SOUTH AFRICA: My First Safari Hunting The Mountains Of The Eastern Cape With KMG Hunting Safaris

Very nice report so far. Congrats the Blesbuck and I can’t wait for the rest of the story.

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Day 4

Day 4 started out with a journey to a third concession. This concession was amazing with its variation in terrain. It featured mountains, valleys, streams and more hills that lead up to a section of high plains with more rocky plateaus. Of all the concessions, this one was my favorite. The hunting is superb, the area is truly massive and the high plains area reminded me greatly of Wyoming.


To start off, we past onto the property and rolled up a small hill, on the backside it declined steeply into a valley which was sandwiched on both sides by small mountains. There was a large pond and stream that led through this valley, along with a road that would allow access further into the property. Marius wanted to gain some elevation so he proceeded up the cliff side with the spotting scope to get a better look at potential Kudu hiding places. I remained behind with Loyd to glass the far side of the hill to our right. After some time had passed, Marius called Loyd on the radio for me to continue further down the road where we met up. Marius had seen a big warthog which is pictured below.


We decided to creep in, accompanied with good wind, to try to get a shot opportunity on this big pig. We crept into some nasty brush but ultimately we did not see anything. Aside from this, it was a very quiet morning in Kudu country. We continued glassing for some time as we proceeded to walk down the road, scanning the thick brush on each side of the valley.

Black Wildebeest

We decided from here to press on up to the high plains. The drive was up a steep rocky road that cut the mountain side.When we had gained some significant elevation, we got out of the truck and proceeded on foot. The road was such that to the left was some small hills and to the right was multiple steep drops, broken up by big sections of flat grassland and another stream at the bottom.

We carried on further observing Bontebok (beautiful coats), Mountain Reedbuck and Impala. Once we were far in we herd a bit of thundering as a black wildebeest herd ran out from our left, down on to one of the grassy plains. They stopped to get a good look at us before they ran up the far side of the hill, continuing on out of sight. Just in front of us was a patch of trees and from where we were, Loyd proceeded slowly and picked us up. We drove into the patch and after a few minutes, dismounted from the truck and continued on our stalk. Marius had stated that on previous trip to this concession, that a few lone BW bulls like to hang out on this side of the property. On the far side of the tree patch is where we slowly stalked up to. About 300 yards out from the end of the tree line was a very slight hill and at the base off it was an old dam wall. Surrounding this wall was the BW herd from before and right off to their left was a sizeable bull. I set up for a shot, but the wind wasn't too great. They were not aware of our presence but seemed a bit wary and started to gently move off and down the hill towards where the stream begans. We backed out from the trees and met Loyd further up the road.


Back at the truck we decided to switch gears a bit by moving on foot to the left and forward in a wide arch. This would give us a much better position on the BW herd and also a better view of what lay on the other side of the stream. So we proceeded on through high grass and into the trees in that arch. We came to the point where we crossed the road again and once on the far side we heard a loud crash. Gemsbok tearing out across the road at full speed. There was a group of about 10 of them and a few towards the back stopped for a moment to get a look at the commotion we had caused. I was on the shooting sticks within seconds, but Marius told me to hold, the one Gemsbok that was in the crosshairs was a younger male. So we took off at a near sprint to head off the group, running parallel to them. We would stop, set up the sticks and allow them to come into view. We repeated this process atleast 3 times, each time not having a shot. Finally, they ran off down the hill, up the other side and were gone.

Frustrated we decided to set up back on the old dam wall as it gave us the perfect cover. We did observe some more Gemsbok and a BW bull off in front of us about 700 yards away. The bull and Gemsbok were both proceeding towards us but at a slow pace. A bit closer was a herd of rowdy Bontebok that were running continously in circles, fighting and hitting each other. We sat in the prone as the bull and Gemsbok continued closer. At about 300 yards the bull stopped directly in front of us. He kept looking back towards the Bontebok in between dropping his head to graze. The Gemsbok group, numbered 7-8, decided to turn directly towards us. They kept walking as I laid there looking out through my scope. Closer and closer and closer. I wasnt panicking but did begin to wonder if they were going to step on top of us. During this time, Marius and I were coordinating on which animal to target in the group. He located a really old female with alot of secondary growth on her horns. She was #4 in this train of Gemsbok. At 50 yards they turned towards our left and walked directly in front of us for a broadside shot. I counted 1, 2, 3 and then there was #4. I took the shot and hit her in the heart. She ran about 10 yards before toppling over.


