SOUTH AFRICA: Stellar Safari with Kei River Hunting Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports' started by graybird, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. graybird

    graybird AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    12
    My Photos:
    10
    Member of:
    NRA, SCI, DSC
    Hunted:
    South Africa (Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal)
    I just returned from another hunt with Andrew Renton and Kei River Hunting Safaris. Myself and a couple friends hunted with Andrew in 2010 and had a fantastic time. When discussing another trip we thought about going to Namibia, but finally decided to return to the Eastern Cape and hunt with Andrew and crew again.

    I had taken most of the common PG species on a couple previous trips, with the exception of bushbuck and zebra which had always managed to escape me, so I decided to diversify the portfolio a bit and look to add unique species not commonly hunted on the first or second trip to the trophy room.

    I read a post some time ago by Ivan Carter about his journal. Ivan stated he usually just wrote about 5-6 items that happened during the day to jog his memory of the day’s events. Therefore, I decided to do the same for this hunt. I really like this style of making note of the hunt because after several days of hunting, the events seem to blur from one day to the next.

    I’ll be posting my hunting report straight from the notes taken directly from my journal as written with accompanying pictures.

    Outfitter: Andrew Renton Kei River Hunting Safaris

    Booking Agent: Wade Derby Crosshair Consulting

    Rifles Used: Ruger M77 300 Win Mag with 180 gr Barnes TSX and 145 gr CEB ESP Raptors and a Remington Mod 700 375 H&H with 300 gr Barnes TSX and 300 gr Barnes RN Solids (all rounds were personal hand loads)

    Dates: June 14, 2014 thru June 27, 2014 (14 hunting days)

    Thursday, June 12, 2014
    • Still sitting on the plane only an hour left, just changed clothes and brushed teeth
    • About to eat again
    • Watched 21 Jump Street – Fell asleep during Anchorman 2 – not that funny
    • Arrived at African Sky Guest House with zero issues
    • Had a great steak
    • Not much sleep!

    African Sky Guest House
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Friday, June 13, 2014
    • Flew down to East London
    • Wore the Santa hat for Andy (I brought a few items for Andrew so he kept referring to me as Santa)
    • Sighted in the rifles with no major concerns
    • Went for a drive saw: blesbok, warthog, duiker, zebra, kudu, impala, nyala, bushbuck
    • Another steak for dinner
    • Staying at Mpotshane Game Lodge near Komga

    Mpotshane Lodge
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Saturday, June 14, 2014
    • Andrew and I moved to Kokstad staying with a guy named Donny G
    • Looked for common reedbuck
    • Made a stalk on one but passed in the end at 310 yards, about an inch too short
    • Tons of common reedbuck at Gary’s Dairy farm but not the right one
    • Animals seen: common reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, blesbok

    A fun restaurant name in Mthatha
    [​IMG]

    Sunday, June 15, 2014
    • Father’s Day – I stuffed the pictures of my two boys and the cards my wife left in my suitcase into my day pack – today they would hunt too (I actually never took them out again but to look at them.)
    • The wind was blowing ridiculously ferocious
    • I was literally blown up the mountain chasing oribi – guess winds are 75 mph plus
    • Got on one oribi early and laid there over an hour before he blew out
    • Big fires all around coming from the black communities
    • Killed a monster oribi at 170 yards, put a second bullet into him at 184 yards, wind drift was roughly 12” with the crosswind – 375 H&H 300 gr Barnes RN Solid
    • Animals seen: oribi, vaal rhebok, mountain reedbuck, common reedbuck, blesbok

    Oribi (notice the smoke in the background from the fires)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Fire pictures:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Monday, June 16, 2014
    • The fires are out and the wind has laid
    • Went into the lower portion of the Drakensburg Mountains to look for vaal rhebok and common reedbuck near a place called Underberg
    • Killed a very nice old ram common reedbuck in the terrace of some standing corn – 300 Win Mag 180 gr Barnes TSX ~ 100 yard shot
    • Went up on top of the world looking for vaalies
    • Killed a nice blesbok ram, missed him the first shot at 220 yards because of wind drift, drilled him with 2nd shot at 326 yards quartering towards, fell down a very steep slope – 300 Win Mag 180 gr Barnes TSX
    • Killed a monster vaal rhebok, was having trouble with sun glare in the scope, 1st shot clipped the top of his back at 317 yards, drilled him 2nd shot at 429 yards right thru the pump station – 300 Win Mag 180 gr Barnes TSX
    • Animals seen: common reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, vaal rhebok, oribi, blesbok, jackal

