The Selous September 2008
This story has been posted on other forums and thought I would share it here. I am about to pour a glass of scotch and reminisce about the sights, sounds, and smell of Africa.
Safari dates: 9/20-9/29 2008
Booking: Adam Clements Safari Trackers
Travel: Shawn at Gracy Travel
PH: Zayne van der Merwe
Area: Tanzania, Selous LU5 Concession
Rifles: Ruger No. 1 in .416 Remington Magnum with 400 Grain TSX Handloads and 400 Grain Banded Solids, Winchester Model 70 in .338 Winchester Magnum with Factory Federal loads with Barnes TSX
Animals hunted and taken: Cape buffalo (Two), Hartebeest, Zebra, Wildebeest, Warthog, Impala
Animals hunted and not taken: None
Animals seen but not hunted: Elephant, Lion, Baboon, Hippo, Kudu, Eland, Waterbuck, mongoose, honey badger, several smaller antelopes (Duiker and bushbuck if my memory is correct)
Every aspect of our first safari was perfect. Every plane connection was on time, no lost luggage, we breezed through customs, the Caravan plane was in excellent shape, three hunting vehicles in camp all in excellent shape, good food, excellent camp and staff, plenty of game, and Zayne is one hell of a PH. I probably could have booked a little cheaper and cut some corners but the extra dollars I spent for a quality trip were more than worth the money.
We arrived in DAR at 10:30 PM on September 18th. Donald was there to meet us. We went through customs in just a few minutes. He sped us off to the Sea Cliff where we met a couple from South Dakota leaving for a 28 day trip in the Selous. The next morning Donald collected my wife and me and brought us to the airport for our charter flight. We met Zayne at the airport and left for the Selous. We arrived in camp and settled in. That afternoon I checked zeros on my rifles and we were ready to begin hunting. At this point I was very excited and a little nervous. I practiced shooting nearly every weekend for months and have hunted all my life but was not sure what it would be like facing a cape buffalo.
Day one of the hunt.
We drove and scouted, tracked some buffalo on foot and saw plenty of game, but no buffalo.
Day two of the hunt
We were hunting dugga boys and Zayne and his tracker Brown found some tracks early in the morning. After a short stalk we saw the bulls but could not get a shot in the long grass. We continued moving and finally found a shooting lane. I only saw one bull and Zayne told me to shoot him. I fired one shot at about 70 yards and quickly reloaded and we were on the run. We cleared the long grass to see the bull fall. We looked for the others but they were gone. I paid the insurance and put two more rounds in him. My first shot went through the top of the heart. It was the perfect trophy, exactly what I was looking to kill.
We went back to camp and unloaded the bull. After lunch we headed back to start looking for some plainsgame. As luck would have it we saw a herd of buffalo. We crept in close and took a good look and saw none worth shooting. After they passed we repositioned ourselves to take another look. This time we saw a nice one. After closing in to about 60 yards I was finally able to take a clear shot. When I fired pandemonium broke out. Nearly two hundred buffalo were running and I did what I said I would not do. I became a spectator. Zayne yelled at me to reload and I snapped back to reality after muttering a few choice words. Luckily the bull only ran about 30 yards and fell over dead. He was shot right above the heart through some major plumbing. The trophy size was not as big as the first bull, but I love the teardrops and the actual hunt was something to remember.
Day three of the hunt
We went back to hunting plainsgame. Our quarry was hartebeest. We spotted three bulls across on open area at about 350 yards. I missed my first two shots and then braced myself better on a tree. The next shot went through his spine as he was moving away up a hill and he dropped in his tracks. After checking the distance with my GPS we discovered the shot was 360 yards.
Day four of the hunt
I cleanly missed an impala at 100 yards to start the day. I was not upset with myself and knew it could easily happen. Zayne suggested we hunt zebra and a couple of hours later some magically appeared. I took a nice zebra, while not that large he was old and we love the pattern and the distinctive black and white stripes.
After lunch at the camp I was relaxing in my tent. I heard some cracking noises then one of the camp staff began screaming. The dining hut was on fire. It started with the propane refrigerator. We started a bucket brigade and had a pump but the building was a loss. Fortunately the fire did not spread. The staff was really impressed with my wife's fire fighting capabilities. The fire is one of those things that can happen. What impressed us was the staff's ability to rebuild quickly and with the amount of supplies in the camp we were short nothing. It is nice dealing with a quality company. We went wading in the river afterwards, glad the crocs did not eat us.
Day 5 of the hunt
Zayne suggested wildebeest for the day. We went to a different area and there they were. We tracked a herd for several hours and the wind changed and we lost them. A little while later we saw a small group. We were able to get within 125 yards and I dropped a nice bull with my .416.
Day 6 of the hunt
We saw a small pride of lions near the camp and were able to film them. We tried warthog for the day. We saw plenty but nothing worth shooting. We did see a nice impala. I missed again. The impala is now my nemesis. I was actually a little angry at myself for missing but got over it pretty quick.
Day seven of the hunt
Warthog day. Finally saw a decent warthog. Made a good clean shot from a prone position at about 100 yards with the 416. Dropped him in his tracks.
Day eight of the hunt
My nemesis the impala is all that is left on the menu. We see a very nice ram, but do not get a shot. For some reason Zayne was aggravated at himself about the stalk, I am not sure why, and he decided that impala would die. We chased him on foot for quite a while but could not get close and lost him over a hill. I was so out of breath I probably could not have shot anyway, Zayne did not even break a sweat. The truck picked us up and we made up some ground. We started looking for him again on foot and found him. We got within 60 yards and I nailed him with the 416. Our nemesis was now dead. He turned out to be a very nice impala.
Days nine and ten
We went out in the morning and evening to photograph game. We took pictures of a crocodile on top of a pod of hippos. It was not a happy place for the croc. We also chased a herd of buffalo on foot and got some great photos and video. Zayne really went the extra mile to make those two non hunting days exciting. We also had the staff shooting match. They really enjoyed it and my wife competed with them. Zayne let me shoot his 500 Nitro. That rifle has some horsepower. Zayne and I even had a speed shooting contest. He beat me, double versus single shot but I think I surprised him a little with my No. 1.
As I said before it was a perfect trip. We hunted hard, but did not have to kill ourselves trying to collect our animals. Shooting the two buffalo on the second day really took off the pressure. We were really able to enjoy the hunt. Zayne is a great PH.
One interesting thing happened in Houston on the way home. We had a KLM rep walk us all the way through customs with the rifles and stayed with us until they were checked in on the Continental flight to Lafayette. She was a big help.
It was very special to have my wife join me for the trip. It would not have been the same without her.
I want to hunt elephant in 2010 but may not be able to wait that long.