SOUTH AFRICA: 50 With GAME 4 AFRICA SAFARIS In 2022

Firebird

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I’ll do this day to day as there might be some info for newer safari goers and then some seasoned adventures as I go for everyone. I like long reports and I love pictures so buckle up!
Left slc flying delta yesterday morning. Nice lady at the delta gate had not done international guns before. So she read right off her screen, lock in every lockable hole-check, ammo packed in checked luggage and in containers-check, tsa locks on checked luggage but regular locks on gun case-check. When she was finished she sent us to a waiting spot until tsa gave us the all clear which came quickly. I have two rifles in one boyt case. With the two detachable scopes for my big rifle the weight was over 50 pounds. So I put those scopes in my checked luggage rather than pay the $100 overweight fee. I followed the advice of some senior members here on AH.com and purchased a pelican 1615 travel case. This securely held my two scopes and big Nikon camera as well as odds and ends very securely and was locked with tsa locks. Including the ammo box which held 60 rounds of ammo, I was able to keep this bag as well under the 50 pound delta limit. I’m not a traveler but I have been to South Africa before and knew what I should take and what not to bother with.
so my two cases went into the abyss and my wife and myself off to the gate. Gracy travel did our arrangements and I paid for meet and greet and gun service through them. I upgraded to comfort plus seating all the way to Port Elizabeth and another step up from that in the way home. Flight was on time, no masks or mention of covid though we had QR codes and vac cards with us. In Atlanta we met several of the others on the plane. One big group from me and my wife’s hometown and I could make connections with several of them very easily-small world when you are from a small town especially with a common interest.
Flight from Atlanta to jburg was delayed almost an hour for mechanical and summer weather in Atlanta-then a smooth flight across the ocean. The teenager in front of me had the seat I wanted with all the leg room but no video monitor. He promptly fully reclined and then leaned himself forward to sleep. I became cramped and boxed in-my wife in the same situation. The kid had no idea he was torturing me and I was not willing to wake him and tell him to be more considerate. The guy behind me was bigger than me so I did not recline into his life space especially as he looked like he was nearing hell on earth himslef!
Food was exactly as expected, service was fine and we watched several movies. Too dark to read but movies and music on my noise cancelling Bose headset were magic-money well spent. They started the flight by announcing someone had a peanut allergy so please don’t open any nuts. My wife wouldn’t even let me open the peanut m&ms I brought despite the protective colorful candy shell. . .
It’s a long slog in the air but when you reach OR tambo and walk off the plane and see a well dressed, clean cut, handsome man of color holding a sign with your name on it, we’ll all the stress dissipates and you feel just fine about life again. He escorted passed the temperature check point-fairy sure they won’t stop you if you are on fire, then on through the short customs line. There is also a long line I went through last time and the short one is preferable! Had a good conversation with our guy while we wait for luggage to off load. He speaks 4 languages fluently and can get by in 11 as many of the tribes are similar. He claims a Zulu heritage and grew up in kwa-Zulu natal. He has a cart for us and nearly dies when I grab my wife’s bag off the belt-sorry Micah, I’m used to doing the heavy lifting where I am from! My two cases don’t appear so we go to the heavy or oversized bag spot and there is my new pelican. Apparently they thought it had guns since it is a hard side case and sent it to the wrong pile. No big deal, we both breath a sigh of relief and head toward the saps office. Pre approved gun permits handled months ago by Bruce and Bruce is waiting with a big smile for us at the door. Thank Micah and let him go and then ease through the serial number process. Bruce runs that room like he owns it and in less time than it takes to pull the keys off the lanyard around my neck and open the case-we are finished and moving on. Truly Bruce makes this smooth and seamless. He and I push loaded carts for his other guests and start the short walk to city lodge hotel. First time I have overnighted here. City lodge is a nice, generic hotel, same as almost every other hotel you have ever been to. I would like to see Afton someday but on this trip we stay closer and it is so easy. Gracy had rooms reserved and we are in our room with out luggage in minutes. Hunters are hunters the world around and we made easy conversation with strangers everywhere we went. Nice guy from Texas at the hotel lobby was great to visit with-
It is worth mentioning that at the salt lake delta desk a woman commented on how cool the paint job on my .375 was,and the policeman in the saps office said he “really liked that one” as well. I’ll remember to pass on some kind words to Long Rifles Inc for their eye catching work at the safaris end.
Nice dinner at the hotel restaurant where my wife comments that for a busy Saturday evening no one seems in a hurry or stressed-I explain “This is Africa” to her. Dinner was 220 rand and my wife hadn’t considered the conversion rate yet. She expected to see her husband turn green and lose his mind over the check. Instead I handed to waitress a $20 and told her to keep the change. TIA baby and I love it!
 

