Diary of Trip with SAFRIQUE
Arrived at Maputo Quiliman
Nobody to meet us Guns and ammo confiscated. 5-30
Native Skycaps held us to ransom and had to pay $50.00 to get rid of them.
Neil went past Customs to look at arrivals for Nick or someone from Safrique to meet us; nobody from Safrique at airport.
Neil rang Nick (7-30) a Black fellow named Dalio (arrived 30 minutes later) who spoke some English came to meet us.
He arrived without any documents, brought us to a caf at the Airport and disappeared for 3 Hours.
Neil tried to ring Nick after 2 hours sitting at the airport Nick would not answer the phone.
Eventually Dalio arrived (mid-day) with the paperwork for the guns and demanded a further $20.00 bribe for the Lady at Customs. We refused this request and then he got our guns released.
We then discovered that the flight due to leave at 13-30 for Quelimaine was delayed indefinitely. It eventually departed at 10pm. We subsequently discovered that this flight never leaves on time.
Before leaving Dalio he informed us that it would be too dangerous to travel on the river at night by boat. We were presented with a gun case and ammo case and asked to bring them from Quelimaine with us. We were charged for the extra weight and given the opportunity to pay for same before Neil informed Dalio that we would not pay the extra weight charge for Safrique guns.
Dalio advised us to book into a hotel and take the 2 hour boat trip the next morning. He let us speak to Koos and Freke in Quelimaine who also advised us to book into a hotel for the night.
Eventually we arrived in Quelimaine at 1.30AM, 12 hours late to be informed that the boat was broken and the 2 hour boat ride which we all looked forward to on the Zambezi River would now be replaced by a 7 hour road journey in the back of a pick up. This journey took most of Friday 22nd July 2011. We had to pay for our own room $55.00 no breakfast. No allowance from Safrique on daily rate.
Duly arrived in camp to be informed that there was no shotgun available for me despite Nick's assurance prior to departure.
We were shown to our Chalet. Bathroom awful and shower not working. Toilet rocking and flushing intermittently. Hot tap leaking into bucket (brought to Freke's attention, no action taken). Tiles cracked and dangerous to walk on (photos and video available). We discovered afterwards that the main sewerage from the toilet and showers etc flows into a French drain and not a septic tank, effluent seeps into the soil and into the water table from this drain. The water supply for the camp is pumped (not working) or carried by hand from a well to a reservoir and re-distributed to the camp. The water effluent from this French drain is flowing uninterrupted into the well and is being fed back into the system. This is guaranteed to cause an outbreak of Typhoid. NO MOSQUITO NETS DESPITE ASSURANCES FROM Nick they will be set up before you arrive MORE LIES. Tom has developed while at your camp a very bad rash which modern medicine has so far failed to cure. He attributes this to camp conditions.
We were invited to the range by Koos to access our ability with a rifle and treated to a drive round the hunting area. Another hunting day lost.
Dinner Chicken Curry Disappointed after asking to eat game while in camp.
Food okay and enough supplied but No. beer, No wine, No spirits except what we brought ourselves.
We were each paired with a P.H. and rallied fourth full of excitement.
Very quickly it became apparent that riding on a hilux over these roads would be slow torture.
James had mentioned burning grass we soon discovered why as visibility was Nil no burning had being done at all prior to our arrival. Meanwhile Clive was being told that it would be difficult to shoot Croc without the boat. Hippo was being dismissed for him as it did not state on his license that he had booked to shoot Hippo.
We tracked a small herd of BUFFALO in the afternoon. We could not see them because the grass was too long. Eventually they spooked. We left them alone for half an hour to settle again and then repeated the same exercise 2 3 times more. This set up a pattern for the week.
Dinner again disappointing Spaghetti Bolognese. NO beer, no wine, and no spirits except what we brought with us.
Monday Began to really get suspicious. Followed yesterday's pattern. After a long discussion Koos agreed that we did not have to pay to shoot meat for the camp. We shot a Bush Buck.
Dinner again disappointing Steak. No game. (WHY AM I BEING CHARGED FOR CAMP MEAT?)
Neil One shot at Buff.
Day's pattern was changed today.
We spent the whole day driving in 10ft tall grass and saw absolutely nothing.
Dugout supposed to be organised for morning for Clive. We light big fires all day.
Dinner Bush meat delicious.
