Hunting with Numzaan Safaris in RSA, June 2024

MontanaPat

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I just finished up my hunt report with NKWE on another thread and wanted to post a brief report about hunting with Numzaan Safaris in the Limpopo area of South Africa.

In the spring of 2023 my wife and I attended our SW Montana SCI banquet. During the live auction I noticed a hunt donation from Numzaan Safaris for a 2 person hunt for 5 days as a 2x1 hunt with two trophy Nyala bulls included, one for each hunter. My hunting buddy Kevin had been saying for a couple of years that he wanted to hunt a big Nyala bull. He had taken a smaller Nyala on his first safari but had been admiring my 30" Nyala bull I had taken on my first safari in 2021 with Motsomi. Kevin and I already had our NKWE hunt planned and dates being held for late May 2024 so I thought maybe this would be a good opportunity for us to add this auction hunt onto our Botswana trip and get him a nice Nyala. Nobody was really bidding on the Numzaan hunt much online prior to the live auction. When time came up for the Numzaan hunt at the live auction someone online from CA had the high bid at $900 so I bid $1,000 for the hiunt and no one else bid so I got the hunt for a low price I thought. I called Kevin and said we were going after Nyala!

Fast forward to 2024, I had booked dates to do the Numzaan hunt immediately following our Botswana hunt. However in the spring of 2024 Kevin decided he really didn't have enough vacation time to do both hunts and be gone that long which I understood, so I decided to go anyway and see if I could find someone else that wanted to join me. I asked around and one of the younger pharmacists at the hospital I worked at some times said he wanted to join me for his first trip to Africa. Plans were made and when Kevin and I flew back to JNB following our Botswana hunt on June 4th, I met Sam at the airport in JNB along with our PH Petrus from Numzaan. Got my rifles cleared back into SA, loaded up in the truck and we set off for the 3-4 hour drive to the Kamboo Lodge property that Numzaan hunts. Numzaan has several different lodges and properties to hunt scattered around Limpopo in the Thabazimbi area. The Kamboo Lodge property was very nice and we had a great room to get settled into. There was another group of 4 guys from the Billings MT area at the lodge finishing up their hunt and sounded like they had a great time and took several really nice trophies between them. They were also on a donated hunt that they bought at a RMEF banquet.

Numzaan does a lot of hunt donations to SCI chapters for banquet auctions. As many of you are aware, some outfitters use the hunt donation as a major marketing strategy with the hope that hunters will come to Africa, have a great time taking the 2-3 animals included in the hunt donation and then decide to hunt several additional animals at their established price list. I knew this would be the case for our hunt, however in looking at their price list it is obvious that they then make their money off these other trophy fees which are substantially higher than some other outfitters that don't do the auction strategy. I wanted the outfitter to make money from the donation so I had arranged in advance to get a permit to hunt a Tsessebe in addition to my donated Nyala trophy fee. The Tsessebe trophy was only slightly higher by a couple hundred dollars than I had been seeing from several other outfitters I follow on AH so felt it was a worthwhile option for me. I had told Sam joining me on the hunt that the daily rates and his Nyala trophy fee were covered by the donation hunt I had purchased and since I got it cheap he didn't owe me anything but that he should think in advance before going over what other animals he might like to hunt and budget accordingly so he wouldn't get carried away and shoot several more animals at inflated trophy fees. I also discussed with him the cost of taxidermy and shipping trophies back to the US so he could plan his budget as well. Sam had decided that in addition to the donated Nyala he wanted to hunt an Impala and Blesbok as well and maybe another animal if time permitted.

I will say that I had pretty low expectations for the hunt after reading reports and talking with others who had hunted with Numzaan. I had no big concerns about the outfitter but fully expected that we were going to be hunting in small fenced acreages with stocked game for the most part and the hunt would not be very challenging, which is how the hunt turned out to be overall. I started to choose to walk away and not do the hunt when Kevin decided to drop out knowing I paid very little for the hunt at auction and it was a good donation to my SCI chapter so no big loss financially. But when Sam said he wanted to go and it was a chance to see Africa again thru the eyes of a first timer I decided to go ahead with the hunt even knowing the limitations to the style of hunt I preferred, being that I like large acreage properties with minimal fencing and the ability to get out and walk and stalk game or be on self sustaining primarily free range properties.

Petrus our PH was a really nice guy and a fairly new PH and I thoroughly enjoyed his company and hunting with him. He worked hard to find us game and get us into position for a good shot. I decided to use my .308 Model 70 Featherweight with a Leupold 3.5-10 x 40 firedot scope for the hunt and Sam was borrowing my rifle. We were shooting Norma factory ammo loaded with 180gr Swift A Frames that I got from Raven Rocks when they advertised it here on AH. Let me just say that the 180gr A Frame is a hammer on plains game. Between the animals I shot in Botswana with it and here at Numzaan we went 10 for 10, 10 shots fired and 10 animals down all with one shot kills.

