SOUTH AFRICA: My Wonderful Safari With GAME 4 AFRICA SAFARIS

PARA45

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South Africa (Limpopo, Eastern Cape & Kalahari), Nicaragua, FL, CA, SD, GA, SC, CO
Country: South Africa, Eastern Cape
Dates: 28 May 2022 - 4 Jun 2022
Type of Hunt: Plains Game, and one DG Buffalo Cow
Method of Hunting: Rifle
Outfitter: @GAME 4 AFRICA SAFARIS
PH: Wikus Coetzee
Agent: N/a
Locations Hunted: Eastern Cape
Species Hunted: Warthog, Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Kudu, Nyala, Bushbuck, Cow Buffalo & Egyptian Goose.
Trophy Quality: Outstanding
Species Seen, Population and Quality of Game Observed: Kudu Ridge is out of this world, this is what I saw; Kudu, Nyala, Zebra, Impala, Buffalo, Waterbuck, Eland, Giraffe. Mountain Top had Bushbuck, Zebras, Black Wildebeest, Springbuck, and Blesbok.
Lodging: Outstanding individual chalets.
Food: Out of this world, and plenty of it.
Activities: N/A
Travel Methods: By air

High Points: Amazing trophy quality and quantity.
Low Points: Me being out of shape for mountain hunting. :)
Things to Improve: None.
Overall Rating: Glad I hunted with them. The Coetzee family is doing an outstanding job, glad I hunted with them.
Would Recommend to a Friend? Absolutely.

Now to the detailed safari.

This Safari was almost one and half years in the planning. I had gone to Africa in 2012 for my 50th birthday. My wife and I were sitting sitting in the living room watching tv (which we never do), and her mind was not on the show, but on the wall of our living room. She turns to me, and tells me that we have too much empty wall space, and that I need to go back to Africa to fill in the empty spaces. o_O I couldn't believe what I was hearing. BTW, she is my biggest fan when it comes to hunting. So, the seed was planted, now where to go, and with which outfitter. Decisions, decisions.

Lurking on AH like I always do, I saw an advertisement here for 4 animals in the Easter Cape, and the price was right, so I decided to jump on it. Having been burned in the past, I asked for references, and everyone who hunted with them had nothing but positives things to say about Game 4 Africa Safaris. All these positive references made it easy to go with them.

Preparation:

With all this time to plan, I didn't know what rifle or caliber to take. Well, this was until Mr. @degoin decided to put this beautiful CZ-550 in 375 H&H worked by AHR on sale. I knew I had to pay for a safari, and didn't want to buy this rifle, but the deal was good, and I didn't have a 375 H&H. Mr. @degoins worked with me, and we made payment arrangements, and I bought the rifle. My decision was made on which rifle to take to the Arica. Like any 375 H&H rifle, they need to go to Africa where they belong. :) Here is a picture of the before and after.

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What scope to put on this beauty? I knew I wanted to use this rifle mainly for plains game, but with the possibility of maybe hunting DG one day. After reading many post here about which scope to put on a 375, I decided to put a Trijicon 1-6x24 scope on QR Alaskan Arms. Now what ammo to use? I was able to purchase some different factory ammo to see which my rifle liked the best. Got the rifle sighted in with the ammo on hand. Remembering from my first safari, I decided to get my own shooting sticks, and to practice from them. So, I decided to order a set of Rudolph shooting sticks to practice from. My routine consisted of shooting my 22 LR, followed by the 375, and ending with some more 22LR shooting. I decided to do this once a week. I noticed my shooting improving with every range session, and I knew I was on the right track.

Purchased my tickets using Travel Express, thank you Jennifer for all your kind assistance! I was to fly from Atlanta on Delta, to Johannesburg, spend the night and then fly on Airlink. I decided to stay at Africa Sky, and to have them handle all the permits since I was flying alone, and didn't want to mess with this. BTW, this was the best spent $180, it's worth it.

I was still debating on what ammo to take, and since I reload I figure I could get something shooting good on this rifle. I wanted to take Nosler Accubonds in 260 grs. Unfortunately my powder supply was limited, and I couldn't get them to group good with the powder I had on hand. So I decided to go with factory ammo. I had some Nosler 300 grs Partitions, and Barnes 300 grs TSX factory ammo. My rifle for some reason didn't like the partitions, and loved the TSX. But I only had three boxes of TSX, and wanted to practice more with them. Thanks to @MarkBiggerstaff I was able to get 3 boxes of TSX within two weeks of my trip.

