Kevin Thomas Safaris - 1st Newsletter of 2012
Dear Sport Hunting Friends & Colleagues,
We're already at the end of January 2012 and time is once more passing by at an alarming rate. Hopefully the year ahead will be what we'd all wish it to be, and not only on the hunting front but in all else too. At the beginning of April, a mere two months away, our Southern African hunting season will be officially starting, and it seems as if it was only yesterday that the 2011 season was kicking off.
Speaking about 2011, we had some great hunting, most of it in Zimbabwe where aside from hunting with my own clients, I was also contracted to guide a number of safaris for Mazunga Safaris on their bespoke Bubye Valley Conservancy, oft referred to by the simple acronym BVC. Chief Conservator of the BVC, Blondie Leatham has been there for a few decades now, and he and his support staff have done a remarkable job in terms of sustained yield conservation. If ever there is a fine example of "hunting paying for conservation?" the proof lies in the 1 million acre BVC. Abundant wildlife numbers in virtually all of the species found there, superb trophy quality, and unsurpassed camps, offering 5 star services this entire mix leading to clients receiving an unbeatable Classical African Safari Experience. The BVC is also home to one third of Africa's endangered black rhino population, and monies derived from hunting there go a long ways towards supporting the ongoing war against rhino poaching.
During the 2010 & 2011 season our clients took excellent buffalo, waterbuck, kudu, impala, warthog, wildebeest, eland and giraffe on the BVC and 2012 looks set to be just as productive, and in this endeavor we look forward to our continued sound working relationship with Mazunga Safaris. A big thanks too, to Sarah Blair on the bookings/reservations side.
Here in South Africa's Eastern Cape we still offer superb value for money plains game hunting, and bird shooting in the Free State, plus much else, all dependent on the client's wants. South Africa does not have the remote vast un-spoilt wilderness safari areas like elsewhere in Southern and East Africa, however, and despite the safari industry in South Africa being to a large extent, game ranch driven, it is the ideal venue for an introduction to African safari. Equally important, South Africa affords non-hunting observers by way of spouses, children, and friends, ample opportunity to participate and enjoy a wide variety of vacation activities. For example: Visits to National Parks and up-market private game reserves, place of interest & cultural tours, international class shopping in modern malls, art galleries, curios, world class beaches, bespoke restaurants, museums, and more. It is often said, that unlike many other African countries, South Africa needs to be visited at least three times to experience the contrasting vastness of the nation not to mention the 33 plus species on offer to a visiting sport hunter.
Since 2002 our preferred hunting concession in the Eastern Cape has been the 30,000 plus acres Woodlands Game Ranch, an excellent habitat and topographical mix that allows for a wide variety of antelope species, all of which is aptly managed by the genial Manager/PH Keith Gradwell, and his charming wife Fran. Over the years, we've never had clients go away from a Woodlands safari experience dissatisfied, and many of our repeat bookings are for this superb, close to Port Elizabeth airport, hunting venue. Much of our 2012 program will be geared towards once more energetically marketing more buyer friendly safari packages of what we have to offer on Woodlands, given the current global economic clime these hunt options are hard to ignore.
Recently Kevin Thomas Safaris was privileged to also be offered an additional Eastern Cape game ranch hunt concession, a venue that Kevin had last hunted in 2003. Only a 1-hour drive from Port Elizabeth airport, the 3,800acre ranch is situated on the Bushmans River with an 8km frontage, and with it being an estuarine river, it has great cob and spotted grunter fishing, and mud crabs are abundant (a must as table fare!). This unique area is ideal blue duiker habitat, with the open grassed areas hosting the shy Cape grysbok. Other species include kudu, impala, bushbuck, bushpig, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, common duiker, warthog & waterbuck. We feel this particular ranch is ideally situated for parents to introduce young children to fair chase walk & stalk African hunting. When not hunting, there is plenty else to do such as fishing, kayaking, boating, visiting near by beaches, rock & surf fishing, shopping, visiting Addo Elephant National Park and in general having fun as a family.
