Limpopo Plains Game Hunt with African Sky
A couple of months have passed since our (June 1-June10) hunt, and I think about it probably every day. It was so much fun, everyone loved averything about it, and I can't wait to go back someday!
I went with my brother, father, grandfather, and 2 other guys that are friends of the family. Here's a rundown of MY experience there:
We flew out of PHX, into ATL (about 3 hours), then went from ATL to Johannesburg, South Africa (15.5 hours). Getting through the airport was easy enough, and getting our rifles out from customs wasn’t bad. We used a rifle importer, which I would highly suggest as the way to go. Henry, from riflepermits.com, seemed like he was the boss up in that place. He went back behind all of the police and found our rifles, helped us get the paperwork finalized, and we were on our way to the hotel. Warning, you WILL get swarmed with locals trying to help you with your bags and demanding tips. Tell them to [ edited by AfricaHunting.com ], or you’ll call the police, and off they’ll go. We got to our hotel because we arrived so late that it would have been 10pm by the time we got to the lodge, and we’d have been useless. We enjoyed some of the local brew, Castle Lager, and relaxed at the hotel by the airport, then had some dinner. We had beef filet mignon and some thinly sliced springbock. Delicious! The next morning we dominated the buffet and we got picked up by 2 of our PH's, Zirk and Frans from African Sky Safaris. Very nice guys, loaded our bags/rifles into the trucks, and off we went.
We drove for about 3.5 hours to the Limpopo Bushveld, and arrived at the Badger Bush Lodge, where we stayed for our trip. We went into the lodge, saw our rooms, looked around a bit, and hit the rifle range. I was good, only had to make minor adjustments and I was ready to rock. Few minor adjustments made by all, and our whole party was zeroed in. I went out with Zirk and my dad. Dad wound up shooting a blue wildebeest that day, but we couldn't track him because there was no blood trail to accompany any tracks. Went back the next morning with one of the trackers and still couldn't find him. He probably hit him too far back, and the ‘beest wound up dying a couple days later, I imagine. That afternoon I got my first opportunity. I was stalking a nice warthog that ended up seeing us and turned to run away. We crept forward, and Zirk spotted a big old impala.
"Shoot!" he said, and I did, but missed. I wasn't on shooting sticks, or the truck rail or anything, just offhand and missed. He jumped over a fence and stopped, facing away from me, and I got another shot off anyway. Texas heartshot...dropped him. The old boy didn't want to let go, so the tracker choked him out. I got a pic of it, because I thought it was cool that my first African trophy was getting choked out. We went back to the lodge that night, and my brother and another guy had all gotten impalas. Sweet! Had a chicken/rice dish for dinner that night, and several beers. Life is good.
Next day was my dad's day to shine. He wound up popping a zebra, warthog, impala, and nyala before I got a chance at anything! That evening I took a shot at a running warthog (those things are fast, and don't stop for anything!) but thought I missed. As we were tracking it, Zirk signals me over. He had spotted a nice blue wildebeest bull, but had no sticks to shoot off of. I didn’t want to shoot standing at this thing, and I couldn’t have had a clear shot kneeling or prone.
AHA! I said, there's a tree about 15yds in front of me, and if I can get to that tree to use as a dead rest, I got this no problem. I crept up, the whole time with this beast watching me. Set up, checked for confirmation with Zirk on shot placement, and nailed him. He bucked up in the air, and took off. 70yds away, done. Game over for him. Then, we saw a drop of blood, indicating I did hit the warthog, and he was found the next morning after the jackals had eaten a bit of his ass.
That's alright, I got him and he was a good sized one. My camera died when taking pics of the wildebeest, so the next few days of pictures I need to retrieve from others still. Got DRUNK this night, stayed up 'til 2am, woke up at 5 for more fun! Haha, only in Africa!
Didn't shoot the next day, but went out with a different PH and different guy in our party. He got a wildebeest that day, and that was it. Had fun tracking it, I was getting pretty good at it by now. Pretty uneventful day, but still so awesome being out there and tracking animals and such. I was getting good at spotting game in the bush now, but nowhere near as good as the PH's. Those guys could spot a needle in a haystack, and tell you what's what. Crazy.
Next day I hunted with my grandpa, and I got my second impala. Great shot from the truck while he was feeding on a branch, laid him out where he stood. No tracking necessary. He got a huge warthog right at dark, which was awesome. Back at camp that night, we had impala and wildebeest for dinner. Ho-ly-cow is wildebeest good!! Couldn’t get enough!
Next day was with my brother, in a crazy dust storm that reminded me of Iraq. Sucked ass, and didn't get a shot all morning. That afternoon, Pieter (the PH we were with now) spots a big waterbuck bull in the bush, so I set off with him to see if I could get a shot. We crept up into the thick stuff, about 75 yds away, but couldn't see a thing but the tip of his horns. Finally I saw a tail wag, and noticed which way he was positioned. Big animal, but had no clear shot. His shoulder was hiding behind some brush, so I had no shot.
Pieter asked me if I was confident in my shooting, to which I agreed, and he told me to shoot a leaf. 1 leaf, flickering in the sunlight, he told me that if I shot there, I'd get the kill. I trusted him, shot THE leaf (I checked, and it was gone) and nailed him. Took a second shot to finish him off a little ways off. When loading him into the truck, we sat it up on his ass and the last bit of air in his lungs came out his mouth...RIGHT IN MY FACE.
I thought he was alive again for a second, freaked me out and I just held on as tight as I could in case he moved, and everyone was laughing about it. Haha. That night at camp, my dad and another guy in our party (Ray) both came back with waterbucks.
I'm sure I'm skipping some stuff, but these are the highlights.
Next day was the second to last full day, and my brother and I wanted kudu. Both of us wanted them. The morning was a lot of stalking, but no bulls were seen. That evening we set him up in a blind with a tracker, and I went with Pieter to another watering hole in hopes that 1 of us would get lucky. Well, my brother bagged a big kudu (52"), and I had a perfect shot on one as well (47" but looks awesome). It's a long story, but in short, I shot through 2 wire fence lines and between 2 trees, with about 1 second of time to make sure it was a clear shot.
Boom, he took a few steps and hit a fence line, went down and that was it. We both shot them within 45 minutes of each other, and it was epic. Back at camp everyone was amazed that we both got a shot. Think we had zebra wrapped in bacon that night. Holy smokes, I ate 5 portions of it, I just couldn’t stop!
Last full day was with my brother, stalking wildebeests all dang day. He FINALLY got a shot later that afternoon across an open field, 350yds away, and he nailed him. Dropped him in his tracks with a spine shot, and then finished him off. I was VERY impressed, as was everyone else. Kudu and cape buffalo (that my dad shot) for dinner that night, fantastic for sure.
Last day was driving back to Pretoria, paperwork, lunch (I had steak, and it wasn't nearly as good as any of the game we ate), and to JNB airport. Popped a sleeping pill on the plane back to ATL and slept 8 freakin hours! It was great. Got home Saturday, exhausted. Rested and recovered the rest of the weekend, but can't WAIT to go back someday!
We had a great time, a great trip, and were very satisfied with African Sky Safaris. I think we made it easy on them, as none of us were “trophy” hunting, as we just wanted good representatives of the game. Everyone was more than satisfied with their trophy's, especially my dad, who wound up getting a 44.5" sable, in addition to 9 other great animals.