SOUTH AFRICA: Tootabi Hunting Safaris Report

MexHunter

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After moving to Nigeria in August 2014 started planning my first safari to Africa with much anticipation. After a bit of research we finally decided on Tootabi Hunting Safari with Lood to target the spiral slam (Eland, Nyala, Bushbuck and Kudu).

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Departed Lagos, Nigeria on Sept 4th at 10:20 pm with my wife Chi Chi via South Africa Airlines arriving Johannesburg at 510 am on Sept 5th. After a short 3 hour lay over we departed via Mango Airlines to Port Elizabeth arriving at 1000 am. Loodt and Lammie (PH) were waiting for us at the airport. About 1 hour later we arrived at the lodge, the trip was quite scenic along the coastline. This trip was originally scheduled for April 2015, but unfortunately work got in the way and had to reschedule.

We got unpacked and met Loodt's mother Charlene at the lodge. Very welcoming and the lodge is very nice! We had some day light to burn so Lammie said to load up and let's go looking for Nyala. We hunted the family farm with Lammie, Loodt and Attie (tracker). We checked a couple of pastures glassing before we pulled into one pasture and spotted about 5 Nyala.

We hiked to the back of the pasture to get a closer look at some other Nyala before we decided to back track and go after the original 5 we spotted. As luck would have it they crossed in front of us and Lammie put the sticks down and instructed me to take the dominant Nyala. One round from Lammie's 30-06 to the shoulder with 168 grain accubond slowed down the Nyala. A second round behind the shoulder was required to finally put him down.

A magnificent start to the safari, Nyala in the salt! Many a beer and wine consumed that evening with an excellent dinner prepared by Mrs. Charlene and staff. Dinner photo with me, Chi Chi, Charlene, Carel and Lammie with Loodt being the camera.

To be continued .....

Kent and Chi Chi
 
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gillettehunter

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What a great way to start a safari. My last trip it was the evening of the 3rd day before I pulled the trigger. I love Nyala. Yours is beautiful with nice ivory tips. Congrats. bruce
 

dtarin09

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Can't wait to learn more - keep the posts coming.
 

dobber

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only been back a few days and already miss the food lol
Looks like you are being well taken care of, much like we were
 

MexHunter

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Day 2: Sunday Sept 6th was a day to catch up on our sleep. Woke up to a great breakfast and then off to the Addo National Elephant Park with Lammie and Attie guiding us around. We drove around for 3 hrs in the morning with no luck finding elephant stopping for a good lunch at main check in station restaurant. After lunch on a tip from one of the park rangers we finally located a group of about 40 elephants with a few coming close as they crossed the road near us! We saw Kudu, Elephant, Red Hartebeest, Zebra, Wart Hog, Eland, Jackal, Guinea Fowl, Egyptian Geese, Cape Buffalo, Tortoise, Ostrich and numerous other birds. We got back to the lodge around 4 pm and then Lammie suggested we go scout for a good Bushbuck that was spotted near the lodge. Sat until dark looking for the bushbuck, but he was a no show. Another great dinner and drinks then off to bed looking forward to bushbuck hunt on the Monday morning.
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To be continued ...
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Kent
 

Wildside Outdoors

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Awesome! The whole Tootabi family are great people! you will have a blast! BUT DON'T SHOOT THE BIG BUSHBUCK CLOSE TO THE LODGE!!!! He is for when I return!
 

MexHunter

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Day 3: We sat on high bank looking for the bushbuck near the lodge, he never showed up. Hunted another farm near the lodge and drove around looking for bushbuck with no luck. Spoke to one of the hands at the farm and got some info on where the bushbuck move late in the day.

Made arrangements to go hunt another farm near Paterson for bushbuck. We drove around and walked up and down some hills glassing. Spotted one decent bushbuck about 250 yds away and stalked to about 20 yds before he finally spotted us. He was a bit narrow and we gave him a pass. We ended up seeing several bushbucks and does but no shooters yet.

We went back to the other farm to sit in an open field where the bushbuck were supposed to come out. After 5 pm some kudu started to come out at the end of the field. About 5:45 pm Attie spotted some bushbuck coming out on the opposite end of the field we were setup on. No cover between us and bushbuck, had to crawl for about 150 yds to get into position for a shot. The best bushbuck was at 180 yds and light was fading fast. I setup on sticks and tried to make the shot sitting - bad news I put a round over him and they all bolted! Note to self practice more shooting on sticks in different positions.

Day 4: We were after eland this morning and departed lodge at 630 am. Got to the farm and drove around until we spotted the eland on a hill side. Started out stalk to the group of eland but some blesbuck higher up on the hill busted us and bolted. As luck would have it they ran between us and the eland and took the eland off with them to the other end of the ranch.

