SOUTH AFRICA: First safari

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by Mr. 16 gauge, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. Mr. 16 gauge

    Mr. 16 gauge AH Enthusiast

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    I've just returned from my first African safari, and all I can saw is it was AWESOME!!! My only regret is that I've waited so long to do this!
    I hunted with Cruiser safaris in Limpopo province, and all I can say is Pieter runs a first class operation. My wife came along as an observer, and she got some wonderful experiences as well.
    After having a disasterous guided hunting experience in the States last fall, I was kind of waiting for the shoe to drop.....everything was going TOO well. But it never happened. The most difficulty I had was with getting a bottle of Amarula through the TSA check point in Atlanta (bought it in the duty free shop in Johannesburg (our luggage was already checked), flew to Atlanta (nonstop), when we got off the plane in Atlanta, we were shuffled through customs (again, no way to get to anything outside the secure zone), went and got my rifles & luggage, had my boots sprayed, and all the while they are blaring it overhead on the loud speaker NOT TO OPEN YOUR LUGGAGE!!!! So we checked our bags, then headed through the TSA checkpoint were they told us we couldn't take the Amarula on the plane......even though they gave us no opportunity to check it, and it had flown over 15 hours with it from Joberg.
    Go figure.....tell me this isn't a govt. run fiasco.

    Anyway, I went for Cruiser's 7 day package of a gemsbok, Kudu, and impala, and I had already decided early on that I wanted to add a blue wildebeest. The first day my P.H. (Hans) and I went after Gemsbok. By the end of the day, we had made several attempts and stalks (at one point getting to withing 20 yards of a pair, but the brush was just too thick), but we just weren't able to get a clean shot. We were also busted on several stalks by other animals......once by a pair of warthogs, once by a red hartebeest, and several times by the spooky zebra. I was totally amazed at not only the vast amount of different species we saw the first day, but the sheer number of animals as well.....at one point we had a herd of between 50-70 zebra thunder across the road about 100 yards ahead of us.
    The second day we went after wildebeest and kudu, and Hans managed to get me within 100 yards of a nice bull. I shot him with my .338 Win. mag and he went down, then got up, ran about 25 yards, then stopped. Hans told me to shoot him again, and I racked the bolt, took aim, and squeezed the trigger, only to hear "CLICK"! The ammo didn't feed from the magazine! So I took a round from my ammo pouch and got it chambered and was taking aim when the bull fell, and didn't get up! The 225 grn Accubond took out a lung and the liver, and was recovered on the opposite side.
    [​IMG]

    That afternoon, we went after Gemsbok, and we found two out in an area that we had hunted the previous day. I made a poor shot at 200 yards, and we ended up having to track the animal some ways, but we did recover it relatively quickly. Hans' tracking skills were simply unbelievable.....I don't know how he can look at a mass of tracks in the soil and pick out which one is our particular animal, but he did it.
    [​IMG]

    The next day we went for Kudu and impala. We went to the "mountain property" and I guess I should have suspected that "mountain" meant climbing!!! We didn't see as many animals as we had seen in the last two days due to the extremely windy weather. So, we decided (or rather, Hans decided) that we should climb up and see if we could spot any animals below. I was glad that I had lost 35lbs prior to this trip, as it made walking in the mountains a bit easier, but I still had to stop occasionally for a breather. We scouted the valley below, and saw a few kudu cows but little else. Then Hans got excited and stated "Theres a bull!!"....it was across a saddle on the mountains, about 250 yards away, in a little bald spot. I couldn't spot it at first, but Hans quickly showed me were it was and I got him in my sights. I aimed for the top of his back and squeezed the trigger.....he swapped ends and ran off, and shortly thereafter I heard a "thud".....I hoped that meant a kudu down and not that he just tripped and fell. Hans made his way over to that side of the mountain, and I guided him to the spot where the kudu was standing when I shot.....he went into the bush, then quickly returned and called me over. I stumbled over rocks and brush trying to make my way quickly over there, feeling somewhat like a baboon on roller skates, and when I got there, I asked him "Do we have a kudu down?" He just smiled and said "You have a kudu".
    [​IMG]
    I asked Hans earlier what if we shot one on the mountain? He told me that, when shot, they run down hill. Well, this one didn't get that particular memo! He ran and died at the top of the mountain, about 9o yards from where I hit him. To make matters worse, he died in an area that was surrounded by 6 or so boulders half the size of my SUV! Fortunately, I was only planning on having a skull mount done, so we cut up the animal and brought him down off the mountain!
    We took him back to the farm to hang, and then went out looking for impala. We spotted some on the way back out, so after lunch, Hans and I walked that way and made a stalk. We had to change our plans a bit and back off into some woods before completing the stalk, as a kudu cow blocked our path, and startling her would most likely have spooked the impala. The stalk went pretty much as planned....we crept in and watched the animals in the open field, walking back and forth. Hans told me which one he wanted me to take, and I confirmed the animal with him, and then we just waited for it to give me a clean shot. He stopped just in front of a termite mound, and I squeezed the trigger. After that there were impala EVERYWHERE!!!! I didn't see the ram go down, so at first I thought I missed....but Hans said he went right down. I looked through the scope and saw his tail twitch a couple of times, and that was it......I had taken my 4 animals.
    [​IMG]

