SOUTH AFRICA: First African Safari Ever!

Bob O

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My wife and I just returned from a 15-day trip to South Africa last month. It was one of the best experiences of my life. We were part of a group of 20 family and friends, which included 15 hunters. It was so spectacular! After two days of flying, and four days of touring, we were getting antsy to go hunting. But we had seen some very beautiful scenery and animals at the Sudwala Caves, Kruger National Park, Skyway Trails zip-line, the Elephant Whisperer, Graskop, the Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve, and HBSC Habitat for animals. After we had seen spectacular beauty and many amazing animals for a few days, we were ready to hunt.

Day 7 of the journey we woke up early at 5:30 to go hunting at Motshwere Safaris! We got up at 5:30 on time for 6:30 breakfast. Everyone was dressed in camo today, finally! My wife and I wore matching camo outfits. Anyhow, we had a good breakfast, then I spent too much time getting my ammo belt situated, and made us 5 minutes late. So I had to hurry and get my gun sighted in with my PH. I brought my gun case to the shooting range, so Kim took it back for me. Werner asked me what was going on, so it was kind of embarrassing. Oh well. Then we loaded onto the hunting vehicles to go hunt. My mother-in-law, my wife, and I got one with Tina and John. On the way to our spot, we heard a gun shot, and saw Mike shoot an Impala from the vehicle in front of us! We then got off at a water hole. Werner noticed a fresh Leopard track as we were driving, right by our blind. Our tracker was David, and he set us up in the blind, about 40 yards from the water hole. So we all sat in the blind quietly for the next eight hours or so. First we saw some Guinea hens, then a Mongoose, and then other birds. Then bigger game started coming in. Groups of Warthogs, Baboons, then Warthogs again. We saw Nyala cows, Bushbucks, Kudu cows, Baboons, etc. My mother-in-law dozed off to sleep, a few times, but never snored. What a relief! It was an active water hole.

My wife was set up to shoot looking through the main opening, as she was trying to get a Waterbuck. All day she sat at the shooter's spot, with the 300 RUM Sendero, trying. At about 4:00, David turns around and whispers slowly " K U D U " very quietly, with big eyes. I was to hunt the Kudu, by prior agreement. I asked him "Is it a big one?" and he says " YES, BIG." Okay, this is a shooter! My wife immediately jumps up, moved over quietly, and I said thanks, took one knee, tried to aim but was looking in the sun and had to suppress a cough (I had caught a cold). My whole body quaked as I held back the cough, but my mother-in-law thought I was shaking from being nervous! It was hard to get a good aim.

The Kudu was about 90 yards away, and I waited for him to straighten up from drinking. He was quartered toward me, so I shot for the front shoulder. I thought I took a good shot, but when we got to where I had shot him, there was no blood. He had jumped and kicked, and almost tipped over running away, after I had shot him. David couldn't find him. My mother-in-law told me I should have shot better. Then David retraced the tracks, found him, and came back smiling and told me we got him!! He had run back about another 50 yards. He was a huge Kudu, much bigger than I expected! I was so excited when I saw that I had got him with a nicely placed shoulder shot. Everyone back at camp that night was talking about my Kudu bull, and congratulating me! It was the first Kudu taken in our group. Brett just kept saying "What a stud Kudu." :) It was a great day!

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Ridgewalker

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Fine kudu! OK I’m awake now excited waiting on the next episode!
 

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Nice kudu and you were able to sit all day in the ground blind with the mother in law.
What a fortunate guy. Being admonished by an African expert about your shooting. :rolleyes::A Voodoo:
Congrats on the Kudu.
 

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Nice Kudu. Where and with who are you hunting?
 

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Congrats on a nice kudu, look forward to the rest!
 

