SOUTH AFRICA: End Of Season Newsletter 2018 Karoo Wild Safaris

victorw

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Karoo Wild Safaris – End of Season Newsletter 2018

We’ve come to the end of another remarkable season. We had a number of successful plains game hunts with some outstanding trophies taken, new friendships forged and a lifetime of memories made. 2018 will forever be remembered by me as the year of the big fellas; eland and buffalo. We had incredible success this year and took a number of world class eland bulls. The highs and lows of hunting the dangerous cape buffalo will leave an everlasting mark on the 2018 season. Our buffalo hunting concessions I believe offer some of the best fair chase buffalo hunting in South Africa.

Our season began in early March with the hunt of Jason and Greg, two first time visitors to South Africa. Jason made a remarkable offhand shot to claim a black backed jackal on the very first morning. The kudu had us working hard and we had a few close encounters when our luck changed dramatically on the third day, Jason taking an old bull early that morning and Greg bagging his kudu late that afternoon. At the end of the hunt Jason would take a jackal, kudu, impala, springbuck and blesbuck; with Greg getting a warthog, kudu, baboon, springbuck, steenbuck and common duiker. We look forward to our hunt with Greg next year.

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Buddy and Lori returned to South Africa for their honeymoon. They hunted with us in 2016 and we were excited to welcome our friends back for more adventure. They combined their hunt with a self drive trip down the coast to shark cage dive at Mossel Bay, sightseeing in Betty’s Bay and Cape Town. They spent some time in Franschhoek visiting the 1671 French Huguenot established wine farms. No man alive has more kudu hunting luck than Buddy. This was proven to be true on the afternoon of the first day when we watched a kudu descend down a mountain and walk directly towards where we had been waiting, surrendering a mere hundred yards from us. Buddy is indeed a kudu magnet. Later in the 5 day hunt Buddy shot a black wildebeest and we had to circumnavigate around an angry herd of elephant to get to a waterbuck bull. Buddy also took a black springbuck ram.

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We welcomed Andrew and son, Alexander from New York on a father and son hunt. Andrew is originally from South Africa, attended school in the Eastern Cape and has a passion for the Karoo. It was a memorable hunt with Andrew getting an eland after a length stalk and Alex bagging his first ever animal, a blesbuck ram. Alex’s remarkable first hunt continued with him bagging a world class waterbuck, black wildebeest and several impala. Andrew also got a monster blue wildebeest. They shared some memorable father and son moments and for four days enjoyed the rhythm of nature together forgetting about measured time and the pressures of modern life.

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Howard and Magi returned for their annual South Africa hunt and holiday, their 3rd visit to Karoo Wild Safaris. Lindsay and Magi did several sightseeing trips. I’ve had some wonderful hunts with Howard and our success continued this year with Howard getting a red lechwe, sable, nyala, black springbuck, burchells zebra and mountain reedbuck. Howard’s eland was the highlight; we followed the herd up a mountain and got ahead of them before Howard made a remarkable 300 yard shot to bag an old blue bull.

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Bob returned for his 2nd hunt with Karoo Wild Safaris. His friend, Joe accompanied him on this trip. Joe hunted with Arnold as his PH. Top of Bob’s wish list was a lesser known antelope, the tsetsebe. Tsetsebe are notoriously difficult to sex and it took us some time before we could pick him a good bull. Bob was also successful on mountain reedbuck, steenbok and klipspringer. We finally put our bushbuck voodoo to rest with Bob getting a bushbuck on his second last day. Arnold and Joe had a terrific hunt. Joe shot a big kudu deep in the mountains and was also successful on impala, bushbuck, springbuck, zebra and gemsbuck

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Nibbs guided long time Karoo Wild friend, Rob on his 5th trip with us. Rob was incredibly fortunate to get a magnificent buffalo on his first day of hunting. He also went down in folklore as being the first Karoo Wild hunter to shoot a buffalo whilst barefoot. Others may copy him but we’ll remember Rob as being the pioneer of this form of hunting. Being barefoot enabled them to get within 50 yards and make certain of that critical first shot.

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The Ellis family from Alaska, joined us for their first African hunting trip. Dad Terry, was joined by children Gary, Jim, Robert, Claire, Laura and son in law James. Nibbs and Arnold guided them on their 9 day adventure. A multitude of animals were hunted - two giraffe, two zebra, two springbuck, three kudu, three blesbuck, three gemsbuck, three impala, a black wildebeest and an ostrich. Highlights of the hunt were Gary’s remarkable 400 yard kill shot on a superb kudu, Robert’s giraffe, Claire’s gemsbok and Laura and James first ever antelope/deer, a world class blesbuck and impala. They also enjoyed a trip to Graaff Reinet and the Addo Elephant National Park. We hope to welcome the Ellis family back to South Africa.

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Craig was in South Africa on business and took the opportunity to combine business with some hunting pleasure. Nibbs guided Craig to a trophy kudu, gemsbok and impala.

Redgie from San Antonio, Texas returned for his 2nd hunt, this time with the spiral horn antelope in his sights. Despite some poor weather in the beginning of his hunt Redgie and I were able to get a nyala and impala on the first day. We put in an elaborate 2 hour stalk to outwit a kudu in foggy conditions on the second day. Paul, the videographer, joined us for the second leg of the hunt and was on hand to get excellent footage of Redgie making kills on eland and zebra.

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Video of Redgie's Eland hunt -


Danilo and his son Lorenzo and wife Christiana joined us from Brazil on their 2nd hunt with Karoo Wild. It was a fun hunt and family vacation and Danilo and Lorenzo shot several management kudu and impala on their 6 day hunt. Lindsay and Christiana visited several attractions in the area. Look forward to seeing Danilo and family again next year.

