SOUTH AFRICA: My First Safari With Cruiser Safaris!

Texas-LTH

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Please forgive typos/misspellings I am working from a cellphone!
Prelude:
I have hunted all over the States and in Mexico. This was my first overseas hunt and I cannot stress how comfortable Cruiser made the whole experience. I made this trip solo and I was at ease the entire trip. From booking the trip to returning home it was 1st class all the way. So to start a huge thank you to Pieter Lamprecht and his entire staff. You are truly amazing. To the hunt....

I will skip all the boring travel details, all went well except for the fact I hate flying and there is not enough scotch and vodka for a 17hr direct flight.

Hunt: 7 day plains game Package
Target Animals: Kudu, Gemsbok, Impala, Blesbok, Wildebeest
Rifle: Remington Model 700LR 30-06
Ammunition: Nosler Custom 180 grain Nosler Partition
Weather: South Texas Winter
Day 1.
After arriving in Joberg we stayed the night at Afton. Had a great steak a few beers and actually met one of the fellows I would be sharing a camp with in Limpopo. The next morning we awoke to a stellar breakfast and after a short wait our drivers from Cruiser showed up. After a 4hr jaunt up to camp we were there. Finally I was in camp. In Africa, a dream come true.

I wasted little time after getting my things unpacked I grab the boomstick and off the range I went to see if my zero held true after the delicate care they received from the baggage handlers. 3 shots and 1 click and I was as ready as I was going to be for the adventure of a lifetime. After gun check my PH Hans who I had just met asked "if I was ready to hunt this evening or would I like to rest and hunt the following morning?" This of course was a silly question! I'm in Africa! Partner I'm going hunting! With limited time we stayed on the home ranch and were after Blesbok or Impala. In the bakie I climb and we are hunting! After riding and glassing Hans taps the hood and off we go. I stay behind him and quickly notice how silent he footsteps are. I had heard how stealthy these fellas are but man was I impressed. Being from South Texas the Umbrella thorn and every other prickly thing was easy walking for me. Actually I found it easier walking than most of my hunting areas in S. Texas. After about a 30 min stalk he motioned behind his back for me to get down. The crawl was on! We approach an power line right of way and there about 180 yards out is a herd of blesbok. I scoot on my hind end up behind him and he explains which one is the shooter. I put the Remington on his shoulder and squeeze... Boom...Thud. A hit! I exhale all the anxiety of my first shot on the dark continent out. We get to where I took the shot and no blood. We followed the tracks for 10 yards and there lay my Blesbok. 16" per horn and great first trophy was a Bronze medal animal.
Blesbok.JPG


After pictures and a trip to the skinning shed it was a wonderful dinner of Wildebeest pie and a desert that'd make you slap your momma.
Day 2/Day 3.
Gemsbok Trek
After a nice breakfast of sausage, eggs, toast, and coffee (what I ate every morning), we were off to a new concession. 40 minutes and we arrived at the gate. To shorten this and in the essence of your time and mine it was 2 days of hunting our butts off! The gemsbok were extremely clever and we had uncooperative wind. We would cut track for 3-4 hrs only to find they had circled and busted us. Many sightings and a wonderful experience but they won these two rounds. We ate lunch in the field both days and really hunted hard which is what I came to Africa to do. Below is our Bush Lunch. Eland sausage, fruit, and a cold Castle!
Lunch.JPG

We did however have some luck end of day 2 and ran across a old Impala ram past his prime and a cull to shoot. After a short stalk we closed the distance and, boom! Thud! My second African Animal was in the salt! The impala was 20 1/3" and 20 on the dot. It actually ended up making bronze medal by 2/3"!

Cull Impala.JPG


Day 4.
Kudu Land
My dream animal has always been the Kudu. Much like an Elk in the States, the Kudu reigned supreme over my dreams and the hunt which I will describe is exactly that. A dream.

At dinner the night before Pieter told Hans and myself that we were going to their mountain property after Kudu. I had requested this hunt after seeing pictures online and thinking it would be spectacular. It was...

