The harsh alarm call of the Red Billed Francolin, the peaceful continuous kloek-kloek-kloek of the Yellow billed hornbills and the sun, lazily creeping up over the Ozombahe Mountain, woke me up this morning. As I looked out of my bedroom window and saw the Gemsbuck and the Bluewildebeest slowly filing past on their way to the waterhole, I humbly thanked our Creator for my being blessed and privileged to live in this wonderful, peaceful and beautiful piece of Africa called Namibia.
Popularly referred to as the “Land of Contrasts” and rightly so, with it’s massive, threatening Skeleton coast and the Namib Desert stretching along the entire Atlantic coastline in the west. This area is famous as the fisherman’s paradise for the many shark species, delicious edible fish varieties and Namibian lobster that can be landed from the wild pristine white beaches. The desert reaches 100 km inland, butting up against some of the most hostile mountain ranges where the Hartmannzebra, Kudu, Klipspringer & Leopard reign. East of the mountains the country side flattens out into the most awe inspiring yellow grassland savannahs with millions of umbrella shaped Camel thorn trees, dotted every now and then by small rocky hills, until it butts up against the Botswana border. This is the home of Eland, Gemsbuck and Hartebeest and one of the last strongholds of the Cheetah, as well as all the other plains game species found in this hunter’s paradise. The southern region is largely dominated by the Kalahari Desert. This almost ocean-like wave formation of parallel continuous red sand dunes, short grass savannah, ankle high feed bush and the occasional Acacia tree is where you find the long horned Gemsbuck and the graceful Springbuck.
The sub tropical northern and northeastern regions are where you can still hunt a hundred pounder Elephant, a 50 inch Buffalo, Roan, Sable, Angolan (Black-faced) Impala and many other plains game species, as well as the large carnivores. In these areas you can observe the rare and endangered Black Rhino, of which Namibia has the largest population in the world. This area is bordered by Angola, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe and separated by the Okavango, Zambezi and Kwando rivers and swampland, home to the Nile Crocodile, Hippo, Sitatunga and Red Lechwe, a true wonderland ecosystem of greenery, with it’s Baobab and Leadwood trees and a bird life that makes this region the paradise it is. This is also a great destination for the freshwater anglers, with Tiger fish and many species of Bream, as well as Catfish in abundance in the crystal clear waters.
Namibia is a hunter’s paradise where some of the largest concentrations of game in Africa still freely roam in this wonderland of contrasts. Add to this a well developed and maintained infrastructure, stable politics and economy, safe and disease-free environment, azure blue pollution-free skies, sunshine all the year round, and fine Namibian folk and you have a winner.
Namibia has been independent for just over a decade and is one of Africa’s success stories. The Namibian is a very proud citizen of his land and heritage and the cleanliness of the environment testifies to this.
The trophy hunting industry in Namibia is well regulated by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism as well the Namibia Professional Hunting Association. The process of licensing a Professional Hunter and Hunting Guide in Namibia is extremely difficult and well controlled and ethical standards in hunting must be adhered to. A Namibian Professional Hunter or Guide is still a real hunter and a conservationist, an expert in the field. This is your guarantee to the success of your safari.
The Hunting Professionals in Namibia need to go through a rigorous apprenticeship, with an already qualified & registered Professional hunter, for a period of two years – to carry rifles, change tyres and do all those things that are the reality of hunting. After this, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism examination is written, only once a year. If you fail you must wait a whole year to write again. The exam consists of three sections: Wildlife, Trophies and Trophy Preparation and Legislation. Guides need to attain 60%, and Professional Hunters 70% in all three sections in order to pass. After passing, which less than 40% of candidates do every year, there is the dreaded practical, also conducted by the Ministry. Marksmanship, ballistics, shot placement, botany, first aid, animal behavior, tracking, ornithology, basic mechanics, trophy judgment, hunting and social skills are but the basics one needs to pass this two-day ordeal.
Hunting safaris are conducted in concession areas in the north as well as in game areas throughout Namibia and ranch hunts on private land. Clients are accommodated in luxury tented safari camps, five star thatched safari lodges as well as comfortable guest quarters on ranches. The authorities set very high standards for accommodation and the client’s comfort and well-being. A very efficient quality control system on trophies taken is in place and is constantly monitored by the Ministry and the Hunting Association before they are exported to clients or taxidermists.
A few very important facts about the hunting legislation and conditions in Namibia should be mentioned.
· A maximum of two clients may hunt with a Professional hunter or guide.
· While hunting, clients must at all times be accompanied by his Professional Hunter or Guide.
· Only Namibian registered Professional Hunters or guides may hunt with clients in Namibia.
· No semi automatic weapons or handguns may be used for hunting or brought into Namibia.
· A valid trophy-hunting permit must be taken out by the Professional Hunter or Guide for each individual client before they commence hunting.
· A client may hunt a maximum of two head, of each specie on offer, during his safari.
· No hunting is allowed between half an hour after sunset and before sunrise.
· No hunting with artificial light, from a moving vehicle or with dogs is allowed.
· Wounded and lost animals are considered taken.
· Bow Hunting was recently regulated and is allowed in Namibia. The import of Crossbows is however not allowed.-4-· Muzzle Loader hunting was also recently legalized in Namibia, provided the correct muzzle velocity for the specie hunted is used. Black power is also readily available at registered dealers in Namibia.· The importation of weapons into Namibia is very simple, Police officials are always on standby at our International Airports to issue temporary import permits. In the event of a rifle being delayed in travel, these things do happen, please inquire at the lost baggage desk about the Namibian Professional Hunters Association Lost Rile Form. A certified courier will deliver your rifle to your final destination at no charge. Please ensure that your rifle is insured before you travel – a precaution you need to take anywhere in the World.
· To ensure recourse if something does go wrong on your Safari, please make sure that your Professional Hunter or Guide is registered with the Namibian Professional Hunters Association.
Please remember that a true hunter leaves behind only footprints and good friends at the end of his safari. He takes home great trophies, life-long memories of a fair-chase and an ethical hunt and the knowledge that his trophy fees ensure the survival of wild life as well as the right to hunt – “if it pays it stays.”
A trophy hunt is about so much more than just scores in a record book.
I wish you good hunting in my beautiful country – Namibia.