SOUTH AFRICA: Matwetwe Safaris... Back To See Friends

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by TTundra, May 8, 2018.

  1. TTundra

    TTundra AH Veteran

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    Hi folks,

    Its been a while since I've been able to post here. An opportunity arose to relocate to North Carolina from Illinois and I was more than eager to accept it. Couldn't be happier with the decision but with the move comes the headache of packing all our belongings and gear away until one house is sold and another is bought. Elated the move is now complete and I can get back to the AH community. Any AH members around the Greensboro/Triad area?

    More importantly, as the title eludes, I am ecstatic that I will be wheels up in just over two weeks to be reunited with friends Matwetwe Safaris. Hendrik and his staff run a great camp that made for an outstanding trip and incredible hunt(s). I know my first report does not do Matwetwe justice since I was still an AH greenhorn, so I wanted to ensure this report goes the distance.

    I booked my first trip with Matwetwe Safaris at a SCI dinner and while I know many similar experiences vary, mine was exceptional. All fees considered, the deal I received was just about as good as any 'good' deal from our "Deals" section here... and the trip did not disappoint. My experiences in 2016 are what lead me to book with Hendrik again. Like so many members here, I became friends with my PH(s) during the trip and continued speaking with them after. Hendrik and his wife even went so far on our first trip that they helped plan and setup my engagment to my now wife...even have some great positioned trail camera photos :A Haha: My father is joining me once again with a friend of his who is new to Africa, so that will be a treat to witness.

    For this trip, I have a few more plains game that I am ideally after. Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest, Springbuck, another warthog as I simply love hunting them, and the Gemsbok who eluded me on my first trip. Above all, I will certainly let Africa show me whats she has and who knows how that list will change and I am all for it.

    Ive also learned from my first trip to be a little more prepared... I dont need 5+ hunting outfits, I did need more practice from sticks, I don't need the wide brimmed safrai hat (but I still love the photos), I spent less money on gear and saved more for animals. Maybe most important...set my work email away message to "Unable to return messages until June XX" and just leave the computer at home. Africa is my time and I'll only need the phone for the nightly wife call.

    As time draws closer I feel my thoughts more regularily drifting to the memories from my first trip to Africa and all the experiences and sights we witnessed. Africa stole a piece of my heart and I do think it will always long to return.

    The countdown begins...

    waterbuckside.png
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 13, 2018
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  2. cls

    cls AH Fanatic

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    Good luck and shoot straight, looking forward to the rest of the story on your return
     
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  3. gesch

    gesch AH Senior Member

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    I completely understand the way Africa can dominate your focus. Have a great hunt.
     
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  4. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats on the move! I live east of Charlotte about 1 hour 45 min from your area.

    We look forward to your report and pics!
     
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  5. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Great your dad and friend are going with you! It should be a grand time! Looking forward to pictures and report.
     
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  6. JakeH

    JakeH AH Veteran

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    Looking forward to your report and pictures! And there’s several of us from NC here on AH. I’m in the southeast part of the state, about 2.5hrs away from you.
     
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  7. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Good luck.
     
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  8. Nyati

    Nyati AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Wish you the best of luck..... enjoy !
     
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  9. kevin masters

    kevin masters BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Veteran

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    having your dad along will be nice! look forward to a report, Good luck!
     
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  10. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Good luck and shoot straight.
    Bruce
     
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  11. cagkt3

    cagkt3 PLATINUM SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Best of luck!
     
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  12. Jfet

    Jfet AH Fanatic

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    Have fun and take lots of pictures.(y)
     
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  13. TTundra

    TTundra AH Veteran

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    Alright, back stateside with a few days of rest under the belt and ready to write this report.

    If I didn't mention before, with me on the hunt was my 700 that has a little work done to it in 300Win shooting 180 NPs. My father brought along is Whitworth 375 and his trusty m70 that his friend, Mike, was going to use if he decided to hunt.

    Animals on our list are: Gemsbok (2), Waterbuck, Black Wildebeest, Springbuck, Impala, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbok, Warthog, and anything else nature provides.


    Day 1.

    Arrive at Matwetwe after a pretty much stress free travel. These past two trips I have done the paperwork and transport for the rifles on my own and it has gone off without a hitch at SAPS. (knock on wood). We are greeted by Hendrik's new guy, Divan, and are off. Arrive at camp to see my good friend Hendrik with a smiling face and a warm welcome. Walking around the lodges and seeing all the familiar faces makes it feel as if I never left though almost two years have passed. The head tracker, Jimson, was also there with a smiling face and a handshake. I was happy to see I made an impact on them as much as they made on me my first visit.

