LOCATION: Kasane, Chobe, North-West, Botswana
I just saw a pride of lions across the river. Somewhere in the distance a hyena calls. It sounds like Friday night at a lady's insane asylum, as Ruark once said, (or something like that).
I instinctively reach for the Kimber .375 h&h stuffed full of federals finest next to my cot. Even in "Modern" Africa where a cell sign woke up. The display of my phone says its 2:24 a.m. Not sure if I woke from jet lag of the lion grunting right behind the tent. In either case I'm awake and not sleeping anytime soon.
The Chobe River is murmuring by 15 yards of the tent. The grunting hippos mingles with the sound of another pal can be had in the middle of the Caprivi Strip. The feel of checkered walnut still feels reassuring.
You carry a gun everywhere here. Go to the bathroom at night - grab a rifle and a flashlight. Step out of the truck to take a look around - grab a rifle and make sure there are solid rounds in the magazine.
Critters are big here and on not too frequent occasions they can and do bite back.
I've been in dozen of camps in Africa from coast to coast and never I have seen a place that matched my boyhood dreams as completely as this camp.
We came up river by boat. Along the way we saw hundreds of Elephants, two massive crocs and the black dots of buffalo that dotted the green grass flood plain that explorers visited with muzzle-loaders.
Lots of outfitters claim a "true" African experience but few provide it. I have been fortunate enough to hunt out with Jamy Traut visiting his newest camp in the Caprivi Strip. It's four days old and has the most amazing spots I have seen in Africa.
Located on the Chobe River on the Namibian side you peer across the water 100 yards to Botswana, specifically the fabled Chobe Game Reserve.
Along with the hide-covered buffalo the cats, lions and leopards follow, feeding at their leisure.
I am here with Dwight Van Brunt of Kimber and Tim Brandt of Federal Ammunition testing their newest Cape Shock Safari Load in Kimbers .458 Lott Caprivi Rifle.
My old friend Mark Kefe from the NRA is also along to provide comic relief as well as keep the elephant population in check. It's a mixed bag hunt.
I could pick between a hippo or buffalo and Dwight has a croc permit. Since I have shot a buffalo and Tim has never been to Africa, I opted for him to take the hunt.
I will go along as well for the hunt. We leave at first light, and likely still be up-watching the sun light as the Eastern African horizon rises somewhere over Mozambique.
(NOTE: This blog was sent via text messages from Africa. It came in about 30 separate messages from Mike.)