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Book Review: 'Ask the Namibian Guides'

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November 26, 2012

Book Review: 'Ask the Namibian Guides'

By David E. Petzal

Now here’s an original concept—a single book dedicated to safaris in one African country, rather than a book filled with chapters on different countries that leaves you saying “Yes, but…” when you get to the end. Diana Rupp, who is Editor of Sports Afield and an experienced Namibia hand, has interviewed a dozen PHs from that country on the ins and outs of safaris there, and set down what they had to say between these covers.

I know a number of otherwise experienced hunters who have never been to Africa, and the reasons they offers are unstable, corrupt governments, odd incomprehensible regulations, strange diseases, outrageous costs, and the difficulty of getting there and back. While this is a pretty fair description of the United States, none of it applies to Namibia.

This country, which is on the west coast of Africa, is larger than Texas, has a population of 2 million, 42 species of huntable big game (including all of the Big Five), excellent infrastructure, a stable, rational government, a lot less crime than here, and fewer repulsive diseases than you can contract at a SHOT Show. When I was there it was, and I believe still is, the least expensive of all African countries in which to buy a safari.

In the 19th and early 20th centuries Namibia was a colony known as German South-West Africa, and its citizens are so terrified the Germans will come back that they’re on their best behavior. Namibian PHs are highly skilled and rigidly screened. I believe the only other country whose licensing standards are so high is Zimbabwe. I could go on, but basically it’s Africa without the worries.

What Ms. Rupp has done in this handsome, 182-page book is ask 12 PHs with different specialties every conceivable question that you might have when considering a safari, and put down their answers. There are copious excellent photos of everything from game to lodges to scenery to the PHs themselves. If, when you get to the last page you still want to say, “Yes, but….”, you ask too damn many questions.

It’s hardcover, $34.95 from safaripress.com; 800-451-4788.

Comments (11)

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from RPeterson wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Just placed my order!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Have not read her book yet, but have followed Diana Rupp since she has been at Sports Afield, and respect her work. Have hunted Namibia four or five times. However not recently. Personally, find the plains game hunting similar to South Africa, but like it better, seems more " safarish". It is reasonably priced, with the exception of big five hunting, which is expensive everywhere. Dave is absolutely right, it is efficient, friendly, and not hard to access, as far as African countries go. If a health problem arises, the hospital in Windhoek is fine. I know from first hand experience. As far as Big Five hunting, have taken several elephant, one leopard, one lion, and a buffalo in Namibia. Also most of the plains game, if anyone has any questions.

Kindest Regards

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from RPeterson wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Happy Myles,
Would love to ask you some questions. Can't seem to find a method to send you a private message via Field & Stream. If you are will to talk pls email me at rp3t3rsn@gmail.com. Thanks kindly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My wife and I will mark 20 years of marriage next year. She has always asked me to take her somewhere warm and sandy for a 20-year trip(thinking Hawaii, I would wager).

"The Kalahari is warm and sandy," says I.

"Yes it is," says she. "But let us take side trips in addition to hunting all the dang day."

"OK," says I,qquckly,while simultaneously flipping through the reloading manual to the 375 section.

So, Namibia it is, with side trips to Windhoek (Thomas Hochland mountians) and Swapkopmund for German food, wine and beer. Trying to learn some Afrikaans and mostly failing, trying to prepare but not fret and failing again. People tell me that it is the trip of a lifetime, but my PH tells me "Very few hunt Africa a single time."

So, here's to red sand and safe travels. Thankful my wife is as excited as I am and Grandpas and Grandmas are retired and still spry enough to chase the young'uns for a few weeks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

And if you're better traveled that I and wondering who Tom Hochland is, I meant the Khomas Hochland, of course.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Amflyer,

A little extra effort, and you and your wife could work in Victoria Falls on the way to or from Namibia. She would enjoy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

From North to South, a hauntingly beautiful land, so try very hard to see more of it than just one hunting area.

Some of the most sublime landscape colors and rock formations anywhere!

Truthfully, it is showing some signs of deteriorating including an increase in crime, but at a slower pace than any other African country that comes to mind.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

The is a great idea for a book, and probably worthwhile to do similar editions on other countries.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Alas,I will not be able to hunt in Africa, my meager funds just won't permit it. Pehaps some day in the future you guysd will run a contest and I will win a trip to Africa.
On an unrelated note; I just read your pages on guns for under $500. They may be fugly, with less than perfect features but like you said< Dave they certainly do shoot well. I have a savage Axis in .223 with an after market trigger that outshoots many higher priced guns. I plan to get a ruger american in 243 for a coyote gun. so thank for the heads up

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Happy, just did some reading on Victoria Falls. Looks like a very nice place to spend some time. I think we will be a bit short on time for this trip(mostly because of the hunting I want to do, I admit) but will keep it in mind should we return. Someday I would like return to hunt the Okavango for something more dangerous than Kudu and Gemsbok, so maybe that would be a good side trip then.

