ndbwhnter is back from South Africa
Well I’m back. Right off the bat let me say this was an AWESOME trip. Met some good people, took some wonderful trophies and made way too many memories to count. These memories will stick with me forever and I would like to share some of them with the rest of you if you don’t mind my ramblings.
My safari started about 9 years ago when I met Neal. We went on some hunts together here in the States, but about 5 years ago we started planning and saving for this trip. Boy was it worth it.
I left for Neal’s house on July 9th, 2010 (which is my birthday incidentally). On the 10th we flew to Washington D.C. and overnighted at the Marriott. On the 11th we took off for Jo’burg. We arrived on the 12th after the 18 hour flight.
All of our luggage showed up and after “greasing” some palms in the baggage claim area we made it to the arrivals area. A rep from Gracy Travel met us right away and took us over to the rep for the Afton Guest House. We were transferred to the Afton Guest house in a timely fashion, where we met Annelise and checked into our rooms. We met some other hunters from British Columbia and swapped hunting stories over a wonderful steak dinner. If anyone is planning a safari to South Africa, I would highly recommend both Gracy travel and the Afton Guest House.
On July 13th we were picked up by Stian from Dries Visser Safaris for transfer to Citadel. Incidentally, Stian would by my PH for my hunt as well. We talked a lot about what to expect over the next couple days and our excitement continued to build (as if we needed to get more excited anyway). Neal warned Stian that normally he has the good luck and I have the bad luck when we are hunting, so he would have his work cut out for him over the next couple days.
We eventually arrived at camp, got settled in our chalets, checked our bows over then had some gemsbuck steaks for lunch. Duane the camp cook did a wonderful job and kept us fed with excellent food over the next several days.
After lunch we headed to the range to make sure everything was shooting OK. After a couple shots at 15 yards, we backed up to the 30 and I noticed my third shot into the target sounded kinda funny? After walking up there we realized why. I had shot a perfect Robin Hood! Maybe my luck was going to be better after all – I sure couldn’t blame my equipment that’s for sure. If you ever go to Dries Visser Safaris you’ll have to look for my Robin Hood on the “Arrow Hall of Fame” at the bar.
After shooting a little more, Dries Jr. and Stian took us for a game drive in the truck around Citadel. We saw all kinds of animals and built upon the excitement a little more. As we were driving around, Dries got a call on the radio from Nico, who was guiding another hunter on a cape buffalo hunt. He asked if we could come and move them to another blind for the evening. Well one thing turned into another, and we ended up right in the middle of a spot and stalk hunt for a cape buffalo! We got some awesome pics and video of Nico and his client Mark about 10 yards away from a huge bull. Unfortunately when Mark drew the buffalo spotted him and blew out of there. My excitement level was so high I’m pretty sure I would’ve died if I had a heart condition and I hadn’t even started hunting yet.
Back at camp that night we met Terry Cockburn and his wife Lila. I quickly realized that they were “good people” as we say up here in the North Country and knew I was going to get along with them well. Every night we shared stories of the happenings from that day. Looked at trophy photos and videos and there was a lot of hand shaking and congratulations every night. After the hunting stories, the jokes started to flow and pretty soon it sounded like a wild college party with everyone having a great time. I miss it already.
After a great supper, I headed off to bed with high expectations – little did I know what lay ahead for the next couple days.