MOZAMBIQUE: Majune Safaris 2016

thi9elsp

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T-minus 3 days. it's finally here or should I say, it's here already??!!! I thought I would start this thread to talk about preparation. I may not post while hunting, but will update the thread when we return.

Outfitter/PH: Manuel Corona Majune Safaris, Niassa, Mozambique. www.majunesafaris.com but his most up to date information is on Facebook - with some very nice trophies so far this season. Manuel has managed his concession for ten years and it is 790,700 acres. We are the only hunters in camp from Oct 24 through Nov 6 inclusive of travel days. Camp is en suite tents on cement slabs.
US Booking Agent: Ken Wilson, Sportsmen on Film
Hunt: 12 Days plus arrival and departure for Buffalo, Sable and Plains Game. Manuel and Ken donated the hunt to 2016 DSC Convention and I was the high bidder. The donated hunt included my daily rates only. So, taxes, trophy fees, Ann's observer rates, etc. are in addition.
Travel Agent: Esplanade
Route, Airlines and Accommodations: Tampa to Atlanta to Joberg on Delta. 1 night at Africa Sky Guest House, SA to Maputo with 1 night at the Raddison Blu. LAM from Maputo to Lichinga with connection via Tete. LAM from Lichinga back to Maputo and then we are staying at the Machangulo Lodge for several days to relax on the beach and fish with Gozo Azul one day. Then SA to Joberg and Delta back to Tampa via Atlanta.
Targeted Animals: Buffalo, Roosevelt's Sable, and Grants Zebra. Secondary are Lichtenstein Hartebeest and Eland. That's the budget. The first three are the total focus and the others target of opportunity. I could go for a Waterbuck or Southern Reedbuck instead of one of the secondary animals.
Firearms: I decided to use Manuel's camp rifles in 375 H&H and 7mm - Blazers. I forgot what glass he told me has on them. It was a considerable savings and much less hassle than bringing my CZ 550's. I've still been out shooting to make sure that aspect is ready for the hunt.
Preparation: Ann and I both stay in shape as a general course of living. However, we did amp our workouts up a bit. I have been hiking on the weekends with a 10 lb waste belt and 18 lb day pack 5 - 6 miles in 95 degree Florida humidity as well as doing some light weights. Ann runs 5 miles several times a week along with her paddle boarding (SUP).

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CAustin

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Good luck sir! Sounds like you have a great list to go after!
 

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Second part of preparation:

Some of you may remember my posting several months ago about being flexible and adapting. A government authority decided to visit Majune the week of our original dates in September. So, we had to re-schedule to the end of October. After re-booking flights - kudos to Manuel for covering the flight change costs - we were all set. Then LAM decided to change schedule and we arrive in Lichinga late on the 24th. So, not sure if we'll drive to camp at night or stay over in Lichinga - it could mean a 1/2 day of the hunt missed. Maybe I should have planned a night in Lichinga to account for any delays there. Might do that in the future. So, now we're all set, right!? Clothes, supplies, etc. are all laid out in the guest bedroom: 1 medium duffle, 1 small duffle, 2 c-rucks and a camera bag. We are relying on the daily laundry.

So, I'm sitting in Virginia Beach last Tuesday evening doing work. Hmmm, my elbow feels sore. 30 minutes later, wow it's really starting to hurt. 1 1/2 hours later, 8/10 on a pain scale, the elbow is swelled up huge. What the ....!!!!! I don't need this 10 days out. Lot's of advil and some sleep. The next morning, the pain is down to a 3 but the swelling is worse. Off to urgent care - orthopedic. X-ray is negative. Elbow is really hot and more swollen. We think you have an infection. And, we're going to assume the worse: MRSA (people in hospitals get this and die from it!). Prescribed 2 different heavy duty anti-biotics then drain it. The liquid is mostly clear so maybe it's not an infection. Two doctor's appointments in Florida yesterday and today. Keep taking the anti-biotics, take some kinesiology tape with you.

