So I tried to keep my first post short and to the point but I have received some requests for more detail. So hang on to something! Haha. My friend Dave (aka Aegis) and I began talking about hunting in Africa about 4 1/2 years before our adventure became a reality. It really started as a dream that was planted in my head by another friend of our's, Roger, about 10 years ago. Like most people money is a huge concern when hoping to go on any hunting trip let alone an African hunting safari with airfare, hunt cost, multiple animals on your dream list, taxidermy and trophy shipments. We both found ourselves in a position where we laid out a specific plan for saving and trying to make our dreams a reality! Our plan was initially a 5 year plan and going on our 6th year then the excitement built and it turned we ended up going a lot earlier than anticipated. All of our planning phases proved to be purely exciting and a great joy. Normally planning for anything can be irritating while Africa was a blast just to plan for. We began by looking at which country we wanted to go. I really wanted Namibia, probably more from Outdoor Channel shows that I had seen, and Dave wanted South Africa. The more we went over pro's and con's we both felt that South Africa may fit our needs a little better. Over the next two years we both researched outfitters endlessly. Once we got closer to needing to make a decision we worked out that we would both pick our top 3 outfitters and compare our lists. I only had one rule that I wanted us to follow and it was for whoever the outfitter was would pick us up from the airport. We both had 2 out of 3 outfitters the same. The only one that wasn't the same was KMG. I had basically talked myself out of KMG, because of price, and left them off my list. Since we both had liked KMG and we would contact the other 2 outfitters that were the same we agreed that it wouldn't hurt to email KMG as well. Surprise!!! KMG was hands down the best contact we had and it was very quickly a no doubt who we were going with. We signed our contract and what started as a dream was really happening. When we first began planning I bought a new Mossberg Patriot .308 with a Nikon BDC scope for the trip and Dave jumped at a deal on a Ruger 77 .375 for his Zebra and a Ruger Scout Rifle .308 for the rest. Then with all of the US election uncertainty I made a bad decision and decided to not take my rifle. The next year flew by and before we knew it we were 14 days away. While we were talking that day Dave mentioned that he felt that I would regret not taking my rifle. Knowing he was right I emailed KMG to ask if I was to late. Turned out I was good. 2 weeks really go fast when you buy new ammo, re-sight your rifle and buy a new Pelican case. But, we were both dialed in and ready to go. Next stop Atlanta then Johannesburg. The next time you find yourself on an international flight and you are sitting next to 2 people you don't know. Sit down and slowly look over and say "We are going to be best friends for the next 16 hours." No joke you will make new friends and break that awkward tension from the start. Best flight ever!! Thanks Tom and Fifi. FYI Dave was sitting on the other side. We booked our seats so we would each be on an aisle. When we landed in Jo'burg we found out that my rifle was still in Atlanta. After checking in Dave's rifles and filing all the paperwork for my lost rifle we headed to Afton Safari Lodge for some much needed rest and showers after a 20 hour journey from Cincinnati. We were finally in South Africa and it was dark out. We got to have dinner with a very nice family that was headed back to the US the next day after their awesome safari. The next morning we were meet with a great breakfast and headed back to the airport to go to Port Elizabeth. We were meet at the airport by our PH Martin, Skinner Ollie and puppy Rocky (aka Killer). We were able to retrieve Dave's guns without a problem and my rifle was now on the way from Atlanta and would find its way to me. After our 2hr drive to Mpunzi Lodge we got into our room then headed out to check Dave's and Martin's rifles. After checking the sights we were back at the lodge for dinner then a very long night. That night felt like opening day of deer season...full of excitement. We took both of Dave's rifles out the next day and began stalking Springbok. Being a great hunting partner Dave quickly offered up his Ruger Scout rifle to let me take the first animal. With both of us having Springbok on our list I thought it would be one of our easier animals. I was wrong. We began stalking and were able to get on them and they saw us and ran. Here we go...after about two hours of chasing these beautiful animals I was finally able to take a shot. A bad shot. I did hit him but it was in the back leg. We were able to confirm quickly that i had hit him and got back on him for a followup shot which dropped him