SOUTH AFRICA: My First African Safari, Spirals With GAME 4 AFRICA SAFARIS

Katy Darren

AH veteran
Joined
Nov 12, 2022
Messages
113
Reaction score
380
Location
Katy, TX
Media
8
Hunting reports
Africa
1
Member of
DSC, DU
Hunted
USA, South Africa Eastern Cape
Country: South Africa, Eastern Cape
Dates: 02 May 2024 – 08 May 2024
Type of Hunt: Plains Game
Method of Hunting: Rifle; a Tikka 7 mm Rem Mag with 160 gr Swift A frame custom loads with a Leupold Vari-X 5 3-15x44and a Ruger RSM 375 H&H with 260 gr Nosler Accubondcustom loads with a Leupold Vari-X 6 2-12x44; both scopes with CDS for the elevations and loads
Outfitter: @GAME 4 AFRICA SAFARIS
PH: Don Laaks (also Wik Coetzee for a couple hunts)
Locations Hunted: Eastern Cape
Species Hunted: Spirals – Bushbuck, Nyala, Kudu, Eland, other animals - Blue Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Impala, Warthog
Trophy Quality: Outstanding
Species seen, population, quality of game observed: Woodvale: Kudu, Eland, Nyala, Bushbuck, Buffalo, Waterbuck, Giraffe, Impala, Warthog. At Mountain Top: Bushbuck, Zebras, Waterbuck, Blue and Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Buffalo, Steenbok, Springbuck, Blesbok, Warthog. At KrambergMountain Property: Sable, Eland, Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Waterbuck, Roan, Impala, Zebra, Springbok. Many species and numbers, rams and bulls seem to be high quality and good numbers of old ones for nice trophies.
Lodging: Outstanding, Individual chalets with great views at Woodvale, great rustic feel and modern lodging at KrambergMountain Property.
Food: Excellent and plenty of it! Enjoyed our Eland tenderloin the last evening. Also had impala, springbok, blesbuck, warthog sausage, blue Wildebeest lasagna, Eland hamburgers…possibly missing 1 or 2, all were delicious!
Activities: Cape Town for 4 days on the front end. Did take a day during hunting to see Grahamstown and Port Alfred, the Beach.
Travel Method: Air

High Points: People, quality of trophies, beauty of the land/landscape.
Low Points: None to mention
Things to Improve: None
Overall Rating: Highly recommend. It’s my first Africa safari so I don’t have anything to compare to but start to finish was professional and first class.
Would recommend to a friend: 100%

To the trip details, apologies in advance if too verbose for some. I’m writing this both for the AH community, so many who’ve helped me prepare, as well as myself and my memories long term so I’m putting in many details –

Travel
For us, out of Houston, we fly United and it goes through Newark to Cape Town. We upgraded to Premium Economy for the trip out for only $400 per ticket, for some reason roundtrip bumped it up to over $2000 per ticket so we stuck with it only going. Thankfully, our Chief Africa Safari consultant @Houston Bill recommended plenty of layover time because missing the big flight to Africa can screw up the whole trip. We had almost 4 hours and needed it due to late arriving aircraft into Houston then technical issues that had me sweating. When I looked at next flights to Cape Town it would have cost us 3 days! We made it with only about 20 mins to spare, whew!

By the way, premium economy was nice, worth a few hundred per ticket for sure!

Once to Cape Town the guy from Rifle Permits met us and got us going then we were also met by the tour guide we were using (more on that below). They helped us through, and the great Africa service was underway!


Cape Town on the front end for 4 days.
My wife and I stayed at the One and Only hotel on V&A Waterfront. Fantastic place and service, they could store my rifles in a gun safe onsite and had a spa which was very nice. Great food, bar, restaurants, close to much to do on waterfront area…amazing place, do recommend! Pricey and I normally wouldn’t spend that much but we used Amex points and it was a bucket list trip for me turning 60 so c’est la vie!