I told Sam he had first rights on Nyala since I already had a big 30" Nyala at home that I highly doubted I would better. We headed into a fenced area of about 1000 acres that had several Nyala bulls the first morning and started seeing Nyala right away. But the brush was really thick and the bigger bulls would move into the thick stuff right away while the young bulls would stand and watch us. I was secretly rooting for the bigger bulls to get away as I didn't want Sam to shoot one the very first morning. It seemed too easy and I wanted him to experience more of a hunt, well my plan worked and we never got a shot opportunity that morning on a Nyala. We decided to move out of that block and into another larger area for a drive and soon we saw several impala. After checking out a few skittish groups we came around a corner and saw a nice impala ram. We kept driving past the crossroads and stopped down the road for Sam and Petrus to get off the truck and begin a stalk. They worked thru the brush back to the roadway to see if they could find the impala and I soon heard a shot and bullet slap. Sam got a nice 23" impala ram with heavy horns and flaring tips.

That evening we went back to the area for Nyala we had hunted in the morning but no shot opportunities came about.

The next morning we decided to go to another property about 30 minutes away to try for my Tsessebe. This was a pretty property with more open grassland, just what you would expect for hunting Tsessebe. We picked up another tracker at the property and he directed us around looking for the Tsessebe, supposedly there were quite a few of them on the property. Within 30 minutes we found a small group of Tsessebe females that had a nice bull with them. We got set up for a shot as they were milling around feeding, the bull moved broadside and I took the shot at around 125 yards and hit the bull well on the shoulder, thru both lungs and exited. He only went about 30 yards and went down in the grass. Not a really large bull but a nice animal with horns around 14" in size. My wife liked the look of Tsessebe and suggested I try and hunt for one a couple of years ago. We grabbed a few pictures at the scene and then moved him to another location for pics and loaded him up. Our tracker / skinner Prosper decided we should cape him out here at the property we hunted so he wouldn't overheat and get any hair slip on the cape before we headed back to the lodge.

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On the evening of Day 2 we went back to the smaller acreage fenced block by the lodge to see if we could get Sam his Nyala. We drove around glassing the brush and saw a few bulls in the thick stuff, Prosper got out to walk thru the block while we set up on another road to see if they moved across for a shot. We played cat and mouse for an hour with them and then saw some bulls in an adjacent block with one shooter. Sam and Petrus moved over into this area while Prosper tried to push the Nyala towards them in the thick thorn brush. I stayed on the back of the truck listening for a shot rather than join them on the stalk. I looked down the fence line behind me and see a nice Nyala bull walking along with no cares about a hundred yards away. I whistle a couple of times to Sam in Petrus as I know that aren't very far in the brush. A couple of minutes go by, the Nyala bull is still standing by the fence looking around like he wishes he could get thru it and finally Sam and PH Petrus come thru the brush to see if it was me whistling. I point down the road along the fence at the bull and they jump on the sticks, Sam takes a chest shot head on at the bull and he jumps and goes about 30 feet into the bush and goes down. It is a nice 24" Nyala and Sam is excited to have gotten him.

Day 3 came about of the 5 day hunt and we decided that morning to go to another cattle farm property to see if I can get a nice Nyala. The farm is a really nice place and the owner greets us when we arrive. It is a lady who lost her husband a few years ago and she runs the farm with her adult son and they also own a grain / feed mill in Thabazimbi. It is a pretty big property divided up into fenced blocks with mostly cattle fencing so they can move their cattle from block to block for grazing. It is thick and they supposedly have lots of Nyala and Kudu. We start driving thru and see lots of impala and several nice kudu bulls and cows. We soon see 2 Nyala bulls, one being a nice bull but his horn shape goes mostly straight back paralleling each other and is very similar to the one I have shot before and I want to see if I can find a bull with a little different bell shape to him or flaring out tips so we decide to keep moving and see what else we can find. This property has a lot feeding and watering stations where they put feed out for the cows as well as the game animals. I will say they had some really nice looking very healthy cattle on the property.

