SOUTH AFRICA: First Safari In The Eastern Cape With KMG Hunting Safaris

Uncle Sauce

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SA: Eastern Cape, US: CO, ID, MT, NY, OR, VA, WA, WY
South Africa – Eastern Cape w/KMG - First Safari

Outfitter: @KMG Hunting Safaris
PH: Nick Neuper
Tracker/Skinner: Timba
Rifle: Winchester M70 300 Win Mag w/ suppressor
Scope: Leupold VX5 3-15x44
Bullets: Nosler Accubond 200gr reloads with H1000

Flight Itinerary: Spokane (Alaska) – Seattle (Qatar) – Doha (Qatar) – Johannesburg (Airlink) – East London

I’ve been back almost a week now trying to get caught up with work so the installments may not be in a timely manner but I’ll give it a go as time permits.

This hunt was supposed to be the AH group hunt in 2020 but was cancelled due to COVID. I’ll add some unnecessary details regarding the flights with the hope that it helps other members.

Travel Days – 2

For all the travel details I let @TRAVEL EXPRESS take care of that. Good thing too, since there were many cancellations and rebookings over the last year – it took out a lot of stress to let them handle it.

For my COVID test I had ordered the COVID Consultants home kit. Flight left on Saturday so I took the nasal swab and dropped off at Fedex on Wednesday early afternoon. Received my results back via email on Thursday evening.

I started to get pretty excited when Marius had sent me a message a few days before I left saying that they had spotted some bruisers in the areas I would be hunting. Finally, this was going to happen!

First flight with Alaskan Airlines to Seattle was no issue. Checked in right at noon on Saturday with my rifle and got my boarding passes. Asked the ticket agent if I needed to reclaim my rifle & luggage in Seattle but she stated multiple times “No”. I thought it was odd but thought I’ll get confirmation from Qatar in Seattle. After the TSA rifle check no issues and boarded the flight.

Landed in Seattle and proceeded to the Qatar gate and asked that agent if I needed to reclaim my rifle & luggage, once again the answer was empathatically “No”. Waited at the gate for an hour until I was paged and was told that I needed to reclaim my luggage at Carousel 1. Good thing I heard the page so out through the terminal to hop on the tram rail to try and find my luggage but there was nothing at Carousel 1. Finally I went to Alaska baggage claim and found an agent, who after walking around asking multiple people they asked if I was from Idaho and owned a black bag and a tan rifle case – ‘Yes’ I replied and they said someone had already claimed my luggage (@Patrick Hargan!). My jaw must have hit the floor and I probably soiled my drawers. But after a bit more checking they said that I needed to hurry to Qatar ticketing counter and that they had my luggage. Found it there and pulled my ammo box from my luggage for a weight check then put it back in my luggage then went through the 45 minutes of Qatar paperwork then to TSA for another rifle check.

I had a 4-1/2 hour layover in Seattle but after going through this and security I made it back to the gate with only about 20 minutes to spare. Finally boarded for the 14 hour flight to Doha.

Landed in Doha and thank goodness no more rifle checks but we deboarded and did have to go back through security to board the next flight of 8-1/2 hours to JNB. They did check my COVID test paperwork though.

Landed in Johannnesburg about 4:00AM and was promptly met by a Riflepermits representative off the jetway. They escorted me to the SAPS office and waited for the rifle case for almost an hour. Turns out that Qatar had tried checking it directly on to East London. After Riflepermits got that handled and the rifle & luggage came back to SAPS for a SN# check then on to Airlink to get checked in. We checked in but didn’t receive boarding passes since I had to remove the ammo box (to fly separately) and had to go to another counter to pay excess baggage fees. Or it might have been the Airlink firearm handling fee – a bit unclear on what exactly happened in JNB. Once that fee was paid we had to go back to the check-in counter and receive boarding passes. Quite a hassle but once that was completed we had some time to kill so I had breakfast / lunch with @Patrick Hargan and talked about our upcoming safaris. We parted ways since he was flying to Port Elizabeth and I was continuing to East London. The small fee paid to Riflepermits in my opinion was well worth it!
1620409278398.png

SAPS office JNB

1620409669046.png

Airlink flight to East London

Landed in ELS exactly at noon and picked my rifle / luggage up from the carousel and escorted to a small room to have another rifle check. No issues and went outside to meet with Nick the PH who was waiting on me and head to the lodge. I had Nick stop by a hunting store so I could pick up a jacket since I had left my coat on the SEA to DOHA flight in the overhead bin. It was interesting to see the selection of sporting goods they have there.

