SOUTH AFRICA: Adroda Safaris Hunt Report


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Apr 1, 2016
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PA, OH, NM, ND, AL, FL, MD; EC/KZN/MP South Africa, Zimbabwe x 2, Mozambique
South Africa: Adroda Safari’s Free Range Hunt Report

Michelle and I have just returned from a long Holiday in Africa, arriving in Johannesburg on 9 June and departed on 26 June. The trip was broken into two separate adventures across South Africa and Zimbabwe, this is part one! As usual, I tend to get a bit long winded at times but there should be plenty of pics to keep you interested!

Safari Operator/PH: Adroda Safari’s with PH owner/operator Adrian Salter

Area: South Africa Provinces Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal

For those that are new or unfamiliar with the South African Provinces, I’ve attached a map, courtesy of Due to the proximity to Johannesburg, no additional in-country flight connections were required.


Flight Reservations: @TRAVEL EXPRESS with the late Lori Spears

Dates of Hunt: 9 – 18 June 2021


#1. Weatherby Mark 5 Outfitter FDE, 300 Weatherby with 3-12x Bushnell Long Range Hunting Scope (MIL/MIL). Hand loaded with 200gr Nosler Accubond at 3000fps.

#2. Christensen Arms Ridgeline, 6.5x284 Norma with Zeiss Victory 4-16x50 FL. Hand loaded with 140gr Nosler Accubond at 2900 fps.

Both rifles outfitted with the Spartan Precision fitting for the Davros head which was installed on my vanguard tripod as well as the Spartan Precision tactical bi-pod I brought along in my luggage.

Rifle Case: Pelican Storm 3300

Rifle Clearing Service: Africa Sky Guesthouse

Targeted Animals: Serval, Fallow Deer, Reedbuck, Mountain Reedbuck, Vaal Rhebok, Eland, Nyala

Animals taken: Fallow, Reedbuck x 2, Mountain Reedbuck, Vaal Rhebok, Nyala, Common Duiker and Springbok


I began discussions with Adroda Safaris in September 2019 after reading about a hunt report on another website and his ability to provide free range hunting for certain species. Adrian and I seemed to hit it off well and made plans for a 10-day hunt in June 2021. We solidified the dates during 2020 DSC as I was booking another adventure in Zimbabwe and wanted one trip to Africa. Adrian was very accommodating and a plan was now in place! COVID shutdowns quickly followed but the only impacts were to re-schedule flights after Delta cancelled with Lori @ Travel Express to Qatar airlines. We will miss you, Lori!

Qatar’s additional legs and flight times casued an additional day of travel onto both the front and back ends of the trip. We also needed to account for additional time while in Africa for COVID testing and results. All the detailed planning worked out perfectly and we had no travel interruptions until our Dallas to Pensacola flight was delayed at the very end of our journey.

A few words about Adrian, he is a young PH but has accumulated a vast amount of experience from plains game to dangerous game. He has a large pack of well-kept hounds and travels across southern Africa supporting leopard hound hunts as well as taking care of problem animals. I mentioned well kept, but better put, he cares for all his dogs. If they are injured, they go to the vet no matter the cost. If they can’t hunt, they are not discarded but are kept and taken care of at his house. If you are interested in a hound leopard or bush pig hunt anywhere in Southern Africa, or any other type of plains or dangerous game hunt, give Adrian a call.

Adrian and I discussed the type of open terrain we would be hunting from open cattle pastures to the treeless grasslands of the foothills to the Drakensburg Mountain Range. I purchased the 300 Wby and decided on the 200 grain Accubond for the heavier weight, bonded construction and good ballistic coefficient with long shots expected. I already had a Savage Long Range Hunter in 6.5x284 and had used the 140 grain Accubond with great performance on ~ 8 whitetail deer from close to long range. The Savage is exceedingly heavy and picked up the Christensen Arms Ridgeline for this trip knowing we would be climbing and walking at higher elevations. I believed I was set for the hunt!

Day 1, arrival in Johannesburg on Wednesday 9 June: The Qatar flight from Doha touches down at 0400 and Michelle and I know the drill. Get to the head of the Passport line as quickly as possible and collect our bags. Everything went smoothly and we were headed out the doors to the receiving area in minutes. Gilbert from Africa Sky was there and we exchanged greetings as it’s been a few years since we’ve last seen each other. The good folks from @RiflePermits were also awaiting other hunters and they recognized me from a previous trip and we all had a good reunion! I used Africa Sky to clear our weapons as we would be staying with them on two separate occasions during our trip.

