SOUTH AFRICA: KMG Hunting Safaris Center Of The Universe

wipartimer

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This is long overdue and I apologize. Life had been a bit hectic since My daughter Nikita and I returned from the Center of the Universe, or the greatest hunting experience I've ever had on June 27,2017. I'm going mostly from memory, as I had misplaced the journal that I had intended to use for most of the hunt.

We hunted with Marius and Lloyd at KMG from Monday, June 19, through the 26th. This was my second trip to South Africa, the first being with a different outfitter in Limpopo. Most importantly, it was my 18 yr old Daughter, Nikita's first time hunting outside of the U.S.A. We were also blessed to me fellow forum member Edge, and his lovely wife at the airport in Atlanta. The four of us were on the same long Delta 200, spent the first night in RSA at African Sky, and shared camp together. Nikita and I not only had an outstanding hunt, but we got to meet some great new friends; couldn't ask for better people all around. Although it's been said many times before, there are not words that I know to describe how wonderful the entire staff and operation is at KMG- it's literally like having great friends do anything and everything they can to ensure you have an outstanding experience. The lodge and landscape are beautiful, the food plentiful and delicious, and the hunt itself is an actual, challenging and rewarding hunt, not just a drive around and shoot.

The first day of hunting, June 19, 2017, found us looking for a Kudu for myself. I was pleasantly surprised at the beautiful, hilly terrain- I guess I was expecting it to be flat. Although we saw many animals of many species, we weren't able to find one we wanted to pursue. I did learn that I was in even worse shape than I had believed.

Day two found us searching for Kudu in the morning- again unsuccessfully but still a wonderful experience. As the day warmed up, we switched gears and decided to look for a black wildebeest for me after lunch. Another PH, Graham, went with us because he knew where we could find some. We located a pair of bulls not far off a back road. The stalk was thankfully easy. However, my shooting was somewhat embarrassing. I did put one .308 Barnes TTSX into the bull but he took off to my surprise. Marius led the tracking and suddenly stopped short near a bush. He waived me over and said the bull was right there. I rounded the bush and saw the bull standing approximately 15 yards away. I shot again and knew it was a kill shot but he still did not drop instantly. We had to hold Flex and Rigby back to make sure the bull didn’t hurt them. Once the bull was down, it was time for pictures and a flood of relief. I was thrilled! Some people call them ugly, but I think they are beautiful in their own way. We finally had our first animal of the hunt down.

Black Wildebeest.jpg


That night we went back to the first area again in search of Kudu although we saw many other animals, and kudu cows, we saw nothing we were interested in shooting.


Day Three: We drove to a different area to try to find a Kudu bull for me. I swear this area had bigger, steeper hills than where we had been hunting the first few days. We hiked and glassed up and down hills all morning, spotting several bulls and even trying to get set up on one. Unfortunately, I was too slow in getting lined up and no shot was taken. As the day warmed up, we decided to give up on Kudu until closer to evening and search for zebra for Nikita. We were driving up a very steep hill when suddenly Marius stopped and said, “grab your gun, we must get out.” At first I assumed he was speaking to Nikita, but then he motioned to me instead. Marius, Lloyd, and I, ran down hill approximately fifty yards from the truck and Lloyd set up the sticks and Marius said, “shoot that one.” At the bottom of the valley a beautiful Kudu bull was trotting away from us. I didn’t really have time to think about it I just put up my rifle and fired. I cannot describe the feeling when the bull dropped instantly and rolled down hill behind some brush. I stayed on the sticks for a while just in case. All I could see was a hoof sticking out, but I could tell he was laying on his side. Once we were satisfied that the bull was not getting up, Lloyd and Marius started down to cross the valley to my bull. I jogged back to the truck to see if Nikita wanted to come down with us. I wasn’t sure that she would because she had been in a car accident a couple months previously and her ankle was still bothering her. I was pleased that she decided to come down with us. By the time Nikita and I worked our way down the valley, Lloyd and Marius had already located the Kudu and I got my first look at the horns. I had mentioned just in passing at the beginning of the hunt that I kind of liked Kudus with wide horns and this one was perfect. I am glad I didn’t see the horns before I pulled the trigger or I might have been shaky.


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We had a huge beautiful Kudu down at the bottom of a very thickly vegetated valley with the truck on top of a hill. I had no idea how we could possibly get it out. Although, I did expect to die from a heart attack trying. Fortunately, Marius made a phone call and a crew of workers from the property came down and were able to cut enough brush and make a trail and carry the Kudu out whole.

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We spent the remainder of the afternoon trying to get close to zebra for Nikita. After several hours of stalking Nikita’s ankle was bothering her so we decided to make the drive back to the lodge. As we were nearing the driveway to the lodge, Nikita said, “There’s one.” She had spotted a zebra on the way in. Marius looked at us and asked if we wanted to try for it and Nikita said yes. We parked and got out and Nikita, Marius, and I started the stalk. As we were getting nearer, I stopped and held back letting Nikita and Marius carry on without me to cut down on the possibility of making too much noise. I could see Marius set up the sticks and Nikita get on them, but was disappointed to see a zebra trotting away. When I looked back at Nikita she was still on the sticks, aiming her .30-06. I was even more confused when she fired. Instantly I could see Marius congratulating her then he turned to me and smiled and gave a thumbs up. Apparently there was more than one zebra there. Nikita made a perfect one shot kill on a beautiful zebra, and I could not have been more proud! She was thrilled as well.


