Hunters on a budget who dream of an African safari will be interested in this hunt in Namibia with Westfalen Hunting Safaris. Occasional correspondent Mel Toponce sent me an enthusiastic, 1,500-word report on his recent experienced with them. This operation, he says, has been quietly producing quality hunts at bargain-basement prices in Namibia for a number of years. This past May, Toponce and two friends hunted with John and Juliana van der Westhuizen of Westfalen Hunting Safaris, booked through Greg Brownlee of Jeff C. Neal (www.jeffcneal.com) and reports an enjoyable, quality experience at a price that most hunters can afford.
Of course, this isn’t a dangerous game safari nor a hunt for any of the “glamour” species, but take a look at Westfalen’s rates for 2013: $350 per day for 1×1 guiding, $280 for 2×2; $200 for observers, including hunting permits, accommodations, meals, the usual. Some trophy fees that may catch your eye include gemsbok for $700, kudu $1,000, springbuck $450, warthog $350 and red hartebeest for $700. Westfalen’s hunts take place on about 150,000 acres of largely unfenced property that is part of the Loxodonta Africana Conservancy. All animals are strictly free-ranging. Toponce reports reasonably plentiful game numbers. “Gemsbok in particular were abundant. Zebra numbers were adequate. Kudu were recovering from a rabies epidemic from a few years earlier. Springbuck, although normally present in large numbers according to our PHs, were surprisingly absent, possibly due to the presence of cheetah in the area.”
Toponce hunts with a longbow and says that was a serious mistake in this case. “Although Westfalen has some very nice pit blinds of brick, concrete and steel placed at man-made watering troughs, the distance was too far for my traditional bow.” Had he been shooting a compound bow, however, Toponce says he would have collected several trophies. “I had very nice specimens of gemsbok, warthog and red hartebeest standing within compound range at various times. On two occasions, I also could have shot damara dik-dik.”
His friends, who were rifle hunting, had better luck, taking kudu, gemsbok, mountain zebra and warthog. He describes van der Westhuizen as a tireless and very ethical hunter who prefers to hunt on foot rather than sit in ambush. The accommodations at the Westfalen Elephant Camp were deluxe, with very nice rondavels featuring en-suit baths. Meals, he says, were extraordinary. His only quibble is that Conservancy personnel disrupted his hunt on two days, flying a helicopter in the area to push out some elephants that had wandered into parts of the Conservancy where they could wreak havoc. Toponce concludes, “If Hunting Report subscribers are looking for a hunt for free-ranging plains game with reputable, hard-working, down to earth people, and that won’t break the bank, I suggest they give serious consideration to Westfalen Hunting Safaris.”
You can read Toponce’s complete report on the homepage of our website under Website Uploads. Look for Africa on a Budget.