SOUTH AFRICA: First Trip To South Africa With DE KLERK SAFARIS

Mac13

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I have been meaning to post this report for some time and figured I better get to it as I am headed to Botswana in a week.

The journey began at DSC in January of 2023. I was lucky enough to win an auction item that was graciously donated by DeKlerk Safaris for 4 hunters. With my daughter graduating from college that May, it was perfect timing for her graduation present and the whole family would be able to go. This would be our first true family vacation that did not involve baseball or softball which we had traveled from California to Florida every year doing.

We flew into Johannesburg, stayed at Africa Sky Hotel to spend the night, and met Yvan DeKlerk the next morning for the 9 hour drive to the DeKlerk lodge located on the southern edge of the Kalahari close to the Botswana border. We stopped for lunch at the halfway point and were met by Hans DeKlerk for the remainder of the drive. We arrived around 4:30pm, were met by PH Frikkie, PH Johan and Lodge Manager Heidi, got unloaded, and went to sight in the rifles. As we were sighting in the rifles, my son tapped me on the should and point behind me. I turned around and was looking eye to eye with the most beautiful Cape Buffalo I had ever seen standing about 150 yards away. Even with the property being high fenced these animals temperament changes when you are on the ground and this Buffalo is no exception. You can see the look in his eyes that he is not to be trifled with.
View attachment 1716837259867.jpeg
DAY 1_07/26/23
1716837339000.jpeg

The next morning we had breakfast which was served by an absolutely incredible lady, Heidi, who took care of everything at the lodge and just has an incredible heart. After breakfast, we were off to hunting. This being the first day, we all hunted together. A couple hours later and after seeing many different species of game, Frikkie, the head PH spotted an impala ram that deserved a better look. Frikki, Camryn and myself proceed to stalk him to get a better look. It didn’t take long to get into position and she took the shot.
View attachment 1716837397053.jpeg
After harvesting the impala, it was back the skinning shed to drop off the impala and back to the lodge for lunch. On the way to the skinning shed, Frikkie, being the jokester that he is, played a joke on Zach. See videos below.
After lunch we split up, Frikkie took Camryn and myself to stalk through and area. After about an hour of stalking he spotted a Sprinkbok ram that I was able to harvest.
1716837757235.jpeg

That night we had great meal around the campfire and met Hans’ wife Marie who is another wonderful Lady. Hans told many stories around the campfire each night, as he has many being a PH for 30 some odd years. We had discussions about the type of Kudu I was looking for and Hans/Frikkie had an idea. Frikkie had seen a very good Kudu across the fence the week before that he thought would go over 55”.

DAY 2_07/27/23

We would split up this morning. Zach and Camryn went with Frikkie and My wife and I went with Johan.

Zach was able to take this great Blue Wildebeest.
1716837857760.jpeg

I was able to take this Impala.
View attachment 1716837940892.jpeg
After lunch, Frikkie called a neighboring cattle rancher that owned 16,000 acres. This property was for sale and Hans had already been in negotiations with the owner to purchase it. This property bordered Botswana, was low fenced and had never been commercially hunted. The rancher agreed to let us hunt the property and we would head there the next morning. I believe Hans has acquired this property recently.

We were off to explore the neighboring property. I was honored just to be able to explore this property and truly appreciated Hans and Frikkie making it happen. We saw around 40 Kudu this evening and a couple 2-3 year old bulls which had tremendous potential with big first curls. We made it to the Botswana border.
1716838025676.jpeg

On the way back, Frikkie spotted a Jackel laying down in the road a little over 200 yards away. He handed Zach his rifle and that was the end of the Jackal. About 30 minutes later, Frikkie spotted a big warthog and again, Zach made quick work of him.
1716839231998.jpeg

View attachment 1716838119786.jpeg
That evening Hans and Marie’s daughter Mariaan arrived for dinner and brought her pet Meerkat, Kudi, to leave for the week. Kudi entertained everyone the rest of the trip as he loved warming himself at the fire and snuggling with everyone. What a special treat this was.
1716838177210.jpeg

1716838192891.jpeg

Day 3_07/28/23

This morning Frikkie, Zach and I would head back to the neighboring property looking for Kudu. We saw many again but no mature bulls. We did however, run across this warthog that I was able to take off hand with Frikkie’s rifle.
View attachment 1716838245922.jpeg
That evening we decided to let the neighboring property rest.

