My Hunt with Motshwere Safaris
Some dream of hunting Alaska, others the Yukon, many a certain state. Mine was to hunt Africa. I'll be the first to admit that this has not always been the case. However, over the past few years, I started to think about it.
Actually, after reading a few posts on (another site) over the past few years, I became even more determined. I will say that after reading a report by "deleted" on his trip to Africa, I was convinced I would eventually go.
I spent the the last three years going to different booths at the Hunt Expo and spoke with several Outfitters about going. Most seemed very good. However, I still couldn't make up my mind as to when I could actually go. There are always things that seem to get in the way. My biggest concerns were time and money.
Fast forward to last October. My best friend unexpectedly passed on a deer hunting trip at the age of 39. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. He lived a great life and always took care of his family. He also always found some time to make it on a few hunts every year as well. Right before his death, he went on his dream grizz hunt.
As a few months passed by, I decided I was not going to wait any longer to go on this hunt. With what had happened, I decided now was the best to go. I had pretty much made up my mind about an Outfitter around January of this year.
I was still a little uneasy about it and held off making the commitment. As February came, I left for a NM Oryx hunt and spent a few days hunting with "stinkystomper". Without knowing I was even interested in hunting Africa, he asked if I was interested in a hunt. I said I was and he referred me to an Outfitter he had talked to.
As soon as I got home, I called the Outfitter. Without going into detail, this Outfitter answered all my questions and concerns. I could immediately tell he loved to hunt and had a great operation.
He only had open dates for the year, so me and my wife decided we would go the first part of July. It was a little stressfull getting everything ready- passports, gun registrations, etc. But is wasn't too bad. We used travelwithguns.com to help us with airline tickets and paperwork and they were nothing short of amazing to work with.
We left that Saturday morning, July 2nd from Salt Lake City. The gun check in, was easy and went well. I was glad we went with Delta. We flew to Atlanta and had a few hours Layover. We then took a direct 14-15 hour flight to Johannesburg.
We finally arrived and we were TIRED! However, we were excited just the same. As promised, our Outfitter was there waiting for us. After a quick introduction, we were off to retrieve our guns. We picked them up, and were off to the lodge.
This being my first guided hunt, I wasn't sure what to expect. We finally arrived, and I could see that we were going to be well taken care of. This was going to be a little different than staying in my wall tent!
We quickly went to sleep and were excited to wake up the next morning and start hunting. About 7:00 the next morning we heard a knocking on our door. Our PH, who is also the Outfitter, said "Welcome to Africa"! I was still having a hard time believing we were actually doing this.
After a quick breakfast, we left. It was surprisingly cold than I thought. Werner, our PH said that there wouldn't be a lot of animals moving. I saw a cow Kudu, and we saw a few other animals. About an hour into our hunt, we saw a single warthog. To my surprise, Werner immediately said "Shoot it"!
It was facing me at only about 75 yards. I can't tell you how strange it was to be resting my crosshairs on a warthog. I aimed to the left side of its chest and fired. It immediately took off running. We started tracking and it wasn't long until I had my first African animal.
After some pic's and a few handshakes, we were back hunting. We soon saw a blesbok. Werner was excited and said it was huge. It was walking slowly away from us. He said shoot it right in the back. I shot and its head immediately dropped. However, it kept going. I shot two more shots. I missed and was disgusted with myself. Werner said I missed, so we started again. The rested of the day was uneventfull for the most part. Then, about 15 mminutes before dark, we saw some zebra and waterbuck standing. We quickly found the right zebra and i rested my crosshairs low on its front shoulder. I fired and it immediately went down. I couldnt't have been happier with the zebra.
It had been a long day. However, being as the time was 8 hours ahead of mountain time, I slept very little that night. However, that didn't stop us from being ready the next morning. A short time after getting started, we came upon some blue wildabeest. It was an animal I thought would be easy to hunt. I was wrong, they were some of the most skittish animals that we hunted on our trip. The herd finally stopped and Werner was having a hard time picking one out. He finally said: "shoot that one" I fired, and it ran about 50 yards and dropped. We got there and it was a cow. He knew he was taking a chance when he told me to shoot. However, I guess you can do that when you are the owner. He said I guess that ones free. It will be leopard bait for a future hunter.
We hunted the rest of the day. Once again, as it was getting dark, I had another shot. We saw this steenbuck and after a quick shot, we had our second animal for the day.
