SOUTH AFRICA: BAYLY SIPPEL SAFARIS Safaris March 13 - 20, 2022


AH enthusiast
Jun 16, 2016
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Ontario, Canada
Hunting reports
Canada, U.S.A., Namibia, England, South Africa
Well, I have been home for a couple of weeks now, still processing the phenomenal experience I have just had with the good people at Bayly Sippel Safaris. It's time for me to put pen to paper, so to speak, and re-live what was my second hunting trip to Africa. My second "Once in a Lifetime" experience!

Before I get right into it, I think I should give a little preamble as to how I got here in the first place. Back in 2019, I was cruising through the Deals section here on the Forum, when I came across an offer from Bayly Sippel. South Africa, Plains Game, Dangerous Game, their setup looked good, the species on offer was vast and varied. When it came to the pricing, something caught my eye. Instead of just a listing in American Dollars, they had also broken it down in the Euro, Pound, Australian, and low and behold, the Canadian dollar as well. Now, this may not seem like such a big deal, and maybe it isn't, but it seemed to me that if these guys were happy to take the time to break down their pricing for those of us not living in the States, then for me at least, they were probably worth speaking to.
I contacted Dempsey Bayly, one half of the duo, and he got right back to me. We had a really good conversation, and it all felt "right". There was no pressure, no sales pitch, just a simple man to man conversation about their operation, and hunting in general. I ended that first WhatsApp conversation feeling pretty positive, and was happy to get the ball rolling on preparing to visit them.........
Well, life has a way of throwing a curveball at you once in a while - along comes a little thing called Covid-19, and things are put on hold. For two years.
Dempsey and I kept in touch throughout all the openings and closings, Government interventions, lockdowns and cancellations. Finally, there was an opening, and after much hoop-jumping and lockdown dodging, the dates were set!

This trip was not just about me. My wife had also been locked in the house for two years. We travel a lot, so she was looking at her breakout as well. She booked a trip for us and two of our friends for when my hunting portion was done with. A 7 day safari, at a great price, with dates that slid in perfectly after mine! What could be the downside? Well, that safari was in Kenya, and as we all know, Kenya and firearms do not mix. So, the decision was made for me, I would be borrowing a rifle. Not a decision that I was particularly happy with, but concessions had to be made. Hell, after two years stuck at home, I probably would have agreed to using a club if it meant getting to hunt in Africa again.

Day 1, March 13
Dempsey picked me up and we started our journey to their Madikwe camp, a little over 3 hours from O.R. Tambo airport, on good roads. Painless. I was to be their first client of the year, and the only one in camp. Michael Sippel, the other half of the partnership joined us along with Trackers Big John and Alfred, apprentice Dewaune, and various camp staff.
Off to the shooting range that afternoon. I opted to use their BRNO 602 ZKK-602, chambered in .375 H&H as it fits me well, and I have the same rifle here at home. I also was given the option of shooting off of a regular set of shooting sticks, or using a set of their Viper-Flex four legged sticks. I gave them a go, and after a few practice rounds, found them to be very stable. I was there to learn, and see how things are done at their camp, so I was eager to try new things.
Camp was very comfortable. Safari style tents set to a permanent base, running hot and cold water, flush toilets, nice décor, and Wi-Fi as well.

Fantastic food, served in a much larger dining tent, and the communal fire pit area rounded off the camp. I must say, there was no way I was about to lose any weight while dining at this camp!

Day 2, March 14 The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
The Good:
After an early start following a hearty breakfast, a really nice warthog is spotted! He is trotting away from me at 200m, and I opt for the old Texas heart shot, which exits out his left front shoulder. I put another into him at 30m, which was not needed, but he didn't know he was dead yet so it seemed like the thing to do.

Congratulations all around! While the pig is being processed and loaded, a Black Wildebeest is spotted by a member of the crew. I am asked if I am ready to try my luck again - and yessir- I sure was!

The Bad:
The stalk is on foot, and a hasty one at that. Lots of crouching and skulking, then Dempsey put me into an absolutely beautiful position at 120m away. The sticks go up, and - I rush the shot. I heard it hit, but he took off, and fast. This was not a good performance on my part. A track of him is initiated, which lasts several hours, but the blood simply dried up. The chase is abandoned, and I am disappointed in myself, but the crew worked very hard to try and make it work for me.
The afternoon is spent trying our luck on Impala, Zebra and another Warthog, but all are busted in one way or another. Besides my poor shot, I am thoroughly enjoying every second of this first hunting day!
In the evening, around the watering hole, which is situated around 50m from the campfire, three Cape Buffalo came for a drink. The guys declare that one of them would be a shooter for sure. I swear I could smell them for some time before they were noticed. Later that night, as I was checking in with my wife back home in Canada on WhatsApp, those same three Buff came lumbering right past my sleeping tent! I legged it back to the fire. What an experience!