We toured every day using Gott 2 Tour and Jamie Whitehouse was our tour guide and driver, he also picked us up at airport and dropped us off at the end; highly recommend! Great guy, very friendly and incredibly knowledgeable on all things SA, history,and Cape Town –
Day 1, Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope, and penguins on Boulder Beach
Day 2, Table Mountain
Day 3, Wine Tours in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch; we did tastings at Grande Provence, Thalema, and Rust en Vrede. Thoroughly enjoyed them all, bought some wine from each and had some from Rust en Vrede shipped home.

We really enjoyed all our time in Cape Town, from the restaurants to the shops to the tours and the hotel it was great. It also gave us time to get acclimated and ready for the hunting adventure to come!

8B8D019F-75FC-4EF5-A610-E115C992566E.jpeg

0823B32A-3492-4FBD-BB07-C0DDA8C60998.jpeg
 
On to the hunting report which is what most here want to hear!

Arrival – Don Laaks was our PH for the week and picked us up at the airport. It was clear he would be a great guy to spend a week with right away with a smile on his face and ready knowledge on the area, animals, plants, etc.

After an hour drive from Port Elizabeth, we pulled into Woodvale and the beautiful lodge. The accommodations are first class and from the moment you drive in you are struck by the beauty of the place. The lodge field you overlook is green and seldom without animals. We saw buffalo in it the first day! Impala, warthog, waterbuck, nyala, monkeys are all frequent visitors. Where have we come to? I told Wik, this is a little piece of heaven on earth. We got unpacked, enjoyed a fire, meeting Wik and Brittany and staff, and enjoyed a nice cocktail and dinner – impala which was delicious.

A84191C3-43E4-4F6D-8499-18E2FF86C2F1.jpeg
EDB42723-0217-41E6-80ED-2A987A695C74.jpeg
4DE41F4E-3753-40D4-BCDE-C6AD209B9897.jpeg
6C509233-7179-4A3D-A174-6958B772084C.jpeg
 
Hunting Day 1 – the goal for the trip was a spiral (mini) slam – I read the debate on AH on calling it a true spiral slam – and the target day 1 was to be Bushbuck because “they are often the hardest to get and can be a battle” so we went to their Mountain Top property which would be an hour drive. On the way we passed Kwandwe Game Reserve which is a huge area with all the animals including lions, leopard and even cheetah, which we saw driving by and got a decent picture of.

Our entourage for the trip was Don, two trackers – one of which was X who is a star, and my wife and I. As we got onto the property we stopped and got ready, bullets in the Tikka 7magmagazine but not chamber. Don said there’s an area we get into quickly with good cover that the bushbuck like. As we drove into an area with a good ridge overlooking a big valley, we could see it was loaded with bush. We drove in and killed the engine and Don said “let’s talk a walk” and we were off on my first stalk for African game.

We walked along a ridge and glassed over the thick bush hoping to see a bushbuck in an opening and not too long in saw what Don thought was a good ram. He called a tracker to bring the spotting scope to make sure. He said he almost called him back to say ‘never mind’ then caught a glimpse of some gray on his head which he said indicates an older one. Once he saw it through the scope, he was sure it was an older ram, I thought ‘really, so soon, not 15 minutes into my first hunt?!’. Don said, “he’s the one” and got the sticks set up, shooting across the ravine and down, my rangefinder binocs read 209 yards. The angle down on sticks which I wasn’t used to took a few moments to get a good sight picture through the scope then to find him again I was getting worried he’d move off. Don whistled to hold him there and I still wasn’t getting a good sight picture, and I knew he’d move a few seconds after the whistle. Don whistled again, I finally had a good picture and squeezed off the shot and he was down right there. He was still moving so to make sure he didn’t jump off and disappear in the bush as they can he had me put another one in his chest and he was done.

Don said “that never happens!” meaning so quickly for such a nice old ram of the elusive bushbuck. He repeated it a few more times, I’m not sure if to emphasize to me who knew no different or out loud to himself because he was so surprised, and happy, because it can be a battle and the tough one of the slam to fill.

