2012 Zimbabwe Safari April 19 - 30 - Touch Africa Safaris
2012 Zimbabwe Safari April
Travel Arrangements: Gracy Travel
Touch Africa Safaris PH Jonathon Collett www.touchafricasafaris.com
Would you use again: YES
Rifle: Ruger M77 338 Win Mag
Ammunition: Barnes 225gr
Dates: April 19 to April 30
April 17 & 18
We depart Albuquerque, New Mexico in the AM, flying to Dulles international airport; we have our tickets and luggage checked to Joberg. At Dulles we eat lunch at Henry and then check in with South African Air, where we obtain new boarding passes for South African air, and when our gate changes we again receive new boarding passes.
We are on the long flight to Dakar to refuel and then on to Joberg. Movies?ｴ were limited on this flight and I was happy that I brought a Clive Cussler book . The Spy along to read.
We land in Jo berg and are met by Gracy travel for our firearm processing (free with ticket purchase) and are walked to our motel and are met the next day to check us in. Highly recommended service by the way.
Motel was very nice and the morning breakfast was one of the very best spreads I have seen, rivaled the one in Tanzania a few years ago.
We are met by Lucky to walk us to the terminal and check in our baggage and rifle. My Ammunition was inspected and weighed, case lock was checked and the bag I had it packed in needed to be locked. (had my little paddle Locks) walked to processing center and we were on our way.
We landed at Bulawayo and went through the customs processing. Long process as luggage was being inspected; my Rifle and Ammunition were checked and processed. Import Tax was being assessed on gift items and many on the flight had to go to that line and make their tax payment, could be up to 100% of value price?br>
After a little over an hour we were out the door and met by Hilary Collett. After a few stops we were on the road for our 4 to 5 hour road trip to camp. We went through 6 police check points on our shortest route. The last 30 to 35 miles were on fair to good gravel dirt roads. If you had grown up in western South Dakota you would have fit right in.
We are shown our chalets and have a nice dinner and it is off to bed.
April 20 Day 1
Our wake-up call is 0530 with breakfast served at 0600.
We then go to the rifle range and check my rifle and it is 2 inches high at 100 yards. We load up and start the process.
As we drive we come across 9 eland cows and 2 calfs, zebras and giraffes. We begin the process of driving as far as we can up to the top of a Granite Gomos. We park and start walking and glassing the bottoms looking for anything on our trophy list. While walking around the Gomos we spot 2 zebras?ｴ about 400 yards off and we proceed to see if we can get closer. We now spot a herd of Blue Wildebeest. WE continue to follow the 2 zebras and they are nearing the wildebeest. As the stallion walks into the clear we find a place to set the stakes and get ready for a shot. With Jonathan range finder he estimates the Zebras are about 236 yards and moving away.
The zebra offers a walking away shot and I take it and he goes down. The wildebeest run our way and without moving Jonathan would like to cull a few from this herd. I am given the light to shoot a certain one and it goes down and get up and runs right under us about 150 yards away and lays down. Jonathan shoots one and they are still under us and I am given the work to shoot another one which I did.
Now my zebra get up and runs off, behind the bush with no shot available. We decent the Gomos and walk up to the closes wildebeest and give her the final bullet. Walk over to my second wildebeest which is dead and then find my zebra about 30 yards from when it went down. What a way to start our safari.
April 21 Day 2
We are out the door at 0630 and headed for new parts of the ranch we climb a Gomos on foot looking for game. We make numerous stalks today only to be busted by the swirling winds. We spot Waterbucks, impala, and blue wildebeest that we try to make an approach on by foot throughout the day only to be spotted or heard. We are trying to locate a big black giraffe for me.
April 22 Day 3
We are out the door by 0630 and off into the wild blue wonder. Today we see a very old impala ram and I am asked to shoot him. The biggest oldest 11 inch impala ram Darrel Collett had ever seen.