Day 3, March 15
The Ugly:
4 or 5 stalks were made in an attempt at a nice Zebra stallion this morning, but all were busted either by Giraffe or Waterbuck. Finally, at around 12:30, the sticks go up on a Zebra at 150m, I fire, and he is hit. It sounded good, and the chase begins. 1.5 hours of blood and spoor, and then he heads into the thick and thorny stuff. We decide to head back for lunch, and let him settle down.
After lunch, a terrible, thorny tracking job takes place. It is hot, and humid, but there is lots of blood and Dempsey, Michael and Big John are confident that we will find him. After a time, the blood just stops. A tiny speck is spotted, then off we go again. This pattern continues for 5 hours, and we mark the last sign of him before heading back to camp for the evening. A truly incredible effort was made on my behalf by the whole crew.

Day 4, March 16
An early start after breakfast to resume the search for the Zebra. We get back on the trail at the last known sighting and it's looking good! After another two hours though, the unfortunate happens - Rain. All the blood and spoor is simply washed away. Although I am very disappointed in myself, no one makes me feel bad or pressures me in any way. This is simply how it goes sometimes.

We head back to camp. On this trip, I was there to see as much of the operation as possible. That meant that we were to pack up on this afternoon, and head to their other camp in South Africa. This is the Denderon Camp, located in Limpopo North. This would be the camp for those that wanted a few more amenities than the tented camp can offer. I wouldn't say that one is better than the other, just different. Larger groups can be accommodated here, and the buildings are of a more permanent nature, as in brick and thatched roof cottages. There is a swimming pool, several ponds, and a Hippo Dam has just been built on the property in order to facilitate the arrival of a breeding pair later on in the year.


We arrived that afternoon and were warmly greeted by Dev, the owner of this family run property. After settling into my assigned cottage, we went for a quick evening game drive and to get the lay of the land. Numerous species were spotted and I got a sense that everyone involved here was out to offer me as good of an experience as possible. We really enjoyed ourselves, like a group of old friends.
Coincidentally, this is the evening that I "discovered" a South African staple. Mixed with coke, it makes for a truly tremendous libation!


Day 5, March 17
Today is little overcast, and to me, slightly brisk. To my three South African companions riding in the Bakkie with me, it is downright cold. Impala is to be the focus of the day, so we set off in search of some suitable prey. To be honest, I was now doubting my shooting a little bit after the last two episodes. My reserve of confidence was getting somewhat depleted. The Viper-Flex sticks were new to me, and I was finding out that there was a bit of a learning curve. I was offered a set of traditional sticks, but I opted to stick with them. I am here to experience and to learn and intended to do just that.
Several stalks were made, but either swirling wind or the eyes of the herd busted us. It is now lunch time, and myself and the three shivering South Africans headed back for a delicious lunch and midday nap.
We checked out a neighboring property in the afternoon, with Impala still the focus. We got busted on three stalks, but on the fourth, success! The Viper-Flex sticks went up at 100m, Dempsey putting me on a perfect broadside shooting opportunity. It seemed an eternity for a clear shot, with the herd milling about, but finally, my target is clear (except for it's head, hidden behind a bush). Dempsey says "take him" and at the shot, the herd scatters! We recover the "trophy" Impala, dead at the shot, taken with great skill and stalking prowess, only to find that I have shot an entirely different animal than the one intended. A female, but a perfect textbook shot nonetheless. More than a few chuckles are exchanged, but no matter, my confidence has returned, and my faith is restored in the Viper Sticks.

Day 6, March 18
More overcast weather, a little wind, a little drizzle - what I would consider a perfect hunting day! Three Cape Buffalo are encountered right away, with Michael giving me the lowdown on which one would be the shooter. Sable, Kudu, Nyala, Gemsbuck, all spotted today. At 8:00AM, a huge herd of Impala is spotted, with one very impressive Ram amongst them. We do a super-sneak, with some skulking, crouching and bum-shuffling towards the Ram. We are patient, and finally, at 120m and at a perfect broadside position, I took the shot and he was down!
IMG-20220318-WA0000 (1).jpg

Impala to the skinning shed, then back out again to take another crack at at Zebra. At 10:00AM, we are busted by the Gemsbuck security force surrounding a nice Zebra pair. Another herd is then spotted, and Dempsey and Michael choose a Mare with a really nice coat. At 110m, I take the shot - it sounds good, like a solid hit. The herd splits into two, half going left, and half going right. The left group decides to cross the road to join up with the rest of the herd. Several passed in front, with us being at 50m on the road. Finally, the Mare came out to cross, limping, and I took a snap shot that caught her in the lungs, She was down in 20m. Such a sense of relief, redemption on a Zebra.