We arrived at the concession and spoke with the owner. A wonderful man who told us he had seen some good Kudu this year. We were the first to hunt the property so I liked the pressure was low. After inquiring i learned the property was 35,000 acres! We begin our ascent in the Bakie and the view is spectacular.
KuduLand.JPG

You can see above the mountains we were headed to.
Once we reached the base of the hills the terrain changed drastically. No thorns mostly scrub oak looking trees and rocks. Kudu sign everywhere! And Leopard tracks..... We climb up to a ridge and begin glassing. We see a few cows and young bulls and decide to move on. We did this for about 2 hours and had not seen a mature animal. We decided come down the hillside to creek below, and we found some tracks that Hans said were a big mature Kudu and scat that was still steaming. He suggested we hightail it up the hillside again and continue to glass for him. Up we went. Once we were ridge high we took position and glassed. Nothing. Then Hans did something that I will use in other hunting situations. He hurled a rock down into the ravine! I was shocked, I chuckled and said, "well I guess its lunch time." No sooner had the words left my lips I saw Hans throw up his binos. I too saw the movement and there he was! A monster! Hans ranged him at 287 ridge to ridge. I set up on a large boulder and boom...... I watched as the bullet struck a rock just below his belly..... I reloaded as my heart sank but the old bull took 4 steps and stopped trying to figure out where the sound had come from. I shot again. Boom! Thud! The old bull dropped. My elation in that moment may never be coupled. Aside from marrying my wife and my children's milestones, birth, smiling, walking, talking, etc. This took the cake. Hans held position and directed me from across the ravine. What I encountered when I got there was something neither of us had a expected. A 60" monster gold medal Kudu.
Kudu.JPG

After some reflection we figured we did not take into account elevation, both shots dropped about 8" from my hold over and I only took into acount about 4" of drop on the first shot. Lucky for me the lesson was not taught with severe consequences. We took pictures and began the grueling task of getting him down the mountain.

That evening after a midday beer and celebration, we decided it was time to go get our Gemsbok. We stayed a little closer and once again saw fresh sign and hopped out to cut some track! After 20 min or so i saw Hans pace slow. We began slowly creeping through the bushveld making little to no noise. He stops me with his signature behind the back hand signal. After what seems like an hour (5 min), he signals for me to get on the sticks. Up I go and immediately I see her. Two nice males and large female who was without calf. Hans says the female is most mature and largest so I make the decision to take her. Boom! Thud! Quick spin, 10 yards, and no kicking she has expired! Finally my Gemsbok was down. What a feeling after working so hard for it. As we approach we do notice that she has a ear missing. Hans says most likely a leopard when she was young. We take our pictures and to the salt she goes. As the sun sets I realize that these moments are fleeting and I appreciate how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy this land and its animals. What a day! The Animal measured 39" and was a silver medal trophy!
Gemsbok.JPG
AfricanSunset.JPG


Day 5
Wildebeest Cull
So on my list left I had a female wildebeest cull and a trophy impala. We decided to make it a wildebeest day and set out after em! After hunting hard in the morning with many opportunities just not the right animal, we came back to the lodge for lunch and a quick nap. After it was back in the bakie and to the bush again. We had two or three stalks that evening until just before dark we came across a small heard of beest, and there she was,old barren cow. She was noticeably larger than the other females and was without calf. We got to within 190 yards and Hans said it was time without saying a word the sticks went up. Boom! Thud! She flinched and took off with the herd. I knew I was slightly back due to the brush obstructing the shooting lane but felt good about the shot.
Hans and our tracker John went to work. There was one tiny speck of bright red lung blood and thats it! These guys are unbelievable at their craft. After 650 yards of a few tiny specks of blood they found her. Double lunged! These animals are tough, the only African game I had run more than 10 yards.
IMG_3543.JPG


Going to lunch will finish after!
 
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Shootist43

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Hans was my PH one year ago. He is an amazing guy. Please tell him Art Lambart said hi. If I'm not mistaken, I recommended that you ask for Hans. BTW that is one awesome Kudu, wish I'd seen him first. LOL
 

Shootist43

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Please also tell Hans that I had cataracts removed from both eyes. You may have to explain what cataracts are. I can see clearly again.
 

Shootist43

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Sorry, from the way I read your post, you were still in S.A.
 

