SOUTH AFRICA: Matthew Greeff Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Av8or, Jun 3, 2018.

  1. Av8or

    Av8or AH Member

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    My son and I hunted with Matthew Greeff at Gold Valley Lodge near Nelspruit in May. We flew out of Dfw via London to Johannesburg. Then a short flight to Nelspruit. Matthew picked us up at the airport, 45 minutes later we were at the lodge. Unpack , say our hellos, and then a great lunch. We are using their guns , so we go out and work on our shooting form, trigger pull, and familiarity with the guns. We then decide to do a short afternoon hunt and see if we can find anything we are interested in shooting. Absolutely beautiful country we are in , big rugged hills with a lot of brush and trees. Standing on the porch of the Lapa , I was able to see a giraffe way out in the distance while checking my binoculars.
    We got a feel for the area , did some glassing , and enjoyed our first day in South Africa. We did not find anything to shoot the first night. Back to the lodge for a cold beer , snacks and great fellowship, followed by a fantastic dinner of waterbuck stew.

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    Day 2: we are up early and headed to a different area about 2 hours away. Gear, trackers, dog and us are on our way. We are going to look for Kudu, waterbuck and?? We get to the area and immediately start seeing animals. We glass some Waterbuck ( my first time to see live) , but nothing we want to try and take. We are working our way to different vantage points to glass for our quarry. One of our trackers finds a Kudu bull about 1000 yds away on a hillside in the brush. We get closer and decide not to pursue him yet. Next stop as we are glassing we see another bull that may be what we are after. He is with some girls and we work our way closer to get a better look. After a bit of judging, we decide to put a stalk on this bull.
    Matthew comes up with a perfect plan and we make the stalk to get into a really good position. Kudu is following two females and working down a drainage towards us , the set up is looking really good. Just as they approach a reasonable range , we can only see the top of his horns and then .....gone. Small depression we did not see and they were out of sight. We quickly decided to work around some really thick cover and get to the other side of the depression and see if we could catch them coming out. We moved to a good position overlooking the area we expected to see them again. Sticks up, rifle ready , watching for any sign. 20-30 minutes and out they come , Kudu cow, Kudu cow, KUDU BULL. safety off get on the bull, 250 yds or so, wait for him stop, ( they are all on a jog across a big opening) I am tracking him in the scope waiting for the pause, .... well they never stop and we do not get off a shot. No one wanted to risk a running shot on first day and first animal in Africa. Matt says” welcome to Kudu hunting”. Lol. Absolutely fantastic stalk and hunt. He put us in exactly the right place. I like to finish the deal as much as anyone. Some of the best hunts are remembered by ones that got away or the plan or the unknown. Off to another spot to eat lunch from a vantage point we can glass a lot of area and see what we can find.
    After lunch we see a big group of Zebras and decided to see if we can get my son on one.
    We sneak up to a rock ledge and just peak over the top to look at the herd, only to realize the grass is 4-5 ft tall.
    Slowly climb the ledge and crawl to a pretty good spot. I decide to stay put behind a bush , as my son and Matthew make a stalk to get into a favorable place to shoot. There are also some black wildebeest in the same area, so they are going very slowly and quietly. Sticks are up, my son is on them with the rifle, ready to go, and nothing.... ,they ended up watching and waiting about 45-50 minutes for the right stallion to give them a clean shot. Outstanding patience by Hunter and ph. Finally “boom “shot rings out, tell tale “thump”
    Yes ! he hit him hard. Proud dad. 200 yds right through both clavicles and broke spine. Classic bang flop, Zebra never moved. First African animal is down, we are all very happy. Did I say proud dad, look at that grin.