Getting to him would be another story…it was steep and thick! The tracker went to him while we directed him over radio from high on the ridge, not that he needed it, he got right to it through stuff I never would be able to and then we drove around to a road below it. It was a steep hike getting to him for the pics but we made it, a nice old ram! Don thought likely 9 years or so by the teeth, a great trophy! Old like you like so he only has another season or two, what a first hunt in Africa!

That never happens…Don repeated at least 10 times…

Next on the list, Kudu. We spent the rest of the morning driving and glassing. Enjoying the many animals we saw as we drove around looking for the perfect Kudu. We did this most of the day, drove down the river for lunch where it was shady and cool (the weather was hotter than anticipated, forecast had said 40s to 60s but temps were getting up to the 90s) and a beautiful spot with the river running by and baboons barking from the cliffs above.

Mountain Top is wild, lots of animals – many that I listed above– and it felt like paradise to me, what country, what a spot. At the heat of the afternoon when animals wouldn’t be moving, we stopped above a watering hole and rested, had some water, and glassed around. A big, nice Kudu came walking into the water but not the one we were looking for. Late afternoon about 3:30 pm Don saw some animals moving so decided time to get rolling.

We were winding through a bottoms area and startled a nice Kudu and female that moved on quickly, at a glimpse we thought he was nice but not sure a trophy. They were on the hills moving through the bush and as we drove along further X said to stop. He and Don saw the bull in an opening and decided he was a nice old bull! Don quickly got the sticks set up and I got my rifle on them and asked him if this was our shooter, he said it was, nice thick horns, and I could seem him in an opening looking our way. Don whistled to keep him there, he was posed perfectly at 150 yards, I squeezed the 375 H&H slowly and the gun jumped and then he bolted up the hill into the thick bush so we couldn’t see him. We heard some thrashing up the hill then the sound as he fell and was sliding down. Don said “he’s down”. I said really, he’s down, are you sure, he said yep, “bones in the light”.

He was in thick stuff so not great for pics, X and Sader went to bring him down to a better spot. And we set him up, a good old bull – again 8 or 9 by his teeth – big body and nice horns. What a perfect first day of hunting in Africa, I can’t imagine how it could better - two good old animals, fun hunts, and nice trophies.

Cocktails, hors d’oeuvre, and dinner was the perfect apres hunt. Enjoying the fire, food, drink and company was such a perfect bookend to the perfect day! Don had to say it again, “that never happens”, such two good trophies on the first day, I’m sensing our theme for this trip. I hope our luck continues! To emphasize this, Wik said “tell me at the end of the week how many more bushbuck ram you see.” And sure enough, it was exactly zero!

A1C3A4E0-281D-4A48-B3A1-34280F8FE963.jpeg

FF26D02A-3670-489F-8DB6-5DF0C4970EA2.jpeg
 
Hunting Day 2 - Next on our spiral pursuit was a Nyala on Woodvale, the home lodge and property. To get to our hunting spot to start wouldn’t take long and we were on our way after our delicious breakfast full of nourishment and high hopes for another great day.

We drove out a good ways and soon were on a good high ridge to glass from so we went to the edge and had a spectacular 180 degree views. Don quickly saw a nice Waterbuck. He said “that’s a monster Waterbuck” with an implied ‘do you want to take him?’ but I was focused on the spirals and didn’t want to waiver from that so I let it go. We also saw some Kudu to our left in the distance.

Eventually X spotted a Nyala bull far to our right, so far it was hard to tell if he was a nice old bull or not. Don said again, “let’s take a walk” and we walked a good 500 yards or so on the road that wound around the hillside and eventually to a corner around which we felt would give us a better look at the Nyala. So X then Don carefully peeked around and glassed to see if he was what we were looking for or not. Don said “woof, he’s a good one!” I thought ‘already, we’ve just begun to hunt?!’ and said “so, he’s our shooter?” and Don said Yes! So, we carefully and slowly got set up on the sticks for a 229 yard shot, using the 7 mag for this one. We had to wait a while for him to position himself into an opening. We kept waiting and he disappeared from view, Don said he’ll show up to the right, and he did. He kept moving as he was feeding but not into the good position we were waiting for. The more I looked the more I could see he was a fine bull and I got nervous he would disappear into the bush at any moment. Eventually he was enough in the opening without any bush in the way and Don said fire when you’re ready, breath and squeeze. I felt the 7 had been just slightly high so felt comfortable putting it right behind the shoulder at 229 yards since it was sighted for zero at 200, a third of a way up the body. I slowly squeezed, the gun jumped in my hands, and he dropped where he stood.

