MOZAMBIQUE: Leopard Hunting With Traditional Mozambique Safaris

buffybr

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MOZAMBIQUE: Leopard Hunting with TMS




I'm another one who now has been back stateside from my hunt for a couple of weeks and am now just starting my report of my recent hunt with Traditional Mozambique Safaris (TMS) in Mozambique. In my defense, I really just got back to my home in Montana this week. Last week, my girlfriend and I played tourists in southwestern Colorado, and my already limited computer skills are really challenged with the Surface Tablet that I had with me in Colorado. So here goes...


This was my fifth hunt in Africa, but it was the first one that I booked on line and from a Safari company that I had only learned about on an internet forum. Needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive, and I only booked it a couple of months before the actual hunt.


The hunt that I booked was 14 days for Leopard with the option to shoot a Roosevelt Sable and any other plains game in that area if the opportunity became available. I also added an extra day in case I might need it for the Leopard.


I have had good service from Gracy Travel on previous African trips, so I also used them for this trip. The only difficulty that I had was that Mozambique requires visitors to have a visa so I had to mail my passport to Gracy Travel who in turn sent it to the Mozambique Embassy in Washington, DC. I only received my passport (with Moz visa) back a week before I was scheduled to leave for my hunt.


Other than my plane tickets and Mozambique visa, I really didn’t have a lot to do to prepare for this hunt. I’m an avid shooter and I’ve been going to our local range almost every Wednesday for the past 35 years. I mostly shoot Trap or Skeet, but I almost always bring a couple of pistols and one or more rifles with me and I shoot them before I go to the shotgun range. This averages about 140 shots per week. I also have a 5” steel plate on the fence 30 yards behind my house that I practice shooting offhand with my Benjamin pellet rifle almost daily.


Being retired, I play golf 4-6 days a week, walking 9 to 27 holes each day. I also have free weights and several weight machines in a spare bedroom and I have a workout routine that I do 3 days a week.


The rifle that I chose for this hunt is a .300 Weatherby Vanguard that I put together about 6 years ago. It is topped with a Leupold 4.5-14x scope with their B&C reticule. This rifle shoots a variety of bullets sub-moa, and for this hunt I brought a load with 168 grain Barnes TTSX handloads for the larger animals, and 150 grain Hornady FMJ bullets for the small antelope that I hoped to find on the TMS concession. The TTSX bullets are sighted in 2.5” high at 100 yards which gives me +/- 3” point blank zero out to 330 yards, and they hit dead center at 50 yards, the distance that I hoped to shoot my leopard at. This setting also puts the Hornady FMJ bullets to hit 1” high at 100 yds, on the same vertical line as the Barnes bullets.


This has become my favorite rifle, and I shoot it just about every week that I go to the range.


Traditional Mozambique Safaris is owned and operated by Simon Leach who lives in South Africa. Simon is a licensed PH in South Africa and Mozambique, and is what I would call an old school, very experienced, no BS Professional Hunter. Simon’s right hand man and the other PH in camp is another South African, Martin Snyman, who is also a licensed PH in South Africa and Mozambique. Martin is young enough to be my grandson, but he is knowledgeable, very energetic, and he puts forth a 100% effort for his client.


In communicating with Simon before this hunt I learned that BRICKBURN (Wayne), the number one poster and Super Moderator of this forum, had booked a Sable hunt with Simon and would be in camp for the first week of my proposed hunt. So I contacted Wayne and verified that it would be OK that we would be in the same camp together. Simon then sent me Wayne’s itinerary from Joberg, so I sent that info to Gracy Travel so that I could get the same flights from Joberg to Lichinga and then we could make the 6 hour drive from Lichinga to camp together.


My trip started with a 700 mile drive from my house in Montana to my girlfriend’s apartment outside of Denver, Colorado. I made the drive a day early so that we could spend a day together, and so I would have an extra day if I would have needed it for the trip through Wyoming.


