Packed up for the move and had a relaxing morning. Our next stop is with Extreme African Safaris. Riaan Snyder is the owner and operator. He was previously a P.H for PawPrint safaris and when the owner, Pieter died, started out on his own. We hunted with PawPrint in 2019 and that’s how we met.
We will stay in a tent camp for this Safari. It is owned by Johan Van Wyk of Executive Hunt Africa. His wife Henlomi does all the cooking and along with his kids Johannes and Hanneke run an amazing operation.
Everything is first class. Johan was also once a P.H for PawPrint safaris. Amazingly we are about a 15 minute drive from the third stop on this trip. Almost neighbors.
Got everything all unpacked and organized and then went on a night hunt. Had never done night hunting before the last trip in 2019 but it is a blast. Ended up shooting a genet cat and then returned to camp for one of many great dinners prepared by Henlomi. Went out for another hour of night hunting afterwards. Didn't shoot anything but did see an ardvark about 20 feet off the road. Ended up going to bed around 11.
Up about 6am. Had a porcupine in the trap. Would like to shoot one on a night hunt so let him go. Off to another property closer to Thabazimbi for black impala and klipspringer. The guy that owns this properties grandfather bought it from Paul Krueger years ago. I guess he was the first President of South Africa so an interesting tidbit. A very large concession, but the area we are hunting black impala in is only a couple hundred acres. Got a glimpse of a large ram a couple times but no shot opportunities. Very hot today. Girls are burning up but never complain. Return to base camp for lunch and stop in Thabazimbi for some items. Run into Antonie Lotter who owns Swift Dip and PH's part time for Dries Visser which is our next Safari. Starting to feel like locals!
Had lunch and then later in the afternoon drive back to the impala concession. Sat in a blind by a water hole but no impala. Back to camp for dinner and a hot shower. Amazing for a tent camp.
Got up a little earlier this morning and were off to the impala concession by 6:15. All the girls stayed in camp today. Only saw small ram and ewes so we decided to go see if we could find any klipspringer. When we got to the gate it was still locked so we had to go back to the impala area to wait for the key. While Riaan waited Johan decided we'd make a quick run for the impala. Saw some small rams right off and then a bigger black one in the brush. Had to kind of shoot through and dropped him. Johan goes to shake my hand and the impala jumps up and runs off. Huh! Go to track him and after another 25 yards through the thick brush there he is. Not super huge but decent mass. Happy to have a black impala down no matter the size. It's a cool trophy. Johan, Johannes and myself go eat brunch at an old abandoned farm house while Riaan takes the impala to the cooler. Neat old house with a bunch of kudu horns around but trash everywhere. Sad, because it could be a neat place.
Riaan returns and we are off to the mountains for klipspringer. Climb up a two track and eventually come to a water trough. Apparently only 3 of them in this huge area so they have limited spots during the dry season to drink. Riaan thinks we'll sit here awhile in hopes of maybe a bushbuck. No luck. Drove some more later on and stopped at an outpost camp. The guys there said, the klipspringer usually come into drink about 3 at the waterhole there. Took up in the blind there and saw monkeys, a couple female mountain reedbuck and then a baby bushbuck. Expected to see his mom but never did. Ended up calling it a day. Picked up the impala and then stopped at a very cool lodge called the Thaba Nkwe for a couple drinks.
Back to camp and just getting out of the shower and Riaan is hollering at me to hurry up because they have some porcupines spotted. Took off but couldn't find them again. Apparently they can move a little bit faster then ours at home can. Ended up getting a shot at a lynx later on but missed. Long night and off to bed at 1AM.
September 17th, Friday
Up early and off to the klipspringer area. Went for a walk and stalk with Riaan and Johan. Saw 2 bushbuck and a mountain reedbuck ram but no klipspringer. Hit the 3rd water hole we haven't been to yet about 10:15 and got in the blind in hopes for bushbuck. Riaan was on the radio with Johan and having a coughing fit. I was seriously doubting we would see anything here and was wondering if we should just take off. I was messing with my phone and happen to look up and there's a nice bushbuck at the water. This blind is pretty small and Riaan is behind me so I don't know if he sees it or not. I take a picture of it and show him and he says, shoot. He's walked off to the right about 5' and is looking at the blind. I slowly put the rifle out and figure if I can get away with this movement I got him. He doesn't spook and I get the crosshairs on him at maybe 30 yards. Hit him hard and he takes off into the thickets. We give him a couple minutes and take up the track. Lots of blood and a good track. Find him after 50 yards which seemed like longer because of how thick it was and how torn up we got in that short distance.
Riaan and I hunted bushbuck about every day in 2019 and just couldn't get it done so this is a huge deal for us and have been planning for it since that last hunt day two years ago. The land owner Colbus shows up and says this bushbuck is the king of the area. You can see he has been rubbing trees and marking his area. Riaan takes the bushbuck to the cooler and Johan and Johannis start a fire and cook us a lunch of sausage and steaks. Very cool. Riaan returns with beer and we eat. We glass for klipspringer but it's very hot and we decide to call it a day and go back to camp. I take a hot shower and have a nap. Wonderful! Have dinner and go night hunting. Not to many animals tonight.