Texas-LTH

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Day 6
Tragedy Strikes...
After breakfast we are off for my trophy impala. After a morning of countless shot opportunities just not the class of animal we are after we decide to head back into camp for a quick lunch. Here is where the day took a turn. As we approach the lodge we see all staff, PH's, and helpers they had at the ranch that day,(moving and darting animals) gathered under Pieters carport. We park I unload my things and we walk over. We quickly learn that Pieters wonderful wife, and accomplished helicopter pilot had hit a power line and crashed with a veterinarian aboard the chopper. Mrs. Lamprecht had already been flown to a medical facility with minor injuries, but the vet was in bad shape. They had him on a mattress under the carport and were waiting on life flight. After waiting 4 hrs they arrived. I am so thankful we live in the States as their response time and professionalism was awful. They lacked common knowledge and I believe our first paramedics could pass as doctors here. But up and off they went. A scary event indeed and very blessed everyone made it out alive. The vet suffered 4 broken vertebre, broken shoulder, dislocated knee, broken leg, and multiple other fractures along with internal bleeding. Luckily we had a doctor in camp who very well may have saved his life. We called it a day hung around camp that evening, Impala could wait...
 

Texas-LTH

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Day 7
Our last day on the hunt:
Up and at em. Feeling good and ready to punch my final ticket. A odd sense of relief/sadness overtakes me as I eat my breakfast. Relief because I do sorely miss my wife and kids, and a sadness that my time in this magical place is coming to an end. It truly is a dream to hunt in Africa and the red dirt will course through me forever, the sights, smells, sounds and people of this land I will hold dear forever. Now, back to the hunt!

We hit a new concession that Hans says has monster impala. We get down in the river bottom and begin to walk. No less than 45 minutes of slowly creeping, and there he is. A true brute and I love his shape. I tell Hans thats the one and put a stalk on him. We get to 90 yards and the sticks go up. Boom! Thud! The impala runs 10 yards and piles up. I am done. My journey had come to a close with none other than a 23 1/2 impala which scored Gold. Beautiful animals they surely are!
TrophyImpala.JPG


Below are some assorted pictures of the trip. My rifle performed flawlessly, as did the 180 grain NP. I recovered three bullets the rest were pass through. Gemsbok, Wildebeest, and the Blesbok were retrieved.
Bullets.JPG


The lodge and bar area were great as were the rooms. I hope to return soon, and hope you enjoy the thread. Happy Hunting!
Trophies.JPG
Bar.JPG
Dinning Table.JPG
Firepit.JPG
 

jasyblood

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Congrats on your first safari and DAMN what a kudu!!!! Cruisers and Hans are first class and you couldn't have picked a better outfitter for your first safari. While my kudu didn't come from the mountain property, from everything I've heard and seen now, it really is a magical place.

Again, congratulations on a great trip and thanks for the report!
 

Nyati

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Congrats for a great hunt and very good trophies !
 

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Congrats on a very successful Safari. Cruiser is truly a first class outfit. I was lucky enough to hunt with them on my first Safari in 2012. I had not herd about the accident and I hope that Lizelle and the vet are OK.
So have you booked your next safari yet????
 

Texas-LTH

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Congrats on a very successful Safari. Cruiser is truly a first class outfit. I was lucky enough to hunt with them on my first Safari in 2012. I had not herd about the accident and I hope that Lizelle and the vet are OK.
So have you booked your next safari yet????
Yes sir everyone is expected to make a full recovery. Thank you and my next trip will be with my brother and father. Most likely 19'. Hit list for that trip is bull Eland, bull Wildebeest, Waterbuck, and bull Gemsbok.
 

Art Lambart II

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Cruisers is a great place with a first rate staff. What a great hunt and a once in a life time Kudu.

Is Dell Marie still the cook and is Ammie still their?
 

3S SAFARIS

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Well done ! Excellent group of animals . Now comes the wait for the return , enjoy.
 

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Congrats and thanks for sharing!
 

cagkt3

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Congrats! Great kudu
 

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That is a once in a lifetime Kudu. Your other animals are good, but that Kudu is a real stud. Congrats and thanks for sharing. Bruce
 

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Great report sir and thanks for sharing!
 

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Awesome write up and thanks. I love when someone gets as excited as I do and it shows in your writing.
 

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Great report and that Kudu is an absolute beauty. Congrats.
 

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