SOUTH AFRICA: KMG Hunting Safaris 4th Trip July 2019 "The Photo Safari"

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Dudders, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    Background : Way back in the hazy mists of 2017 while organising my previous trip and knowing how busy Marius can get I had the foresight to book ahead for 2019. This trip was to be for me and my son who would now be eighteen part birthday present and partly for me as maybe he may soon be to busy making his own path into the big wide world to have time to go hunting with his dad for some time. This would be my boy's second trip to Mpunzi the first being when he was 14 and since then Marius has suffered four years of abuse from him on the subjects of rugby and the superior ability of landrover .

    The list for this trip would be
    me : bushbuck, bushpig, caracal, waterbuck
    the boy: bushbuck, caracal, ostrich, baboon
    the dates were july 8th to july 16th

    IMG_20190709_104057.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2019

  2. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    We departed the uk on the 7th of july apart from a slight delay before departure all was well first time on BA flew premium economy was presently surprised may do so again. Uneventful through joburg to port Elizabeth when we arrive I am amazed how windy it is we go to collect baggage as we wait I see a familiar face peering though the glass from arrivals area. I leave the boy to collect the bags from the carousel and head over to Marius who then spots me I get a big grin then a confused look and he signals where's the little guy. I point at the great lump grinning and waving from the carousel Marius looks back at me and raise's his hand from level with his hip where he had been tapping an imaginary child on the head to level with his own. We grab the bags and head out to meet properly we head out to the bakkie and load up the bags. we leave louis and the dogs to guard the truck and head back into the airport to wait for a fellow hunter who should have arrived earlier but whose plane had been delayed. We had chance to talk about the upcoming week and trying to guess which guy was going to be our man while we waited. It was not long before John appeared and after our introductions we loaded up and headed off to Mpunzi . A quick stop for pies along the way and it didn't seem long before we were being shown our room for the week. After settling in and freshening up we headed out to the range just to check the rifle we were using, all was good the light was starting to fade as we packed up and returned to the lodge.
     
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  3. Firebird

    Firebird AH Enthusiast

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    I’m excited to see the photo part of the story-enjoying the read as well, please keep it coming!
     

  4. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    Back at the lodge for evening meal, everyone had now arrived their were three other hunters in camp this week all arrived today. Well apart from another AH member Sandrat and wife Sandy who had arrived a couple of days before us, both of whom had been in camp when my son and I were on our first trip to KMG four years ago. It was good to see them again. There was John who had travelled with us from the airport and Andy and his wife and me and louis . As we sat talking amongst ourselves Marius appeared with the legendary caps and began to hand them out until he gets to me and stops and looks at me. I tell him to hand one over as it can go with my collection, as he passes me the hat Marius grumbles that I do not know why I give you these you never wear them. We later discuss plans for the morning we will head out for waterbuck and at the same time the dogs are running not to far away for Caracal and if the find they will ring and we will head off. Plans made it was off to bed.
     

  5. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    So day one of hunting, We get our cup of tea and grab some breakfast and soon we are headed out the door and on to where we will hunt waterbuck. We arrive and pick up one of the farm trackers and head off into the wilds Marius said he had seen some good bulls here but the hunting was hard. The property consisted of a couple of steep gorges that ran through the what looked like the middle of the property the rest of the ground was covered by thick scrub with areas of open ground containing short grasses, and along one boundary some high hills from which we would spot from. We head off towards the high ground as we head off up the side of one of the gorges we bump a troop of baboons that take off up the opposite side of the gorge we all bail out of the bakkie we set the sticks and look for a male the ones we did see didn't stop to take in the view and were soon gone. We load back up and head off again. We arrive at the view point and set up the spotting scope spread out and begin to search our areas for waterbuck. After about half an hour I returned to the truck to grab some water Marius was there and he pointed out some females they had spotted but had not found a male yet, just as I started to head back to my spot Marius's phone rang I turned and he began to wave me back I knew that the dogs must be on a caracal we began to pack up the kit and marius called Lloyd and the other tracker back all the gear aboard we took off down the hill at a less than gentle pace. We dropped of the farm tracker and said we will be back later and headed off at light speed.
     