I have full strength and range of motion. Just hope it doesn't decide to swell back up. Doc thinks it's bursitis - tough getting old. Here's the ugly side of me!

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thi9elsp

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Thanks Charlie. Here's a link to Ann's blog she is going to keep up to date if anyone is interested. We're supposed to have wireless in camp, but my work is all computers and I'm just not sure I want to post while out in the wilderness:

https://annmielke.wordpress.com/

John
 

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Bug deterrent preparation: So, reading comments on AH as well as searching the general safari trips I decided to do the following two things to try to address the tsetse flies that I understand are pretty prevalent in the Niassa area. 1) Purchased Sawyer Premetherin and applied to all of our clothes and 2) purchased RID bug spray from an outfit in the UK - I read comments about this actually working for tsetse: first on travel forums then on the manufacturer's website. So, we'll give it a try. The bottles are small enough to carry in a fanny pack in the field to re-apply as needed.

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................ but my work is all computers and I'm just not sure I want to post while out in the wilderness:

..............

Don't do it. Take notes and do it at home. We'll survive the wait. Honest.
 

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Soak the elbow in Rum every night and it will fell much better. Internal administration only.
 

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@thi9elsp , there is only one spray for tetsi flies, cap full Listerine(mouthwash) mix with 500ml of dettol. Use in a spray bottle.

I saw Manuel last week, his clients were on the plane with me, they had a serious charge by a buffalo.

Have a fantastic safari, we might even see you in Lichinga or miss you by a day.
 

thi9elsp

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@TMS Wow, that's exciting for sure. I won't tell Ann, she might decide to cancel. I'll see if I can get any dettol locally or not. I remember seeing you comment on another thread for that (now that you remind me), but had forgotten. Would be great to see you.
 

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Whiskey on your trophies.
 

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Best of luck, look forward to the report!
 

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Great start! Looking forward to "the rest of the story"!
 

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Ok, it's time for the rest of the story. I'm going to post as it happened so that you have a feel for the days as the transpired and the experiences as we had them.

Also, I'm providing a summary up front here so that anyone looking at the thread can find my recommendation without having to search throughout the thread. However, if you want to know my successes and failures, you'll need to bear with me. :whistle:


Summary

Travel went well with all flights mostly on time (LAM had a few small delays). We did two things that really helped with the jet lag in our opinion: 1) Bought Bose QC25 headphones – amazing sound and the noise cancellation was phenomenal and 2) Paid to upgrade to comfort zone on Delta – we’re small (5’9” and 5’2”) but having the extra leg room was great. I also took an Ambien 5 mg and Ann took a couple Tylenol PM.


Africa Sky Guest House in Joberg was just as good as 2011 – transfers to/from OR Tambo were easy, room clean and comfortable and meals very good. 4 stars.


OR Tambo Biometric – 20 minutes for us when we arrived from the US to get through. On our way back from Mozambique it was about 15 minutes to get through.


Raddison Blu – Maputo, Mozambique: transfer on time both ways, nice drivers, hotel was great and the view of the bay was very nice. Both restaurants for lunch, dinner and breakfast served very good food at a good price. 4 stars. Arranged driver tour of Maputo through the concierge and it worked out well.


We visited the fort, train station, and natural history museum which had lots of animal taxidermy and dioramas – pretty worn looking.


Machangulo Beach Lodge – 5 Star setting and the room in the bungalow. Lot’s of activities. Bathroom (2 stars) needs renovation: poor lighting and shower drained slowly – 1 inch or more of water over your feet by the end of the shower. Food was not what we expected – more like an average hotel in the U.S. I would rate it 2 – 2 ½ stars. If we ever make it back to Niassa Province, I would probably do an add-on to Pemba for a few days instead.


