SOUTH AFRICA: KMG Safaris Rocks!

KMG Hunting Safaris

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Damm right the gut pile stinks, I spent four nights in that blind to get my bush pig. But in the end it was well worth it. Congrats on the great hunt, really like your writing style.

Yeah, but in 4 nights, you got 3 pigs.;):D
 

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Damm right the gut pile stinks, I spent four nights in that blind to get my bush pig. But in the end it was well worth it. Congrats on the great hunt, really like your writing style.

Just a dab of Eau de Offal behind each ear and you were irresistible. :A Fart:
 

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23 June 2017 – Day 5 The Trifecta

Part One

The morning is clear and very cold, in the 30’s with a brisk wind blowing 15-20 mph. After we finish breakfast Louw comes in and says the neighbor has a good Blue Wildebeest bull on his property and we are off! We hit the main dirt road outside the Mpunzi gate and head towards the neighbor’s property. We only drive 10 – 12 minutes before Louw and Lindile spot a Blue Wildebeest on the side of the hill. It’s still very early, the sun has yet to crest over the mountain. Louw assesses the Blue and believes that is the one we are after since he is alone on the hillside. We drive through to the farmhouse and ready ourselves, Michelle with her camera and me with the rifle. We enter through a gate and begin to follow a track that will take us to the right of the bull if he remains in the general area. The cold strong wind is in our favor.

We begin marching up the steep track and begin to feel the sun’s rays warm us as well as the exertion of climbing the hill. After three to four hundred yards we cut to our left, the plan is to come in above him. We are making our way relatively quickly until Louw goes into serious stalk mode, moving slowly and peering ahead and over the rise. We continue to move slowly and then Louw stops and sets his sticks and balances his binos on top as the wind buffets us, it has grown stronger with the warming rays of the sun. Louw stoops down and whispers to me, “he is just in front of us, I only noticed him by his mane blowing in the wind”.

I had started formulating a plan a few days earlier as we walked around the lodge looking at the mounts on the wall. Michelle made a comment how ugly the Blue Wildebeest was and I thought she might go for taking one. She also had made the comment she wanted to shoot something while she was here, preferably a warthog. The comments may have been fueled by a few glasses of the good South African wine as well as RBF having taken both a Blue and a Zebra earlier in the week. If the opportunity presented itself, I was going to see if she would carry through.

The bull did not know we were above him and the wind was in our favor, this is a good set-up. I whisper back to Louw, Michelle is going to shoot him. He gave me a look and I motioned Michelle to come forward and as she came to me I said you shoot him, and we placed the rifle on the sticks. Louw coached her where to aim but the Blue was feeding and had gone behind a bush. The seconds ticked by as I was watching over her shoulder, not too close as I didn’t want to distract her. The wind blowing the Blue's long mane. He steps out from behind the bush, quartering downhill with the front half of his body exposed. She is patient and is listening to Louw’s instructions and I heard him give her the go ahead when she is ready.

I didn’t tell Michelle of my plan beforehand, I didn’t want her over thinking. She is a good shot and she went with me to the shooting range a week before we left for the trip. I knew she could do it. I heard the report and saw the bull crumple instantly. Louw passed me the rifle and I chambered another round as Michelle stepped back, her hands trembling with the adrenalin rush. I smiled and asked if she was ok and she said yes. We approached the old bull as he took a final sigh and all was still. He was magnificent, with old cracked bosses, the perfect animal to take. Michelle knelt and placed her hands on him to respect the old bull.

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We took a couple of pictures before setting him up for the standard African pose. We decided Old Blue was going to come home to us as a euro mount and we will also make his hide into a rug.

