Fire Makes Botswana's NG43 Elephant Hunting Area Better Than Ever


Published: January - 2012

We previously reported that a fire in the Botswana's NG43 elephant hunting concession in had burned thousands of hectares of brush there in 2010, increasing visibility and access. Then, in our July 2011 issue we reported that subscriber Peter Stein had taken a 78 x 73 pound elephant hunting NG43 with Frans Van der Merwe of Kgori Safaris (011-267-686-2049; www.kgorisafaris.com). Stein said, despite the burn, there were plenty of elephant when he hunted there last April.

Stein reports hunting with Van der Merwe five times, killing a 58½-pound elephant with him in 2000 and two more (51 and 53 pounds) in 2010. He warns that while the fires have burned much of the Mopani and the area is now easier to hunt, hunters must be prepared to do a lot of walking to get an elephant. In response to our recent inquiries, Van der Merwe reports that, not only is the hunting easier now, but the abundance of grass has lured huge cow herds from the neighboring parks. "It was the first time we've seen elephant herds grazing like cattle on the open grass veldt."

Van der Merwe tells us NG43 lies between Nxai Pan National Park on the east and Moremi Game Reserve on the west. It encompasses 850,000 acres of Mopani forest and scrub, plus the northern tip of the Kalahari, which pierces up the center of the concession. From April through June, the elephant migrate through this area. After June, the cow herds leave when the pans dry up. There are a number of boreholes in the area, and Kgori pumps water into the larger pans throughout the year to maintain elephant numbers. From July through September, you find mostly groups of bulls in NG43. They travel from Chobe, 30 kilometers to the north, to the Kalahari veldt in search of Commiphora roots.

According to Van der Merwe, the 2011 season was the best Kgori has had in 14 years of hunting NG43, taking their entire quota of 21 elephant. Six bulls weighed more than 60 pounds, including........(continued)

 
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