SOUTH AFRICA: Good Hunt With Tootabi Hunting Safaris

HuntingGold

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I've been home for a few days now and finally seem to be over the jet-lag.

After our first trip to South Africa in 2013, I was determined to get back. The first trip was with my two daughters and thought the second trip would be without them. However, the youngest was determined to go back with me. One post in particular got our attention and that was a post by Loodt with Tootabi regarding a package that included a shark dive. My youngest loves the beach and the ocean and when I asked her about doing a shark dive, she smiled and said, "oh yeah." It took some time, but we saved enough and began making plans with Loodt. After adjusting the package multiple times to accommodate our latest desire (they changed back and forth) we set on a small hunting package, one that included another member of the tiny ten.

Of particular note is that I asked my daughter to save for the trip. I asked her to save up for her airfare and she agreed. She is 15 and active in sports so there was really no expectation she could fully make it. She did save her babysitting money for almost a full year and contributed $800 (US) to the trip. After that, I pulled her off the hook and let the remainder go to shopping money on the trip.

Spring Break is a little over a week long for the students in Oregon. I pulled her out of school a day and a half early for our trip and started the journey.
5 hour drive to Portland International, about a 6 hour flight to JFK (New York), after a layover, the 14 1/2 hour flight to JoBerg, another layover and then 1 1/2 hour flight to Port Elizabeth.

Coming out of the Airport I immediately recognized Lammie. I think he recognized us at about the same time. A short amount of time with introductions and we loaded our gear in the bakkie and headed out for Tootabi's main location just outside of Paterson. We unloaded our gear and, though sleepy, had a short natural high going. We used that little "high" to run out and shoot Lammies rifle. I was pleased to see him pull out an older Remington Model 700 in .30-06 as I have several at home, one of which is my favorite rifle (though in .270). I shot first and made a good hit. I shot two or three more times and had difficulty. Now it was the daughters turn, she shot and did well but had some misses. Huh... Lammie took a shot or two and also had some issues. Oh, no! After some thought, Lammie recalled the bullets now being used were not the same as what he had sighted the rifle in with. The next morning he obtained the original loads and verified the gun was on.

After the sight in, we went back to the Oliphantskop Lodge (main lodge for Tootabi Safaris). Elia and I settled in for some much needed rest. Lammie agreed to wake us later for an evening drive. The knock on the door came much too early as I was out out out. We pulled ourselves together and went outside where we finally met Loodt. Good to put a handshake with the person you have been dealing with over the phone and email for the last year or so. We didnt spend much time chatting as we were running a touch late for the drive. We loaded into the bakkie and took a drive about the ranch and adjoining properties. We were joined in our drive by a young lady named Taylor. Initially I thought she was part of the staff then heard her speak, clearly American English with a decent touch of the south. What brings you here? "To hunt," she replies. Right on.

Our drive takes us about and we see some nyala, impala, warthogs, and I think a kudu cow. We pass a small pond then begin to climb a hill only to stop the vehicle. There we jumped out to look around. Loodt and Lammie begin preparing a little table with snacks and drinks... sun-downers! I drank a single beer and snacked on billtong while Elia and I talked with Taylor. She told us about some of her hunts including a caracal she had taken earlier. She was quite excited about that. We then loaded back into the bakkie and continued the drive. More critters were seen including an eland.

We then lumbered down a small ranch road where I could see a campfire and some people gathered around. We pulled up and then the singing started! Oh what a welcome. Members of the local Xhosa community were there to sing and dance. How ten people can sound like a hundred I will never know, but it was absolutely amazing. Immediately afterwards we took a few steps back to our dinner table that was beautifully set. If memory serves me correctly we ate some of the bush buck that Taylor had taken earlier in her trip along with lamb chops. We ended the meal with a treat called koeksisters.

Afterwards a ride back to the lodge where we said good-bye to Taylor (she was leaving in the morning) and settled in for some much needed rest.

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HuntingGold

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I just saw the time and must run to work. Argh.

I will tell you that we did not rest well. No fault of the Tootabi family or staff. Jet Lag was killing us. Both Elia and I were wide awake at 2 AM and stayed awake until 4 or so. We did manage to go back to sleep and then wake up again around sunrise.
I will post again after work.
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brushmore

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I took my daughter last year to Tootabi and next year for Spring break I will be taking the whole family, all six of us. Reading your report and seeing the pictures is making the wait to return next year even harder!
 

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That jet lag sucks! Of 4 times over, we went twice through Paris. Leaving the US in the early evening and getting a little sleep on the plane over the Atlantic. Then stayed awake during the all day layover, taking the opportunity for a little Paris tour, and literally passed out from exhaustion on the overnight flight to Joberg. It wears you down having two nights in a row on an airplane but you get there on schedule to sleep normally.

Taking that long direct flight to Joberg is more challenging jet lag wise, but saves at least half a day and is usually cheaper... Plus only one night on a plane. And you don't have to deal with the French on moving your guns through Paris;)
 

billc

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sounds like a great start to your trip. Tootabi is a great place to visit and loodt and his family are great people.

Hunting with lammie is as fun as it gets also. He is so funny to be around and makes the days very fun. Tops in my eyes as a ph to hunt with to.
 

