SOUTH AFRICA: Silver Anniversary Safari With Serapa Safaris

Sand Rat

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Looks like you and Donna had a great time, congrats on the Silver Aniversary. Keep the report coming, appears the lady is a somewhat better marksman. :D
 

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Saturday the 15th - This could be called snake day or perhaps something else

We started the morning with both Okie and Jacques as the PH's in the truck. Somewhat soon the driver/tracker spotted a fairly long black snake in the road. Jacques dispatched this snake with a shot or two from Donna's -06. Turned out to be a mole snake which isn't poisonous.

On we go when both Okie and Jacques get excited about a bull in a group of Eland. On the stalk we go and we're going to have Donna take the shot. As we close the distance, Okie and I take a seat in the sand and let Jacques and Donna move forward. They're about 20 yards in front of us and we just sit back and watch as Jacques sets up Donna on the sticks but sitting down. We wait and then we wait some more. After doing this we wait again, Donna behind the scope all this time. Turns out she was on the bull and was ready to take the shot, just waiting for another bull that was between the bull we wanted and Donna. Despite being well hidden and a nice consistent breeze in our face, the eland suddenly bolt. We are perplexed as to why.

We head back to the truck. As we are walking with Okie and Jacques a bit in front of us, the boys get excited. They've now found a cape cobra...definitely poisonous. Jacques once again dispatches the issue with a shot from Donna's -06.

Back at the truck, still wondering what went wrong on this Eland hunt. We start to move forward in the truck, but barely move at all when we figure it out.

Sometime around Thursday after hearing the lions roar a few times and seeing how this all works at Serapa, I asked Jacques about hunting a lioness. I knew there were 4 lions out on the ranch. Two lions and two lionesses. 3 of the cats were spoken for that week, the remaining one was a lioness that had been released about two months prior to my arrival.

The eland hunt was busted because the lioness we set out for this morning were being pursued by the cat. We just had started to move forward in the truck when the tracker sitting on the hood spotted her tracks and then subsequently spotted the cat back and to our right laying under a tree. She was winded from her chase of the eland and moved into the shade to cool off.

We pulled away in the truck to circle back on the lion and she never knew we had been there. Eventually we stopped and started the stalk. She stayed right in under that shade tree and was at one point asleep. We got to within about 60 yards of her without her knowing. With a good breeze again in our face, she however became aware of our presence. Jacques wanted to close another 20 yards before taking a shot, but she bolted and I mean she ran fast. Something very different about being that close to a top predator.

So back to the truck we go to pick up her track. It didn't take long as she crossed a road heading away and to our left from us. We crawled along in the truck getting one more brief glimpse of her. She was still moving quickly away from us. Up ahead we take a left, again hoping to see her tracks and that she had slowed down. Well she had not only slowed up, she took up refuge within a very large thorn bush just off to the side of the road. It was so thick in there that nobody had spotted her and we were about 20-30 yards away. No matter, she decided with a mock charge and a very angry growl to announce her presence. This inspired the tracker riding on the hood to make a very hasty retreat to the back of the truck.

Jacques surveyed the situation. The particular bush she holed up in was surrounded by other thorn bushes, there was just no way to approach without having to get very close to see her. This cat with the heat of the day coming on was not happy and without question getting that close would initiate a charge. So we decided to leave her be for the time being and let her both physically and emotionally cool off.

We pull away and head in for lunch. Before doing so, we spotted another group of eland and decide to make a stalk for Donna. Somewhere in the middle of this, a nice gemsbok bull presents himself. Donna unfortunately misses with her shot.

On we go again and get close to some black wildebeest. At this point I had announced after having missed 3 of them, that I'm not shooting one, but Donna should. She connects on a fairly long shot, but not well. The bull takes off with the herd. We pursue in the truck to see where they're going. They went a long ways and I'm actually glad we didn't have Jacques' dogs with us as the heat of the day would've really been hard on them. Eventually we catch up to the herd and the bull is now acting sick. We are able to finish him off and Donna had what would be her final animal of the hunt.

