SOUTH AFRICA: 10 Day Plains Game Hunt With Game 4 Africa In May 2016

375 Ruger Fan

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About 11 months ago, @Game4Africa ran an advert here on AH for Kudu special hunt. Having just returned from a hunt in Namibia, which included my youngest daughter, Elise, on here 21st birthday and very first hunt, I had to do some negotiating. Not with the outfitter, but my wife and daughter.

I knew my daughter would be graduating from college in May 2016. My wife and I live in Lagos, Nigeria and all our grown kids live in Louisiana and Texas. I could spend the vacation time and money to travel back to the US for her graduation, or I could offer my daughter another hunting opportunity in Africa by me not going to her graduation. I know, I'm a terrible, self serving safari hunter. My daughter quickly agreed to the deal.

The deal was quickly and easily arranged with Game 4 Africa PH Wik Coetzee. One of the things I appreciated about the deal was the relatively small deposit that they required. We originally planned this hunt for early June and a co-worker hunting buddy of mine also booked for the same time. We all hunted together last year in Namibia. A few months after booking the hunt, my daughter had received two wedding invitations from close friends and both were in early June. (Darn those June weddings!). I emailed Wik and he was able to accommodate a two week shift in our schedule. Eastern Cape, here we come!

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Elise graduated on Friday the 13th...........hope that isn't a bad omen. My wife is still not happy that she had to endure the 3 hour graduation ceremony without me. Sunday the 15th, Elise flew United from Houston to Lagos, a 12 hour non-stop flight on the 787 Dreamliner. Elise arrived here in Lagos on Monday and will spend a few days here to help get over the 6 hour time difference.

Tomorrow night, we depart Lagos on a South African red-eye flight and arrive Joburg about 5am Thursday and then continue on to Port Elizabeth, arriving early afternoon. I booked my SAA flights back in January and had a great itinerary. A couple of weeks ago, SAA changed their flight schedules and eliminated one of my flights. Now I have a 6-1/2 hour connection in JNB. On a positive note, SAA does an auction deal to upgrade to business class. I bid on just the LOS-JNB leg, since it was overnight. The other flights are short and our return flight to LOS is during the afternoon. I just got the notice from SAA that I was successful and we'll get a decent night's sleep in the comfort of the flat reclining seats in the front of the plane :)

Stay tune for details, we are Go for launch! (or was that lunch?):whistle:

 
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cpr0312

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Exciting times, best of luck!
 

CAustin

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Have a great hunt! Which Ruger did you take?
 

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Good luck on your hunt! Looking forward to hearing how it goes.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Have a great hunt! Which Ruger did you take?

On some future hunt, I will hunt with one of my own Rugers. Maybe I should for now call myself "375 Ruger-less Fan." With living in Nigeria, I don't have any of my guns here. I actually thought about having my daughter fly from the US to Joburg instead of Lagos. She could be my gun mule. However, we decided spending a few days here in Lagos before and after the the hunt was desirable and the airfare is about the same either way.

Game 4 Africa offered us a Sako 7mm Mag topped with Swaro glass for a rental rifle. With or without a suppressor. Looking forward to trying that out.
 

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Your daughter and you will make more and lasting memories hunting together than at graduation!!
 

Aaron N

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Best of luck, looking forward to hearing about the hunt!
 

gillettehunter

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I hope that your hunt exceeds your expectations. Best of luck. Shoot straight and have a great time. Bruce
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Your daughter and you will make more and lasting memories hunting together than at graduation!!

Last year, on our hunt in Namibia, the outfitter's wife offered to take the ladies into Windhoek one day for lunch and shopping. All the wives, being non-hunters, opted for the day on the town. My daughter declined, saying she came to Africa to hunt and that she could go shopping anytime in the US. I knew then and there that I had a good hunting partner.
 

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Enjoy the hunt and your time with your daughter!
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Weather forecast for Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, RSA

mmmmmm..........a rainy day in South Africa. Guess it was bound to happen, but in 3 prior hunts in southern Africa (Nam, Zim, Nam), I've never had rain. Guess we'll have to tough it out!

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BWH

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I was in KZN the 1-11..... Got rained on several times. Durban got 13" of rain over a weekend. Crazy!
 

Albert GRANT

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Good luck! Looking forward to hearing how it goes.
 

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Hunted with these guys they are amazing ...I was only culling but some of the animals I saw would make a trophy hunter ........

The biltong and other dried meats they provide are made by them ...

On the way back ask to see the butchery in Grahamstown. ... an amazing setup

Give them my regards

Ohh the good brandy is behind the bar on the shelf near to the floor ....They will show you
 

enysse

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I can't wait for the hunt report!!!:A Camping:
 

375 Ruger Fan

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May 18.......having one of those TIA moments today.

Nigeria had the threat of a nationwided strike today, protesting the removal of fuel subsidies. It appears the strike is not well supported and hopefully doesn't have an impact on international flights. It's always a good feeling when you are on the plane, taking off and wheels up. Until that actually happens, a million and one things can cause a delay or cancellation.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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June 1, 2016

My daughter and I made it back from the hunt a few days ago, so I better get busy writing up the hunt report. I plan to break the report up into about 4 parts.

Picking up where I left off on May 18th, the “This Is Africa” (TIA) moments just kept coming, courtesy of South African Airways. Nothing really major, just minor annoyances and some lessons learn for those booking on SAA and making connecting flights at Joburg.

When we checked in at Lagos, Nigeria international airport the evening of May 18th, airlines were not certain they could get refueled due to a nationwide strike, so the alternate plan was to load all the Joburg bound passengers and make a short flight to Accra, Ghana and refuel there. My boarding pass actually had Accra on it and my daughter’s had Joburg. TIA!

