After 21 weeks of anticipation June 5th had finally arrived. Our bags had been packed for months and all arrangements for our upcoming trip to Koedoeberg Safaris had been made. It all started on January 11th when I opened an e-mail from AfricaHunting.com stating that I was one of two members tied for a free hunt: two hunters, four days of hunting and five animals each, generously donated by Willem Faul of Koedoeberg Safaris in South Africa. The tie breaker was held and once again both of our guesses were tied. It was suggested by Willem that both Scott (aka. 35bore) and myself split the prize. I contacted Scott and we mutually agreed upon dates that would suit both of our needs. We were both going to bring our wives along to share in the African experience and Scott also planned on bringing his five year old son Hunter along. The travel time from Boise, Idaho to Johannesburg was 27 hours. Upon clearing customs my wife and I were met by Willem who helped us load our luggage into his vehicle. He generously offered to let us shower at his home in Johannesburg before traveling to the farm that night. After a hot shower, a cup of tea and snacks, we were on our way to Koedoeberg's camp in the Northwest Province. The 2 ï½½ hour drive seemed remarkably short. We discussed our upcoming hunt and shared hunting stories. We arrived at camp and were met by Willem's friends Petrie and Ronnie along with Scott, his wife and son. The accommodations were fantastic; a renovated farm house with seven bedrooms, most with en suite bathrooms. A large kitchen, dining room, living room and bar all beautifully decorated and adorned with numerous field photos and shoulder mounted animals. There was a covered area outside that contained a large table with chairs near the fire that could be enclosed in case of foul weather. After putting our bags away we all gathered near the fire to socialize and discuss the upcoming hunt. We enjoyed several cold drinks and a few glasses of wine before retiring to bed for the night. My wife and I woke before the alarm and went outside to enjoy the sights and sounds of the African sunrise. As the sun rose we were captivated by what we saw. We were nestled on a valley floor surrounded by hills and unspoiled bush in every direction. A large field in front of camp contained a herd of Blesbok and several Ostrich. We were met by our PH for the morning, Renier, and his friend Dave who helped drive. I decided to rent a rifle and shot both Willem's Wetherby .375 and .30-06 at the range behind the house. Both shot well and we loaded up for our first hunt of the trip. After a short drive down the road we spotted a group of Blue Wildebeest and a large herd of Blesbok. We glassed the Blesbok and found a nice ram by himself. We made a short stalk and set up the sticks 125 meters from the ram. A frontal quartering shot was offered and the bullet struck the ram square in the chest. He went down within seconds. Upon reaching the ram I was amazed at the beauty of the animal. He had nearly 17 inch horns with 6 inch bases. The white blaze on his face was scarred from fighting and his teeth were very worn. He was the perfect animal to take. We took numerous field photos before loading the ram into the truck and traveling to the skinning shed. The plan was made at lunch to check for Red Hartebeest and Eland in the hills in the afternoon. We were guided by Willem personally. We stopped the truck at Rooibok Dam and proceeded to walk up an old washed out road toward the summit of the hill. Near the top Willem spotted a herd of Zebra and we closed the distance to see if anything else was with them. The wind was in our favor and we closed the distance to 125 meters when Willem stated è¿ed Hartebeest? I chambered a round in the Weatherby .375 and we continued to close the distance to 80 meters. Willem set the sticks up and instructed me to take the third animal from the right. He was quartering away and by this time the cows had seen us. The shot was true and the bull made it only a few steps before collapsing. We took numerous field photos and admired the bull before calling in reinforcements to get the bull off the hill. It was a truly magical hunt and my finest African moment to date. We returned to camp with sore feet, enjoyed a fabulous dinner and some local red wines and shared tales of the day's adventures around the fire. Sleep came easy. Up again before the sun to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the bush come alive. We headed out in search of Scott's Gemsbok; shot late the evening before. A massive thunder storm had come through and destroyed any hopes of finding spoor to follow. We were nearing the area where we would start searching when a group of Eland were spotted ahead. Willem quickly made the decision to follow them. We paralleled the hillside and