A relaxing day as Riaan's family is coming from Pretoria to celebrate his daughter's birthday. Had food and then more food. Seemed like we ate all day long. Did go and refresh a honey badger and bush pig bait during the day but that was about it.
Later in the evening after Riaan's family left we went on a night hunt. Shot a porcupine and another genet cat about 10 minutes apart. Good to just relax and went to bed early.
Up around 6:30 and had a hot shower. This tent camp life is hard! Headed off to a different property in search of a roan. Saw a jackal on the way out as a couple guniea fowl had got caught in the trap and he apparently thought he might get an easy meal. Once on the road Riaan spotted a bat eared fox that had just recently been hit. Only seen one before. A very neat looking animal. About an hour drive and we went by Limcroma Safaris property. Have obviously heard of them before and if you remember the people we met at the Afton House were hunting there. Another property we went by Riaan said they shoot 150 warthogs a week. Sell the meat for $3 a pound with an average of 40 pounds a pig. I don't know how many weeks in a row they do that but sure seems like a lot of warthogs.
Lots of the unique animals on the roan property. Gold wildebeest, the various impala and different colored blesbuck. Eventually found an old roan. Dropped him in his tracks with one shot. Old bull with huge mass. Going downhill body wise. One of my dream animals that I didn't know that I could ever afford. Worked a lot of overtime specifically for him so a very satisfying hunt in that regard.
Back to base camp and took a nap. Andries, the owner of Still Life Taxidermy stopped by and will do my warthog from Bushmen, the porcupine, a zebra if we get one and also the klipspringer if successful.
Later on Johan said we all needed to go on a drive. Seemed kind of weird because Henlomi and the kids weren't around. Whatever. We take off and after ten minutes of driving come upon the reason for his needing us all to go. Henlomi has come out here and set out quite the spread of appetizers. Have seen pictures of this from others but never actually done for us before. Quite the treat!
Another fairly early night. Johan checks the bait trailcams and has bush pigs hitting it. We will see how that goes later.
Up early. About a two hour drive through Valwater and on towards Mookgopong. I know lots of people don't like driving that far to concessions but I like seeing different parts of the country so no big deal. We are after golden wildebeest today. We arrive at a place called Lapanzi game farm. About 600 acres but a really neat property. Jacaranda trees and very few to no camel thorn. We see zebra, impala, warthogs, giraffe, red heartebeast, blesbuck, waterbuck, kudu, eland and of course blue and golden wildebeest. We chase the wildebeest around on truck and foot all morning. Could of shot multiple zebra but wildebeest are running anytime we get close. Lose count of how many blown stalks we have.
Take a break for lunch and then out again. They drop us off to walk and stalk while they go fix a fence that a giraffe broke through. We hike for a couple hours and get close a couple times but just keep bumping them. It's looking like it's just not going to happen. How's it possible I could of shot at least 5 zebra but not a wildebeest. Truck picks us up and we are headed to lodge. Riaan says, we will come back tomorrow. Not really looking forward to that. Drive a couple 100 yards and there they are in the bush. Jump out of the truck and there is a golden bracketed in some brush. Can't see the head but Riaan and tracker says he's a good bull. Okay. Take the shot and seems good. Head that way and here is a young blue wildebeest stone dead. What! That's not the one I shot. Turns out this guy was behind mine which no one knew. They say, don't worry, you got him. Good blood trail and we find the golden wildebeest 50 yards away. I feel bad about the small blue but they seem unconcerned so I guess it's no big deal. Riaan is going to keep it for meat.
Heading home and I see an animal standing besides the road. It's a nice ram klipspringer. He doesn't even hardly attempt to move and I thought we hit him. Look in the mirror and he's still standing there. Weird. We had to be inches from him. Back to camp late and off to bed after dinner.
You are doing an excellent write up! I am really enjoying it! You write like you are having so much fun whether finding game or just seeing the places!
That Donkey water heater at the tent camp can really make for some hot showers!
Basically an errand day. Got up at 7 and had breakfast. Off to Thabazimbi at 8. Barb had a prescription in a plastic bag that got accidentally thrown in the washing machine at Bushmen Safaris. Some things are so much easier over here. At home this would of taken a week to schedule an appointment with the doctor, get the prescription and then have it filled. Here we walked into a Doctor that was recommended by Antonie and another gal we know here. Told him the situation and were out in 5 minutes with the prescription. Over to pharmacy and prescription filled within the hour. I went into the mall and got a haircut. Have I been here to long when I need to actually get a haircut? Cost 100 rand. Girls went shopping and bought some shorts and sandals. Getting hot. Bought some other groceries and waited for Riaan's truck to get finished being cleaned.
