SOUTH AFRICA: South Africa May 2013 - First Safari! Thank you AfricaHunting.com
2013 African Hunt pix:
Africa 2013 Photos by Weaselthis | Photobucket
This post is VERY lengthy, so be warned.
Since March 2012 when I won the auction for this donated hunt at the Sacramento Safari club annual fundraiser, I have been lurking on this site (and others, but this one especially) soaking up as much info as I could. I am forever in debt to those of you who selflessly share your experiences and knowledge of African hunting so that we newbies can at least learn, second hand, all the valuable info, the pitfalls, the joys of all Africa, so that when we DO get to experience it first hand, we will a little better prepared. THANK YOU ALL!
My notes are skimpy and my memory fading?this is a best guess recital, with the difficulty of reconstructing a timeline compounded by a failure to set the time mode on cameras to SA time and I知 using it to fill in my hunting ledger. No warranty given.
GREAT trip! I want to publicly thank my friends Justin & Tina (he is VP of Sac Safari Club) for sharing their time w/ Susan & I in a trip that was, for us, the culmination of a lifetime of dreaming about it. Their presence made a great trip even more enjoyable and we couldn't ask for better hunting partners. It really is WHO you hunt/shoot with! Thanks, guys!
Leg from Atlanta to Jo'berg is NEVER easy, but the 15-16 hrs. must be endured. We awoke at 2am Sun. morning the 5th, and didn't hit the rack till around 10pm Monday nite the 6th...about 35 hrs. w/ the time change. Charlie Humphreys (PH) & Ansa (34 yr.old female PH -been licensed since 25) met us at the airport and smoothed the guns thru the SAPS paperwork. (Story about Charlie waving around a hatchet inside the So. African police office at the airport!) Try THAT in the states! First nite in a VERY nice lodge. Met up w/ Drom Beukes, owner/outfitter/PH for Somerby Safaris (30 yr. old entrepreneur) and Charlie Humphreys, PH & 28yr. Both been hunting in SA "since theys babies". Killed their first Kudu at 4 & 5. Ya gotta be tough to make a living there and they and ALL the Afrikaans we met were the real deal. A wonderful meal of beef filet mignon & good wine and we hit the rack. Still I don't think any of us got over the jet lag for 2-3 days.
Next day, Tues. 7th: picked up 釘enjamin our skinner/tracker for the duration & drove 7 hrs. to Somerby's newest lodge in the middle of Bumfuck Egypt. We are AWAY from everything. Closest hamlet the size of Galt is 3.5 hrs. away.
(Made some memories about flat tires and broken lug nuts & Donkey cart riding, here!). Beautiful lodge. Everyone but old 泥EAFMAN here could hear lions roar at nite. Sighted in the rifles that afternoon and headed out. Justin first up, but passed on a very nice Grey Duiker. (My instructions to Drom were: "You tell me it's a GOOD animal, I'll shoot it!"). It was and I did. One on the pole first nite!
Day 2-5, 8th thru 11th: (each day at this lodge) we drove an hour & thru 5 locked gates w/ 10,000 volts on a dirt road (got a good story about Justin and the electric fences!) to Molopo (pronounced Molopuaa) to the concession that Drom had secured and just opened up! We were the second group to hunt this approx. 100,000 reserve. In 4 days, we only saw about 25% of it. The only animals we could take were Kudu (Story here about tracking a dead Kudu?funny assholes!), Eland, Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, & Waterbuck, if I recall correctly. Each day left around 6am, hunted till noon and under the shade of a Camelthorn Tree, in an old wheel barrow, the PH's would bbq up some lunches that would rival any fine restaurant fare. We had kudu burgers and backstrap, warthog, zebra, eland, gemsbok, steaks, and a cold Castle beer or sodas to wash it down. WONDERFUL food. Get back in around 7pm, shower, have some drinks around the firepit and feast on other delicious game dishes. The springbuck meat pie was superb! Susie Q & I shot 10 animals here:
1 Red Hartebeest
1 Blue Wildebeest
Day 6-8, the 12-14th: My PH, Drom has a 10 mo. baby boy, Jacobus, and the little guy was very sick w/ teething and a sore throat. Drom lives on a 吐arm about 2 hours south of Joberg and we were about 3.5 hrs. NORTH of Joberg. Remember, it's their first, baby is sick, he's 6 hrs. away, Sune? Drom's wife is 30ish and lives in the boonies by herself w/ a sick baby AND it's Mother's day. He was really considering staying with us because the client absolutely comes first with him. We would have not of that and told him to get outta here. Drom had contracted Johan Oddendaal, another outfitter who sub-contracts as a PH and was already guiding some clients from PA on their last day at Botsalano , to take over for Drom and be Susan's and my PH. Truly a pleasure to hunt with and VERY knowledgeable about the game, SA history, SAPS protocol, (he was a SAPS officer in their counter terrorism division for 12 yrs.), and the people of SA. Tough, VERY capable dude, mid 40's. Would NOT wanna get on his bad side, although you壇 never know he had one. GREAT personality and demeanor ). Had some very memorable conversations with him.
