It even snows in Africa, Part One
In case you have not noticed, we have quite a bit of snow lying around the countryside. Whether you like it or not, we are going to be stuck with it for quite a while. This much snow just does not disappear overnight. I don’t mind snow, but I sure don’t like the sloppy mess it creates when it does decide to disappear.
I have participated in a lot of hunting adventures over the years that required navigating through the snow. I really don’t recall any of those hunts being a hardship. In fact, it always puts a little different twist on the hunt that is quite enjoyable.
Most of those hunts conducted in the snow were also done at high altitudes. This is where the hardship comes in. I don’t like altitude! It is hard enough here to traipse through the snow but throw in 7,500 to 10,000 feet in altitude and it begins to tax my system. I am getting older and more overweight with each passing year, which makes the navigation at high altitudes somewhat of a challenge. Throw in some snow at those high altitudes and we have heart pounding and lung exploding convulsions taking place that makes holding crosshairs on the shoulder of an animal quite difficult.
It would make sense to avoid these type of hunting situations, but the views from these majestic heights are quite stunning. The mountains, whether they are in the northern hemisphere or the southern hemisphere, still captivate the wandering hunter with promises of ample game and unmatched scenery. Standing upon a mountain peak surveying God’s handiwork is why I continue to answer the call of the mountain hunt. That call came again from a familiar source. My hunting companion from a continent so far away once again beckoned me to head his direction for a reunion of sorts in the wilds of Africa.
It is quite common that when one heads to the Dark Continent for a hunting safari that more than one species is targeted. With so much available hunting territory and such a wide variety of game, it only makes sense. During the course of our correspondence, my professional hunter suggested several options for hunting.
One of those options would be to head up into the Winterberg Mountains on the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The Winterberg Mountain range runs from east to west north of a little town called Bedford. The Winterberg Mountains will never be confused with the familiar Rocky Mountains that we know and love, but they are mountains none the less. The average elevation of these mountains is 6,000 feet above sea level but numerous peaks climb up to 7,700 feet.
With elevations that high, it does indeed snow in South Africa! One does not often think of snowfall occurring in Africa, but it actually is quite common. The tallest peak in the Winterberg Mountains is frequently covered with snow. The Eastern Cape is a remarkably beautiful part of Africa. Rainfall in the Winterbergs and the Eastern Cape is plentiful, thus the vegetation is lush and green. You won’t see rock formations and lots of trees covering these mountains. Instead, these mountains are covered with grasses. Intensive grazing by the livestock in these mountains have suppressed shrub or tree growth.
Sheep and cattle roam these desolate and for the most part uninhabited mountains. It is in these mountains that my professional hunter wanted to venture up to see if it was possible to run into any Mountain Reedbucks or Vaal Rhebok. These two smaller antelope species make their home up in the higher country. The Vaal Rhebok is actually referred to as the “little goat.”
Anytime you pursue something that is referred to as a goat, you can rest assured that you are heading for some rough country that is going to require a lot of you to be a successful hunt. I did not realize how true that statement would be.