We were the first into the SAPS office and had our weapons cleared in minutes and back out into the lobby to meet with Adrian who had just arrived since the COVID curfew ended at 0400. Adrian had heard Michelle likes red wine and surprises her with a bottle at the airport, nice touch!


We load all four of our checked bags into the Land Cruiser and feel the bite of the 5 degree C air! Coming from Florida this was a bit of a shock but we were prepared as Adrian had sent some pictures of snow-covered hills and told us to dress warm! I tossed out the soft rifle cases and we added additional warm jackets and boots the day before we left!


We traveled about 250 km out of Johannesburg towards our first hunting area in Mpumalanga for Serval and Fallow Deer and met up with a local PH Axel Engman at his Hummingbird Bed and Breakfast near Ermelo. Greetings quickly turned into Axel showing us pictures of a grand Fallow deer he has been chasing over the past 3 years, with the latest sighting a few months earlier in April! Ok, now I was excited as we shivered in the 2 degree C air!

The hunting lodge was approximately 20 minutes away and as we traveled cross country on dirt roads through farm fields still full of maize with high grass alongside the roadways. All the rain that had fallen earlier in the year caused heavy growth and the weather hadn’t turned cold until the week before we arrived and the crops had yet to be harvested.

As we followed Axel in his vehicle, he slowed and there was a Serval on the border of the grass and maize in broad daylight visible for just a few moments before it disappeared! We continued on seeing Duiker and then another Serval by 0830! The heck with being tired after 40 hours of travel, I was pumped!

The farm was once a game farm but was being reverted back to a cattle farm, a 2800 Hectare property of mostly hilly wide-open grassland. There were color variations of Blesbok behind a game fence on the property as well as high fence around an apple orchard to keep out the animals on the property which included Blesbok, Mountain Reedbuck, Vaal Rhebok, Serval, Waterbuck, Duiker and Springbok.

We settled our bags into the stone lodge that felt like being inside a freezer with the stone holding the cold! Our room was nice and the savior was a heater in the bathroom which we left on for two straight days. The bed had an electric blanket so it wasn’t unbearable but stepping barefoot onto the floor was like walking on ice! A few pictures of the very nice lodge.

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Common area
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I grab both rifles and Axel, Adrian and I head out to verify zero. I wouldn’t mention this but it’s important we all check zero, but it turned out to be a chuckle for us over the next couple of days. We put a 4 x 6 shoot-n-see target on a big tree, at least four feet across, and backed out to about 185 yards. The 6.5 x 284 hit just above the bull and was exactly where I expected it to land. I grab the 300 Wby and promptly miss the entire tree! What the heck? It must have landed somewhere but we can’t find a splash anywhere on the tree. Ok, I’m not satisfied yet as I want to shoot longer range, we back off close to 300 yards after placing the target on a large horizontal limb higher off the ground to ensure clear line of sight and take a shot with each rifle, a little left of center on both but good height. The wind had started blowing hard and had pushed both bullets to the left. I was satisfied with the shots and shooting off the back of the truck but what the heck happened on that first shot from the 300?

We head back to the lodge for lunch and a quick “lie down” before heading out to see if we can find the big Fallow deer. I set the alarm before Michelle and I nod off for an hour.

We all gather in the early afternoon and I grab the 300 Wby as we leave the lodge and head off the property to a free-range hunting area 20-25 minutes away. As we open the low fence cattle gate, I realize we are now hunting in Africa again, even though it’s a European species we are after, as it’s been 3 long years since the last two Zimbabwe safaris in 2018!

We bounce deeper into the hunting area down a two track, cattle everywhere in sight and we see a group of Blesbok on the hillside. The area is mainly open grassland with some patches of brush, small groups of trees spread across the hills and valleys. Michelle shoots them with the Olympus E-M1.

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The bakkie stops part way up the spine of a ridge and the four of us begin a slow walk across the rocky ground and up the hill. It’s not long before eight or nine fallow does are in front of us running from our right to left, headed towards the neighbors fence which we don’t have permission to hunt.

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We continue up and reach the crest as a lone fallow buck moves quickly across the hillside a couple hundred yards away, headed in the same direction as the does. Michelle is able to get a shot with the camera, but long distance, overcast skies and moving makes a tough shot but it's a buck!

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We are roughly paralleling the neighbors fence line and the PHs spot a herd of fallow down below us in the bottom of the valley but on the neighbor’s property. I finally figure out where they are looking and can see some small bucks and does but the PHs have spotted the big fallow on the edge of a thicket with some does. It takes me a bit to locate the big guy 330 yards away while Michelle and Adrian use her camera to snap a photo and zoom in on the view screen of her Olympus EM1 Mk 3. They give me a glimpse and I take a deep breath!

