SOUTH AFRICA: May 1-10,2024 With KMG Hunting Safaris

Mort

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This adventure began in May 2022. I had just returned from my first safari where I hunted in Limpopo and the Northwest. The African bug had bitten me, and I had to return for another hunt someday. I decided to go to the Eastern Cape for my next trip.
I contacted a few safari companies in the Eastern Cape of which Marius @KMG Hunting Safaris was one of them. I liked how he was prompt at answering any of my questions and seemed honest and straightforward. After speaking with many past clients, I booked a safari for May 1-10, 2024, with KMG.
I contacted Jennifer @TRAVEL EXPRESS to handle my travel plans. I flew out of Midway Chicago with Delta on April 28, had a 6-hour layover in Atlanta and then onto Johannesburg. Once there, I met a representative from Africa Sky who drove myself and a few other hunters to the hotel. The room, food and service were all very good at Africa Sky. The next morning, we were all taken back to OR Tambo for our connecting flight and my flight on Airlink left at 10:30 AM for East London.
Upon arriving in East London, I was met by my PH Nick. We drove about an hour to the lodge. I was really taken by the beauty of the landscape on the drive. Once we arrived at the property I was impressed to see the number of Nyala, Blesbok and Impalas on the short drive to the lodge.
I settled into my room, and we went to shoot the gun. I elected not to bring my gun and used Nick’s 308. After shooting, we took a game drive around the property and then back for an evening meal.

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It's nice to see that place again! Nick is very knowledgeable. I will watch this thread with interest
 
Day 1:
I was up at 5:00 AM, grabbed some breakfast, a packed lunch and then headed out for a large concession. We were looking for Eland this morning. Nick had told me that big blue bulls can sometimes be hard to find. We had gone less than half a mile when Nick and Themba, our skinner and tracker, spotted an Eland. We got off the truck and stalked to get a better look, there was a big bull and a couple of cows that we decided to pass on at this time.
After getting back to the truck, we had just gone about 500 yards when Nick stopped us again. A very large bull had stepped out of the brush. Nick said we need to have a better look at him, so we made a stalk within 200 yards. I could see the heavy tuft on his forehead and the huge dewlap that swayed back and forth with every step. I sat down and put the bipod out and waited for him to turn broadside. When he finally did, Nick gave me the ok. I put the crosshairs on the edge of the shoulder and fired. The bull did not go ten yards and was down. What a morning, 8:00 AM and my first animal is down. It took the next couple of hours to get the Eland loaded and out.
After that was done, we went looking for anything else on my list. We saw some Bushbuck but found nothing that met our criteria. I appreciate that Marius and all his staff practice age over inches in everything we hunted. The only other animal of interest spotted that morning was an old blue Wildebeest bull that was hanging with a group of Blesbok. It was decided that with all of them around him there was no way to stalk the bull. By this time, it was getting hot, so we ate some lunch and rested for a while. About 2:30 PM, we started looking for a Bushbuck. Three or four rams were spotted but Nick said we could do better. It was amazing how well Nick and Themba were at spotting game. Later that evening, we had moved down by a river bottom and were seeing many large Nyalas. Nyala was not on my list because I had taken one in Limpopo. Suddenly, we spotted a Nyala bull on the edge of an opening. Nick wanted to look at him in the spotting scope. After studying him, Nick said that was the largest bull he had ever seen and asked me if I was interested. Of course, by the time I had decided, he disappeared into the brush. It was almost dark when Themba spotted a large Bushbuck out feeding. Nick suggested we set up on him the next morning.
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More to follow…
 
Great start.

It's wonderful country and Nick and Marius are great operators.
 
Appreciate the comments. Kevin, I am sure you will see plenty of good ones. The hard part is deciding which one.
 