Majune Safari: I would highly recommend Manuel’s operation. He is very experienced and his equipment is in very good condition – 4 Toyota Land Cruiser diesel pickups with top seats and 1 Toyota Land Cruiser SUV for transfer from / to Lichinga. The camp is setup nicely and the food that his wife Nelsa prepares is phenomenal. Within five minutes of camp you are hunting plains game such as Roosevelt’s Sable, Eland, Waterbuck, Grant’s Zebra, Hartebeest, Warthog, and Blue Wildebeest. He has two areas for buffalo: mountains – where the big bossed, old dagga boys live and plains – where the grass is not as good and the horns don’t grow as large. Of the 790,000 acres he has we hunted about 10 – 15% of it over 12 days.


Days were: wake up at 4:00 am, breakfast at 4:30 am, leave camp by 5:15 am. If hunting plains game you return to camp for lunch. If hunting buffalo, you have lunch in the field. Either way we typically returned to camp for the evening by 5 – 5:30 pm. Manuel will guide you to mature animals or trophies – just talk to him about your goals up front. On our first hunting day I roughly counted the following animals: 60+ Lichtenstein Hartebeest, 40+ Southern Reedbuck, 20+ Roosevelt’s Sable, 20+ Grant’s Zebra and 15+ Blue Wildebeest. In subsequent days we saw herds of Sable numbering in the 20’s and in multiple fields. It was the same with the Hartebeest. We also saw many Eland, Waterbuck and Warthogs over the duration of the hunt. We saw Eland, Kudu, Zebra, Sable and Hartebeest young on various days.


About 24 staff are in camp doing laundry, cooking, maintaining vehicles, etc. He hires about 60 local villagers to clear roads before each season. Even though he has reduced poaching, he still has to be vigilant and keep on it. When he first acquired the property there were about 200 poacher camps on 4 miles of river. Those are all gone with a few having moved to the other side.



Day 0 (Monday, October 24) – Leaving Maputo and Arriving at Camp

The LAM flight from Maputo to Tete was delayed about 30 minutes. The flight was good and the LAM flight attendants accommodating. Tete was hot – 42 centigrade ~ 107.6 Farenheit. 2 hour layover was brutal. Manuel and Nelsa were at Lichinga airport when our plane arrived. There are two segments to the drive to camp – about 3 ½ hours (220 K) of asphalt road (N14) to get to the dirt track into camp. 1 hour into camp on dirt track (about 30K).


Nelsa has the staff prepare a wonderful dinner including desert and we head off to our tent. Note: I think this example shows the attention to detail that they apply to their clients. Xadreque was our server for all meals in the dinner hut. He always served a plate or bowl from our right side. The same when he removed it. This may seem like a small thing, but we both noted it and were very pleased. In contrast, when we were at Machangulo Lodge, the plate or bowl could come from right, left or across the table – not well trained.


The hyenas and jackals put us to sleep our first night in camp. The hunters’ tents are across a bamboo bridge with ensuite and 24x7 solar power with diesel back up generators. The queen bed was very comfortable and laundry was done daily along with cleaning the tent.


Manuel has one of the staff wait at your tent for you after dinner. He closed the tent up tight – his way to emphasize “don’t go wandering around at night”. He’s had lions and hyenas come through camp.


Weather forecast: 33, 35, and 37 centigrade for the next 10 days - that’s 91, 95, and 98 Fahrenheit. And I thought Florida was hot.

Tete Airport
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Ann at the gate in Tete - 107.6 degrees
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Sunset in Lichinga

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Lichinga Airport

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Miscellaneous Camp Photos

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thi9elsp

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Day 1 (Tuesday, October 25)

Manuel suggested last night that we focus on plains game first. Then, he is hoping we get some rain to make the buffalo tracking easier. “We go!” and off we go – Ann in the cab and me up top with the trackers and driver:

Tracker – Nipito
Tracker – Geraldo
Tracker – Jacinto
Driver – Able

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I’m feeling pretty excited – can’t believe we’re back in Africa and in Niassa Province, Mozambique. Nipito sees a Lichtenstein Hartebeest at least a half mile away. Tap, tap, tap on the top of the cab. We slip off the top seat along with Geraldo. Manuel and Ann get out of the cab. I load the chamber on the Blazer 375 and we set out to stalk.