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We are stuck, the light is failing and the fallow don’t look like they are interested in moving up out of the valley onto “our” side of the fence. Adrian and Axel have a quick discussion and decide to WhatsApp the neighbor, what can we lose except a “no”? Fallow are now out feeding including some young bucks, about 450 yards out.

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We settle in waiting for a response, watching and waiting as the light continues to dim as shooting time is quickly coming to an end, especially down on the valley floor. Michelle and I spot another good buck up in the trees pointed in the right direction but still 350 plus yards away as we keep tabs on him while waiting for an answer from the farmer.

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Seconds seem like minutes which seem like hours as time goes by as evening is upon us. I’m sitting on my rear just enjoying the evening thinking about possible moves we should make in the morning to try and intercept the big buck if they come across the fence and feed during the night. To give a wider view of the area of the fallow, I circled the area in red.

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A reply comes in via WhatsApp, it’s a go! Adrian had sweetened the trophy fee to the landowner, whether that made a difference or not, I’m not sure. I’m sitting with Michelle a few yards up the hill and slide down to them with my tri-pod set up for a sitting position, snap in the rifle to the Spartan Precision adapter/fitting and ask for the range, 330 yards. I dial in 1.2 mils of elevation and try and find the buck. The big fallow disappears into the brushy bottom and disappears. Time is about up, as the thin crosshairs are getting hard to see against the dark background. The does begin to emerge on the other side of the draw and climb up the slope, Adrian does a good job of guiding my sight picture to them. “Just wait, the buck will follow” Adrian whispers. “What’s the range” I ask, now 370 yards, another .3 mils dialed in as the buck emerges. He stops in front of some brush slightly quartering away as I place the crosshairs up the front leg, exhale and send the round.

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The red up arrow in the photo is where the buck was standing at the shot, moving up from the green thicket below.

A resounding thump is heard almost half a second later (.44 seconds to be exact) as the buck stumbles up the hill a few yards and tips over. Congratulations all around as both PHs are ecstatic as we got the big guy! We all begin to pick our way down the steep rocky hill, Michelle and I fall behind as we take our time trying not to break a leg or poke out an eye on a branch, now 50 hours without a solid sleep! We break out our lights as Adrian and Axel guide us to them and we first see the old warrior.

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I’m shocked at his body size, heavily palmated antlers, worn down top points, and long guard points (G1 and 2’s?) as I place my hand on him in emotion and thank the old monarch. We try and set up a few photos with the last vestiges of a sky but will need to rely on lights for the pictures.

He is old and gray, some of the bottom teeth are loose in his mouth. If this wasn’t such a bountiful year due to the rains, he may not have made it much longer. Perfect animal to take out of the herd before he would die a long death.

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Axel hikes back to the bakkie and has to come around through the other farm to get to us. Thirty to 45 minutes later we see lights in the trees behind us and can hear the truck chugging up the hill, breaking through the brush. We load up the fallow after cutting loose excess barbed wire stuck in the truck chassis. We shine for Serval on the way home but come up empty, it’s gotten very cold without the warmth of the sun and few animals of any type are seen, made all the more difficult with the heavy ground cover. We celebrate with dinner, drinks and cluster around the warm fireplace with some nice red wine until much later than we planned all getting to know each other a bit better. What a long but satisfying first day!

I’m always interested in bullet performance, the 200 grain Accubond did a fantastic job with full penetration, breaking the shoulders with just a small exit wound indicating limited expansion but to be expected with the impact velocity of ~2350 fps. I was pleased with the bullet performance and all the time I have spent at the range definitely paid off.

More to come as I put the report together for Day 2!
Good shooting. I looked at the Spartan system and liked a lot about it. I ultimately went another way, but they work well.
Good shooting. I looked at the Spartan system and liked a lot about it. I ultimately went another way, but they work well.
I was extremely impressed with the Spartan system and used it on most of the animals, either the tri-pod or bi-pod. If I was hunting thick cover and needed a quick shot, I would just use the PHs sticks as it does take a moment to lock the pin into the fitting.
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Thanks for the report. I love how you described equipment and all the particulars at the start. Might copy this on my trip later this year if you don't mind. Can't wait to hear the rest. Great read so far. Congratulations on a super fallow deer. 57 days and counting until I get the privilege of spending 5 weeks there.
Day 2 – Thursday 10 June 2021:

Thursday morning was very cold and the entire area was covered in a heavy fog, we took our time assembling in the common area, except Michelle. She was the smart one who stayed under the warm electric blankets, catching up on sleep from the two days of travel, a long day hunting yesterday and maybe a few glasses of wine last night!

