. RWS engineering has brought the 9.3 x 74R UNI 293-grain round up-to-date ballistically as well — it charges out of the muzzle at 2,280 fps while generat-

ing 3,382 ft./lbs. energy. At 100 yards, the projectile is moving swiftly along at 2,107 fps and producing 2,888 ft./lbs. energy. For those long range shots at 300 yards, the RWS UNI bullet delivers 1,783 fps of game-stopping velocity and a powerful 2,068 ft./lbs. of energy. RWS is the world’s only major producer of rifle cartridges that completely produces its own hunting bullets. From ignition caps to powder to cases — only specially monitored elements are used for the RWS rifle cartridges. RWS, which stands for RheinischWestfälischen Sprengstoff-Fabriken (Rhenish-Wesphalian Explosives Factories), was founded in 1886 in Germany. This more than a century long history and tradition of premium-quality manufacturing is shared today by RWS’ employees — many of which are enthusiastic hunters. Their invaluable, hands-on experience helps to ensure hunters the world over of the production of the finest-quality hunting ammunition. RWS .375 H&H MAG. UNI DELIVERS EXTRA PENETRATION TO STOP DANGEROUS GAME IN ITS TRACKS In setting out to design a bullet for dangerous game hunters, RWS engineers assumed a grave responsibility — producing an end product that was absolutely reliable, as the user’s life could depend on the ability of the cartridge to perform. Drawing on its more than 100-year legacy of producing only the finest quality ammunition, RWS has succeeded with its pro-

duction of the .375 H&H Mag. cartridge loaded with a 301-grain RWS UNI bullet. This cartridge leaves the muzzle at an amazing 2,590 fps and produces a crushing 4,468 ft./lbs. of muzzle energy. The RWS UNI Classic bullet is composed of a softer lead tip core united to a harder and heavier tail core section. The harder rear core is blended to join with the softer front to retard its mushrooming ability and to increase its penetration force. After penetrating deeply into the animal, the shock effect of the fragmentation of the bullet’s softer front section kicks in. This modus operandi, deep penetration, followed by delayed shock is a very effective and reliable technique for taking large, dangerous game. The RWS UNI bullet contains a hard nickel-plated jacket with a deep groove cut into its mid-section to initiate the delayed fragmentation effect. The torpedo-shaped tail, with its large base area, improves the external-ballistic performance by giving the projectile precise flight stability. After deeply penetrating and fragmenting, the residual body of the projectile is designed to continue on through the animal’s body making a clean exit after transferring its high amount of energy — ensuring dangerous game is put down for good. RWS is the world’s only major producer of rifle cartridges that completely produces its own hunting bullets. From ignition caps to powder to cases — November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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only specially monitored elements are used for the RWS rifle cartridges. RWS, which stands for Rheinisch-Westfälischen Sprengstoff-Fabriken (RhenishWesphalian Explosives Factories), was founded in 1886 in Germany. This more than a century long history and tradition of premium-quality manufacturing is shared today by RWS’ employees — many of which are enthusiastic hunters. Their invaluable, hands-on experience helps to ensure hunters the world over of the production of the finest-quality hunting ammunition.

www.fiocchiusa.com Western Sales Office Fiocchi of America, Inc. 1662 Nevada Way Boulder City, NV 89005 702.293.6174 702.293.3259 fax Corporate Headquarters & Manufacturing Fiocchi of America, Inc 6930 N. Fremont Road Ozark, MO 65721 417.725.4118 417.725.1039 fax



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.


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Trophy Gallery



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Marshpig’s Father

The Namibian Champion of Ugly

“When I first saw him, I knew Marshpig was easily the ugliest man in South West Africa,” Danes said. He used the pre-liberation name for Namibia and fixed me with his piercing hunter’s stare. He was built like a pit bull – powerful and close to the ground, and almost bald due to a testosterone excess. His bald brown pate was crisscrossed with the pale lines of years of thorn- and buffalo tree scratches. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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It was late at night and the flames were low. We were hunting on Oom Soon’s farm, Vrede (Peace). We were hunting the way it should be done, making a temporary camp under the open Namibian sky next to a dam somewhere on the farm, far away from the tame places of this world. He took another swig of his Tafel Lager and sighed with contentment. “I met him two years ago far up the North where I had a contract to build a primary school. I had to find the building site with a GPS. They give me the coordinates and I just build.” As he leaned forward to continue his story, a Blackbacked Jackal called nearby. He paused and we sat and listened as the mate answered the melancholy call in the distance. “I did not believe that it was his real name at first. But all the guys at the Katima bar said it was true. A big fat strong bugger. Long black hairs on his nose and lots in his ears. Big dirty hands and thick bloody arms.” He looked with mild distaste at his now empty beer bottle. “Hey Cappy!” he shouted “more beer!” Captain was our camp captain, a witty and skinny yellow bushman with a deep passion for skokiaan, the lethal alcoholic drink of Africa. He would work when he did not have money to drink, and once he had enough he would disappear into the underground shebeens of Rehoboth again for 6 months. He quickly got up and got two more cold Tafel Lagers from the icebox, gave each of us one and sat down quietly at a respectful distance. “Ja, Marshpig is an ugly mother.” Danes continued, “But he said that his dad was even uglier than he was - but no-one believed him. We knew for sure that Marshpig was the champion of ugliness.” He paused for dramatic effect and pushed a thick Oumawood log deeper into the fire with his boot. “And then I met his dad half a year later up in the North.” He paused and stared deep into the fire for a while. He slowly shook his shaggy head at the memory, as if he was still amazed by what he saw then. “He was right. His dad was bigger and uglier than him. He had a long face like a Ovambo donkey and his nose was big and red. His hair was white and thick like a Springbucks’ mane.” Danes opened his hand and spread his fingers next to his head to show