A great morning so far! After the lunch break, we head out again to see what we can find. About 45 minutes before last light, a nice Wildebeest is spotted and I am asked if I would like some Wildebeest redemption. I think for about 30 seconds, then answer with a simple "yes". We initiate a stalk on the nice old male, and at 160m, the sticks go up. The shot felt good, slightly quartered away, and at the shot, he makes a giant leap, runs a bit, then stops. He is now facing us, same distance, head on, I tell Dempsey " I can put one right into his chest" . His reply " send it". At the shot, he disappeared, but made some terrible " Gorilla like" noises, huffing and snorting. I fully expected to see him lying on the ground on approach, but he was nowhere to be found. All the crew join us in the search, and the trail is discovered. Some blood is found, and we slowly jump from splatter to splatter, but the light is fading, and we decide to call off the search until morning.
I am totally beside myself, dejected, disgusted and pissed off at my shooting. I really thought I had mastered the Viper-Flex sticks.

Day 7, March 19
The night had been a low one for me. After the highs of the previous day, I felt very bad indeed. The crew cut the trail in the morning, but it had been a dewy night, and when I ask about the conditions, the reply is a simple "Not the best".
However, the trail is picked up, with a decent amount of blood, and the chase resumes. Big John, as it turns out, is some sort of tracking savant. Patient, with eyes like no other. Literal specks of blood lead us deeper into the grass. Two hours go by, then, a snort, and the big bull makes a dash for it from behind some bushes! Dempsey and Michael take off running after the Wildebeest, leaving myself, Big John, Alfred and apprentice Dewaune to stay with the track. We play a game of leap frog, with me remaining at the last spoor, then summoned up to the latest sign. 30 minutes pass, and we rejoin Dempsey and Michael, who are awaiting us. 15 minutes later, another dash, and a shot from Michael's 9.3x62, with a high hit! Things are really heating up now! The trail is getting easier to follow now. He has crossed a road, and trotted down it, leaving fresh blood and spoor. He eventually ran into the edge of the property. We estimate he has run a little over 4 kilometers from where he was initially shot. He encounters a fence, and makes a left turn, following the fence line. In the distance, we can see several Wildebeest, Kudu, and Eland gathered, and think that our guy has joined this group. As we close the gap, most of the animals disperse, species by species. Our customer has not been spotted leaving the area, and we slowly walk towards the area. Dempsey has the .375 H&H, Michael has his 9,3x62, and I have a .308 at the port arms position, all of us ready to react. I can sense the tension - it is electric. Suddenly, the Beast bolts, right past us at 15m! We all take a shot as he passes by - I can only see black in the scope as he races by, but we must put him down. Michael puts in a second shot from his 9.3x62, the last in the flurry of shots.
The trail now, even I can easily follow, as there is lots of blood. We eventually spot him, lying at the base of a tree, and I put the final shot into his heart, ending the chase.
I do not tell this story to glorify what happened - it is simply what took place. I tell it this way in an attempt to illustrate the lengths that the team at Bayly Sippel Safaris will go to in order for someone like me to have a successful outcome. All told, this was an over six hour tracking job. Not once did anyone ever entertain the idea of giving up, or quitting on me. They persevered, and showed a level of professionalism that is all too uncommon in this day and age.


The post mortem shed a little light onto how all of this took place. My first shot caught him low, in the leg. The second shot, the one where he was facing us, caught him in the snout, and missed his chest completely. That is why he made all of the snorting noises on his departure. All in all, he took 8 shots to be brought down. A testament to the incredible will to live that these African animals possess. I now know why these animals are sometime referred to as "The poor Man's Buffalo".


A big, heartfelt appreciation to everyone on the team at Bayly Sippel Safaris. They made me feel like a long lost member of the family.
I enjoyed a simply phenomenal experience. From the food and accommodation, to the variety of game species on offer, it was all first class from start to finish.

My advice to those on the fence about travelling in our post-Covid world - do it! It's time we all got out there and started to enjoy life again!

If anyone has any questions about this trip, please, feel free to to PM me, I am more than happy to talk your ear off about it!
Sounds like a great time despite some rough spots, but that’s hunting. Congrats.
Congrats and thanks for sharing!
Thanks for sharing your hunt with us. I enjoyed reading it.
Thanks for the report, we'll done
Sounds like a great time despite some rough spots, but that’s hunting. Congrats.
Thanks Bourbon Trail,

It would be a massive understatement in just saying that I had a great time! They really have their operation locked down, and I genuinely experienced another "Once in a Lifetime" hunt!

As for the rough spots, yes, I included those in the report as well. I believe those times when things don't go my way are as just as important as when they do. I have learned way more from my scars and missteps than I have from a situation where success is simply handed to me. I am seriously looking into getting myself a set of those Viper-Flex sticks that gave me a few troubles. I golden opportunity to master them! Also, I think it's time for me to spend some more quality time behind the trigger of my own .375 H&H!

Cheers to all who commented!
thanks for taking the time to do a thorough report !
Congrats, and thanks for sharing !
Thanks for sharing and telling it how it is ! Things do not always go as planned.
Great write up!
This is a top-notch group to hunt with. I was with them last year and am booked for next.
Great report and congrats!

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