Can’t hunt in the building so we jumped into the bakkie and headed towards the back of the property to oversee a good-sized lake, hoping we would catch a Serval prowling along the lake shore. The fog was so thick we sat in the vehicle awhile waiting for the sun to burn off the moisture.

During the previous evening while the drinks were flowing, a new theory emerged for missing the tree with the 300 WBY, maybe the 6.5 and 300 shots went through the same hole on the target. No, it wasn’t my theory! We would go back and “visit” the target tree for confirmation.

The heck with the fog and now the cattle that had now surrounded us thinking we had breakfast for them! Axel, Adrian and I walked a few hundred yards around the side of the hill that would give us a great view of the lake shore as well as the surrounding area.

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Fog lifting out of the valley and lake we were watching

All was quiet except for the ducks and geese making racket. Even after the fog had burned away there wasn’t any movement, we climbed to the top of the hill to take a look across the other side but not much was moving except a Jackal.

We headed back to the lodge for lunch after the slow morning and to see if Michelle was alive and kicking and get some hot lunch into our bellies. We did push one small band of Mountain Reedbuck off the road, but nothing to get excited about.

On the way out for the afternoon hunt we stopped and took some photos of the Blesbok inside the high fence area. These were a combination of different color phased animals including one “saddleback”.

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Saddleback Blesbok

We pressed on with Axel and Adrian deciding to head to area of the farm off the beaten path. What was nice about this farm were the electric remote-controlled cattle gates! Very nice, with each gate having its own solar panel. Michelle gets a nice photo of Duiker that held still long enough!

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Common Duiker
After passing through a final gate, which didn’t open on its own, we pressed on up alongside one of the cattle fences and topped out on a hill. A small band of Black Wildebeest, a good collection of Blesbok and couple of Springbok are staring at us to our left down the hill a good ways. Adrian and Michelle are chatting about getting a picture of the Springbok as one had caught Adrian’s eye and he wanted a better look.
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Mixed herd 500 yards away

Springbok wasn’t on my list and I was sitting back in my seat letting Michelle take the shots with her camera as she was sitting to my left, whatever it takes to amuse Adrian and Michelle I thought. Michelle hands Adrian her camera as they enlarge the picture on the view screen and I hear “You want a Springbok, we must shoot that one” from Adrian.

During our initial drive from the airport yesterday morning, I told him if he spots an animal that’s not on my list and it it’s exceptional, just tell me to shoot! I open the door and slide out of the seat and the wind hits me hard in the face and my thought process tells me I can’t dismiss this when taking a shot. Adrian ranges the herd, “500 yards, can you take the shot”? With the 300 Wby and a solid hold I can make the shot as I have been practicing out to 700 yards in all conditions. “Yes”!

What has Adrian so excited? Well, I wasn’t privy to the photo enlargement discussion in the truck but afterwards they showed me why Adrian was so pumped.

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I tell Adrian I need to get to the washout a few yards in front of us and set up my tri-pod. I should be able to get a good steady hold and get myself down out of the wind that was ripping across the top of the hill. We take a few steps forward and the Blesbok and Black Wildebeest launch into a full sprint directly away from us and head up the next ridge, now at least 1300 yards away!

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Herd high tailing it to the next province!

Well, "that puts an end to this quickly" goes through my brain. Adrian tells me to follow him as he’s walking quickly downhill to a rise we can’t see over, extending the legs of the tripod as he’s walking. Then it dawns on me, I don’t remember seeing the Springbok with the herd.

He sets the sticks, tells me the Ram is 300 yards, I dial in the elevation on the turret and get the rifle locked into the Spartan Precision fitting. My brain quickly processing, the wind is strong, need to hold into the wind as its 15 – 20 mph at almost 90 degrees.

I find the Ram in my scope just over the crest of the hill and now can finally see what Adrian was so excited about, as the Ram turns and faces us. I tell myself, he’s good and don’t look again. The shot angles are bad as the Ram is hard quartering to me, is facing uphill and appears ready to bolt. I put the crosshairs on the near front shoulder and then adjust to the right for wind expecting it to push the bullet a few inches back into the shoulder, exhale and squeeze the trigger.
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Michelle captures me about to take the shot

I can see the Ram go down but there is also a puff of white hair. Slaps on the back from Adrian and Axel but Adrian is puzzled as to the puff of hair. Turns out, the 200 grain Accubond entered midway down the back/spine and removed everything including part of the tail and all of the prong. As we find out the wind wasn’t blowing nearly as hard towards the bottom of the hill and I must have held off for the wind a bit too much.

