Getting in Shape for Hunting Elephant & Cape Buffalo


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Dec 9, 2009
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Getting in Shape for Hunting Elephant and Cape Buffalo

When planning to go to Africa and hunt big game, lessen very closely to your Professional Hunter. Most all PH’s worth there salt from Africa speak English, and some speak American, depending on where they learned this second language. The true fact is it may be one of 6 or 7 languages they know. You’ll be dumb founded if you go and hear your tracker talk to another tracker in his language and then repeat it in several languages and then into Afrikaans and then into English. There language is the newest recognized language in the world today. It is a combination of many languages with a lot of throat noises that we Americans can not duplicate. But there language is a very simple language compared to our American one. They do not have 10 words for one thing and 7 for another. When they say a word they emphasize the word to make it softer or stronger. Her lies the problem.


Me bleeding form cats claw and every other vine that bits and scratches and draws blood.

After discussing the pros and cons of my wife’s and I up coming Elephant and Buffalo hunting trip in a brand new area in Mozambique Africa. My wife and I discussed with our favorite PH in the world what we had to do to get ready for this trip. We had been to South Africa three time prier, and though we did lots of stalking and bow hunting, and a lion hunt. This would be a whole new kind of hunting for the two of us. 100% free range where the animals can walk where ever they want and as far as they want. And that’s the key word here, as FAR as they want.

For the two weeks I was reminded that I was told in there acquired English I would have to get in shape. Yes I must say I was told it would be ruff, and the word difficult was used a few times. But there are at least 50 other word I would now use to describe ruff or difficult now that I lived through it.. Gory be to God how I made it...

So let me tell you my thoughts that went through my head when enjoying our little 10 to 12 hour strolls through this beautiful land.

Before going on safari you will have to start months before your date of departure from the U.S.. And hears what I came up with.
Start by using that clothes hanger of a Tred mill or Elliptical machine you have sitting there. Dust it off and just push the highest level it has, preferably the up and down the mountain setting, and if they have the swamp and elephant foot print hole setting that would do better. But before you climb aboard you have to close the door of the room and put in a space heater, turn it up to 100 to 105 degrees. Oh , I forget you also have to go buy a 500W spotlight bulb and point it to the machine. Again this slipped my mind... get a big old belt and go out in the garage and get some tacks and some small sharp nails and screws and put them through the belt so they stick out of each side of it.

Now you should have gotten up at 4:30am and been ready to be on your machine before 6, so back in the room now ( it should be real hot by now ) and climb aboard this old close hanger and start pumping away...
You should plan on staying on that machine for 10 to 12 hours a day with a brake of 5 minuets every now in then when you’re begging for water that the tracker is carrying. But remember it’s all you have… you don’t have a spicket or a refrigerator to go to. And while your pumping your legs off switch hands every 10 to 30 steps and flog your self with the belt of tacks and nails and screws hard enough to make your legs, arms and face bleed… And remember your so far back in the middle of no where that you have to come back... so keep pumping and remember your enjoying yourself... Don’t look up now and see this beautiful land for if you look up for one second , Bam, down you go and then you’ll get the look, YES the look of are you alright or the look of your making noise...

Now keep this up for day after day and oh yea, do it on 4 to 6 hours of sleep if your lucky..

Start now, and maybe, just maybe you won’t hear "I told you to get in shape for this"

Another thing to remember. All those new toys you bought for the trip ??? Big fancy new knife. Big back pack with cameras and binoculars and rang finders... forget it... leave them home... have a good pair of Pooh booties for your feet, low gaiters for you ankles and shorts & tee shirt that you don’t like because you’ll throw them away at the end of the day. A breezier hat with a small brim all around to help keep your head from boiling over and a walking stick for poking the ground so you don’t step it to those elephant foot prints I spoke of and your be good to go...


Spoor of problem Elephant after it eat 500 lbs of watermelon all night... Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out...

I hope you heed this little attempt to bring some levity to reality. Big Game Hunting is done with your feet & legs, and it is measured in hours and hours of walking to cut the tracks. NOT a half hour TV show with 17 minuets of commercials in it… if you hunt be game and your lucky enough to get something, BE Proud... You’ve earned it... and would I do it again ?????????? YOU BET... Thank You Pieter and the Motsomi Safaris staff for The life time of memories.

Eldondo, the worlds 2nd greatest.
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AH veteran
Jan 22, 2017
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Argentina, Zimbabwe x 3, South Africa, Wyoming, Montana, North & South Dakota, Texas
Just got back from an Elephant/Buffalo hunt in Zimbabwe. I would say your post is spot on with one exception, the temperatures were between 112 and 120 on my hunt and I was totally unprepared for that part. Got the buffalo but the elephant eluded me.


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Apr 9, 2013
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I have always looked at preparation for a military school, long trek, or endurance event as being two fold. The first part without a doubt is fitness. You have to move more and with more weight. The second is kit preparation and adjustment. This is more often than not what hurts people. Foot blisters, kidney pad rubs, stomach not liking your new energy bar, or all your nifty gadgets wearing you down. I have always trained with the same clothes, socks, footwear, food, drink, and kit I will carry for the big show. I usually go on nightly walks walking the dog where I carry a sledge hammer to simulate carrying a rifle over time and distance. Its all in the preparation. Blisters and chaffing can reduce most people to being ineffective pretty damn quick. Thanks for the write up.


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Oct 8, 2015
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I hump the hill behind our house every day in prep. As Roverandbrew suggests, I wear my safari kit and pack my Lott. After a hard 45 minute hump I put three downrange off sticks on an 8” gong at 100.

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