  6. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    We soon arrive at the designated rendezvous point Marius gets on the phone as he does a bakkie appears around the corner, quick check to make sure their the right guys and we follow them off down the road then a bit of cross country driving to a scrubby wooded area on the side of a steep bank. As we step out of the truck we can hear the dogs baying in the wood. We get our kit and quickly head off towards the hounds we creep in Marius say's we need keep quiet and move slowly as we get near. We reach the dog handler and spot the cat in the tree. My first impression was the cat was much larger than I imaged them to be Marius asked who was shooting I point to the boy and Marius and louis get set up after a bit of adjustment the shot rings out from the 300 and the cat drops from the tree. The cat is quickly rescued from the dogs. View attachment 298765 View attachment 298765 View attachment 298767
     

  7. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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  8. Gemsbok Gangsta

    Gemsbok Gangsta AH Enthusiast

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    What a great start!!!! That cat is awesome..
     

  9. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    We thank the guys and follow them out back onto road though some fields of pineapples at various stages of growth. Suddenly the lead truck stops two young lads jump off the back, Marius is oh wonder what's up, the two young lads grab an arm full of pineapples and put them in the back of our truck for us. We had pineapple with most meals at mpunzi the rest of the week and those pineapples tasted great. We returned to the property we had been that morning and by now it was early afternoon. Back at the vantage point we began to scour the vegetation for signs of waterbuck but nothing showed itself. Marius was keen to leave early as we were to sit for bushpig tonight and wanted to get back with plenty of time as the bushpig had been coming early so at 4pm with no animals moving we decided to make a move. That's when I noticed the boy didn't have his binoculars" oh I can't find them" after a quick search and a discussion he thinks he left them where we stopped for the baboon in the morning. We would be back here tomorrow so we decided to look for them then. We arrive back at Mpunzi Marius and I go and get ready for the evening in the hide and then meet up for a quick snack, Lloyd collects us and we head out as the light fades. It was a still night with almost no wind and moonlit you see and hear everything, just after 8pm we decided that we would leave as Marius felt we would be wasting our time to wait any longer.
     

  10. Sand Rat

    Sand Rat AH Fanatic

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    Great to see you and Louis again and share camp. Wish we had more time to catch up and visit. The fishing was fun, hope you guys got some pics of the fish.
     

  11. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    looks like I might be able to finish off this report as I have a bit of spare time.
     

  12. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Now, that is the spirit!
     

  13. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    So Day two we head off again to the same property to see if we can locate the waterbuck bulls Marius had in mind avoiding the area were they hang out we headed to the look out spot from the day before as we drive one of the tracks we spot something on the floor thinking originally that it was the boys binoculars but as we got closer it was one of Marius's CB Radios that must have fallen out the day before when we spotted some baboons and stopped Lets just say Marius was pleased to have found it but not that it had been lost in the first place. After arriving at the high point we set up and spent the next couple of hours scanning the dense vegetation with no sign of water buck. We did spot some waterbuck that had ventured out into one of the grass clearings but when checked with the spotting scope they were just females.
    P1030685.JPG
    It had been a while and it was decided to go and walk through the an area of gorge located in the middle of the property. You can just make it out in the middle of the photo above. After a couple of hours walking not having seen any waterbuck we decided to return to the vantage point and begin glassing again. We had seen zebra, Nyala and giraffe on our walk so there was hope that there was waterbuck some where. After arriving back at the high ground we had a bit of our packed lunch and then split to watch different areas I had an open area of about 20 acres surrounded buy thick bush directly below the high ground we were on after an hour or so a troop of baboons emerged from the bush just a few to begin with young and females once they were settled more began to arrive until there around 30 odd feeding out on the ground with some large males. I returned to the truck for some water just as Marius returned for the same asked if we had seen anything when I mentioned the baboon's he came for a look as there was no sign of waterbuck Marius suggested he and the boy head off down the hill after a baboon. After what seemed like an age having expected to have heard a shot quite rapidly. Marius appeared walking up the dirt track somewhere behind him was the boy. I asked no chance at a shot the look said it all . We did a quick post-mortem of events me not trying to laugh, the boy pulling out all the excuses and Marius being cool and calm while at the same time wanting to throttle him. We all went back to looking for waterbuck when more baboon emerged as time had moved on Marius decided we would head back soon as we wanted to be in the bushpig blind early. The boy mentioned the baboons had returned and Marius replied I will take your father if he wants to shoot one but there is no point in taking you as its obvious you don't want to shoot one, Oh how two of us laughed. So We packed up and head off to look for the lost binoculars and one last look for waterbuck as we drive out we located the binoculars where we thought they had been left. As we turned to head out we saw a pair of waterbuck horns above the scrub we drove past and bailed out of the truck but as we reached the spot we had seen the buck he had disappeared . We headed back to the lodge and Marius made us a snack as we would miss evening meal we went to the hide and spent a couple of hours waiting Marius decided that conditions tonight were not right and we should head back.
     

