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

Kevin Peacocke

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Day 3 – Thursday

Woke up early from a restless nights sleep with dreams of giant warthogs and monster kudu. We also had a thunderstorm overnight that didn’t help out either.

We headed out in the truck and picked up the tracker and back out to the spot where we put the kudu to bed last night. We parked the truck and headed in on foot to see if we could spot them. Mist was thick and didn’t lift for a couple hours but when the sun finally broke through we couldn’t spot the kudu. We glassed awhile longer but gave up and decided to head back to the top of the hill where we had saw them the day before.

Drove back around and hopped off the truck to commence a long stalk to try and get in position. We walked about ½ mile and the last few hundred yds. we were tiptoeing as quiet as possible. I thought for sure the cows would alert the bull again but we got on top the hill in almost the same position as the day before without incident though.

The original plan was having me probably shoot off hand since the hilltop was so small and we didn’t think we would have time to get setup on the sticks .
Timba low crawled it to the left and was laying underneath a bush and was able to see the cows to the right of us this time. PH put me on the sticks as the tracker was calling out the location. One cow walked in front of us about 60 yds away and looked right at us but we didn’t move a muscle and she just kept walking. Then another cow walked by, then another. Then the PH started whispering “He’s coming”….by now I was getting pretty excited. He was getting the info from the tracker who was laying down under a small bush. The PH whispered again “He’s coming…”.
By now I’d been on the sticks for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a few minutes. PH whispered again “He’s coming”…now I start questioning if he really was coming and this was some cruel joke Nick was playing on me but right then I spotted movement in a tiny window in the brush and then knew that he was really coming. Out he came walking and quartering a little away from me and I wasn’t hesitating again. I pulled the trigger and he ran about 20 yds. but didn’t make the brush. BAM - the 300 hit hard and I heard the meat report. A beautiful kudu bull - What a magnificent animal!

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Kudu with 300WM

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Kudu with PH

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We tried loading him but all four of us couldn't get him in the bakkie. I didn't feel like ripping the crotch out of another pair of pants so Nick calls in backup to get a truck with a winch to come out and help.

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Trackers are beat after we tried but couldn’t load the kudu by hand!

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Reinforcements have arrived!

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From the top of kudu hill
That is a huge kudu bull, well done.
 

Kevin Peacocke

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Day 4 – Friday

Up early to try our hand for gemsbok and hartebeest at a property about 45 minutes away. Got to the farm and picked up the PH who manages the farm to go do some scouting.

Right off we spotted a nice gemsbok on a neighboring hillside and drove down into the valley to cut the distance. Off the truck and into the brush to see if we could get into position. We were quartering uphill through the thick brush and the PH put me on the sticks since he thought he would walk out of the brush and present an opportunity between the acacia brush. He never came out so we continued on another 50 yds. and got setup again on the sticks and waited a couple minutes before he appeared. He walked out and I didn’t waste time to let the 300 talk. He dropped like a stone in his tracks.

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Gemsbok

PH called back to the farmhouse to get a side by side and help carrying him down the hill. Wasn’t too long until help arrived and got him loaded.

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Hauling gemsbok

Drove around a bit searching for hartebeest and finally spotted a small herd on a hillside across from us. Drove to the bottom of a hillside to a spot well below them and off the truck to start walking. Walked about ½ mile to where they were last seen but they had migrated quite a ways below us and spotted us and took off on a dead run with us right behind them. This morphed into a fast walk / jog ordeal up the hill with me being on the sticks at least 5 times but never got a chance to pull the trigger before they were off running again.

Then they paired up with a herd of bontebuck and commenced running the other direction down the valley. Off we go again in pursuit and we used a small thicket of acacia trees to shield our movement to get within range. Up on the sticks for the last time and took the shot. Thank goodness he didn’t take off since I was out close to running out of gas by this point.

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Nick & I with Red Hartebeest

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Red Hartebeest

Took some photos and loaded up the hartebeest and headed to the skinning shed where Timba had just finished the gemsbok.

Gorgeous property!

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After the hartebeest was skinned we headed back to the lodge property. Thought we might have a chance on a warthog we had spotted the day before but no luck after a couple hours of glassing.

After another wonderful meal by Debbie & Portia at Outspan and I headed to bed for some much needed rest.
Hartebeest are such pretty animals, an under rated trophy. Yours is great!
 

Kevin Peacocke

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Travel Back:

Marius and I loaded up all the skins and skulls in the bakkie and headed to East London. He dropped me off at the entrance to the airport and I proceeded to the Airlink check in. So now everything is in reverse.

