SOUTH AFRICA: My Lioness Safari With DE KLERK SAFARIS

PARA45

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South Africa (Limpopo, Eastern Cape & Kalahari), Nicaragua, FL, CA, SD, GA, SC, CO
While I was waiting for my safari on the Eastern Cape, @DE KLERK SAFARIS posted a special on a lioness hunt. The price was too good to pass, and I asked my biggest fan and financial advisor (wife), if she was ok with me adding this hunt to the already booked hunt I had. I explained to her that there were no additional airfares to worry about, or additional expenses beside the hunt. The first words out of her mouth were, where the f*ck are we going to put a lioness in the house? I busted laughing, because she was the one who said I had too much empty wall space but was worried about where I was going to put this lioness. I explained to her that I couldn't bring it home, and that opened up another can of worms. After some explaining and back and forth, she said it was cool for me to hunt a lioness. I was thrilled to say the least.

I booked my hunt with Hand, and I sent him a deposit. OMG, I'm booked for a lioness hunt. I really need to practice, and be good with my 375 H&H, there is no room for error or poor marksmanship when you are on the ground hunting one of these big predators.

On 4 Jun my safari was over on the Eastern Cape, and it was time to fly out on Air Link. I got to the Joburg, and the driver from Africa Sky was waiting for me just outside of the secure area. A quick 10 min drive and I was at Africa Sky. Gilbert was there to greet me, and to offer his assistance if I needed anything. I checked in and ask if Mr. De Klerks was here already, and I was told that he was in his room. I was hungry and got a ham sandwich with fries and a coke.

I had been in touch with one of our South African members, and we agreed to mee at Africa Sky. So, I finally met @Paul Raley, we had been chatting for quite some time, and it was time. We met, Paul drank some tea, while I smoked a cigar and we talked about everything, life, hunt, guns, conservation, etc, etc. Had a lovely visit with Paul, and we said our goodbyes.

I'm sitting on one of the tables finishing my cigar, when I see this tall individual looking around and asking questions in Afrikaans. I'v3e never seen Hans, so I don't have the slightest clue of what he looks like. He passes by me three time, and he stops by the signs with our names on them and ask someone if I was Oscar. I hear my name, and I say "Hans?" and he turns around and walks my way. We introduced ourselves, and he sat next to me, and we chatted for a bit.

Around dinner time my stomach was a mess, and I barely ate my dinner. While we were sitting outside, I mentioned to Hans that I was not feeling well, and that I thought I had either a stomach bug, or food poisoning. He asked me what I had to eat, and mentioned the ham sandwich, and he said that for sure that's what was causing my discomfort. By this time, I had gone to the restroom half a dozen time, and I didn't think I was going to be able to make the 8-hour drive to the Kalahari. So, Hans gets up and go asking around to see if there was any medication to give me. I usually bring stuff, and I had forgotten the Alka Zeltser. Thank God there was a doc in the house, a gentleman from TX, and he gave me some over the counter meds. I excused myself and went to bed. My night was sh*tty, seating, and with a bad stomachache. So, I barely slept that night.

I woke up the next day feeling better, but tired as hell from the lack of sleep. I only had toast and coffee for breakfast, and we got ready for our long drive to the Kalahari. We got on the road, and 8 hours later, we arrived at the lodge. One of the staff grabs my gear and takes it to my Chalet, and I meet Heidi who is the camp chef. We meet shortly after to make sure my rifle still holding zero after all this traveling. We do some minor adjustments, and we are good to go. Hans had warned me that Frikkie my new PH was a bit of a joker and loved to joke around. Well, he didn't know that he had met his match. :)

The entrance.

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Inside my chalet:

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BTW, I failed to mention that this is a CBL hunt. If you don't agree with this type of hunting, or have a negative opinion about it, I would appreciate if do not read and comment on this report. Thank you!

Later in the evening, I was sitting smoking a cigar, and the hunter before me came in with Frikkie, and finally met my soon to be new PH. We introduced each other, and we talked a bit about my previous safari, and what I should expect on the next couple of days.

6 Jun 2022

I wake up and I'm ready to go around 7, breakfast is at 0730, with a departure time of around 0800 hrs. It was a crisp and nippy morning, I think the temp was in the high 30s. The method of hunting would be to drive around, and look for fresh tracks on the road and watering holes. We drove around and got to see an enormous amount of game. We saw Eland, lots of Impalas and Springbucks, Black Wildebeest, Buffalo, Zebras, and every corner had at least one or two Steenboks. We found lion tracks on several areas, but they were old. Even thought we didn't see any lions, in my eyes it was a successful day. I got to see lots of wild animals, and I was in the Kalahari, it didn't get any better than that.:)

Oh, the practical joker of Frikkie, took a picture of me taking a nap after lunch. Of course, he busted my balls every chance he had saying that I would never find a lion while napping. I laughed, and I said, I'll get ya when you least expect it.

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Dinner:

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Last edited:
7 Jun 2022.