Sue got me to the Denver airport 3 hours before my flight was scheduled to take off. Everything went fine checking in, although I must have been the first person that the Delta check-in attendant had ever checked in with a rifle and ammunition. She spent a lot of time looking things up in her computer, talking with two of the other attendants, and to her supervisor before she got everything checked in to Maputo, Moz. I then had to have another attendant take my rifle case through the airport to the TSA office for them to check it, and then he took it outside to the oversize baggage conveyor. Everything was checked through from Denver to Atlanta to Joberg to Maputo.


After way too many hours in airplanes, I finally arrived in Joberg and made my way from one end of that airport to the other where I would board the plane to Maputo. I had never met Wayne and the only picture of him that I had seen was the one that he posted of himself in his gilly suit that he had posted from his hunt in South Africa. But I knew that we would be flying on the same plane from Joberg to Maputo.


I looked at all of the plants in the OR Tambo terminal, but none of them looked quite like this…


But there was a tall guy dressed in well-worn green safari type cloths laying on a row of seats at the Gate to Maputo. I then noticed that there was a red and white Canadian flag tag on his bag, so I put 2 and 2 together and figured this must be Wayne, and I went up and introduced myself to him. Wayne then texted Simon, and soon we were all together waiting for the plane to Maputo.


When we got to Maputo, all was fine until we got to Customs and the agent asked me how many cartridges I was bringing into Mozambique. When I told him 60, there was a problem. You are only allowed to bring 40 cartridges for each rifle into the country. What seemed like 30 minutes later and discussions with several customs officers and some more paperwork, and it was resolved that Customs would hold one box of 20 cartridges in their safe, and I would be able to get them back when I flew back home.


Simon had a friend who lives in Maputo meet us at the airport, and he took us to the VIP Hotel where Simon had booked rooms for us. All was fine checking in until I tried to charge my room on my Visa credit card and they asked for me for my PIN number. In the 15 years or so that I have used that credit card, that was the first time that I have ever been asked for my PIN number. I didn’t even know that I had a PIN number. So my credit card would not work in Mozambique. Simon came to my rescue, and put my room on his card.


Note to self, find out if I have or get a PIN number for my credit card.


After a few beers, then a short night in the hotel, the next morning Simon, Wayne and I try to get into a taxi to take us to the airport. When we were loading into the first taxi, we notice that it had an almost flat tire, so we try a second taxi. The 3 of us plus our bags, my rifle case, and Wayne’s bow case would not fit into the taxi. We were considering calling a third taxi when Wayne dug into his bag and found the solution to getting us and all of our gear into one taxi. He had two long straps that he was able to wrap around his bow case and the roof of the taxi through the windows, and fasten is case on the top of the roof.


Checking in at the Maputo airport for our flight to Lichinga, all went smoothly for Wayne and Simon. Because I had a rifle, the check-in attendant told me to take my gun case behind the counter and wall to where the police could check my rifle and cartridges. Evidently Simon didn’t see me go behind the counter and he and Wayne proceeded through security and on to the gate area where they bought a breakfast snack.


When I got back to the police check-in point, they asked to see my Mozambique gun permit. Simon had got the permit for me before I arrived, but he hadn’t given me a copy of it. So off I go through security, then upstairs, find Wayne in the cafe, then Simon in the smoking room, he then gives me my paperwork. I then go back downstairs, get my rifle checked in, go back through security, and back upstairs to the gate.


Another note to self: Make sure that I have all the necessary paperwork for my rifle with me.


Our flight to Lichinga was uneventful except for a fueling stop where we had to get off the plane, but a beer and jerky stick tasted good.


Martin and Vera (who works for Simon and helps run the camp) met us with two vehicles at the Lichinga airport, and after some business in town, we were off on the 6 hour drive to the TMS camp. Half or more of the roads to camp are dirt, and a very long construction zone put fine red dust over everything.


Our first stop was at these roadside vendors where we bought some fresh vegetables…


A couple of hours later we stopped at this roadside park that was the tomb of a previous Queen of Mozambique. It turns out that the Queen was also a very prominent slave trader, and when she died, 10 or so of her slaves were buried alive with her.


After 6 or so hours we came to this sign next to a two track leading off into the brush.



