SOUTH AFRICA: Serengeti Safari's In Limpopo 1st Timer

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by shaft55, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. shaft55

    shaft55 New Member

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    Just experienced the greatest 8 days anyone could dream of with Serengeti Safaris in Limpopo. I'm sure many of you have never heard of them, but I can assure you, they are top notch. They are very new to the American market, but have been in business for over 30 years. Japie Nel is the owner, and he started his career close to 40 years ago. They have about 25,000 acres all together with their main lodge settled right in the middle of it. I met Japie almost 3 years ago for both of our first time to DSC. We stayed in touch, I gathered up some buddies and the rest is history.

    Myself and 5 of my good buddies set off from Oklahoma headed for the promise land. We did the Atlanta to Joberg flight, that flight is brutal! Jet lagged and a touch hungover, we finally landed in Joberg ready for our adventure to begin. Expectations were very high, and a lot of nervousness from a group of 6 safari rookies. We made the 3.5 hour drive to Limpopo filling up on snacks and biltong that Japies wife sent along. Finally arriving at the lodge we were all blown away. We arrived about 11 pm at the lodge to see the American flag flying beside the Serengeti flag, with Douglas (who is arguably the best barman in Limpopo) standing below them with a tray full of much needed drinks. After introductions and a few more beverages we took a tour and each picked our own chalets. We probably went a little too hard at the bar the first night, finally turning in around 3 am. We had all agreed we would sleep in a bit the first day and meet for breakfast about 7:30 before heading to the range. After a quick sight check, we all set off in different directions with our PH and driver. I had the extreme pleasure of hunting with Japie himself, and one of his younger PH's helping spot for us. I was immediately blown away by 2 things, 1) there are an obscene amount of animals there 2) they are very difficult to spot with my rookie eyes seeing the bush for the first time. 15 minutes into the first morning I was already putting a stalk on a very smart warthog. We didn't get him, but about an hour later I let my 300 WM bark and get her first kill on S African soil dropping an old warthog. It's hard to put into words the feeling of getting your first animal on your first safari, it's something very special. While heading in for lunch we got sidetracked on a stud Impala, we were successful and I had 2 animals in the salt before lunch on day 1. I couldn't have had a bigger smile on my face at lunch. Spent the rest of the day chasing with no success.

    Another long night at the bar made for an early morning, but we were ready. Day 2 was tough, we stalked a lot of animals, but just couldn't pull off any shots, we had been hearing shots ring out all day from the other guys and knew we were facing a blank square in the eyes as the sun was falling fast. Heads hung low and about to head in to face ridicule from from my group of professional crap talkers, we saw a group of blue wildebeest. We had very little time to pull this off as it was nearly dark, we pulled it off and with the very last light my scope could draw, I was able to squeeze off a perfect 60 yard shot. What a huge, tough animal. I was thrilled about the trophy, but also very relieved to not have to catch hell from my buddies all night.

    Day 3 was an amazing and expensive day. Did a lot of driving around the farm and saw a lot of game, finally, just before lunch I got the shot on a 36" oryx. This was one very high on my list of wants, we had stalked a bunch with no success, so I was beside myself to finally get one in the salt. After lunch I didn't want to rest, still running high off the oryx, I wanted to get back at it. So myself and the young PH Robbie headed to the big croc pond to set up to try and catch a zebra coming into water. We didn't see a Zebra, but had Impala and waterbuck coming in steady. What a setting, watching the crocs sun, animals coming into water, and a group of buffs enjoying some shade near the water. Every waterbuck that came in was bigger then the previous one. I told Robbie it was gonna need to be 30" for me to shoot as I had seen some absolute studs in the previous day's. Finally a big 31" came in, and I took him. This was the longest shot I took all week at about 170 yards. What a stud! No way this day could be topped I thought. That was until I finally got my scope down on a massive stallion zebra about an hour before sundown. I don't think you could write it up any better. Off to see my favorite barman Douglas to celebrate an amazing day in the bush.

    I decided I might need to slow down a bit as we had 5 more days of hunting and I was nearing my budget limit. I went out with my buddy the next morning to bust his marbles a bit. Watched him add a warthog and Impala to the salt. Spent the afternoon touring and helping feed the game in their breeding facilities. Wow, did I see some amazing trophies in there.

    Day 5 was time to get back on the rifle. I wanted to get a kudu, we set off for the mountains just a few miles behind the lodge. We hunted hard for the extremely elusive grey ghost. I will never understand how such a big animal can vanish into thin air so quickly. We finally got the bead on a nice wide old bull at about 150 yards above us in the mountain. He needed to come forward about 3' to clear a tree and give me a shooting lane. After about a 10 minute (felt like 3 days) wait, he finally took 2 steps forward. I sent a Barnes 180 gr TTSX his way, it hit the mark and that big bull didn't go far. I finally got to breathe again after about a 10 minute pause when I saw him go down about 40 yards from where I shot him. To stand there with my hands on my kudu half way up a mountain overlooking the valley below is a picture that I will never forget. How did I even get here? At that moment I was on top of the world. I could go home completely happy, but at the same point never wanted to leave. Hats off to the crew that drug that big dude off of the mountain without a single scratch. After getting him down, I told Japie I was ready to relax. I wanted to night hunt for cats/porcupines, but the only other thing I would consider was a Red Hartbeest, bushbuck, or second warthog/Impala. Well, just like he called it in, about a mile down the road we saw a great Red Hartbeest that we couldn't help but try and stalk. We got in on him, got a better look at him and I knew I couldn't let it walk. The 300 strikes again! Once we got him loaded up, I unloaded my gun and dove into the cooler box to start celebrating another amazing day in the bush. I was nearly out of the money my wife allowed, luckily I had some secret emergency cash hidden away.