We are not finding any bull giraffes and we come into a low spot and spot waterbucks, impalas, bushbucks & warthogs. I am looking at the Waterbuck and Jonathan is looking at the bushbuck. We make a move on the bushbuck and with one shot at about 150 yards he goes down. Lucky, Lucky me, this was the second one we had seen . He will measure between 13 ?ｽ to 14 ?ｽ iches.
We drive part way up another Gomos and proceed to walk the rest of the way up for a better vantage point. While Walking around the crown of the Gomos we spot Zebras, Impala and 3 Bull Wildebeest. They are about 400 yards away and we work to get a better vantage point view of the bulls. The bulls are bedded the closes one has a funny right horn as it points backwards. The second bull is a young one; the third one is the one we want. Now we have to work ourselves into a shooting position. We climb up the hill and then down another portion that has a ledge.
We find a spot to set up and then move again for a better view. Where we set up to make the shot was about 167 yards away. The bullet would have to clear a tree branch about 10 yards in front of the animal to make a clean shot. We make the shot and it anchors the wildebeest in it bed. A very Nice Blue wildebeest to go along with my Black and Nyasa land ones.
The trackers have to clear a road to the downed wildebeest so that we can load him up .
We spend the rest of the day looking for a water buck only and make a tree killing shot at dusk, and watch our waterbuck move off.
April 23, Day 4 Poacher day snare day.
We are out the door at 0630 ready for a new adventure. We make a land rover climb to the top of a Gomos and proceed to walk around the top looking for game. Nothing is spotted by the water hole and we depart. The Land rover rides to the top are the best in the world. These alone are worth the price of the trip.
I spot a zebra on the road as we are driving and it is limping. It leg is in a wire snare and Jonathan dispatches it. Poaching and the grim reality of life in the wilds of Africa.
In the afternoon I we spot a group of Giraffes and we spot a bull having trouble walking and has a wire snare on its leg, it is close to the road and I am asked to dispatch it. One shot to the base of the skull and it went down. The animal had lost about half it body weight and was in poor condition. There are 2 more that they know about on the ranch and we are looking for the black one for me.
2 poachers are found on the ranch and they are turned in to authorities. Court was held and the poachers received a $500 USD fine each and the tribe will have to pay if they do not. Talk about swift justice.
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While looking for waterbuck I shot another brush. Dead center at about 75 yards a very nice Water buck moves along. Looks like the waterbuck will be my Achilles heel on this trip We have made many stalks only to come up empty handed.
April 24, Day 5 - Cool day and we needed it.
We are out the door at 0600 today looking for a giraffe. We need to have it by 0700 our cut off for a great hide with no hair slippage. This is looking dismal everywhere we had spotted them the day before they were gone.
I spot a few impala running and a few water bucks about a ??ｽ mile away and Jonathan is watching where they go and notices a large neck come into view. We spot a giraffe and it is about 1 mile away and we move closer and he move off into thick trees. Game on and we make a plan only to be out foxed by the giraffe with an above tree view. He makes a big mistake and move into an open meadow and we close to within 150 yards and he offers me a side shot. Jonathan is apprehensive about such a long shot is ready with back up in his 375 H & H, as most giraffes will go ??ｽ to 1 mile after being shot from the side.
My shot rings out a he lopes off and makes a 180 degree turn and go about 30 yards only to have his legs give out and goes down for the count. (or so we thought) We approach and I make a bone head move and walk up to a down animal from the bottom side and when I am near it the legs began to have reflex action and my right kneed it struck by the giraffe knee. ( Found out later my small leg bone was dislocated and very lucky it was not broken) We have a great Maple leaf giraffe down, and now the real work begins what monsters they are. This giraffe weight more that t times the one with the wire snare did. Jonathan went to the skinning shed for help in getting this big boy skinned and moved in for processing.
After lunch we head out looking for waterbuck and find a nice one and again shoot a tree and kill the waterbuck with one shot. The waterbuck was right by the small brush tree. Luck Lucky Me Not the biggest water buck we had seen however I am happy. Shortest horn will measure about 28 ｽ to 29 inches.
