Hunting in KZN with Debula Yedwa Safaris
Herman De Wet is the Outfitter/PH for Debula Yedwa Safaris and I do a little marketing for him here in the states when I have the opportunity.
He asked if I would like to visit some new hunting properties where hunting rights were recently established in the Pongola area. Of course, at the earliest convinience, and we made plans for late April through early May 2012. When we finally arrived from New york State, it was 10pm South Africa time and we really could not see much other then our accomidations which were excellent. The next morning came very quickly but Sheila and I were up and ready to check out this new property. To say it was beautiful would be a great understatement. This ranch consisted of 6,000ha with a dirt road dividing the ranch in half. They do some small cattle ranching here, but it is of a hobby nature and this is really a great hunting ranch. Our camp was on top of the mountain looking out over the foggy valleys below.
Really magnificent! There was really nothing on my wish list here other then to just having some fun exploring the new place, but we took the rifles along "just in case":). As we came down the mountain trail first animal we spotted was a gray duiker, further down we came across nyala and kudu. And as the day continued we spotted large herds of impala, blue wildebeest, zebra. Late that afternoon I took a lone zebra stallion which must have been out of the herd as there was not a single bite mark on his hide and he was no youngster either.
The next day we stalked some for gray duiker and we saw many, but they were just too fast for us and I could not bring any to bag. The highlight of the morning though was the sighting of the red duiker, we saw three and we watched them at 80 yards for about 20 minutes. Two ewes (one older, one younger) and a ram. This ranch has many red duiker of which they are rightly proud. Later that morning I took a nice impala ram for some meat and took an even bigger one later that afternoon. Lots of impala and I have yet to find any bigger impala anyplace in RSA other then Kruger NP.
The following day was warthog day where I was able to shoot two warthog, the second one being the best I have ever taken. We literially saw herds of warthogs 20-30 at a time as we stalked up to some of their nesting areas. I have never seen them this thick.
This is Herman with the second warthog.
On our last day at Pongola we just walked around the ranch (working off our late night dinner) and saw lots of game, but this days highlight was right at dusk as a leopard ran in front of us and sat in the bush maybe 35 yards off. The large male just stared at us through the brush and we slowly backed out and around. What an awesome sight that was!
On day 5 we were off... on the road to Greytown where we hunted another new place which is actually a very large property (8500 ha) tree farm with lots of game some of which where are introduced there, others like the gray duiker I hunted were natual to the property. During the day here I was able to shoot respectable blue wildebeest and gray duiker.
For the next couple days we searched for bushpigs amoungst the sugarcane and meles in the Watburg area, but without success. We could see from their recent spoor that they were close at hand, but we never did spot one. We hunted day and night for two days than decided the pigs had beat us and moved on to Ladysmith.
At Ladysmith (a ranch I had hunted previously) the owner had a problem old cantankerous eland bull which was driving the younger bulls off the 1000ha camp and onto the neighbors. A 2.4 meter fence will not hold an eland if it is determined to jump over it. I know a 1000ha high fence camp, but it took us four grueling days, up and down the rocky hillsides before we were fortunate to get a shot at this specific bull on the last day of the hunt. I am sure we walked 20-25 miles during our 4 days there.
That evening we sat around the fire reliving all the hunts for impala,warthog and eland, the red duiker and leopard sightings, and the beautiful places we had seen. This is an absolutely gorgous part of the world that offers some unique hunting experiences even to South Africa.