    Common Reedbuck:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Vaal Rhebok country:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Blesbok: (these were wild blesbok that had escaped from another property that made their residences up in the mountains)
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Lunch near a high mountain trout lake:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The hillside where the vaal rhebok was standing:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Vaal rhebok:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014
    • Moved from Kokstad back down to Mpotshane
    • Checked the bait for the bushpigs
    • No show on the bushpigs tonight
    • Spotted some impalas and Dave killed a very nice one
    • Animals seen: impala, blesbok, bushbuck, vervet monkeys, blue wildebeest

    Nelson Mandela’s House and final resting place:
    [​IMG]

    Bird that woke me up from a nap
    [​IMG]

    Messing with my buddy Carlton who had quite a few “moments” with mountain reedbuck on our previous trip.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014
    • Went to look for a big waterbuck bull Andrew spotted a few weeks ago – found out a few hours later the bull had been killed last week
    • Spent most of the day looking around for another bull
    • I insisted that we catch the last portion of Andrew’s son’s rugby game, it was fun watching the little guys play although I know very little about the game
    • Looked for a particular big kudu bull, found his cows but not him
    • Got interrupted during cocktail hour by the bushpigs
    • Big bushpig boar in the salt – 375 H&H, 300 gr Barnes TSX, ~ 30 yards
    • It was a very exciting but calming while stalking down a road trying to not make any noise on a calm night, while not being able to see very far until you hear bushpigs feeding on the bait
    • Animals seen: impala, blesbok, waterbuck, warthog, kudu, bushbuck, bushpigs, zebra, springbuck

    Rugby match:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Bushpig:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thursday, June 19, 2014
    • Finished with the bushpig and checked other baits
    • Tried a drive for blue duiker but only saw a bushbuck female
    • The wind was howling again and very cold
    • Looked for bushbuck this afternoon but only saw females
    • Almost took a crack at a baboon at roughly 650 yards, but he moved before the shot
    • Animals seen: kudu, bushbuck, zebra, impala, blesbok, waterbuck, baboons, common duiker

    Morning sunrise:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2014
  2. graybird

    graybird AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    12
    My Photos:
    10
    Member of:
    NRA, SCI, DSC
    Hunted:
    South Africa (Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal)
    Friday, June 20, 2014
    • Found the old bushbuck ram that was wounded by a client a few weeks ago
    • We got him after a bit of a rodeo – 300 Win Mag, 180 gr Barnes TSX, 365 yard shot
    • Went up to Mpongo Game Farm to find a zebra with a broken leg, never found him
    • Chased the ostriches around for about 4 hours before finally connecting on one – 375 H&H, 300 gr Barnes TSX, 170 yards
    • Dispatched a wounded blesbok
    • Jamie and Martin played the guitars and sang tonight
    • Animals seen: bushbuck, blesbok, impala, eland, ostrich, elephant, lion, zebra, fallow deer

    Bushbuck retrieval:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Bushbuck:
    [​IMG]

    Ostrich:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Wounded leg of the blesbok we decided needed to be put down:
    [​IMG]

    Saturday, June 21, 2014
    • Did a whole lot of nothing today
    • Hunted blue duiker from a blind for 9 hours
    • A little guy came in to drink but the big guys stayed in the shadows
    • Interesting relationship between the blue duiker and the vervet monkeys
    • The bird life in the morning was incredible
    • Animals seen: blue duiker, vervet monkey, bushbuck, blesbok

    Sunday, June 22, 2014
    • Started the morning with Carlton looking for nyala
    • Shot a baboon, dassies and a couple vervet monkeys along the river
    • Sat in the duiker blind for another six hours
    • At roughly 4:45 shot a blue duiker in the path we had seen them cross in the day before – 22 LR at 35 yards
    • Duiker ran back thru the blind after putting the dog on him
    • Sutu tried catching the duiker as he ran by
    • Zed (the dog) chased the duiker into the pond
    • I shot him as he swam to me and Sutu went in to get him, leaving his cell phones, cigarettes, and matches
    • Animals seen: blue duiker, baboon, vervet monkey, kudu, nyala, impala, blesbok, blue wildebeest