Our bags were checked all the way to Port Elizabeth, but SAA did not issue us boarding passes to the JNB-PLZ flight. They said we had to check in at Joburg. TIA!

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The flight departed Lagos on time at 10:30pm and was going direct to Joburg, having apparently been refueled. Flight time is about 5.5 hours and only 1 hour time difference between Lagos and Joburg. I was able to upgrade our economy seats to business class for a not too outrageous amount and quickly ate dinner and went to sleep. I must have slept well, because someone woke me up and said 30 minutes to landing. We landed a little before 5am and cleared immigration, picked up our bags, then cleared customs. We were told to take our bags and go to the domestic check in. Around 5:30am we went to the SAA domestic check in counter and they looked at my itinerary and informed me that my flight was not on SAA, it was on Mango. Mango is the discount airline owned by SAA. My tickets were bought through a travel agent and at no time was this issue brought up. It’s interesting because there are both SAA and Mango flights to Port Elizabeth. Mango flights are listed as a SAA flight, but with 4 digit flight numbers. We go to the Mango check in desk and they issue us our boarding passes, weight our bags and tell us we’re over our 20kg per person allowance. I show them my itinerary that says I’ve got 3 bags per person and 23kg per bag allowance. A phone call gets made to a supervisor and the agent smiles and said the higher allowance is correct. However, since it is 5+ hours until the flight, we can’t check our bags. We can only check them in 2 hours before the flight. This means we can’t go through security and get into a lounge. TIA!

We head across the street from the terminal to the City Lodge Hotel, which basically sits on top of the airport parking garage. I’ve overnighted there before and know that it’s a nice, reasonably priced place. They have day rooms available for 700 Rand or about $44. Day rooms are only available from 8am to 5pm and it’s now 5:50 am. TIA!

We decided to kill 2 hours while eating breakfast. The restaurant didn’t open until 6am, so we sat there with our bags, waiting for them to open. Breakfast for the two of us was about $17, from a very good and extensive buffet.

We ended up getting into our day room at 7:30am, got showered and changed. Checked email and watched some news and then headed back to the terminal around 10:45am. Dropped off the bags and went through security and got to the gate. I noticed a very long line at another gate and that was the SAA flight going to Port Elizabeth. There was also a British Air flight going to Port Elizabeth. PE must be a hopping place!

After a short 1.5 hour flight to PE, we made the hardest landing I can ever recall. The pilot came on and basically apologized, saying it was a bit gusty out and that contributed to the hard landing.

Getting off the Boeing 737 and walking across the tarmac, I noticed it was a beautiful cool afternoon, and yes it was indeed windy. PE is known as the Windy City. We collected our bags and walked out and was quickly greeted by our PH, Wikus Coetzee. Wik (the W is pronounced like a V) helped us with our bags and we headed out in his V-8 diesel powered, crew cab Toyota Land Cruiser. We made a quick stop at Hunters and Collectors Taxidermy and met the owners, Kevin and Sue Boucher. After looking around at some of their work and picking up a brochure and price list, we headed north to Grahamstown.

The 2 hour drive north was on very good interstate and highway type roads and very nice scenery. The Eastern Cape is a beautiful part of South Africa. We stopped in Grahamstown for fuel and then headed to the hunting lodge, about 20 minutes north of town.
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Arriving at the lodge, we were introduced to Wik’s parents, John and Amanda, and also the lodge manager and cook, Lynn. We later met Wik’s older brother, Collin, who is also a PH. We were shown to our rooms, which were beautiful and brand new, standalone chalets, located right next door to the lodge.

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The chalets were brand new, very nice and comfortable. About 16’ x 24’ interior with a high vaulted ceiling, stall shower, toilet and sink. The bedroom had a large, comfortable bed, nightstands, lamps and armoire. There was also a small refrigerator with bottled water and a teapot with an assortment of teas and coffee. Out front, a nice covered porch to remove your boots or just sit and admire the scenery.



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The main lodge. The great room was huge, about 45’ x 60’. Numerous kudu and eland trophies were on display. Also a big screen TV that nearly always had a rugby game on. Around the corner was a well-stocked bar and a lot more trophies on the wall. A very nice, comfortable and impressive lodge.



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The view from our chalets and the lodge.

After getting settled in, we then headed to the gun vault room to select a few rifles. We were renting rifles and they had Sako 85 rifles with Swarovski scopes. We selected a 7mm mag without a suppressor and then another one with a suppressor. We also picked a 375 H&H, without a suppressor. The next stop was the rifle range, a short drive from the lodge. As we rounded the bend into the range, we were greeted by a Nyala bull standing about 15 yards down range from the shooting bench. It promptly ran off into the bush as we exited the Land Cruiser.

Both Elise and I shot the suppressed and regular 7mm mag and the difference in report and recoil was very noticeable. We opted for the suppressed version. This was the first time I had ever shot a rifle with a suppressor. I’m not crazy about the looks, but the benefits to the shooter, as wells as the PH and trackers are substantial. Suppressors will save a lot of peoples hearing! I took a couple shots with the 375, shooting off of the sticks. As we were finishing up and pulling our targets, the Nyala bull returned, crossing the range once again.

Tomorrow, we start the hunt.
 

Scott Slough

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This Is Not Africa (TIAN) ... so hurry up already ... inquiring minds want to know what is next :)!

Great start to the report ... really like the maps!
 

Albert GRANT

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I got a suppressor to help my boys shoot as both are very noise sensitive. After shooting it myself, I will use them whenever possible now. As you say for a hunting rifle the looks aren't the best, but the benefits to all far out weigh that!
 

enysse

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Looking forward to the hunt report and the excellent animals you have taken!
 

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