upload_2017-10-22_21-5-50.png


Day Four: We went to a new place in search of a blue wildebeest for Nikita. Marius spotted a couple near a large herd of common and white blesbuk. We made a long circular stalk on them up and around a side hill. Fortunately, the vegetation wasn’t too thick. At one point Marius climbed a tree to get a better view. While he was up the tree, a small beagle sized animal ran right under the tree within three yards of Nikita and I. I asked Marius if it might have been a duiker. He said duiker were not really common in this area. We finally got close enough to get closer look at the two wildebeest bulls and Marius shook his head and said, “Too young”, and radioed Lloyd to pick us up in the back. We then drove to another part of the property that was very thick in a dry creek bed. Marius had set up a trail cam three weeks prior, hopt to get pictures of a blue duiker. We then drove up to the top of a hill where we could glass down. Marius spotted some wildebeest in a grassy open area with a herd of cattle. We started working our way down the hillside but stopped one third of the way down and just watched them for a hour or so trying to get the wind right. We finally started working our way down the hill trying to stay quiet and out of sight. About two thirds of the way down, we jumped three very loud grouse sized birds. Everyone froze except the wildebeest. We made it down to the last bit of cover at the edge of the open area. Marius had me wait behind a bush while he and Nikita snuck around on their butts to set up for a shot. I could not see the wildebeest or the hunters but it seemed like Marius and Nikita had to set up and then move a few times. During that time the wind gusts really picked up. All I could do was to hope and pray and wait. When the shot finally went off, it surprised me. I stood up behind my bush and saw four wildebeest running. I put up my rifle to look through the scope but was disappointed to see that none of them looked hurt. Just then, Marius came around the bush to grab his shooting sticks and smiled as he told me to come along. I asked if she missed because none of them looked injured and Marius said it was a perfect shot and he could see blood coming from its nose. Apparently blue wildebeest are very tough as it took a lot of running by us and baying by Flex and Rigby to finally get to the point where Nikita could deliver a finishing shot. After pictures and loading the wildebeest into the bakki, we were done in and called it a day. On the way back to the lodge Marius bought us all the greatest milk shakes in the world.


upload_2017-10-22_21-7-49.png


Day Five: This morning, Nikita slept in while Marius, Lloyd, and I went in search of a wart hog. We spent the morning glassing from a hill side but saw none worth pursuing. We went back to the lodge for lunch and Nikita joined us in the afternoon. We spent the rest of the day glassing for a kudu for Nikita but had no luck.


Day Six: Marius’ wife and Edge’s wife had a spa day set up for today and were kind enough to invite Nikita along. Marius, Lloyd, and I went after springbok. It felt like we were walking for miles as we had large herds that kept hearing or smelling us and circling out of range. After several hours, I finally got a shot at 220 yards. It was a poor shot but we found the ram dead about 50 yards from where I shot it.


upload_2017-10-22_21-9-43.png


After pictures we went back to the lodge for lunch. After lunch we went back to the same area in hopes of finding a warthog. We walked up a hillside to overlook a dry dam. We finally saw a few come in and one looked promising so we stalked closer. I was able to rest my rifle on the top of the dam and shot my warthog at 160 yards.


upload_2017-10-22_21-13-24.png


Day Seven: We went to a different property to try to find an ostrich for Nikita. I had a bad cough so I stayed in the truck with Lloyd while Marius and Nikita chased ostrich around. They walked well over 5 miles. Nikita did eventually get a long shot, but missed. That night, Marius, Graham, and I, sat over a dead kudu calf in hopes of shooting a jackal but nothing showed up.


Last day: Nikita went with Edge and his wife on a game drive at a nearby wild life park. After setting up a bush pig bait, Marius and I spent the day glassing hillside and hunting bushbuck. We saw a few young rams but no shooters. It was a beautiful, relaxing day and a great way to end a hunt.


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upload_2017-10-22_21-16-48.png


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I cannot recommend highly enough the wonderful people, beautiful lodge, hunting areas, and great experience that KMG Safaris has to offer. A special thanks to Marius and his staff and also Edge and his wife for making this such a memorable experience.


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cpr0312

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Looks like you had a great time, congrats and thanks for sharing!
 

cpr0312

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Heck of a cape kudu by the way!!
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Seems like some of the pics are having difficulty loading on my laptop, but sounds like you had a great hunt. Congrats!
 

Royal27

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Edge

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@wipartimer - great write-up! Brings back a flood of great memories from Mupunzi Lodge and all of the KMG staff. Michelle and I had one heck of a great time with you and RBF!

Will share camp with you again anytime, just let me know when and where!

Edge
 

AZDAVE

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Nice hunt report, it is always special to hunt with your kids!
 

CAustin

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Thanks for sharing your hunt report sir!
 

cls

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Thanks for the hunt report, congrats to you and your daughter.
 

Ragman

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Thanks for the report...awesome kudu and springbok! Makes my wait for the end of July seem even farther away. I'm starting to worry about those hills though!!!
 

adgunner

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Looks like you had a great hunt at KMG with Marius, congrats to you and Nikita and thanks for sharing!
 

Bullthrower338

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Great report, congratulations on a successful trip!
 

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Congrats on a fine trip. I'm in agreement with you about black wildebeest, beautiful with those distinct horns and mane.
 

MAdcox

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Great hunt and what an experience to share with your daughter. Mine is already picking the animals she wants to hunt when I take her to Africa, looking at pictures here on AH (she is three).
Congrats on a memorable trip and great animals.
 

Ridgewalker

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Oh am i jealous of that warthog! All fine trophies! You have obviously taught your daughter well. Excellent shot!
Thanks for sharing a fine hunt!
 

cagkt3

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Congrats to you both!
 

johnnyblues

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The photos of the lodge and staff make me wish I was there right now! Can't ask for a better operation and trophy quality is always high. Congratulations on a fine hunt.
 

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The photos of the lodge and staff make me wish I was there right now! Can't ask for a better operation and trophy quality is always high. Congratulations on a fine hunt.

+1

Well done to both of you on hunt.
 

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Congrats on a great hunt !
 

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