What a gorgeous Ram and two great trophies in two days! For those wondering, 15 7/8" was the horn length. Axel later tells me he has been chasing this ram for a few years but his clients hadn't been able to connect. Now that's two great trophies from Axel's areas and he has clients coming in to hunt in a few days!

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Springbok Ram

After loading up the Springbok, Axel drops us off on a hill overlooking a small pond and the feeder stream. I grab the 6.5x284 as one of the farm hands has been spotting a Serval in the evening prowling along the edges. We nestle into the rocks on the side of the hill to cut the wind and stay warm as the sun is getting low in the sky.

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Bundled up awaiting the Serval to show

It’s a quiet evening and the Serval is a no-show once again. At dusk, we now prepare for a night drive for a Serval. It’s a long cold evening spot lighting and we are seeing all manner of 4 legged critters, except for a Serval. We do shine a Jackal and a quick shot with the 6.5x284 Norma dispatches the vermin.

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We swing by the “target tree” once again and look it over, only one hole in the tree that we can find but we pull out the target and sure enough, only a 6.5mm hole! We have a wonderful chicken curry dinner and hang around the fireplace having a few drinks and enjoying each other's company.
Great report and he’ll of a springbok
Enjoying the report! Nice fallow and springbok!
That is a great Springbok !
I should have mentioned this in the reports. The big fallow is going to be a european skull mount as we have a trip planned to hunt Stag in Spain this December with Martin Rodriguez, the thought being both animals will be euro mounts.

The Springbok will be a shoulder mount for sure as the front cape is perfect!
Day 3 – Friday 11 June 2021:

After some discussion of it being so cold, extremely foggy in the mornings, thick ground cover as well as the crops still in the fields, we decide to leave Mpumalanga and head to Adrian’s place in KwaZulu-Natal to continue the hunt for other species. The four-hour drive was uneventful and we arrived at Adrian’s farm by early afternoon. We dropped our bags in the nicely furnished room and prepped the gear for an evening hunt for Common Reedbuck. Unfortunately, Adrian had a fire earlier this year that destroyed his main lodge/guesthouse. He was able to convert the upstairs area of the smaller cooking lodge into a nice bedroom. I told him at the time not to worry about having 5-star accommodations for us. His fiancé, the beautiful Shannah, did an excellent job of converting the upstairs room into a bedroom. More importantly, Michelle loved it as Shannah put a woman’s touch to the place with a fresh vase of flowers and other “girly” items like candles, tissues, cotton balls, lip balm etc etc.

I must confess, I told Michelle with the Guest Lodge being burnt to the ground we would be staying in a tent! Adrian and I continued the joke along for a few days!

Some pictures of our “Home” for the next seven days:

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Guest Room

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Common area from stairwell

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View from the Guesthouse porch out over the valley

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The leopard hounds in their enclosures

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The warm sun felt good as I enjoyed some quiet time before heading out for the hunt.

Adrian has been torturing me with Common Reedbuck pictures for well over a year and I told him he has set my expectations bar pretty darn high! I grabbed the 6.5x284 and we loaded up the Landcruiser. Ruger is Adrian’s hunting companion who we didn’t have with us the first few days, but he was not to be denied today!

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Michelle and Ruger ready to hunt!

Twenty to 25 minutes later we arrived at one of the farms Adrian hunts for Reedbuck. The area we are in is heavily agricultural with many dairy farms spread throughout the region. We immediately begin to see Reedbuck, including this warrior who had snapped off one of his horns. This was the first time I had seen a Reedbuck and was impressed. Although not brightly colored or having flashy spiral horns they kind of resembled a North American farm country deer with horns not antlers.

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Broken horned Reedbuck

We drove around the farm spotting Reedbuck along the lake, green fields and marshy or natural areas referred to as “flay”. This place was loaded with Reedbuck!

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Young Reedbuck in the “Flay”

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An older model but needs a few more years!

There was a huge assortment of birds of all types, here are a few:

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Ibis, possibly a Glossy. Maybe one of the birders on here can help figure it out? The light colored head and red beak are throwing me off. Below are some long distance photos of Crowned Cranes:

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Crowned Cranes​

I appreciate birds but like mammals more! Will have some clearer pictures of Oribi rams in the coming days.

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Oribi Ram
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Jackal way off in the distance keeping an eye on us!

We are nestled next to a patch a flay and stunted trees on the side of a hill and glassing the shoreline of the lake and notice a very good Reedbuck a couple hundred yards away harassing a doe. Adrian calls the farmer to check on the boundary lines, but the ram is on the next property over and we don’t have hunting rights. Reedbuck continue to appear out of the standing corn and out of the flay and we are enjoying the moment.

