Although Botswana is set to close hunting for elephant in 2014, and will close all hunting on all government concessions, that does not mean that all hunting there will end. As I reported on Zambia last month, hunting on private ranches in Botswana will continue. Turns out there are a number of such properties. Many are currently operated as private getaways for family and friends, but some do offer commercial hunting opportunities to the general public. I recently learned of two such places from Patti Curnutte of The Global Sportsman (830-755-9191; www.theglobalsportsman.com).
Curnutte was promoting a Botswana plains game and bird hunting package at the Safari Club International convention this past February and told me she was stunned at the number of people there who thought Botswana was completely closed and had written off the destination. Curnutte is working on these hunts with Clive Eaton of Tholo Safaris (www.tholosafaris.com), a South African company. Eaton is part owner of a property called Bokamoso and full owner of Tholo Camp. Bokamoso is located three hours out of Maun adjacent to the Kalahari Game Reserve. It encompasses 60,000 hectares (about 148,263 acres) behind a high fence, featuring flat to rolling country covered in thorny bush. Tholo Camp is about 2½ hours west of Maun and has 104,000 hectares (about 256,989 acres), also behind wire. This property features salt pans, big limestone formations and large trees in some areas, thick brush in others and in the north is open savannah. The two ranches are home to a range of popular plains game, including blesbok, blue wildebeest, duiker, eland, gemsbok, hartebeest, impala, jackal, kudu, ostrich, springbok, steenbok, warthog and zebra, plus guinea fowl and francolin. Tholo offers bowhunting from ground blinds near water and over salt licks. Eaton also conducts spot-and-stalk hunts for both rifle and bowhunters. He uses bushman trackers and can arrange for San cultural dancing for guests at the lodge. Like many ranches in Namibia and South Africa, the properties also offer a luxurious lodge with a pool, large rooms and private baths. The packages Curnutte is offering range from five........(continued)