SOUTH AFRICA: My First Africa Hunting Trip With Lianga Safaris

We were on those tracks for about an hour, which turned into two then three. As I said, this parcel of land was pretty big and by this point I was getting hot. The temperature had decided it wanted to climb and, since I had not done as much prep work exercising as I should have, I was beginning to flag a bit. This all changed when Herman suddenly took a knee and grabbed his binoculars, scanning the forest in front of us. I pulled up my rifle and did the same, being rewarded with a beautiful side on picture of a massive Eland. This one turned out to be a female, but the old man was there with them! I quickly got onto the sticks, still on my knees and then...the bloody wind shifted! Their heads all snapped towards us as if I'd sounded an air horn and they took off. Not wanting to track for another 3 hours, if we could even find them I let loose with a very hasty shot and we all heard the "whack" of impact as they streamed away. Herman and I got up, dusted off and went to see if I'd gotten lucky and landed one in the bowler room or if I'd made a hash of it and landed one in the bowels. As the truck that the land owner was in pulled up (they had heard the impact as well) I was holding my newly acquired trophy...a giant branch that the bullet had blown off the side of a tree between myself and the bull. Ah well, I didn't get a picture but that's ok because I wasn't sure what the going rate for a full body branch mount was anyway!
We decided to call the hunt off for a lunch, heading back to the farm owners house for a bite and a snooze. Figuring that tracking the Eland after my less than stellar performance would be a massive pain I pulled up a nice patch of sun warmed grass and dozed off. About two hours later we were back out after them again and this time I promised myself I wasn't going to get "buck fever". Once more we located the track and started off, accumulating another 3 hours of tracking before the next shot. I assure you, ladies and gentleman, that the world has a sense of humor. Having proved that I couldn't hit the Eland when he was in the (relatively) clear area of the forest our next encounter was in a bunch of crud so thick that I had to glass it for several minutes before I could even see the side of the old bull. This caused Herman a fair amount of consternation as he could see it very clearly and was sure it was going to bolt any minute, whereas I couldn't see it at all and was just as sure he wanted me to add another branch to my collection! Finally, however, I saw a tail twitch and that let me get my bearings. Sure enough, about 40 yards away the bull was grazing completely unaware of our presence. I lined up the shot for a second time, and just as my finger tightened on the trigger he moved! Again we heard the "thwack" and again I was certain I'd gotten another branch but Herman was all smiles saying he had seen the bull stagger and was sure I'd planted a shot into him. Herman, myself and his tracker (a gentleman named Elvis who spoke just as much English as I did Afrikaans and who could out-track me any day of the week) moved up and sure enough, there was the crimson streak showing I had managed a hit. We were later to learn that I'd shot higher than I should have and instead of knocking out a lung I had shattered his front leg, but at that time I had no idea and felt certain he could not have gone far. How naive I was! We covered another four miles (later confirmed by Hermans GPS unit) before we made contact again. During this time I was told that when we saw him I needed to put more lead in and that he would probably be heading away so I needed to do my best to make it quick and decisive. Seeing the wisdom of this I'd kept my rifle off of my shoulder and when I saw him again I was ready. This time he fell at my shot, I'd taken out the rear leg on the same side. It was as if I was fresh off the truck that morning, all fatigue vanished as we sprinted up to him to make sure he wouldn't rise again. Another 2 shots, both into the heart, and the old warrior finally stretched full length into the sand. Folks, I was in awe. I know that others would have put that bull down with one shot, not the 4 I ended up needing, but the ability of that Eland to absorb the 270 grain bullets out of my .375 really humbled me.

