Me, my father and my mother (as observer) have been hunting with Umlilo Safaris for ten days last august. The PH was the owner himself Francois Dorfling accompanied by an another skilled professional hunter named Bertus. The hunting area was on the border western Mpumalanga and eastern Limpopo regions, just 2 hours and half from the Johannesburg’s airport OR Tambo where we landed. My father was looking for a dugga boy buffalo whereas myself was interested in roan, sable, greater kudu, nyala, bushbuck, common reedbuck, tsessebe and an hippo bull. The accomodation was superb, in a very beautiful ancient colonial lodge surrounded by an enormous beautiful garden with three lakes where was possible to do fly fishing. Also the food was excellent. One of the last night Francois organized a big beautiful barbecue with the meat of the animals hunted……say that it was superlative delicious is say little. The hunting area was not far from the lodge. It was a private property of 12.000 hectares. This huge extension of the property comprises different kind of habitats: plain lands, hills, several lakes, thick bush, tall grass. Although I have done other safaris in the last years, I consider this the most beautiful safari that I ever experienced. The hunt was simply wonderful. It had been conducted with a very marked professionalism and cleverness on the craft. Also it’s important to underline that Francois made us shoot only very nice trophies, passing many others before. I can say only a big and deep thanksgiving to my dear new friend Francois. We will meet again for the next safari together. Here two of my most memorable hunting actions of this unique safari: I was very eager to hunt an hippo which is the mammal that every year kills more people in Africa than the other big five. Francois knew that an hippo bull lived in a lake over the hills. Therefore, he left a tracker to watch that lake to see whether that hippo spent all day in the water and to graze in the night or if at a certain point of the day it would come out to rest at the shadows of some trees. We were informed by the tracker, that the hippo didn’t come out of the water for all the day. So Francois told me that the only chance to get that hippo would have been a brain shot in the water. I was at the same time electrified for that kind of shot but worried because it would be easy to miss such small target or to wound the dangerous animal. Francois also instructed me where I must put the optical cross to the head of the hippo: if the head is side, I should aim some cm before the ear or on the ear itself; if is in front, in the middle of the imaginary cross tracing two lines linking opposite eyes and ears; if the nape of the neck is visible, shoot behind the ear so that the bullet of the 375 H&H MAG breaks the skull arriving straight to the brain. Francois warned me that the hippo was in alarm as it felt us arriving to the shore of the lake, so after it was blowing out the air, I must shoot because the hippo would have remained with the part of the head out of the water only for 2-3 seconds maximum. Just the necessary time to take another deep breath before to submerge again. So the shot should be extremely quick and at the same extremely accurate: a very difficult shot overall! Made even more difficult by the fact that I shot from the stick! Following the bubbles, we understood that the intention of the bull was to emerge at the end of the left corner of the lake. The distance was about 70 meters. When it came out, it looked opposite to us, showing the nape of the neck. After 1-2 seconds from the blow, I shot. Both PHs were sure that the shot was perfect, but to be sure of that we waited more than 20 minutes to see if it emerged again. But nothing. The hippo was definitely dead on the bottom of the lake. When it was brought on the shore, we noticed that the body was full of scars caused by the fights with other hippo bulls. What an unusual and exciting hunt, one of the most beautiful ever lived! The adrenaline was so high during the confrontation with one of the most deadliest animal in the planet! I wanted to measure myself with a common reedbuck which is one of the most difficult antelope to obtain because it loves laying down in the long grass during the day, especially in the fields of the same coloration of the fur. Francois told me that where we have been hunting the other animals, common reedbucks aren’t present. He made some calls and he found some areas not too far from the Kruger National Park. I must point out the seriousness and professionalism of Francois that he searches to find the best way possible to get the desired animals. He knows many other owners and PHs of South Africa, so he has contacts in many area of South Africa (from his home Eastern Cape to Kalahari) and also in Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Francois puts determination and commitment, like in my case where he drove for 4 hours to reach this new destination from the previous lodge. The next day, we started hunting early in the morning until 10 am and we spotted only a young reedbuck ram. Once more, Francois was very professional and skilled: he understood that this area wasn’t good for reedbuck and it was pointless try here again in the afternoon. So Francois and Bertus inquired to an other owner, friend of Bertus. He said that we were welcome in his property and also that he saw several time common reedbuck rams. The decision was to hunt there during the night, time when the common reedbuck is standing up to eat. With the spot light there is more chance to spot this antelope considering that it is not lay down. After an enough long way uphill, on roads full of stones, we reached a plateau with the typical tall grass that the common reedbuck loved to stay. Francois was the driver, Bertus with the light. On the left of the jeep, a mature reedbuck ram was illuminated. Just a matter of seconds and the reedbuck would disappear. The shot was very difficult because the wood of the rifle leaned on the round metallic railing and so the rifle tottered. Moreover the ram wasn’t perfectly illuminated for the distance from the jeep and it wasn’t turned broadsided but of ¾ with back turned in our direction. I shot and the reedbuck made a jump sideways on his right and ran. I thought have missed it, but after some meters we saw the bright eyes of the antelope, that was still illuminated, slowed down and lowered his head. It’s one of the most prestigious achievement, because not many trophy rooms have a common reedbuck given its elusiveness and it’s scarce dissemination. I can never thanks Francois enough for the commitment that he has put allowing me to achieve this unique trophy!