Another positive development in late 2011 was my meeting up with an ex Rhodesian National Parks colleague of mine who I hadn't seen for a number of years. Barrie Duckworth of Mokore Safaris in both Mozambique & Zimbabwe needs no introduction, having been an exceedingly successful Zimbabwe professional hunter and safari operator since 1979, and although now retired from actual guiding, he and his wife Bertie are still very much involved with the family safari business. Their three PH sons Gary, Neil, & Doug with their respective wives now take care of running the day to day side of the operation. During our Xmas season social get together, Barrie made mention that their hunting concessions might be of interest to us and our clients, and it was Mozambique in particular that drew my interest. Their concession in Mozambique is no fly by night operation; they're been there for about 12 years now and have a main established safari camp, plus two well-appointed fly camps. This hunting concession is known as the Nhacainga Conservancy and falls within Coutada 9 and 13 lease areas. During the years prior to Mozambique's liberation war the concession was leased by Adelino Pires's Safrique Safaris, and was well known for its lion and buffalo. Aside from the dangerous game on offer and normal plains game species, Mokore Safaris has a unique mix of other antelope species that are often on the want list of the true trophy hunting connoisseur, these being: Sable, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, Chobe Bushbuck, Common Reedbuck, Oribi, Suni, Red Duiker, Sharpe's Grysbok, Bushpig etc. We feel Mokore's daily rates and trophy fees are exceedingly realistic and competitive, and we're keen to experience hunting this venue with our clients.
One can't talk Africa without touching on political stability, for such is the way of our still evolving to political maturity, turbulent, but beautiful continent. Obviously I'll only cover the countries in Africa that we promote and market, and it'll be brief coverage because sport hunters aren't really interested in politics, and for good reason.
Zimbabwe is still a fine hunting venue, although politically the country is a shambles with no other African country wanting to place pressure on the aging dictator Mugabe and the reason? Quite simply one of an 'Old Boys Club' because African leaders see Mugabe as the father of liberation in Southern Africa, no matter what he and his ZANU PF governing party's human rights track record or anything else. He's their hero, end of story. African leaders are collectively determined that so called liberation movements should remain in power, even if they have to be propped up. So where does that leave visiting sport hunters intent on a Zimbabwe safari? My advice is for you to ignore African politics and go hunting, clients don't spend time in Zimbabwe's cities, and they arrive in country, go hunting, and then depart. Invariably, and given the incredible friendliness of the Zimbabwean people, visitors won't even know the country has problems, and it is still one of the best big game hunting venues in Africa.
Mozambique is politically stable, is an amazing friendly country, and truly has one of Africa's most beautiful coastlines. As a true 'classical' African safari venue, Mozambique is hard to beat.
South Africa by African standards is First World, highly developed and industrialized and has political stability, although crime has been a worrying factor. This latter fact though, shouldn't put visitors off visiting South Africa for safari, because you're met at point of entry and will always be hosted by us from start to finish. At no time will we place you in a high risk environment or situation, and your safari experience will leave you with fun-time, lasting memories. Our Eastern Cape too, is malaria free, a big plus when wanting to go on safari as a family group, or with youngsters to worry about.
Thus, as this newsletter draws to a close, we'd like to say a big thank you to all of our 2011 clients, and for 2012 we'd like to wish all of our visiting clientele a successful safari and an out of this world African experience. Good shooting, happy hunting, and safe travels.
Finally, I'd like to thank my wife Brenda for all of her ongoing support, and our eldest son Brett, who despite extreme adversity by way of ill health and constant pain, keeps our websites going and continuously strives to improve our safari marketing strategies and PR presentation and also to our booking agents, in the US Glenn and Christa Baker, and in the UK Tony Jackson & Jamie Cox. We believe 2012 will be the epitome of what gun writer, sport hunter, and friend, John Barsness, so aptly describes as The Life of the Hunt Good Luck!
Kevin, Brenda and Brett.