We got back in the truck and went around to get down wind of the eland for another stalk. Between ostrich and egyptian geese making noise the eland spooked again and headed back to the other end of the ranch where we initially spotted them. This time we hiked for about 30 minutes climbing a steep hill before we caught up with the group of eland. Lammie put the sticks down as the eland started to try and slip away from us. Put first round on his shoulder and he only went about 10 yards standing behind some brush. He was rocking back and forth good and when he step out the second round was behind the shoulder into lungs. This finally put him down and third round was required to end him quickly!

Later that afternoon we went back to the farm where I missed the good bushbuck and setup on other end of the field where they came out the night before. About 520 pm the first bushbuck came out followed by a few other bushbuck and does. The big bushbuck we were after never did show, but a monster kudu bull made an appearance! Hopefully this kudu bull will make for a good story later in the week after we got permission to hunt him. End of the day and another great meals and drinks at the lodge thanks to Mrs. Charlene and staff! The eland tenderloin on the grill was excellent! Tomorrow morning we take a road trip to the kudu camp. Happy Hunter and Wife, she spent the day at the Mohair factory shopping.

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CAustin

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Looks like you had a great hunt sir!
 

Wildside Outdoors

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Awesome! Loodt has access to some phenomenal eland!
 

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Enjoying the report, great Nyala and Eland also......wait for more....!!!!!
 

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Nice looking eland. Nice gray color and a good mop. Big animals. Take a bit of lead to get them down. Congrats. Bruce
 

MexHunter

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Day 5: Wednesday morning we got up early and made road trip to the Kudu Camp (aka Rhinosterhoek). After getting unpacked we went for a drive looking for a good kudu bull. We msaw any kudu bulls and cows, just no shooter yet. Went back to camp at noon for lunch and a quick nap.

At 3 pm we went into a valley and setup on a ridge to glass for kudu. We ended up seeing about a dozen kudu including one bull that was estimated to be +/- 46". I may regret my decision to pass on this particular bull but I saw the other good bull near the Tootabi lodge that was clouding my judgement (lol). Beautiful camp house built in 1820's and the landscape quite different from the brush near Paterson.
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Day 6: Thursday morning we got up early and drove around the farm looking for other kudu bulls. Unfortunately we didn't locate any good shooter kudu bulls so we packed up and head back to Tootabi lodge. We made an afternoon hunt at the other farm near Tootabi lodge where we saw the good bushbuck and kudu bull.

Had 3 bushbuck and 2 kudu bulls come out late in the day, but the 2 shooters we were hunting didn't make an appearance. Thats hunting, but at least it didn't spoil the sunset and tomorrow is another day!

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Congratulations with your hunt so far. Looking forward to the rest of the report.
 

Warbird782

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Good report. I am looking forward to hearing the rest...
 

Justhunt

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Very nice report, love those Eland! Can't wait for the rest
 

MexHunter

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Day 7: Friday morning we went back to the ranch where we saw the good Kudu bull and glassed the field. Saw some young bushbuck and our Kudu didn't make an appearance. Tried looking for the Bushbuck that hangs out near the lodge, but once again a no show!

That afternoon we went back to the same farm we hunted in the morning hoping to see either the Kudu bull or shooter bushbuck. Attie our tracker was setup on one end of the field and called us on radio about 6 pm that a good bushbuck was spotted with some females. We trekked to other end of field and started glassing trying to find the bushbuck in a hedge row. About 620 pm he finally stepped out at 120 yds or so and I was setup on sticks. Unfortunately I made another bad shot in low light and it was a clean miss (now dejected)!

Day 8: Saturday morning we made a road trip to a dairy farm to hunt the brush/sand hills. We made a couple of lengthy stalks hoping to run into bushbuck feeding on edge of brush. We walked over a hill and had one marginal bushbuck at less than 20 yards and saw another young bushbuck later. Starting to think it wasn't going to happen for me as we were back in truck riding to another location on the farm to glass.

We were slowing down as we were approaching a gate and we looked to our right in the clear cut and a shooter bushbuck is standing at 75 yards. Quickly jump out the trip and throw the gun across hood of truck, no time for sticks or stalking as he is staring us down. Get him in the scope and squeeze off a shot as he is quartering away and down he went. Good hit on shoulder and exit on neck! A very old mature bushbuck with a battered set of horns and rough callused shoulder with hair loss due to age and too many fights.

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After harvesting the bushbuck we went to hunt a farm near Addo for Impala. We spotted the Impala a few times and put a stalk on them twice but couldn't get into position to get a good look at the +/- 23" shooter.
Later that afternoon we went back to the farm where we saw the Kudu bull, ran into group of 5 young bulls but our shooter was a no show again. Running out of time on the Kudu!

Day 9: Sunday morning off early at 530 am for all day game drive, breakfast, lunch and dinner at Shamwari Game Preserve. After this mornings game drive we have seen 4 of the Big 5 (elephant, rhino, lion and buffalo). We had lions at 3 yards from the jeep this morning, a bit close for comfort!

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