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    We all work together to load the Zebra in the truck and call it a day, dinner, drinks and some well deserved rest are welcome things .
    The following day we pick up where we left off from the day before. We see some red hartebeest, black wildebeest, impala, and decide to pass on them for now . We are still looking for a Kudu for me.
    From a good vantage point we are glassing and see several Bulls and a couple of cows. They are about a mile away and we move as close as we can without spooking them . We get to a decent spot to evaluate the bulls, the one following the cows looks like he is a mature bull and one we should try to get a shot on. As we are watching him he follows some cows into a small drainage that is very thick with cover. Matt comes up with a plan and we work our way above the drainage and get in a good position to glass/ shoot. We have not seen them come out, but not sure where they are or if they will leave. We keep slowly working a little closer to the edge of the brush to get a better look and are on the shooting sticks ready to go.
    We wait for quite awhile, finally some noise and movement, out they come, exactly where Matthew thought they would try to escape. The cows are first , then the bull. Matt says there is your bull , “take him” . I am slow on the draw and he is not in a good position for me to shoot, fortunately another bull has come out and mine does not like it, he stops broadside and I “ breathe and squeeze” as I battled all the emotions to stay steady. Wham, Kudu is hit, “ hit him again” is the next thing I hear , just as I am about to fire the next round, he goes down. Wow, excited , nervous, stay on the gun and scope waiting for any sign of movement.
    We slowly make our way to last place we saw him. A quick search of the area and lying there on that beautiful African soil is my Kudu. Beautiful animal, I’ve been wanting to go to Africa to hunt my whole life and it was hard to believe it was real. A lot of emotions, happy , sad , relieved, excited and overwhelmed. Absolutely fantastic plan, stalk, and finish, this time we won.

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    We end up driving to a point where we can get a winch on the big bull and winch him to the land cruiser and then load him up. Two days , we both have fantastic animals . We take the bull back to skin him out and get everything ready to go back to Gold Valley Lodge, Matthew’s home and ours for a few precious days.
    We get back to Gold Valley just in time to enjoy a georgous sunset, high five s and hugs from Sylvia, ( Matthew s wonderful wife, and the best cook on the dark continent!). Celebratory , wildebeest backstrap and Kudu tenderloins top off a fantastic day.
    First morning at home camp we are off to hunt. We go to several high spots with absolutely georgous views and glass for animals. My son and I are slowly getting in tune with picking up bits and pieces of animals in the brush. We see zebras, Kudu, Nyala , Impala. My sons young eyes are now getting really good at picking up animals and movement. He points out a nice Kudu who was well hidden in the brush ane we enjoy watching him. We spent the day hunting and had a great time . Back for a great lunch and we are off again until dark. We did not find something we wanted to shoot until we were on our way home and a big baboon started barking at us. He was on a rock at about 400yds and just daring my son to shoot him. Unfortunately, 400 yds on sticks , and he missed. Back to the lodge for a cold one and another awesome meal.
    The next morning we are up and ready to go , and the rain starts coming down . We have breakfast and sit by a fire waiting for the rain, clouds, and fog to clear. We are going to split up today , Kalie is a ph for Matthew Greef Safaris, and he will be going out with my son Mason. ( great time for him to enjoy this place without dad looking over his shoulder) Mason wants a baboon , Dad is looking for Nyala and bushbuck.
    Weather starts to cooperate and we are on our separate ways. We get to good place to glass and all start working the brush to see what we can find. The views from some of the spots we glassed were nothing short of amazing. Beautiful country. We see baboons ( and hear the darn things) , zebras, Kudu, and Nyala. We had seen a Nyala the day before who was pretty nice but could not get to the area before he disappeared. We are glassing a promising looking area and see several different animals including a small Nyala bull and some females. One of the trackers and I both spot what I think is a good Nyala, I signal to Matthew to come look. He takes a peek , gets out his 15x binoculars and decides we are going to try and take him. The sticks are set up and I am on them, 350 is range he tells me , let’s go for top of his back. Shoot, miss, shoot miss, damn!!, shoot , hit him , he is hurt but not down for good, shoot again and looks like it probably only grazed him.
    Nyala is in the brush 350-400 yds away and we have to make a plan to get there. My son and his ph text us and want to know if we got something, my son asks if I hit with my 16th or 17 th shot? Smart Alec kids!
    We head to the Nyala with the trackers and Matthews dog. After a short discussion we decide to let the trackers take the dog and get him on the Nyala and bay him as we know he is hurt and can’t get way from the dog. We position ourselves downhill near where we think they will end up. Noise in the brush, dog chasing and we hustle over to the thick brush where his dog has the Nyala bull . As we get there, we see the old bull make a strong charge on his dog trying to kill him, his dog is smart and gives just enough ground to not be injured but keeps the bull in place. A quick shot in the brush and the Nyala is down. Not my best shooting, but a fantastic team effort to get my bull. Bittersweet for me as I would like to have shot better, but it was very rewarding to watch a dog work like a champion. Matthew, his trackers Tommy and Alberto and his wonderful dog were like a well oiled machine.THANKS!

