We had an exciting start to the year with the Dallas Safari Club and Safari Club International Conventions, and Robin and Pauline were very honoured to receive the prestigious Dallas Safari Club Peter Hathaway Capstick Hunting Heritage Award for conservation efforts. The award is presented and sponsored annually by Fiona Capstick, in honour of her late husband, the well known American author Peter Hathaway Capstick. It was the first time that a couple has been given the award, which honoured both the Habitat for Rhino project in Namibia and the long time dedication towards community benefits in Tanzania through the Robin Hurt Wildlife Foundation.
From left to right: Fiona Capstick (widow of Peter Capstick), General Charles Duke (Apollo 16 astronaut, the youngest person to walk on the moon, aged 36 in 1972), Mrs Dorothy Duke, Pauline and Robin.
Before the travel world erupted in chaos, we were lucky enough to have British gun manufacturer Purdey's with us at Gamsberg for a fashion photo shoot in February! This was a great and unique experience for us, as it was the first fashion shoot held at Gamsberg. We greatly enjoyed having the marketing team, models and stylist with us, and hope to see everyone return to Gamsberg again one day. Little did we know at the time that this would remain our only safari for 2020! Pictures taken by photographer Sarah Farnsworth, thank you for allowing us to use the fantastic photos.
We are very excited to announce that we have added another 9'000 hectares of pure wilderness area to our conservancy! The Rocky Mountains Reserve adjoins the Gaob riverbed, directly bordering Mount Barry, and was previously almost inaccessible, with no road network or fence lines and no human interference present. Dan has been hard at work for most of the year with our staff team and bulldozer driver Hiskia building access roads and a lovely camp for guests. Those familiar with the Mount Barry section of the Gaob will remember the dramatic scenery dropping down hundreds of feet from the Khomas Hochland (where Gamsberg Lodge is situated). The best time of year for staying at Rocky Mountains Camp would be from March (when the rains will have transformed this currently dry land into a flourishing paradise) into August or September, this will present some fantastic hunting opportunities especially for Kudu, Oryx and Mountain Zebra, as well as fantastic scenery for non-hunting guests.
We are very pleased about the arrival of a breeding herd of 12 Sables at Gamsberg in September. They arrived from a private game reserve near Mariental in south-western Namibia, around 3 hours from us, and have settled in very well. We are hoping that we will soon see a lot more of these special animals around Gamsberg, one they feel at home and start reproducing.
Robin's new book, A Hunter's Hunter, was published just in time for the 2020 conventions, and the limited edition was sold out before the conventions were over. The book is available to order with Safari Press. Please follow this link if you wish to order your copy: https://www.safaripress.com/books/ahuntershuntertrade.html
Safari Press: In his Hunting the Big Five, Robin Hurt gave us highlights of his hunts for the Fabled Five of Africa. In this book, he rounds out the rest of his career: being savagely and horrifically attacked by a wounded leopard; shooting the world-record bongo; operating in Zaire when it was wild and lawless; hunting a Kenya bongo in an area so remote that it required a fifteen-mile walk in by foot while hacking a trail with machetes. When a client got injured on this hunt, the crew spent a day cutting a clearing in the forest with axes so a helicopter could land.
A significant portion of the book is devoted to the trackers and other camp staff without whom an African safari is impossible. He tells the tale of his Kenyan tracker, Joseph Sitiene, who while hunting in the C.A.R. was forced by a local chieftain to marry a young girl. Then there is the story of a PH who tied the bed of a sleeping, drunken associate PH to a zebra carcass, and hyenas dragged the bed out of the tent while fighting over the meat. Read the tragic and gripping tale of another PH who was burned in a grass fire during the filming of the famous In the Blood movie.
In addition, sons Derek and Roger Hurt contributed chapters on near-fatal leopard and buffalo attacks they encountered while hunting. Robin has always been a passionate international hunter himself and he tells us of his own hunts for Marco Polo and Asian ibex, as well as birds and stags in the British Isles.
