In The Quest Of Central Savanna Buffalo In Central African Republic

LEFOL SAFARIS

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Alain Lefol Safaris
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C.A.R., Tanzania, Zimbabwe & Chad
Hello everyone

Last April we had an hunter and his wife for the first time in Africa that is pretty rare for us!!

He had always dream about buffalo and for the experience his wife decided to come also for the unique African experience.

Eliane Lefol have been travelling with them from Paris and Alain was there for the reception in Bangui the Capital of Central African Republic after taking care of all the administration the next stop was the hotel in the center. After a short break it was time to have dinner so they chosed restaurant not far from the hotel, the clients had many questions Alain was very to answer to itch of one and showing some pictures of the season. The couple was tired from the trip and everybody went to bed early, the flight to the camp was early the next morning. Alain came to to fetch them the next morning at 6 am and went to the airport so after the time of some small administration and the time to load the plane the clients and Eliane were ready to take off.
Alain for some administration reasons decided to stay in Bangui. After about 2h15 the plane landed at Bita the airstrip at about 15 min from the camp in the Vovodo concession. Kewin and an other guide was there to take care of them when they went down of the plane and the couple was very impressed by the scenery!! The all crew is on the way to the camp and happy after the warm welcome form the camp team the clients can enjoy the dinning room with the view on the Vovodo river and their chalet for the next 13 days. The time the clients unpack their luggages the team was also unpacking the supply and organise everything. About 2 hours later the lunch was ready so everybody was around the table and started to talk the plan for the afternoon so Kewin explained that after lunch they will wait to the temperature to cool off and first they will go to the shooting range and after they will to a little tour not far around some salt lick.The team is ready in the vehicle after shooting couple round and that everything is alright the team is ready for hunting know!!
After seeing their first African game the couple was very amazed and happy.The evening was more sturdy time with some shot placement and explained who will be the next day the time to do that dinner was ready. Everyone went to bed early specially the 2 clients were very tired from the trip.

The next day unfortunately the hunter didn't sleep well at night and didn't touch is breakfast...
A stomach trouble hit I pretty hard but still want to go hunting! We took the road all together and found some very fresh tracks of buffalo less than hour ago so the team got ready for the tracking everybody were very excited specially when we saw the size of the track of the big bull. After a bit of tracking and the temperature start to rise the hunter started to feel worse and worse so we have to stop the hunt.
Back at the camp he must rest and hydrated himself.
He woke up in the afternoon better not great but better and still want to hunt so we went on a little drive.

The next we will go easy he didn't recover completely yet so visit some mineral leak and missed the bongo around 30 minutes late would have a great chance for our clients to see them.
After looking all of the track no buffalo have passed here recently but a lot of track of bongo, giant forest hog, bushbuck and red river hog. This morning we done couple more salt leaks but not fresh tracks of buffalo. We are having lunch at the camp and took a rest to go out when the temperature will be lower.
The will go for a drive in some big opening the long the Bita River on our way there we sow 3 big groups of Giant Forest Hog some waterbuck, warthog and other small games. We stopped many time to glasses the big opening and look for tracks but no fresh tracks of buffalo. We arrived at dark at the camp after a good shower we talked for the next plan the hunter told me he felt buch better and ready to go at 100% know so we will put the wake up little more early and during the night a little rain fall that's perfect for tracking in the morning.