Awesome Brush on that bugger. Congrats!
Very nice! Heck of a mop on the old boy (y)
Thank you! Yes my guide, the land owner and his PH all told me that the hair was a big part of the trophy and they all thought it was grand. I guess I finally understood when the land owner asked for a picture with the bull, he didn't strike me as the type to fool around with photos unless they were worth it! As I said earlier, I was absolutely abysmal at identifying what a good or bad trophy was at this point in the hunt (Herman stopped me from shooting a few sub-par animals. I wouldn't have had a clue, so I was very lucky to get a guide who cared!) but I figured it all out...about a day before I left!
The civet is really cool. Those things have got some wicked teeth! Nice eland too, that's a shock of hair he's got.
That is one awesome eland bull. Dream bull for sure.
So, with that Eland in the salt we called it a day, and after all the hiking, crawling, climbing, crouching and shuffling I was ready for the bed. The next day I got a bit of a respite because my wife went out hunting while I stayed in for a bit. I'm trying to bug her enough to get her to post her own hunting report, we will see how it goes. Something tells me you don't want an account of my naps though (marvelous by the way, ha!) so we will fast forward to a nice bit of Gemsbok hunting. I was assured that the property had some of the biggest, best and hardest hunting Gemsbok available and let me tell you they lived up to that! We hunted high and low, back and forth through fields and thicket and, though we scared up some nice Waterbuck I didn't see so much as a tail swish or pointed horn of a Gemsbok. Not one! Herman said they must all have hidden in Warthog holes, and given the number of Warthogs I saw running around topside I believe it! Finally we decide to try for some Impala that we had seen way off in the distance, and even they just would not cooperate. We we get right up to them, line up for the shot and those radar dishes on their head would point towards us, one would jump and the whole heard would amscray. I didn't mind too much though, I was hunting in Africa, what did I have to complain about? Finally, as the light began to fade I lined up a shot on a female (matching set for the ram I had taken earlier) and pulled the trigger. Unfortunately I had woefully misjudged the size of her, and instead of the matched set I ended up with an obliterated yearling. I felt sick, that wasn't what I was going for at all, but it's what I ended up with and at the very least it was a clean shot and it went down right where it had stood, no suffering.
The next day my wife and I loaded up, she wanted another shot at some baboons and I wanted to redeem myself from the previous days fiascos. We took off for another piece of of land far up into the mountains where Herman had located a nice heard of Zebra for me to stalk. Sadly Madeline didn't get her Baboon and I didn't land a Zebra. We stalked back and forth, up and down and even though I saw plenty of zebra spore, and heard them laughing among themselves in the brush I just couldn't get into a clearing. Around noon we decided to switch to another location for more chances of Baboon, but again they eluded us. However, there was an unexpected success to report! As we were trucking along the tracker, Elvis started pointing to a tree off to our left and as I brought up my rifle to see what the fuss was about (again, I don't speak Afrikaans and he didn't speak a ton of English) I settled the sights on a monkey shooting down the trunk. Well, if I was going to take the shot it had to be now so I moved the cross-hairs to just in front of him and squeezed off a shot.
My wife was going to try for a Bush Pig that night, so we decided to call it an early evening and head back to camp so that her and Herman would have time to set up in the blind. Sadly a leopard made an appearance at their blind (I only say "sadly" because of course we didn't have a leopard tag!) and so no Bushpigs came in at all. How Herman manages to hunt all day, stay out at a blind till the wee hours of the morning and then hunt all the next day as well I have no idea, but he pulled it off! In the morning we were after a very special prize: Zebra. Those of you who have read my prior posting history know that one fo the biggest reason I wanted to go to Africa was to honor my Grandfathers memory. He and I had talked about going many times when I was younger and I grew up with his Zebra hide rug hanging at the local sporting goods store (in a small town like ours it really stuck out among the white tail and turkey mounts that made up the rest of the stores taxidermied animals). Sadly he passed away well before I was old enough to go, but I always knew that I would make the trip, and that on the trip I'd do my darnedest to get a Zebra hide of my own. Well, today was the day!
We headed over to a farm that was, in all honesty, mostly thick crud. I'm not joking when I say that you could only walk on the trails that the animals had cleared or on the road that wound through the front gates, anything else was just sticks, cactus and thick bushes. I loved it! Early on we could hear a group of Zebra farther up (say what you will, they are not a quiet) but before we ever saw them the wind shifted and they were gone in a thunder of hooves and cloud of dust. It turns out that while mere humans were better off sticking to the trails, the other animals could move through the crud with impunity. This would be fun. About an hour later we catch sight of one of Africa's "odd pairs", in this case a Zebra and a Giraffe. Herman said the Zebra looked good so we decided to try a stalk. Unfortunately the Giraffe was on us from the get-go, and every time we got close it would somehow let the Zebra know and poof, he was gone. Well, that figures but at least it was a two way street, while the Giraffe could see us, we could see him and where he was we knew the Zebra would be close. Stalking of this nature was very interesting, moving from one clump to the next every time the Giraffe looked away, freezing when he glanced back. It was rather like a grown up version of Red Light Green Light! Finally we got close enough to take the shot as soon as the Zebra showed himself. Unfortunately he had played us just as we had been trying to play him, the Giraffe was still there but the Zebra had melted away. Well....rats. But, again, this is Africa, you roll with the punches. The trackers picked up his trail (no easy task as by now we were in a very rocky area) and I decided to carry my rifle at port-arms, just in case. We were hiking along, I was a bit ahead (the trackers having gone another way to examine something or other) when suddenly, in a flash of white and black there he was, in the road! The rifle came up, the crosshairs settled on the forward part of his shoulder as he was facing me (and let me tell you, the surprise on his face was just as evident to me as I'm sure mine was evident to him!) and I squeezed off a round. Blammo! He took off but only made it a few yards before piling up next to a thick bush. I had my Zebra, and I was extremely happy with the beat up old warrior. As you can see, he was not the finest specimen, he had gotten into some real tussles and the old coat was scabbed over in a few places but character makes the mount and I wouldn't have traded him for anything!
After the Zebra was down it was time to go for the last animal on my list, a big ole Warthog. The next day we headed to another ranch that Herman knew about and thought we could make contact with a good hog or two. Driving around I soon learned that Warthog were sprinters and that the ones on this farm did not tend to either stick around or look back. That was alright though, the view was great and Herman had talked to the land owner that morning about allowing my wife and I to cull some Impala. The price for using the land? We needed to try our best to take out the one horned "assassin" Impala ram that was on the land because it was injuring the other males since they couldn't lock horns with it. Also we had to have a Whiskey with the owner after the hunt. Both of those seemed like terms I could live with so away we went.