A young female bushbuck amazingly came out to check him out to see what was going on. We got to him and sure enough, a fine old bull, 8 or 9 years old judging by the teeth and Don had to say “That never happens!” Such a nice bull so quick into the hunt again, he said you’re a lucky guy. I had to literally laugh out loud! I’m a day and a half into my hunt and we’re ¾ to the spiral slam already!

4DC3AF2E-A0AF-4DC2-931D-A7D41140394A.jpeg
 
Hunting Day 2 (cont) -
We drove a bit more checking out the animals but it was going to be a hot one well into the 90s so we decided to head back to the lodge and relax over the heat of the day, I was ahead of pace. So we enjoyed the pool – it was COLD – but refreshing and had a nice lunch before figuring out what to do for the evening hunt. We’d already decided we’d head to their north mountain property the next day, a 3.5 hr drive, as they have some excellent Eland there so I decided an Impala would be a good next pursuit and little did I know that a cool and fun hunt awaited us.

As we got into late afternoon, for impala we headed to the far end of the property from us so a bit of a drive, Don said there are some nice plateaus and somewhat open areas where the Impala tend to be. So as we went in the far gate to be in the right wind direction as we approached, we drove only in a ways until X suggested we stop and walk from there. We walked a good ways and were not seeing anything but X never waivered and as we came into another area he indicated with his hand they can be in the area upcoming so we moved quietly and carefully. And sure enough, soon we saw a group of females milling around and a nice ram chasing them around – they were in the rut. He kept chasing where we could see him then not so Don had me get on the sticks and ready in case he stopped in an opening. I enjoyed watching them run around through the scope. Moving this way and that but the ram had one thing on his mind. Twice when he was in the open Don whistled trying to get him to stop. Not happening, he was as focused as could be on something most males can understand : ) Then in the background I saw a big Eland and ox picker on his back. And pretty soon we saw several buffalo behind the impala, we were only about 60 yards from a herd of buffalo moving along behind them!

Don said stay ready, we may get him to stop, I said with so much behind we need to be careful…Don said not to worry, he’d make sure I had a clean shot before giving me the go signal. Pretty soon they ran off and we wouldn’t get a shot this time, was my luck running out? Don said rather than pursue on foot that would take us towards that buffalo herd which can be unsafe with cows with calves, we’d drive on up to see where they’d gone. He didn’t have to work hard to convince me.

They radioed Sader to bring up the Landcruiser and we loaded up and pulled ahead through what had been Grand Central Station of animals just a few minutes before. We didn’t go far, and we stopped because we were heading to an edge that was a high ridge overlooking a lower area ahead. He said let’s get the gun and sticks just in case. Sure enough, we came slowly to the edge looking over and that group of impala had already made their way across the valley and into a relatively open area. Don pointed out the ram and said there’s our guy, he’s a good one. He was posed perfectly under a tree at 253 yards. I slowly got the 7 onto the sticks, had a good solid setup and the crosshairs were steady and slowly squeezed and a good hit! He didn’t go far and was down, another 1 shot kill right in the boiler house.

I couldn’t believe my good fortune, was Africa always like this? I couldn’t have asked for a better 2 days of hunting and the cocktails were delicious and the dinner of springbok and chicken and all the fixins never tasted so good. Once again with the good company another perfect conclusion to a day of hunting in Africa

2DD40203-9B0C-41DF-B3C7-FA38DDA60D3F.jpeg
 
Hunting Day 3 – the pursuit of Eland would have us making the move to the northern mountain property called Kramberg Game Reserve, a 3.5 hour drive up into the mountains near AliwahNorth. They have nice Eland at Woodvale but I loved the idea of being up higher in the mountains and seeing our 3rd different property of the trip. It was a beautiful drive and the property was also beautiful and different – more open spaces and definitely more mountains and elevation changes! The camp was rustic and they’d upgraded it with modern comforts but did a nice job of preserving the old buildings and rustic feel. Another beautiful lodge with taxidermy all around.