Finally my departure was fast approaching, and then someone here said something about COVID QR codes, and how SA was checking for this, and that the Vacc Card was not accepted without the QR Code. I was panicking and with only a couple of days before departure didn't know what to do. In my small town there was nowhere I could get a PCR test done, and didn't want to pay the $250 at the airport if I could avoid that extra expense. Well someone here posted a link, and got my QR code and saved a copy on my phone.

Departure day:

I live two hours away from Atlanta, and decided to take a shuttle (great idea) to the airport, got there with plenty of time to spare. Got to the Delta counter, and got squared away until it was time to check in my rifle. The lady behind the counter informed me that I needed two extra locks on my Pelican gun case. I explained to her that I've flown with only two locks, but it was useless, she said it was Delta policy. So, now, where to find a lock on this airport? She gave directions to where to find one, and I said I'll be back. Oh, wait a minute she said, you can't leave your gun here with me with only two locks. So, now I'm dragging this Pelican case through the Atlanta airport looking for a lock. Found a place, purchased two, and got squared away. Met @cpr0312 & @3S SAFARIS at the gate. Here is my ride to Africa. :)

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PARA45

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Made it to South Africa without any issues, and the QR Code on my phone worked like a charm. Gilbert from Africa Sky was waiting for me with a sign, and a big smile. What a pleasant and helpful individual. Thank you Gilbert for your wonderful assistance!

Spent the night at Africa Sky, and the next day to the airport for my flight to East London. Got to the airport and the line at Airlink was long. Gilbert used his charm/connection, and got me to the front of the line, and my rifle checked in less than 15 minutes. BTW, your ammo has to be outside your suit case on it's own. Make sure you have a lockable container if you are going to fly on Airlink.

My 1 1/2 hrs flight to East London was uneventful. Got there, and didn't have a clue to where to collect my rifle and ammo box. I asked a couple I had spoken to while waiting to board, and he was able to put me in contact with the right office. Got my rifle and ammo box, and I'm ready to go. But, where is my rife, where is this Don from Game 4 Africa Safaris? What does he looks like? I had sent Wikus a picture of what I look like and he had forward that picture to Don. Well, as I'm walking towards the exit, this guy yells my name and I had found Don. LOL!!!!!

Don is one of the PHs at Game 4 Africa Safaris. We had a 1 1/2 hrs drive to the lodge, and we got to talking about hunting, fishing and scuba. We had a lot in common, and we share the same passion of hunting with a rifle, bow or spear gun. :)

Made it to the Lodge, and I was welcome by Wikus (Wik). BTW, Wik is a young man in his late 20s, with an eagle eye for spotting game. He is also very patient (you'll find out later), and easy going. I met Wik dad John a very pleasant individual.

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I was escorted to my chalet, and for a quick lunch. The chalets are modern, functional, and beautifully decorated on the inside. Each chalet overlooks a field, the main lodge is within walking distance, and it is beautiful also. I'll post pictures later.

Unpacked my rifle, and to the range we went. Check rifle zero, and all checked good.

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Our plan was to start our hunt on Sun in search of bushbuck. Wik told me that this would be our most challenging hunt, and that he recommend we start with them first. I was excellent, let's do it. Tomorrow our first hunt. :)
 

buck wild

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Get'em
 

PARA45

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BTW, I forgot to mentioned that one of the members here on this forum approached me, and wanted to make something for me to take to Africa, and free. I said deal, but I also would like to purchase a ammo carrier and belt from you. Well, this wonderful individual wouldn't take my money. So, when he dropped off his beautiful work, I had a bottle of Cuban Rum (which he likes) and some Cigars in appreciation of the wonderful leather items he made for me. Funny thing, we only live an hour away from each other. Here is my CZ all dressed up :)

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Hunt anything

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Did you feed the Egyptian goose to the pet caracals? I assume they still have them. It is truly a great place!!
 

cpr0312

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Nice to meet you in Atlanta and discuss hunting and life for a while! Look forward to the report!
 

PARA45

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Here are a couple of pictures of what the lodge and chalets look like. As you can see the facilities are modern and in beautiful condition. The view from the chalets was beautiful as well, with wild game towards the bottom of the hill.
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PARA45

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Ok, let's go hunting, 28 May 2022.

