Note: This post is about hunting in Africa. Some of the images in this post are slightly graphic, involving dead animals. For the curious conscious hunter, the hunting outfit is NOT a high fence operation, meaning the animals on the land are free roaming.
Continuing our journey, after a one night stop over in Windhoek (and some really awesome Cameroonian food), me and my travel mate headed north to meet back up with my husband and his brother who had been hunting in the north. The hunting lodge and land is about an hour from Otjiwarongo, near the Waterburg Plateau and definitely a little off the beaten track. The lodge is on about 20,000 acres of land, and it’s a pretty cute little place to hang your hat for a few days. They have seemingly everything a small farm needs; citrus trees and gardens, goats, chickens, ducks, turkeys and, like every good farm, some cats. This was the kind of place to relax, get good and bored, and wile away a few afternoons taking photos and trying to get goats-that-scream-like-humans on video. (No real success there – the goats stop yelling as soon as you walk up and they seemed to specifically run away from my travel mate despite the fact that he was the only vegetarian in the group.)
As avid hunters back home in the US, to say that my husband and his brother were having a good time hunting would be a bit of an understatement. While we were gone they went off to the mountains mountains for mountain zebra. Yes, they shot zebra. No, the zebra are not endangered; they are actually quite ubiquitous and hunting them is really not a big deal, I promise. At least no bigger deal than hunting anything else in Africa. Most of the feedback I’ve gotten on the hunting part of our trip has been sensitivity to the hunting of zebra. The thing I had a harder time with was the shooting of baboons. The baboons are ubiquitous and vermin in Namibia, and if they manage to get inside an open window your house is torn apart. They are kind of like giant, ape squirrels. Nobody with us shot a baboon, for the record. Dirk, the hunting guide and owner of the outfit and land, is a character in his own right. His token phrase is, “Africa is not for sissies!” We even have the bumper sticker.
As for the hunting, the gettin’ was good. They both shot an eland, kudu, mountain zebra, warthog, gemsbok (oryx). El Gallo (as we will call the husband) also shot a hartebeast and a rabid female eland that they had to chase through the bush and he practically had to take a running shot at. Not for sissies indeed. Rabies is a real concern in the African bush, as a bad rabies year can wipe out a good chunk of the animals.
While we did eat the meat while we were there (thanks to Thea’s wonderful cooking!), the US has some pretty strict-ass laws about bringing meat into the country. In other words, you can’t unless it’s canned. So we had to leave all the meat there, but no worries; they keep what they need and sell what they won’t eat. While wild game is not very popular outside of the hunter’s kitchen in the US, it is a staple in Namibian restaurants, mostly in the form of German fare. (Springbok schnitzel and spaetzle anyone?) In case you are wondering, eland tastes the best.