SOUTH AFRICA: Family Fun With Game 4 Africa Safaris

Ridgerunner

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I’d like to share some photos and experiences from our recent family safari to Africa. We just returned from two weeks on the dark continent and had the experience of our lives. Photos will be posted below.

The first week we spent doing Mission work in the town of Oyster Bay on the Indian Ocean, interacting and seeing my kids with the local children without any prejudice to social economic status or race was very gratifying. Each day we were challenged in new ways as we served those who have less materially than we do, but live a life with more joy and happiness than many in America do. Families living in shacks that are the size of an American living room without running water or electricity was a daily reminder of how fortunate and blessed we are in America.

After the first week we changed locations to out of Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The terrain here consisted of large rolling hills covered with thick brush, which all seemed to be spikey or thorny. I couldn’t believe the size of some of the thorn bushes in this part of the world. For this hunt I had two target animals for myself, Kudu and Impala. Knowing that Kudu hunting can be very challenging depending on the time of year, I wanted to make sure that I had adequate time to get my target animals as well as have enough time for my kids to do some hunting as well. I told each of my kids that they could have a cull animal, not knowing how long it would take them to harvest their animals due to the numerous challenges associated with young hunters. My two boys had passed hunters ed last summer but hunts last fall did not produce for them. My oldest daughter who in the past hasn’t expressed an interest in hunting did about 3 months before the trip so I wanted to make sure she got her opportunity. And my youngest wanted a cape buffalo, I told him that wasn’t happening but we’d see what we could do. Other animals for dad would be dependent upon how their hunts went and what the budget would allow.

After getting to the ranch on Sunday afternoon a quick trip to the rifle range was in store where we all shot the rifles we would be shooting, I was using a Sako in 7mm, while the kids would be using a Sako in .243. Suppressors on the rifle significantly reduced noise and recoil and everyone was hitting on target. I was very impressed with the patience shown by Wik and Andre as they got each child comfortable shooting off sticks. It went very quick and the kids were very impressed with how well they shot.

The facilities at Game4Africa were amazing as well as the food. My whole family felt very welcomed and enjoyed the time around the lodge when we were not out hunting. Swimming in the pool, watching the warthogs or other game in the field below the lodge had time passing by very quickly when we were not out hunting. I cannot say enough about the food, every meal was outstanding and my kids eagerly ate the food that was served, even though some of it was quite exotic by their standards, i.e. kudu, impala, warthog.

Early Monday morning we were up and ready to chase Kudu. I was excited, yet nervous at the same time, I’ve heard the stories of the grey ghost and knew that the challenge would be harder as I wanted my ten year old boys with me on the hunt. We were ready to go on Monday morning. My PH told me that I was hitting the start of the Kudu rut just about perfectly as the big bulls were coming out of the brush. My two ten year old boys were up and ready to go with me that morning as we took off for Kudu from the ranch. That morning it didn’t take long to get into the bulls, as I spotted one with only his horns visible above the brush within five minutes of starting to glass when we got to our location. That morning we put on over 3.5 miles through the brush and looked over 20 bulls before my PH told me to shoot that one! The sense of urgency in his voice told me it was a very good bull as we had already passed on a number of bulls that looked good to me. It happened very quickly as we had passed over a small saddle and were side-hilling when on the other side a big bull stood with his cows. One quick shot and the bull went down. When I walked up to my bull I was very pleased, especially since my boys were at my side for the entire hunt. Although the hunt for Kudu was quicker than anticipated, I was thankful the pressure was off knowing it would allow more opportunities for other animals and excursions later in the week. The previous week it had taken one of the hunters 5 days to finally get his kudu, but like I said, I think I hit the timing just about perfect. Game4Africa has an amazing 100% success rate on kudu for those that come to pursue them, I’m glad I wasn’t the one that broke that streak. Spent that afternoon hunting another part of the ranch where I passed on a big impala and at one point in the brush we were following leopard prints. It was great to be out in the brush with my whole family as we explored this new country and saw all the new animals that were around. No more shots were fired on Monday, but Tuesday we would drive to another concession that was more open and better suited for the younger hunters. Tuesday was going to be a very eventful day as we were going to attempt to get 4 kids their first animals.

Tuesday

Up bright and early this morning we headed up to a property that was a few hours away, the main reason for this is it is a lot more open which would provide the kids with a better opportunity for their first animals. Upon entering the property we found a nice herd of young impala rams, my son Drew was first up and after a short stalk and a 75 yard shot his first animal was on the ground. We pursued the remaining rams for a few hours but that only resulted in a missed shot for my other boy. Changing gears we went after blesbuck. We found a large herd and after a careful stalk Aaron put down his ram with one shot at 212 yards. It was great to see him pull off such a long shot on only his 2nd shot at a game animal. Just before lunch our PH found an impala ram that he really wanted me to shoot as this country has good genetics and this was a big ram. Another short stalk resulted in a one shot kill on my impala. Although I hadn’t planned on shooting this day, it was a great ram and I’m thankful I listened to Wik. Next up was my daughter who before this trip had never shot a full size gun. We found a herd of 97 blesbuck and when this one separated itself from the herd she made a great shot on it. Moments before she shot I will never forget the thundering sound of the hooves as that herd came racing by. Now we had 3 first time animals down, the only one who hadn’t shot anything was my youngest. He had been patiently waiting his turn all day as all the others got their chances. It took several different set ups with him but in the end we found an old blesbuck ram that offered the shot opportunity we needed. After that it was time to call it a day, I was sure proud of the fine shooting had by the kids. Loved seeing those big smiles on all my kids as they posed with their animals. Fantastic family memories were made this day. I really got to hand it to Wik on what he was able to get done this day. Probably set a new record for him as well.