    Blue duiker:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Monday, June 23, 2014
    • Made a great stalk on some zebra, but the one with the limp was too far away for a shot
    • Killed another in the group which died in a thick grove of trees – 375 H&H, 300 gr Barnes TSX, 241 yards
    • Reduced the vervet monkey population by two more
    • Went to the mill to shoot rock pigeons, collared dove and ducks - ~120 dove/pigeons and 40 ducks
    • Gave the doves/pigeons to the kids across the fence but they didn’t want the ducks
    • Animals seen: zebra, impala, blesbok

    Zebra
    [​IMG]

    Mill where we did the bird shooting. They process the corn for the local black community to make their home beer.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Carlton and Jamie played tonight.
    [​IMG]

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014
    • Vacation day and relaxation
    • Went to a local gun shop to buy more shotgun shells for the bird shooting
    • Had a very nice braai on the deck
    • Headed out again tomorrow to look for springbok for Carlton and possibly waterbuck for me

    Dolphins surfing the waves:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Proper BS session in progress:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014
    • Drove up to Queenstown to a place called HuntersHill
    • There was literally one of everything on the property
    • The coolest animals seen were the rhinos and an aardwolf
    • Never found a waterbuck, white or black springbok that met the proper criteria

    Another beautiful sunrise:
    [​IMG]

    Rhinos:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Thursday, June 26, 2014
    • Reduced the baboon population by one today – shot was 380 yards
    • Tried culling some impala rams but none came my way
    • Weather was rainy and overcast all day keeping the animals from moving
    • Went back to the mill to shoot doves and ducks this afternoon. Bird numbers were down probably due to the weather - ~25-30 rock pigeons and 30 ducks

    Another great bird shoot:
    [​IMG]

    Friday, June 27, 2014
    • Spent the morning looking for a blue wildebeest to make a flat rug
    • Made one stalk on a herd, but the bull was too young and soft
    • Found a lone bull that usually stayed in some very steep thick bush, but he was up on top coming to water, put a great stalk on him and shot him at 82 yards with the 145 gr CEB Raptor bullet – went about 35 yards after the shot
    • Sutu said the heart and lungs were very badly damaged and a mess
    • Spent the afternoon looking for the same particular kudu bull the farm workers always see in an oat field
    • Just before sunset his cows came to the fence, but some kids were picking up rocks on the hillside with their scent blowing towards the kudu, they never came into the field
    • Animals seen: blue wildebeest, kudu, zebra, warthog, blesbok, impala, bushbuck, nyala, common duiker

    Kudu cows catching some early morning sun:
    [​IMG]

    Lone old blue wildebeest bull:
    [​IMG]

    Sunset on a fantastic safari:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Saturday, June 28, 2014
    • Went to the skinning shed
    • Started the long trip home
    • Ready to see the wife and kids again!!!

    Back at the skinning shed:
    [​IMG]

    Vaal rhebok, blue duiker and oribi
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Matman

    Matman New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2013
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Nice write up and pics, looks like you had an awesome time!
     
  4. The Artistry of Wildlife

    The Artistry of Wildlife SPONSOR AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2011
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    56
    Location:
    United States
    My Photos:
    101
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Zimbabwe,Botswana, Mozambique,South Africa, Canada, England, Kyrgyzstan
    THANK YOU for an incredible report for all of us to enjoy ! And to you Congratulations on such an wonderful safari and great trophies !
     
  5. bluey

    bluey GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    Messages:
    2,939
    Likes Received:
    260
    Location:
    38.12.23south 149.50.37 east
    My Photos:
    50
    Member of:
    ssaa, aba ,bairnsdale field archers
    Hunted:
    australia south africa (limpopo, north west,eastcape) canada (b.c)
    great tale greybird, some very cool trophies
    thanks for sharing your adventure with all of us ,
    like the way your presented this post, bloke
     
  6. lwaters

    lwaters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    10
    My Photos:
    35
    Hunted:
    Texas,Namibia,Kansas, Missouri, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, South Africa
    Neat hunting report and a lot on good trophy's.
     
  7. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2009
    Messages:
    2,595
    Likes Received:
    191
    My Photos:
    23
    Member of:
    SCI
    Hunted:
    USA, S. Africa
    Great report Graybird, love the Vaalie!
     