Black Wildebeest
With the Gemsbok loaded up in the truck, we pressed on to another side of the property. This road led down into an area that is not easily accessible. I am amazed at the structural integrity and toughness of the Toyota Landcruiser. This "road" was basically a barely recognizable path strewn with boulders and sheer drops. Coming to a point where the road inclined up, dividing two sides of a rocky cliff face, we dismounted and crept up to the top, giving us a great vantage point. In the plains that lay below were a big BW herd, a big Bontebok herd and various groups of Springbok. On the outskirts of the BW herd was a lone bull trying to push his way in, but he was constantly chased off by the herd's bigger bull. We sat there for awhile watching them fight harshly. The herd was getting whipped up from all the combat and was running in circles as they moved left to right. This gave us an opportunity to creep down off the other side of the rocks and move through the grass to get closer. We went from a crouched walk, to scooting across the ground to the dreaded bear crawl. I bear crawled one handed (due to the rifle) for what felt like 10 miles. By the time we got close, the herd had pushed way to the right, but the lone bull had moved back to the left in front of us at about 350 yards. We continued at a frenzied pace, crawling like beasts until we came to a good high grass sitting position, like with the Blesbok. I will admit that I was a bit shaky from the necessary grueling pace which we had just moved at. I set up and the bull looked back at us. He caught sight or scent and moved to the left at a brisk pace before stopping suddenly broadside. I took the shot as I felt confident I could get it done at 285 yards. He ran to the right before dropping out of sight. We called forth Loyd on the radio and set forth the hounds who then found the bull where we had last caught sight of him.




This wrapped up a great day of hunting in a very beautiful landscape. An outstanding day of hunting and a well deserved meal back at the lodge
That concession is also one of my favorites. Give Gypsy, Flexy, and rigby a scratch on the ears from me. Nice BW.
Great Report, I'm waiting for your next posting.
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Great report thus far. I am still awaiting my first African Safari, and KMG is is on my list of possibilities. Thanks for sharing!
Honestly, I am happy that I picked KMG and that I hunted in the EC. Granted this is only my first safari, I appreciated the challenge of the terrain vs hunting somewhere that is more flat. In my very biased opinion, I think you should reach out to Marius and see if he can provide what you are looking for. The man has a tremendous amount of integrity and will tell you right out if its possible or not.
That concession is also one of my favorites. Give Gypsy, Flexy, and rigby a scratch on the ears from me. Nice BW.
It truly is amazing. I could have spent a month there. It was refreshing to be in a place with natural beauty. Hard to believe our ancestors ever left Europe to come to places like Texas. I love Texas but my part leaves much to be desired.

Here is the rock face where we spotted the BW herd. They are not visible as the valley dips down a bit out of sight.

Day 5 - Zebra Day

Day 5 began with a drive to the 2nd concession from Day 3. The main target was my number 1 animal, Burchell's Zebra. I am sure most of you remember my description of this description from the my other post, hilly and high grass. We drove around a bit to some vantage points to try to locate any herds. We ended up spotting a sizeable one on a hill top. We drove in a wide arc down and to the herd's right out of sight and a fair distance away. We then began the slog up the hill.


Up until this day, the weather had been pretty nice. Not too much wind and temps in the 80s with plenty of sun. This day however, the wind was howling. It allowed us to move up this hill without much consideration for noise but also meant we had to line up the wind well enough to allow for a decent shot. So we continued winding up the hill, navigating through the brush. We ended up seeing a smaller fallow buck and quite a few Waterbuck females. We eventually broke through the brush, directly below the herd at about 400 yards. We picked out a pretty good tree that we made our way to in a low crouched walk. Making it to there, we were about 325 yards. It made no difference however as the herd got spooked by something and took of running. We never saw them again but regrouped with the truck and pressed on. Loyd came down that hill to meet where we were at the tree and notified us that he saw two other smaller herds on a distant hillside in between two thick patches of scrub forest. We went back up the hill in the truck and upon getting to the apex, we climbed off and proceeded down the other side which had plenty of patches of Acacia for us to hide and glass.