Another 10 kilometers of that two track and we finally got to the entrance of Simon’s camp. The next day Vera and the staff put up the Canadian flag that Wayne brought and the American flag that I brought. The 6 elephant skulls by the entrance are from bulls shot by Simon’s previous clients.




Simon’s camp in a combination of tents and reed/bamboo buildings surrounding a fire pit and garden area that is bisected with several reed lined paths.



My tent was on a concrete floor, and was large enough for two queen size beds, and had a reed/bamboo bathroom attached to one end. Water for the shower is gravity fed from a barrel on top of a platform outside of the bathroom. When you want a shower, one of the staff will pour a couple of buckets of hot water into the barrel.





To be continued with our first day of hunting…
 

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Redruff

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Awesome start. I've been waiting for this report. Please keep it coming.

R.
 

enysse

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Great so far, thanks for all the details.
 

ROCKET

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Well, finally what I was waiting for.....there We go......!!!!!
 

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I have been looking forward to this one since we parted ways in camp at 0300 my final day.

I'll throw some pictures in of the vents that Kurt describes.
(If he does not happen to have his own)


TIA, Improvise! :)
P1000837.jpeg
 

BRICKBURN

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.......... Half or more of the roads to camp are dirt, and a very long construction zone put fine red dust over everything. …

P1000848.jpeg
 

Wheels

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MOZAMBIQUE: Leopard Hunting with TMS

I looked at all of the plants in the OR Tambo terminal, but none of them looked quite like this…




Plant certainly looks like it needs watered.


Certainly a great start. Looking forward to the rest of your report.
 

Scott Slough

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You are forgiven for the minimal delay ... the details are sure to be valuable to others... and just add to an enjoyable read.
 

Environ

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keep it coming!
 

grsep

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Awesome so far hope to find the rest of your hunt report
 

Royal27

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Great stuff!

Love the detail on getting there. Good for the rest of us to know what is needed.
 

Big5

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A great start and am looking for the hunt to begin . . . looks like a terrific camp!
 

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@buffybr , whenever I see the pic of the gun case on the roof rack, I burst out laughing. When we first saw the taxi with the flat wheel @BRICKBURN told us he had the solution, Kurt and myself looked at each other and said, who the hell carries a compressor in his bag....no joke, we really thought Wayne had a compressor in his bag.
 

BRICKBURN

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OK, I have to jump in here. I may have a big camera bag but man I am not that crazy.

Scenario VIP Maputo
Up in the dark at 05:00, very little sleep for the entire crowd.
No Hotel bus available at this hour.
Taxi called.
Three guys, luggage and guns cases to be packed into one small car.
(OK, sure. We'll watch this)
Multiple attempts by the "motivated" Taxi driver can not get our baggage into this vehicle with room for the owners.
Simon suggests a second Taxi. Why not?, for twenty bucks we may pull this off.
Second driver tries to get his car. Tire is flat.
No time to wait for another Taxi to show up....
"I have a solution"
I carry straps in my bag to tie it down to my rifle case (which has wheels) to use it as a dolly. Less back strain that way.
I have seen more crap tied to the roof of a vehicle in Africa than anywhere else in the world.
TIA, join in.
Problem solved. :D
 

siml

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TIA....this is Africa...:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
 

buffybr

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@buffybr , whenever I see the pic of the gun case on the roof rack, I burst out laughing. When we first saw the taxi with the flat wheel @BRICKBURN told us he had the solution, Kurt and myself looked at each other and said, who the hell carries a compressor in his bag....no joke, we really thought Wayne had a compressor in his bag.
Wayne and Simon, thanks for filling in with appropriate photos and comments.
Yes, I really thought that Wayne had a compressor in his bag.
And Wayne, I had forgotten that you were in the second vehicle. Even in the first vehicle, the dust was so bad that when I got home, I used my air compressor to blow the red dust out of my camera and camera case.
 

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........ Yes, I really thought that Wayne had a compressor in his bag. .........

I like being prepared but damn that's a little far, even for me.
That's funny.
 

Royal27

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I like being prepared but damn that's a little far, even for me.
That's funny.

It is all about smart choices. And Brickburn had already packed the portable generator. :A Scooter:
 

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Great start. keep it coming. nice pics. Bruce
 

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