Note - The British Gun Makers. Robin is not aligned with any one particular gun maker in UK. He has the highest regard for all the UK gun makers and in particular Westley Richards, Paul Roberts, Purdey, Rigby, William Evans and Boss in England - and David McKay Brown in Scotland. They each have their own impeccable pedigrees and Robin is pleased to be a good friend of each of these traditional bespoke gun makers.
Robin was very honoured to the featured in a recent Rigby advert, which you can see on the right. Here is Robin's story to go with it:
Early last year ( April 2019 ) my younger son Roger and I were kindly invited to Karamoja in Uganda by Prince Albrecht Oettingen- Spielberg. The area was the Pian Upe Game Reserve, or better known to me as Debasian ; named after the spectacular forested mountain climbing up into the clouds, out of the surrounding plains. One of Uganda’s finest game areas, Debasian was entrusted to Prince Albrecht as a concession for selective hunting and photo safaris . The Uganda Government could not have found a more perfect person than Prince Albrecht who is a dedicated and caring hunter / conservationist.
Prince Albrecht was interested in the differences I would notice in this fabulous area, since I last hunted there in 1966 and 1967. For me it was a nostalgic safari, re-tracing my ‘tracks', from concluding my last safari in that area, 52 years before. I was fortunate to remember the area well and felt immediately at ease in a place that I had loved.
To say I was impressed was an understatement. I found large herds of Roan Antelope , East African Eland, Bohor Reedbuck amongst other prolific wildlife. Of much interest to me was that the Buffalo numbers had increased enormously. Significant Cheetah numbers and Spotted Hyena were noticed. Leopard were also very much in evidence and doing well. From camp we could hear them grunting their evening sawing coughs announcing their presence , “ Watch out ! Watch out ! Watch out “! We even found the place where I had had an interesting experience in a cave with an angry “Chui “ all those years ago . The eagle eyed Roger even found the panga ( machete ) cut marks scaring some old trees where I had built a blind!
The only down turn I noticed were that Lion and Giraffe no longer existed ther , having been killed off by the Karamajong people that surround the Game Reserve. But , Prince Albrecht is already in on the act of reintroducing these icon species .
Also on the safari was Simon Barr. Simon is the owner of Field Sports Magazine and a dedicated and talented photographer and hunter/conservationist. Simon was in Karamoja to test Rigby’s new .275 Rifle. Built to replicate and commemorate the famous elephant hunter Walter D. M. Bell‘s original rifle, to the exacting specifications Bell had insisted on. Bell was a brilliant marksman and hunter and shot most of the 1,300 elephant he hunted with the .275 Rigby using solid bullets for brain shots. The result is a fabulous rifle built in England by Rigby’s talented gun smith craftsmen. We all shot the rifle, which was a joy to shoot, being perfectly balanced and with light recoil. Simon took some photos of all of us with the rifle. I thought nothing further on that score , apart from marking Simon’s incredible talent with his camera. Then in early September this year, Simon contacted me asking if Marc Newton, the General Manager of Rigby, could use the photo to show the Bell edition rifle. Without hesitation I agreed. After all, it was a huge honour, allowing me to be linked to such a legendary rifle!
Lastly, we would once again thank everyone for their continued support throughout this difficult year. We wish you and your loved ones a happy rest of the year and merry festive season, and all the best for the new year. Our 2021 season is filling up, as we have new safaris as well as postponements from this year to accomodate, but a few prime timeslots remain -please contact us as soon as possible if you would like to book your safari for 2021 or 2022.
We are very grateful for the lessons this year has taught as all, and happy that we were able to keep all our staff employed throughout these difficult times.
Recent pictures below taken by our neighbour Professor Piet van Rooyen, of the Grey Ghost of Africa.
With very best wishes from Robin and Pauline, Dan and Jana, and all the staff team - Simeon, Gabriel, Lisias, Michael, Anton, Simon, Naftalie, Elina, Claudia and Tina