immediately. At the recovery we could see that it was also a bad shot but the Hornady ELD-X did it's job. I don't like to pat myself on the back but I am normally a very good shot and felt awful about making a bad shot (more on this later). Ollie and I took the Springbok down to the road while Dave and Martin headed back to get the truck. While they were en-route Dave was able to take a shot at another Springbok and missed. Unlike his normal self as well (again more on this later). After lunch we headed back out for Dave's Springbok. Got on them and another miss. Then the long hike. We spent most of the 2nd half of the day stalking Springbok but later that afternoon Dave connected and our first day was in the book or so we thought. We were closing in on dinner time as the sun was beginning to set and the temperature was dropping. While headed back Martin was telling us to watch for Kudu because they like to get near roads in the evening. Surprise Bushbok!!! This was one of Dave's other animals on his list. We were able to get on him fast and put two shots into him before he went into a brushed over ditch. Before we ever headed out Martin advised us that the Bushbok could be dangerous to hunters and dogs because of their horns and bad attitudes! Dave was able to get on him again and put a third round into him and he still didn't drop. The Bushbok traveled deeper into some brush. Martin put Rocky into action! Rocky was able to get to him quickly and take a chunk out of his leg. Once Rocky backed away Dave was able to put the final shot into the Bushbok. Before we were able to complete the recovery it was clear that Rocky had been poked in the meaty part of his back leg. We rushed to get the Bushbok into the truck and headed to a farm house where they had penicillin for Rocky. The wound was deep but did not seem to get into any vital organs. This was a very bitter sweet hunt to be part of. We were both concerned about Rocky throughout the evening and knew that tomorrow would tell how he really was. That evening at the lodge!!! Awwwww. My rifle found me!!!! He really has that Never Quit mindset. Awfully scuffed up for a brand new case. #thanksDelta The next morning we were greeted by a worn out Rocky but still wanted to be petted. Things were looking good. We sighted in my rifle and headed out after Zebra. Once we arrived at our hunting area we were welcomed by a young man named Bevin that was going to spend the day with us helping guide around the property. We began hiking and found some Impala ewe's and then we were on the Zebra's. Dave was able to let his Ruger .375 bark and it found it's mark. The Zebra ran a few hundred yards then fell. As another test of Rocky he was let loose to track the Zebra, even though we saw it fall, and he was very energetic in his pursuit and then was trying to take a bite out of the Zebra. He didn't learn from the previous night (stop biting animals Rocky!) haha. As tough as a .375 round is it didn't make a pass through which was great for Dave as he was able to retrieve his bullet from the trophy and as a hunter that makes a great souvenir. We started out after lunch looking for Kudu. I was back on deck and this time with my rifle. We spent most of the afternoon glassing Kudu in some very rough terrain. After not finding anything mature enough to go after we decided to look for some Impala before the sun was going to set. After a very short hike we were surprised to find a very nice Impala ram. He was standing broadside at about 220 yards. I found him in my scope and made a great error by looking at his horns, to make sure I was on the right animal, then I began to shake. After calming myself I was able to make a clean shot and he dropped where he was standing. For me Impala was #1 on my list. They are, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful animals that I have ever seen. That's why I had two on my list. I felt a load of pressure release from my shoulders. My rifle in hand. Dave was right I would have regretted not having it with me. Thanks to Bevin we were both able to get two great animals. Thank you Bevin. That night was one of the best nights I have ever had. We went back to the lodge and were meet with many great people that it felt like I have known for years. We had a great dinner and really got to know all of our new friends. Mpunzi Lodge turned into a place that you leave a part of yourself and you just want to get back and reconnect with friends that could be family. The next morning we were going after Kudu again. As soon as we got to our hunting area I started my GPS watch running. We were immediately in Kudu. One turned out to be a shooter and we were formally introduced to why they are called "The Grey Ghost". He was gone right in front of our eyes. We continued the day glassing many Kudu and I would have put a tag on many of them but Martin said "no we can do better". I'm not a picky