    So I was into the third day of a 7 day hunt, and had all my animals. My wife and I did a side excursion and rode the elephants at watersburg park......a great side trip I would recommend if you have the time. We drove around some of Pieter's properties and photographed several different species of animals. The last two days we tried to bag a jackal, without success. But Pieter also made me a good deal on a waterbuck cow (something I hadn't considered previously), so on the last day Hans and I went out to find us a cow. We found several nice, large ones, but were either busted and the ran off in the thick cover, or the zebras came in and spooked them as we were making as stalk. We finally found a group of cows in a brushy area that were playing cat and mouse.....we would sneak up on them, then one of the smaller ones would see or smell us, and run off, but they didn't leave the patch of cover like the other ones. Finally, I got a shot at the big cow and fired. Hans went up to where she had been standing, and pointed to a spot about 25 yards away and said "There she is!". So now I will have a unique back skin as a trophy/remembrance as well.
    [​IMG]
    All the animals (with the exception of the wildebeest) were taken with my .30-06 and a 200 grain Nosler partition handload. All but the gemsbok fell to one shot.
    I would highly recommend Cruiser safaris to anyone looking to hunt S.A., especially if you are going for the first time.......Pieter and the staff made sure that my wife wasn't ignored, even though she wasn't hunting. The food was excellent, the lodge was clean & well kept, and the staff all did their respective jobs with a high degree of professionalism. I was amazed how the skinners removed the hides without a errant nick or slice to the skin. Bob Clark, whom I booked the trip with, kept me well informed on just about every aspect of the hunt, including getting firearms through customs, what type of ammo to use, what to expect while hunting, etc. At one point we went to see our "travel nurse" at our doctor's office, who told us that we needed to take anti malaria meds. I said that Bob said we didn't, as we were hunting in a malaria free area, and showed her what he had sent me. She went and checked and came back and said that she was mistaken, that Bob was indeed right, and that no antimalarials were needed. Bob was spot on with the rest of his information as well.
    I plan on heading back in a few years, this time for zebra (gotta get even for them busting my stalks!), warthog, blesbok, and a waterbuck bull.
    Lifes too short............check out Cruiser safaris today!!!
     

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  2. James.Grage

    James.Grage GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Nice report.

    Looks like you had a great time and some nice trophy's.
     
  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Congratulations. Thanks for posting your report.
    You are right: Life is too short.
     
  4. Safari Specialty Importers

    Safari Specialty Importers SPONSOR AH Enthusiast

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    I see you got bit by the African bug.!!!!!!

    Congrats !!!
    You can look at all the pictures you want, but when you get to Africa it burns a hole in your brain.

    If you need help with the clearing of your trophies,
    Please go to our website.

    www.safarispecialtyimporters.com.

    Best
    Robert
     
  5. Huntin Africa

    Huntin Africa AH Senior Member

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    congratulation on great trophies. You really had a great safari in Africa. Beautiful pictures.
     
  6. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

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    Congrats on your hunt and nice trophies.

