SOUTH AFRICA: Two Weeks With Motshwere Safaris & Outfitters

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by chonk34, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    My dad and I are both quite introverted, and one reason we didn't take the second observer included in our package was that we didn't want to take someone along and find out that we couldn't handle two weeks with them. There are a lot of people who are fun in small doses, but being out in the field for a couple of weeks tends to bring out people's quirks. There were a lot of good people and parties in camp during our hunt, but with any group large enough there will be loudmouths and buffoons in the mix. I do think it would be preferable to be in a smaller camp with fewer people around. I am generally quite good at entertaining myself, though, so when the campfire talk got to be too much for me I went back to my room and read hunting books and magazines. The primary gripe I had with the large volume of hunters was the instability of our PH situation and my perception that Werner managed some of the trophies we could chase and the type of hunting we could do based on camp politics and logistics rather than our preferences. We also could have been more vocal at time with him about our desires. It's a two-way street.
     
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  2. Witold Krzyżanowski

    Witold Krzyżanowski AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Excellent hunting adventure. You did have a good hunting.
    Thanks for sharing.
     
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  3. jeff

    jeff AH Legend

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    Thanks for sharing , congrats on a great hunt!! Also thanks for giving a honest opinion about the outfit and what you liked and didn't ! Many reports only focus on the positives and don't mention the negatives.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  4. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    I think this is supposed to go at the front of the thread, but I wrote the story first.

    Country – South Africa, Limpopo Province

    Dates – Travel + Hunt: 14 JUN – 01 JUL 2019

    Hunt: 17 JUN – 29 JUN 2019 (13 days)

    Type of Hunt – Plains Game + Cape Buffalo

    Method of Hunting – Rifle

    Equipment –

    Plains Game (me): Tikka M695 .338 Win. Mag. Left-handed with Leupold VX-II 3-9x40 optic and Barnes VOR-TX 225-grain ammunition

    Plains Game (dad and his uncle): Sako A7 Roughtech Pro 7mm Rem. Mag with Leupold 3-18 optic (not sure on the specific model, illuminated Boone & Crockett reticle) and Barnes VOR-TX 160-grain ammunition

    Cape Buffalo (dad): Kimber of Oregon African .416 Rigby with Trijicon Accupoint 1-6x24 optic and Barnes VOR-TX Safari 400-grain solid and expanding ammunition

    Outfitter – Motshwere Safaris and Outfitters, operated by Werner Lewies

    PH – Tiaan 1, Tiaan 2 (they had two PH’s with the same given name and surname), Harry, Intern whose name I didn't catch

    Agent – I think my dad did a lot of his negotiating and pre-trip communication with Scott Blackburn, one of Motshwere’s U.S. reps. Flights and paperwork we figured out largely on our own.

    Locations Hunted – Various private ranches and tribal concessions in Limpopo province.

    Species Hunted –

    Me: Zebra, Gemsbok, Kudu, Impala, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbok, Black Wildebeest, Warthog

    Dad: Cape Buffalo, Nyala, Eland, Zebra, Aoudad Sheep, Impala, Waterbuck, Kudu

    Uncle: Gemsbok, Sable, Blue Wildebeest, Impala

    Trophy Quality – I am not a professional judge of trophy quality and I decided not to measure horns. I felt like the animals I came away with were amazing. I felt good about all of my trophies. I think my dad was pretty happy overall with his trophies, especially his Cape Buffalo. Since the hunt ended he has brought up getting a better Kudu multiple times, and I don’t think he quite got the Impala he was looking for.

    Species Seen, Population, and Quality of Game Observed – It seemed like there was plenty of game around of all types. We hunted a large variety of properties and terrain. There were examples of just about every commonly-hunted species available in South Africa in the horn room. I felt like the Sable hunting was a little too canned all around and the Kudu could have been better, although there were still some very good Kudu brought into the camp during our stay. It was very hard to get on a good Warthog, which left many people shooting whatever they could get when it came to pigs. Most of the game seemed pretty wild and required some bushcraft to gain position on.