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Then the work began, how were the three of us going to get him down and across the hill to the road. The bush was thick and the hill was rocky and rough, Louw left to get the bakkie from the bottom of the hill as Lindile field dressed the animal and we rolled him onto the tarp. We drug him down and across the hill about 75 yards and found a place where we could drive the bakkie to shorten our drag distance. The three of us loaded him up while Michelle carried the rifle and our gear down. What a morning, I was so pleased my wife is now a huntress. Proud of the way she executed the shot, taking him down instantly. We headed back to the skinning shed to let Lindile skin out our Blue Wildebeest, it was now just 9 am. Since the morning was still so young, we decided to head back out to see what Africa would provide.
 

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Edge

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23 June Day 5 The Trifecta

Part 2 THE CHALLENGE

As we drove past the lodge and back into the hunting area the discussion turned to what is left on your list? Zebra is still one of the main targets but both Michelle and I now wanted a Tiger, the common or Gray Duiker. We really liked the ones mounted in the lodge and had enough fleeting glimpses of them in the bush that I thought it would be a great challenge to hunt these small antelope. I later learned this is also quite the challenge to the PH to target the small duiker species, many are taken as incidentals while hunting other game as the primary.

One of the animals that was included in the Plains Game/Vic Falls package was Springbok but I was not really interested. I do like to stalk and get close to the quarry vs taking a 300 – 400 yard shot. Yes, in some cases, as with Springbok, a long shot is more of the norm as that is the habitat they reside, but this trip it wasn’t intriguing me. I shoot out to 1000 yards regularly so it’s not the distance.

Warthog was also an animal we wanted but the drought had really taken its toll on the older males and in my mind, when a species is down then why push it? I also told Louw that if we came across another Bushbuck and if he was larger than the one I had already taken I would be interested. With that settled, Louw formed a plan.

He drove the Bakkie deep into the depths of the property and parked at the beginning of a track that paralleled the opposite hillside. This looked like a great set-up as the track we would walk had high bush on both sides, still allowing us a view but also helping to conceal our approach. Louw explained that the wind wasn’t perfect as it was blowing our scent down the track we were walking but since we were hunting the opposite side it should work out just fine. We were about 50 - 60 yards in height above a dry creek bed filled with thick bush, the opposite hillside was very steep and was bathed in the warm morning sun as it was now a quarter to 10. The bush wasn’t as thick on the opposite side as it was unable to find a grasp, providing some open patches between the tenacious bushes able to find a purchase. Louw explained we were going to stalk slowly along and keep a watch on the opposite hillside for our quarry, the infamous Tiger.

Louw strikes out along the track with the two of is following in single file, we are mostly watching our feet so as to not kick a rock or twist an ankle while Louw was silent as a mouse while walking and spotting. After a few hundred yards Louw comes to a halt and sets his sticks up, rests his binos and studies the opposite hillside, probably 80 – 90 yards across from us. Michelle and I had frozen in our tracks when we saw the sticks get set, awaiting a signal from Louw who is a couple of steps away. He motions me forward and whispers in my ear, bushbuck! I set the rifle in the sticks and get him in the crosshairs of the Zeiss scope.

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The discussion of losing three dogs over the past year to wounded bushbuck comes back to me quickly. I can slip a bullet just a bit back from his near front shoulder and should be able to break the opposite shoulder as he is almost parallel to us but also lower and a bit forward from us. He is standing just above where the thick bush along the creek is able to flourish, if he spots us he will disappear in an instant. I await the signal from Louw but he is still studying his horns.

I can see where his head should be without moving the scope and see the issue, his head is behind a tight cluster of small trees as he is facing to the left. I can see an ear twitch, maybe a glimpse of a portion of his horns but not much else. The bushbuck is calm as he is soaking up the warm sunshine while thinking he is hidden. Louw whispers to me he is going to try and get a better look by moving down the track we are standing on, but keep an eye out for the ok to shoot.