No issue here but I did have to tell them how many live rounds I had but no questions on how many empty cases I had. Weighed the ammo case and back into the luggage this time. And this is where it got a bit screwed up. The ticket agent told me I needed to go upstairs to pay for excess baggage/firearm fee after they checked my rifle SN#. So I went upstairs but no one knew anything about fees and no one could help me so I just headed to the gate and waited for the flight to Joberg. When it was time to start boarding they scanned my boarding pass and there was a ‘No Board’ message so they pulled me off to the side and asked if I had paid the fee ‘No’ I replied. They had to then have someone run and get a credit card reader machine brought to the gate since I didn’t have any cash. Note to self: Always pack some Rand with you! Finally, a kid ran up and I scanned my card and I was ready to board. Disaster averted.

Landed in Joberg and was greeted by a Riflepermits rep on the tarmac as soon as I deboarded. He shuttled me straight to baggage claim and we picked up my bags and headed to Qatar check in but since I had over a 7 hour layover Qatar check in was deserted. So I went and grabbed lunch with my rifle & baggage in tow. Painful to haul your luggage around an airport for that long. Finally Qatar opened up and went back to check in and got my luggage checked in and received my boarding passes. Then we had to go back to SAPS. Anyway, got on the plane headed to Doha.

The flight to Doha took about 1 hour longer than anticipated so when we landed I had to hustle to get on the Seattle flight. Also, we had to go back through security checks twice here. Didn’t even have time to use the restroom.

Boarded for the long haul to Seattle. When we landed back in Seattle this is where the fun started. Deboarded the plane and went straight through customs which seemed to take forever. Finally, through Customs to try and claim my luggage. After waiting almost an hour but no baggage I asked 4 different people about my baggage and rifle. And received four different answers. Finally found a customs agent that said all my luggage was being held with them not far away. I had assumed that my checked bag would come out on the carousel and my rifle would be held by Customs. Hustled over there and went through Customs again and they X-rayed my luggage and gave me my checked bag but not the rifle.

There was another hunter from Montana that was in the same boat. They said a lady had to deliver the rifles to Carousel 1 (remember the carousel 1 from my trip over!) Well it turns Carousel 1 is the International rifle/oversize item drop off point. Well, she took another hour to get our rifles to the baggage claim area and finally the other hunter spotted her and grabbed both our rifles. By this time, I only had 30 minutes to make my flight so we hustled to check the rifle back in with TSA and Alaska. Needless to say, the ticket agent took my bag but not the rifle and when I went to get TSA to check the rifle and the Alaskan rep said I wouldn’t make the flight and rebooked me on the next one. Course now I have luggage on two different flights…Well, it actually worked out since the original flight was delayed and when I landed in Spokane I didn’t have to wait long for both pieces to arrive on the carousel. Finally home.
Wonderful story, well done on everything, especially the beautiful animals. I will never complain again about having to travel for a hunt, you guys endure so much. Well, it is worth it, not so?
 

Uncle Sauce

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Wonderful story, well done on everything, especially the beautiful animals. I will never complain again about having to travel for a hunt, you guys endure so much. Well, it is worth it, not so?
Thank you Kevin -- It is painful on the traveling but definitely worth the results I would say!
 

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Recap

It’s hard to put into words the great experience I had on this trip. Everything was wonderful from the people, to the food and the great hospitality. Flying with a rifle was painful but definitely manageable. Just make sure you have enough layover time and ask a lot of questions.

Even though I never got a warthog or bushbuck I don’t have any regrets. I’ll just put them at the top of my list next trip.

I can’t thank Nick Neuper my PH enough. He hunted hard and got me some wonderful trophies and put me in the exact position I needed to be. He had a great sense of humor and we got along great. Very instrumental with all the time we spent together. He also took extra time for photos that initially I found a little laughable but everyone that has seen the photos of the animals is appreciative in the care and time that he took. Especially since I’m back and going back through the photos it is really special to have nice photos that will live on forever.

Timba the tracker was great to be with as well – Too bad I don’t speak Xhosa though! Nick tried teaching me few words but after a few tries and lots of laughs from Nick I gave up.

Also, a big thank you to the Outspan Lodge – Debbie, Andrew, Teman and Portia. First class operation. The food was off the charts and the accommodations wonderful and the scenery at the lodge is spectacular. I can’t begin to describe the hospitality I received the entire time I was there.

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And to Marius – Thanks for all your help in answering my questions over the last year and a half and putting this all together. I hope to be back soon for another bacon sandwich and milkshake – As they say in Africa ‘Let’s make a plan’! Much appreciated Marius for giving me some lifetime memories!