  14. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    So we arrive back at the lodge as it was still early most of the guys were still there at the bar we joined them there is always a healthy rivalry between them all and realising that being two days into the hunt and not having fired a shot while their hunters had been very successful already they began enquiring if we had any hunting plans or were we just on a photo safari this time. This combined with the fact that Marius and Martin had a bet running as to who would be first to get there guy a baboon, Which Marius would have won if the boy had taken his shot but lost out to Martin and Sandrat.
    Marius was sure we would have better luck tomorrow and the rest of them could well you can use your imagination for that bit.
     
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  15. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    day three
    We head out to a different property today Marius knew a quick way to get there on the gravel roads lets just say we became very familiar with the road network out in that area of the eastern cape. When we reached the same cross roads for the third time I pointed Marius in the right direction and yes this was definitely the correct road, Which was worrying as so had the last couple. We arrived at the new property a little later than planned and picked up one of the locals and headed out, We again went for high ground and began to glass the surrounding area. After a while we spot a waterbuck bull and two cows working there way across the flat ground in front of us. Marius gets out the spotting scope and gets a better view after a few moments he says we should go, we leave everyone else behind to help guide us towards them. We head off down the hill take an arc to get the wind in our faces and begin to close the gap on the waterbuck, after getting what we thought was near to the last known location we asked for an update on the where abouts of the waterbuck . Well that is where things fell apart lets just say the information was a little bit vague. The best direction I heard was during the conversation was it is ahead of you on your right lefthand side, We then found out that they were giving us directions even though they did not know where we were stood. Marius decided we should head back to high ground relocate the waterbuck and try again. We get back to the high ground from where we started, we get some drink and sandwiches and Marius went to discuss the mornings events with the crew. Marius returns an is very apologetic about the mornings events. I tell him " not to worry these things happen" and while trying not to laugh told him "Just don't let it happen again" I think I almost had him for a second . We sit down with our lunches and soon locate the waterbuck the three of them were heading for the thicker cover we watched as they entered and began to bed down Marius said we should wait leave them to rest in the thick scrub and wait for them to come back out.
     
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  16. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    So after a while the waterbuck began to emerge and headed back towards the area we had seen them in the morning, Once again we headed off down the slope this time we took the local guide as well, we took a wide arc to get ahead of their direction of travel and would wait for them to pass where we would hopefully have an opportunity of a shot. The communications were working well this time and we were told the waterbuck were just in front of us and heading our way. I was on the sticks ready as the cow emerged from the scrub into the open but she was alone we waited as she passed us on our left we waited but no bull appeared. Marius got on the radio the bull was with the other cow but had stayed in the scrub and slipped passed us, We set off again taking another large ark to get ahead of them and wait for them to come to us again. We reached a large tree we stopped for a moment and we heard on the radio that the waterbuck had bedded down again, We took the opportunity to take on water and catch our breath. The decision was taken to see if we could stalk into where they were. We very slowly began to work towards there location each bush we reached we would peer around to see if we could locate the waterbuck. We reached a large bush probably 10 to 15 feet across we split and took a side each to view the ground ahead as I was scanning the ground ahead one of the cows walked into view only 40 yards way, I waited for her to move out of sight and moved behind the bush to Marius I said " waterbuck" he replied " No nothing this side " I replied " No ! I saw waterbuck " With that Marius came over and took a look and saw nothing asked how far away it was I told him 40 yards he took another look then the cow appeared again. Marius found the buck bedded down and the decision was made to get closer we crawled towards to a bush twenty feet away stopping to wait each time the waterbuck looked up before moving on again the bush was just big enough for us both to sit behind . we set the sticks on the lowest setting we shuffled into position and got ready when the buck stands up shoot was the instruction. I could see the horns of the bull where he was bedded and again we waited. Each time the cow appeared we would make our selves as small as possible until she moved on after doing this several times I looked back for the bull he was gone I whispered to Marius he had gone we shuffled around again and Marius agreed. We were pinned down buy the waterbuck cow so we decided to wait as it looked like they may head to our left. We got the sticks set again and I got into position and we waited slowly the cow which had been stopping us from moving began to move off to our left, by this point my one leg had started to go dead but I could not move . The cow then stopped looked straight at us and began to snort this went on for about a minute before she finally moved on. Then we waited and waited some more and just as I thought that was it the bull stepped into the cross hairs and stopped full broadside no more than forty yards. I squeezed the trigger nothing I thought shit safety looked no its off Then it dawned on me, heavy trigger I got back on the cross hair and made a deliberate pull on the trigger just as the bull began to move off. The shot rang out the bull took off flat out. I gave my excuses to Marius but I said it was hit just behind the front leg but not in the gut we took a quick look but no sign and waited for the two who had been spotting to join us with the dogs.
     