We go to one water trough and decide to sit for a while and watch for game while Prosper takes the truck down the road a way. We watch several warthogs come to water and soon get a radio call from prosper saying there is a nice Nyala bull coming to water down the road where he is sitting. We tell Prosper to ease out of the area with the truck and we will stalk down that way to take a look. We move into the brush 30 yards running parallel with the road and walk about 3/4 mile back to the other water station. We have to skirt around several cattle cows and bulls and start seeing impala and kudu as we get closer. Trying not to spook the kudu we get within sight of the water station area and can see a bunch of kudu cows and a nice bull and 2 Nyala bulls. We are trying to get into position to glass them better when a kudu cow sees us and spooks sending most of the kudu into the brush the Nyala walk off a bit and then stop at the edge of the brush but no shot is available. We change positions and can see one of the bulls is a nice shooter with kind of bell shaped horns. I get set up on the sticks for a 75 yard shot and the bull starts to walk into the heavy brush, but he stops quartering away for just a second and looks back at us and I take the shot. He goes 20-30 feet into the brush and is down. The PH isn't sure about my shot as he thought I didn't have a clear shot opportunity but I can see the bull thru the scope kicking his feet in the air and tell Petrus he is down right there in the brush. He is a pretty bull and when we measure him later his horns are right at 27" with nice ivory tips so I'm pleased with the bull. I decide to have them do a half mount cape with him as I'm not sure what I want to do for a mount, I initially thought of just doing a euro mount but with the half mount cape I've got options to explore if I want to do something else once I get him back to my taxidermist in Montana.

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We load him up and head back to Kamboo lodge for lunch. That afternoon we decide to drive around the property where we are staying and see what we can find, maybe get Sam his Blesbok as we had seen a few a couple of days earlier. We spot a big black mamba crawling thru the limbs of a thorn tree beside the road not 20 feet from us which kind of gives me the creeps but Petrus is a snake lover and he wants to sit and watch it for a few minutes then we move on. We see some blesbok and get off to follow them but never catch up for another sighting and the evening comes to an end.

The next day 4 is a Saturday and Petrus gets permission to take us over to another property close by that is more open grassland to get Sam his Blesbok. We quickly find a big herd of blesbok scattered in with Zebra, Springbok and some Sable. After a couple failed attempts to get close, Sam and Petrus are able to sneak into range for a shot and Sam takes a nice Blesbok ram broadside thru the lungs and he goes no where. This concludes the hunt for the animals we wanted. After lunch we decide to go down along the Crocodile River and fish for catfish. It is beautiful along the river and I'm thinking this is where we should be hunting for bushbuck by stalking along in the early morning or evening but they like to hunt bushbuck at night in the ag pivot fields and I've done that before so didn't want to go after bushbuck on this trip. Managed to catch one sharp toothed catfish and the trackers are excited they are going to have fish for dinner!

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Our last day is a Sunday and many property owners don't like people to hunt their property on a Sunday. Since we had taken all of our intended game, I had asked Petrus on Friday about taking Sunday and driving over to Pilanesburg National Park which is about an hour away and just do some game drives so Sam can see some other African wildlife like giraffe, rhino and elephant. Sam is excited to do that for the day so we head over early on Sunday morning and spend the day driving around and watching the wildlife. We see rhino right away and find several white rhino. I had asked Petrus if they had any black rhino and he said a few but they are rarely seen. Within a few minutes we come around a corner and there stands a beautiful black rhino bull. This is the first black rhino I've seen in 30 years since doing a photo safari in the the Masai Mara in Kenya, so we are excited for the find. All together we probably saw over 20 rhino that day in the park. We see several groups of elephants, some up close and one big lone bull elephant. Saw a few giraffe, a couple of big crocs along the dams sunning themselves. Lots of plains game around with waterbuck, kudu, wildebeest, impala, springbuck and numerous birds. It was a good day overall and we got back to camp around sunset.

The group of hunters from Billings had left on Thursday so our last few days it was just Sam and I and our PH at the lodge, we had some good evenings sitting around the fire watching bush TV. The food at Kamboo was outstanding and overall we had a good time. For me this was my 4th trip to Africa in the last 4 years and having hunted open areas on much larger properties in Limpopo for cape buffalo last year and in the Eastern Cape 2 years ago and Botswana for 8 days just prior to this hunt, the Numzaan properties felt to me a little more like a shoot than a hunt. But I can appreciate for others this is a great hunt opportunity especially for their first time hunt and they don't know what they may be missing.

Some of Numzaan's other properties may be much bigger acreages, I just got a glance of this one area but overall it was about what I was expecting. Needless to say, this is the last donation hunt I will do in Africa. I would rather closely vet and pick out the outfitters and areas I want to hunt with to get the experience I prefer whether that is in RSA or other places.

I still want to do a hunt for Vaal Rhebok and some other mountain species down in free range areas in the Eastern Cape with an outfitter I've already decided to use there that only hunts free range areas. I want to do a hunt in Namibia for those big Kalahari springbuck in the near future and who knows maybe a trip to Zimbabwe down the road. I'm running out of space for mounts so going forward I'm mostly going to just take photos of the hunts and not bring back trophies, maybe focusing on a few cull hunts. I can't see not coming back to Africa but think I will take 2025 off from Africa. I already have 2 hunts booked in Spain for 2025 so that will keep me busy.

Hope you enjoyed the write up and what I see as the pros and cons from this hunt.
 
