CT Safaris - A classy outfit
I just returned from a 10 day hunt with Chris and Sabina Troskie of CT Safaris. Technically I returned more than a week ago but have not had time to sit still for more than 5 minutes since. LOL
I was booked to hunt with my Girlfreind Christine along as an observer. When Chris found out that she had interest in hunting he offered to let her hunt at observer rates for a couple animals. As it turns out we created a monster and she ended up wanting to take over and shoot all the animals!!! LOL Chris was very accomodating and allowed her to hunt 2x1, a new hunter was born.
We were supposed to hunt Kwa-Zulu Natal exclusively but ended up bouncing around a bit. At the airport Chris said 'I have a suprise for you if you are interested'. Intrigued I asked back 'What'. 'Bushpig... I know a fellow that has bushpig coming in every evening to a pait pile'. Of course I took him up on that and instead of heading straight to KZN we stopped in the Free State for an evening of pig hunting. Despite my bumbling when the light switched on, Chris managed to get 2 opportunities for me that night, both of which I flubbed. Oh well, next time I guess. The next morning Christine was able to chase Blesbok and although the big bull eluded us managed to get a great bull that nawworly missed Roland & Ward. Never before has hunting experienced so much jumping up and down and squeeling!
That afternoon we made the rest of the journey to the 1st of 2 camps scheduled for KZN. This one in the foothills of the Drakensburg mountains was absolutely gorgeous with the main lodge on top of a tall hill with a breathtaking view, we would spend 4 days hunting this 15000 acre low fence property. We managed to kill a heavy, extremely worn down old Nyala bull with exceptional twist and typical thinning mane of an old bull and molars worn to the gums. Still wanting one of the real big bulls this area is full of I kept hunting Nyala. While looking over a herd of Wildebeest one of our trackers, Lindelani, spotted an Nyala in thick cover amongst the Wildebeest 'huge bull, huge bull' he hissed. With a solid rest we waited for him to clear the thick brush and as sonn as there was only 'grass' in front of the vitals I shot and he moved a few steps and another shot followed, he entered some thick cover and Chris said shoot again so I did and he dropped. Immediately the normally quiet trackers were all slapping me on the back yelling 'huge Nyala, he'll go 30 easy!'. Well he didnt quite make 30" but was close enough for me! One thing that will stick with me forever was as we approached him we saw that he was spined and needed another shot. He was laying in a steep boulder feild and I had to climb up right to him to get a shot. Once I was close he tried to escape, scratching for traction, but with a broken spine he quickly decided that if flight didnt work maybe fight would! His neck arched thrusting hose long daggers at me and let out a bellow befitting a Cape Buffalo. He began trying to claw his way towards me as I fired a quick finishing shot and jumped back onto a higher rock. As he tried to scramble towards me he pulled himself off of a supporting rock and fell backwards over a 5' cliff and expired. If thats not enough to get your heart going I dont know what is!!! Unfortunately due to the steep upward angle the pictures dont do him justice, instead of square to the lenght of his horns they are taken looking more back along their lenght. Nyala have got to be the most beautiful animal in Africa and I was fortunate enough to take 2 of them. I also, in between the taking of these 2, had the opportunity to stalk another huge bull with a huge amount of flare but ran out of light before finding him. Nyala heaven.
We saw loads of Wildebeest, Impala, Zebra and quite a few Kudu, Nyala and some Hartebeest. Christine was fortunate to take a beautiful old Wildebeest bull with heavily worn down bosses and I wounded a big Hartebeest bull as well as passing on an 80yd neck shot at a 50" Kudu. We saw many very large Wildebeest the first day and a half but after the rain and cold set in, there was snow in the high country, the huge herds of animals dissapeared, huddled up in thick cover and hunting them was a major challenge.
With the weather forcast calling for at least a week of rain and cold, highs of 6-12C plus our professional predator caller already having called to postpone until later in the hunt due to the weather we decided that as much as it pained us to give up out long anticipated Caracal, Serval, Jackal hunt we were better off to sacrifice a day and drive to Limpopo to find some sun and some animals who werent shivering in the bushes! I should also mention that since this type of weather has not been seen in at least 30 years few people have heaters and no one has a clothes dryer! Once you are wet you are wet until it stops raining!
Anyway we Drove 10hrs up to Chris and Sabinas Sabrisa ranch for out last 4 days of hunting. We saw lots of Kudu cows several bulls but they always seemed one step ahead of us and I was not able to connect. There were plenty of Klipspringer, Duiker, Kudu, Bushbuck, Warthog and a few Mountain Reedbuck there. All low fence as well. In 2 days I managed to kill a good Bushbuck and had close calls with 2 big Kudu bulls, a very large Klipspringer and 2 absolutely huge Warthogs not to several other normal trophy sized Warthogs. There are Warthogs everywhere there. I missed my running shot at Bat eared fox and a running Baboon that Chris wanted for Leoprd bait (the Baboons sat in the trees calmly until we decided to shott one LOL). Christine missed a Genet and was not quick enough on a couple Jackal. There are plenty of Ostrich too for those who may be interested.
Chis booked us 2 days on short notice on a high fence property that is lightly hunted. We saw plenty of game including Waterbuck, Gemsbok, Impala, Hartebeest, Sassaby, Warthog, Steinbok, and Duiker. I managed to take an old Impala herd ram, Warthog, and Waterbuck. Christine took a nice Gemsbok after stalking 3 bigger ones unsuccessfully. All great trophies.
That should have ended the hunt but since I couldnt sleep the morning we were to leave I ended up getting up to take a last look around and found Chris working on the bill. A decision to make one last try for the bushbuck that had been giving him fits for several months was made and long story short 20min later I had my bonus Roland and Ward Bushbuck! I have heard that Bushbuck are very hard to hunt, however that was not my experience as we saw many nice rams in the brief time we spent chasing them. Chris has a great area for Bushbuck.
In the end, despite losing 3 days to weather and another to the long drive, I bagged 7 animals and wounded 1, Christine bagged 3. We had opportunity for 14 other species, most of which were mature animals.
Chris and Sabina worked so hard to organize and execute this hunt on the fly on short notice and their access to excellent properties in several areas was key to making this hunt such a success. We have to give them both our heartfelt thanks.
I cant beleive it took me this long to get to the food! Even if you dont hunt it is worth the trip just to experience Sabinas 5 star cooking! 4 course supper and 3 course lunch those days that we ended up back at the lodge mid day. Very fancy like you would imagine in the finest restaurants and better than I ever imagined food could taste. The Bushbuck on the last day is the best chunk of meat I have ever sunk my teeth into. Awesome.
For anyone wanting a very personal safari without the crowds of a big camp, I would highly recommend a hunt with Chris and Sabina. I will be back!
Having been there and done it now, assuming the weather cooperated I would recommend the following to those who value low fence hunting as much as I do. Hunt Nyala, Wildebeest, Zebra and Bushbuck in KZN (I didnt get a chance to hunt Cape Bushbuck in KZN but I hear it is great hunting for large Bushbuck) then make the trip to Limpopo for Kudu, Limpopo Bushbuck, Warthog and Klipspringer. Both areas also have other species but these would be my targets.