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  1. #1
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    Jun 2015
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    Thumbs Up! My true outdoor stories out of Africa....

    O.K. Guys, I'm new here, [different continent & different culture..] and will start off with a short real- life story attempt --Enjoy!

    Eye to Eye with a big Black Mamba!

    This adventure took place one year during our annual week long survival hunting /camping excursion-mainly for warthog- in the Limpopo Bushveld of South-Africa.

    For guys like us, these ‘primitive living’ ethical hunts are the best of hunts--far better than the advertised up -market hunts for Kudu, Impala, Blesbuck etc. out of luxurious lodges!

    Now, as an older hunter, I still like to climb trees for a better look-out point, so when I saw this huge Baobab tree +_ 100 m [340 ft.] from a natural water source, I just had to go for it!

    To my surprise, somebody else had long ago tried to build a tree house high up in this tree—well, even better, I thought!

    The old wooden 'ladder' up to the first branches of the Baobab tree did not look safe anymore, so I decided to first fasten my kit with a 30m [100 ft] ski- rope out of my back pack and then to afterwards pull everything up once I was securely in the fork of the first branches.

    Once up there in the fork of that huge and ancient baobab tree, the next climb up to the floor of the 'tree house' with the backpack and rifle becomes -let’s just say –a bit 'difficult'.

    Let me tell you, Baobab tree branches are ‘smooth’, and army boots [which I was wearing at the time] are not really meant to be used as tree climbers!

    Exhausted, I finally carefully let the floor of the tree house take my weight-so far so good!

    Taking my binoculars, I started scanning the Bush-veld surroundings far below me. What a beautiful sight to see the lush green Bush-veld trees and to hear the melodious twitter of the birds in the surrounding tree tops.

    It was such a peaceful moment of contentment, bliss and ‘one-ness’ with nature, that life couldn’t be any better at that moment!

    After --I don’t know – maybe 2-3 minutes of total absorption in the beautiful panoramic surroundings beneath me, I suddenly become aware of a small movement to the right of my head in the tree house.

    Now just imagine this picture for yourself. … I innocently turned my head towards the right, and shockingly find this HUGE 3 m [+12 ft.] Black Mamba with its head poised at about 6-8 ft away from my face…….

    It seemed to be looking with menace straight into my eyes, with what looked like a death grin below his small unblinking pitch black beady eyes!

    To say that I was nearly frightened out of my wits at that moment is a huge understatement of such a totally unexpected confrontation/situation!

    I’m sure that when my heart started beating again after a couple of seconds; it cleared out the cholesterol from my arteries all at once!

    Now look. I am also a conservationist, the same as all real hunters, but at moments like these, maybe 40 m [130 ft] up in a tree, confronted by a disagreeable and arguably the most venomous snake in Africa, if not the whole world, whose personal space and territory had just been rudely invaded by an alien---you don’t think about conservation at times like this my friend, only about survival!

    To make a long story short-I slowly moved the barrel of my rifle in its direction to my right and shot AND hit it without aiming at very close range! [As a right-handed shooter, I thus shot and hit it very, very luckily from my left or ‘wrong’ side]

    Needless to say, that afterwards, I did not go hunting for warthog for the rest of that day!
    Even today, years after this episode, when I look at the old photos again, I still get the shivers when I think back at that close shave and what could have been……

    I was literally +_30 k [20 miles] from the nearest people and about 120 km [65 miles] from the nearest decent hospital!

    If untreated, it’s neuro-and cardio toxin is 100% fatal inside of 20 minutes!
    I still go ethical survival hunting, but I now treat all Baobab trees with a healthy dose of respect for more reasons than just providing me with nearly all I need for survival in the bush.
    [Food, tea, rope, shade, shelter, sometimes water etc.]

    What is the moral of this story?

    Well, there are a few lessons to be learned from my near fatal experience, and you can decide for yourself what you would have done if you were me high up in the tree that eventful morning.

    With the luxury of hind sight, I fully agree that I’ve made a couple of blunders that, as an experienced hunter/camper, I should never have made in the first place.

    I also mourn the death of one of the old kings of the bush, at the apex of his food chain in the ecosystem.
    [3 m = 12 ft and +_ 15 yr. old, a really big Mamba can be 4.5 m =15 ft. and up to 20 yrs. old.]
    I sometimes think that maybe I should have taken a chance and let him live.

    Then I again re-live those hectic and nightmarish couple of seconds high up in an old tree house, and think that given the circumstances, I have made the right decision.

    What do you think?

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails black-mamba.jpg   mamba 2.jpg   mamba 3.jpg   mamba willem.jpg   black-mamba-031.jpg  

    black-mamba1.jpg   mamba theunis.jpg   mamba bertus jnr.jpg  
    Last edited by Observe; 07-06-2015 at 02:33 AM.

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