After a good lunch, the afternoon hunt would be to see if we could find my Eland bull. We had quite an entourage heading up, Wik Coetzee, owner of Game 4 Africa, hunted with us as did his partner on this property Brett, 4 trackers including X because getting an Eland in the mountains can be a big job, Don, and my wife and I. I thought to myself, geez this is a lot of people to just help me get my Eland, I better not let the whole team down and make a good shot! Once again, I had no idea what a cool hunt was ahead of us.

Wik had asked me “are you afraid of heights” and I said not if I’m secure, haha. I mentioned it to my wife and I think I freaked her out a bit. We didn’t know what kind of roads we’d be scaling up the mountain. Wik said don’t worry, they’re fine, and we were off. My wife (a little nervous) and I and Don plus trackers sat up top and enjoyed the beautiful scenery as we drove around and started gaining altitude. I knew from previous discussions we’d get up to about 7000 ft.

We’d stop and look at animals along the way, often stopping to glass different directions…what another amazing property! To my wife’s relief the roads up were quite good – it was a maintenance road that had been put in to service the antennas at the top of the mountain. And the views were so stunning it was impossible to think of anything except the beauty.

We got fairly high up then slowed and stopped as the road wound to where you could see quite far into a valley that cut back into the mountain to our right. All of us were glassing and every once in a while someone would say there’s some Eland there or Kudu there or Zebra there. All quite far away and I’m wondering how we’d hunt as it looked like the road didn’t head in that way at all. Sure enough, soon Wik said, there’s no roads in there so I’m sending X down into the valley then up the opposite hillside upwind of that group of Eland and we’ll drive around higher and when they scent him, they should move our way. We’ll get you set up and ready. I’m looking at it thinking how in the hell do they know those animals would come that way? The word ‘Professional’ is in PH for a reason!

So we drove on up higher where we were on higher ground and there was a nice big ledge they scouted where I could lay prone and if they came the way they expected I’d have a nice shot at 150 plus/minus 50 yards. We were milling around as they talkedwith X on the radio now and then and if it was me it’d take 3 hours to cover where I imagined X had to go. But it was only 15-20 minutes when they said X was in position and the animals were beginning to move. It was time to get into position.

I laid down at the edge of a big drop-off, they had a bag for the gun, and I checked my views to make sure I could see where they expected them to come through. I’ve not shot prone so took some time to move and get my sight picture in different areas. And sure enough, soon here comes the herd of Eland below us, we were in perfect position wind and sight-wise. Don’s laying beside me and Wik kneeling behind as they study them looking for the best bull. They’re chatting back and forth and I keep asking Don, is our shooter in there? There was a trophy bull but they ultimately decided we could do better. Wik said, we’ll know later if that was the right decision or not. I was instantly fine with it; I wanted more hunt time and trusted their judgement.

We traveled on up the mountain and as we came to the top there were huge antennas and supporting buildings/infrastructure. The wind was howling up there and we looked at a cool rock formation while Wik and X trotted to check a distant ridge for any animals. They came back and we proceeded to walk towards a large rock formation facing a different direction and as he got to it Wik instantly ducked down and said there were 4 nice bulls below and sent someone back for my gun. Obviously we thought this was a cursory look and we weren’t fully prepared but the Landcruiser wasn’t far.

Wik and Don plotted the best position and there was a great spot on the big rock formation in the shade and we were downwind of them in that howling wind. So, we carefully and slowly got into position, I checked my sight picture and alignment, and it was rock solid.