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Bob O

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Day 8: After Day 7's Kudu, we were very pumped up! Driving back to camp that night, we saw a big Civit cat run across the road, very cool black and white creature we'd never seen before. Back at camp PH Christo and Werner gave hugs and were excited over my Kudu! So that next morning we woke up at 5:30 for 6:30 breakfast, hoping for another successful day. We had hunted a blind on a water hole to try to find a Waterbuck bull the day before, but took a Kudu instead! So we decided we'd try the same water hole again, and try for that Waterbuck. Werner took us out to the concession land, to the same spot as the day before with my wife, mother-in-law, and PH David. We drove a large van with some of our friends, Joe, Tyson, Tasha, and Ren. Five minutes after we left camp, Tyson spots two Gemsbok from the van, aims his rifle out the window and shoots a perfect 120 yard shot! Hah! This was unbelievable, shooting from the vehicle, and making a great shot. Joe took a long shot at the other one, but it got away, and they decided not to track it. We split up into different hunt vehicles, and rode with Tasha and Ren to our blind. We set up with PH David to watch the water hole, as we did yesterday. Again, it was a very active water hole, with a wild dog coming in first. Beautiful animal with colorful black and white fur blotches, that came in quickly, drank some water, and left just as quickly as he came in. We saw Warthogs, Baboons, Nyala cows, Impala, Kudu cows, Bushbuck, a Mongoose and tons of birds again. But no Waterbuck. In the morning, two Impala that appeared to be siblings were sparring with each other, fighting over the salt lick. Later, the Baboons took over the water hole again, but this time the Alpha male circled the water hole, barking a loud two- syllable cry that sounded like "Waffle!" which sounded intimidating. He barked 10 times at us from 20-30 yards away.

The day passed by quickly, a large swarm of bees flew by loudly overhead, and almost sounded like a semi truck as they passed by. The birds were quite loud and had a wide variety of calls we had not heard before. Towards the end of the day, some bulls started coming to the water hole, two Nyalas, and a pretty nice Kudu bull who stood majestically at the left side. Just when it was late dusk, PH David saw some Waterbuck come in. He could tell because they jumped in the water and started splashing around loudly. My wife tried to follow them with binos, but could barely see because of the darkness. I could make out the form of one of them through the scope. We could not get a shot due to the darkness, but listened to them until our ride back to camp came. We also heard a loud snort, our PH said was probably a Waterbuck bull hiding patiently off to the side. But no luck for us today.

Back at camp, we had a great homemade dinner made by our chef Kenny, with Kudu as the main course! The taste of the Kudu was excellent. Some of our friends had some success, and told us their stories by the firepit. Kim had shot a Red Hartebeast and Blesbock. Tyson shot that Gemsbok, and also got a big 51" Kudu before noon! Ryker shot a Kudu as well, so overall it was a great day hunting for our group! :) No luck for us getting our Waterbuck, but I had imagined a large Waterbuck Bull showing up at dusk, and instead it was a small Kudu bull, but it was a fun day!

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Bob O

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Day 9: We started earlier today, with breakfast at 6:00 am. Breakfast was bacon and eggs, with hash browns, very good. We were motivated to take an animal today, and hopefully an elusive Waterbuck. Werner said he wanted our party to be very successful today, so we were starting a half hour earlier than yesterday. Some of our friends have had some luck driving around spotting and stalking. But we would have a better chance at a Waterbuck next to a water source. So after breakfast, we waited a couple of minutes then took off like a bat out of hell with John, Tina, Joe, my wife and mother-in-law. My wife was raised in a hunting family and she out-shot me most of the time at the gun range. So I knew she'd be ready if we got the chance.

The hunting trucks have a metal frame with cushions to use as a rest for shooting directly out of the truck. How cool! Anyhow, we drove to the main gate and we moved to a new water hole for better luck at getting a zebra. The water hole was closer to camp, and we spotted some Blue Wildebeest, but they ran into the trees before Joe or John could take a shot. Tyson and Joe told me to wear my "lucky hat" again today, so I did. My mother-in-law is also a good luck charm. We were dropped off at a blind used by dangerous game hunters after Cape Buffalo. So we were instructed that Cape Buffalo could be coming in to water, and to be careful because they can charge unprovoked.