*Side note: Wearing a mask the entire trip was annoying. The only time you can remove it was if you were eating or drinking. Qatar wasn’t strict in enforcing because I caught myself waking up on the plane with my mask around my neck more than once. I highly recommend buying a nice comfortable mask that doesn’t constrict you too much. Also, since I rarely wear masks in Idaho if I go somewhere that requires it I typically use a neck gaiter. Throughout the airports they state on the intercom that if you wear a neck gaiter you need to wear two. Well, I lost my mask somewhere on my hunt and I wore a neck gaiter the entire flight back home and nobody said a word.

Arrived at the lodge and unloaded my gear and grabbed my rifle to see if we could get it sighted in before it was too dark. By that time it had started pouring rain and was gusting winds but after a bit of a struggle we got it dialed in and headed back to the lodge.
1620409436125.png

Outspan Lodge 1

1620409475857.png

Outspan Lodge 2


20210419_144453.jpg

Outspan Lodge - Room
 
Last edited by a moderator:
My daughter and I hunted with Nic and Themba in 2018. Looking forward to hearing about your hunt!
 
My daughter and I hunted with Nic and Themba in 2018. Looking forward to hearing about your hunt!
They were great! I'm sure you had a great time too.
Looks like I've been spelling his name wrong, darn it! I thought it was closer to the 'tree falling' ..Timber!
 
Day 1 - Tuesday

Didn’t sleep very well that night (which would be a recurring theme) and met Nick in the lodge for breakfast but the driving rain had not let up yet. We drank coffee and hung out at the lodge until mid-morning then decided to drive into town (Komga) to do a couple errands and grab some biltong. I really became addicted to this stuff! Every place we went I asking Nick ‘Can we grab some more biltong?’ … He probably got annoyed with me after awhile!
1620419140682.png

Biltong (Komga)

It’s not everyday that you see cows and goats in the middle of town!
1620419235059.png

Komga 1
1620419280481.png

Komga with the local car wash in the background


Got back to the lodge early afternoon and Nick says to grab my gear and let’s go look around since the skies started clearing.
1620419369700.png

Outspan
Hopped into the truck and headed out above the lodge. Wasn’t long until we spotted some blue wildebeest and put a stalk on but couldn’t get into position on them. A bit later we spotted some zebra and blesbuck. Off the truck and started a stalk up a long hedgerow adjacent to a large meadow. After slinking around awhile to get into position Nick put me on the sticks to try for a zebra. But before we get one lined up they took off in a mad rush when a blesbuck spotted us and blew the alarm.

We chased the herd for awhile into the next meadow but they were scattered out across the meadow but we finally got the one we wanted picked out and back onto the sticks for about a 190 yd shot. Touched it off and he went down in a few yards. First African animal so I was pretty excited – I couldn’t believe this was happening!

1620419521547.png

Boots and Zebra

Loading the zebra up I ripped my pants from crotch to knee. Timba and Teeman (the other skinner at the lodge) really got a kick out of that when we dropped him off at the skinning shed. My jewels were hanging out trying to help unload. Proved to be laughing point the entire trip!
 
