Big Bores on the Eastern Cape
I was not born in Africa but Africa was born in me..... I wish I could take credit for that quote; because its so true, and now I have "brothers for life" there. I just returned from a hunt with KMG safaris. Im not sure I can fully describe how fantastic the trip was and continues to be for me.
About a year ago I started searching for safari firms, luckily KMG was was of my choices. After serveral emails and phone calls we decided to book with KMG. Between my hunting buddy and I, we have hunted Alaska and Canada and a good bit of the US; but Africa was neww to us. In fact it took a bit of convincing to motivate Frank to join me. Once we agreed on the the idea KMG was an easy pick for us. Marius Goosen is the PH behind the operation.
Before I started actually planning the safari, I would have told any who asked that I knew all I needed to know about planning my safari. Since I was seven or eight, Ive read everything I could find about hunting in Africa, from Rosevelt, Rouark, Hemingway, Capstick, and even Sullivan (plus many others). Unfortunetly once I actually began planning MY safari, I realized just hoe little I actually did know. During one of my conversations with Marius, I told him this; we joked that I was an expert "cause I read the book". In fact once I admitted that I knew less than nothing the planning could really begin.
Scheduling for two, took some work and we eventually decided on late September. We flew out of JFK with a direct flight to Joburg and then transfered to Port Elizabeth. The drive to NYC was something Id rather pass on for my next trip and the airport hotel wasnt high on my list for comfort; but nothing could damper the GREAT time me had on arrival.
We took the advice so many of you offered and not only took care of our customs forms well before the trip; and we also had the SAP forms handled by the Profesional Hunters Association. Both of those steps eased our concerns about flying international with guns. Check in at the SAA airlines desk was simple and quick. Of course I packed too much; but managed to stay under the weight limits.
Passing through TSA security was another issue. The bottle of water I was drinking was banned and I thought I was in for a full cavity search; but thankfully the TSA agent allowed me to pour it out. Next came the "shoes off and empty your pockets" part. Sure I expected all that; but after the water deal I was on edge. So everything including the wad of cash I was carrying (to pay for the hunt) goes into the bin, then they scanned me. Just when I think Ive passed, the TSA agent calls me over and has my carry-on bag in her hand. Im rushing to grab my belongings and cash when the TSA agent decides my brand new tube of shaving gel is banned and wants me to take it back to baggage. Convincing her to throw it away was an issue but we eventually resolved it and passed the TSA check point.
The flight to Joburg was 16 hours. I had a great seat with plenty of leg room; but that came at the cost of no TV screen. Thankfully I brought a good book and everyone near me had headphones to drown out my snoaring.... The SAA crew was wonderful. The meals were delicious and the service was great.
Arrival in Joburg was a bit scary, (the last time I was on a flight that long I had a M16 and a parachute...). South Africa Customs was easy and our bags arrived without an issue. We had been advised to have a pocket full of $5.oo bills to "buy cool drinks" for all the airport staff, as it turns out that included some of the SAP folks checking in our rifles. Some may be upset by this; but for me it was just "Africa". Frankly I was happier paying for the friendly service I got then the usual American version of "its over there..." attitude.
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