how long and wild the hair was. “He also had hair on his nose and it came out of his nostrils too. Long white ones. The hair on his forearms was also white and it looked like steel wool, you know - the pot stuff.” I was very surprised that Danes actually knew what steel wool was. I believe he had never washed a pot in his life. “After a couple of beers Marshpig’s dad told me that he ran a drilling rig and drilled boreholes for water. “One Sunday he drove to a nearby farm with a bottle of Klipdrift brandy and two liters of Coke to visit the farmer. He stopped at the stoep and knocked on the door but there was no answer. He went round to the kitchen. The door was open and he knocked there too but also no luck. The kraal was close to the house and as he walked there he heard the sound of someone milking a cow. That zrrr zrrr sound from the bucket as the milk comes from the teats.” Teats? It was about here that I began to suspect that this was not a story after all, but a joke with the punch line just ahead. But Danes remained straightfaced and serious. He leaned forward as he continued. Maybe this was a grim story about the bush war after all. “Marshpig’s dad looked over the kraal wall and saw a cow standing tied up with riems by the back legs and an old Ovambo on a small stool, milking her. He put his elbows on top of the kraal waal and just stood there looking. The Ovambo did not see him and kept right on milking. “Marshpig’s dad did not like the Ovambo being there on the farm with the open house and no whites around to check up on him and in the kraal with the cattle, maybe even taking the some of the milk for himself. He said loudly: “Hey! What you doing?” “The Ovambo got such a fright that he jumped up and kicked the milk can over, but when he saw Marshpig’s dad he said: No man, I’m not scared! I know that thing you are wearing. It’s a mombak!” (a mask) Danes leaned back and hooted with laughter and slapped me on the back. “Can you believe it?” he said. “Someone as ugly as that!”

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


Francolin Breasts with Peppers, Olives and Sun-dried Tomatoes This flavoursome dish is great either hot or cold as a hunting lunch. Served with rice or pita bread. You need: ●● 4 Tablespoons of good olive oil ●● 1 large onion, peeled and sliced ●● 4 good-sized cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly sliced ●● 2 red peppers, de-seeded and sliced ●● 2 green peppers, de-seeded and sliced ●● 75g/3 oz sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, sliced ●● 300ml/12 fl. oz. boiling chicken stock ●● 500g/1 lb Francolin breasts cut into 1cm ½” strips ●● A handful of sweet basil leaves ●● Black calamata olives 1. Heat the oil in a heavy, cast-iron frying pan and add the onion, garlic and peppers. Fry over a medium heat until the onions start to change colour. 2. Add the olives, tomatoes and their oil, together with the chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes 3. Season the francolin with salt and pepper. 4. Increase the heat and add the francolin, stirring all the time for 5 minutes or until the francolin is done and most of the liquid has evaporated. 5. Add the basil one minute before serving. 6. Check the seasoning and serve with a good Cape Chardonnay. November 2008 AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE

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True North

In the End

In the end, it doesn’t matter how well we have performed or what we have accomplished—a life without heart is not worth living. For out of this wellspring of our soul flow all true caring and all meaningful work, all real worship and all sacrifice. Our faith, hope, and love issue from this fount, as well. Because it is in our heart that we first hear the voice of God and it is in the heart that we come to know him and learn to live in his love. So you can see that to lose heart is to lose everything. And a “loss of heart” best describes most men and women in our day. It isn’t just the addictions and affairs and depression and heartaches, though, God knows, there are enough of these to cause even the best of us to lose heart. But there is the busyness, the drivenness, the fact that most of us are living merely to survive. Beneath it we feel restless, weary, and vulnerable. Indeed, the many forces driving modern life have not only assaulted the life of our heart, they have also dismantled the heart’s habitat—that geography of mystery and transcendence we knew so well as children. All of us have had that experience at one time or another, whether it be as we walked away from our teachers, our parents, a church service, or sexual intimacy; the sense that something important, perhaps the only thing important, had been explained away or tarnished and lost to us forever. Sometimes little by little, sometimes in large chunks, life has appropriated the terrain meant to sustain and nourish the wilder life of the heart, forcing it to retreat as an endangered species into smaller, more secluded, and often darker geographies for its survival. As this has happened, something has been lost, something vital. From The Sacred Romance , 3-5. With permission from John Eldredge www.ransomedheart.com



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Profile for African Expedition Magazine

African Expedition Magazine Volume 1 Issue 3  

Track better, hunt better ▪ Learn the Secrets of the San Bushmen Lethal Legacy ▪ The most feared animal on the African continent One on one...

African Expedition Magazine Volume 1 Issue 3  

Track better, hunt better ▪ Learn the Secrets of the San Bushmen Lethal Legacy ▪ The most feared animal on the African continent One on one...

Profile for axmag