Bush meat sandwiches for lunch tomorrow great.
Current joke Next Americans Hunters will be very pleased we came before them and burned all the long grass.
Asked about boat Koos to check status - looking good, computer box en-route.
Wednesday repeat of Tuesday.
No dugout for Clive. Now obvious to us that he had been taken for a ride.
Tom sat on top of jeep for change. Koos nearly turned the jeep over Very dangerous.
Asked to insure boat would be ready for Saturday computer box en-route.
Thursday Now desperate as we all feel we have been conned. Clive in bad form. Neil asked Koos to confirm flight times and tickets for Saturday/Sunday. NICK assured him everything checked/confirmed.
Eventually found Buff. Tracked for 2 hours and found Neil and James and Clive ahead of us on same Buff. James's approach very different to Koos. We offered to withdraw as the other hunters were before us. Koos said no as there may have been more than one bull in the herd. We bravely marched on secure in the knowledge that we were on a fool's errand. Informed that boat would not be available for Saturday.
Assured again that all flights and ticket reservations were confirmed by Nick.
Friday Everyone resigned to not getting Buffalo, but determined to go out trying. We got on a small herd and eventually got our first sighting of Buff No shot.
Shot Bush Buck in desperation.
You now expect me to pay a trophy fee of $900 for what in effect was camp meat.
Clive by this stage had conceded defeat and stayed in camp.
We saw a snake black and yellow in colour.
I asked for a band aid to discover that we had no first aid kit.
Asked Koos why the Trackers all wore bright blue uniforms.
Saturday Set out for Quelimaine by road not boat! Arrived to discover no tickets confirmed and flight delayed until 11-00pm.
No panic as flight from Maputo to Lisbon had been cancelled how had Nick confirmed our tickets?
Koos had left the airport.
Neil rang Nick he got Koos to return to the airport and eventually we got a flight to Maputo.
Nick agreed to meet us at the airport and book us into the Southern Sun Hotel. Then he informed us that someone from the Southern Sun Hotel would be at the airport to meet us with a van to take us all to the Hotel and that he would meet us at the airport the following morning and help us to get flights organised All lies.
Maputo Airport Sunday 9AM Book new tickets through Johannesburg to London starting cost ?1,750 but eventually set at ?1,100
Arrive London 6.45AM Monday and booked flight to Dublin via Aer Lingus cost ?280
Please factor in the following and you may start to appreciate how I feel about Safrique.
You knew perfectly well that the airline from Maputo to Quelimaine never runs to schedule yet you failed to inform us prior to booking. You were well aware that the grass had not been burned and nothing short of a miracle would get us a Buffalo. A dry toilet would have been far safer and preferable to the system in use at your camp. You are well aware that the roads throughout your area are in a shocking state even by African standards they need to be ploughed (plough in camp, no tractor strong enough to pull it).
Your Agent Nick told us complete lies from start to finish and made promises by email and telephone that he never intended to keep. He never had any intention of meeting us at any stage as he knew exactly what to expect from us. You never had any intention of supplying a shotgun for me despite his assurance that I did not need to bring the shotgun barrels for my .577. You made no effort to supply game for the table despite email specifically telling you that we wished to eat game while in Africa.
You left your P.H's to face the music. Without James' help we would have been in a dreadful state.
He emailed his wife who was in South Africa. She researched on computer and established that we could fly Maputo to Johannesburg and Johannesburg to London. Phone calls to Nick both from Neil and Koos proved useless. He told us that no-one would talk to him on the phone at the airport and that he was going to the airport directly to help us and would be in touch. That was the last we heard from him.
I have waited to get your response to Neil's correspondence before deciding on a course of action. Among other actions being considered by me will be a letter to the following:-
Texas Outdoorsman Magazine
Texas Trophy Hunters Association
Texas Outdoors Journal
Texas Hunting Today
Texas Sporting Journal
African Hunter Magazine
African Sporting Gazette Magazine
African Expedition Magazine
African Hunting Gazette
Outdoor Life Magazine
Sports Afield Magazine
North American Hunter Magazine
Better Business Bureau (US)
In the circumstances I find your email insulting in the extreme. Your questionnaire does not allow adequate space to express my disappointment in Safrique and my disgust at the condition we lived in at your camp. You may limit the damage to Safrique by refunding our trophy fees in full and half our daily rate by return.
George & Tom O Malley