Day 2:
We arrived early at the hunting area to see if the big ram would show. We were out for a time and saw two other rams in the 12”-13” range but not the one from the night before. Later in the morning, Nick said we needed to look for the blue Wildebeest that we had seen the day before. Shortly after arriving in the area, we spotted a group of Blesboks with the blue following. Nick and I got out of the truck to try to catch up to them. We would stalk a little and the Blesbok would see us and run a short distance. This happened a couple of times before the blue turned to look back. He was quartering to us at just over 200 yards. Nick told me to hit him on the point of the shoulder. At the shot, the bull bucked, ran about 50 yards and was down. He was the perfect bull to take with cracked up bosses and teeth worn down to the gums. After taking pictures, we loaded the Wildebeest up and headed for the skinning shed.
While Themba worked his magic, the rest of us grabbed some lunch. I am amazed at how fast Themba could cape and break down an animal.
I had told Nick if we could find that big Nyala again, I would like to take him. So, a plan was made to go to the basin in the early afternoon to look for Nyala and then be back early evening to wait for the big Bushbuck. We headed out at 3:00 PM and on the was Nick and Themba spotted a Bushbuck ram who we studied for a couple of minutes. He looked quite nice to me, but Nick thought we could do better. As they say always listen to your PH. The basin where we looked for the Nyala had an opening a little over 100 yards wide and well over a half mile long. Many animals liked to feed there but especially Nyala. That afternoon, we saw over 10 bulls but not the one we wanted. On the way out as we went by a Kloof in the pasture and Nick spotted a Bushbuck ram on the far side. At about the same time a tractor that was chopping the pasture came over the hill on the far side of the ram, scaring him back into the kloof. Nick and I stayed, and sent the truck on in hopes he might come back out. I laid out prone and put the rifle on the bipod to wait. Nick had told me not to shoot until he could make sure the ram was what we wanted. After about 20 minutes, I saw the ram coming back out, I was able to get Nick’s attention. He did not look but a half a second and said shoot him. The shot was 156 yards broadside and looked like a good hit. Nick told me you have no idea what you just shot, and he was right. The Bushbuck had only gone 20 yards into the brush, he was a beautiful old ram with heavy horns and flaring tips that taped out at 16 3/8”.
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Had to get Boots in a picture . More to follow.
 
Super nice bushbuck ram, congrats
 
They way things are going I'm expecting a 55" kudu bull plus coming out of this hunt plus a 29" nyala.
Hey, no pressure but you set the bar that high!! :ROFLMAO:
 
Bushbuck dreams are made of, congrats! Look forward to more!
 
Hunted with Nick in 2021. Don’t know how many bushbuck he looked at and said “We can do better” and we did! I still think he had bushbuck milk in his baby bottle!
 
Hell of a bushbuck there !!
 
I will have to agree with you John, Nick is definitely a bushbuck fanatic. We also passed up numerous rams before we found this one . He is a great guy to hunt with.
 
Day 3:
We left the lodge at 5:15 AM this morning. We are going to a farm to look for a Fallow stag. It was strange for me to see all the different animals in the fields. We saw Ostrich, Blesbok, Springbuck, Impala, Nyala, and Fallow. Nick had told me finding a stag could be tough since the rut was over. We glassed a few groups of does but we did not have any luck finding stags. Nick did finally spot a good stag lying in the corner of the hay field with some does and a smaller stag. We circled into a small amount of cover to make a stalk. We had to stay quite low because there was not a lot to hide us. When I was almost in position for a shot the wind swirled and blew the deer out. We searched for a couple of hours but never saw the stag again. By this time, the temperature was around 90 degrees, so we decided to give up on the deer for the day. We went back to the lodge and rested for a while.
We then took a game drive later in the afternoon.

Day 4:
Today was all about looking for the big Nyala. We went to the basin early to set up and wait for the animals to start moving. Had a great morning seeing many animals including impala, warthog, kudu, giraffe, bushbuck and lots of Nyala including at least 20 bulls with one that was very tempting but decided to pass on him. We went back to the loge for lunch and a nap. We headed back out at 3:00 PM to look for Nyala again. On the way in, we saw quite a few bulls and numerus groups of ewes. As we came into the basin, I noticed two bulls over in the far corner and I thought one looked quite large. After checking that area, we went through a dry riverbed into another open area. Nick stopped us and said we needed to stalk back because he thought he had seen the bull we had been searching prior to today. Nick, Themba and I went back but could not find the bull. On the way out of the basin, Nick stopped us and thought we needed to walk back and get a better look at the bull I had seen in the corner. We crept back to where we could get a better look at the bull. Nick told me it was not the bull we had been looking for, but he was very good. The bulls had started walking along the thick brush so I got on the sticks and the smaller one had already gone into the brush. An Impala we had not seen saw us and spooked. The big Nyala was about to follow so I had to take the shot quick. The shot was good and dropped the bull where he stood. We walked up and shot him again to finish him off. What a beautiful animal with heavy bases, a big bell and flaring tips. I could not have been happier. It was hard to believe how wonderful this safari had gone so far with four great animals in 4 days.
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Holy Cow! Very nice trophies.
That Bushbuck is a great animal.
 

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