As usual, up by 0700, and breakfast by 0730, with a departure time of 0800. It is yet another cool morning, and Frikkie is wearing short. We drive off, and as we are driving around looking for tracks, Frikkie said something to the driver in Afrikaan, and next thing I know he gets two blankets, and wraps them around his legs. Wait a minute here, I've been told, and meant to believe that all PHs were tough men with superhuman strength, and with no fear of facing death and here you are wearing a blanket around your legs. What kind of PH are you, oh, and I'm supposedto trust my life with you? He then gets some cream and applies this cream on his already red cheeks and puts lip balm out of this pink container. For the love of God, really??? Well, now it was my turn to bust his balls. Sorry Frikkie, I had to do it. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:

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We keep on driving, and then Frikkie stops the Land Cruiser, and tells the driver to back up some. They both get off the LC and are discussing what they see. I get off, and I ask what's up. Frikkie tells me that these are fresh tracks. Frikkie gets on the radios, and calls Hans, who is supposed to be the other PH. To hunt lion/lioness in South Africa, you need two PHs with rifles. Oh sh*t, this is getting real. So, Frikkie takes over as the driver, the tracker sits in front on the hood of the Land Cruiser. We drive around to see if this lioness has not crossed the road, and to see if we could pattern where she was going. We drive around, and we meet up with Hans. They talk a bit and we each drive in opposite directions, and still looking for tracks. I hear the radio, and we head in the direction of where Hans is parked.

We get off the Land Cruiser, and Frikkie tells me that we are going to follow these tracks to see where they go. He then tells me to load up and put one in the chamber. Oh sh*t, this is getting real, and really quick and in a hurry. Hans is carrying a Heim double in 470 NE, and Frikkie is carrying a CZ-550 in 416 Rigby. We all get in single file, and I'm behind the two trackers and Frikkie. We walk around following these tracks, I can't believe how good these trackers are. The grass is about 2 ft high, but these trackers are on point. We find an area where this lioness had scratched this tree and then where she had taken a nap.

We continue to walk, to what it seems like a couple of miles. When all of a sudden everyone stops, and no one is moving. WTF over, I can't see what the problem is. Is it the lion, or what? Hans takes three steps back towards me, and whispers that we are very close to a heard of Buffalos, and he could see some calves. The pucker factor on this walk, just took another level of "Oh sh*t". I see the buffalo at about 200 yds, and they seem to have created a barrier to protect the calves, and they are looking at us with that look of "WTF are you here for, oh, and you owe us money look." So now, I'm really staying behind Hans, I figure I could outrun him any time, if we were in an oh sh*t situation. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO: We keep pushing, and we keep getting closer and closer to the buffalo, while tracking this lioness. The Buffalo are not moving, and they are holding their ground. We are probably about 125-150 yds, and I'm not comfortable with them that close. Then all of a sudden everyone stops again, and I'm like WTF now, are the Buffalo charging, what, someone please tell me something. I then hear Frikkie whistle, and he points towards the left. He motions for me to get close to him. He whispers, "there is your lioness". Oh sh*t, I can actually hear my heart, and I'm sure every animal around us can hear us. The lioness is about 250 yds away, and I get behind Frikkie and we close in the gap. I still have not seeing the lioness, and I'm thinking, that Frikkie wouldn't be messing with me, especially on this serious situation with the Buffalo around us. I then noticed something, but looks too small to be a Lioness, we get closer and closer, and we are within what I believe to be 85-90 yds, and the sticks go up. BTW, Frikkie has my Go-Pro, and he has been filming all this. Hans stands to my left, one tracker is to my right, and Frikkie unknown to me is behind me filming.
 
Great start to the hunt, and that nap looks glorious! Nothing better than a mid-day snooze in Africa!!
 
I get behind the rifle, and I finally see the Lioness, and she is not aware of our presence. She is looking at the buffalo. I can hear my heart pounding, and I can't seem to be able to stay steady, I'm all over the place, and I'm not happy with my self. I motion with my elbow to the tracker who is next to me, and without hesitation he understood what I meant, and knelt next to me and I was able to rest my elbow on his shoulder. Great, I am solid, and I have the Lioness in my sights. I study their anatomy enough to know where to shoot, but I had to wait for Hans or Frikkie to tell me to shoot. I'm trying to calm myself by taking some deep breath, and I then hear Hans with is calm voice tell me that the Lioness is sitting down and to put the crosshairs in front of her right shoulder. Funny that is where my crosshairs have been for the last couple of seconds. Hans whispers and tells me to shoot when I'm ready. I am rock solid, and not moving, but my heart is about to explode and can't seem to be able to control that, but my breathing is good. So, I take one deep breath, exhale about half, and all I see and hear is her and my heart. The world stopped during this time, and I have this tunnel vision. I fired, and I hear the impact, and I see the Lioness jump in the air and do a summersault. I'm reloading, and I hit the tracker next to me on the face with the empty case I ejected from my rifle.

