Short Hunt with Tholo Safaris
I don't think alot of folks think of Botswana when they are considering a plains game hunt. Hunters think of Botwana as the home of big tuskers and expensive hunts but the the plains game is often overlooked.
In '09 I hunted out on the Zambezi Delta in Mozambique with Bahati Safaris and had a good hunt. Once we finshed up there Johan the owner of Bahati chartered us direct to Maun, Botswana saving us time and the fiddling about in RSA.
A Tholo appy Ph met us and we were through customs etc in a matter of minutes. Here I should add that Botswana is a very easy country to transit and nobody will approach you for a bribes or accost you in anyway.
The appy drove us 3 hours south on excellent roads to Tholo's 100,000 acre hunting ranch. The camp is 40 minutes off the tar and absolutely beautiful. Clive and Linda Eaton have done a super job offering their guests AC equipped chalets with big beds, nice furniture and a huge bath with a real soak tub. If you want to rough it you can also stay under canvas but you'll have to put up with tiled floors and panelled baths. Needless tosay the food and service were superb but all was very casual and low key.
The hunting is conducted on Clive's 100,000 acre fenced property but also on the surrounding 250,000 acres that he has access to. Clive has two camps but only hunts one party at a time from each camp so it is likely the two parties will never see eachother.
The hunting itself for all the Kalahari type species is very good but the kudu and Cape eland are incredible. A lot of the property is very thick requiring you to track a lot of the game. Bushman trackers do the tracking and these guys are phenominal. The head tracker we had was very animated and after the first day I could tell how close we were to the eland and what the eland were doing just by watching his hands. Very entertaining!
We had only allowed 5 days for this safari and after three days of following eland we finally caught six bulls streaking across a big grass flat. I was able to identify the biggest bull, pull out in front of him and hit him 3 times running at about 150 yards. Here I need to say I am not Daniel Boone but an eland on even ground runs very flat and is a huge target.
The eland taped a full 38" and I was very pleased. His picture is taken with the Bushman that spotted them first and is with the rest of my pix here on AH.
I told Jacko my PH that if we saw a truly huge kudu I would like to try for it and we looked at several stunning mid 50's bulls. One we had the drop on in the heavy bush at 50 feet but Jacko could not promise me he was over 58" which was the benchmark I had set. I didn't shoot a kudu there but they have shot up to and honest 65" so I can go back sometime and try for a monster.
A red hartebeest was the only thing I really wanted other than the Cape eland and we had a heck of a time finding the right one. On the last afternoon we finally found an old lone bull, made a stalk and I got a spectacular deflection up through the trees. This scared the hartebeest and he turnned running back toward us and into an opening where I dropped him.
My friend and client Mike Bryant accompanied me and we hunted 2x2. He took a beautiful kudu, gemsbok and a huge eland. Mike is a great guy to share a camp with and really enjoyed his time in Botswana.
The Eatons put on a great show offering a 4 star operation in all aspects. If anyone is considering a great PG safari at a fair price I'd be happy to talk to them about Tholo.