Day 6, 12th. We e up early for bfst. and & 3.5 hr. drive to Botsalano preserve for smaller plains game. This one is about 150,000 acres. (Got a great story about running out of gas and Capitalism at its finest) More rustic accommodations. GREAT view from the cabins/dining area/firepit, tho. Saw some rhino, waterbuck, warthog, blesbok, gemsbok, springbok, giraffe, and others at the water hole 120yds from camp or the drive in. Can't shoot anything at the waterhole tho. They were safe. We got settled into the 鍍ent cabins and off we go for the p.m. hunt. Justin got a really nice springbok right out of the box and a great Blue Wildebeest before dark.
Day 7, 13th, VERY windy and the animals were really spooky. Susan became pretty sick as the custard we had for dinner the nite before did not set well with her. She is lactose intolerant. But she soldiered on and shot a nice Blesbok and a good springbuck before calling it a day and resting back at camp. Johan had put me on a KILLER Black Wildebeest as well. They are small than the Blue WB, but have very distinct 澱osses? Called the 菟oor man's Cape Buffalo. Later that day, I got a very nice Impala at about 85 yds. Shot was right on the money, ram took off full tilt, ran 100 yds, and piled up 4ft. short of a road. We go get him, carry him across the road and start staging him for pix. He decides he ain't dead and kicks our tracker, 鉄pringKaan (translated Grasshopper in Afrikaans), right in the ankle. Both lungs gone, he's still kicking!
Day 8, 14th We pack up early and drive to Tilodi, another 吐arm of 12,500 acres. Gorgeous lodge w/ separate bungalows. Justin and Tina got the one w/ the 鉄hower in the Stars open to the air and big round rock enclosure. Pretty cool. 鏑udi is the ranch manager and Carmen and Anna are staff supervisors. Even the women here know how to go wire up the pump for water service when it goes out! VERY tough to spot the animals here as the vegetation was much denser than the last two places. Susan and I are essentially done?he needs her Impala, but Justin & Tina are beating the bushes for a good Kudu bull. More great food and all the Jack you could want around the campfire. Small note here from someone who DOES know Jack?hen the bartenders pour a Jack & Coke. it's ONE ounce & one ounce only! Who the hell pours like that. Needless to say, we ordered up triples just to keep things on an even keel.
Day 9, 15th Last day of the hunt. We pack up at Tilodi and drive 1 hour to meet up w/another PH, 哲ico w/ a separate concession. Justin & Tina had left earlier than we did and did not have time for breakfast to hunt yet another ranch. We packed some lunch and met up with them at their gate. They had NO luck on Kudu. We left them to meet the PH and look for an Impala for Susan. Ten minutes into the hunt we spot a lone bull that was a keeper.
徹ne Shot Susie strikes again! We e all in and all done. We drive 3 hours back to Nlovo Lodge outside Pretoria to spend the nite.On the way, we stop by Johan's home in Pretoria. NICE house, full of huge trophies as one might expect from a Professional Outfitter w/ 26 yrs. experience. Inside a razor wire/electric fence compound w/ steel security doors on the house itself. Met his charming wife, Irene, who is a real estate agent. We got to talk shop about the market for a little while. Interestingly their RE procedures are very similar to ours?but they usually get 8% of the sales price for a commission. Back at Nlovo, Justin & Tina arrive around dark thirty with great news?Justin smacked a great Kudu bull!
Drom/Sune?Jacobus, Johan/Irene, & Charlie met us all for a great parting dinner that nite! I really enjoyed that evening w/ all the gang that had made this trip such a memorable experience.
