Recent hunt with Andrew Baldry at Royal Kafue Safaris in Zambia
Disclaimer!! I posted this on another forum in parts as I wrote it. I'm cutting and pasting it here and will do my best to clean up any mistakes resulting from the different forum formats. Bear with me
Location: Mukuyu Camp on the banks of the Kafue River, Zambia
Outfitter: Royal Kafue
Booking Agent: Mark Young
PH: Andrew Baldry
Trackers: Green, Redson
Game Scout: Victor
Dates: June 20th - July 10th, 2012 give or take a day.
1938 Hoffman Arms with Winchester M70 action in .375 H&H with Swarovski 2.5 - 10 scope.
1902 Army & Navy Double Rifle in 450 3 1/4 NE
Handloaded Ammo: Barnes TSX 300 grain, 69.5 grains of RL15 for .375 H&H.
Woodleigh 480 grain softs & solids, 97.5 grains of IMR 4831 for the 450 NE.
Animals hunted: Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, Crawshay's Defassa waterbuck, Sable, Roan, Sitatunga, Bushpig, Bushbuck.
Animals taken: Crawshay's Defassa Waterbuck, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, Roan, Sable, Buffalo, Sitatunga, Lion
Animals seen: Buffalo, Crocodile, Impala, Puku, Bushbuck, Hippo, Lion, Elephant, Lichtenstein's Hartebeest, Zebra, Oribi, Baboon, Kudu, Crawshy's Defassa Waterbuck, Roan, Sable, Bushpig, Warthog, Common Duiker, White tailed Mongoose, Warthog, Reedbuck, Sitatunga,
"This could get interesting" Those whispered words of Ivan Carter echo'd from my TV during recent episodes of Track Across Africa. So how interesting would this Safari be?
It was a long road traveled to finally meet Andrew Baldry in person. We had communicated regularly over the last 18 months. At first via booking agent Mark Young and by PM on Accurate Reloading Forums. Neither of us realized the convoluted path this booking would follow.
Lion before the ability to hunt them disappeared. That was my focus. The more I read the more it seemed the clock was ticking towards the end of Lion hunting or at least the end of the ability for Americans to import them. 2012 had to be the year. Many of the top outfits were already booked out.
Andrew was hunting for other outfitters, notably Rich Bell-Cross, but also offered hunts in the Luangwa at Munyamadzi. With one Lion on quota I was determined to make that my Lion. I secured the booking for that Lion plus Leopard and all seemed set. Then with the passing of time Andrew and Munyamadzi had a bit of a dust up. Details were unclear but my hunt was now to be guided by Thor if I wanted the Munyamadzi Lion. I had nothing against Thor and I met him later in Vegas at SCI. Really nice guy and he understood when I told him I wanted to hunt with Andrew.
Meanwhile, two years prior Andrew entered into an arrangement with a trust formed by the Kaindu Community to lease/manage 45,000 acres along the Kafue River hoping to resuscitate the land from the game poor poached landscape it was at the start.
Mr. Baldry and I talked via Skype. His assessment was brutally honest. He expected the area to take at least four years to begin to recover after he instituted active anti- poaching patrols and it had only been two years. Royal Kafue enjoyed some excellent feeder areas along its borders but two years was not enough time to expect this land to be taken off of life support. My choices seemed scant.
Andrew contacted me after a few visits to Royal Kafue and related how surprised he was that the area was rebounding faster than expected. He again voiced a reserved evaluation. Game will be hard to see in June/July but I'm confident if we can draw in a Lion from Mushingashi you will have a good chance at a brute?
Mushingashi is a 125,000 acre Arab owned reserve with a long history of being game rich. The land sits on the western border of Royal Kafue.
After further Skype discussions and the tiered pricing of the hunt where I only paid Leopard day rates unless successful on Lion I decided it was worth the gamble.
Andrew and I had many conversations after the deal was struck. With each passing communication it became apparent we shared the same philosophy of hunting. I'm not an inches guy, I only pursue mature game, and it's about fair chase and the experience. No Machan's allowed on this trip. That choice resulted in some exceptional footage taken by Joyce, my fearless wife, of two immature lions.
Enjoy the video clip. Make sure not to look away at 5:36. That's when you will realize how close the male is after he comes to the blind.
I asked Joyce later that night when back in camp how she felt. She had two things to say?
1) I was watching it on a camera video screen so it wasn't real
2) "Aｭll I could think was please don't make us kill you"
The woman is fearless.
There were so many amazing events and successes on this hunt that the report will take me months to write in order to provide the imagery deserved. Bear with me. Think of it as a mini-series and enjoy waiting for the next episode.
Here's the Lion video -