Tim and Teri joined us for their 2nd hunting trip with Karoo Wild. Tim and I were successful on 10 plains game species last year. This year’s hunt was primarily for a cape buffalo and a nyala, the one plains game species that eluded us last year. We connected with a nyala early in the hunt and travelled north for a few days to hunt buffalo. Lindsay and Teri spent a few days in Port Elizabeth frequenting the shops, restaurants and local attractions. Tim, Paul (cameraman) and I had a hard but enjoyable buffalo hunt. We went without success over the course of the first two days. It was full moon and the buffalo were grazing exclusively at night. We narrowly missed connecting with a large herd after sunset on the second day. After moving in on buffalo bedded down in an acacia thicket, we found ourselves surrounded in rapidly fading light and managed to extricate ourselves from the precarious position. Late on the third day we got into a great position above a group of five buffalo bulls, the hunting gods smiled down upon us and Tim got the buffalo of his hunting dreams.

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Video Of Tim's Buffalo Hunt -


Mark and his wife Deborah from North Carolina joined us to hunt a spiral horn package. Mark had previously hunted in Namibia and hadn’t been able to connect with a kudu and had been dreaming of a kudu ever since. Tracker Mitchell sighted an impressive kudu bull early on the first morning and after a good stalk Mark made a world class shot to claim his kudu. After putting his kudu voodoo to bed, Mark had a fantastic hunt getting a bushbuck late on the second day, a nyala on the morning of the third day and a blue eland bull on the fourth morning. We thought we’d reached the pinnacle of hunting success when we bumped into a once in a lifetime waterbuck late that afternoon.

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Pete and Peg from Oregon visited the Eastern Cape for a 10 day plains game and buffalo hunt. Our incredible kudu luck continued as Mitchell again sighted a beautiful kudu bull early on the first morning and Pete made the first of many fine shots to claim a great trophy. Over the course of the next 4 days, Pete would successfully hunt a waterbuck, black wildebeest, blesbuck, zebra, eland and nyala. The buffalo hunt again proved tricky. After a blown stalk at sunset on the second day, we connected with several bulls early the next morning. Eventually our luck turned as we had eyes on one venturing into a thicket. We tried to emulate Rob’s barefoot buffalo adventures and took our shoes off but finally opted against moving closer. We bided our time and Pete made a terrific 150 yard shot to get his buffalo. A few days later we were able to connect with a bushbuck and impala also.

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Ken Link Snr and son Ken Link Jnr from Denver, Colorado hunted with Nibbs on their 7 day hunt. Despite some heavy rain during the week, they hunted a zebra, nyala, impala, black wildebeest and red hartebeest during their time in the Karoo.

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George from Pennsylvania visited the Eastern Cape for the first time in late August. George has hunted all over Africa over the course of the last 15 years. Some of the smaller, more elusive species were on George’s wish list. George being an avid photographer, we took our time and enjoyed the scenery of the different areas we hunted. We got a white springbuck early on the first day and were extremely lucky to connect with the elusive vaal rhebuck later that day. We bagged a rare aardwolf and bat eared fox, red lechwe, a porcupine, two copper springbuck and mountain reedbuck in the first 4 days. Later on George shot a cape grysbuck, steenbuck, a common duiker, cape bushbuck and two black springbuck. One evening Mitchell called a predator in with a whistle. Thinking it was a jackal, George fired and we were surprised to find a dead caracal tom! The oribi proved a tricky customer in rainy weather. George eventually took a fine ram to move one animal closer to getting his “tiny ten” group of antelope. I look forward to hunting again with George next year.

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Lifetime friends Geoff and Chris and their wives Kerry and Mary Ellen from Queensland Australia hunted and toured with us on their 12 day hunt and vacation. Lindsay and Mary Ellen visited the coast and Cape Town on a 4 day tour. The hunting was terrific with Geoff and Chris taking their chances. Again, we were extremely fortunate to get Geoff a kudu on the first day with Chris and Arnold (PH) connecting with a kudu two days later. Geoff hunted a kudu, impala, took a full springbok slam and completed his spiral slam by hunting an eland, bushbuck and nyala. We were fortunate to connect with two warthogs and he also hunted a blue wildebeest, gemsbok and several of the tiny ten species; a steenbok, duiker and klipspringer. Chris got an impala, eland, zebra, waterbuck, warthog and gemsbok early in his hunt. In the 2nd week, he hunted a bushbuck, common springbuck, black springbuck, steenbok and duiker. It was a fun two weeks and we look forward to welcoming Geoff and Kerry back in 2019 and Chris and Mary Ellen the following year.

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We’re fortunate to have a free lance videographer of Paul calibre at our disposal. He’s available throughout 2019 to record your hunting adventure should you wish to make use of his services.

After the drought conditions of 2016, 2017 and the first half of 2018 we’ve been blessed to have exceptionally heavy rains in late August and early September. The Karoo has come alive again this spring and next year promises to be a fruitful one.

There has been coverage in the news media regarding our government’s land reform plans. The majority of the coverage by the US media has been heavily sensationalized. Rest assured that nothing has changed whatsoever here in South Africa. We’re as safe and secure as ever before and through our discussions with Agri South Africa have been assured by government of our property rights. It isn’t government’s intention to expropriate privately owned ground but rather to re-distribute the 4000 properties held in the states name and to settle the existing land claims already identified (none in our area). Please trust on the ground reports from people in South Africa.

Thank you to all who have visited and hunted with us this year. On behalf of all at Karoo Wild Safaris, we wish you all the best for the remainder of 2018 and hope those of you in the northern hemisphere have a memorable hunting season.

Victor and Lindsay Watson
Trackers - Mitchell and Siya
Lodge staff - Francis and Landi
PH's - Victor, Nibbs and Arnold
 

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Ridgewalker

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cagkt3

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