Firebird

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Buffet breakfast at the city lodge was very good, not crowded on a Sunday morning. Met with Bruce and the other hunters in the lobby before a short walk into the airport. My bags were checked through to port Elizabeth and the only hitch was that I needed to pay for my extra rifle and ammo box. -we all did actually and while this seems nothing more than a money maker for the airline, it went smoothly, directed by our guide and despite some language barrier went quick and smooth. Dropped the guns at the security office then a short wait as we get through tsa screening as usual. I don’t remember the cost but gracy had notified us that this would happen and it was not a surprise. Airlink is very efficient, the flight was on time and actually early. Pretty red headed flight attendant-I skipped the in flight snack and just enjoyed the child sized Coke Zero. Skies were clear and I enjoyed the scenery most of the flight. Nearer the coast the clouds built and there was some rain but no turbulence on the small plane. We had very good seats (thanks gracy)-note to self, pay extra for upgrade seats on all flights from now on.
Wik waiting at the door for us by the luggage carousel. Wife’s bag first off the plane, my new pelican came very last again-not sure but I think they are considering it over size maybe. Rifles and ammo box waiting in the office-two signatures, show them saps paperwork and passport and we are off and running.
Short two hours drive past grahamstown during which we enjoy our first African wildlife-my wife was unimpressed with blesbok and black wildebeest but went nuts when we found a giraffe. Wik spotted some Buffalo on the way which got him exited.
At the lodge wildebeest lasagna and Wik’s wife Brittney are waiting. Lots of conversation and tour giving before me and Wik drop into the shooting spot-both rifles are close to the bullseye but require lowering the zero on the -06. the .375 and 235 gr Barnes is perfect, detachable scopes held zero but I am a bit rusty.
spent the evening wandering the grounds with a camera. Cannot believe the waterbuck and nyala! Dinner exceptional impala filet and also chicken kabob in case my wife doesn’t take to the game meat-we have our fill of both and off to bed-tomorrow we attempt to settle my bushbuck inadequacy. Maybe excited or maybe jet lag but I am wide awake and tapping on my phone at 0214. . .
 

Trogon

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Looking forward to a long hunt report, John, this should be enjoyable! Good so far!
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Firebird

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You have no idea. . . Pictures don’t do him justice-but a softball won’t touch the edges as it drops down the turns in his spiral. And no it’s not one of those demonic elusive bushbucks!
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Firebird

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Most guys won’t be lucky enough to have time to sit and study their kudu bull before they try to shoot him. This is where the 14 power scope some of you don’t like comes into its own. I get to sit with the sharp rock biting my big ass with the old .30-06 on the sticks and stare through the gold ringed tube, and even at over 300 yards the details are sharp and clear. Those giant ears looking oddly fluorescent orange in the late morning sunlight-the white chin, they way his jaw chews sideways as he works on the speckboom leaves. Big white dot on his face, sharp chevron bent over the bridge of his nose. He is the size of a rag horn bull elk and pound for pound infinitely more majestic. I mark the point of his shoulder in the crosshairs but the scope keeps finding its way to those holy grail spirals-the curls are deep-really deep and now I am seeing the mass of them for the first time. The tip on the left side holds my attention-reminds me of a sable or gemsbok the way the tip grew long, then gained another couple inches of stretch at the ivory.
“Wik, I’m gonna kill him right there.”
“Let me plug my ears, then take him when you are ready.”
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gillettehunter

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Nice bull. Congrats
Bruce
 

Hunt anything

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Great start Firebird, keep them coming. I really enjoyed our time with G4A back in 2018 along with my wife and a good buddy. Trying to figure out a way to get back over there!
 

buck wild

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Just a good start to the story then.... come on with it Man!
 

