SOUTH AFRICA: KMG Hunting Safaris & Kudu Dreams

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Ragman, Aug 7, 2018.

  1. Ragman

    Ragman AH Fanatic

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    It's been three days since we landed back home from our trip to South Africa, and I still find myself in a bit of a daze trying to get over the jet lag and back into some kind of routine. Photos finally got downloaded onto my computer today and somewhat organized, so time to get started on the Hunt Report. Here we go.

    In 2014 I went on my first safari in Namibia. My main target there was a Kudu which I had been dreaming about since I was in my teens. I had a wonderful time there, but the Grey Ghost eluded me. After that gruelling flight home, I figured that I couldn't go through that again, but by 2016 I had decided that I needed to try for my dream trophy at least one more time.

    By this time, I had been a member on AH for a little over a year and was impressed by many of the sponsor outfitters that had excellent hunt reports written about them. The hunt reports along with the "Deals and Offers" forum became a daily ritual with me and it didn't take long to see that KMG Hunting Safaris had a lot of glowing reports to their credit. Also the deals that Marius regularly posted became too much to resist. When he posted a "Spiral Slam" deal I contacted him to discuss. Obviously the animals in the package were Kudu, Nyala, Bushbuck and Eland. The Kudu already had me, but I asked if I could swap the Eland for a Waterbuck. Marius said "no problem" and before I knew what was happening, I had added Springbok and Blesbok and sent in a deposit for a hunt during the last eight days of July and the first two days of August 2018. Somehow during the waiting period, I convinced my girlfriend, Tina, to accompany me. Somehow a year and a bit flew by and it was time to leave for my second safari!

    No need to discuss the travel part of this. It sucked just as bad as the first time! This time our European layover was in Frankfurt, Germany. Someone on here suggested that if I left the airport, I should try the schnitzel. Pretty good suggestion!
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    We finally arrived in Port Elizabeth the next afternoon, hot and exhausted. Tina's one condition on accompanying me on this trip when she found out that PE was right on the beach was that we go a couple days prior to our pickup date. So we booked a room at the Radisson Blu. I must admit that it was a great idea. After having our first shower in two and a half days, we headed across the road to the beach and the handy restaurant called Something Good for something to eat. We both got the calamari and agreed that it was the best we'd ever had.

    View from our hotel room.
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    The next day was a dedicated beach day. After breakfast we walked across the street to the beach and just took our time strolling in the direction of the big pier.

    I had a sudden inspiration to write in the sand, take a photo and use that pic as the start of my hunt report here on AH. Thought it was a great idea!

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    When I downloaded the photos last night, the kids shouted "You spelled Africa wrong!" I did a double-take and couldn't believe it. "Where the eff is the F"? I hollered. The kids thought this was hilarious. Brats. Evidently my hunt would take place in South Arica!o_O

    In any case, it was a great day on the beach with Tina. We could have easily spent another two days just hanging out.
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    After two more meals of calamri and an $8 bucket of six Castle Lagers our beach day came to an end. In the morning, AH Legend Marius Goosen picks us up for the real reason we flew all this way!!!
     

  2. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Arica is a great place to visit.
     
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  3. Ragman

    Ragman AH Fanatic

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    The next morning I was awake early and all ready to go. Marius had said that he would pick us up at the hotel at 10:00, so we had plenty of time to have a leisurely breakfast. After we ate, we were waiting in the lobby and at ten sharp, a Toyota Land Cruiser came wheeling up to the front door and in walks Marius with that giant smile of his that is so familiar in the hunt report photos. We loaded the luggage, headed to the gas station to fuel up and pick up his tracker Lloyd. I am not a big talker and Tina can be quite shy with someone she has just met, but Marius has a way of putting you at ease and before long we were all chatting away as if we had known each other for some time. Before we knew it we were pulling up to the gates of Mpunzi Lodge.

    I had decided some time ago that I was not going to bring my own rifle on this trip. I was assigned Marius' Ruger in .300 Win Mag., a caliber I had not hunted with before. Also new to me was the use of a suppressor as they are illegal here in Canada. What a pleasure it is to have almost no recoil from a caliber like that! Our politicians need to pull their heads out of their backsides. I want one now! After a quick trip to the range Marius said that we could either go back to the lodge to relax or we could go out and hunt for the afternoon. No brainer...Let's hunt!
     