I hear Hans that she ran to the left, but I didn't see anything. We move forward, and I have Hans to my left with his double, and the tracker who is 3 steps in front of me. We close the gap, and within 20 feet or so, they both stopped, and point towards where the Lioness is laying. Another serious pucker factor, is this thing dead, is she playing possum. I'm holding my rifle and moved cautiously toward the Lioness, I'm approaching from the side, and Hans is right in front of her. Hans pokes her face, and she is dead. She ran barely 20 ft from where she was sitting to where she expired.

I approached her, and place my hand on her, and lost it. I cried like a 5-year-old, and sat there, the world had stopped again, and it was her and me in the sand of the Kalahari. I thank her and God for this great opportunity to hunt one of His greatest animals and pet her while not believing I had done this. Hans and Frikkie gave me my time, and they moved to the side to give me a little bit of privacy. I got up, and I approached them and thanked them. I had my Lioness. My heart was a mess and full of mixed emotions, I was happy, I was sad, I had remorse, and still today I try to figure out why and can't seem to find the reason.

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I told Frikkie I wanted some pictures of where she expired.

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Frikkie is to my right, and Hans to my left.

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That was a great adventure! Everyone should try to put a couple of hunts together like you did. Saves a hell of a lot of money on one overseas ticket, and it’s definitely cheaper to shoot extra animals while already in Africa than deciding you have to have something after you return home. Also you can always tell your wife you can have a reproduction made of your lioness made if she needs to fill up some floor space!
 
Nice report, reliving my memories through yours. Hans runs a magnificent operation.
Frikkie looks just when I left him :ROFLMAO: .

He asked if I wanted a blanket. To be honest the first day I declined. -- I also had a videographer with me, and I made a quick deal that when I have the blanket, no filming of moi. Day 3 I had a blanket...

Nice lioness and good shooting. But now you reminded me that I have to start writing my report ...
 
After taking a bunch of pictures, we loaded the Lioness on the back of the Land Cruisers and pet her one last time. The trackers took her to the skinning shed. Hans, Frikkie and I stayed behind, and talked about my adventure, how it seemed to have fallen in place, and one shot one kill, no tracking and no one got hurt. I thankful for all that. I didn't want to have the burden of someone getting hurt due to my poor performance.

BTW, out of the animals I've shot throughout my life I have never looked at them in the eye, specially before pulling the trigger. When I had the Lioness on my scope, she at first was focused on the Buffalo, but then realized that something was up, and looked our way. I looked her in the eyes, and I could see that she was looking through my soul, and that she was not afraid at all. What an eerie feeling I felt that day.

We made it back to the lodge, and I had a Padron 1964 Anniversario cigar waiting for me to celebrate this hunt.

I spent the rest of the days reflecting on this great hunt, taking pictures and just relaxing.

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This is Heidi the camp chef on my last day in the Kalahari. The most wonderful and cheerful person I've ever met, always had a contagious smile on her. Thank you, Heidi, for taking care of me.

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De Klerks Safaris? Hans, thank you for making these hunt affordable to regular Joes like me, and for making this dream of hunting a Lioness a reality. This had always been a pipe dream of mine, and thanks to you I was able to make it a reality. These hunts are not canned, or easy. You are on the ground face to face with this apex predator, and you are in their backyard. If in two years SA has not banned these types of hunts, I hope to visit you again. Thank you!

Frikkie, thank you sir for putting up with me, and for taking me out to take pictures. We have a great bond, and we both faced this wonderful predator. Thank you for having my back.
 
Nice report, reliving my memories through yours. Hans runs a magnificent operation.
Frikkie looks just when I left him :ROFLMAO: .

He asked if I wanted a blanket. To be honest the first day I declined. -- I also had a videographer with me, and I made a quick deal that when I have the blanket, no filming of moi. Day 3 I had a blanket...

Nice lioness and good shooting. But now you reminded me that I have to start writing my report ...

Yes please get on it and write your report. Looking forward to reading your report. :)
 
Awesome!!! Congrats on your lioness and thanks for sharing!
 
Excellent...just excellent! Way to wrap up an unforgettable trip - Congrats!
 
Yes please get on it and write your report. Looking forward to reading your report. :)
Awesome hunt from start to finish! I am so like you. In 23 going to Zim for elephant and buff then back to Jberg for a lioness hunt myself. 15 days of pure pleasure!!!
 
@PARA45

(y) … I know how pumped you were for this hunt!

Congrat’s on a life long dream & mixed emotions - I get it, probably deep rooted in that Daydream now has a Deadline & all materializing in you walking in the tracks & taking a top predator … that’s No Joke! Good on ya for checking that box & an unbelievable hunt experience + trophy.

Happy Trails
 
I am planning on using my DR in 450-400 for the lion. Want to get within 50 yards. Could you have gotten that close?

In my case, no, we ran out of cover and there was nothing between her and us. The client before us, was within 25 yds of a male lion, so it is possible.
 
Congratulations on your Hunt and Lion. Didn't think I could be more excited for my July hunt but reading this certainly didn't help.
 

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