The next day, would be our best- so far. We had barely started and it was my wifes turn. She fired, and harvested the second animal of her short hunting career; a nice warthog. It was a perfect shot and it dropped in its tracks. Of course, Werner reminded me that my warthog ran a ways before it dropped.
We took the warthog to be skinned and quickly returned. We hadn't gone far when we saw a great blesbok. I fired, and it went a few yards and dropped. My wife had the camera before I shot and took a quick pick before I shot:
Amazingly, it was the blesbok we thought I had missed. I had shot a few inches high and took out a big part of its neck. I have know idea how it lived. I'm sure it only had a few hours of life left. Whats amazing is that it was about 1.5 from were we first saw it. It was so brushy and thick on this ranch, its a miracle we found it. My blesbok:
We dropped it off, and quickly found our last animal for the day. After a short stalk, I thought we had lost them. Werner found the imapala and said shoot. Although just an average ram, I was glad to have taken it:
The next day didn't go as well. However, we saw a much bigger impala than the previous day. I was surprised when he said "shoot". So, what did I do? I shot lol... I was very happy with this impala:
We were tired and ready to get back to eat. I'll readily say that the food was much better here, than when I am cooking at elk camp! One of our great meals:
Next day would prove to be our best. It was nothing short of amazing; one that I will always remember. Without going into too much detail I'll post the animals in order that they were taken.
My wifes impala:
My wifes 2nd warthog:
And finally, my favorite trophy- My Kudu:
Another pic of my kudu:
The next few days of hunting were tougher. I was able, the next day after shooting my Kudu, take this baboon. It will also be my last, most likely. I'm probably a little weird, but a baboon is just a little over the top for me lol... My wife wouldn't even look at it:
Werner was doing his best to find a bull Wildabeest. I was happy with what I had but he persisted. Evertime we would find them, they would blow out of the country. We finally got a herd to stop. Again, it was hard to determine the size. I told Werner the one I was looking at was considerably larger than the other two. He took another chance and said "shoot". I fired, and could tell it was a good hit. It should of went down sooner IMO, but it didn't. The so called "Premium" bullets I took were not performing as advertised. But thats a whole different story.
However, my shot was a little high.
After about 15 minutes of tracking we found it. It was a bull. It wasn't huge, but it was a nice average bull.
As I said the hunting conditions were tougher the last week. My wife missed a monster gemsbok and I felt really bad for her. It was the one animal she really wanted to get. We spent two more days hunting and tracking them all day. We had a few close calls but could never get a clear shot.
The last animal we were after was an eland. We hunted them for two days and only saw one cow. Werner, easily talked me into staying for two extra days in order to keep hunting for the eland. My wife agreed, and we called our travel agent and he quickly changed our flight.
We were down to the last day and Werner got us permission to hunt his friends ranch. He was more obsessed than me, to get one. We started that morning, and after an hour or two, Werner saw something. I assumed he meant an eland because that is what we were hunting. I didn't hear him say "caracal". He was going crazy trying to get me to shoot. I finally saw it, shot and missed. I was sick. It was at or near the top of my wish list.
For those that have hunted for them, they will tell you how rare it is to see one in the day. Werner had only seen 2, in two years... Oh well, on with the hunt...
We finally found eland; about 40 of them. I could not believe how they could run. They would never stop. When we would get close, they would bunch up and move together. We could not get a clear shot. We followed them, and followed them. I was tired and had just about given up. We finally saw them again as the sun was getting close to setting.
The only clear shot was at a huge cow. The cows have long horns, that are not as heavy as the bulls. We were sure it was taking this, or not getting an eland. I really wanted one, so I decided to take it. It was about 200 yards away, slighlty quartering away. I fired, and it tried to keep up with the herd, but soon fell.
We got to it and Werner showed me its teeth. The front teeth were loose and it definately had been near the end of its life. I felt fortunate to take it:
Our trip exceeded all our expectations and I am already planning my return in 3 years. It was easily, the best hunting trip of my life. With all the fun hunts I have been on, nothing compares (with what I have hunted) to Africa IMO.
I can't say enough good about our PH and Outfitter. Great hunter, great host, and a great person. I have him talked into coming to the Expo in Salt Lake this year and will be excited to talk to him again.
Hope you enjoyed the pic's and thanks for looking..