PARA45

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I recognize those shooting sticks. :ROFLMAO: :D Keep it coming, don't leave us hanging. :)
 

shotgungibbs

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Sounds like a great start!
 

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Breakfast that day had been poached eggs and toast and thick meaty bacon one of the things S Africa does better than the states-but that was a long time ago. We drove in a red sky sunrise to Mountain Top property, through the locked gate which I am not allowed to help open and past the flat grassland to where it drops away toward the fish river in long inconceivably thick, deep canyons. We drop one tracker-Xwith a radio on the first ridge and drive off toward a distant ridge of our own.
Wik is not hurrying the day, allowing us to photograph zebras and steenbok and glass the very distant heards of blesbok and wildebeest. A big golden w Beest catches the sun on the skyline and we have a short conversation on the beauty of such an animal.
Wik has favorite vantage points and we visit all of them. It has rained the previous day and the animals are wet and cold and come out in profusion to catch the suns promise of warmth. I’ve never seen so many kudu in any one place and time in my life! My wife is a good sport walking along and seeing new things-have to remind her to use a quiet voice more than once. Wik points out the good stuff and leaves the rest to me and my binos. His Leila’s much better than mine but I am spotting some game and at least trying to help. When he is ready to leave each spot we compare what we have seen or he points to things I missed that I should see before we go-he is not impressed when I find a village of rock hyrax sunning on a cliff top. . .
We are seeing a good number of bushbuck ewes and even a half grown ram. Some are copper penny red while others a dull mouse brown. Wik points out big kudu bulls when we see them-he loves kudu bulls. . .he checks with X time to time and he is having the same experience that we are. At one spot I find a kudu bull and we discuss him as he feeds at 150 yards, mostly straight down. I say he has shallow curls, Wik loves his length and we both agree he has impossibly long tips and is quite old. We discuss the shot until I ask how we would get to him-and get him out. Wik laughs out loud and shows me the process. It’s a two day ordeal in my mind and we agree not to shoot this guy.
Not long thereafter Wik shows me a ridge top full of kudu. We see the bull at the same time. I comment on his deep curls and Wik points out the mass, calcuable
In his glass but not in mine. He is narrow and Wik asks if I want a closer look. I already know I will shoot this bull if we get close. My wife taps out, it’s a long stalk and me and Wik can move fast. She opts to watch from the rack in the truck. We go at a fast clip to the ridge than slow and quiet the next part of the stalk. We have come out on a ridge opposite the kudu to accommodate the breeze and when we get cliffed out, we get serious. “John, he is 325 yards. I know you can shoot, but are you comfortable with this shot?” Much closer now and through my scope I Know I want this bull. We set up the new style shooting sticks and I put my bum on the aforementioned sharp rock. These are different style than Wiks other set of sticks. I like both options and from seated position I am very confident. He is feeding toward us, 3/4 toward and facing right. After minutes on the sticks I decide I want to try this angle.
Wik plugs his ears and I send the .30-06 165 trophy bonded bear claw spinning. These are the older, original tbbc and factory loads and also my last two boxes-haven’t been available for a long time. There is that solid whump sound and the bull drops into the speckboom sea. Legs flailing, horn tips thrashing and then he gets back to his feet. Next shot and same reaction. Slaps on my back from Wik but also, “stay on him, if he gets up, hit him again. On these sticks I can reload the magazine without taking my eye away from the scope. I’m ready to call him done but Wik says we have time and must be sure. Solid advice because maybe five minutes pass and he finds his feet and starts sneaking head laid out straight in front of him toward us. I shoot and miss, panic, adjust for him being 25 yards closer and the fourth shot drops him from view into green hell once again. I stay on the spot and Wik runs up to call for the trackers.
we watch from our spot as the tracker and wiks little jack russell move in. Over the radio in khosan comes the report, he is very dead.
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Firebird