HuntingGold

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I have a few minutes so will post a bit more.

After sunrise we gathered up (Lammie, Attie, Elia and I) and headed out on the Buchener farm to look for a warthog. We walked and glassed and walked some more. We spent the morning looking for a big boy but all we saw were female with young and young males. The morning was not lost as it was wonderful to take in the sights and sounds. We saw hartebeest, zebra, impala, and a few others. Just a beautiful morning. Lammie was perplexed as he often sees more pigs in these areas. The prickly pear fruit was ripe and falling. He was guessing the pigs were in the brush feasting on the fruit.
After our morning hunt, we returned to the lodge for a late breakfast.
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rinehart0050

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@HuntingGold Great report so far! Looking forward to the rest.
 

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Great report so far!
 

Royal27

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Glad you had such a great time with your daughter!
 

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Glad you had a nice hunt, thanks for sharing, look forward to more!
 

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I can see your daughters don't get their looks from you! Lucky for them. :LOL:

Great story so far. Loodt was one of my final three choices for my first trip, but I didn't get to book with him this time. Very professional guy. We'll see how my Namibia trip goes and maybe trip two will be in SA.
 

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Sounds like you and your daughter had a good hunt! Sir You are to be commended for raising a young lady willing to work for what she wants! Good for her and her Daddy!!
 

gillettehunter

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Nice start. Only thing is why go to work? I mean you have all of your AH family to entertain..... Good pics. Always a big plus to help you remember you safari. By the way, great job taking your daughter and having her work for part of it. Teaches responsibility. Bruce
 

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After breakfast, we left the lodge and took a short drive to another farm to look for an ostrich. After the last safari, Elia really wanted an ostrich, so here we go. At first I was cool with the idea as that it what she wanted. Then I started hearing about how tough they can be to bring down and I became a bit nervous. Before the safari, I brought up the photos of ostrich on africa hunting forum to examine and discuss the kill shot. As a teen-ager, I got the "right dad, now quit bothering me" attitude. Oh was I nervous.

We entered the farm and met the owner, Franz (guessing on spelling). Looked like a fun guy to be around but he pointed out some stuff and spoke to Lammie in Africaans and then left to do some work. We headed out for some distant pasture and went through two or three gates. As we went through one gate, Attie said something to Lammie who in turn told us there were two ostrich on the other side of the brush from us. We all bailed out and crawled over the fence. We could see two ostrich as we negotiated out and clear of the brush. The ostrich were getting nervous but we continued at them (and through some of Franz's cows). Finally Lammie put up the sticks and Elia put up the gun. I quickly took a photo and BOOM, THWAP, and done. Bird was already on the ground and kicking by the time I was able to look up to see what had happened. Lammie was excited and said something quite funny and grabbed Elia for a hug. I took another photo or two and off we went to look at big bird.

The bird had a few more kicks left but clearly was done. We took a bunch of photos and loaded up the bird. We headed for the ranch, stopping at Franz's place to say our thanks. As we pulled away, Franz said something to Lammie and had quite the devilish look in his eye. I couldn't help it and asked for translation. Basically he called Lammie a lucky bastard for having the hunt go so quickly.

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HuntingGold

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After taking a nap (jet lag plagued us the whole trip) we wandered down to the lodge and ate a late lunch. After lunch we loaded back into the bakkie and headed out to look for a warthog. We drove about the farm, stopping occasionally to glass. Again we saw a fair number but all were females with young or young males. Lammie appeared to be getting frustrated but I was having a great time! We were glassing a hillside when Lammie spotted a tusker and put up the sticks. The boar was chasing everything in sight and quickly chased his pig friends back into the brush. A kudu spooked and in turn spooked the warthogs... and off we went to look for another.

We went to a spot we had checked earlier in the morning and Lammie and Attie started seeing warthog all over. Jet lag had the best of me and I was "just along for the ride" at that moment. We gathered our gear and made way to a brushy draw for cover. I could see the plan; use the terrain and wind and get in range. Cool by me. Off we went. Junior was tagging along and at one point made an unannounced stop to examine a grasshopper. I was glad to see that there was still some little girl in my almost sixteen old daughter. We all waited for her and resumed the stalk.

It didn't really take long and we were looking at the top of a boar not far away. A quick examination and the sticks went up. I could see it was going to be a close shot so I motioned for Elia to grab the gun. She took the gun and went up on the sticks. Another warthog must have seen the movement and trotted up to investigate. This was a shooter and was not far away. Lammie directed the shot and the gun went off. THWOP! The boar spun and ran but we all knew it wouldn't be far and it wasn't. My daughter was now two for two.
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HuntingGold

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I must take a break and mow some grass before the wife has my a$$.
 

HuntingGold

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Back at the lodge, beautifully set table and beautifully prepared food.

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How bloody far was that Ostrich shot? It must be looking much further than reality.

Great shot off the sticks.
 

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Keep it coming.
 

HuntingGold

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The ostrich was taken at or about 195 yards. I think the warthog was 75 or less facing nearly dead on.
We shot a lot of ground squirrels before the trip. The photo is of her leaning over a hood but most of the practice was done off the sticks. I think it paid off.
 

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