Louw backs up to the inside of the track, goes down into his crouch and walks forward, stands and glasses. Retreats and walks further down the track, steps forward glasses, retreats back to the inside of the track. He does this multiple times, the track is now breaking back to the left and Louw is almost out of sight. I whisper to Michelle to slowly move toward Louw, I am going to use her to relay the signal to shoot as Louw is almost out of sight. I give her my Zeiss HTs to look through to watch the bushbuck. Michelle keeps moving slowly to the left so she can see Louw. Still no signal and the bushbuck still hasn’t budged.

I can now see Louw as he has approached the steep side of the track as he glasses, he then retreats and comes back to us. It is now over 30 minutes since we first sighted the bushbuck. Louw says he is a good one, I ask if he is bigger than the first one I shot. He thinks it’s probably half-inch longer. I go quiet for a moment, contemplating. I had already passed on one good bushbuck. Louw tells me this is a good one, he wouldn’t have a client pass this one. I tell him “I would like to take him”. I turn my head back around and get a firm cheekrest, place the crosshairs where I want the bullet to go and release the trigger. Click! I can only imagine what Louw was thinking to himself.

No round in the chamber! When we exited the bakkie I pulled a round out of the cartridge holder on the gunstock to replace the round Michelle had used to take the Blue. I remember having some difficulty getting the round into the magazine as the A-bolt magazine doesn’t have much extra room before running the bolt home. This is the only time the entire trip with multiple exits and chamberings each day that I failed to double-check if a round was stripped out of the magazine and was actually in the chamber.

I calmly cycled the bolt as quietly as I could, got the crosshairs settled back onto the bushbuck and squeeze the trigger once again. I can see the impact and the bushbuck tumble down the hill out of sight. I know it’s a good shot and he shouldn’t go anywhere. I look over and see Michelle holding one hand over her mouth as she grips my binos with the other. This is the first time she was able to see the actual impact of the bullet as the animal folded and tumbled down the hill, the finality of the last moments.

Now, how do we get to him? It’s very steep with a rocky cliff just a few steps off the track we are standing on. Louw looks around a bit and finds a line we can take though the rocks and then down the hillside. Lindile is back at the skinning shed with the Old Blue so it will be the client carrying out the game once again! Even if Lindile was there, they couldn’t stop me from carrying it out as I have done on every animal we have taken, it’s part of the hunt for me.

The climb down is steep, rocky with loose rocks and soft earth. We are being careful and almost to the bottom when my feet go out and I’m on my bottom. Louw turns around and I tell him “I saved the rifle” as I have it in my hands, safe from the rocks! We make our way through the dense undergrowth, step through the dry creekbed and up the other side. Louw spots the bushbuck and we take a few steps toward him, he is down and out and I safe the rifle by removing the round from the chamber. The hardy bushbuck didn’t just tumble down the hill and lay still, he actually made it a few yards even with his plumbing and shoulder destroyed by the 300 Win Mag firing a 180gr soft point.

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We study him a few moments and I ask Louw if we can set him up for pictures down here in the dark jungle. The dappled sunlight filtering through the overhead canopy against his dark caramel coat with the white blotches is the perfect camouflage. We also notice the ticks, he is covered in ticks! A couple pics down in the bottom.

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The bushbuck out in the bright sunlight.

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We load up the bushbuck and head to the skinning shed, we decide we want a euro mount and the flat skin. We were contemplating another shoulder mount but this guy was pretty thin haired and was rubbed around his neck. We head back to the lodge and are early for lunch!

What a grand morning it has been, and we still have the afternoon of hunting in Africa awaiting us. We enjoy our lunch and we do what we do, Michelle naps, Louw is on the loveseat working on his phone and I’m outside jotting down the day’s events in my notebook while glassing the surrounding hillsides for game. So very peaceful and relaxing.
 
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Ragman

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Fantastic bushbuck!
 