As I mentioned earlier, our main focus was going to be on Bushbuck, and I've heard Wik say that it was going to be the most difficult and challenging hunt and wanted to get this one out of the way early. Boy, little did I know what he meant by difficult and challenging. Our hunting style would consist of driving to the hunting area and glassing like hunting out west, for Bushbucks to be on the sunny side of the mountain. We got to Mountain Top early in the morning, we were welcome by some heavy and thick fog, and this made the usual 45 min drive into a bit over an hour drive. We got to Mountain Top, and I then realize in what deep sh*t I had gotten myself into. I didn't realize that South Africa had mountains like these, with loose rocks where one wrong step and you were going to be at the bottom of this valley. BTW no one told me that Wik was not a human being but a freaking human goat. My 60-year-old little legs were doing their best to try to keep up with Wik. :ROFLMAO: We made it to this area, and we stopped (thank God) to glass the other side of this mountain. The temperature was brutally cold with a stiff 25 MPH wind, it was cold for this GA boy, and I was glad I had everything I brought with me on. We didn't see any Bushbucks rams, but there were several females and the area was prime for Bushbuck. According to Wik. :)

After glassing for quite a bit, I realized that I had to go back to where the Land Cruiser was, oh boy here we go again. Needless to say, I was exhausted when I got back to the LC, and drank a bottle of water to quench my thirst.

It was getting too late for Bushbuck, so we decided to drive around Mountain Top, which BTW this place not only tested the capabilities of the Land Cruiser, but it also tested my determination, endurance, and perseverance on how bad I wanted a Bushbuck. :ROFLMAO: Mountain Top was a serious place with some serious cliffs, and some seriously difficult terrain.

We drove around, and Wik pointed out a stud of a Warthog, I mean this guy was huge (body wise), but his tusks didn't look that big. Maybe it was the size of this thing, I had never seen a Warthog this big. As we drove by him, I jokingly told Wik that we should have gone after that hog. We joked around and no more than 500 yds later, here stood a whooping Warthog eating. Wik game a look, and I said, let's get him. There were some zebras in the area, and we didn't want to spook them, and sent the Warthog into flee mode. Made it to within 140-150 yds, and the sticks went up. Time to prove if all that preparation paid off. Wik whispered to me that he was on his knees and to shoot him through the shoulder. I said copy, settle behind the scope, and fired. I heard the thump of the 300 grs TSX hitting it's mark, and noticed that Mr. Warthog was down kicking, but not going anywhere. Score, first animal of my trip, with one shot from the 375 H&H. High fives all around, and pictures. I was very happy with this Warthog. All of a sudden the pain from climbing was gone, or so I thought.

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PARA45

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28 May 2022, part 2.

The trackers gutted the Warthog and got it in the back of the Land Cruiser. We found a nice area and decided to have lunch. As Wik and I are eating our lunch, we were discussing our next plan. While we were driving, we had seen some Black Wildebeest, and they were on the menu. So, we developed a plan, and after them we went. We parked the Land Cruiser a bit over a mile from where we had spotted them last. Here we go again, going up this Mountain Top. Did I tell you about Wik's superhuman strength? Here I was trying to keep up with this human mountain goat, and after what seemed like an eternity and like if I had gone through Basic Training all over again, we reached the top and we could see them. The Baboons in the area fled the area, and we thought they were going to spook the BW.

We were close, but not close enough. We closed the distance, to roughly 200 yds, and the sticks went up. My breathing was all over the place, and I was trying to keep the crosshairs on the BW, settle on them and fired. Missed, shot over them, and all hell broke loose. Without skipping a beat, Wik called the tracker and gave him some directions in Afrikaan. Wik later told me that the tracker was going to try and intercept them and hopefully they would come back to our area. I was like sure, this is a great plan, but what do I know.

Roughly 25 min went by, and Wik was able to spot them, and direct the tracker in their direction. Well, wouldn't you know it, the BW were heading back to our area. Wik got the sticks up and told me to get ready. Some Blue Wildebeest went by, and the Black Wildebeest were not too far behind. They stopped at roughly 95 yds, and Wik whispered to shoot the last one. I settled behind the rifle, and I was solid and fired. This thing jumped straight in the air and ran about 80 yds and dropped dead. We cautiously approached the dead BW, and Wik said, "Great job Oscar" with his South African accent. I was on cloud nine, two great animals in one day. Wow!!!!! A beautiful and old Black Wildebeest with deep curls and some serious character on the bosses was down. I was (I still am) one happy hunter, and thanked Wik. Again, the agonizing pain from climbing this mountain was gone, but at this point I was not sure for how long. With two animals in the back of the Land Cruiser, we decided to call it a day, and to head back to lodge.

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cpr0312

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Heck of a day 1, congrats!
 

Randy F

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Great read. Congrats on your day 1 success. Now keep it coming.