  4. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Don't stop now. Just getting good...
    Bruce
     
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  5. Ragman

    Ragman AH Fanatic

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    Will continue tomorrow. 5:30am comes early and its time for me to :sleep:
     

  6. BenKK

    BenKK AH Enthusiast

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    Sounds great!
     
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  7. Joe P

    Joe P AH Member

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    Great start! Looking forward to more.
     
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  8. James Sexton

    James Sexton AH Senior Member

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    Looking forward to the rest of the report. Marius’s smiling face is good to see after that long travel. Kudu was my top animal also and took a dirt nap before lunch on the first day.
     
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  9. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Looking forward to more after the good start!
     
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  10. PARA45

    PARA45 AH Fanatic

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    What a great way to start your safari. Nothing wrong with a little vacation prior to the safari. (y)(y)
     
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  11. Sand Rat

    Sand Rat AH Fanatic

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    Yes the calamari in PE is the best! We were there and stayed at the casino hotel in 2016 before our KMG hunt. Your beach pics look mighty familiar.
     
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  12. Ragman

    Ragman AH Fanatic

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    We drove to a nearby property and before I knew what was happening we started spotting Kudu. Actually I should say "they" started spotting Kudu. I was having a very difficult time locating what everybody else evidently had no problem seeing. I had to struggle every time some were spotted. Drove me nuts as I have a rep as a top notch deer spotter at home! Oh well. I think this particular bunch had 3 bulls in it, which was already one more than I saw in 10 days hunting in Namibia. But to be fair on that issue, that was during a bad rabies outbreak in that area of the country. Anyway, these bulls Marius deemed as "not finished" so we carried on. More Kudu were spotted a long way off and there were some good bulls in that group, but they were on the move heading away from us. Marius said that they would be a good plan for another day as we were fairly limited for time on this unofficial hunting afternoon. I was just still finding it surreal that I was actually there hunting in Africa again!

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    Scanning the more level areas opposite the Kudu hills we spotted a group of Springbok and Zebra. Springbok were on my list and they looked in a stalkable position, so off we went. We had decent cover, so when the Zebra took off on the gallop I asked Marius if it was us that spooked them. He said that it probably was. Wow! Switched on! It wasn't very far into our stalk and I felt a sudden sharp pain in the middle of my foot. Took off my shoe and already I had a thorn driven right through the sole. I tried pulling it back out the bottom and it wouldn't budge. Tried pulling it out from the inside and still no dice. Finally Marius said to break it off. That worked and we were back in business. Things were progressing well until our stalk led us by a large pond. Once we got there, a resident pair of Egyptian geese proceeded to sound the alarm and the Springbok took the hint and exited Stage Left. We tried to get back on them, but by now they were on full alert and we were done.

    By now we only had about an hour of daylight left so we returned our attention back to the Kudu hills. We just slowly walked along glassing as we went and quite a few Kudu were seen. Just no mature bulls. Some very nice up-and-comers however. Soon it was dark and we headed back to Mpunzi for supper.

    I had really been looking forward to trying the wild game again and was not disappointed this night. On the menu was Blesbok neck. This was a new experience for me, as the neck meat from my deer always end up in the sausage grind. However done in the slowcooker, it was tender and delicious...have to try it at home!
     

  13. Ragman

    Ragman AH Fanatic

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    Thanks Charles. Took me a bit to realize you changed your user name!
     
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  14. Sand Rat

    Sand Rat AH Fanatic

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    Sandy and I used that same M77 300 Win Mag in 2016, it's a sweet shooting rig. Pretty sure it got a scope upgrade last year.
     