AZDAVE

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"The three of us loaded him up while Michelle carried the rifle and our gear down. What a morning, I was so pleased my wife is now a huntress. Proud of the way she executed the shot, taking him down instantly. We headed back to the skinning shed to let Lindile skin out our Blue Wildebeest, it was now just 9 am. Since the morning was still so young, we decided to head back out to see what Africa would provide"

Congratz on a great hunt, love the bushbucks! Will warn you on the "Wife is now a huntress" My wife took her first animal in 2013 in the eastern cape. I our 2015 safari she shot more game than I did and she has a very solid list for our upcoming 2018 safari. Your taxidermy bill will go up directly proportional to her improving hunting skills.
 

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@AZDAVE

She bumped me off the sticks at the end of Day 5. Will include that in Part 3, hopefully will have it finished and posted tonight.

Edge
 

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Great stories! You're doing a great job getting me amped for my safari with KMG later this month!
 

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23 June Day 5 The Trifecta

Part 3 What’s Next?

Louw has been working his contacts over lunch and announces the neighbor has seen some Zebra on their property and we should go and see if we can locate them. Sounds good! We all load up in the bakkie and head up the road, a quick stop at the neighbor’s house for more info and a key to the gate for the access road. Michelle takes a beautiful picture while we wait for Louw.

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We head in the same direction as the Blue Wildebeest from the first hunt this morning, the sun has warmed things up nicely and we Zebra and Warthogs moving on both sides of the road but it’s not part of the property we have access. Louw comes to a halt and he talks out the window to Lindile who is in the back of the bakkie with the dogs. They have spotted some Zebra and I swear they are over a mile away. I can hardly see them with 8X binoculars, those guys have the eyes of an eagle! We are off again and we come down the grade and I notice the farmhouse on our right and I mention to Michelle this is where she took the Blue Wildebeest up on the hillside. We come to a stop on the farm road and we recognize Louw is now in silent mode as he gently closes his door. After some whispers he says the Zebra are above us on the steep hillside. We open the access gate and slip in, I work the bolt and double check to make sure there is a round in the chamber!

We look up and about 100 yards up the hill a female Nyala is watching us closely, oh ^hit. If she busts and runs this may be over before it has even started. We pause and she melts away, I think we are ok as she didn’t panic. We are heading just inside the fence along the road and then start uphill. The plan is to keep the wind in our favor, gain enough height and come in above the Zebra. The sun has really warmed up since the cold morning, what a gorgeous day. We have to skirt around another female Nyala, possibly the same one when I spot something sunning itself on an open area on the hillside. Louw takes a look and says it’s an old Aardwolf as his markings appear to have faded away.


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The old guy looks like he’s sound asleep in the warm sun.

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We break left around the Aardwolf and gain additional height on the steep hillside and then start across the hill to the right and begin moving at a snails pace, carefully picking our way across the rocky crunchy ground littered with loose rock. Louw goes down to his bottom and slides along behind a thick bush then slowly around so he can peer downhill. I follow him, but I’m on my knees now behind the same thick bush. Time goes into slow motion and I feel a puff of wind hit the left side of my face. Not good. The scent will blow directly down the hill to the Zebra. Sure enough, a snort then another. The Zebra are now moving below us and away, I catch a glimpse of them looking in our direction. Louw sets the sticks, gets a good look and I know when I’m needed, and step forward! The rifle is now in the holder and I pick up the two Zebra as they are walking away.

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The large stallion hesitates and looks back over his far shoulder at us, Louw says he is a good one. It is a pretty severe angling shot, about 70 yards away. I line up the far shoulder and imagine a straight line to it, exhale and let the bullet do its work. I can see and hear the impact of the bullet on the hide, exactly where I wanted it. The stallion moves off and over the crest of the hill.

We quickly move down the hill and begin walking in the direction the stallion took, a Zebra looks at us and Louw has the sticks set as I have the crosshairs planted on him. Louw says, no, that’s the young male.

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We move forward a few steps and finally the youngster moves off. We quickly find where the big stallion was standing and there is plenty of sign to follow, a few more steps and we crest the hill and we can see he is down. We approach cautiously, rifle at the ready but there is no need.