Day 1 - Tuesday

Didn’t sleep very well that night (which would be a recurring theme) and met Nick in the lodge for breakfast but the driving rain had not let up yet. We drank coffee and hung out at the lodge until mid-morning then decided to drive into town (Komga) to do a couple errands and grab some biltong. I really became addicted to this stuff! Every place we went I asking Nick ‘Can we grab some more biltong?’ … He probably got annoyed with me after awhile!
View attachment 400843
Biltong (Komga)

It’s not everyday that you see cows and goats in the middle of town!
View attachment 400844
Komga 1
View attachment 400845
Komga with the local car wash in the background


Got back to the lodge early afternoon and Nick says to grab my gear and let’s go look around since the skies started clearing.
View attachment 400846
Outspan
Hopped into the truck and headed out above the lodge. Wasn’t long until we spotted some blue wildebeest and put a stalk on but couldn’t get into position on them. A bit later we spotted some zebra and blesbuck. Off the truck and started a stalk up a long hedgerow adjacent to a large meadow. After slinking around awhile to get into position Nick put me on the sticks to try for a zebra. But before we get one lined up they took off in a mad rush when a blesbuck spotted us and blew the alarm.

We chased the herd for awhile into the next meadow but they were scattered out across the meadow but we finally got the one we wanted picked out and back onto the sticks for about a 190 yd shot. Touched it off and he went down in a few yards. First African animal so I was pretty excited – I couldn’t believe this was happening!

View attachment 400847
Boots and Zebra

Loading the zebra up I ripped my pants from crotch to knee. Timba and Teeman (the other skinner at the lodge) really got a kick out of that when we dropped him off at the skinning shed. My jewels were hanging out trying to help unload. Proved to be laughing point the entire trip!
Nice looking pattern on that Zebra.
 
I also like the Zebra. Good color contrast. Very nice
Bruce
 
South Africa – Eastern Cape w/KMG - First Safari

Outfitter: @KMG Hunting Safaris
PH: Nick Neuper
Tracker/Skinner: Timba
Rifle: Winchester M70 300 Win Mag w/ suppressor
Scope: Leupold VX5 3-15x44
Bullets: Nosler Accubond 200gr reloads with H1000

Flight Itinerary: Spokane (Alaska) – Seattle (Qatar) – Doha (Qatar) – Johannesburg (Airlink) – East London

I’ve been back almost a week now trying to get caught up with work so the installments may not be in a timely manner but I’ll give it a go as time permits.

This hunt was supposed to be the AH group hunt in 2020 but was cancelled due to COVID. I’ll add some unnecessary details regarding the flights with the hope that it helps other members.

Travel Days – 2

For all the travel details I let @TRAVEL EXPRESS take care of that. Good thing too, since there were many cancellations and rebookings over the last year – it took out a lot of stress to let them handle it.

For my COVID test I had ordered the COVID Consultants home kit. Flight left on Saturday so I took the nasal swab and dropped off at Fedex on Wednesday early afternoon. Received my results back via email on Thursday evening.

I started to get pretty excited when Marius had sent me a message a few days before I left saying that they had spotted some bruisers in the areas I would be hunting. Finally, this was going to happen!

First flight with Alaskan Airlines to Seattle was no issue. Checked in right at noon on Saturday with my rifle and got my boarding passes. Asked the ticket agent if I needed to reclaim my rifle & luggage in Seattle but she stated multiple times “No”. I thought it was odd but thought I’ll get confirmation from Qatar in Seattle. After the TSA rifle check no issues and boarded the flight.

Landed in Seattle and proceeded to the Qatar gate and asked that agent if I needed to reclaim my rifle & luggage, once again the answer was empathatically “No”. Waited at the gate for an hour until I was paged and was told that I needed to reclaim my luggage at Carousel 1. Good thing I heard the page so out through the terminal to hop on the tram rail to try and find my luggage but there was nothing at Carousel 1. Finally I went to Alaska baggage claim and found an agent, who after walking around asking multiple people they asked if I was from Idaho and owned a black bag and a tan rifle case – ‘Yes’ I replied and they said someone had already claimed my luggage (@Patrick Hargan!). My jaw must have hit the floor and I probably soiled my drawers. But after a bit more checking they said that I needed to hurry to Qatar ticketing counter and that they had my luggage. Found it there and pulled my ammo box from my luggage for a weight check then put it back in my luggage then went through the 45 minutes of Qatar paperwork then to TSA for another rifle check.