    Sorry about the Amarula, you should have opened the bottle and invited everybody present to take a drink :LOL:
     
  7. RandEMT

    RandEMT New Member

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    I hunted with Cruisers Safaris in May of this year. They do run a great operation. I loved that mountain property. My group pulled some awesome kudu off those mountains that week. Even though Hans was not my PH, he helped out on a tracking job on my gemsbok as well. That man is superhuman when it comes to tracking. Nice report and great animals. Takes me right back there.
     
  8. sestoppelman

    sestoppelman SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Well you can buy Amarula in the states you know? Nice trophies all, congrats!
    BTW, is that an Interarms Mark X rifle I see? I have one just like it, '06 of course.
     
  9. Mr. 16 gauge

    Mr. 16 gauge AH Enthusiast

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    Ahh! But the Amarula DID make it home.......I said that TSA tried to keep us from taking it; I didn't say that they succeeded!:LOL:
    I ended up wrapping the Amarula in one of those airline blankets and packing it in my back pack with my boots (put my boots in my back pack for ease of access when USDA wanted to spray them for hoof & mouth). I then went back and checked the back pack.......made it through from Atlanta to Detroit w/o any misshaps! Had to go through the scanner twice, but I wasn't about to let some low level rule pusher take my Amarula!
    ....and yes, I know you can buy it here in the States, but it's not the same thing as trying it and buying it on your first safari.:D

    .....and yes, it is an Interarms Mark X (Viscount) that I am holding, in caliber .30-06. My mom bought it for me for my 17th birthday years ago. Glad I've kept it and glad I was able to take it on this trip.....it performed rather well.

    Thanks for all the kind words......I'm looking forward to doing it all again in a few years.:)
     
    Royal27 likes this.
  10. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Congrats on a fine hunt! I don't know any of us that don't regret doing it sooner. Glad you had a great hut and got some awesome trophies. Thanks for sharing.
     
  11. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    congratulations ,on your trophies and experience .
    sounds like you and wifey had a great time with cruiser safaris.
    glad you liked it .
    that amurula definitely tastes better in Africa , but then again its pretty good in Australia too .
     
  12. huntermn15

    huntermn15 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Congratulations on a great experience and trophies! I will be hunting with Cruisers Safaris in Sept 2015 for 14 days and can't wait. Your report doesn't make the waiting any easier:). I hope you and your wife get to enjoy another trip in the future.
     
  13. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    Well done, congrats!
     
  14. sierraone

    sierraone AH Enthusiast

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    Congratulations 16, it appears that you had a great hunt, and great looking animals to show for it!
     
  15. KMG Hunting Safaris

    KMG Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Elite

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    Congratulations sir!
     
  16. ROCKET

    ROCKET AH Fanatic

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    Very good hunting report and very nice trophys.....well done.....!!!!!
     
  17. Lee M

    Lee M New Member

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    Would you recommed this outfit for a bow hunt? Do they have elevated hides, ground blinds or do know if they accomodate bowhunters? I just got back from my first safari and hope to get back in 2 years.
     
  18. Mr. 16 gauge

    Mr. 16 gauge AH Enthusiast

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    I don't know the answers to your questions; I didn't bow hunt, and nobody in camp that time bow hunted either. I know that Cruisers does have an 8 day bow hunting package, so I would assume that they have blinds, hides, etc. for bow hunting, but we didn't hunt in that fashion (we did spot/stalk).
    Best advice I can give you is to give Bob Clark a call or email and ask him those questions....he has been very helpful with me re: the questions that I had for my safari, so I'm sure that he would be straight with you with regards to any bow hunting information that you might be looking for.
    Good luck.............
     
  19. RandEMT

    RandEMT New Member

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    While I was there in June of this year, I asked them about how they accommodate bow hunters. They showed me a couple of rudimentary hides, one elevated, but told me when they have bow hunters they simply make a hide near a water hole where the target animal would be frequenting. It is not a dedicated archery outfit but I would not hesitate to use them for stick and string. They market a "bow hunting package" on their very informative website. They have plenty of land and great animals everywhere. IMO it would be an ideal location for someone who wanted to sit the blinds for a few days and also cover some country in the bakkie with a rifle. You would not be disappointed in going with Cruiser Safaris.
     
  20. Shumba Safaris

    Shumba Safaris AH Veteran

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    Well done sir . South Africa is a great hunting destination.
     

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