    But, There's no time to spare, though tired, we are eager to sight in and get on to an evening hunt. After 2 shots confirming, we grab a bite to eat and set out for a evening hunt. After my first trip, I had a vendetta with a Gemsbok. They eluded me on my first trip and a bullet ricochet off a branch that was unseen by me landed on the rump of a male. Enough to draw a few drops of blood, but not fatal. A costly mistake that had me itching for redemption. I think Hendrik knew this as we had joked about it quite a bit in emails and once I arrived. He knew I wanted to hunt, and get a good shot on, a nice, mature Gemsbok.

    After a few hours of driving time, and multiple stalks, I was watching daylight fade fast. I had pretty much succumbed to the idea that the Gemsbok would need to wait another day. That wasn't in the cards for Jimson though. He spotted a group thru the brush and Hendrik and I were off. I know Ive seen a lot of pictures of Gemsbok in clearings, but I wouldn't be so lucky. We ducked and ran from tree to tree, staying in the shade. Crawling from time to time to stay low and out of sight. Hendrik picked a shooter out and I was up on the sticks...steady...but the Gemsbok ducked behind more brush. We kept moving forward, just keeping our eyes on the prize. Up on the sticks again...no shot. Just as I pull the rifle off, we have a clearing, pretty low though. Sticks were spread out and I was on both knees. We saw multiple passing thru a small opening about 125 meters out. Hendrik said he will give out a sound when a good one passes. 2 go by and lucky number 3 comes into sight. I hear the sound, the Gemsbok turns broadside, and I squeeze the trigger. Down she goes. Reload and back through the scope, no movement, no bouncing back up.

    We run up to check and I stand in admiration. Hendrik had gotten me my redemption, and given me a piece back of what I left in Africa. I was a elated and high five'd, shook hands, and hugged Hendrik. Great way to start the hunt and right as daylight was leaving us.

    gemsbok.png
     
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  14. TTundra

    TTundra AH Veteran

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    We'll need to get a NC get together going then along with JakeH and any others!
     
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  15. TTundra

    TTundra AH Veteran

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    Day 2


    Still riding the high from day 1, I had to keep focus as it was my pops turn to hunt his Gemsbok. With a full day of hunting to go, we went to a concession about 25 minutes away from Hendrik's ranch that is about 18,000 acres. Species galore with large herds. Our focus would be on pop's Gemsbok, but if anything else on our list shows...or something unexpected, we would be ready.

    We saw numerous animals. bachelor groups and males with females. The impala rut was in full stride. I still have a hard time contemplating how much noise one can make and how loud and intense that bark can be. Coming from mostly a eastern US whitetail hunter, I telling myself "it must be some predator...yep, its a mountain lion." No, Trevor, its just an Impala.

    We see a few shooters, but they are quick to run and take cover. With plenty of time in the day, we keep moving on. Then, an image that will probably be forever in the minds of all of us on that truck, a large Kudu bull is staring us down from 50 meters out as we pass. Hendrik motions to Jimson to stop, and reverse. The Bull doesn't move. We sit there for a few seconds admiring him. Hendrik stays his neck is massive and is close to 55". It was just so impressive to see....but...I already have a Kudu and my dad wasn't really considering one. We drive on.

    The next two minutes Hendrik keeps saying what an impressive male he was. I keep telling my dad its a Kudu of a lifetime. We all cant stop talking about how he was standing right there. A few seconds later, my dad turns and says...lets go get him. Now, in my limited experience, once you drive by a mature Kudu, and you try to come back, they are history. So, we drive a little further away, and turn around. We slowly head back. The Kudu is still in the area, about 60 yards from the truck. His massive curls towering over the brush. Now, my dad is not opposed to stalks, but as a 70 year old veteran, he also doesn't mind a shot from the truck if it means saving some time and noise from jumping off.
    Jimson stops the truck....my dad leans way back over the rear bar, pretty much off hand with his Whitworth, and lets one rip. You hear the smack and its a good hit. Quick reload, and we dismount and head toward the shot area. Numbi, Hendrik's Jack Russel, along with us if a track is needed. About 20 yards from the shot lays this magnificent massive animal. Great shot a gorgeous Kudu and a once in a lifetime opportunity to stumble into.

    Kudu.png

    Larger horn measures just over 54 3/8". Day 2 is in the books and what a day indeed.
     
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  16. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Nice kudu and gemsbok!!!
     
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  17. TTundra

    TTundra AH Veteran

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    Day 3

    Day 3 was Mikes turn to hunt Africa. This was Mikes first trip to Africa and I do believe it did not disappoint.

    Mike wasn't 100% sure he would hunt on this trip, but sighted in with the m70 in 30-06 just to be sure. After the first days hunt when he saw my father and I crawl up into the back of the truck and load the rifles, he felt the itch.

    Day 1 and Day 2 had Mike with rifle in tow waiting for his moment. He made up his mind that he wanted an Impala...but needed the extra push to which Impala would be the right one.

