The 48-Hour Safari: Bucking Tradition

By John Zent, Editorial Director

Anyone who’s ever been involved in African hunting will agree on one absolute truth: It’s an experience that shouldn’t be rushed. President Teddy Roosevelt’s famous East Africa expedition of 1909-10 extended nearly 11 months, a tad lengthy even in that era of steamship travel, but not unheard of. Robert Ruark’s 1951 Horn of the Hunter safari went about 60 days, which was typical in those post-War years. Just a few decades back, 30-day jaunts were the norm, and today’s African hunts mostly run from one to three full weeks. The duration has shortened considerably, but even so, it was downright nuts when my partner, Drew Goodlin, and I arrived at highly regarded Eden Preserve in Namibia with just two days to hunt our way through a game list of more than a half dozen animals each. Mind you, we were bound to do this ethically, taking only good, mature trophy animals.

          Eden

Could it be done? A big kudu bull ran across the gravel road as we drove through Eden’s gate. Should it? Within a couple hundred yards we had to brake for a gang of warthogs.  Why would anyone come to an African plains-game paradise with just 48 hours to hunt? Just plain nuts!

Best Laid Plans Undone
Ahh, but a tangled tale lurked behind our whirlwind outing. Here’s the short version:
Drew and I were all set to do a two-part safari in Namibia, the first leg of which allotted a couple days to hunting hippo (him) and crocodile (me) in a swampy, northern region called the Caprivi Strip. Experts had advised that would be plenty of time to konk those critters, then we’d pack up and head south into the bushveldt for plains game.

A “couple days” stretched into a week, a week of long, hard days wading belt-deep through (literally) hippo- and croc-infested waters without ever getting a good chance at either of Africa’s dangerous amphibians. That left us with a full day’s drive to get to Eden, after which just two days would remain to hunt kudu, gemsbok, wildebeest, waterbuck, hartebeest, and more, before we headed home. 

Maybe it would have made sense to scale back. But Drew and I were on a mission to field-test what Federal is convinced will be its best, all-around big-game bullet ever, the Trophy Bonded Tip, updated and accurized for 2010 by means of a brand-new swaging process that ensures precise concentricity of the bullet shaft. As head of product development at Federal, Drew expects this baby may ultimately prove to be the most accurate bonded bullet ever made, not to mention one of the deadliest on impact.

But the only way to know for sure was to see what it would do in real-world hunting situations. So we needed to get busy!

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1 Response to The 48-Hour Safari: Bucking Tradition

Jerry Lone wrote:
July 26, 2010

Having retured from my first African Safari in So. Africa, it was one of the most exciting experience I've had. My comment to Mr. Hargrove is, I am an American Hunter, and my trip abroad to take five different animals including a 57 inch horn length bull Kudu was a absolute thrill. All this for less than what it would have cost me to book a single trophy Mule/White Tail deer hunt here in the states. And yes, the air fare was not that much more than flying several thousand miles here in the states. Check it out it was a wonderful life experience. Jerry Lone, Yorba Linda CA.