The buck on the other property is now pushing the doe along the shoreline to us and the distance is decreasing. 400 yards…300 yards…200 yards! I tell Michelle not to move as I don’t want her making movements with the camera to get a photo, now at the boundary fence and they stop. Come on, jump it Adrian and I are both muttering as he is a shooter! The doe jumps the fence as the buck stands there looking at her, turns around and walks away. You have got to be kidding me, you chase her 400 yards and then turn around and amble back the way you just came? Michelle snaps a photo as he turns and heads away.

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Shooter Reedbuck walking away

As the sun has set, Adrian wants to cruise the farm hoping some other bucks have started to move around. We see a few more decent rams but decide to pass as it’s only the first evening of Reedbuck hunting. A couple photos of two bucks we left for another day.

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Two different Reedbuck left for another day

Darkness falls and we head back to Adrian’s farm for some dinner. Adrian explains Shannah is preparing dinner for us versus his cook, Memory, who is 5 months pregnant and decided just days before we showed up that she doesn’t want to work anymore! She had complications with a pregnancy in the past and doesn’t want to jeopardize losing this baby. At the same time, Shannah had undergone some surgery and wasn’t supposed to lift or over exert herself! Adrian also mentions Shannah is a bit shy!

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Lasagna Dinner

We arrive back at the farm and meet Shannah for the first time and quickly break the ice with her and tell her of some of the interesting conversations we’ve had with Adrian over the past couple of days. Ice broken! She prepared us a delicious dinner of lasagna based off her Mom’s recipe, it was excellent! Garlic bread roasted on the fire pit and green salad topped off our dinner. Notice Michelle double fisting the pink gin and red wine which could be cause for her to forget to take a picture or record what we had for dessert!

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Disappointed Ruger

After dinner we head back out to the firepit where Ruger gives me the look “Why didn’t you shoot that big Reedbuck?” Tomorrow is always another day!
Day 4 – Saturday 12 June 2021:

I’m up early and head downstairs to put the water on to boil for coffee, it’s another cool morning but without the dense fog of previous days. The warm sun rays on the mountains across the valley are gorgeous, I’m thankful to be alive and enjoying this peaceful moment.

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Sunrise on the mountain peaks

The plan for the morning hunt will be to visit another farm with high plateaus for Mountain Reedbuck and Vaal Rhebok. We arrive at the farm and bounce our way up a trail out of the valley and up onto the plateau and immediately spook a decent Common Reedbuck on top of the hill! He heads directly away from us in our general direction of travel.

The animals are active this cold morning with the sun’s rays warming the highlands, a nice Oribi, who promptly crosses the fence into the adjacent land owner’s property. Michelle manages a good shot with the Olympus.

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Another animal sighting in short order as we spot a Jackal who was in turn keeping an eye on us!

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We edge up to the side of a steep valley and spot a group of Mountain Reedbuck on the opposite slope 375 – 400 yards away. Adrian does a quick scan and conspires with Michelle to get a shot of the buck, a quick discussion between the two of them looking at pictures. Verdict, he’s still too young.

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Young Mountain Reedbuck buck and doe on opposite hillside, the buck is at the bottom of the picture

A couple of taps on the roof from Sukkie, our tracker. There are some Vaal Rhebok back to our right and behind us in a side canyon. Adrian has his binoculars on the male but needs him to turn for another view from the side. Michelle is snapping pictures and trading the photos back and forth with Adrian. “You must shoot him” are the words I hear. I haven’t had a chance to see them more than a quick peek over the top of the seat as I’m on the opposite side of the truck. These are the views Adrian and Michelle were viewing:

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Vaal Rhebok

The Rhebok turns and gives us a great side view:

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I step out, pull out the 6.5x284 and attach the Spartan bipod, load a couple of rounds and crawl around to the front to the truck. I belly crawl down the slope through to the edge of the canyon trying to find a clear shot through the grass and rocks and tighten up on the rifle.

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Ready to fire
The range is 137 yards, so I hold dead on the shoulder and then pull the crosshairs back behind the shoulder a bit and squeeze off, he stumbles for a moment and goes down. How lucky can a guy get, a Vaal Rhebok at less than 150 yards!

We hauled him up out of the side canyon and I could hardly breathe, my sea level acclimation is no match for a little altitude and Ruger wasn’t helping out much!

IMG_5955 Vaal Carryout.JPG

All hands on deck to haul the Vaal Rhebok up the hill!

And a couple of photos, what an amazing animal. Michelle is impressed with the long eye lashes.

IMG_8620 Vaal Mountain Background.jpg

Vaal Rhebok in the high country
IMG_8657 Vaal Cropped.jpg

The Drakensberg Mountains still have snow in the higher peaks.