Don and Wik both were glassing for the best bull and it was a quick discussion, while all good bulls the best and oldest was on the right. With Wik next to me on the rock giving me instructions and range (209 yards), Don was right there – I learned later – filming it over my shoulder. These guys work great as a team. While waiting for him to move into the optimum position broadside I adjusted as needed to maintain a good sight picture and felt very confident in how solid it was. Wik said wait for him to turn, he did, and he was quartering slightly towards us and Wik said right on the shoulder and I squeezed off the shot. I could tell it was a good hit by his reaction but quickly worked the bolt knowing this huge animal could take a lot. But there was no need, he ran only about 30 yards and was down as you’ll see in the video. X said a few things in Xhosa I of course couldn’t understand and Wik or Don translated that he is excited because it’s so close to the road! We all had a good laugh…because they’ve had some gnarly tracking and difficult positions in the mountains with this majestic animal. Yes! What a fun and cool hunt and perfect way to complete our slam!

In the mountains and elevation, we escaped the heat so the fire and evening was perfect. Cocktails never tasted better and the tray of pre-dinner appe’s went down great. The conversation was pleasant as the sky darkened and the stars came out and we sent out pictures around the world to friends and family. What a perfect day and evening. The 4 spirals we were after completed in just 3 days. The plan for hunting the next day was a Red Hartebeest and a Blue Wildebeest. Little did I know that from a pure hunting perspective, we still had the best stalks and hunts ahead of us!

Pics below and at Game 4 Africa Facebook page as well as instagram…plus a good video!

AE92E72B-17F7-4783-8FE7-CF719AB8C181.jpeg

8A9925D1-0F4A-430B-8293-8C7B234574ED.jpeg

24B91D10-D055-46B8-88D4-9730FE4C4553.jpeg

2CE7389C-F6B3-47D2-8FC3-AB748C15D225.jpeg
 
Last edited:
Hunting Day 4 – Only day 4, I was quite happy to know I still had 4 days of hunting left despite already creating so many great memories.

Every day in the evenings we documented the animals we saw – for today it was Red Hartebeest, Kudu, Mountain Reedbuck, Waterbuck, Sable, Springbok, Blue Wildebeest, Roan, Zebra, Impala, Eland, Black Eagles, Secretary Bird…just another day in paradise!

Don asked what would I like to go after first and I said maybe Red Hartebeest if it presented. So once again, Don, Wik, Brett, my wife, trackers and I set out to see if we could get a shot on a nice bull. Being we were hunting mostly on more open plains areas it would take a plan. We drove around a good bit, glassing and looking and finally spotted a herd in the distance. Don and Wik decided the plan would be for Don, X, and us to hike over into a position we thought they would move through while Wik and Brett took the Landcruiser around to gently get them moving our way. So after a decent hike staying out of sight of them and of course downwind, we were in position in a low area looking up on the side of a hill for a 150 plus/minus 50 yard shot.

After 10-15 minutes we could see them moving our way, with Eland leading the way. Sure enough they came through about 200 yards and Don was glassing trying to find the best bull. He whistled to get them to stop a couple times but they cruised right on through. Don said Eland were the problem, they’ll keep moving and the Red Hartebeest will go right along with them. Another element I enjoyed about Don was he was constantly sharing tidbits on the animals and behaviors and experiences he’s seen.

Well, time for another walk. This time we’d hike up around the ridge on the hill, careful to stay out of sight of the herd, and see where they went. After we got up to the ridge it was disheartening to see they’d moved way beyond another ridge and well into the distance. But Don and X said let’s keep going so we carefully walked the side of the hill over the next ridge, they knew they’d eventually settle if we were careful, and the wind was still favorable. I was enjoying the stalk and didn’t mind working for it at all…I actually felt a couple of my hunts had been relatively easy – they said we’d been very lucky - and this was more what I was expecting.

We crept very carefully on a hillside into position well above them while they were mulling around down below. I got set up on sticks and we looked to see if we could find a nice bull. We looked and looked and could not find a good bull, he had to be there! After about 15 mins of this they were getting comfortable and laying down, Don spoke with Wik on the radio and they would drive a road to get them moving. Soon they were starting to move and yes, a nice bull showed himself. Don pointed him out and said when I could get a good shot to take it. He was about 150 yards, it was steeply downhill on the sticks and I felt more movement than I was comfortable with so took my time. A few breaths, finally felt I had the shot, and squeezed while concentrating on the crosshairs to minimize movement on the target. I brought the 375 for this hunt and at the shot could see a bug puff of dust from the ground behind it. Don looked, said something to X, and said the animal disappeared from view and he didn’t see much reaction so thought I shot high and missed it! I was surprised but also knew I hadn’t been as steady on that one as my other shots, but really, missed??

