KALAHARI WILDERNESS DRIFT – SEASON 2020 – Week 2
After Week One on the Kalahari, we couldn’t contain our excitement, not only had we gotten the numbers, we had also been pulled on by some bigger fish. We felt our early season work, plans and recipe to finding and feeding fish were in order, and we were rearing to go for the next drift. Never wanting to be over-confident, the jitter of nerves always lurking in the back of your mind talks to you; are the fish still behaving the same, the weather has changed, will the warming water and fluctuating barometer affect our success? A ball of excitement and worry, I lay in my tent, with a world-class river flowing just meters away and couldn’t help but picture perfect casts into structure and flies getting eaten as they start to sink… I never fell asleep. I can’t imagine what could have been going through our guests’ minds, Rodger, here to celebrate his 50th with his brother Bruce, a leading South African Marine Biologist.
All signs of nerves faded once we pushed off of the banks and the river life swallowed us deep into its wilderness. Four nights on the river, under the stars, eating gourmet camp food to replace all the energy used on casting, paddling and most importantly, fighting fish. What a treat! The unspoilt sounds of nature, very rarely getting broken by the noises of nearby agricultural farm equipment, serves as a reminder as to how precious these beautiful areas are, and why we must conserve these areas at all costs. Staring into campfires at night and water by day, it is easy to forget about covid and life carries on as it once did, before three year olds knew the word ‘pandemic’.
Being woken up by fish eagles at dawn, huge smiles and laughs that echo off cliffs, hooting and hollering as trophy fish tow two loaded rafts around a pool, and of course the odd swear word or two when a hook doesn’t set properly on a heavy fish – these are the sounds of a wilderness fly fishing trip! The amount of life the Orange sustains is remarkable and so was the fishing for week two of the season. Largies are honest fish. They reward a well worked fly fishing plan, and the execution there of. Roger and Bruce were consistently in the action from the get go, with multiple largies landed daily. However, there were a couple of session on this drift that still defy belief in terms of the intensity of the action – ‘pinch-yourself-type-stuff’ – and it is these sessions that have been indelibly burned into our memories to cherish for years to come
We look forward to sharing this experience with small groups of dedicated fly fishermen over the coming season and years to come. In line with our low impact model, we rest our beats for 2 weeks now, before our next drift starts, so stay tuned as we kick off again a little later in Sept.