We got into a nice full green mesh blind that blended in well. The first three hours there were just birds, then at 9:30 a very nice Waterbuck just walks up to the hole and stands there, majestic, on a slight hill just looking at the water hole motionless. I am shocked and stunned. This is the exact scenario I envisioned happening at dusk the night before, at the other water hole. Unbelievable! I told my wife "There is a Waterbuck!" Her eyes got big, and we switched seats, and she moved to the shooter's position as I handed her the 300 RUM. I was talking to her and she said "Shhhh, he's checking us out". . . The Waterbuck walked down the hillside to the water and started drinking. My wife took aim, as our PH Charles said "Shoot, shoot!" She shot off a round and the Waterbuck took off in a dead run toward the water, ran 15 yards across it, then fell down on the other side. She had hit him directly in the shoulder at about 70 yards. We were all so excited! When we approached it, there were two fairly deep gouges in its left side. They appeared to be gore wounds from another Waterbuck's horns, from fighting. But this Waterbuck was beautiful and my wife was very happy!

When PH Christo came to pick up the Waterbuck, he told us to keep hunting the water hole because it was early and the commotion wouldn't bother animals after a couple hours. So after my wife's great shot, we saw more birds for 4 or 5 more hours and no other big animals. Around 3:00 pm, I just got a funny feeling and told my wife "In about 15 minutes, there will be some fireworks!" I just had a feeling that when the sun got a little bit lower, we might get something. Well, sure enough, about 10 minutes later four zebras came in to drink at the water hole. I watched the first three, and like the second one, but the third one lined up next to him and blocked my view. The third one was nice too, so I quickly readjusted my aim and squeezed off a shot. The zebra dropped instantly right where it was drinking, and the other three took off sprinting. Wow! This was amazing. We quickly hiked to where it had dropped, and its head was partially submerged. PH Charles and I drug it out of the water, and he called the team to come in and get it. I was just too stunned to believe it! We got two animals (of our 4-animal package) on the same day! We even kept on hunting and saw a Warthog and Blue Wildebeest, but no Gemsbok (our last animal). When we got picked up, we rode with Ren and Tasha, and PH Tionne showed us the Southern Cross in the stars, as we drove back to camp for dinner. Dinner was chicken and we had some fine wine to celebrate! Werner gave my wife a kiss for shooting her Waterbuck, and I said "Hey, do I get a kiss for my Zebra" and he kissed me too (on the cheek), and we all laughed some more. What a fun, great time! We had a totally unbelievable day! Wow!

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Bob O

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Nice Kudu. Where and with who are you hunting?
We hunted just outside of Lephalale in Limpopo SA, with a group of friends and relatives from home.
 

Ridgewalker

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Your little lady can sure shoot that big 300 RUM well! Both of you great, shooting!
Kind of surprised you didn’t take the alpha baboon? Their skulls with the huge canines are pretty amazing!
 

Nyati

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Congrats, nice animals taken !
 

Bob O

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Your little lady can sure shoot that big 300 RUM well! Both of you great, shooting!
Kind of surprised you didn’t take the alpha baboon? Their skulls with the huge canines are pretty amazing!
It was not in my package, and so I didn't really consider it. But now, in hindsight, I should have taken that baboon. He was very large and aggressive, and I did actually see him one time, about 20-25 yards directly behind us. But he did stay hidden most of the time. My wife actually switched the rifle to facing toward him (away from the water hole), in case he got more aggressive with us.
 

enysse

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Congrats, to your family! Some really nice trophies!
 

Bob O

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Congrats, to your family! Some really nice trophies!
Thank you enysse. That is a monster Gemsbok in your profile pic, where did you take him?
 

Bob O

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Congrats, nice animals taken !
Thank you Nyati. When I get some time I will post about our three day Gemsbok hunt.
 

cls

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Thanks for the report
 

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