Zach and I went with Johan on the main property and Zach was able to harvest his first Kudu Bull which dropped strait in his tracks.
View attachment 1716838305902.jpeg
Frikkie and Camryn stalked Gemsbok for about 3 hours in a 20 mph wind, with most of it was done duck walking to stay low and Frikkie’s leg accidently found a warthog hole. He was ok, and they soon got into position at 330 yards, she took the shot and harvested her first Gemsbok.
View attachment 1716838344291.jpeg
DAY 4_07/29/23

We split up this day as Frikkie and I headed back to the neighboring property and my wife and kids stayed with Johan on the fenced property. It was cold this morning, 17 degrees Fahrenheit. This morning Frikkie and I saw around 100 Kudu but no mature bulls.

This evening, Zach was able to harvest this great Golden Wildebeest.
View attachment 1716838386613.jpeg
DAY 5_07/30/23

Frikkie and I headed back to the neighboring property. About an hour into it, we spot 2 jackals roughly 125 yards in front of us that walked into the road. Frikkie hands me his rifle and I was able to take both of them in about 9 seconds.
1716838439098.jpeg

We make our way to the Botswana border seeing many Kudu cows and one decent bull we did not get a very good look at. On the way back, a little after noon, Frikkie want to sit and watch a big open flat that we had seen many Kudu in driving by. After about 2 hours of sitting there, I told Frikkie it was time to go, let’s drive back down the middle road in the direction of where he had seen this big bull last week and if we did not see him we would have time to get back to the fenced side and maybe find the Sable. Finally he agreed and we made our back. Now this property was a cattle ranch and had water troughs about every mile or so. As we make our way down the middle road (this area is mainly grass with spotted brush and is very open) we make it to the last water trough, go through the gate a couple hundred yards and Frikkie spots the bull about 300 yards away. He dials his scope and hands be the rifle. I lean forward to get on him and my binocular harness will not allow me to get the stock on the rest. I quickly take it off and about the time I acquire him in the scope he takes off running straight away from us. I am watching him as he is running towards the high fence. When he reaches it, he hooks left running along it and we pursue him in the vehicle. We reach the high fence and he hooks another left heading away from the high fence. We make it to the next fence/road, hook a left moving parallel with him. About the time we catch up, we come to another cattle fence which he jumps and stops behind a lone tree about 150 yards away. I tell Frikkie to tell the driver to stop the truck and kill it. I am on him trying to find a hole in the tree for a shot and he takes off again. I am following him in the scope and ask Frikkie what he wanted me to do. He tells me to wait as he would stop. As I am following him, I am asking about the dope on the scope that he had made earlier as well as the wind we had at this point and he says your good. About this time he stops under some trees, I settle on him, squeeze the trigger, see him hunch and Frikkie says nothing, meaning I missed. I am in disbelief but had already cycled the bolt and ready to take another shot but now he is walking through the trees and I have no idea what happened on the first shot as my trigger control was pure, (trust me, I have yanked triggers before and know when I do it, this was not one of those times) and this is the same gun I killed the jackals with this morning. I was also glued to the scope and don’t have depth perception to judge distance without coming off of it. Now he takes off again, I am watching him as Frikkie and our driver Chris cut the fence. Last time I saw him, he was running full speed and disappeared behind some trees about 800 yards away. We make it through the fence and head in the direction I last saw him to never see him again. We go back to where he was standing when I shot to look for blood as I was still convinced I hit him but do not find any. I believe one of three things happened, either he was farther than what we thought, the wind pushed the bullet, I was aiming too low, or a combination of the three. In hindsight, I should have held higher and over to account for the wind. This was an exciting chase and I felt like I let Frikkie and Chris down as we had put at least 150 miles on this property in four days with Frikkie opening and closing about 352 gates. I offered to open the gates as I grew up around cattle and know what a pain it is, but Frikkie being the true professional he is would not allow it.