April 25 Day 6 Drizzle day - very cool day 64 degrees for a high
We are scouring the country side looking for Eland and Kudu. We move from one Gomos to another and from one water hole to another looking for fresh tracks to follow. There are about 13 water holes that the game uses daily.
At dusk we spot a herd of impala and I take an old mature ram.
Missed out on a great warthog stock today, Only about 4 to 5 a year are taken on the property and there are some big ones, and the tracker indicated that this was a very big one.
April 26 Day 7 -- Glad I have some pain pills along for my leg?/p> There are 2 leopard hunters coming into camp and they would like to have some bait hung prior their arrival. As we come across a herd of impala I am give the go ahead to take a doe and make a good shot, or so I thought. At the shot the impala jumps and dashes off and we are in hot pursuit. It is running through the brush and Jonathan takes my rifle and is hot footing it after the impala. After about 500 to 600 yards we come upon the impala laying in the trail with a hole in it heart about the size of a silver dollar. We were talking and had never seen that before.
We now have 2 impala and head to have them put out for the leopard spots previously picked out.
We spot a Kudu Bull on the top of a Gomos and Jonathan know he has only one way down and it is a narrow one at that. We head in that direction and the trackers spot some kudu cows in the brush about 150 yards off. We make a change in our plans to see it a bull is with the cows as some groups of cows have bulls and other does not.
We are able to work with in about 150 yards of a nice kudu bull in the bush and Jonathan give me the go ahead to pick my shot and I take the neck shot as that is all that is available. He drops in his tracks and then it takes us 30 minutes to clear a path to bring him out We have a nice 50 inch kudu bull in the salt. We had seen a few other bulls however when this one was down, now it seems like there are Kudu bulls everywhere now.
We are living on pain pills and aspirin now for my knee.
April 27 Day 8
We are beating the bush and climbing to the top of Gomos looking for eland, cows , calves and young bulls are all that we are finding. We come across track and follow them to now where. Eland are looking tough.
Toward Dusk we see another Big warthog and I do not want to shoot it is the ass so we make a stalk through the bush and are able to make a 100 yard shot and then we have to do a follow up tracking it. I like this wart hog it ran through the brush and piled up close to a trail that could be drove to.
April 28 Day 9
Again we are unsuccessful in trying to find any eland bulls, we are looking the entire ranch over and due to the high temperatures they are laying very low.
I am able to take another Zebra for Leopard bait.
I have put together Gifts and tip for the camp staff, trackers and skinning shed workers. We review this with Jonathan and put in place a plan to deliver them on our last day.
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April 29 Day 10
We depart and look the ranch over finding all kinds of game except eland. We call it quits at noon and start packing for our return flight to the states.
April 30 departure day?br>
Did not sleep last night due to pain in my right knee.
Chef is 24 years old and is very good and has been with the company for 3 years as the chef and in other positions prior to that. We ate wildebeest, impala, liver (all very good), plus other meats like chicken and fish from the lake.
Trackers were good however Jonathan was probably just as good if not better than them.
Skinners trophy care are very good at their job. Game meet is not wasted and was put in coolers for after processing.
Chalet was great, beds were very good to sleep in, shower was top notch and water was very very hot as I was close to the heater. Faced north and we were able to watch the water hole and I was able to sit outside and read after hours.
Camp fire was a great place to sit and visit with Jonathan, Darrel, Hilary, and Martha and enjoyed 1 to 2 totties a night however I went with 3 the last night. We enjoyed different appetizers nightly. We had other company through the week however I will not mentioned their names.
Game spotted that were great trophies just waiting for another hunter:
1. Cape Buffalo
2. Kudu bulls over 50 inches
3. Waterbucks over 30 inches
4. Wart hogs over 13 inches
5. Leopard track were everywhere on this place.
6. Blue Wildebeest many with horns over lapping their ears
7. Baboons were every where
8. Monkeys were everywhere including camp.
11. Bushbuck in the 13 to 14 inch range ( I forgot what sub species this is)