:E Tap Foot:
 

Graham Hunter

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Nice BW CONGRATS
 

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Congrats on your warthog and black wildebeest! I'm looking forward to your next hunt trip report installments. I've been walking more for my trip this summer to SA and realize it's still not where I'd like to be at at 59 YO. Your wildebeest looks great!
 

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BTW, did I tell ya about the food??? Wow, amazing and plenty of it. For this evening, it was going to be Waterbuck back straps, with potatoes and salad. Wik asked me my preference of meat, and I said I'll eat game meat all week, and that is what I did. :) More on this. :)

Ok, let's get back to hunting. 29 May 22.

BTW, when Wik and I sat down to discuss our hunts, I said to him that I was not interested on the tape or inches, that I wanted mature, old, and challenging hunts. He nodded, and said to me that he liked that and he could make it happen.

Today the wind was really blowing, close to 40 MPH, so we decided to hunt the homestead property called Kudu Ridge for kudu, and we would go after none less than Mr. Kudu. :) We ate breakfast, and got ready for our 5 min drive. Looking at this little hills, I figured this would be a not so difficult hunt. Well, I was in for a rude awaking. :ROFLMAO: We drove into the property and we immediately saw kudus sunning on the sunny side of the hills and away from the wind.

We drove a bit, and Wik suggested we get out of the Land Cruiser to go take a look. Well, that take a look was more like let's go get a kudu. LOL. We walked proba 400-500 yds, and we spotted three big shooter bulls. These bulls were probably 800-900 yds away and up hill. Did I tell you that I thought this was going to be an easy hunt? Not! Wik told the tracker to stay behind, and we decided to put a stalk on the closest bull. There must have been over 20 kudus on this side, which meant lots of eyes looking our way. The kudu we were after gave us the slip, but there was another one hiding in the shadow of this acacia tree. So, after him we go. After a grueling hour or so of climbing and almost crawling so we wouldn't get spotted, we got to within 200 yds.

No way to get any closer, and the sticks go up. Ah, Wik, where is the kudu I ask? Right there in the shadow of the acacia tree. Ah, sorry, I can't see him. So, Wik tried to show me where this ghost was, and my eyes couldn't see him to save my life. Wik, pointed the rifle in the direction of where the kudu was, and I still couldn't see him. Remember I mentioned that Wik was a very patient young man. On this day I really tested his patience. :ROFLMAO:

After what seemed like an eternity, probably 10-15 minutes of me trying to figure out where this thing was hiding. I was on the sticks, looking to "where" this kudu was hiding, and I noticed his ear move. The angels sang, and I could finally see this ghost. He was there motionless in the shadows of this tree. I told Wik that I had him, and he said to shoot when I was ready. I shot, the kudu jumped on impact, ran and disappeared. Wik got on the radio and call for the trackers to get to where we were and to bring the dogs. The trackers found blood, and release these ferocious little Jack Russel Terriers, one of them called Leica and Rocky. Within a couple of minutes, we had our Kudu. :)

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Wow, what a great kudu, and what a great hunt. Another great hunt, and very challenging one, with this rough terrain. The stalk was picture perfect, and the results were outstanding. Now, the question is how do we get this huge animal out of here. Trackers brought a huge pole, and gutted the kudu, and cut it in half and down this mountain they went. Those trackers are amazing and strong. Kudu in the salt. :) We saw over 40 kudus on this hunt, and at least 4 shooters. Who know how many more were there that we didn't see. We saw a huge Waterbuck and since we were not hunting them, he stood there for an eternity without a care in the world. Go figure.

Headed back to the lodge for lunch, and we had Eland burgers. Yummy! Rain was expected this afternoon. Yes, you read correctly, rain was expected on the afternoon, so we decided to not go out. We were ahead of the game, so I watched the rain, while I smoked a cigar to celebrate another successful day. We walked closed to 3 miles, up and down these mountains. I believe that Wik took my "challenging request" a bit too seriously. :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

Dinner tonight was Eland soup (OMG this soup was out of this world), and Kudu back straps. Did I tell ya how great the food was? LOL!!!! While sitting eating dinner, Wik asked if I would be interested in switching the Eland for a cow Buffalo. Well sh*t, really???? So, now I have this idea of hunting a cow Buffalo, sh*t, what should I do? I told Wik, that I would think about it, and he said that we had time. :unsure::unsure: Decisions, decisions!!!!!
 

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Hi Rob

Trust you are well,
It would be great if I could quote on a safari for you guys.

Please let me know if you are intereted to hunt with Game 4 Africa Safaris. We have many reviews and hunting reports on this forum if you would like to check us out.

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