IMG_8613 Snow in the Drakensburg.jpg

Drakensberg peaks in the distance
We head back to Adrian’s farm for lunch and have Sukkie and Patrick skin out the Vaal for a shoulder mount. He would measure out at 8 ¼” with heavy bases, well above the Rowland Ward minimum of 7 14/16”. A shoulder mount is in order for this beauty, I don't have room for a full body mount.

One comment on the 140 grain 6.5mm Accubond, I either pulled the shot badly to the right or wasn’t quite clear of the grass and hit the Vaal too far back as there was no wind and I had a rock solid hold off the bipod. The result was rather explosive from the onside entry but the bullet did exit the far side. I hadn’t seen performance such as this on a Whitetail but I haven’t hit one with the 140 Accubond behind the ribs either.

The plan for the evening is another go for Common Reedbuck, this time at a farm just a few minutes away. We spot a good number of Reedbuck but none big enough to begin a stalk. The Reedbuck feed in the green pastures and bed in the lowland flay or head up into the rocky hills.

IMG_6082 Reedbuck bedded in hills.JPG

Can you find the Common Reedbuck in the picture?

IMG_6072 Young Reedbuck Bedded.JPG

Another young Common Reedbuck bedded in the hills

The sun was getting low in the sky and Adrian wanted to check out some of the flay in the valley adjacent to the green fields. As we skirted one of the fields we found a soft spot, time to walk while Sukkie and a farm hand free the Cruiser!

IMG_5981 Stuck Cruiser cropped.jpg

Stuck cruiser, time to walk and stalk!

We head around the side of the hill and Adrian spots a Bushbuck off in the distance alongside the river bottom. Michelle is able to get a shot with the camera and we huddle around while we expand the view, this guy deserves a closer look!

IMG_6102 Bushbuck Cropped.JPG

We make our way closer, ducking under electric fences to keep the dairy cows in check while trying to avoid the cow pies. I tell Adrian this Bushbuck needs to be an absolute smoker for me to shoot, as I’ve taken three Bushbuck in past hunts and have gotten a lecture from Michelle. Michelle is giving us the evil eye as I ask her to stay put while Adrian and I stalk a bit closer and settle in for the last 15 – 20 minutes of shooting light. The Bushbuck had disappeared into the thick cover and we were hoping for a second look.

A pretty nice Reedbuck walks past us at around 200 yards but we were locked into the Bushbuck at this point.

IMG_6106 Reedbuck at last light.JPG

Common Reedbuck at last light

The Bushbuck steps out and I have the rifle locked into the tripod, about 350 yards, but we let him walk. He’s a really really nice Bushbuck but not a giant, if I hadn’t taken multiple Bushbuck on previous hunts, I would have taken a shot at this one.

After dinner and sitting around the fire pit sipping on drinks, Adrian looks up from his phone, the Eland have broken down the cattle fences to get into the green fields. We must leave very early in the morning to circle around above them and try to catch the herd before they disappear into the Drakensberg. Thoughts of Eland dance in my head as I fall asleep.
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Beautiful Vaal, Congrats!
Nice vaal! Some great pics also!
Wow, what a great report so far. Really looking forward to the rest of it.
You got some nice animals to this point but the Vaal Rhebok and Springbok are seriously awesome(attention getters).
Thank you for sharing
I’m really enjoying this report so far and the photos. It’s a different South Africa/Africa than most of us see. A hunt like this is on my future list.
I’m really enjoying this report so far and the photos. It’s a different South Africa/Africa than most of us see. A hunt like this is on my future list.
Yes, not what you would think hunting "Africa". After experiencing the Eastern Cape and hunting in the wilds of Zimbabwe twice, I thought a scenery change would be interesting. With Adrian offering free-range hunts, I thought a "Buck/Bok" slam would be a nice hunt. I grew up working on dairy farms during the summer, the added attraction of hunting Africa in dairy and farm country was also part of the allure.
Day 5 – Sunday 13 June 2021 – Morning Hunt:

I’m going to break up Day 5 into morning and evening hunt reports due to the number of pictures.

We are up early and out the door to try and get up the mountain before the Eland leave the field for the night. We get to the intercept spot after driving through a flay and around the hill, versus driving up the two track to avoid spooking the Eland if they were still in the green field. Adrian tells us of a couple of instances where they have shot Eland in this very spot as they move up out of the succulent bottomlands to the safety of the high hills.

We sit tight on the cold windy ridge for about an hour, nothing has moved. Sukkie walks down to where the eland had been feeding the previous evening and the field was empty, they had already moved back up into the hills before daybreak.