I had a 4-1/2 hour layover in Seattle but after going through this and security I made it back to the gate with only about 20 minutes to spare. Finally boarded for the 14 hour flight to Doha.

Landed in Doha and thank goodness no more rifle checks but we deboarded and did have to go back through security to board the next flight of 8-1/2 hours to JNB. They did check my COVID test paperwork though.

Landed in Johannnesburg about 4:00AM and was promptly met by a Riflepermits representative off the jetway. They escorted me to the SAPS office and waited for the rifle case for almost an hour. Turns out that Qatar had tried checking it directly on to East London. After Riflepermits got that handled and the rifle & luggage came back to SAPS for a SN# check then on to Airlink to get checked in. We checked in but didn’t receive boarding passes since I had to remove the ammo box (to fly separately) and had to go to another counter to pay excess baggage fees. Or it might have been the Airlink firearm handling fee – a bit unclear on what exactly happened in JNB. Once that fee was paid we had to go back to the check-in counter and receive boarding passes. Quite a hassle but once that was completed we had some time to kill so I had breakfast / lunch with @Patrick Hargan and talked about our upcoming safaris. We parted ways since he was flying to Port Elizabeth and I was continuing to East London. The small fee paid to Riflepermits in my opinion was well worth it!
View attachment 400821
SAPS office JNB

View attachment 400826
Airlink flight to East London

Landed in ELS exactly at noon and picked my rifle / luggage up from the carousel and escorted to a small room to have another rifle check. No issues and went outside to meet with Nick the PH who was waiting on me and head to the lodge. I had Nick stop by a hunting store so I could pick up a jacket since I had left my coat on the SEA to DOHA flight in the overhead bin. It was interesting to see the selection of sporting goods they have there.

*Side note: Wearing a mask the entire trip was annoying. The only time you can remove it was if you were eating or drinking. Qatar wasn’t strict in enforcing because I caught myself waking up on the plane with my mask around my neck more than once. I highly recommend buying a nice comfortable mask that doesn’t constrict you too much. Also, since I rarely wear masks in Idaho if I go somewhere that requires it I typically use a neck gaiter. Throughout the airports they state on the intercom that if you wear a neck gaiter you need to wear two. Well, I lost my mask somewhere on my hunt and I wore a neck gaiter the entire flight back home and nobody said a word.

Arrived at the lodge and unloaded my gear and grabbed my rifle to see if we could get it sighted in before it was too dark. By that time it had started pouring rain and was gusting winds but after a bit of a struggle we got it dialed in and headed back to the lodge.
View attachment 400822
Outspan Lodge 1

View attachment 400823
Outspan Lodge 2


View attachment 400829
Outspan Lodge - Room
Good thing we each actually got our own “tan rifle case and black bag”! I’d have had a heck of a time getting you to bail me out of jail when I ended up trying to get home with your suppressor!
 
Good thing we each actually got our own “tan rifle case and black bag”! I’d have had a heck of a time getting you to bail me out of jail when I ended up trying to get home with your suppressor!
:LOL::LOL:
 
Day 2 – Wednesday

This day passed as a blur but I’ll try and recall all of it the best I can.

20210421_095341.jpg


Had a light breakfast and headed out to an adjacent property to look for kudu, impala and warthog. Picked up their tracker and headed into the brush. We noticed a good warthog early but couldn’t get on him after a short stalk so we continued on. Drove quite awhile the other direction and spotted a nice ram impala on a steep rockslide. Piled off the truck and a short walk later got on the sticks and the Accubond did its it job.

1620492310340.png

Impala (don't mind the ugly mug!)