We crossed the Vovodo River and not 15 minutes drive we found a fresh tracks of dugga boy so quietly we took our staff and started the tracking the buffalo went straight and crossed a bako then a big opening the tracking wasn't very easy due to a lot of rocks. The buffalo was going up and down the hills and some very steep one. We were hoping to catch him before he will go in the heavy vegetation.
Unfortunately he went down of a hill in a bako some we must go slowly and quietly we fou d some tracks of the buffalo trotting... So we stop for 20 minutes took some drinks let the buffalo calm down we started the tracking again but not more than 15 minutes of tracking here the buffalo show him self with the tracker we went down unfortunately the client was glassing the other side 10 yards behind me... the time he released the buffalo was in a front of us at about 80 yards the buffalo noticed us and took off running...
We waited for 1 hours and try our chance again but this buffalo was smart he made a big circle and passed in his old tracks from the beginning and caught our smell...
The only good thing the buffalo brought us back at 300 yards from the truck so we went back to camp it was nearly 10:30 am and getting hot but the first buffalo they saw and was happy of that.
The afternoon we decided to stalk one of our big leaks in the middle of a big bako. The sky started to become dark some rain was approaching on the road to got there the tracker spotted a warthog we done a small stalk this warthog was big the client done great shot at about 40 yards and dropped him on his track the body was very impressive. After some pictures we load him and continued the leak was 15 minutes in a front of us. When arrived there the wind was blowing like crazy after checking the tracks we went back quickly to the vehicle before the rain started. It was a good rain for about 1 hours when we arrived to the camp I was really interested by the weight lf the warthog so we weigh him the scale show 96 kg (211 lbs) might be the heaviest warthog I ever made shot.

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The next day we went north for a big mineral leak very good for buffalo on the way we sow couple plaines games but we stay focus on buffalo. We didn't see any fresh tracks of buffalo when we arrived near the junction to go to the minerals leak a group of 5 buffaloes show up 2 cows 2 young and one bull I can the head properly in the woodland...
But the neck and the body don't look very big and they slowly walk away so we waited quietly couple minutes and get ready to check them again to be sure. We find them 400 yards from the car in a bako at about 50 yards from us it's what I saw before the bull was still soft in the middle we turn back and went check the leak and the trail cam.

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The pictures sow us that buffaloes were coming everyday different groups and also some daggaboy but only the group we saw passed this morning. We decided to take a little walk we found a nice harnessed bushbuck but the hunter wasn't interested we so many other plains games we decided to go back to the camp and make a new plan for the afternoon. I have decided for the afternoon to not far from the camp in some grass savanna where buffalo like to go eat. We took the good wind started to walk slowly we found numbers of warthogs and also waterbuck be no buffalo and find some bedding but it was a day old we even found some hippo tracks. So slowly went back to the car before it was getting too dark.

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I decided to wake up early and go back at the same leak as yesterday but get there even earlier so will do most of the road at night. We arrived slowly at the leak and we sow a lot of buffalo tracks! I went to check the trail cam and a herd left this morning but also a big daggaboy left 15 minutes ago. It was easy to find that one tracks in the middle of the other we finally found he ways out and started the tracking. He climbed on a rocky plateau that slow us down due to the difficulties to find the track but we managed to continue the tracking we are now in the hilly part and the first tracker sow him walking away slowly we find with less than 45 minutes of tracking.
The tracker told the buffalo was going up but in the middle of the hill turn right so we went slowly to the right but lost focus on him and didn't found any tracks so I decided to back and unfortunately the buffalo was on the top of the hill looking at us an run away.... Actually the buffalo have never turn right and hurd us before sowing us...