    Lodging – I was happy with my room. There was WiFi in all of the lodges, although it was spotty around the campfire (they mentioned that they are working on that). I had hot water when I wanted a shower and there was a pretty nice library of hunting magazines available for reading. There was a television in our mini-lodge but I didn't watch it. They stocked the fridge in our mini-lodge with drinks for those occasions when we didn’t want to walk up to the main lodge/bar. Laundry was washed and ironed daily, and rooms and beds were made up every day. A couple of people lost laundry, but the lodge manager moved quickly to resolve it and improve their processes.

    Food – Kenny and his staff put out some great meals, incorporating plenty of game meat and some very nice side dishes. I heard that Kenny started out as a pastry chef, and his breakfast pastries and desserts were outstanding.

    Activities – We didn’t participate in any of the side excursions, but there were several available. Some groups went on a 1- or 2-day trip to Pilanesberg National Park that included game tours and elephant riding. There was also a trip available to visit Kruger National Park but the daily rate for that was 3x the cost of the Pilanesberg expedition with a minimum 3-night stay. Several groups also arranged shopping trips and spa days.

    Travel Methods – We flew direct with Delta to O R Tambo Airport from Atlanta in order to avoid potential rifle transport problems in Europe. All travel in-country was in the Motshwere vans or hunting trucks. I think it was about 4 hours between the airport and Motshwere's lodge.

    High Points – We had some good stalks and generally got the animals and trophy quality we were looking for. I am ecstatic about all of my trophies, and I probably did the most stalking in our party. Werner, his family, and the lodge and hunting staff were all personable and went out of their way to create an inviting and friendly atmosphere. Anything we needed was generally taken care of on the spot. My package was all-inclusive, so I didn’t have any surprise charges to account for, although I am still waiting to hear from the Dip and Pack service on their piece of it. When we considered adding to our packages or changing them, we were generally able to get a price on the spot. We got to experience several types of hunting: spot-and-stalk, blind hunting, driven game hunting, and climbing a hill and glassing for game. The PH’s generally set us up well for shots, and if we were uncomfortable with the shot would help us get into a better spot. The PH’s pulled us off of game that turned out to be other-than-expected, even when it meant another long stalk. The trackers were excellent and we didn’t lose an animal, even after a couple of ugly shots on my part.

    Low Points – Motshwere runs a rather high-volume operation, so there were generally quite a few other hunters in camp. For us that meant a lot of personalities to get used to, and in some cases that had a negative impact on our experience. A more outgoing hunter might have liked having so many people to talk to, so that's really up to you. Motshwere recruits like 80-90% of their hunters from Utah/Idaho, so many parties had a lot in common. A couple of our hunts felt kind of canned, specifically the Sable and my dad’s Kudu. We spent a lot of time in the truck, but maybe if we had asked to do more stalking and tracking they would have accommodated that request. This was our first trip to Africa, so we didn't want to make waves. I spent quite a lot of time tearing my way through the brush, though, but I think my dad wanted to do more hiking than he did. During our second week we switched from PH to PH every day or half-day. That was a little jarring and I think we missed a couple of opportunities because of the adjustment to the new PH styles. We lost at least a half-day of our hunt due to the misadventures of another group of hunters and I think that in-camp politics rather than hunting skill was the cause of my dad’s relatively disappointing Kudu experience.

    Things to Improve – I would like more consistency with the PH situation. Sitting in a blind with a new PH was okay, but after getting used to the first week with a very assertive PH and switching to a more passive PH we had a hard time adjusting to the new style. They are improving their facilities with a new spa and more lodging, but I hope that the increased throughput ability doesn’t degrade the open family atmosphere. Really many of my complaints were tied to the large number of people in camp and the resulting clashes between personalities.