We headed up the rock slide and retrieved the ram and brought him down so we could get some photos and get him loaded up. After we loaded the impala we decided to head to the skinning shed but keep an eye out for other animals on the way back. We stopped on a small plateau and the two trackers scattered in opposite directions to glass the surrounding valleys. The PH headed to the other side and I was following without my rifle and he ducked around an acacia tree and all of a sudden he came running back by me with eyes as big as dinner plates mumbling excitedly about something. I couldn't quite make out what he whispering about but got the gist of it quickly. He was making motions with his hands from his mouth to the top of his head. I thought to myself 'Not sure what's in the water over here'....He was carrying on about a giant warthog!

I grabbed my rifle and he grabbed his sticks and the trackers and I followed him over the hill a couple hundred yards to get closer. We got in position and we all took a look and he was a monster. PH estimated him at around 14” in. Since this was only the second day I really didn’t appreciate how big he was.

PH ranged him at 470 yds. which was well beyond my capabilities on sticks but figured I would give it a go since it was such a monster. The only thing I knew was that his tusks filled my scope. Well, needless to say it didn’t go too well and we think the bullet hit at his feet and he didn’t waste any time heading into the brush like he was on fire. Was kind of hoping on a dream and a prayer that I would have connected but the hunting gods were not shining brightly on me. We drove over to the spot where he was, just to double check but we didn’t find any blood. In hindsight I kicked myself for trying that shot.. This would only be the start of my woes for a nice warthog.

Warthogs 1 -- Hunter 0

Even the dogs didn't seem too happy about missing the warthog.
DSC00857 (2).JPG

Boots & Bruno

Back to the lodge for lunch and then back out searching for kudu. The neighboring property had spotted a nice bull so we drove over there to have a look. We spotted him on a small hill but he was a long way out with no good way to get to him.

DSC00452.JPG


So we set out to see if we could get closer. After almost an hour of driving we parked about ½ mile away below the hill and set out on foot. We were sneaking up to the top but a female kudu blew about 50 yds. from the top of the hill. We ran to the top and the PH got me on the sticks in anticipation that he would run right in front of me. And he was correct. Two more cows ran across then came the bull running full steam. I got him in the scope but hesitated since he was on a dead run and I had tight window between the brush but never pulled the trigger. Arrrgggh…not sure why I didn't pull the trigger though.

Pulled the rifle off the sticks and we went in hot pursuit following the tracks through the brush but we didn’t catch them. So we abandoned the hill and headed back to the truck to see if we could find their trail down in the valley. After a couple mile drive to an adjacent hill we stopped and glassed the hillside and after about an hour we finally spotted them. PH confirmed he was a large mature bull so now I’m really kicking myself for not pulling the trigger earlier. We watched them awhile until it became dark and made a plan for the next morning in the hopes they stayed right there.

DSC00471.JPG


After some negotiation with the other tracker we convinced him to meet us early in the morning to see if we could spot the bull again.

Back to the lodge for a couple brandy and coke consolation drinks to try and lift my spirits and replay all the events of the day. I kept kicking myself all night wanting to take the shot back on the warthog and for not taking that shot on the kudu!

Well, at least the food was excellent as always thanks to Debbie, Portia and Andrew!

Some more photos of the lodge where I tried drowning my misery more than once!

20210419_141113.jpg

Outspan Lodge

20210419_141124.jpg

Outspan Lodge

20210421_192140.jpg

Outspan Lodge
 
Really enjoying your report. I'm meaning to check out the new lodge ( don't tell Marius) one of these days. But this year has been rough. Congratulations on everything so far!
 
Really enjoying your report. I'm meaning to check out the new lodge ( don't tell Marius) one of these days. But this year has been rough. Congratulations on everything so far!
Thank you - Much appreciated! More to come but its taking longer than I anticipated to put all this to paper.
 
Thoroughly enjoying the adventures @Uncle Sauce! Excellent trophies so far and beautiful scenery!
 
Nice mass on the impala. Too bad about the warthog. Running shots usually don't end well for me. You draw blood and you pay the trophy fee. I'd say waiting was the wiser course of action.
Bruce
 

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