That morning, Camryn was able to take this incredible Springbok with Johan.
1716838501935.jpeg

That evening, Zach was able to take this extremely heavy Springbok with Johan.
1716838577576.jpeg

DAY 6_07/31/23

Frikkie, my wife and I head back to the neighboring property to try and find this bull. We spent all day there, seeing many Kudu but not him.

That evening, Camryn was able to take this great Blesbok with Johan.
1716840480578.jpeg

Zach was able to take this Impala with Johan.
1716840500064.jpeg

In closing, I would like to thank Hans and Marie for donating this hunt to DSC, as these donations and auctions is what allows a family like mine to make this trip. Frikkie is an outstanding PH and a lot of fun to hunt with. Johan is a great PH as well. Heidi makes sure everything is taken care of at the lodge and you will never want for anything. I look forward to visiting them again. This is a great place to take your family as they limit the number of hunters they take at a time.
 

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Great! Thank You for sharing
 
I have been meaning to post this report for some time and figured I better get to it as I am headed to Botswana in a week.

The journey began at DSC in January of 2023. I was lucky enough to win an auction item that was graciously donated by DeKlerk Safaris for 4 hunters. With my daughter graduating from college that May, it was perfect timing for her graduation present and the whole family would be able to go. This would be our first true family vacation that did not involve baseball or softball which we had traveled from California to Florida every year doing.

We flew into Johannesburg, stayed at Africa Sky Hotel to spend the night, and met Yvan DeKlerk the next morning for the 9 hour drive to the DeKlerk lodge located on the southern edge of the Kalahari close to the Botswana border. We stopped for lunch at the halfway point and were met by Hans DeKlerk for the remainder of the drive. We arrived around 4:30pm, were met by PH Frikkie, PH Johan and Lodge Manager Heidi, got unloaded, and went to sight in the rifles. As we were sighting in the rifles, my son tapped me on the should and point behind me. I turned around and was looking eye to eye with the most beautiful Cape Buffalo I had ever seen standing about 150 yards away. Even with the property being high fenced these animals temperament changes when you are on the ground and this Buffalo is no exception. You can see the look in his eyes that he is not to be trifled with.
View attachment 608785
DAY 1_07/26/23
View attachment 608786
The next morning we had breakfast which was served by an absolutely incredible lady, Heidi, who took care of everything at the lodge and just has an incredible heart. After breakfast, we were off to hunting. This being the first day, we all hunted together. A couple hours later and after seeing many different species of game, Frikkie, the head PH spotted an impala ram that deserved a better look. Frikki, Camryn and myself proceed to stalk him to get a better look. It didn’t take long to get into position and she took the shot.
View attachment 608788
After harvesting the impala, it was back the skinning shed to drop off the impala and back to the lodge for lunch. On the way to the skinning shed, Frikkie, being the jokester that he is, played a joke on Zach. See videos below.
After lunch we split up, Frikkie took Camryn and myself to stalk through and area. After about an hour of stalking he spotted a Sprinkbok ram that I was able to harvest.
View attachment 608797
That night we had great meal around the campfire and met Hans’ wife Marie who is another wonderful Lady. Hans told many stories around the campfire each night, as he has many being a PH for 30 some odd years. We had discussions about the type of Kudu I was looking for and Hans/Frikkie had an idea. Frikkie had seen a very good Kudu across the fence the week before that he thought would go over 55”.