Final Tally for the Tedford Team (16 animals):
1 Red Hartebeest
1 Blue Wildebeest
Day 10, 16th. Up early for breakfast. Susan & I had room service! We schedule a hour massage that morning to prepare for the long flight home. After meeting w/ Drom and Charlie to go over the paper work and 菟ay the piper? we all head out to meet w/ Rupert Dedekind & his brother Karl, who are taxidermists that Drom recommends highly. We wanted to see his work, arm wrestle him over pricing, & make a plan to get the animals back home. The five of us had a very productive meeting, Rupert was very accommodating, and a plan was set. We also took measurements of the size of the mounts. Susan & I will have 16 and Justin/Tina will have 13, if I recall. My house is small and I need to see if I can fit them all in without having to stare at a Kudu bull while I知 on the crapper! Mounts won't be back for 12 months. From there we stopped at a shopping mall to get the obligatory trinkets needed for the kids/grandkids. Two hour drive to the airport w/ Charlie at the wheel. He wasn't allowed to accompany us past the check in gate, but did speak to a Delta employee in Afrikaans and got a mgr. to come out to get our guns back on the plane. 典obu was instructed in no uncertain terms by Charlie to 鍍ake good care of my friends? That, along w/ $10 in tips each by Justin & I insured a smooth, quick check in time, AND our guns got on the plane. Sometimes gun cases get lost in Jo-berg airport
We took over 800 photos and 300 videos (over 3 hrs.). The 274 on the photobucket link are some of the highlights of just OUR photos. Justin & Tina have more.
Not much to say about the trip back. You all know how that goes. Ambien helps.
One word to the wise as I致e NEVER thought about this in all my years of flying: I took extraordinary precautions against theft of my checked luggage. Locks, zip ties, more locks, etc. All the really valuable stuff was w/ me on my carry on, in my possession at all times. The last leg of the flight from LAX to SMF was a small commuter plane. At the boarding gate, the ticket agent indicated that I should ate check my carry on and gave me a red tag for it. It was NOT locked in any way. I gave it to the attendant at the door of the plane and got it back as I de-planed at Sac. Upon arrival at home my video camera w/ the last 4GB chip of video for the last 2 days was gone! Sonofabitch! Pretty sure some scum bag in LAX has my camera. Didn't take the $2200 Leicas, but scarfed up my camera w/ a chip that is priceless! Won't make that mistake again.
Susan & I were using:
Rem 700 in wildcat 300WM/7mm bbl. w/ 180g Bergers @ 3050, Zeiss Conquest 4.5-14x44 Rapid Z 800
Tikka T3 Lite in 7mm-08 w/ 140 Accubonds @2650, Vortex 6.5-24x50 w/ hunter reticle
Bog Pod Tripod shooting sticks.
My furthest shot was approx. 220 yds.- (Eland), closest was about 75 yds.- (duiker)
Susie Q shot her Zebra face on at 170 yd. Small target great shot! Right in the heart.
All 5 of her shots were one shot Johnny's except the Gemsbok, and it was dead (double lunger), the PH didn't want to go into the thick shit and retrieve it so he had her bust it one more time as it limped away. Only bang flop for us was Susan's springbok. But if shot well, the others only went 30-100 yd.
The Accubonds were the hot ticket. I will NOT be taking the Berger VLD to Africa again. All my animals shot in the heart/lung area from a broadside shot, died quickly, but the quartering shot I tried on a gemsbok @ 180 yds. did NOT get thru the paunch to the vitals and I致e NEVER had that happen w/ a Partition before. They can go a LONG way w/ their belly blown up. Hell, they can go a long w/ with both lungs destroyed or their heart shot out. TOUGH animals!
Here's a shameless plug. IF you ever thought about an African hunt, you owe it to yourself to give Somerby Safaris serious consideration. They are top shelf in every aspect. Adjectives about the whole bunch and the operation abound and rightfully so. They are gracious, personable, knowledgeable, caring, considerate, enjoyable, skillful, willing, dedicated, enthusiastic, funny, agreeable, kind, and any other positive attribute you can name is applicable. I consider ALL of them my friend and they are welcome in my home any time. I can't give a better recommendation than to say when you want to make a lifetime of wonderful memories, go with them. You won't be disappointed.