We are traveling to Windhoek via Frankfurt as it was recommended that we stay out of Joberg if traveling with rifles. I imagine that someone with your experience would be more at ease going through SA, but I intend to make it as simple as possible this time.

Of course, being a gun nut and inclined to such things, I seem to be focusing mostly on the ammunition, rifle and marksmanship part of things rather than the other aspects, such as the stalking, etc. I am hopeful that the years of North American hunting will translate at least in part to good practice in Africa.

Less than 200 days and I am ready!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from cbanks wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

As I recall, you once described Namibia as "just like North Dakota, without all the overcrowding".

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Happy Myles wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Have not read her book yet, but have followed Diana Rupp since she has been at Sports Afield, and respect her work. Have hunted Namibia four or five times. However not recently. Personally, find the plains game hunting similar to South Africa, but like it better, seems more " safarish". It is reasonably priced, with the exception of big five hunting, which is expensive everywhere. Dave is absolutely right, it is efficient, friendly, and not hard to access, as far as African countries go. If a health problem arises, the hospital in Windhoek is fine. I know from first hand experience. As far as Big Five hunting, have taken several elephant, one leopard, one lion, and a buffalo in Namibia. Also most of the plains game, if anyone has any questions.

Kindest Regards

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Happy, just did some reading on Victoria Falls. Looks like a very nice place to spend some time. I think we will be a bit short on time for this trip(mostly because of the hunting I want to do, I admit) but will keep it in mind should we return. Someday I would like return to hunt the Okavango for something more dangerous than Kudu and Gemsbok, so maybe that would be a good side trip then.

We are traveling to Windhoek via Frankfurt as it was recommended that we stay out of Joberg if traveling with rifles. I imagine that someone with your experience would be more at ease going through SA, but I intend to make it as simple as possible this time.

Of course, being a gun nut and inclined to such things, I seem to be focusing mostly on the ammunition, rifle and marksmanship part of things rather than the other aspects, such as the stalking, etc. I am hopeful that the years of North American hunting will translate at least in part to good practice in Africa.

Less than 200 days and I am ready!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RPeterson wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Just placed my order!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RPeterson wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Happy Myles,
Would love to ask you some questions. Can't seem to find a method to send you a private message via Field & Stream. If you are will to talk pls email me at rp3t3rsn@gmail.com. Thanks kindly.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

My wife and I will mark 20 years of marriage next year. She has always asked me to take her somewhere warm and sandy for a 20-year trip(thinking Hawaii, I would wager).

"The Kalahari is warm and sandy," says I.

"Yes it is," says she. "But let us take side trips in addition to hunting all the dang day."

"OK," says I,qquckly,while simultaneously flipping through the reloading manual to the 375 section.

So, Namibia it is, with side trips to Windhoek (Thomas Hochland mountians) and Swapkopmund for German food, wine and beer. Trying to learn some Afrikaans and mostly failing, trying to prepare but not fret and failing again. People tell me that it is the trip of a lifetime, but my PH tells me "Very few hunt Africa a single time."

So, here's to red sand and safe travels. Thankful my wife is as excited as I am and Grandpas and Grandmas are retired and still spry enough to chase the young'uns for a few weeks.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

And if you're better traveled that I and wondering who Tom Hochland is, I meant the Khomas Hochland, of course.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Happy Myles wrote 1 year 20 weeks ago

Amflyer,

A little extra effort, and you and your wife could work in Victoria Falls on the way to or from Namibia. She would enjoy.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from kudukid wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

From North to South, a hauntingly beautiful land, so try very hard to see more of it than just one hunting area.

Some of the most sublime landscape colors and rock formations anywhere!

Truthfully, it is showing some signs of deteriorating including an increase in crime, but at a slower pace than any other African country that comes to mind.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

The is a great idea for a book, and probably worthwhile to do similar editions on other countries.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 1 year 19 weeks ago

Alas,I will not be able to hunt in Africa, my meager funds just won't permit it. Pehaps some day in the future you guysd will run a contest and I will win a trip to Africa.
On an unrelated note; I just read your pages on guns for under $500. They may be fugly, with less than perfect features but like you said< Dave they certainly do shoot well. I have a savage Axis in .223 with an after market trigger that outshoots many higher priced guns. I plan to get a ruger american in 243 for a coyote gun. so thank for the heads up

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from cbanks wrote 1 year 18 weeks ago

As I recall, you once described Namibia as "just like North Dakota, without all the overcrowding".

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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