DAY 2_07/27/23

We would split up this morning. Zach and Camryn went with Frikkie and My wife and I went with Johan.

Zach was able to take this great Blue Wildebeest.
View attachment 608799
I was able to take this Impala.
View attachment 608804
After lunch, Frikkie called a neighboring cattle rancher that owned 16,000 acres. This property was for sale and Hans had already been in negotiations with the owner to purchase it. This property bordered Botswana, was low fenced and had never been commercially hunted. The rancher agreed to let us hunt the property and we would head there the next morning. I believe Hans has acquired this property recently.

We were off to explore the neighboring property. I was honored just to be able to explore this property and truly appreciated Hans and Frikkie making it happen. We saw around 40 Kudu this evening and a couple 2-3 year old bulls which had tremendous potential with big first curls. We made it to the Botswana border.
View attachment 608805
On the way back, Frikkie spotted a Jackel laying down in the road a little over 200 yards away. He handed Zach his rifle and that was the end of the Jackal. About 30 minutes later, Frikkie spotted a big warthog and again, Zach made quick work of him.
View attachment 608824
View attachment 608806
That evening Hans and Marie’s daughter Mariaan arrived for dinner and brought her pet Meerkat, Kudi, to leave for the week. Kudi entertained everyone the rest of the trip as he loved warming himself at the fire and snuggling with everyone. What a special treat this was.
View attachment 608807
View attachment 608808
Day 3_07/28/23

This morning Frikkie, Zach and I would head back to the neighboring property looking for Kudu. We saw many again but no mature bulls. We did however, run across this warthog that I was able to take off hand with Frikkie’s rifle.
View attachment 608809
That evening we decided to let the neighboring property rest.

Zach and I went with Johan on the main property and Zach was able to harvest his first Kudu Bull which dropped strait in his tracks.
View attachment 608810
Frikkie and Camryn stalked Gemsbok for about 3 hours in a 20 mph wind, with most of it was done duck walking to stay low and Frikkie’s leg accidently found a warthog hole. He was ok, and they soon got into position at 330 yards, she took the shot and harvested her first Gemsbok.
View attachment 608812
DAY 4_07/29/23

We split up this day as Frikkie and I headed back to the neighboring property and my wife and kids stayed with Johan on the fenced property. It was cold this morning, 17 degrees Fahrenheit. This morning Frikkie and I saw around 100 Kudu but no mature bulls.

This evening, Zach was able to harvest this great Golden Wildebeest.
View attachment 608814
DAY 5_07/30/23