  15. Ragman

    Ragman AH Fanatic

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    Forgot to mention our new friends that were midway through their hunt at Mpunzi when we got there. Three fellows from Denmark, a father/son and their friend. Very friendly guys with a ton of questions about hunting in Canada and what rifles I used. They were obsessed with their 6.5s and long-range shooting. The one that did most of the talking wanted to show me his rifle which was a Blaser. I had never held one or worked the bolt before, so was quite interested. This particular rifle was set up for long-range shooting and with the barrel/suppressor/scope combination weighed about 15 pounds. Not something I would want to carry on a hunt, but would have made a dandy boat anchor though! But I could definitely see the attraction of a proper sized Blaser...that bolt is pretty slick and the trigger was so feather-light that I could not feel it break. Intriguing rifle to say the least. Now back to the hunt!

    Day 1
    Today the official hunt begins. Marius tells me that we are going to a farm where we will focus on a Bushbuck and/or Nyala. Sounds like a great plan to me! After a short drive we arrive and meet the manager, a gentleman named Llewelyn. Very nice guy. As he and Marius discuss matters, Tina and I look over the resident herd of Bontebok. Gorgeous animals...they seem to glow in the sunlight! Shortly we are in the bakkie and headed to a place to park and then to proceed on foot. There was a lovely river that snaked its way through the property and that is where we were focusing our attention for most of the day. A lone Nyala bull was spotted that had our attention, but managed to slip into the bush before we could get a better look. As we were contemplating him, Lloyd spotted a nice Bushbuck ram above us. We were starting to get really interested in him when he whipped his head up, looking to the left. Three seconds later he was gone and we were left wondering what the heck spooked him. The answer was revealed moments later as a cow and calf Kudu came walking into the opening from the area the ram was looking. Time to move along.

    After a short walk a group of Nyala females are spotted. Such pretty, feminine creatures. With them was what appeared to be a really nice bull. Once we got a better look at him, Marius decided it was one to make a try for. He and I had to sneak back down the trail a bit to find a spot through the bush to sneak into a shooting position. The Nyala were below us and on the opposite side of the river and from where Marius had to set up the sticks, it put me in a pretty awkward position (kind of like a dog doing nasty things to a football), but Marius has a way of putting his shoulder under my elbow that really helps to steady the crosshairs. By now, the females were filtering into the bush which was about 50 yards uphill from the river bank. The bull was just at the edge of the bush, quartering away at about 130 yards away when I took the shot. With the suppressor on that rifle, I not only distinctly heard the bullet impact, but watched it through the scope. Amazing. The bull hunched up and began staggering backward down the hill toward the river. When he was halfway down he stopped. I was prepared to shoot him again, but Marius said that he was going down. Sure enough he did, but quickly regained his footing. Down toward the river he staggered again, again going down this time 10 yards from the bank. This time he looked like he was finished. Marius and I started to congratulate each other, when I looked down as the bull slowly began to roll. It took a while but the bugger finally rolled over the bank and disappeared in the water with a splash! We marked the spot where his disappeared and then Marius, Tina and I made our way down to the river to find a place to cross. Lloyd went back to get the bakkie and find a way to get it across as well to that we could load the Nyala.

    Once we were across, we made our way to where we knew the Nyala to be. Sure enough, we could just see his flank sticking out of the water. I said to Marius that I think I just shot a Sitatunga! He laughed and said he was thinking the same thing! He managed to fish a back leg out of the water with his shooting sticks and then I was able to help him pull the bull out of the water and up the bank.

    Sorry for the over-exposed pics, but had to post them.

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  16. Ragman

    Ragman AH Fanatic

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    Yes, nice shooting rifle. Had a Leupold on it I believe?
     

  17. Sand Rat

    Sand Rat AH Fanatic

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    Was a 40 mm Leupold and I think it's a 50 mm now.
     

  18. Ragman

    Ragman AH Fanatic

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    Quite a way to kick off my hunt! He was a beautiful bull, though a bit soggy! The dunk in the river kind of messed up the beautiful coat that Nyala are famous for, but the focus was what was on his head, not his back! I am a happy hunter!

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    He was an ancient old bull with worn horn tips and definitely on the thin side. He was also in need of new dentures!

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    I was already happy with the days results as we drove to the skinning shed and we still had lots of hunting time left in the day!
     

  19. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Great report from a beautiful (what do I know? I’ve never been there!) place!
    Thanks! This is great to live vicariously,
     
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  20. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats on a nice nyala!
     
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