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After the recovery process which included cutting him in half and carrying him out on a pole-yes carry and by the way the organs come out with him. We did dump the stomach contents but then the stomach got put in a plastic bag and got lovingly carried up the mtn. Two trips and I am allowed to help this time. Lunch!
Breakfast now long in the rearview and all of us are drained. Wik looks and me “if it’s alright John, I’d like to measure this one.” I’m not a tape measure guy but I confess to wanting to measure Him as well. But that will come later. Wik offers we can go home now as the day is about gone, or take the long way and hunt out way out. I don’t need to think about it and once I am assured the meat will be ok, we get back to hunting bushbuck. I think we all kind of knew we weren’t going to see much rattling along in the truck, but Wik would stop and glass and find a ewe here if there and still kudu but not like this morning. My wife is clutching for dear life in the backseat as we drain ever deeper down an overgrown two track into the valley floor. Wik and I are discussing the possibility of leopard here when the trackers start drumming the roof and Wik throws the truck into park and excitedly yelling about bushbuck and get the rifle! It’s a Chinese fire drill for me since I was the only one who didn’t see it cross a clearing less than 100 yard ahead and up on the hill. Wik is up in the truck rack with the trackers while I drop a bullet in amidst much pointing and arm waving and even the unexcitable tracker says in broken awed englsih, “beeeg one.” Well I can’t see it and Wik is telling me “more left.” I move the muzzle an inch. Wik moves my whole world two feet left and says something about watching in that area for a horn tip-seriously horn ti—oh there he is in the scope. In the deep shadow, a set of dark horn tips moves in the gloom. “You only get one chance, if you miss he will be gone forever.” —“But hurry and get a bullet in him somewhere!” I know where the horn tip is and guess the rest as nothing else of the black animal in the late evening shadow on the backside of a mtn is visible. Boom! Whock! silence. Wik sends both trackers X and Sandalay and is guiding them left and right by radio. And the. Just like that-found him, he is dead. I almost sat down and cried. I still call it the divine intervention experience. Thirty seconds of my life I will relive every day. And the most incredible day of hunting I’ve ever had-and I’ve had some incredible days!
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BRICKBURN

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My kind of hunting report! (y)
 

Firebird

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I wrote that up from my chalet around 0400. I’m still dealing with jet lag and anticipation/anxiety but mostly an incredible storm is moving through. Sheets of rain, nonstop thunder and ethereal bursts of lightning.
A German hunter arrived yesterday, I hope in the morning the animals are cold and wet and will stand in the sunshine for him. He will be hunting with ph Don-I quite like Don, but he is a bow hunter so I liked him immediately. . . I hope they have a great day
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Carson

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I hunted there in March. It's fun to read about places I've been. Your bushbuck is outstanding. That's one of a few animals I'd like to hunt if I ever make it back. Quite a cool animal and challenging to hunt. Great hunt and write up so far!
 

PARA45

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Don is a great guy, we hit it off when we met at the airport. He is a bowhunter and spearfisherman, and I (in my younger days) did them both, I only bow hunt here in GA. No nearby ocean to go spearfishing. :(
How do you like the Rudolph Shooting Sticks? I gave them to Wik when I was there, and now I can't find them in the US anymore. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
 

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Hey everyone..rookie mistake here. Packing to leave tomorrow and I have no idea JNB policy for bringing I cigarettes. Yes I know a smoker, plan on taking 4 cartons if able. Any advice please. Will be greeted by Mr X to ease custom’s hassle. Thanks in advance !
Hi,

Glade to hear from you and that you have kept me in mind.

I hope all is well and the hunting has been good.

Everything is fairly good.

The 2 fellows that I had lined up for this great hunt opportunity have backed out.

I'm in the process of purchasing a new house and having knee surgery, or surgeries depending on the left knee MRI, hopefully I can get back to Africa as early as 2024.
I'm concerned about Australia's indigenous species that are being killed by feral cats. Is anyone aware of any hunts I can joining to go to Australia to take a few shots at feral cats.
Jonathan Gurley wrote on IdahoMo's profile.
Hey Idaho. how many rounds is there thru the 458 win mag
MARTIN PIETERS SAFARIS wrote on Cajun Hunter's profile.
Morning my what’s app is +263778121842 martinpieterssafaris@gmail.com we can look at open dates
Thanks
Martin
 
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