Hunting South Africa 2012
We have access to some of the most productive inland and coastal hunting areas in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. All of our hunting areas have abundant game populations, a spectacular variety coupled to excellent trophy quality, and important too, for the visiting sport hunter - is the fact that South Africa is easy to access, politically stable, and hunter friendly, with a wide range of additional outdoor activities available, making it an ideal venue for a family vacation, or an entry level African hunting safari experience. Our Eastern Cape coastline parallels the warm fish rich waters of the Indian Ocean and due to our exquisite un-crowded beaches, and beckoning climate, is aptly referred to as the Sunshine Coast.
With this Safari option you determine the number of days you have available to hunt, pay a basic daily fee, and then just hunt for the species you choose from the price list. There are no minimum or maximum days. http://www.ktsafaris.co.za/index_files/ECSA2012.pdf
South Africa 2012 Package Hunts
We have 10 package hunts to offer, they are the most affordable hunts for our clients. These are ideal for your first Safari to Africa. The packages include many of the most popular species available. You decide which package suites your specific needs as a basis for your safari. Whatever you shoot outside the package from our price list, will be an added extra. Alternatively if you have hunted Africa before and wish to make up your own package we are willing to tailor make a package to suite your individual requirements. We can also offer you a further discount if you bring a buddy or partner along. Visit http://www.ktsafaris.co.za/index_files/PHS2012.pdf to download our package hunt leaflet. Our packages start from as little as US $3545 and some packages qualify for a further 10% discount. Please feel free to contact us and find out how you can save even more and still get a top quality safari.
Zimbabwe Bubye Valley Conservancy
This one million acre concession situated in the south east of Zimbabwe, and close to the northern border of South Africa, is one of the best managed wildlife areas in southern Africa, and is home to a host of species which occur in large numbers, in addition to the Big Five. Herds of buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, and eland are to be found as well as sable, tsessebe, kudu, waterbuck, impala and warthog. The area is renowned for its leopard population, and lion prides regularly wander through the camps at night. Visit http://www.ktsafaris.co.za/index_files/BUBYE2012.pdf to download the details.
Zimbabwe Buffalo 2012
We have a great offer on a 10 Day Buffalo / Plains Game Safari for only USD $14480 including your Buffalo Trophy Fee. The safari takes place on the Bubye Conservancy in Zimbabwe. This Conservancy is made up of three areas consisting of the Main Conservancy, Ripple Creek and Malangani which have been hunted for the last twelve years. This prime Zimbabwe lowveld bush has been set aside solely for wildlife and hunting which has resulted in it becoming a hunters paradise! Click http://www.ktsafaris.co.za/index_files/BUFF2012.pdf for further details.
Pre or Post Safari Tours
We pride ourselves in being able to tailor a safari to meet the needs of most clientele, be they single sport hunters, couples, or family groups, and aside from hunting we also offer combination safaris that include: deep sea fishing, rock & surf fishing, shark fishing (catch & release), dove/pigeon, waterfowl and guinea fowl shooting, golf (on bespoke Estates), place of interest tours, cultural tours, visits to Addo Elephant National Park, shopping, a 3 or 4 day post or pre safari Garden Route tour to, or from Cape Town to our home base of Port Alfred, and much more.
We will gladly work out an itinerary to suite you and your family痴 specific requirements. Send us a e-mail telling us what you would like to do on the tour, the number of days and a rough idea of the budget you have as an idea and we will do the rest.
Tracking the Memory
Tracking the Memory is primarily a collection of informative and personal stories about the different experiences of hunting. It is also the culmination of a boyhood enterprise of exploration and discovery that began on a farm in the Chipinga area of British colonial Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) during the mid 1950痴 and continued along the banks of the majestic Sabi River, and lives to this day 55 years on as a lifetime career and passion of the author.
Kevin Thomas is first a professional hunter but thankfully he is also a writer, and as such we have this collection of firsthand accounts of what it is like to straddle both the romantic, adventurous side of hunting and the modern commercial aspect of an often controversial industry.
Hunting is now a business but we must always remember it was once a way of life. Visit Kevin Thomas Publishers to order your autographed book directly from us.