person and was just happy to be there. We had a great lunch eating cold cut sandwiches on a cliff with feet dangling. Seriously will remain one of the best days of my life. After a few more hours after lunch we spotted a great Impala ram that also gave us the slip. As the day continued on I was really feeling like we may not find the right one then our local guide, Sonki, we found a massive Kudu. I was able to find him in my scope and settle myself in what felt like 10 minutes was actually about 30-45 seconds. One shot at between 250-300 yards and he stumbled around and dropped. MY FIRST KUDU!!!! Look at that Monster!!!! Impala was always #1 for me but the Kudu was very very close. I had talked myself out of taking a Kudu just because of the expense and size basically my house isn't big enough to put him in. Guess I'm buying a new house. Loved this hunt and will love the mount and getting to look at him everyday. Best decision ever. This honestly felt like a little boy with a new Tonka truck on Christmas. I was absolutely speechless when we got to the recovery. We did have a hard time finding him in the brush and then Rocky came to the rescue and quickly found and bit my Kudu! Come on dude Stop biting animals with horns. Rocky was much happier and running around that day. I was on cloud 9 for the rest of the trip. I still had a Blesbok and Impala to hunt and Dave also had an Impala to hunt. The next morning we drove about an hour from the lodge to hunt the Impala's and Blesbok. Not long after arriving we found a beautiful Impala ram for Dave. He found the Imapla and after having to jockey around to get a good shot he dropped him. A beautiful ram with a bullet in the ear? Again the shot from the Scout had went left. Two days later when we were packing away our rifles for the trip home Dave handed me the Scout and said "Tweak the scope." Something was loose which explained all of our bad shots. When we got home Dave filled me in that the mount plate was loose. I still feel very good that we never wounded an animal without recovering it. After that we began staking a herd of 30-45 Blesbok, White Blesbok and Zebra on a large open plain with only a few bushes as cover. It was a lot of back and forth with the herd. I was finally able to take a shot at a Blesbok that hit but was low because the distance was farther than I felt that it was and the .308 fell off. We than began a long stalk trying to find the Blesbok when we came across my 2nd Impala ram that was a beauty. All three of the Impala we were able to take were fantastic representations of their species. We then continued on to find the Blesbok herd and we were able to find the wounded animal and finish the hunt. We were both complete on our lists. Door to Mpunzi Lodge or the way to Narnia? After many sorrowful goodbyes we were on our way back to Port Elizabeth to begin the trek home. We stopped by Hunter & Collectors Taxidermy and meet with the owner Kevin. He was highly recommend to us and after seeing his work I know that we will not be disappointed. I will continue on by saying that I am a hunter and have never considered myself a "trophy" hunter. Obviously we all want a monster Whitetail and that is the hope when I go out. My only issue that bothered me with going to Africa is that you are trophy hunting but I felt that I was going more for the "Once in a lifetime experience." After going I know that I will go back and primarily for the African experience. I really love hunting and that will never stop. I now will have my trophy's that will take me back to these hunts for the reset of my life and I know that will have more after my next trip and that is the point of hunting. I now know that is the definition of loving hunting. I have been in positions where I had to hunt for meat and now I get to hunt for the experience and for the friendships you develop while at the lodge or camp. I truly had to overcome a lot to do what we did. I was scared leading up to our trip that some old injury's would rear their ugly heads and I would't be able to go or that they would happen while I was there and I would be sidelined. Dave knew this and legitimately waited for me to tell him I couldn't go. By the Grace of God I was able to go and my body was able to withstand the long hours and the varied terrain. Thank you Dave for driving our ship and keeping us heading on the right path to South Africa. There are many things that you will see in South Africa that are very difficult to explain to people when you get home. You truly leave something behind and you should go back to find it or leave more there. Thank you KMG and Mpunzi for the opportunity to find these experiences and make the friendships and for making everyone feel like they are at home. I know not everyone that reads this will be able to go but if it's truly a dream then it's one that you will not regret fulfilling. It will stay with you forever.