Another GREAT South African Safari has concluded
As the sun sets in the west and the sky turns from blue to black, the stars emerge to start their nightly dance around the Southern Cross an so comes the end of another African Safari. For those who have - the hook is set and the pull begins to once again return to the Dark Continent. For those who have not, they can not even imagine.
If you go once YOU WILL RETURN!
Have just walked in the door from our 4th safari, this time a 10 day plains game hunt with Sadaka Safaris, Limpopo Distric, RSA. To say it was great would be an understatement. Was talked into going this time by 4 friends who wanted to hunt Africa but would not go unless we went with them to show them the way. So the wife and I thought long and hard (about 10 seconds) and said yes.
We used our own proceedure to help them select the safari company (we went to the Dallas Safari Show, I'll go into more on this later when I get time to do a full report) and selected Sadaka Safaris as our best candidate. What a great selection it was. My friends had the time of their lives. They all did more than they thought they would. They hunted everything from Sable to Genet (I wanted a Nyala and Common Reedbuck). They all have decided to return in the near future. And they all have decided to only go to Sadaka (Just to be clear, I have no financial connection with Sadaka or any other hunting outfit, I only know of the places I have been and how good they were).
I can't say enough good things about Sadaka Safaris. The facilities, the service, the hunting was all top notch. We have hunted Zim, Namibia and South Africa in the past and this was as good as it gets. Ewert, the outfitter/PH will bend over backwards to see to it that his customers have a good time. Crystal and linen service for all meals and the food? WOW! Never a bad meal. And the women had a ball too (one hunter and one observer). To top it off - they have a resident Registered Nurse on staff (Ewert's wife, Karen).
I will post pictures and more info in a few days as I get caught up on sleep.
Read more of this hunting report in this thread below...
Another South African Safari concluded at Sadaka (con't)
As the sun sets in the west and the sky turns from blue to black, the stars emerge to start their nightly dance around the Southern Cross and so comes the end of another African Safari. For those who have - the hook is set and the pull begins to once again return to the Dark Continent. For those who have not, they can not even imagine.
If you go once YOU WILL RETURN!
It all started almost 2 years ago when a co-worker said her huband was retiring and wanted to go hunt Africa. They had heard that we had gone several times (3) and that inspired them (they do a lot of deer and elk hunting here in Arizona) to ask me about going there BUT they would not go alone, only if I went. Word was passed around our little town (and I mean little town) and our local Dentist wanted in and wanted to bring his Father. Again, only if I went and they wanted to go to see Vic Falls also on the same trip. So, here I am playing booking agent, who would have guessed?
My wife and I have developed a system of our own to pick appropriate outfitters for Africa and it starts with the Dallas Safari Club show every year. Have been to SCI and other shows but we just feel very comfortable at the DSC show. I told the co-worker and her husband that they HAD to go to DSC and help with the selection and they did. The first day we had 12-14 candidates that we whittled down to 5 or 6 that night. Our selection process covers how we feel about the personalities involved after talking with them in the booth, are we talking to the people we will see during the hunt or a broker, the abilitiy for exclusive use of the property, property size and the looks of the facilities and very important, the quality of the food and its service (crystal and linen or a can of beans on a log). Everything plays a part on how we feel about any particular offer. After the 5 or 6 on day 1 and a retalk with all of them, we were down to 3, of which we went right to 2. Both a toss up for me. I let the newbies pick the finalist and it was Sadaka Safaris, RSA.
For my wife and I, we enjoy not only the hunting but seeing the area, meeting the people, learning about the culture, the history, even the family history of the operator. This kind of rubbed off on our "clients" as well, as they got involved with Ewert and his family and went to the son's rugby game while we were there.
Two big items that swayed the opinion for Sadaka was that it was only 2 1/2 hrs drive from Jo'burg and they had the ability to get in a horse back ride (the husband and wife own horses and a farm). Namibia (with Jamy Traut Safaris, our last trip, also top notch excellent) was considered, but the extra days to get there and back negated that option and another PH/Outfitter in RSA was close to being picked but he was a 5 hour drive and I feel that might be too much after 16 hrs on an airplane)
Now that the destination was settled, I picked the airline. We have always traveled on South African Airways but they have seen fit to change from Boeing 747s to the Airbus 340. Being a retired airine pilot with many hours (under duress) in an Airbus 320, I don't fly in an Airbus if I can avoid it. Only my personal opinion, but none the less, valid to me. There's and old saying in the flying world, "If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going!". That left us with Delta and the Boeing 777. We were cautioned about Delta service and lost bags, I too, was nervous being from the airline world but, surprisingly, Delta did an outstanding job for all 6 of us. Bags arrived everytime. Guns always showed up. And the cabin service was as good as it gets these days. I gotta give credit where credit is due, Delta did a great job and this was with all seats full on every leg.
We used Gracy Travel to make our arrangments. We have used them in the past and they did a good job for us this time. We decided to get medical evacuation insurance and pre-clear our rifles through Gracy. I've done my own rifle imports before, and now with the new Jo'burg facilities it would probably be even easier than before to do it yourself, it would just take more time after the 16 hr flight. With the preclearance, the rifles arrived about 10 minutes after we did from customs (and we were one of the last groups out of Customs), Gracy had their guys there who brought in our 3 rifle boxes, they got the Inspector (dragged is more like it) to come over and verify the serial numbers and we were gone first and in 3 minutes after seeing the rifle boxes. WOW good service. Well worth the expence as far as I'm concerned. If the rifles or baggage didn't arrive, Gracy's people are there to start the tracking process.
The Customs proceedure in South Africa:
In a word, better than coming back to the good 'ol USA!
You leave the airplane and walk to Passport Control which goes much quicker and easier than here in the US, then grab a couple of free baggage carts and go the the bag carousel for your flight to get your bags. One person asking if we had anything to declare and out we went to the SAPS office to get our rifles. Couldn't have been easier.
Ewert from Sadaka Safaris was right there at the SAPS office and we were ready to go to the cars and drive to the hunt property. 2 1/2 hrs later we arrived.
Just a teaser for the next installment :-) Got to learn how to do pictures better here.