As I said earlier, I want my wife to write her hunting report so I won't go into too much detail about the hunt other than to say we both had a great time and I was able to get ole one horn around midday.

Unfortunately I wasn't having any luck locking onto a Warthog, all of who'm appeared to be directly descended from Houdini because they could disappear in the blink of an eye. However, two new possibilities were about to present themselves. The land owner had told Herman about a Nyala and a group of Kudu on the land, and I was given the opportunity to go after one or the other. Of course I chose Kudu! There were four males in the group and having made contact with them and glassing them over we picked out the biggest old fellow to stalk. We set off on foot and they melted into the brush. We tracked them through the gunk, they moved to the fields. We lined up on the fields, they disappeared into the trees. It was fun, but it was getting us no closer to a trophy! Finally we got around in front of them, setting up across one of the roads that bisected the ranch. Sitting on the ground, waiting for them to cross the road time seemed to slip by on leaden wings. Finally one of the younger bulls ventured out across the road. I brought my rifle up, resting it on Hermans shoulder. The next one came across the road, slightly slower, I lowered my head to the scope. The third one trotted out into the middle of the road and stood looking around for a moment, I quietly eased the safety off. The fourth one, the large Bull we were after...did not step into the road. We waited, tense, ready to align and fire at the first chance, but alas he had outfoxed us! I guess they don't grow that big by taking risks. After waiting for a while it became evident that somehow, some way we were busted. Getting up we returned to the truck and headed back towards the house. On the way I happened to glance over and, of course, there were all 4 bulls, the largest looking at us. I couldn't help but laugh and tip my hat to him, no idea how he got onto the road in front of us but he pulled it off and I owned myself beaten.

As we stepped off the truck at the ranch house the owners partner came out to let us know she had seen the Nyala bull come past the house earlier in the day. Well...sure, why not give it a go? It only had a two hour head start! We didn't think the truck would be of much use since it would give us away so Herman and Elvis found the trail, I came up behind and we set off. We tracked through some dense brush and I was certain that we were on a wild goose chase but, again, it's Africa and if I have to chase geese anywhere here is best! Suddenly Herman took a knee and pulled up his binos. I knew what this meant and did the same with my rifle, not sure what I was looking for but looking none the less. I saw one of the females first, her head up, looking in our general direction. From there I located the bull and kneel-shuffled up to Herman, resting my rifle across the shooting sticks he had set up about a foot and a half high. Locating the bull again, I noted that he had now raised his head as well, probing the area we were for any signs of danger. The bullet slammed into him perfectly, taking out both lungs and the nicking his heart. He was down and I was ecstatic!
The daylight was fading and I couldn't think of a better end to my African adventure. We retired back to the cabin for the Whiskey that we had promised. As we sat on the porch, looking out over the land and watching the sun begin it's fiery decent into the horizon what should appear at the edge of the forest guessed it...a very nice warthog! I couldn't believe it, and judging from the faces of all my companions none of them could either. Herman slapped my shoulder and held up a finger to indicate silence and we both took off towards the truck for the rifle and the sticks. The odds were not great, the wind could shift, the hog could sense us or any of our companions, but blast it all I wasn't going to get another chance and if I didn't at least try I knew I'd regret it. Coming around the other side of the lodge we saw that the hog and two of his companions were happily rooting along the tree line. Carefully we set the sticks up, lowered the rifle onto them and, barley daring to breath, lined up on his shoulder and pulled the trigger. He hit the ground, the other two Warthogs kicking up a cloud of dust as they bolted. When it cleared there he was, my Warthog, he hadn't even twitched.
those are some great animals you took that warthog is a giant.
And that, my friends, concludes my first African hunt. Now for some housekeeping. I know I didn't mention it much but let me assure you the lodging was great and the food was superb (though if you ever hunt with them you have to ask about African Style ice cream!). We have already booked for a hunt in 2019, and it turns out that all of you were right. Once you get that red dirt on your boots you will never be the same, it changes you, and in all your dreams you will have the red tinge of the African sun, hear the wind sighing through the brush and listen to the myriad animal sounds and you know that, of course, you will be back again, and again.
Wow, you got some fantastic trophies, that warthog is a monster!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm jealous!!!!!!!!!!!
Congrats on all those trophies!
Wow nice eland!
And a great warthog also! Congrats
Thank you! We had tried Warthog on and off for most of the trip but one thing or another always got in the way. This was literally my last shot of the trip and I couldn't have been happier. The old warrior went gracefully, never knew what hit him. Sadly that particular property had been hit hard by poachers that very week so I'm glad I was able to take him this way as opposed to them getting him with dogs, spears or snares.

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