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    They trackers take the Nyala back to get him skinned and prepared. Matthew and I go on a long stalk looking for anything. While we are hunting word comes in that Mason has shot an Impala, quick fist bump and smiles as we are super happy for him . Quickly growing up. Old heavy horned impala with character. Proud dad again.

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    We continue on a stalk on a trail in the thick brush. 2 or 3 steps, stop , look , listen, glass , repeat . We see some monkeys in a tree and expect a lot of noise, but quiet....., we see an Eagle flying overhead and that explains their shyness. 20 yds in front of us crosses a red duiker female, another first in the bush for me . Very cool. We end up seeing a nice male red duiker, Great stalk and Matthew puts me right on him, unfortunately I put a big hole in a tree instead of the duiker. We continue our hunt and head back to the lodge for lunch around 3. My wife is joining us today and had arrived just before we returned for lunch . She will spend a few days here, before we all go to Kruger N P for a photo safari.After lunch another quick hunt and darkness approaches quickly. Back to the Lapa for dinner with the family. Tonight’s menu is Zebra tenderloin on the brai, I have found my new favorite meal. Best I have ever had, Fantastic! 642F1E40-D62F-41B1-AAE0-D481E569816A.jpeg
    End of another beautiful day at Gold Valley Lodge.
    Last day to hunt ( kind of) we split up again, I am looking for a bushbuck , Mason is going for Blesbok or blue wildebeest. We go to different part of the property to glass and see what we can find. I see my first Klipspringer. We get set up on the edge of a really nice draw and spend quite a bit of time glassing. We don’t see anything we are ready to shoot. We decide to do a little walk and stalk hunt and once again my ph Matthew puts us in a great spot. We have a nice impala about 120 yards and a really big warthog about 290 yds. Unfortunately the impala is between us and the warty. I choose to go after the warthog and have a good rest, much to my chagrin and my ph’s, I miss the warthog. Matthew put me in some good places to take care of business and I let him down. We got back to camp for lunch and decided to see if we could shoot a little to see if the gun was off. We set up on a metal plate at 150 meters, ( I use cheaters but not Glasses) I tried wearing my cheaters and the scope picture was much better, two shots , two hits, center cut, I think i need glasses. . Getting old sucks sometimes. The cool part is in the middle of the warthog stalk we get a text with this in it:

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    Wow, nice Blue Wildebeest. My Africa trip has turned into my sons trip! What is better than that as a parent.
    Once agin smiles, high fives and gratitude to Matthew and Kalie.
    We go back out after my practice , end up doing a little callling right at dark ( cheaters on) but nothing shows.
    The next day we are going to Kruger and we will drop Mason off at the airport before our last night at Gold Valley. We have another one of Sylvia’s exquisite meals . A few too many drinks and say our goodbyes . Matthews family including his 2 daughters Savannah and Amber are perfect hosts. You feel like part of the family. Mason and the girls discussed current slang etc. in S Africa and the US and, yes, some of it is universal.

    Kalie, took us( John, Alisha, and Mason) to Kruger NP for 3 days . What a fantastic time we saw everything but a leopard. Three lion sightings, including a lion and lioness mating.