Frikkie and I headed back to the neighboring property. About an hour into it, we spot 2 jackals roughly 125 yards in front of us that walked into the road. Frikkie hands me his rifle and I was able to take both of them in about 9 seconds.
View attachment 608816
We make our way to the Botswana border seeing many Kudu cows and one decent bull we did not get a very good look at. On the way back, a little after noon, Frikkie want to sit and watch a big open flat that we had seen many Kudu in driving by. After about 2 hours of sitting there, I told Frikkie it was time to go, let’s drive back down the middle road in the direction of where he had seen this big bull last week and if we did not see him we would have time to get back to the fenced side and maybe find the Sable. Finally he agreed and we made our back. Now this property was a cattle ranch and had water troughs about every mile or so. As we make our way down the middle road (this area is mainly grass with spotted brush and is very open) we make it to the last water trough, go through the gate a couple hundred yards and Frikkie spots the bull about 300 yards away. He dials his scope and hands be the rifle. I lean forward to get on him and my binocular harness will not allow me to get the stock on the rest. I quickly take it off and about the time I acquire him in the scope he takes off running straight away from us. I am watching him as he is running towards the high fence. When he reaches it, he hooks left running along it and we pursue him in the vehicle. We reach the high fence and he hooks another left heading away from the high fence. We make it to the next fence/road, hook a left moving parallel with him. About the time we catch up, we come to another cattle fence which he jumps and stops behind a lone tree about 150 yards away. I tell Frikkie to tell the driver to stop the truck and kill it. I am on him trying to find a hole in the tree for a shot and he takes off again. I am following him in the scope and ask Frikkie what he wanted me to do. He tells me to wait as he would stop. As I am following him, I am asking about the dope on the scope that he had made earlier as well as the wind we had at this point and he says your good. About this time he stops under some trees, I settle on him, squeeze the trigger, see him hunch and Frikkie says nothing, meaning I missed. I am in disbelief but had already cycled the bolt and ready to take another shot but now he is walking through the trees and I have no idea what happened on the first shot as my trigger control was pure, (trust me, I have yanked triggers before and know when I do it, this was not one of those times) and this is the same gun I killed the jackals with this morning. I was also glued to the scope and don’t have depth perception to judge distance without coming off of it. Now he takes off again, I am watching him as Frikkie and our driver Chris cut the fence. Last time I saw him, he was running full speed and disappeared behind some trees about 800 yards away. We make it through the fence and head in the direction I last saw him to never see him again. We go back to where he was standing when I shot to look for blood as I was still convinced I hit him but do not find any. I believe one of three things happened, either he was farther than what we thought, the wind pushed the bullet, I was aiming too low, or a combination of the three. In hindsight, I should have held higher and over to account for the wind. This was an exciting chase and I felt like I let Frikkie and Chris down as we had put at least 150 miles on this property in four days with Frikkie opening and closing about 352 gates. I offered to open the gates as I grew up around cattle and know what a pain it is, but Frikkie being the true professional he is would not allow it.

That morning, Camryn was able to take this incredible Springbok with Johan.
View attachment 608819
That evening, Zach was able to take this extremely heavy Springbok with Johan.
View attachment 608820
DAY 6_07/31/23

Frikkie, my wife and I head back to the neighboring property to try and find this bull. We spent all day there, seeing many Kudu but not him.

That evening, Camryn was able to take this great Blesbok with Johan.
View attachment 608834
Zach was able to take this Impala with Johan.
View attachment 608835
In closing, I would like to thank Hans and Marie for donating this hunt to DSC, as these donations and auctions is what allows a family like mine to make this trip. Frikkie is an outstanding PH and a lot of fun to hunt with. Johan is a great PH as well. Heidi makes sure everything is taken care of at the lodge and you will never want for anything. I look forward to visiting them again. This is a great place to take your family as they limit the number of hunters they take at a time.
outstanding hunt and write up!!! Beautiful animals!!! Congratulations!!!
 
sounds like a great family hunt ,excellent, you left that Kudu for me!
 
The best hunts are family hunts. Your safari is next-level stuff! Congratulations!
 
Great looking photos. My Safari in September was just up the road from there in Makapong, so we may have hunted some of the same ground. One place was owned by the Klossen family, and the Impala were all whoppers.
 
Congratulations, Hans certainly has some stellar springbuck running around (not to mention warthog all over the place). Looks like a good family adventure.
 
I hunted a neighboring ranch a few years back and enjoyed it very much. Good job taking your family.
Bruce
 
Congrats and thanks for sharing!
 
Congratulations all around, you all did well. Thank you for your report and pictures.
 
Congrats for a great hunt, and thanks for sharing !
 
Looks like a great family safari was had thanks for sharing enjoyed reading it!
 
What a great hunt with the family, had to be an incredible time making wonderful memories! Thanks for sharing and taking the time to write it up.
 
Looks like y'all had a great hunt. Who wants to go back the most? Hopefully it allows you some redemption on your Kudu.
 
Great place great outfit and even better people.
Glad you had a good time
 
Outstanding family hunt! The De-Klerks and the staff (Heidi & Frikkie) are flat out amazing host. It brought back memories of my hunt. Keep it coming, post more pictures. Congratulations to all.
 

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