A First-Timer's Journey (2012 South Africa, Leopards Valley Safari's)
A First Timer's Journey.
For those who want the short synopsis: I went to Africa with my wife and a good Buddy and shot a bunch of stuff and then came home. :p
For those want juuuuuuust a bit more, read on!
I've wanted to go to Africa for a long time. I can't say when the seed was planted. I don't come from a hunting family - fact is my dad only came home with one pheasant that I know of and it was the dog jumping a point that got the kill. Funniest part was that dad forgot about that bird and left it in the back of his hunting vest hanging in the hall closet...mom was none too pleased about that one.
Still, one day the seed was planted and I knew I'd set foot in Africa. It's funny that as a child I always though it was called the "Dark Continent" because it was below the Equator and therefore the sun didn't shine much down there. Imagine the guffaw I had 40-ish years later when I set foot in Jo-Berg and that memory crept back into the forefront of my mind.
This was Jo-Berg Airport and for the life of me it didn't look at all like the dusty, potholed, thatch roofed dirt floored airports that Capstick and Ruark led me to believe. I looked at all the smiling faces glowing in the florescent radiance of GE's best and realized "I ain't in Kansas anymore".
No, I was in a magnificent airport that rivaled the finest I've ever been in. I book near 50+ flights a year domestic USA and Jo-Berg was at least as nice as Denver or Phoenix or JFK. I was well and truly shocked.
Checking firearms was a snap - I had a partial assist from Bruce of Air2000. I have to laugh at this story - my wife and I and my friend Kevin deplaned and started wandering around looking for the luggage carousels. Out of nowhere this security guard walks by and says "Oh, Hunters? Hang on a sec." The three of us look at each other and next thing we know some guy comes running up and says "I got your guns, just wait here."
Ok...I figure when in Rome ya know. And everyone's smiling. So at least I'm going to feel good about getting fleeced on this one.
Next thing I know here comes Bruce with a cart that has two firearms cases in it. And the matching luggage. And wha? I didn't hire this guy? How the heck did he know my name?
He smiles, waves me behind him and next thing I know I'm in the security guard line, paperwork is being filled out and he motions me to come up and sign here...and here...and here...
And I'm done. And my buddy Kevin is done. And my wife is looking around trying to figure out why I'm laughing my fool head off. And Kevin, the ever maligned hyper anal retentive computer engineer is rather bent out of shape because all of his planning on security processing in South Africa was just derailed in under 20 minutes by a guy we'd never met.
Yes, We'd been well and truly "Bruce'd"! :first:
I pulled out a very nice Benjamin and handed it off as a tip. Bruce earned that one and I had to thank him for first hand educating me on exactly how the entire import process worked.
A short 2 hour flight and next thing I know we are in Port Elizabeth and settling down in the hotel for a night.
Welcome to South Africa.