Day 406 - 409 Namibia : Windhoek - Okahandja

Day 406 Namibia

Trip Distance 200km (124m) Total Distance 9134km(5677m)
Road Condition 100% tar    
Time to travel 3hrs    
Cost of diesel N$7.69 (£0.69)    
Bossie's farm    

We were heading north again for a single journey but before we left it was off to town to provision up for the week ahead.  Visits to Checkers, Tuis Nuiwerheid (Home Co-op that sells homemade cakes, rusks and biscuits), the liquor store and a final meal at Blue Olive and we were back on the road again to meet up with Bossie at Okahandja before making our way to his farm, Hortensia, another 100kms further away on mostly gravel road. 

We settled in for the night with a plan to awake early the next morning to go hunting for a gemsbok.  So all of those who are sensitive about hunting, please stop reading now.  Off we went in the bakkie with the silenced 7mm rifle in the early morning rays of the sun - me driving and Trevor and Bossie on the back as lookouts.  About 45 minutes later as we traversed a field and the sun rose a little higher in the sky, a gemsbok came into sight.  Bossie tapped the roof of the bakkie and I stopped.  He took aim and fired.  The bullet dropped the gemsbok as it entered and exited the brain.  We ran over and Bossie slit the throat and began to bleed the animal as we looked on.  To this point I had always been able to skin, gut and butcher an animal (something we had done in Ethiopia when we bought the goat to eat) but I had never actually killed an animal or thought I was capable of it.  In terms of me being a carnivore (well an omnivore but a definite meat eating card carrier), I felt that there was something missing - if I could do everything else, what was stopping me from killing an animal?  It seemed a little cowardly.  So over the stiffening body of the gemsbok, Bossie made plans to take us shooting in one of the corridors of grazing land.  As the dead gemsbok was now lying about 50m away from the bakkie and behind a fence, Bossie raced off to pick up the staff so that they could help us to drag it to the bakkie and up onto the back.

Off we drove, back to the farm where the gemsbok was hoisted up into the rafters to hang and allow the head man to skin and gut it.  This was done within an hour leaving the carcass to hang for a day till it was butchered the next, after which we ate breakfast and then work on the farm began again.  We spent the morning rounding up cattle, ate lunch and back out into the fields rounding up the rest of them a_P1000833 - some more willing that others!

Once work was finished and as the end of the day approached, Bossie picked up the rifle again, we hopped back into the bakkie and we went off to set up the targets for a bit of shooting practice.  Trevor picked up the rifle and several shots later, had come close to the bulleye in the centre actually almost grazing the mark.  I had been sitting behind on the back of the bakkie with, Zoya, Bossie's beautiful 6 month old huskie a_P1000830 when he asked me if I wanted to have a go.  Now, I have to say that I have shot before and have been quite successful with clay pigeon shooting, so I picked up the rifle.  With clay pigeon shooting I shoot right handed because I keep both eyes open during aiming but with the rifle, I shoot left-handed.  It took me ages to control my breath and take aim, but eventually I managed and shot.  Walking over to the target 100m away, we all checked and I was chuffed that at least I had got the target!  It was a shot to be pleased with as it was outside the bull but inside the next ring.  So another try.  And this one felt grand.  It was right on the bulls eye!!!!!!  We made a pact there and then, Trevor and I, he would shoot a gemsbok and I would go for a warthog.  We needed another gemsbok for the next door neighbouring farm as they needed meat for their staff and we would go for a warthog as Trevor had never eaten one and once we had taken the good meat, we'd leave the rest for Bossie's staff as they had asked if they could have some warthog to eat.

Wednesday was another early morning as we rose in anticipation of the work ahead.  Cattle branding and de-horning was on the cards for that day but first we would spend the early hour looking for a gemsbok for Trevor to shoot for the next door neighbour, Hendrik.  We went back home for breakfast having not found a single one.  And work started again.  Once it was done, the cattle were left in the kraals due for a government inspection the next day.  That afternoon we picked up the rifle and went for another drive, again no gemsbok but as we returned home, Bossie tapped the roof of the bakkie to stop me and to  let him drive as he had spotted a young lone male warthog ideal to shoot for the pot.  I hopped up onto the back as the warthog ran away.  My heart sank with disappointment but we carried on and within 500m we found another about 100m from the roadside.  I lined up for a shot, gently drew in my breath, let it out, held it, gently pressed the trigger and saw the warthog drop in front of me.  He had been looking at me with some curiosity and presented a perfect target as the bullet entered his brain just above his eyes and exited from behind his left ear, dying instantly.  I secured the rifle before we ran over to the dead warthog and his throat was slit to bleed him.  We dragged him over to the back of the bakkie and took him back to the farm to skin and gut him and leave him to hang till the next day.  It was strange how easy it had been to shoot the warthog - I'd thought that I would never have been able to do it.  I had a moment of excitement when I saw the warthog drop and then enormous relief washed over me when I saw that I had had a clean shot and had not caused any stress or pain to the animal.  But not being able to do it - not a chance.  I had experienced less anticipation than aiming at the target the previous day.  I was chuffed!  a_P1000839

That evening was spent at Hendrik's farm celebrating his birthday with his family but having gone without the gemsbok we were full of earnest promises to continue to look for one the next day.  We had a wonderful time with Bossie, Hendrik and their friends, dispatching a little whiskey in honour of his birthday and went on our way for an early morning the next day.

Up again early, this time not to hunt but to wait for the vet to arrive so that she could check for pregnancies in the cattle still in the kraals.  A full morning's work as we marked, seperated and noted down each result.  Back to the farm for some lunch with the vet and off again to wait for the government inspector.  That done, back into the bakkie to hunt for gemsbok.  Trevor was left terribly disappointed as we found nothing.  One day though.

We spent some time harvesting the meat that we wanted from the warthog, packed it into our freezer along with some of the gemsbok liver that we had taken.  Can't wait!  And the rest of the evening packing Sully up ready to drive back to Bossie & Jackie's place in Windhoek the next day.