There is no cover to the left, so we slip to the right. After 15 minutes we are within 300 yards of the animals. Manuel signals for the others to stay put and motions me to follow him. We stalk another 100 yards and identify a nice, mature bull. The sticks go up and I get ready. The hartebeest looks up and immediately turns to face us. Manuel says “Take him, he’s a good trophy.” I settle in and squeeze – but the cross hairs don’t feel very stable.

The trackers heard a hit, we go up to investigate and determine it is injured but not fatal. The hartebeest have run about a quarter mile or so farther away down the grassy plain. We try to stalk in, but off they run. But we can tell that mine has injured back leg. 3 hours of tracking – how do these guys do it? Through dry leaves, over dry land, mixed up with other hartebeest tracks, etc. Throughout the tracking I’m getting further and further down. Not the way to start a safari – not for myself nor for the PH and his team. I had told Manuel the night before, if he feels any need to do a follow-up I will not question it – he thanked me.

We see the hartebeest and Manuel slides to a lane in the woods, the shot goes off and the hartebeest runs. He missed, caught a tree or branch. Dang it. We continue the tracking. About 30 minutes later, the guys stop. Manuel looks through the binoculars and motions me to move to the left with him up an old termite mound that is now covered by brush and trees. We get to the top and I’m in a better position this time. I go prone, slip the safety off and squeeze – immediately know I’ve hit a branch or tree too. But, I see an opening. I shift over to the left a foot, put the cross hairs on the opening and watch as the hartebeest turns straight away from me in that lane. Squeeze, thump, and he drops. We have our first animal.

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On inspection, my first shot was a bit low and pulled a bit to the left. I caught a bit of the ribs and broke the back right leg. Pictures are taken, and it’s determined to be easier to carry him out than clear a trail for the truck. Then back to camp for lunch.

We head out this afternoon to continue hunting. Through the woods a waterbuck is spotted. As soon as the truck stops, off he runs. We check different plains, but anything the team sees is running before we can start a stalk. Then, a single Sable – but not mature. Still, we get out and try to stalk as the guys see some zebra with him. Four people, walking in line across the open plain to a single (maybe two or three) thin trees. Manuel puts the sticks up and tells me where to hold. I get on the sticks – can’t settle the scope but finally get it to seem to settle and squeeze – dust! I’ve missed but we go to check. I count my paces – the shot was between 250 – 275 yards. I’m shaking my head – am I capable of these length shots with animals quartering towards me or straight on? Fortunately this one was a clean miss, but what about the next time?
 

Buff-Buster

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Great start! Keep it coming!
 

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Great report so far- looking forward to the rest!
 

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Loving the story. Keep it coming. Bruce
 

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Great report!
 

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Very nice, congrats on the hartebeest! Look forward to more
 

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Glad you guys are indulging me and enjoying. Here's day 2.


Day 2 (Wednesday, October 26)

Tap, tap, tap on the top of the cab. Nipito, Geraldo and I get down – Zebra! We’re only 10 or 15 minutes from camp and we’re stalking already – wow. Ann slips out of the cab with Manuel and we begin stalking. After a few hundred yards we get busted and off the Zebra gallop away.

Scenes of the type of woods and terrain where the plains game are located.
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Wait, they stopped. Let’s slowly work our way closer. As we gently step on the burned, dried out grass, our noise crunching away from the Zebra with the wind we close the distance. We’re now around 250 yards out. The sticks go up, I set the rifle in it’s cradle and the zebra is small in the scope. I crank up to 6 power. The shakes continue. Breath deep, exhale, cross hairs are on the shoulder, squeeze. Dirt explodes beneath the zebra and off they run. Another colossal miss. Will I ever get another animal this trip?