We took a break for about 1h30 before trying to track him again but the buffalo was running straight and never stopped again after 1h30 off tracking I decided to stop when the buffalo cross a big bako and didn't stop...
We decided for the rest of the stay to glass from the top of a hill we have a good view and the mineral leak and also the big opening. We sow quite a few animals like duikers, bushbuck, giant forest hog, warthog and red river hog but no buffalo.
During the way back to camp we took a big rain but not for too long so it will be very good for tracking the next morning. The shower feld very good after a big day of hunting and also the rain.
The next morning we will go to a totally different spot on a big plateau before near the highest point of the region it's a the South East from the camp. We arrived at the first leak overthere and found a fresh track of buffalo and the spoor was really big. The tracking being but the buffalo kept working in S the biotope was different he was passing between the bako in some small opening. When arrived a 15 yards from a bako after 1 hours of tracking the buffalo came running out and stop I had the time to have quick look at him it was full red but small body and horn so I was confused due to the size of the track. This buffalo was really took young! To be sur it was him and that was a perfect example that the size of track it's not always a garantie of a old animal. We have nother leak not very far from here and it's still early and also very cloudy this morning so really not hot. We didn't done a mile with the car when my tracker told me a nice herd of buffalo are coming out of the savanna so stop the car and here we go by foot the herd was climbing in the direction of the mountain. We made a loop to have the good wind and have cover the buffalo start to bed down in the middle of the open near a big bako. I spotted the big male pretty kick but he was already bedded we start to crawl down we don't have much cover anymore. The big bull was between to cow nearly facing us I put the hunter on a anthill at 100 yards from the buffalo. We waited for 5 minutes but the hunter took a shot to the head what I didn't recommend but he told me he used to take that again of shot. The hit made the head of the buffalo turn at nearly 180 degrees it wasn't able to shot again the bull run to the bako and the herd down to savanna. We found a lot of blood and bones on the place the hunter shot him we are getting ready for an wounded buffalo. The bull is bleeding a lot he want in the really thicks stuff so we decided to stopped and give him plenty of time I calk the camp to send me the dogs. After about 2 hours of brake we start the tracking again and found the first bed of buffalo very quick then a second and a third but the blood have attracted a lot of ants. The dogs gives us the place of the buffalo he was bedded at 40 yards from us looking but the clients can't see him so we try to get closer and the buffalo got up at 30 yards from us the hunter took to shot but unfortunately missed him he never had a really good look a him ...
We stopped for an hours before started the tracking again but not the sun is hitting and with the humidity it's like a sauna specially the bako don't let any wind come in...
It's difficult now because the blood is getting rare and the buffalo have passed on the other buffalo tracks. The trackers have done an amazing job after an hours the dogs found the buffalo again but couldn't block him and we lost the track...
Finally we found the track again but the tracking was difficult and now it was getting late. I decided to stop the tracking for today and go back to the car I marked it one my GPS and cut to go the fastest and the easiest by luck I found the wounded buffalo and the dogs try to black him but not long enough...
The good part we found some fresher tracks for the next morning the hunter was doing a long face but the buffalo went back in the same bako that is a really good news so I was really positive for the next day until a big rain it us on the way back to camp...
The tracking will be really difficult tomorrow...

After a good night of sleep we went back after the buffalo the start of the tracking was hard but the weight of the buffalo have marked deep in the mud but the leafs have covered it a bit. After maybe 30 minutes one of the trackers hurd a noise on the left and the dogs was looking at the same direction so I went first with the hunter behind him and suddenly the dogs started to run and bark I can see the buffalo got up and face the dogs. I show it to the hunter and he took to shot very quick but very close to my ear and 3 other shots the buffalo passed in front of at 25 yards I took also a shot. The buffalo run away with breaking everything in a front of him we want to the place where he was bedding and we found 4 shots in the trees and vines ...

The dogs cameback we waited 15 minutes but the hunter was sure that one of his shot it him good and hurt him go down. My ear was ringing... I can hear properly from my right side.

We founded the buffalo dead at 50 yards and everybody was happy!! Nearly 24 hours after the first shot the hunter got his buffalo, his first buffalo!

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Checking the impact the buffalo we founded the 3 shot the first one entered between the nose and the eye and didn't get out but broke the jaw the second one just behind the shoulder and mine between the neck and the shoulder. After the some pictures the big work started make the road and cut the buffalo we are about 1/2 mile frome the edge of the bako.

When everything was loaded after 2 hours of job we all head to the camp with a big smile!
The camp make a big party when we arrived and happy hunter!

The end of the trip was more fishing and take time to rest for the 2 clients.

They took the charter plan back to Bangui and went back to the USA full of memories
 
Sounds like a great hunt. Congrats on getting your hunter his buffalo.
Bruce
 

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