Adrian wants to check out the plateau and ridges above us and we start the grind up through the steep valley, much of it in four-wheel drive low range as we bounce up a washed out two track.

IMG_8667 Upper valley drove.jpg

Driving up through the crease/valley to get to the high plateau

We top out after 30 minutes of bouncing up the valley and spot a group of Vaalies off in the distance. We perch ourselves on top of edge of the hill overlooking the steep rocky ravines, now looking for Mountain Reedbuck. The farmer had spotted some in the previous days so we had some high hopes we would encounter them.

IMG_6122 top of the plateau.jpg

Adrian glassing as Michelle takes a selfie!

The ever-present Jackals are out prowling in the warming sun, if we weren’t after Mountain Reedbuck there would have been one less!

IMG_6147 Jackal cropped.JPG


IMG_6125 Ruger looking for game.JPG

Ruger on watch

IMG_6127 Views of the Drakensberg foothills.JPG

Great views across the countryside from our high perch

Ruger still has pretty sharp eyes and is surveying the land, note the green pasture and hay fields in the valley as they will come into play within a few hours. We watch a Common Reedbuck ram feed along the fence line at the bottom of the hill, he looked decent from 600 – 700 yards away. I say we, but Michelle can’t locate the Reedbuck in the flay. The directions from Adrian and I on where to look were hilarious! It goes something like this. Adrian “See that big rock down there, he’s about 100 meters to the left of it by the bush”. Michelle turns to us and says “There are a million f-ing rocks down there”. My turn, “see that green bush by that big rock to the left of the second ravine, he’s below it by the fence”. At this point, we are all laughing at the absurdity of trying to guide someone’s eye on a hill covered with rocks, green bushes and tufts of grass! This goes on for days…See that big rock…he’s by the green tree down the hill …. You get the idea!

I try and have a better look through the 12x scope but the Reedbuck has bedded down in some thick “flay” and is very hard to see.

IMG_6140 Scoping Common Reedbuck.JPG

Checking out the Common Reedbuck and the rifle was unloaded!

New plan, see if we can sneak in and have a closer look. Sukkie would bring the Cruiser around the way we had come in while the three of us would descend down the hillside.

IMG_6123 Hiking off the mountain.jpg

Half way down!

IMG_6144 Beauty in a harsh place.JPG

Even in the steep rocky terrain there is beauty

IMG_6161 View of the hill we descended.JPG

View of the hill we descended

We are closing the gap to the Reedbuck when Adrian says, there is a young Waterbuck bull looking at us! There was a small area that must have had a spring or seep to keep the grass green and support some type of green bush. I was surprised to see a Waterbuck as this was free range. Adrian explained there were now Waterbuck established that had escaped from high fence areas.

Adrian was able to snap a decent photo of the Reedbuck from about 125 yards out so we knew he still needed to grow.

IMG_6146 Common RB bedded.JPG

Reedbuck nestled down in the flay

How close would this Reedbuck ram let us approach before bolting?

IMG_6148 Reedbuck you cant see me.JPG

Look for the black "pipes" by the green bush next to the rock :LOL:

Michelle can finally see the Reedbuck!

IMG_6152 Out of here.JPG

Out of here!

We started down out of the foothills and were above the green field when Adrian stopped and began glassing the field below and to the right of us. I could see a couple of brown specks out in the field but Michelle snapped some pics while her and Adrian studied the photos.

The Duiker ram was keeping his ears slanted back and was hard to make out the horn length, with the enlarged photos from the camera Adrian turns to me and says I think he’s a monster Duiker! Well, I had taken a nice Duiker back in 2017 in the eastern cape but if Adrian says I need to shoot, I guess I need to shoot!

“Do you want to take the shot from here, it’s about 365 yards” he asks? No, lets see if we can get closer was my response. The male was constantly nosing the female around and they are pretty small targets!

IMG_6221 Male pushing female Duiker.JPG

Duiker pair

We were able to sneak in closer and closed the deal on the Duiker at a little over 200 yards.

IMG_8698 Ed and Duiker cropped.JPG

What a great Duiker!

We headed back to Adrian’s to have Sukkie and Patrick cape out the Duiker and we put a tape to the horns, 5 1/8”! Another great trophy, well above the Roland Ward minimum of 4 1/2”. We decide to head into town for some lunch before heading out for the evening hunt. More to come!

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Good morning 7MAG. I have a NEW, never mounted, Leupold M8-4X Extended Eye Relief scope that I will sell you for $325 shipped to you. I was a Leupold rep for 12 years and this was always our preferred mounting for a lever gun, scout rifle style.
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