And finally thank you to the AH community for all the info to get this off the ground. Without being armed with the info I gleaned, this may not have happened. I worry and sweat the small details so AH really helped to put me at ease in the planning stages. The only thing I that I might disagree with is that everybody stated they started planning their trip on the plane ride home – I started planning my return trip on the second day!

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And here’s to breakfast and beers in Johannesburg when we’re headed back for the next trip! Thanks for the very detailed report, and amazing pictures. It truly goes beyond words, and has to be experienced
 

Uncle Sauce

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And here’s to breakfast and beers in Johannesburg when we’re headed back for the next trip! Thanks for the very detailed report, and amazing pictures. It truly goes beyond words, and has to be experienced
:LOL: For sure! Thanks Patrick - Let me know when you get up this way and we'll meet up. Definitely need to get the next one planned!
 

Brent in Az

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Fine selection of trophies, with a top notch Safari operator. Some magnificent scenery as well. All I can say, is wow!

For some reason, i missed the last segments of this story. My bad!
 

Uncle Sauce

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Fine selection of trophies, with a top notch Safari operator. Some magnificent scenery as well. All I can say, is wow!

For some reason, i missed the last segments of this story. My bad!

Thanks @Brent in Az! KMG was great to hunt with!
 

Uncle Sauce

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@Uncle Sauce how hard was it travelling with the suppressor
@rbros : I had no problems - nobody even questioned it including customs or airlines and I did have it in my gun case with my rifle.
I did ask my local Customs office about traveling international and bringing it back in and they didn't bat an eye and had no issue filling my Form 4457 out.
 

Jaegger

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Uncle Sauce, cool name & you’ll have to share the back story. I’m really enjoying your all in trip report w/ pics + great trophy success & this really hits close to home for me - I’ll be sharing a cruiser w/ Nick starting 29 August.

Q: I’m not usually one about the #’s & more about maturity, hunt challenge & adventure BUT ... did you put a tape on that Oryx Bull? It‘s a stunner!

P.S. you definitely made the right choice to not squeeze on the running Kudu as your ethical Hunters subconscious said, “ ... don’t do it Uncle Sauce.”

Congrat’s,
Jaegger
 

Uncle Sauce

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Uncle Sauce, cool name & you’ll have to share the back story. I’m really enjoying your all in trip report w/ pics + great trophy success & this really hits close to home for me - I’ll be sharing a cruiser w/ Nick starting 29 August.

Q: I’m not usually one about the #’s & more about maturity, hunt challenge & adventure BUT ... did you put a tape on that Oryx Bull? It‘s a stunner!

P.S. you definitely made the right choice to not squeeze on the running Kudu as your ethical Hunters subconscious said, “ ... don’t do it Uncle Sauce.”

Congrat’s,
Jaegger
Thank you @Jaegger for the kind words! You'll definitely have a good time with Nick! Bring Nick some of those electrolyte packets you add to your water - He'll love it!

I'm the same way with the tape as well. I didn't measure that Oryx but I sure was happy with him.
 

Uncle Sauce

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Your trip was amazing and I appreciate the time you took to let us all enjoy it with you. Outstanding photography too ! Thank you!
Thank you and I'm glad you enjoyed it! I had a great time!
 

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Thanks for taking the time to do a nice writeup. The fun with the airlines and customs is part of the adventure, not the best part:A Bang Head:

You took some very fine animals and got to see some beautiful country. Now you can continue the plans for your next safari that you started in your head between the eastern cape and joberg:E Angel:

I have already booked my next two safaris, so understand how you feel about heading back.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to do a nice writeup. The fun with the airlines and customs is part of the adventure, not the best part:A Bang Head:

You took some very fine animals and got to see some beautiful country. Now you can continue the plans for your next safari that you started in your head between the eastern cape and joberg:E Angel:

I have already booked my next two safaris, so understand how you feel about heading back.
Thanks Dave
Yeah, the airlines are definitely interesting to deal with especially traveling international!

I do need to get the next one planned. Just have to wait while my wallet recovers. Being my first trip I went a bit over budget on my taxidermy.... :A Whistle:
 

cls

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Congratulations on a very successful first safari, you took some very nice animals. The Eastern Cape is a very special place to hunt. Thanks for the report.
 

Uncle Sauce

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Congratulations on a very successful first safari, you took some very nice animals. The Eastern Cape is a very special place to hunt. Thanks for the report.
Thanks CLS - I had a great time!
 

Randy F

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I finally got caught up on your story.

Fantastic hunt! Congratulations on very nice trophies!
 

Uncle Sauce

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I finally got caught up on your story.

Fantastic hunt! Congratulations on very nice trophies!
Thanks for the kind words Randy!
 

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