Wednesday, we took a day off and didn’t do any hunting, however we did go out on a night safari and saw lots of cool animals though. We spent the day driving to and visiting with one of the children we sponsor through World Vision. We were able to bring her and her mother some gifts and see first hand how the money we provide in monthly support is being used in that project, cool stuff. It should be noted that we had asked the Cortez family about getting some meat from the butchery to donate, which they arranged, as well as graciously matched our donation with a donation of their own. Although the farther interior into the country we went, the poorer the towns, it was a rewarding way to spend a day and see more of South Africa.

One thing I had wanted to make sure I saw when I was in South Africa was bushman paintings. On Thursday morning Wik arranged for someone to take us out and show us some paintings nearby. It was pretty amazing to see the rockart that had been on the side of the cave for over 2000 years. Looking out from the cave I wondered what the hunting had been like for those prior hunters in a very different time. Thursday afternoon brought very gusty winds, which made the hunting quite a bit more difficult, even with that though, we were able to down a warthog and found some impalas, I passed on a good ram late in the afternoon as I was trying to get my daughter on her second critter before I pulled the trigger again.

Friday we spent most of the day chasing impalas around as well as warthogs, although we came close to finding the right impala and shooting set up, we were unable to finish the deal for her that day. One of my other boys did manage to put down another cull warthog. While we were looking for an impala for my daughter we had a very close encounter with a large group of cape buffalo bulls. While walking through a meadow and I saw out of the corner of my eye a very large cape buffalo bull. He stood up to get a better look at us less than 30 yards away. We quickly changed direction to try and put some distance between us without wanting to provoke him to a charge. Thankfully he didn’t as he had several buddies with him. Needless to say it took a little while for the adrenaline to wear off from that close encounter for myself, while my daughter was very shaken by the experience. I will say that being that close to a mature cape buffalo bull with nowhere to escape was quite the experience. After that experience my daughter was quite nervous of getting too far away from the truck. We also found a tortoise this afternoon and spent a little time inspecting him up close, judging by his hissing he wasn’t too happy to have us close by. However my boys had great fun running around him and tapping his shell, he even posed for a quick picture with the family before retreating back into the bush.

Saturday was primarily spent touring Addo Elephant Park, where the highlight was watching two bulls fight at close range. Back at the ranch that afternoon we went out looking for either a cull impala for my daughter or another trophy impala for me. We had several very close encounters with large impalas, one at ten yards at last light but no shots were fired. It was decided that we would get up early the next morning and do a quick morning hunt to see if we could turn something up. Luck was with us as the large impala we had spent most of the previous afternoon chasing was in a perfect position for a shot and as the sun was rising I had my trophy on the ground, making for some great photos in the early morning. After that it was back to the lodge for a proper breakfast and finish packing up before beginning the long journey home.

In closing I don’t think you can go wrong with Game4Africa, although I barely scratched the surface of the amount of land they have to hunt, the amount and quality of animals I saw was very impressive. We continued to see big kudu every day of the trip, as well as some huge waterbuck, nyala, warthogs and impala’s. If the quality of game on their other properties is close to what it was on the main properties we hunted, any species you are after you should be able to find a great animal.

IMG_4203.JPG
 
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Odinsraven

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Have been hunting with them for four years now in a row .. .excellent every time
 

slam8031

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There is no price on the the value of seeing your children realize how blessed we are thru visiting and caring for others in places like RSA. The hunting is just icing on the cake (very tasty icing!). Congratulations.
 

Ridgerunner

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IMG_3945.JPG


Kudu bull, it was great having these two with me when I harvested this bull, I lost count of how many bulls we passed before Wik said "Shoot!". I figured this was a pretty good one then.
 
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Ridgerunner

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IMG_4249.JPG

It was fun getting our picture taken with this guy. Although he sure liked to hiss a lot, but my boys had fun running around him and touching his shell. They will never forget those memories.
 
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Ridgerunner

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There is no price on the the value of seeing your children realize how blessed we are thru visiting and caring for others in places like RSA. The hunting is just icing on the cake (very tasty icing!). Congratulations.
I couldnt have said it any better myself. Priceless memories on this trip.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Awesome family safari! Thanks for sharing.
 

cagkt3

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What a great family trip! Congrats
 

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