Red Oxx Gear Tests Tough Hunting – Africa Part 4

Red Oxx Manufacturing co-owner Jim Markel traveled to Zambia in September 2003. He packed guns and cameras in his Red Oxx gear! Here’s Jim’s story, the conclusion part 4:

The south Luangwa is regarded as one of the finest game viewing parks in all of Africa. On arrival we were met by our driver who transported us to Nsefu camp located on the banks of the Luangwa River deep inside the park. The accommodations and staff were of the highest order.

First thing we met our guide, a local named Jacob. Jacob was very knowledgeable and an excellent guide. Our first animal was a huge tom leopard we found sleeping in a mahogany tree. And it only got better. By the time we had completed our first walk, we had seen four out of the big five.

The only reason we did not see Rhino was due to the fact that poachers had killed every Rhino during the 1980s. We spent two days at Nsefu and another at Nkwali. The photos and game viewing were great fun. I would highly recommend this experience to everyone.

As we were leaving Nkwali we stopped by the village to purchase some textiles and hand woven wire baskets. The baskets are made from confiscated poacher’s snares and are quite unique. The money spent here goes towards community development and anti poaching efforts.

Then we loaded back onto the caravan and headed to pick up more travelers at another camp. On approach we spotted a huge male lion and the pilot commented that was the first lion he had seen from the air. After picking up our passengers and getting the local shakedown for a landing fee, we took off for Lusaka. Our pilot treated us to a low flight upriver on the lower Zambezi. We could see huge Flat Dogs and Hippo along the river and I spotted a lone Cape Buffalo on a tiny island.

Once again we headed out for more hunting and all went well for myself and my companions. We had one day left and we wanted to visit Victoria Falls. So we borrowed a driver and one of Abie’s cruisers and left at O’dark thirty. As we drove through the countryside for four hours it was quite amazing to see the villages and small farming towns along the way. We arrived in Livingstone and toured the museum and scored some nifty curios. Then we were off to the falls. We did the usual stop and gawk took lots of pictures, then made off towards the ranch.

In Zambia they love to play a little game at night on the highway. Each driver dims his lights and as they get closer they will flick on the high beams at the last possible moment, kind of like a game of chicken. All was going well. Shawn was in the backseat doing his best to empty the Mosi beer out of the cool box while singing along to Jimmy Buffet. Beano and I were doing our best trying not to kill him.

Then a huge truck nailed us with his lights right about the time we impacted a huge pothole while traveling at 80 clicks per hour. Our driver informed us in a very calm manner: "I seem to have lost control of the vehicle." We shot off the road at a rather alarming speed. We launched up the embankment hit a large tree which saved us from a rollover. Our intrepid driver got out and started to work a hammer and some wire and thirty minutes later we were moving in the right direction at 8 clicks per hour.

As we limped home telling hunting stories under a pitch black African night, I reflected that it had truly been a great adventure.

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