    Overall Rating – Regardless of my nitpicks, this was the trip of a lifetime. I don’t think my dad, his uncle, or I could imagine a better way to spend two weeks. We saw nearly everything we hoped to see and brought in every animal we shot at. Our trophy collection matched or exceeded everything else in the horn room, and my dad’s Cape Buffalo was the trophy of a lifetime with a good hunt to go along with it. I wouldn’t hesitate to hunt with Motshwere again, although I think I would communicate a little more on my end now that I have gotten my first taste of Africa and a better feel for my own preferences.

    Would Recommend to a Friend?

    I would definitely recommend Motshwere to a friend, especially a friend without experience in Africa. During our hunt we got to see a wide range of game and terrain, learn what we like and don’t like, and the entry-level price and high success rate ensured that we would be coming back to Africa having had a good experience. Werner and his family and staff run a comfortable camp and are good at what they do. I think that Werner has addressed many of the issues that have come up in previous hunt reports. I read those reports and had some concerns going into this hunt, but it seemed to me that he has adapted and improved his processes based on those complaints.
     
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  5. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    I tried to be accurate about my perceptions. I think we tend to tiptoe around criticism because it can get overblown, especially on the internet. It was the trip of a lifetime and I think we got more than we paid for when it comes to experiences and trophies. I wouldn't hesitate to hunt with Motshwere again, but I did learn some lessons about what I like and don't like and I hoped other hunters might appreciate that insight.
     
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  6. K-man

    K-man AH Elite

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    Thanks for taking the time to write a clear, concise and enjoyable report! I especially appreciate listing the good and bad and whether you would return to them, without excess emotions or drama. Glad you had a great time!
     
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  7. enysse

    enysse AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for the down to earth hunting report! I really enjoyed it! I would love to hunt nothing but warthogs for a week if I could. Some people think it’s crazy but I’s really like to get a nice one!
     
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  8. kudukid

    kudukid AH Veteran

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    Chonk34 I almost have exactly the same rifle/scope/projectile combination as my African firearm.
    I also have a Tikka M695 in .338 WM in left hand. The scope is a Leupold VRX 3-9x 40 and I use Barnes 210 gn TTSX. Small world hey!
     
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  9. kudukid

    kudukid AH Veteran

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    Here is my Tikka M695 .338 WM left hand. P1040797.jpeg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2019
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  10. grsep

    grsep AH Member

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    88A44344-CF6C-42A6-BD24-5B26FFED9AEA.jpeg 65FCD64E-85C6-4181-9E2C-070868FEEAC7.jpeg 94B31DCB-1AE6-4506-86C2-F3C4FCFDF367.jpeg I loved the hunt report. I hunted with Werner in 2017 and had the trip of a lifetime with my 2 boys and my father! That was my 3rd trip with Motswhere. I have always said and tell everybody that harvesting a mature male warthog is the hardest animal to take in SA. I can’t wait till my next trip!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 17, 2019
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  11. grsep

    grsep AH Member

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    CE87537C-051C-4EF8-A3A1-6A24A7E753EB.jpeg This was my high point with Motshwere Safaris!
     
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  12. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    Warthogs are a lot of fun. I will definitely be chasing another when I go back to Africa.
     

  13. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    There are limited options out there for left-handed folks. The scope came with the rifle, which I bought off of Gunbroker. It punished my shoulder quite a bit at the range and I was flinching pretty badly by the third box of practice ammo, so I added a LimbSaver Recoil Pad before I headed out on my trip. That significantly reduced the recoil I felt and I think it improved my shooting while hunting. I do wish I had been able to get another magazine or two for the rifle. None of the options I've seen online have pictures or clear descriptions, so I am hesitant to buy them.
     

  14. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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  15. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    That first warthog is a monster! I think the lower tusks on him are as long as my warthog's upper tusks!
     

  16. chonk34

    chonk34 BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Member

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    I am eagerly awaiting my next trip to Africa. Cape Buffalo will be on my list. Your CB has got some nice character, and will certainly look good on the wall!
     

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