  8. Royal27

    Royal27 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Elite

    Joined:
    May 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,716
    Likes Received:
    483
    My Photos:
    22
    Member of:
    DSC, NRA
    Hunted:
    USA - TX, CO, GA - Zim - SA (Next!)
    Enjoyed that!

    I'm hoping to do some wing shooting while in Zim. Looks like you had a blast!
     
  9. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    Messages:
    6,521
    Likes Received:
    355
    My Photos:
    32
    Member of:
    Northeast Wisconsin SCI chapter, Lifetime member of NRA,RMEF
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa (East Cape, Guateng and Limpopo)
    Incredible hunting report!

    Awesome orbi and vaal rhebok!
     
  10. Bobpuckett

    Bobpuckett GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Messages:
    4,073
    Likes Received:
    64
    Location:
    Russellville
    My Photos:
    27
    Member of:
    NAHC Life Member, NRA Life Member,SCI, Buckmasters
    Hunted:
    USA(from Coast to Coast and Alaska), Germany, South Africa, Canada
    Awesome Write up and awesome Pics. Glad you got to spend some time on one of my favorite hunting spots Huntershill Safaris they do have some fantastic animals there sorry you din't get your Waterbuck on the hunt there I've seen a bunch there and several well over the 30 inch mark. Thanks for sharing.
     
  11. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    7,588
    Likes Received:
    423
    My Photos:
    396
    Member of:
    KZN Hunters Assoc
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Canada, USA, Mexico
    I'm with you all the way on taking notes as often as you can and then even journalling at night. It does ensure a good story. Of course the pictures sure help.
    Good effort and format for a report.

    Back to the Eastern Cape?
    Man, he smuggled you into KZN. Watch out for those tricky PH's. :)

    The pictures of those mountain foothills has me going back to Kokstad. That grass does burn hot and the smoke goes everywhere. I have looked down on those huge burnt tracts across numerous ridges. Simply amazing.
    Glad it cleared out for you.

    That Oribi is an absolute dream. You better have done a happy dance that night.

    Vaalies are such a great critter to hunt and you are a fortunate man to get a trophy like that.

    Bushbuck, Blue Duiker. I'm going to have to ask for pointers on those Vervet Monkeys and how to handle the relationship you allude to.

    Lots of dream species in your trophy room now. Hope I can share that same joy on a few of them shortly.

    Thanks for the report.
     
  12. Bushwack

    Bushwack AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2009
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Rustenburg, North West Province
    My Photos:
    38
    Hunted:
    Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa
    Very nice!
     
  13. Nyati

    Nyati AH Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2011
    Messages:
    2,780
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain
    My Photos:
    40
    Member of:
    RFEC, RFETO
    Hunted:
    Finland, RSA ( KwaZulu Natal, Limpopo, North West ), Spain
    Congrats on a great hunt, Graybird, and some very nice trophies !

    Thanks for sharing.
     
  14. graybird

    graybird AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    12
    My Photos:
    10
    Member of:
    NRA, SCI, DSC
    Hunted:
    South Africa (Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal)
    Brickburn,

    Yeah, I knew I was in KZN, but only for a couple days while in the Kokstad area.

    The oribi was a dream animal. We looked over several rams that were on the farm, but I had my mind kinda made up it was going to be this guy, or nothing. Even made a couple stalks on a few other rams, but passed knowing this guy was still on the other hill. Problem was, this was the same guy we set up for and laid on the ground for roughly 1.5 hrs when he and his lady blew out. We went after them and bumped them on top. The wind was blowing so hard, we knew they wouldn't stay on that side of the mountain. When we made it back down to the tracker, he said they came around the other side of the mountain and slowly fed back to where they cam from. We gave pursuit, but they took off again, not to be seen for another 3-4 hours. During this time it when we looked over all the other rams on the farm. Finally, we decided to go back and look again, because of the wind pushing all of the animals to the leeward side of the mountains/hills. I asked to go back to the same hillside to look for this guy again thinking he might have went around the entire mountain side when we last bumped him, but he wasn't on his hill. Feeling a bit dejected, we decided to go after another ram on the other side of the property, but he wasn't as big, probably 5.25-5.5". When we were turning the truck, my PH saw a pair of oribis on a different hillside. It was him as he had a distinctive curve to his right horn coming forward. We made a plan and got into position. The wind was blowing between 70-80 mph with gusts of close to 100 mph the best we could guess. We discussed possible bullet drift even with only a 170 yard shot and a 300 grain bullet from the 375 H&H. The bullet moved roughly 12" during it's short time of travel. That'll give you a rough guestimation of how severe the cross wind was. In the end, I got the one I wanted. He measured 6 &1/8" which is a very nice oribi indeed!