The herd we focused on was nestled in the middle of a high grass hillside, grazing in the morning sunlight. We decided to put in a stalk and began our way down the hillside. This was a bit tricky because as you descend, the patches of trees on our hillside would obstruct our view completely. So each time we stopped, the herd would be in a different part of the hillside, in a zig zag walking pattern and down towards the bottom. We mirrored this motion as we kept losing view of where they were. We finally stopped for awhile to glass as we saw that they had moved through the bottom of one of the scrub brushes and back a 1/4 of the way up the hillside to our right. We got the shooting sticks up and I was on the herd but they gave me about 2 seconds before they decided to head back towards the scrub brush. They ran across the original hillside and into the second scrub forest, through there on to a hillside that ran parallel to our position. We took off at a ran to catch up with them but they proceeded on before coming to rest in the middle of this hillside. We had Loyd bring the truck down to the road that joined that hillside at the bottom on the far right. Staying out of sight of the herd who were facing to their right heavily, we crept down the grassy road until we came to the shade of a large tree. We got down in the prone and Marius ranged the herd at 250 yards. He saw some exceptional animals in this herd but focused in on one that had a perfect coat with an almost copper back. I sighted in on this particular Zebra and waited. It only took a moment for the mare to clear the rest of the herd and I took the shot. I heard the iconic thump of the suppressed round and watched as she ran 30-40 yards before piling up. Marius once again took a walk up with the hounds to get Gypsy some practice in while we followed the road up to the spot.
The blue arrow is the mare, the orange arrow is where she stood when I took the shot.

The red is our shooting position from the point of where she was shot. The hill face behind this position is where the first herd we saw ran off to the left.



We journeyed back to the lodge and decided to break out and look for kudu on the property near there. We spent a good amount of time glassing from the side of a road that was cut into the side of a mountain. From this point we decided to go on a walk about and proceeded on the to glass. It ended up being a nice walk with incredible views. We did not see any kudu but did have a relatively close encounter and shot opportunity on a warthog the next hill over but he was too small and needed a bit more time to mature. It was still amazing to watch though as they were completely unaware to our presence.


That night back at the lodge, the chef prepared a tenderloin from my Zebra. It was understandable tough due to being shot only a few hours prior, but it was quite tasty with salt and pepper, accompanied with some brown gravy

Nice Zebra, I hope you had some Zebra steak on your safari, they are awesome.
Keep it coming. Marius always has a plan. Very good report.
Day 6

Day 6 was spent hunting kudu all over properties that near the lodge. We climbed up and down mountains, glassing. We found many kudu but no mature bulls. Coming back after a long day we had a chance encounter with a Genet but we couldn't get him to come out from the high grass again. A very long day but I did take some pictures.



Day 7 & 8

Day 7 & 8 were non-hunting days due to excessive rain. We did head to East London on Day 8 to eat at the Windmill Roadhouse and also Friesland for milkshakes. The food was really good at both places. I spent these days taking notes and sleeping.


Day 8
Coming out of two rain days, we headed out to the 3rd concession again. The mission was to start out the morning going after Kudu. It was a colder morning so we expected to see Kudu sunning themselves on the hillsides. Marius came up with a bold plan to climb to the top of one of these mountains to get above the brush and increase our chance for a shot opportunity. So we set off where we had started just a few days ago and made the steep climb to just below the top of the plateau.

Here is "kudu mountain" and the white ring below the summit is the rock ledge we would use to quickly move across the mountain



Marius went ahead to glass while I worked on keeping up :LOL:. I came to where he had set up on a rock ledge and he told me that he found a shooter bull moving out to a clearing on the far hillside. The bull was moving down the hillside and towards us so we rushed a bit further to the left, following alongside the ledge. We came to a position but I was pretty wiped from the climb. I got into a sitting position as the bull came to a clearing at 327 yards. He stopped briefly but then quickly turned and ran into the brush. We got up and continued on the ledge trying to locate him but he was gone.

At this point, we just decided to carry on to the left. The mountain cuts in and forms a bowl that allows you to glass across the hillside. We stayed there for awhile where we could hear kudu but could not locate them in the brush. We continued up and were about to make our way up the the rock face that would allow us to reach the top of the plateau, but we came to stop as Marius spotted big ivory tips about 200 yards directly in front of us, across the valley. I got set up on the shooting sticks in probably the most uncomfortable position I could dream of. We were basically on a steep decline so I had one foot up and the other about 2-3 feet down and I was hunched over the sticks. Literally the best rest you could hope for given the terrain. I could now see the ivory tips as the bull was smashing his way through the brush. Trees and branches were all getting pushed over has he finally came into view. He was a big rutted up bastard. I finally saw where the horns met his head and had a bit of buck fever. He was angling down due to how steep it was where he was standing. Once he came out I took the shot, hit him in the neck and down into the lung, but the way he dropped looked like he might pop right back up and run. He slid down the hill and came to rest with only his back showing. We had to move about 20 yards up in elevation to get to where I could keep the rifle trained on him, but once he had not moved we were resolved that he was in fact stone dead. The walk over was treacherous and retrieving him off the mountain was no small task