were able to follow the noise of the Eland as they worked their way uphill. We saw them several times but were unable to locate a good bull before they crested the ridge. We also saw Blue Wildebeest, Zebra, Gemsbok and Kudu while chasing the Eland. The storm from the prior evening had made the roads difficult to drive so the decision was made to hunt a nearby property in the afternoon in search of Eland. After a short drive we arrived and began our hunt. We were traveling to an area known to hold good numbers of game when we found a soft spot in the road and buried the rear wheels of the truck in mud. After several minutes of attempting to free ourselves we decided it was time to take a walk in search of game and cell phone service to call for help from Scott and crew. During our walk we saw several Duiker, Steenbok, Warthogs, Giraffe and Eland. Several of the Warthogs were great trophies and I resisted the urge to collect another in hopes of finding an Eland bull. We finally got ahold of Renier and learned of Scott's success on a great Impala ram. We all met up and got our truck freed from the mud. We continued hunting and saw several great Nyala bulls, kudu and Impala before heading to a nearby Crocodile farm for photos, drinks and dinner. We returned to Koedoeberg and enjoyed several drinks around the fire, shared hunting stories and marveled at the beautiful African starry skies. Another perfect day! Up again before dawn to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the sunrise. Renier and Dave arrived and we headed into the hills in search of Eland or Mountain Reedbuck. The weather was not cooperating. High winds and cold temperatures kept most of the animals held up in heavy cover. We did see several nice Kudu bulls, Impala rams, Blue Wildebeest and Zebra while heading toward the top of the hill. Nearing the top we began seeing numerous rock pilings and were told that they were housing foundations from the Bushmen who lived there many centuries earlier. Reaching the top of the hill we were greeted with spectacular views in all directions. It was a privilege and a treat to see such magnificent country. We returned to the lodge and enjoyed a fine lunch and planned the afternoon's adventures. We again headed out in search of Eland and finally found some along with some Waterbuck late in the afternoon. The decision was made to attempt to take a bull near the rear of the herd. I felt confident about the 85 meter broadside shot and squeezed the trigger. The bull jumped and lunged forward before vanishing into the bush. We followed the blood spoor for nearly a half hour until darkness won the battle. We returned to camp confident that with the amount of blood found and a little cooperation from the weather we would find the bull in the morning. We had a wonderful dinner of Eland and Impala fillets before retiring to bed for a long and sleepless night. After much tossing and turning we awoke several hours before the sun rose. While enjoying breakfast of eggs and toast I replayed the shot from the day before like a broken record in my mind. Had I shot too high?ow?orward on the bull? We gathered some additional tracking help and departed hoping a little luck would come our way. We found the bulls tracks from the night before and followed him for several hours. The tracking skills displayed were absolutely remarkable! We finally lost the tracks for good and returned without the Eland bull, feeling fairly confident that he would survive the wound. The kindness and compassion shown by all was much appreciated and comforting for this was the first big game animal I had hit and not recovered. The late afternoon was spent chasing Impala, Blue Wildebeest, Warthog and Guinea Fowl. I managed to take a management Warthog and impala on our last evening of hunting. We returned to camp satisfied and content with our day. We enjoyed some local South African cuisine and drinks around the fire while sharing stories and talking late into the night. Morning came early and we were saddened that our time hunting Koedoeberg was over. We loaded our luggage and returned to Johannesburg to begin our journey to Zambia to tour Victoria Falls. Every aspect of our hunting experience at Koedoeberg was nothing less than exceptional! The game and trophy quality were beyond expectation and the terrain and scenery were first rate. Lodging and meals were fantastic. The camaraderie and friendships developed while hunting and around the fire will last a lifetime. I strongly urge anyone thinking of booking a South African hunting safari contact Willem at Koedoeberg. You will certainly receive first class treatment and an experience you will never forget! Also feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about my experience or want help planning your own adventure with Koedoeberg Safaris.