  17. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    The dogs duly arrived The boy and Lloyd said they watched the bull cross the clearing behind us and head into the scrub on the opposite side I loaded the rifle ready and Marius put the dogs on the trail of the waterbuck they took off across the clearing hit the scrub and began barking by this point we were running. As we arrived where the dogs were we could see the waterbuck laid in the middle off a bush with the dogs holding him. Marius worried about his dogs took out his pistol and gave him three shots, The bull then gave a huge shove with his rear legs and took off again only to go 30 meters and drop under another bush I gave one finishing shot and it was all over . IMG_20190711_171013.jpg
    We hauled the waterbuck out of the bush Lloyd brought a ground sheet to lay him on as we would have to carry the waterbuck out as we could not get the truck right to the site. Those things are bloody heavy for there size, with five of us it still took several short carry's to get to the truck. As we loaded the waterbuck the light began to fade when we reached the skinning area it was dark. There would be no bushpig hunt tonight. IMG_20190711_172009.jpg
     
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  18. Sand Rat

    Sand Rat AH Fanatic

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    That radio static from the day before was a hoot! We were at the lodge listening to the radios during lunch. Beautiful waterbuck, they are my favorite.
     
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  19. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    I remember getting back to the lodge that evening and Marius when he realised everyone had heard the whole thing over there radios.
     

  20. Dudders

    Dudders AH Fanatic

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    To day it was the boys chance to show how stealthy he could be today he and Marius would hunt for an ostrich. we headed out to a property not to far away it was a boer goat farm that also had a lot of ostriches running around the pastures The area was very flat and fenced into grass paddocks for the goats there was not a lot of cover apart from a couple of dry stream beds which had some scrub along there edges. We called into the farm buildings and after a quick hello we were off we drove down one of the farm gravel roads and found a area to spot from which also gave us a bit of cover from the feeding ostriches. Marius warned us that if the ostrich clocked us or got spooked it would be a long day. I couple of males were spotted and the plan was to use the cover of the creek to work along until they were close enough to one of the males to pop up and shoot. We opted to just let Marius and the boy go and we would watch progress from where we were. We also had the radios so could help guide or warn them if the birds were moving. The pair of them headed off into the creek and we sat back to watch . We watched them as they came out of the creek and tried to stalk a lone male but he was heading way from them faster than they were gaining on him they backed off and returned to the creek . After they reached the creek we radioed them to tell them there was a group with a male in the next field over not far from the cover of the creek, They had already spotted them and were going to try for one of them. We lost sight of them in the creek and turned our attention to watching the ostrich. We were trying to guess how far they were from the ostriches and when we thought the shot would come and which bird they would get when the shot rang out and the remaining ostrich took of we could not see anything down or looking wounded. The call came on the radio they had got their ostrich Graham was pleased he said the way the ostrich had taken off we wouldn't have gotten near them again that day. We got into the truck and headed off to pick up the bird, it took a while to navigate to where the bird was down as the pasture that looked flat was covered in rather high ant hills we came to a stock fence with no obvious entry point so we parked up and would have to carry the bird the last couple of hundred meters. IMG_20190712_092244.jpg
    We loaded the ostrich onto the tarpaulin from the day before after a couple of stops we were at the truck the hardest part was getting the bird through the fence without getting tangled up or caught by nails or claws IMG_20190712_092529.jpg
     
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