    I don't think it was even 8am when we got close to a small group bedded in some trees, but the time was right regardless. Hendrik picked out the perfect Impala and Mike went down on the bag. It seemed like forever went by and no shot...

    Mike is methodical with his actions and will only make a move if he is 100% definitive...which isn't a bad thing when hunting. But we all certainly were awaiting that shot with much anticipation.

    He lined up again...a few seconds go by, and he let the bullet fly. The Impala dropped right there and we were 3 for 3 on day 3. I need to get an image of his Impala, but if had the most beautiful markings on his head. A black and white striped stacked, just under his eyes with a dark brown line down his forehead. A picture will truly only do it justice.

    We spent the rest of the day in search for my Waterbuck, but couldn't get on one. After all, its 'hunting' and not just 'shooting'.
     

  18. TTundra

    TTundra AH Veteran

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    Day 4....One I will never forget

    Once again, we were up and at the truck at 6am. Today, we would head to another concession I had not hunted before. This is over 15,000 acres of land that has not been hunted in 3 years and managed quite well. The news had me quite excited as I always loved getting onto land here in the states that has been off hunting for a while while a good game manager was restoring the land and animals.

    Still with quite a few animals on our list, we were off. We weren't there for more than an hour before Hendrik spots a nice warthog. My father lined up on it a little too late and he scurried off into the grass. That was quite alright as where he headed we saw an Impala in the perfect broadside silhouette looking our way. I didn't have an Impala on my list, but it was a nice mature male with the classic looking rack and I couldn't say no.

    I hopped off the truck with Hendrik and we began working our way down a tree line trying to stay in the shade. He got us within 100 meters or so and in the seated position, I got lined up on the sticks. A breath or two later, exhale...hold...and bang. The Impala dropped right there and we headed over. He isn't the biggest impala by any means, but is a gorgeous example of a mature male. Inches are often the after thought for me as I simply enjoy the hunt. Although, upon inspection, we noticed that this blok was blind in one eye! I don't think I'll ever live it down with the group that I shot the "blind" impala....ha!

    Impala.png


    Day 4 wasn't done yet

    We had 1 Impala in the truck but had enough time in this mornings hunt to keep looking. My father had taken a Zebra on our previous trip and has a gorgeous rug to her name, but now felt the urge to have a Stallion match to it, albeit a shoulder mounted match. We began pursuing and looking for the right Stallion Zebra. It wasn't too long before we had one in our sights and my dad and Hendrik hopped off and got on the sticks and let a shot ring. The first shot was a little low which no hunter ever wants to have but without a seconds hesitation and the OK from my dad, Hendrick let out a shot the dropped the Zebra not too far from where he was first hit by my dad. Hendrik nor my dad wanted him to get too far and thankfully he was taken very quickly after the first shot.

    Zebra.png


    We loaded up the Zebra along with the Impala and headed back to drop them off at Hendrik's skinning shack an and sit down in the lodge for a nice lunch. However, the day wasn't over yet. We had seen a very impressive Waterbuck earlier that day and Hendrik and I wanted to see if we could track him down.

    The rest of the afternoon was spent on stalk after stalk. We would see Waterbuck legs under the brush and start crawling in to investigate to have the bust or not be mature enough each time. I was pulling out thorns in my palms and knees for days afterward...but we had to follow thru on each sighting.

    Hours passed and the sun was setting quickly. We were back in the cruiser and joking around as I thought we were heading out and all but done for the day. I didn't think after all that work that we would be able to get in another stalk at sunset. As it turns out, we dint need to. Jimson spotted a large bull walking thru the brush and we worked our way around behind him. We cam to a dirt road and it was like the heavens opened up.

    All day we spent in the thickest of thickets, crawling thru thorns, and right before the sun goes down, a magnificent Waterbuck bull is walking down a dirt road in front of me along the tree line. Hendrik sets up the sticks, on on them and about 130 meters away is my bull. He stops, turns and looks back at us, and I squeeze the trigger. Down he goes. We know hes big, real big. Hendrik is as excited as I am as he says, "I think he's over 30". We run up to see a gorgeous Waterbuck Bull that I had only dreamed about being able to hunt until then. There was a small celebration before we set up for pictures as darkness was setting fast. We had hunted and taken 3 animals that was call enough for celebration but this incredible bull had me going crazy inside.
    Waterbuckfront.png waterbuckside.png


    The left horn measured out to just over 29 1/2" and the right just about 29". I couldn't be happier to have had the opportunity to hunt and harvest a bull of this caliber.
     
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  19. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Some very nice trophies. Congrats on a great start to your safari.
    Bruce
     
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  20. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Yeah thats a pretty darn good waterbuck, congrats!
     
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