In for lunch we go. Now having worked with and spent a lot of time with Jacques over that past several years, I knew this lioness was not following the normal pattern. Jacques is pretty evenly keeled and generally only gives subtle cues when he's bothered by something. Having spent enough time with him however, I can read him and I know he's a bit concerned with this cat. I don't need to ask him if he's concerned and as such I don't. Nor do I mention this to Donna, but she can also read me. So the post lunch nap resulted in no sleep at all.

We had quite a blow of wind midday and I didn't think we'd go back out, but it died down. So we head back to the lioness later in the day to see if she is still in the same bush and she is. She may have physically cooled off, but she's still not in a very good mood. But she does move off at the sight of the truck, but not very far. We get off the truck and move towards her. We are not as close as Jacques prefers to get on these hunts, but she is ready to charge. I get on the sticks but am not comfortable with the amount of brush just in front of her and she moves a bit. Jacques tells me I should have shot and I feel I've let him down.

We move again and at this point I'm going into a zone where all I'm thinking about is getting on the sticks quickly and finding that white spot under the cat's chin. Jacques tells me later that the cat initiated another mock charge as we're setting up. Honestly I did not notice, I was focused more on Jacques and the sticks. He sets up the sticks......and I know exactly where the cat is......up on the sticks with my .458B&M and find her immediately in the scope laying down, looking directly at us with her head up.......put the cross hairs immediately on that white spot and pull the trigger......immediate thwap sound of the bullet impacting is heard.

We move again keeping a close eye on the lioness who hasn't moved since the first shot. We get broadside to her and I put another one in her thru the chest. I did not hear a bullet impact and saw dust fly up behind her, though I'd missed. The cat still hasn't moved. At this point we feel confident that she was dead and approach. She was in fact stone cold dead. The first shot from the .458B&M with that 260gr CEB SOCOM had done its job. Her head was up when I shot, but immediately went down at the shot. Her only movement that Jacques saw was her tail twitched a couple of times.

My second shot hit her square in the middle of the chest broadside and exited, this is why I saw the dust fly up. I'm guessing we didn't here the impact as she had a big leaking hole in the front of her chest.

I cannot fully explain my feelings at this point. This was not a hoorah moment. My feelings on this were more solemn but also one of relief. I had shot poorly on this safari so I was quite relieved that my shots were true and no one was hurt by this very angry cat. But the taking of a top line predator.....well I just can't explain it. This is not to say I didn't enjoy the hunt, just that I wouldn't describe it as enjoyment. I am glad I did this hunt and will never forget it. But it is a different feeling than taking a large kudu or a trophy sized elk here in the U.S. I guess I still haven't wrapped my head around it. I just know after it was done, I was shaking a bit. The adrenaline during the hunt had I guess went to my brain and caused me to focus like I'd never focused on a hunt before, but it was now going to the muscles in my body and giving me the shakes. An amazing experience.

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billc

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Nice group of animals and seems you had some tough luck but hung in there and took some nice animals. Plus it looks like you enjoyed another fine hunt with friends which is so much of the trips when you get to go back.
 

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Nice group of animals and seems you had some tough luck but hung in there and took some nice animals. Plus it looks like you enjoyed another fine hunt with friends which is so much of the trips when you get to go back.

Tough luck shooting for sure. The rest was just challenging hunting and I wouldn't change a thing about it.
 

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Congratz on the 25th, a great way to spend your anniversary.

Like the lioness and both yours and your wife's smiles speak more than a 10000 words could express:)
 

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Congrats on the hunt Phil. And congrats on twenty five years with your wife.
 

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.....

I cannot fully explain my feelings at this point. This was not a hoorah moment. My feelings on this were more solemn .......... But the taking of a top line predator.....well I just can't explain it. This is not to say I didn't enjoy the hunt, just that I wouldn't describe it as enjoyment. I am glad I did this hunt and will never forget it. But it is a different feeling than taking a large kudu or a trophy sized elk here in the U.S. I guess I still haven't wrapped my head around it. .......... An amazing experience.
........

I get it.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Congratz on the 25th, a great way to spend your anniversary.

Like the lioness and both yours and your wife's smiles speak more than a 10000 words could express:)

Congrats on the hunt Phil. And congrats on twenty five years with your wife.

