BOTSWANA: Short Hunt with Tholo Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by Mark H. Young, Apr 22, 2011.

  1. Mark H. Young

    Mark H. Young AH Senior Member

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    I don't think alot of folks think of Botswana when they are considering a plains game hunt. Hunters think of Botwana as the home of big tuskers and expensive hunts but the the plains game is often overlooked.

    In '09 I hunted out on the Zambezi Delta in Mozambique with Bahati Safaris and had a good hunt. Once we finshed up there Johan the owner of Bahati chartered us direct to Maun, Botswana saving us time and the fiddling about in RSA.

    A Tholo appy Ph met us and we were through customs etc in a matter of minutes. Here I should add that Botswana is a very easy country to transit and nobody will approach you for a bribes or accost you in anyway.

    The appy drove us 3 hours south on excellent roads to Tholo's 100,000 acre hunting ranch. The camp is 40 minutes off the tar and absolutely beautiful. Clive and Linda Eaton have done a super job offering their guests AC equipped chalets with big beds, nice furniture and a huge bath with a real soak tub. If you want to rough it you can also stay under canvas but you'll have to put up with tiled floors and panelled baths. Needless tosay the food and service were superb but all was very casual and low key.

    The hunting is conducted on Clive's 100,000 acre fenced property but also on the surrounding 250,000 acres that he has access to. Clive has two camps but only hunts one party at a time from each camp so it is likely the two parties will never see eachother.

    The hunting itself for all the Kalahari type species is very good but the kudu and Cape eland are incredible. A lot of the property is very thick requiring you to track a lot of the game. Bushman trackers do the tracking and these guys are phenominal. The head tracker we had was very animated and after the first day I could tell how close we were to the eland and what the eland were doing just by watching his hands. Very entertaining!

    We had only allowed 5 days for this safari and after three days of following eland we finally caught six bulls streaking across a big grass flat. I was able to identify the biggest bull, pull out in front of him and hit him 3 times running at about 150 yards. Here I need to say I am not Daniel Boone but an eland on even ground runs very flat and is a huge target.

    The eland taped a full 38" and I was very pleased. His picture is taken with the Bushman that spotted them first and is with the rest of my pix here on AH.

    I told Jacko my PH that if we saw a truly huge kudu I would like to try for it and we looked at several stunning mid 50's bulls. One we had the drop on in the heavy bush at 50 feet but Jacko could not promise me he was over 58" which was the benchmark I had set. I didn't shoot a kudu there but they have shot up to and honest 65" so I can go back sometime and try for a monster.

    A red hartebeest was the only thing I really wanted other than the Cape eland and we had a heck of a time finding the right one. On the last afternoon we finally found an old lone bull, made a stalk and I got a spectacular deflection up through the trees. This scared the hartebeest and he turnned running back toward us and into an opening where I dropped him.

    My friend and client Mike Bryant accompanied me and we hunted 2x2. He took a beautiful kudu, gemsbok and a huge eland. Mike is a great guy to share a camp with and really enjoyed his time in Botswana.

    The Eatons put on a great show offering a 4 star operation in all aspects. If anyone is considering a great PG safari at a fair price I'd be happy to talk to them about Tholo.
  2. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Thank for your hunting report, Mark.
  3. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Mark

    Are you talking about hunting in Botswana?

    That is like talking about antelope hunting in Oregon or North Dakota.

    Now would you rather go antelope hunting in Arizona, New Mexico or Wyoming as compared to Oregon or North Dakota?
    I have nothing against these two fine states by the way and have worked in both.

    Botswana also has plains game, however the country advertisements reflect elephant hunting...not every one wants to go elephant hunting...

    When i envision Kudu and large one what country or countries comes to mind? To me it is not Botswana.

    Hunters, with the use of the internet are able to find where the big one's of the species they want to hunt are being taken, and then look to that country to find an outfitter or PH.

    What you found could be a great place, however what is the track record for this camp. one great year and then a few OK year followed by some dismal years.. again the internet is your friend in finding consistent outfitters in countries in Africa for the game animals hunters want to go after.

    I to look for out of the way places to go hunting, however if you take a Hugh one this year it will take a few years before it will be replaced. The first one get the gravy followed by what i call off years.

    And by the way i have looked at going to Botswana. But there are other countries that advertise and have what i am looking for.

    Just my 2 cents.
  4. Mark H. Young

    Mark H. Young AH Senior Member

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    James,

    I'm not completely sure where your coming from but I was not suggesting that Botswana was the only place to shoot a big kudu. I did find that Tholo offered the best opportunity I had seen in a ranch type setting to take a really big kudu. Botswana is not as well known for big kudu as some other countries but in the area that Tholo operates the quantity and quality of kudu is amazing.

    I've hunted kudu in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, RSA, Namibia, Tanzania and Botswana and I've been fortunate to take all the different varieties other than the Abyssinian found in Ethiopia. This of course does not make me an expert but I think it does qualify me to safely say that seeing 20-30 mature bulls a day with several being in the mid 50's means that Tholo has excelent kudu hunting.
  5. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    I have heard that hunting Botswana for Kudu, is a great hunt, and sometimes there are some great package hunts for the area. I'm just not sure how much more it would be to fly there and get your animals out?
  6. Mark H. Young

    Mark H. Young AH Senior Member

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    enysse,

    Your right and Clive does offer some very attractive packages. I'll get the '12 pricing from him but I think it's 7 days for 5 animal to include a kudu, eland, gemsbok, wildebeest and perhaps one other. I don't think it would be much more to fly there than anywhere else. They can pick you up in Windhoek or Maun. The Windhoek drive is a little longer but you avoid the SAPS business in RSA. Dip/pack runs about $100 per animal. Shipping might be a little more than if you hunted RSA as the trophies would have to be shipped to RSA before they went out to the States. There are no direct flights from the States or Europe to Botswana.
  7. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Yes, you should post that package price! I have seen some hunts on TV from Botswana...where guys where plains game hunting. The quality is good, because not a lot of people think of it as a plains game place to hunt. Plus while hunting in RSA, a lot of PH's said the kudu quality is very good there.
  8. lewclark

    lewclark AH Member

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    Dear James,

    About hunting Botswana's plains game. I managed a hunting concession bordering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and found on that concession a constant and stunning array of world class trophies year in and year out. I include a couple of photographs for your comment. I have for example not yet had a client that was prepared to work a bit and who knew what he wanted leave the area without a handfull of trophies all Rowland ward class! Have had several Oryx (Gemsbok) bulls in excess of 40", the best being a 44 1\4 " beaut. The ph on this safari was Mr Butler from Maun. Have also many superb Kudu also with one bull over 64". It is definitly worth the time and effort. Rgds. Lew Clark (lewclark12@gmail.com)
  9. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Mark do you have some pictures of this hunt or scouting trip you were on?
    Look forward to some more information.
  10. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Mark just reading your thread and would like to get more info any pictures and website info would be nice.

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