He got on the radio and from where Wik and Brett were they could see the bull and he was in fact down. As we got to him we could see another perfect hit into the boiler room. That 375 at 150 yards had so much energy it screamed right through him, hence the big dust cloud behind. Another very nice, old, ground down teeth bull!

After a nice lunch and bit of a rest we headed back out around 2:30 because it was getting dark around 5:30 so wanted enough time for the hunt. We are after the classical Africa animal, Blue Wildebeest.

We drove out a ways and sighted a group on a fairly open field off in the distance. The plan would be to drive us around downwind to them and there was a nice ravine we could hike along to hopefully get into a position for a shot. So once again, let’s go for a walk. After a long walk the bushes and trees separating us were diminishing so we very carefully stalked in single file, X, then Don, then me (wife sat this one out). We got into position behind a big bush but there were Roan between us and the Blue Wildebeest that kept busting us, snorting and making noise but not leaving. The Blue Wildebeest that had been laying down got up and moved about 100 yards further along, I didn’t know this at the time. Don and X had crawled around the bush and were watching while I was down on a knee not moving. Then Don and I crawled around the bush staying very low to keep tree branches between us and the game and I finally stood and got set up on sticks.

Don gave me the distance, 250 yards. I was surprised because I hadn’t seen them move off. I knew the Blue Wildebeest could be very tough so I was going to make sure I had a good steady shot before shooting. I dialed the CDS on the Leupold so all I had to do was aim at my spot just behind the shoulder. It was so far and some bush and trees between us I had to wait for about 10 minutes to get my shot, 3 times I was slowly increasing the pressure when he’d move and I’d have to reset. Finally, I got the shot, it looked like a good hit and sure enough he didn’t go far and was down. Later we saw I’d hit the heart. Another great, old animal just like you want!

Another great evening around the fire enjoying the perfect weather, food, drinks, and company knowing tomorrow morning we’d head back to Woodvale and only a warthog and perhaps a few cull animals to fill out our hunt.

12597BE8-8884-4087-83E4-6EFDE4A71882.jpeg

6C73F911-0EC0-47AF-9F95-B3758ED9FF11.jpeg
 
Hunting Day 5 - We decided since I was well ahead of pace we’d take a day to Grahamstown and visit Lauritson Taxidermy, the Coetzee’s butchery, Brittany’s business, and see the sites. If time – which we did have – also to Port Alfred to see the beach and marina. We did all that and had a great day, enjoying lunch in the marina and a few beers. Very relaxing, change of pace,that I know my non-hunting wife was ready for!

Hunting Day 6 and 7 – The plan was a warthog and then a couple cull animals but mostly enjoying driving around the property soaking up the last hours of what has been such an enjoyable experience. We found a nice warthog that I put right down in his tracks, nice tusks and good old warthog. I did think briefly about a Cape Buffalo cow hunt, but I really wasn’t prepared for that mentally and I intended to use 300 gr Swift A frames in my 375 for the next trip when I hope to take a buffalo and was set up with the 260 gr Nosler Accubonds for this trip and the longer-range PG shots. It seemed a good price and we’d seen many buffalo, but I decided I’d leave that adventure for a future trip.

And I took a cull Impala and warthog – they have so many keeping their numbers down is important. Regrettably I had my only ‘miss’ on a cull warthog at almost 300 yards using the CDS. She dropped right down but then jumped up and ran off and Don could see she had blood on her shoulder, so I was a bit high as I’d been feeling the 7 mag was shooting. At lunch we took it to the range and sure enough it needed a couple clicks down. And at that distance an inch and any slight movement can result in what happened. We tracked it and saw some blood, but she was moving fast when we saw her and they expected she went to her den. The other thing that stopped us was very fresh buffalo dung in an area they knew they were now and then.

