My plan was to post this some time ago, as I was transcribing my diary and notes onto the computer, but someone broke into my truck and decided they wanted it all....I thought everything was lost! About two weeks ago, I found a semi-late copy that I had printed out. I was able to scan it and edit. So here it goes..... It may take a few days to get it all online. 2016 Safari -The Family Safari Tootabi Hunting Safari's Eastern Cape, South Africa The Plan After my first Safari with lbamba Safaris in 2013, I knew the "once in a lifetime" trip would have to be at least a "twice in a lifetime" trip because I wanted to bring my family back with me. The planning started in Aug 2013 for a trip in either 2015 or 2016. I was looking for a family style safari where only two would be hunting, my youngest daughter and wife would not be hunters. The safari was not about me hunting, it was more about the family time. Between the planning and actual execution, my wife and I split and I retired from the military, but I still wanted to take the girls with me on the trip. So it was decided that my Aunt will now go and the family trip was still a go! I loved the first hunt with lbamba, but I wanted to see a different part of South Africa, so the decision was to go to the Eastern Cape. While on-line searching many forums, I would always settle on Africa Hunting.com to do most of my research. This site provided a lot of info that was very useful during my first hunt. While on the site, a new outfitter asked if you could design a hunt, how would you design it? My entry was simple.... A Family Safari. It was a simple concept, offer a 7 or 10 day safari for two hunters, with two observers and time for extras. The primary hunters would choose 5 animals from a list. One animal from the larger species, two from the midsized animals and two smaller ones. The package would also offer shopping, spas, local attractions and game drives. The offer also included a "Kiddie Package" that included one smaller trophy animal and two cull animals. For this hunt, I choose a nyala, red hartebeest, upgraded a kudu to a gemsbok, a springbuck and a warthog. Annie, my oldest daughter, selected a trophy impala, and cull warthog and blesbok. She also determined that she would hunt the red hartebeest and the nyala from my list. I was treating my Aunt and Haley to their own "Safari" that included a spa day, shopping, a day exploring Addo National Park, time at the Daniell Cheetah Reserve and some local game drives around the hunting concessions. Since we would also celebrate Haley's 12th birthday, we also scheduled an Elephant Back Safari at Addo Elephant Park. With the plan set, dates selected, deposits sent and then the long wait started. Travel (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) May 21-23, 2016 After a year of planning and a divorce, it was time to travel on a "Family Safari" with my two daughters and my Aunt. All tickets were set and checked. The plan was to depart Tucson, fly to LAX then to JFK on Delta, and meet up with my Aunt. Change airlines over to African Airways for the trip to Johannesburg and finally to Port Elizabeth on the Eastern Cape. Based on previous travels with guns, we arrived at Tucson International 2 hours and 30 minutes prior to departure. To my surprise the Delta gate agent knew what she was doing! She even knew the new procedures for international travel for children traveling with a single parent. Needless to say, within about 20 minutes we were off to TSA security. This should be somewhat easy because everyone was listed as TSA pre-check, but that was not to be... My daughters made it thru without issues, but then the bottom fell out. The trouble centered around two ink pens that I packed as gifts for the PH and outfitter. My father makes pins and fashioned two that had bullet shaped ends to them ... Can you imagine what that looked like on the X-Ray screen? To top it off, my carry-on bag was also the same bag that I used for shotgun competitions; more on that one to follow. So, because the TSA agent manning the X-Ray screens was on his "A" game, my bag was selected for the extra look, which also meant the extra explosive screening and an extra screening for the owner... me. They dug out the pens from inside of my hunting boots and handed them over to the supervisor. Once he gave them a close inspection, and tested them, the OK was given. Then during the explosives screen, my bag came back positive, yep my shooting competition bag.... This meant a complete un-pack of the bag and a complete pat-down for me. My girls thought this was pretty funny and got a good laugh. After it was complete, we were off to eat breakfast 15 minutes later and wait at the gate for the flight. Both flights to LAX and JFK were uneventful. In New York, we met up with my Aunt for the final legs of the trip. Then time to wait for the long 14 hour flight to J'Berg. Once we arrived, we were met at the plane by a gentleman from RiflePermits.com who escorted us thru immigration and customs. Then it was time for the weapons check process with Anna and Charles from Rifle Permits who escorted us through the South African Police area firearms reception area. Everything went without a hitch, including the re-check for the final leg of the travel to Port Elizabeth. After landing at Port Elizabeth and baggage claim, we were met by Loodt from Tootabi Hunting Safaris and escorted for the final weapons check. Again, no issues and very through. Everyone loaded up in the Bakkie, the term the locals used for the hunting vehicle, for the trip to the lodge. But before we departed the city, we made a quick stop at the beach for ice cream at a local shop. We made two more stops for supplies then it was time to hit the road for the 1 hour 30 minute trip to the place we would call home for the next 11 days. It was a nice drive and we discussed some of the priorities for the trip which included celebrating Haley's 12th Birthday, a spa day for the ladies, nyala for my daughter, and gemsbok for me and spending some quality time together. On the drive in, we spotted giraffe, zebra, blesbok and impala. It was a great start to a fun filled trip. Picture of the Family Room Once we arrived, we were shown our rooms, introduced to some of the staff and met our Professional Hunter, Lammie and our tracker, Atti. The accommodations were very nice. I was in a single room and the ladies were in the family room. For our first dinner, we enjoyed a kudu pot roast, rice, butternut squash and spinach with an Apple Tart and cream for dessert. We also discussed the plan for the next day which was to meet in the morning, sight-in the rifles, Winchester Model 70 in .308 with a Burris Eliminator scope shooting 168 grain Barnes TTSX for Annie, and a Blaser R-93 in .375 H&H with a Leupold VX-R Hog shooting 250 grain Hornady GMX for me. Then off for Annie to hunt a red hartebeest, the first animal on her hit list.