    The vaallie was a special treat too. We passed on several rams in the 7" range and kept telling ourselves to be patient. We finally came across this guy and it was a mad scramble to get on him as we came over a slight rise and bumped them from a watering area. They took off and I squeezed the first shot off at 317 yards, just clipping the top of his back. He ran up the hill and stopped at a bush, turned around and backed into it and sucked his head down. The second shot I was able to steady my nerves a bit and the sun glare was now reduced because of his movement. Took a couple deep breathes and anchored him at 429 yards. This old guy was balding of sorts. You can see between his horns that the hair is gone. To me it almost looked like psoriasis. Everyone was disappointed with the cape and was already talking about needing to get a new one. He'll go on the wall exactly as he was when I put my hands on him. He taped out over 9 & 1/2" and it another true monarch of the high country. Oddly enough, as we were leaving the property, we bumped into another ram that would go over 8". It was tempting to go after him too, but I was satisfied!

    Thanks!
     
  15. graybird

    graybird AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2010
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    12
    My Photos:
    10
    Member of:
    NRA, SCI, DSC
    Hunted:
    South Africa (Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal)
    The blue duiker and the vervet monkeys have a symbiotic relationship. The duikers follow the vervet monkeys around and eat the fruit the monkeys drop from the trees. Plus, the monkeys provide protection from predators with their keen eye sight.

    While sitting in the duiker blind the first day, I could hear the rustling of the trees approaching. Andrew whispered in my ear about the relationship the duiker and monkeys had and the monkeys should bring the duiker to us. He was exactly correct. One you duiker came out into the open to water, while the monkeys were feeding both on the ground and in the trees. Andrew said he could see two more larger duikers in the shadows of the tree canopy, but I couldn't see them from my vantage point. Then, one of the monkeys must have spotted us and off they went taking the duikers with them.

    The blue duiker I took was also a monster at 1 & 3/4", which is right at the Rowland Ward length for blue duiker. I doubt I'll ever submit them to the record books, but it humbling knowing I took 6 Rowland Ward species on this trip: blue duiker, vaal rhebok, oribi, common reedbuck, blesbok and cape bushbuck.

    Thanks for reading!!!
     
  16. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2009
    Messages:
    673
    Likes Received:
    54
    My Photos:
    14
    Hunted:
    Namibia, Kyrgyzstan South Africa
    Sounds like a great trip. Hard to figure bullet drift in the wind. Been there, done that. Love your trophies. Some real monsters there. A Vaalie is on my shoot list for my next trip as well as a reedbuck. You got some great ones. Thanks for the report. Bruce
     
  17. accipiter

    accipiter AH Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2012
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    34
    Hunted:
    South Africa, USA
    Great report! You had quite the adventure. How long were the tusks on that bushpig?
     
  18. BnC 04

    BnC 04 TITANIUM SUPPORTER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2011
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    162
    My Photos:
    8
    Member of:
    SCI, RMEF, DU, NWTF, NRA
    Hunted:
    USA/Canada/Europe/ Africa
    Great report! And congrats on some mighty fine animals to add to the collection.
     
  19. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    7,588
    Likes Received:
    423
    My Photos:
    396
    Member of:
    KZN Hunters Assoc
    Hunted:
    Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Canada, USA, Mexico
    Rowland is always my target and when you get one you have to be happy.

    Great persistence on that Oribi. I would not have let off on him either.
    Quite the wind. You have to love the mountains but damn you have to be prepared.

    I'll keep the Vervet lesson in mind. Very good to know.
    Colour vision and nervous as hell makes them great guards.
     
  20. CAustin

    CAustin AH Fanatic

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    901
    Likes Received:
    169
    My Photos:
    39
    Hunted:
    South Africa
    Great photos sir and thanks for sharing!
     

Share This Page