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I remove the round from the chamber, find a safe place for the rifle and take in the striking black and white stripes of the big stallion. Louw is pleased as he has very few scars and little damage to his hide, we passed up easier shots than this on Zebra but Louw wanted us to have a good hide for our Zebra rug.

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Lindile arrives on the scene and Louw says he must go find help, the three of us won’t be able to lift him into the bakkie. He tells us to get the Zebra into position and explains if he stiffens up we won’t be able to do much with him. My back still feels it even now! Entry wound, no exit.

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He has Lindile field dress him, even with the four of us it’s tough going.

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We head back to the skinning shed and have a little fun with a young man pushing the flock down the road. You shouldn’t wear headphones on such a busy street, we actually followed him for a bit and he didn’t have a clue we were behind him. I think he recognized Louw and gave us a big smile as we went around him and the flock.

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Part 4 – Are we done for the day?

We are standing outside the bakkie at the skinning shed as Lindile and the other hand unloaded the Zebra. It’s now 4:30pm and we have had a great day taking a Blue Wildebeest, Bushbuck and a Zebra. I’m thinking it’s time for something cold and wet! Not so fast, I see Louw reach into the bakkie and grab his binoculars from the dash, I grab mine and look to see where he is glassing. He says Warthog, and there is a good one! I get a quick glimpse of nice tusks even at 800 yards.


There are 4 hogs in total, 3 younger ones traveling together and the large male off to the side. We need to hurry as the light is fading fast. Michelle finally snags a picture of a Glossy Starling as we are making our way to where we had last seen the warthogs. Where are they?

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Louw spots a cloud of dust and we head in that direction, we are on the top and the hill breaks about 75 yards in front of us when up go the sticks! It’s past sunset now and we are in the gray time before darkness. I go to set the rifle in the holder when Michelle tells me she wants to shoot! I relent and try to tell her where the hogs are going to come out, she’s not understanding my explanation and is a bit excited. Louw hushes us and says they will hear you as the three youngsters cross from left to right at the edge of the hill, she sees them and gets ready but the big boar does not follow and we are out of light.

We are fairly close to the lodge now and start walking down the road when Marius’s wife Kim arrives. We are looking forward to meeting her as I’ve traded e-mails with her trying to arrange the “secret” spa day and Michelle is going to spend tomorrow with her and RBF at the spa. We all pile into the lodge with greetings and introductions. Marius arrives and gets the rundown of the day and spouts off about me shooting all the bushbuck! We all have a wonderful evening as Louw, Michelle and the boys join the fray. Hors-d'oeuvre included biltong and fresh grilled Kudu liver, delicious! Dry lemon, tonic and your choice of vodka or gin is the special of the night!

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Dinner is ready, another wonderful dish!

Great food, awesome company and a grand evening!!!

I know there were a lot of pictures, I wanted to share the excellent job my wife did today capturing the Zebra stalk. I may keep her!

Edge
 
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cpr0312

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Thats one heck of a day there! Congrats
 

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Thats one heck of a day there! Congrats

Thank you, one of those days everything works out! Hats off to my PH, Louw. That man knows what he is doing, even with two virgins bumbling around behind him we were able to execute the stalks.

Edge
 

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Going to take the night off on recounting Day 6 and 7.

Just want to reflect on a few things:

1. My wife is awesome!

2. My PH was great!

3. I'm already plotting our return to Africa!

4. I need to change my avatar pic, but I'll wait until the end!

Have a great evening/night/morning...whatever time zone you may reside!

Edge
 

Gemsbok Gangsta

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Well now I'm thoroughly ready to get back!!! Great bushbuck and you're photos are great. Congratulations on a great hunt.
 

Edge

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24 June Day 6 Search for a Tiger


I’m up early as usual and head into the Lodge for some fresh coffee and some quiet time to write and reflect. Michelle is sleeping in a bit as today is Spa Day! Michelle, RBF and Marius’s wife Kim are heading to Port Alfred to pamper themselves.