Stopped at curio shop Barb had been to on previous trips. Kind of expensive and didn't find anything we couldn't live without. Head back to lodge. Stop at the Thaba Nkwe lodge again to show Barb. They have chalets you can rent. Have the option of bringing your own food and preparing it yourself or buying a package that includes meals in the restaurant/ bar. Would be a neat area to hunt. Never seen a place that is also open to the public so kind of a unique deal.
After hearing about all the zebras I saw yesterday Barb wants to know if we can go shoot one. She loves them as do I. Riaan makes a deal with the property owner for two zebra, a dark bull giraffe we saw and 2 blesbuck for the girls. We will make the drive back to that property tomorrow.
Went on a game drive and had dinner. Relaxing day but tomorrow will be a long day and hopefully full of action.
Up early and off on the long 2 hour drive to Mookgopong. Arrived around 9:30 and when we got there they were scrambling around and Riaan said he had to go with them real quick and would be back. All I caught was something about a calf and possibly a leopard. They return a few minutes later and tell us to load up. Had a lot of new born calves and one of them was buried in a hole. They thought a leopard or maybe a snake did it. After further inspection it had no marks on it and they dug it out. Really don't know how it ended up buried in this hole as again, no marks whatsoever on it and appeared find once it started walking around. Reunited with mom and all is good.
Off to see if we can find giraffe. I shot one in 2019 but after seeing this one the other day I really liked how dark he was and when they offered a smoking deal on him couldn't pass it up. Plus they had never shot a giraffe on this property yet so how can I not take advantage of this opportunity. Of course the wildebeest are just standing around today. Girls had heard the stories of how many miles we had hiked a couple days earlier trying to get one and weren't buying it. Zebra were still just kind of standing around not to bothered by us like they were acting previously. End up finding the giraffe on the opposite end of the property. Make a stalk on the bull and get to within about 100 yards. Shoot him about a foot below his head in the neck and he drops. Have to give him a finishing shot but he has done us a huge favor in how he just sat down in a perfect photo position. He is just a beautiful old bull. Just magnificent. Not usually very sentimental or whatever you want to call it but I'm a little choked up over this one as his time is up and it's sad in a way. Probably didn't explain that very well but I'm sure you get where I'm coming from.
Take lots of pictures and all that. Skinners show up and start the job. We go off in search of some zebra. They are basically in the same area we had seen them before. Once we get off and attempt a stalk they do run off but settle down quickly. After a couple failed stalks we get within 150 yards. Riaan points a good one out and I take a shot off the sticks. Hit is good and it's going down. Pass the rifle off to Barb and the other 3 running off stop briefly. Riaan tells her which one and she nails him right in the chevron. Both zebras are down and within sight of each other. Ranged it later and they were 102 yards apart. Never get tired of shooting zebras they are the epitome of Africa to me. I've shot 2 with my bow but this is the first with a rifle. Going to have Andries mount them like this.
Busy morning. Back to the Lapanzi lodge for lunch and a nap. Took the girls out at 4 to shoot the rifle. Off for blesbuck. See a group and make a stalk on them. Charlee is first up. We find a nice ram but it's kind of a long shot for her as she doesn't have much experience shooting rifles with variable scopes and all. Ends up missing and off go the blesbuck. Getting later and we find them again. Mattie's turn. Never can get in position for a clean shot and it's getting late. Need to work with them this year on shooting rifles. Didn't really count on them doing this as it was kind of a spur of the moment thing. Figured if they shot anything it would be with the crossbow from the blind. Long drive back after a great day. Stop at KFC at Bela-Bela. I've always wanted to sample it and see how it compares to what we have here. They seem to like the tomato flavor here and it has that kind of taste to it. Not bad though. Get back around 10. The neighbors had caught 2 caracals in traps last night and when Johan and Johannis went out tonight they shot one. Very jealous! High on my list.
Last full day here. Slept in until 6:30. Riaan left early to drive and get the giraffe cape and some other stuff. Wasn't interested in doing that drive again. Got some of are stuff packed up and more or less relaxed most of the day. Went to the klipspringer concession and gave it one more shot. Very thick country and as hot as it is pretty tough to spot them. Just hoping when it cooled off right before dark maybe we would see
one. No luck though. Returned to camp and had dinner then a last night hunt. Missed a lynx! Ughhhh.
A great second safari and a new experience of staying in a tent camp. Hot at times but overall I would do it again. Everything was first class. Love the night hunting and took most of the animals I was after. Klipspringer gave us problems but maybe next time. Didn't ever really get around to sitting the bush pig and honey badger baits. Can't say enough about Johan and Henlomi. Great people who go the extra mile. Johannes is a great young man who is already a pro. He's going to be an amazing P.H down the road. Hanneke kept the twins entertained. I love hunting with Riaan. He's truly happy for you when successful. Just a lot of fun to hang out with. Can't wait to come back.