Walk over to were he dropped which is behind this tree in the foreground




Post kudu, the last animal on my package was Impala. We continued on from kudu mountain on the truck and were going up the mountain rode to the high plains area. This time we turned left instead of right and stopped the truck. To our right was another hill but with a steeper climb, and we proceeded up. About halfway up, we turned to glass the lower flats that were grass with patches of trees. We were there for only a minute before we caught a glimpse of a red back. It was an Impala and it was a ram. We moved down to a patch of boulders and setup the rifle so Marius could get a better look. This ram liked his trees so we stayed there for awhile. A few times Marius was able to get a look at him and determined him mature. The ram turned from his tree patch to our left and walked out. I took my time after the somewhat shaky shot I had taken on the Kudu and made sure I had a good trigger pull in. I was kneeling with my harris bipod over a boulder so a bit more comfortable than hunching over. The shot rang out and I heard the thump. Marius stated that he felt it was far back so he went back to the truck and grabbed the dogs. I stayed up on the rifle in case the ram popped up although I changed my position to a new set of rocks further down and to the left. Marius yelled at as the hounds found the Impala. The shot wasnt far back and he had died right out of sight on the otherside of brush


Backside of where the Kudu was shot

Hill where I shot the Impala from. Taken from the point of where he fell

View from the shooting position (I think)

With the package completed, the only animals I had a keen interest on hunting was a Springbok and possibly a Warthog. The plains up ahead were a Springbok's paradise so we were in luck. We continued on this road which is probably impassable except for a landcruiser which led to an area of this concession that seems like it gets no 2 legged traffic through. We observed some Mountain Reedbuck, Impala, Springbok (of various coloration) and even a Sable. While driving we would stop sporadically to get out and glass different packs of Springbok. Coming to a stop where a distant hillside was off to our left, Marius used the spotting scope to get a good look at a sizeable pack there. He saw some decent rams so once again we took off, across the plains which had a small hill in front of us to give us cover. On the other side was a big pack of springbok but mainly females. They took off from our sound up out of the valley and to our relief, out to the right without spooking the rest of them in the area. Now we had the hill in front of us which another incline that led to a small rock basin. We went along a lower rocky cliff which had water running, leading to a waterfall. From there it was a near vertical climb of about 15-20 feet before we got to the basin. Once there, we got set up in the prone and ranged the target ram at 250 yards in front and directly up the hill. I took the shot but did not hear the thump of the suppressed round which was cause for concern. To our left at about 350 yards were a bunch of confused Mountain Reedbuck who stopped briefly, enough time for me to shoot the nice ram in the pack but I decided to save it for the next trip.

Marius reassured me that he saw the ram drop but I still had a moment of doubt as it lay uphill and I could not see his body. Marius walked back to the truck and I proceeded on. A small cattle fence separated these two areas so I walked to the gate to open it for the truck. From there we proceeded up and saw the ram DRT.

View from the waterfall


With a little bit of time left, we drove back to the original rockface where Marius had glassed the big pig a few days back. We climbed up and glassed from that location, but the weather was turning quite cold. As the sun was heading down we called it and headed back to the lodge. Thus ended my hunting time with KMG. The next day I would begin the long journey back to Texas

Looking out across the terrain it was a bit surreal that I was actually finally in Africa and about to hunt!
Man do I remember that feeling on the first morning in Africa. Thanks for such a great, detailed report. I am glad you had such a great hunt. Hunting the Eastern Cape with Marius is high on my wish list.
excellent report and thanks for sharing! congrats on a great first safari.
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Thank you for sharing your hunt with us all. I really enjoy hunting with Marius, I always show up in good shape as I know he will find a world class kritter in some place that requires a good climb to get to. But each experience is very rewarding, you now have a set of memories that will last you a lifetime. Congratz on a great first safari. My guess is that you started planning #2 on the plane ride home.
Wow, what a great adventure. Love the details of the report and all the pictures help out to visualize your hunt. Congrats on some quality animals taken. I can't wait to go back to the EC, hopefully next year. :) Safe travels, and thanks for sharing your wonderful adventure. (y)
Great hunt, congrats !
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Well detailed and interesting report. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. Your hard work on the range obviously paid off in the field. Congratulations on your wonderful experience and trophies.

Safe hunting
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Great story telling.

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