SOUTH AFRICA: Hunting South Africa With Frontier Safaris

Philip Glass

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RSA, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Cameroon, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Austria, Australia, TX, NM
What can I say about my 18th trip to Africa and my 5th hunt with Frontier Safaris? I've been so many places over the years and have hunted with so many quality outfitters. It has always been a good time. However when I have a group of folks wanting to go in their first safari I know there is one place that is fantastic for a first safari. That is the Burchell Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape. It is 75,000 acres of beautiful and varied habitat. This is where I would wind up with my group after the Namibia safari was over.

The Buffalo

I never thought I would ever hunt a buffalo on a game ranch. This is because I've hunted them in the Caprivi and Zimbabwe in the most challenging of circumstances. Over the years I've learned more about these Eastern Cape Buffalo and have come to know what a challenge they are. The Burchell's decided many years ago to restock this property with the original Eastern Cape genetics that were preserved at the Addo Elephant Park. As many of you know the Buffalo were shot out of this area decades ago due to the disease risk they posed to cattle. This area has mountainous terrain up high and the extremely dense bush of the lower areas. The Buffalo tend to graze the mountain side at night and spend the day in the thick stuff. Finding a big mature bull would mean glassing early and late to find that right opportunity. We had a nice breakfast as usual and headed out early to begin glassing the mountainside. On the first day of the safari I was not expecting to see much and was ready to put in the work required to be successful on this type of hunt. As it was just getting light enough to see we easily spotted a bull, two cows, and two calves coming down the mountain. Sure enough these rascals were headed for the thick bush as they always do and then you never see them again. That particular bull was walking steadily so we never got a good look at his horns. Fred Burchell, my PH and good friend, decided that we might just track them a bit and see if we can get a better look at the bull. We had only been on the fresh tracks for a short time when I stopped to speak to the camera and explain what we were doing when Fred whistled urgently to us as a cow and a calf busted out of the brush to our left. As any experienced hunter can imagine cows and little calves can be dangerous. We paused to let our blood pressure ease down a bit and discussed our plan. Neither Fred, the tracker Mzonke, nor myself were particularly taken with what we had seen of this bull so we decided to get out of that thick bush and continue glassing. We drove a bit down the road that parallels the mountain and just as we stopped in a decent spot to glass Fred spotted a lone bull about a 1000 yards away. He took time to get his spotting scope out and take a better look. This was a big mature bull and he was all alone. I thought to myself "why is this big bull not with the cows"? He was certainly bigger and more mature than the other one. Fred led the way and we went straight up the mountainside. The wind was fickle but we couldn't worry about that just yet as time was not on our side. Up, up we went. It was extremely steep and rocky but I stayed with Fred step for step. Fortunately we had some ridges to walk behind so the bull never saw us. As we got closer a quick check of the wind was made and it was now clearly in our favor. Now we were getting close and had closed the 1000 yards to get to where we needed to be. We got just above the bull and Fred peeked up over the ridge to see exactly where we needed to be. Then I moved into shooting position and worked for a second to situate the quad sticks on this rough and rocky ridge. The bull was feeding and did not know we were there. I put the red dot of my Krieghoff .450/400 on the bulls shoulder and let one fly and then immediately another. My first shot hit just behind the shoulder and the second one in the neck and he was down! There is nothing quite like stomping a big buffalo with a double gun. We waited for a few minutes and approached cautiously. That bull never moved a bit. What an elating first morning but I was thinking to myself: that was anticlimactic, How did this happen?, I rarely even see buffalo here! As we began to carefully position this bull for pictures here on this very steep incline we discovered more to the story. This bull was injured from fighting and this was why he was alone and grazing later that usual. A bull had hooked him in the back side of the horn just under the boss and left a huge rotting hole there. What kind of force must it have taken to do this kind of damage? As can happen in hunting, this was just my lucky day. My bull would nearly stretch the tape to 40". To top it all off I later found out that no one had ever taken a buffalo here at the Burchell Game Reserve on day one.

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Good looking bull, well done! Looking forward to further updates.
 
Great bull Phillip and beautiful scenery, looking forward to the next post!
 
Congrats on a very fine bull. What a beautiful area. And 75,000 acres is no slouch for a farm. Plenty of places to hide. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
 
Awesome bull Philip! Congrats! I’m glad you got to shoot it with your DR.
 
Hunting Buffalo in the hills of the Eastern Cape is very challenging....It's awesome
 
Nice bull and picture! Look forward to more of the report!
 
Nice bull, the bulls in the eastern cape have some interesting terrain that they make home. looking forward to the rest of your adventure.
 
Congratulations on a nice cape buffalo, hope the rest if your hunt goes well.
 
That is a great start !
 
After the buffalo I had a pretty short list of animals I wanted to hunt. One was a Vervet Monkey. I know y'all are all thinking "all those safaris and no monkey?" Yes, and now that I wanted one and a particularly nice one for Fred to mount for me and my luck was no where to be found. It took me three days to get a nice mature monkey. Imagine night after night around the campfire with my group of hunters and having to deal with the ridicule! I decided to keep on the primate track and hunt another baboon. They are always a challenge. On the ranch they get truck loads of reject citrus to supplement the game with in the winter and the baboons go for it like it is cocaine! So we sat for a couple days and took a decent one in the end. We took a bit of a break the next day and I just shot cull Impala. That was good fun to pass the time and make our next plans.



The next few animals required some travel. First was a Bontebok that was from a herd that was very close by. Since they cross with Blesbuck there are none there on the ranch. Now the weather was deteriorating and would continue to do so. This day was cold and extremely windy. We made a stalk on a decent sized herd of Bontebok and kept the wind in our favor. We got to a point where we couldn't go any further or some would see us. Finally the group grazed a bit away and I was able to get on the best ram. I took a shot in this gusty and up to 40mph wind and he went down. He wasn't down very good and I had to shoot again. Stupid me, I didn't hold enough for wind and my bullet was off a foot. A special trophy for me, the Bontebok is one of the animals I saw on my first safari in 1997. We drove all the way up to the Kimberly area to hunt a Tsesebe and then a Common Reedbuck. We met some very nice people along the way but I was glad when we returned to camp.

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I had two full days left and I was done hunting for myself and would just go along and help glass for others. One of my hunters on the first day said he wanted to hunt his 12 animal package, a giraffe, and then a buffalo. I tried to temper his expectations but told him that if he had two or three days on the end we would put in a good effort for a buffalo. I spent the rest of my hunt with my PH and tracker just glassing for buffalo. We did have one of those storybook endings! The last afternoon my tracker, who was left in a good glassing position, spotted a good bull in extremely thick cover. With a borrowed .375 my friend made a good shot and everyone followed up. Now the last night in camp would be a real party!

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I really enjoy hunting with the Burchell family and it was nice to hunt both ranches back to back. The variety of scenery and game we saw on these trips was really amazing. They do a great job in taking special care of their clients. As much as we enjoy the animals and the scenery that personal touch and the relationships you form on safari are what you remember most. My group not only made lasting friendships but also averaged 15 animals each on this safari. A giant baboon topped it off for one of my lady hunters!

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Now to wash clothes and repack for Zimbabwe.
 
When we were over last year Cid kept trying to talk me into a buffalo but with my asthma flaring up I figured that what I had on my list was good enough.

That area with the baboon looks familiar to me for some reason.

Congratulation on the buffalo.
 
Philip congratz on a couple of great locations to hunt and taking a group on their first safari is very rewarding. Good job! have really enjoyed reading about both SA and Namibia parts of the trip.
 
Congrats on the buffalo!
 

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