NEAR Dordabis John Powell runs a 7300ha (18,000-acre) game farm. Fifteen years ago the farm was devoted entirely to cattle, but he has gradually sold them off to concentrate on the game side. The last of the cattle went two years ago.
He currently has 2000 game animals, spanning 14 species from warthogs and springbok to giraffe and oryx. He works on the basis of one cow every 12ha (30 acres), measuring other animals on this stocking rate (ie one kudu = one cow, one giraffe = two cows). It is important to know the exact number of game on his land to ensure that there is no over-grazing.
There are no fields but the boundary fence is 2.1m (6ft 10in) high and kept in good condition, ensuring no animal can get out on to a neighbours land. By Namibian law, game is not owned by the purchaser but by the person on whose land it stands.
Over a year he has 40 to 50 hunters on his farm, each shooting an average of five head for trophy. Each species incurs a different charge – a giraffe is £850 and a springbok £85. Mr Powell also has arrangements for shooting on 50 commercial farms on the basis that the farmer gets a fee for each trophy shot and keeps all the meat.
There are 450 registered game farms in Namibia and a further two more are registered each month in anticipation of the influx of tourism, the fastest growing industry in Namibia.
John Powell sold off all his cattle and now stocks 14 species of game.