Montana Pat,
My brother and I shot our Val Rhebuck with Crusader Safaris back in 2013. We are returning next year. It’s all free range hunting. We both took 8” Val’s. Just an FYI. Congrats on your hunt with Jaco. That Kanana ranch is something else!!!
 
Thanks for the write up. Appreciate the honesty. What was Sam’s impression of the hunt and properties being his first time hunting in Africa?
 
Thanks for the report(s)-enjoyed them and it was fun to remember my own first trip and the first nyala I ever saw.
My daughter has that same Winchester m70 featherweight in 7mm-08. Too short for me but she is surgical with it. Was fun to recognize the familiar rifle in your picture.
Cool trophies, congrats on making the most of a donation hunt
 
Great write-up. I’ve done an African trip as well each of the last 4 years. Several have been donation hunts. I agree with your assessment on some of the donations feeling like more of a shoot than a hunt.

My strategy has been to shop the donations carefully for a specific animal and outfitter, or treat the donation and animals as my daily rates hunting for something very specific off their price list. My Namibia donated hunt was for a Hartman’s. I added a Dik-Dik and was a great way to hunt Gemsbok where they were endemic. It actually turned into a PAC Elephant hunt too. I’ll often also try to combine a donation with another hunt that’s with an outfitter I’ve chosen and vetted for a specific location or species. In RSA this works well because you can also combine your D&P into a single crate from both hunts saving a little there and on the flights. I’ve also found that chatting with the PH on day 1 and telling them I want to hunt mostly on foot, just using the truck to get to the property or to a game rich area and walking to find an Impala or Wildebeest that was included gets them excited.

My first experience in Africa was a donated hunt, and I think they do a great job getting the first time Africa Hunter hooked. Donated hunts get a lot of first timers because of that and I think a lot have the attitude this is a once in a lifetime trip or there’s pressure to shoot their entire package and the rest of their list. When a PH hears I want to walk and stalk to find an Impala or Wildebeest and see what else we turn up it’s a refreshing change from what they’re used to with no pressure on them to produce.
 
Thanks for the write up. Appreciate the honesty. What was Sam’s impression of the hunt and properties being his first time hunting in Africa?

Sam thoroughly enjoyed the hunt experience and the chance to go to Pilanesburg to see some of the classic animals of Africa. He had no perspective like I did of what other properties may be like and I was guarded in my comments as I didn't want to jade any of his experience. I did share with him some of the differences to expect and look for on any future hunt he may choose to do in RSA or other African countries.
 
Montana Pat,
My brother and I shot our Val Rhebuck with Crusader Safaris back in 2013. We are returning next year. It’s all free range hunting. We both took 8” Val’s. Just an FYI. Congrats on your hunt with Jaco. That Kanana ranch is something else!!!
Thanks for sharing your comment about hunting Vaalies. Crusader Safaris is the outfit I've pretty much narrowed down to for doing that hunt in the EC. Glad to hear you liked hunting with them.
 
Great write-up. I’ve done an African trip as well each of the last 4 years. Several have been donation hunts. I agree with your assessment on some of the donations feeling like more of a shoot than a hunt.

My strategy has been to shop the donations carefully for a specific animal and outfitter, or treat the donation and animals as my daily rates hunting for something very specific off their price list. My Namibia donated hunt was for a Hartman’s. I added a Dik-Dik and was a great way to hunt Gemsbok where they were endemic. It actually turned into a PAC Elephant hunt too. I’ll often also try to combine a donation with another hunt that’s with an outfitter I’ve chosen and vetted for a specific location or species. In RSA this works well because you can also combine your D&P into a single crate from both hunts saving a little there and on the flights. I’ve also found that chatting with the PH on day 1 and telling them I want to hunt mostly on foot, just using the truck to get to the property or to a game rich area and walking to find an Impala or Wildebeest that was included gets them excited.

My first experience in Africa was a donated hunt, and I think they do a great job getting the first time Africa Hunter hooked. Donated hunts get a lot of first timers because of that and I think a lot have the attitude this is a once in a lifetime trip or there’s pressure to shoot their entire package and the rest of their list. When a PH hears I want to walk and stalk to find an Impala or Wildebeest and see what else we turn up it’s a refreshing change from what they’re used to with no pressure on them to produce.

Thanks for sharing your comments. I did pretty much the same thing as you shared. I closely looked at their price list of animals I really wanted and decided that the price list price for a Tsessebe was very close to what I was seeing with other outfitters so decided I might as well go ahead and add that animal on to make the hunt more complete for myself and the outfitter that donated the hunt. Overall I got the donated hunt so cheap since no one else bid that the experience was going to be good just to be there if nothing else, and I added it onto a previously planned Botswana hunt so the airfare was already planned. I likewise talked with the PH about my desire to do more stalking of game and he was happy to oblige. I'm also having the trophies from my two hunts on this trip combined with the shipping agent so will only have one shipping and customs import charge
 

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