    I pretty much went strictly to night hunting at that point. Day 7 while running around I ended up taking a problem child warthog that had been destroying the yard in their second unoccupied lodge. That night my patience paid off on a long awaited porcupine. I was officially done!

    What an amazing adventure with amazing friends. The ones I took, and the new friends I made. Hell, we were all family by the time we left. I challenge anyone to take on the records we hold at the Serengeti lodge. 6 guys took down 46 trophies (all plains game except one 40" Cape Buffalo) and just over 600 beers. I have a feeling the rednecks from Oklahoma's records will stand until we can get back!

    I can't say enough about my experience with the guys at Serengeti Safari's. They gave each of us an amazing personal experience. I have no doubts there are a lot of great operations in S Africa, but I can't imagine getting a better experience or finding a place with more game and friendlier folks. They took on quite a task agreeing to hunt 6 of us. It went very smooth, those guys planned and communicated a lot, but I rarely saw any of my buddies out hunting unless we wanted to. Every guy in the group got what they were after plus extras.

    Thanks for reading. This is my first post on here, although I've been reading every thing I could over the last couple years to try and prepare, after my experience, I couldn't help but tell my story and give some major kudos to the guys that took care of us. If you haven't experience Africa, you need to. I always thought this was just a pipe dream for me. As a younger guy, it took me and my group some time and effort to save up the money to make it happen. But if we could pull it off, I'm convinced anyone can. If you see Serengeti Safari's at DSC this year, stop in and say hello to Japie and Phillip. If you see a bunch of ugly guys in their brochure, it's probably my group. Happy hunting guys, until next time...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2016

  2. dory

    dory AH Fanatic

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    HA ha ha !!!
    Thats one hunt for the record books .
    Well done .
     
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  3. Sand Rat

    Sand Rat AH Fanatic

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    Nice report, would love to see pictures of your trophies!
     

  4. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR GOLD BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Congratulations.

    Drag and drop the proof right into your thread any time.
     
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  5. spike.t

    spike.t SPONSOR Since 2013 AH Ambassador

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  6. edward

    edward GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    sounds like you all had a good time.you will all be doing it again!
     
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  7. shaft55

    shaft55 New Member

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    You don't have to threaten me with a good time. Here are my trophies plus an awesome group photo they drug our skulls out for. Thanks for the nice comments guys.

    image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg You don't have to threaten me w image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
     
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  8. dory

    dory AH Fanatic

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    Love it !
    What a team photo .
    The next olympic sport maybe ???
     
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  9. bluey

    bluey AH Legend

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    great times shaft,
    can tell you had a fun African adventure ,mate
    sounds like you lads get a tad thirsty , while hunting .....
    thanks for sharing your memories and photos with us all .........(y)(y)
     
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  10. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Nice! And just about 1 trophy per person, per day, :W Gun:And Just over 12 beers per, person per day. :D Beers:Pretty good average all in all!! :P Punk:Congratulations and it looks like you all had a fantastic time:D Beer Bottle::P Cowboy:
     
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  11. dory

    dory AH Fanatic

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    Why arn t you out fishing .
     

  12. bluey

    bluey AH Legend

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    :E Big Grin::E Big Grin:I am ......
    cant you tell ,,,,im not hunting at the moment

    ive been on land 16 hours ,since l came home from zambia
     

  13. vette447

    vette447 AH Veteran

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    Great write up and trophies. Looks like you guys had a hell of a time. Congrats!
     
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  14. ROCKET

    ROCKET AH Fanatic

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    Wow......congrats for a great hunt and very nice trophies.....I would wish to be with you there, to help you with the hard work at the Bar....!!!!
     
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  15. vette447

    vette447 AH Veteran

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    Love the first pic. Looks like your group did really well. Did you guys leave any animals there for the next hunters?

    I am hoping I can go chase a few select species with Japie here soon so I sure hope so. :D
     

  16. shaft55

    shaft55 New Member

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    We couldn't believe they pulled everything out for us, it was a total surprise. We didn't get everything in the picture, as those poor skinners got a little behind. They were extremely nice and good at their job, but I think everyone at the skinning shack was happy to see us leave.

    I can assure you, the only chance my group of degenerates would have at the Olympics would be beer drinking. Sounds like a hell of an idea to me!
     
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  17. shaft55

    shaft55 New Member

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    Thanks Rocket, although Douglas was an amazing barman, I'm not sure he could of handled much more. We kept him very busy. He kept the rum, scotch, vodka, and beer flowing like water. He didn't even have time to pose for a proper picture! image.jpg
     
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  18. shaft55

    shaft55 New Member

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    Don't you worry buddy, there is plenty left for ya. I sure hope you find that big cat that screamed at me all night waiting on a civet cat to come visit the bone yard. I'm not sure what is in your mixed bag plans, but I highly recommend you make room for a waterbuck as they have some absolute bruisers roaming around. Our group didn't touch the elands either, I didn't see any till later in my trip when I couldn't afford them, but there are some beasts there as well. They have trophies in every species man. I hope you get to go with them. It is quite the paradise man. Ask Phillip to take you bird hunting one morning if you have time, it's the only thing I found I could beat him at!
     
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  19. dory

    dory AH Fanatic

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    Was all the spirits on top of the 600 beers ??
    Legends !!!
     
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  20. Wheels

    Wheels AH Legend

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    It's always great to read a report through the eyes of a first timer. Your excitement certainly shown through.

    Congratulations on your trophies. The waterbuck is a stud.

    Welcome to the posting side of AH. Look forward to your participation.

    All the best from a fellow redneck Okie.(y)
     
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