Thank you gents!
 

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I cannot fully explain my feelings at this point. This was not a hoorah moment. My feelings on this were more solemn but also one of relief. I had shot poorly on this safari so I was quite relieved that my shots were true and no one was hurt by this very angry cat. But the taking of a top line predator.....well I just can't explain it. This is not to say I didn't enjoy the hunt, just that I wouldn't describe it as enjoyment. I am glad I did this hunt and will never forget it. But it is a different feeling than taking a large kudu or a trophy sized elk here in the U.S. I guess I still haven't wrapped my head around it. I just know after it was done, I was shaking a bit. The adrenaline during the hunt had I guess went to my brain and caused me to focus like I'd never focused on a hunt before, but it was now going to the muscles in my body and giving me the shakes. An amazing experience.

View attachment 161237 View attachment 161238


Very poignant, introspective and thought provoking statement.


Sounds like a wonderful anniversary. I'm happy for you and Donna.(y)
 

thi9elsp

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Congratulations on the cat. Although not quite the same predator, I had a similar feeling with my Alaska black bear. More introspective than I've been on any other hunt. It's a reflection that we're alive and doing want human's are supposed to be doing participating in nature and the cycle of life.
 

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Great trip for both of you and congrats! I also understand that feeling of taking a mature cat, including the duel of wit and will. Glad Jacques is doing well. Thanks for the report. Will you be able to import the lioness?
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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A few more thoughts on my lioness hunt. I offer this up not to argue with anyone regarding captive bred lion hunting. I know there are members here who do not care for it and would like to see it ended. While I may disagree with you on your opinion, I sincerely respect it. I'm not going to try to change your mind about this, but I do want to present some facts about my experience.

While I did take my .458B&M, I took my 260gr CEB load which I used for PG last year. I did not head over to Serapa with a lioness hunt planned. Nor had I spoken to Jacques previously about doing a lion/lioness hunt. It was only after I had been there a couple of days that I started to think about it. I say this as I can tell you the lions that were on the ranch were not there for me.

I can also tell you that one of the other lions hunted last week had acclimated himself to the ranch and was hunting his own meals. I can say this as during that hunt, the hunters came across a warthog that had been killed by the lion being hunted and apparently had his dinner interrupted by the hunters.

I will also tell you that on a ranch of some 45,000 acres or so, there is plenty of room for a lion to make its escape. And finally I can without hesitation tell you this lion was not drugged. It was fully aware, fully capable and I'm quite certain was willing to take us on had we approached any closer.

I do not offer this up in an effort to even pretend that this lioness hunt was like hunting a wild lioness. I'm quite certain it isn't. But if there's a way to do a captive bred lion/lioness hunt right, I believe Serapa and I'm sure others are trying to conduct these hunts that way.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Will you be able to import the lioness?

No I won't as far as I know. And that brings something else up. I've said it before, but honestly it was a bit easy for me. But I'll say it again now with a little more skin in the game. If you decide to not hunt any animal because USFWS has decided it won't allow you to import that animal, you have decided to let USFWS keep you from hunting. And you are robbing yourself of an experience you'll never likely forget. Don't allow USFWS to win! Go on that hunt you've dreamt of and take a bunch of pictures. They cannot take your memories away.
 

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Good for you! And I have said before, if we consider ourselves conservationists, we MUST hunt anyway, otherwise we are hypocrites. That may step on some toes, and that is not my intent, just my conviction.
 

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Well done Phil! I know from personal experience that it sucks when we don't shoot as well as we should. Been there, done that. I shouldn't be allowed to shoot anything until about day 2 at least as it takes me time to get un-flightbound!o_O:rolleyes::eek::D
 

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Congrats on the milestone anniversary! Thank you for sharing your safari and congrats on that as well!
 