The air is crisp and cold with temperatures in the upper 30’s with just a breath of wind. Another gorgeous sunrise and a nice hot breakfast. Louw and I load up in the bakkie and we are off to an early start today, skirting the edge of the Mpunzi lodge property and coming in the back gate. The search is now on for the elusive Gray Duiker. We had been catching glimpses of Duiker in the preceding days but since we put Tiger on the list they seemed to have vanished. (For those who may not have read some of the previous day’s events, go back to the Day 2 entry and you will then understand the reference to a Tiger).

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We park the bakkie only a few yards inside the gate and I follow Louw off to the left. I thought I had seen most of the property as we have spent a good time hunting it, but I would soon find out there are many nooks and crannies I have yet to see! We hike down a steep track and cut into the bush, weaving our way ever downward. We spook some animals that create quite a racket leaving, busting branches and skittering rocks. Louw tells me they were a group of Baboons. Baboons is on the list now, Michelle wants to have a full size mount in our house, I do wonder about her sometimes…


We come to an overlook, standing on a rock ledge overlooking a deep dark ravine and thick hillside opposite us. We are patient now, just standing quietly and scanning for movement. I’m smiling as the position we have taken up is spectacular, the colder air in the bottom exhilarating to breath and we are in Tiger country. We are hunters.

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We spend 30 minutes in this fashion as we watch the sun light up the far hillside. Eagle eye Louw has spotted a female Kudu across from us, just standing and soaking up the warmth of the morning sun. We move slowly up the valley along the cliff face and Louw spots a baboon up in a tree, soaking up the sun and having some breakfast. He appears to be alone, Louw ranges him at 226 meters, I try to brace against a tree but a branch is hindering me, too high to rest my gun upon but also too low to get a sight picture. I slowly get to a sitting position but I’m too unsteady. I slide over to the base of the tree and use it to brace my back. Two more inches to my left and I go over the cliff. I settle in, get my breathing under control, watching the crosshairs move on and off the target in a repetitive cycle with my breathing. This is feeling comfortable, the crosshairs settle and I send a round down range.


No impact sound, nothing. I look up at Louw and he says he climbed out of the tree on his own. Dang it! We slowly work our way up the ravine and now we are directly across from the tree the baboon was in and scan the area with our binoculars until Lindile arrives and checks out the area. No sign of a hit. We move on and slowly still hunt our way up the ravine, seeing some Kudu and a small group of Warthogs too small to take. It’s been a fine morning.


We spend the remainder of the day walking in and watching similar dense isolated areas. We see some nice Kudu bulls that someone will be very happy with in a year or two but not a glimpse of the Tiger. This is fun!


We get to the lodge as the sun is setting and beat the ladies home. Where have they been all day? Well, we all know the answer to that, abusing the credit cards! Apparently, they not only went to the spa but also did hit some bars and then indulged on milkshakes.

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Louw and his wife Michelle prepare a local delicacy, Kudu liver wrapped in Lamb fat and seared over the braii. The kids call them puff adders, they are delicious! The seared lamb fat helps offset the pasty texture of the liver, delightful. I think I was the only “guest” to eat them, but I made up for the rest of them!


Dinner was excellent as usual!

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Louw, Michelle and two his boys take Michelle and I on a night drive. Michelle and I are in the back of the bakkie with the oldest boy as he handles the spotlight as we take a drive around the farm. We see springhares, impala, bushbuck, springbok and you guessed it, Tigers! We saw a female and a male in an area we caught a glimpse of them earlier in the week. We had a great time and really enjoyed the adventure, thank you Louw and Michelle.

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The search for the elusive Tiger continues tomorrow!


Edge
 
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adgunner

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Keep it coming Edge ... looking forward to the last day! I leave on Sunday to hunt with Marius for lioness and then down to the lodge to see what pops up!
 

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