On the way back to camp for lunch, grande Southern Reedbuck. Out we topple, a short stalk and the sticks go up. Missed again. My heart rate is so high trying to shoot I can’t get the rifle to settle. Manuel is patient but he has to be thinking about whether he really wants to take me after buffalo or not. We head to camp, eat some lunch and take a nap.


We shoot a bit on the range – I’m hitting an inch high at 100 yards, slightly right – maybe an inch. Paper ranger I guess. We make the decision for me to switch to the 7MM and off we go for the afternoon hunt.


About 5 minutes from camp – huge wart hog – I can see how large his tusks are. I get down, the sticks go up, my heart is pounding. I feel I have the rifle on its shoulder at 80 yards and squeeze. I hit dirt behind him. The trackers tell Manuel I’m shaking. He asks me what he can do to help. I really don’t know at this point. In the cab he asks Ann. She says, be calm and it will help John be calm.


Off we drive about a mile. Tap, tap, tap. Pala Pala fighting. Down we jump. Manuel – “John, they don’t’ know we’re here. The bulls are fighting for the cows. We can stalk along the road and get the old one.” Nipito, Geraldo, Manuel and I set off. All I concentrate on is my breathing. 300 yards later, we slow and the sticks go up. I’m calmer and Manuel tells me “He’s the bull feeding at the head of the herd. You have time, just relax.” A couple deep breaths and squeeze. I actually see the Sable hunch in the scope. He walks a few steps to the right, then circles back. The rest just look up and continue feeding. He stops facing left with just his neck protruding from the brush, a clean shot and he drops! Hugs, high-fives all around. Wow. I have my Sable and he’s old with very worn tips, the ridges are smooth on the inside and outside of his horns. I can’t be happier. We take some photos, load him in the truck and setoff for camp.

My old Roosevelt's Sable. Very worn tips and ridges are pretty much gone on insides and outsides of horns.
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About 2 miles down the road. Tap, tap, tap. Zebra. Through the drainage and woods on the other plain. Off we go stalking but the dry leaves are really bad here. After about 400 yards of stalking, off they gallop and it’s back to the road for pickup by the truck. We drive another ¼ mile and tap, tap, tap. Zebra. This time they are in the woods to the right. We stalk 10 or 20 yards and Manuel sets up the sticks. The stallion is quartering right to left facing us at about 175 yards through the trees. Squeeze, he’s hit well. But runs off and then slows to a zig zag walk. We move up 100 yards just as I’m about to shoot he walks further right, then stops. We move over and I get on him. He’s facing to the right with his head covered by a tree and the bottom 1/3 of his body covered by a deadfall. I slip a 7mm into him. He takes a few steps and drops. You have to be kidding me! After the past 24 hours I can’t believe in 4 shots I have both my Sable and Zebra. Woohoo!

Grant's Zebra. I really wanted one of these because they don't have any shadow strips - pure white. Of course the best photo was with Ann.
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And, of course, even in Niassa Province you can't get away from technology. Ann and Manuel with dueling laptops during appetizers around the campfire - hilarious!

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The hartebeest for dinner and the wine tasted much better to me tonight. I’ve got 3 of my targeted 5 animals in just 2 days. We’re now on a 10 day Buffalo and Eland hunt. Very cool. I realize this was a total team effort Ann, Manuel and his trackers. All of them kept believing in me and giving me chances. I feel blessed to be surrounded by all of them.
 

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Jerycmeach wrote on Bullet Safaris's profile.
I am interested in hearing about your wild lion hunts.
Daniel Cary wrote on Thomas Rutledge's profile.
Greetings Mr. Rutledge. My apologies for the latent reply, cell/email prohibited during working hours, apx 72 a week, yikes! I just wanted to thank you for keeping me in mind for possible 577 loads. I actually purchased a few rounds, however, the firearm is still on the fence at this point.
Many Thanks, again. Regards, Dan.
 
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