After lunch and adjusting the 7 mag we took another warthog at 200 yards and he dropped right down. I was a bit bummed about a wounded animal and ruining my otherwise perfect shooting but that is hunting.

For dinner we enjoyed the tenderloin from the Eland we took, it was delicious! The next morning was finishing packing and hitting the road back to Houston, it’d be a long travel day of almost 36 hours end to end – drive to Port Elizabeth, flight to Cape Town, 2+ hour layover, flight to Newark, 3+ hour layover, flight to Houston. It was a travel slog, but all went well, and we made it home again, and it’s always good to be home!

It was an amazing adventure, I could not recommend Game 4 Africa any higher, and I cannot think of anything to improve. It was indeed everything I hoped for and more and I understand how Africa gets into your blood and I very much look forward to returning!

Thanks to Wik and Brittany, Don and the amazing staff for a wonderful time! Don is a pro and fun to be around, we thoroughly enjoyed spending the week with him. “That never happens”

Until we meet again!

84E450C8-D227-4987-A80E-60785E7A10C3.jpeg

C9E94FD3-CC4A-4E2E-BB9D-B720725F4B03.jpeg
 
Wow, what a 1st trip to Africa! I am sure there are now many more safaris in your future!
 
Excellent report! You did quite well with your shooting too, since most of your shots were 200+ yards. The @GAME 4 AFRICA SAFARIS crew does it again with another great hunt.
 
Don really is a pleasure to hunt with and even better to share a campfire with-and NO bushbuck are never that easy! My first trip we never even saw a ram. . . But my second was a different story. Don may well be the “nyala whisperer.” Wik one of the sharpest hunters I’ve ever met.
It really is great to hunt in a place loaded with game animals and to have options of other locations. Glad you had such a good trip, thanks for lots of details and pix!
 
Last edited:
Great report, fantastic trophies, and excellent shooting. Well done!
 
Comprehensive write-up on a very successful first safari. I bet after the first few hours, you were already planning another trip. Thanks for sharing.
 
Don really is a pleasure to hunt with and even better to share a campfire with-and NO bushbuck are never that easy! My first trip we never even saw a ram. . . But my second was a different story. Don may well be the “nyala whisperer.” Wik one of the sharpest hunters I’ve ever met.
It really is great to hunt in a place loaded with game animals and to have options of other locations. Glad you had such a good trip, thanks for lots of details and pix!
You clearly know of what you speak, a great place topped only by the people!
 
Comprehensive write-up on a very successful first safari. I bet after the first few hours, you were already planning another trip. Thanks for sharing.
I now understand the addiction of so many here! I feel like I’m spoiled by that first Safari but should double check to make sure.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
54,610
Messages
1,159,040
Members
94,499
Latest member
ArleneWhee
 

 

 

Latest profile posts

ghay wrote on gearguywb's profile.
Is this rifle sold? If not what is the weight of it and do you know if there is enough difference in diameter between the 35W and the 9.3 to allow for a rebore to a 9.3x62 which is what I am after?
Thanks,
Gary (Just down the road in Springfield)
Woods wrote on Hunter-Habib's profile.
Forgive me if this is the incorrect area, I signed up to this forum just now because I wanted to be on the list to purchase a copy of your autobiography. Please feel free to pass my information along to whomever is selling. Thank you so much. I look forward to it!
I like the Tillie in my picture. They are supposed to fit loose (2 fingers inside hat band), have mesh for cooling, and hold their shape after washing.
SSG Joe wrote on piratensafaris's profile.
From one newbie to another, Welcome aboard!
BLAAUWKRANTZ safaris wrote on Greylin's profile.
We have just completed a group hunt with guys from North Carolina, please feel free to contact the organizers of the group, Auburn at auburn@opextechnologies.com or Courtney at courtney@opextechnologies.com Please visit our website www.blaauwkrantz.com and email me at zanidixie@gmail.com
Zani
 
Top