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Outfitter: Serapa Safaris
Location: Northwest Province, South Africa, a bit south of the town of Tosca
PH's : Jacques Spamer @AAA Africa Serapa Safaris, Ockert Olivier
Travel : Emirates Airlines
Rifles : M70 FW in .30-06 using 165gr North Fork Bonded Cores, .458B&M using 260gr CEB SOCOMs

So as most of you know, Jacques Spamer left HartzView Safaris earlier this year to work for Serapa Safaris. With this move, came a decision for me to make. I've been working for HartzView over the last several years, but it was Jacques who gave me that opportunity. And a very good friendship as well as strong trust has developed with Jacques. As such I asked Jacques if he would like me to continue working with him at Serapa and he agreed.

That said, I did not wish to actively rep for Serapa until I had hunted there. While I trusted Jacques and everything he told me about Serapa, I would feel like I'm being much more honest and giving an informed opinion if I had hunted there myself. With my older boy graduating high school and a busy summer getting him ready for college in Texas, it did not appear that could happen this year. Furthermore, this was the year of my silver anniversary and I wanted to do something special for my awesome wife Donna. When I ran various trips by her including a trip to Hawaii, she said she'd prefer to go back to Africa where she had taken her one and only animal back in 2010. Who am I to argue? Furthermore how stupid would I be to argue against a trip to Africa?

So as it turned out our younger boy was going to be having his fall break from school right around the time of our anniversary giving us a little more than a week to fit this trip in. Thanks to Donna's brother and his wife in Dallas who have been wanting to have our son for a week, we could make this work. Also a great deal on airfare thru Emirates was available, and so everything came together to make this work.

I could have titled this thread the "No List" safari. I say that as I really did not want to have a list of animals to take. Donna had taken one and only one animal hunting and that was in 2010, an ancient impala on the last day. She is so new to hunting, everything PG wise was open. I wanted her to be open to anything she decided she wanted and not feel any kind of pressure to fill a list. To be clear here, no list does not equate to no budget and should not be interpreted that way. I had a budget in mind and as long as that budget hadn't been exhausted and she wanted that animal, so be it. Whether that resulted in fewer or more animals, I did not care. I did not have a list for myself either, save for a nice Springbok which in my previous trips had eluded me. Outside of the springbok, I was interested in taking any "monster" versions of animals previously taken. I was also intrigued with taking a brown hyena. But taking the hunt as it came was really the theme of this hunt. We were there to celebrate our anniversary and enjoy the hunt and that is exactly what we did.

I'm sure many of you have visited Serapa's website or have seen pics of the lodge posted by Jacques. The pictures don't lie, if anything they don't tell the whole story. The main lodge is just beautiful and the chalets equally so. Any of you wanting to bring perhaps a reluctant wife to Africa for a trip, will have a happy wife. The chalets feature stone counter tops ( granite?) with raised sinks, standalone tubs, walk-in shower and plenty of space with couches to kick back and relax when not hunting. The main lodge is just amazing. The attention to detail is apparent in everything and will be in my opinion appreciated even by those with picky tastes. My wife and I don't have such high standards, but it was certainly nice to be in a place designed by those who do.

The main lodge has chalets on both sides that curve around forming something of a semi-circle with a large fenced off watering hole in the middle. Thus whether you're in the lodge or your chalet you will have a view of the animals that are coming into the water hole. For us, this included one evening and the following morning a view of a very nice male lion. Yes, there are lions at any given moment on the property where you will hunt PG, more on that later.

More to follow......
Sounds like a really rough safari you and the Ms had to endure!!!
 

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What a happy anniversary, and congratulations on your 25th!

Very well written and engaging report...I've really enjoyed it. AAA Serapa Safaris looks like a spectacular place! I've seen it featured in a few hunting shows and the lodge looks amazing. Congrats on representing them and for your great success with your anniversary hunt!
 

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Congrats Phil, for the hunt and the anniversary !

I hunted at Serapa in 2010, I stayed at the old camp, as the one you stayed at was nearly finished, but still not in operation, I did visit it and can say it is truly a 5 Star camp.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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Congrats Phil, for the hunt and the anniversary !

I hunted at Serapa in 2010, I stayed at the old camp, as the one you stayed at was nearly finished, but still not in operation, I did visit it and can say it is truly a 5 Star camp.

Thanks Nyati! I'd say it was about time to come back and stay at the new lodge.....;)
 

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