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    We saw a black rhino also. Everyone in the car was doing a terrific job of looking for and spotting animals. ( guess all those years of looking for deer rubbed off on my wife lol, she spotted several animals we all missed) We let Kalie take pictures , and we just enjoyed looking at the animals. Best way to do it if you can , you miss a lot of little things taking pictures.
    Thursday comes quickly and it is off to the airport for Mason to head for Texas. My wife and I go back to Gold Valley Lodge for our last night before we head to Victoria Falls on Friday. When we get back to camp Matthew has set up his guys to help us scout and see if he can get me on a bushbuck ( i thought I was done hunting , but due to my gracious hosts had one more hunt to go) we glassed, we walked , we drove, they did everything possible to get me one more chance. Finally just before dark we spot a bushbuck feeding on a small ridge line, we hustle to a vantage point that will get us a good shot. Up the hill sticks down, gun set up( cheaters on ) in the crosshairs, ready to go.........Matthew says “ I think he is a little young , let’s let him go”. He was not interested in killing for killings sake or my trophy fee money. He wanted me to get a mature “proper” animal or none at all. I was on the same page. Outstanding PH and my new friend.
    I can not brag enough on the level of service we received from Matthew, his family and his staff. Sylvia provides meals that are as good as it gets, even the packed lunches for excursions are excellent. The lodge is comfortable, nice and just rustic enough to make you feel at home. It is definitely my new favorite place in the world ( right behind Home). Easy to work with, fun to hang out with. They surely made my African dream come true. A special thank you goes to Kalie for being so good with my son!
    We did Victoria Falls and Cape Town after our hunt. Both are worth the effort if you are wondering. Take some small bills ( 1/5/10$) for tip money in airports , bathrooms etc. I had a few pre conceived ideas before I went. The landscape is much more diverse than you can imagine, it does not all look the same. The Hunting can be very challenging. Everywhere we went people were friendly , wanted to know if we enjoyed it and if we are coming back.
    My wife really enjoyed just recovering for a day or two after she arrived. Five days of hunting was way better than zero days of hunting, but more would always be better.

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    Until we see you next time.
    I am already planning my return in 2020. Thanks to “neckdeep “ on this site , a really nice 375 H&H is headed to Texas , Cape Buffalo beware as I will have glasses, practice and be ready. Can’t wait to go back!
    www.mgsafaris.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 4, 2018
    Vanguard2279, dobber, Ragman and 6 others like this.

  2. JakeH

    JakeH AH Enthusiast

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    Great read! I’m pretty envious of your son’s wildebeest!
     

  3. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Congratulations.
    Thanks for sharing your hunt with us.
     

  4. Av8or

    Av8or AH Member

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    He was not too excited about a shoulder mount, until he shot the wildebeest, that changed his tune pretty quick.lol
     

  5. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congratulations and thanks for sharing!
     

  6. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats for a great family experience, and nice trophies !
     

  7. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    congrats, thanks for the report
     

  8. neckdeep

    neckdeep AH Enthusiast

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    Excellent report, great trophies and you got to see a lot of the sites!!
     

  9. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Thanks for sharing. Well written report with a bit of humor. Great memories as a family. Great to have a son along. Congrats
    Bruce
     

  10. dsmerrills

    dsmerrills AH Senior Member

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    Congrats Av8or looks like you guys had an amazing time.
     

  11. CAustin

    CAustin AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Ambassador

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    Great hunt and thanks for sharing a report with pictures.
     

  12. Jeffrey Masters

    Jeffrey Masters AH Veteran

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    Sounds like a great hunt, with some trophies of a lifetime!! Congratulations!
     

  13. kevin masters

    kevin masters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    awesome hunt! I really envy you sharing it as a family. I got to hunt with my brother in SA and will never forget it.
    sure wish my dad had been along, Congratulations!
     

  14. cagkt3

    cagkt3 AH ENABLER PLATINUM SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Congrats!!
     

  15. crudeoildude

    crudeoildude AH Veteran

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    great hunt and awesome pictures and story good job
     

  16. WIDuckHunter

    WIDuckHunter AH Member

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    Great report! My 16 year old son and I are wheels up for our first South Africa hunt in 49 hours (but who's counting), so loved reading this. Especially enjoyed the line "great time for him to enjoy this place without dad looking over his shoulder," as I'll be sending the kid off on his own as well while we're there. Hope our luck is as good as yours!
     

  17. Av8or

    Av8or AH Member

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    Enjoy, you will have a great time. He will probably have an even
    Better time!
     

  18. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for the hunt report! A great adventure for the family!
     

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