THURSDAY : Today we had breakfast a little later as we were to head out for springbok once again, after yesterdays excitement louis was tired and we left him behind fast asleep we returned to the same property as before just up the road and picked one of their trackers and set off into the property there seemed to be less springbok moving about this morning and in much smaller groups we parked up and set off on foot we were soon spotting springbok and as before they would disappear into the distance . we headed off to one of the dry river beds in the bottom of a small gully and worked our way along hoping to appear close to a group when we came out at the far end but this also failed. we then changed tactics we sat on an area of high ground while Lloyd and the farm tracker would take a wide sweep around and see if they could move the springbok past us as we waited a small group appeared from behind us in a light scrubby area we moved a little closer and set up dani was scanning for a possible target when another group appeared to our left I tapped dani on the shoulder and whispered left 80 meters he turned to scan the group as they strolled past us he whispered "there's an ok one not the best but ok what do you want to do " I could see the day being a little frustrating so I said " ok lets do it " dani describes the springbok yes same one I was looking at in the scope we wait for it to clear the group I watch it stop and it takes a pee dani confirms its the one taking a pee safety off squeeze the trigger shoot clean underneath it big puff of dust and they all take off how the hell did I miss that dani confirms the miss . I turn to look at dani the look on his face was well worth missing the springbok for. I apologised and I think he said something about father like son as we walked back to the high ground as we reached the spot a group came past that Lloyd and co had moved we set up again dani picked out another buck and yes would you believe it missed again . dani looked like he was loosing the will to live at this point. Lloyd and the farm tracker re joined us as we sat in silence dani trying to work out how we would get a springbok and me what on earth was going wrong I think I was rushing the shot being a bit complacent
the farm tracker came up with a plan Lloyd would arc round again to move the springbok on and he knew where the would head to and we would be waiting so we set off back down one of the gully's and when in position Lloyd would move off as we came out of the gully we dani froze the springbok had already reached the ambush sight we sat down dani was worried Lloyd would push them off if he was moving but luckily Lloyd had already seen them and stopped and had been trying to get our attention to warn us they had already arrived Lloyd and dani exchanged hand signals and we moved forward to get a good shooting window we sat down set up the sticks place the rifle on them and waited as one by one they cleared the scrub and moved up the slope in front of us dani spotted a nice buck "the next group of three the far one he's the one just wait for him to clear the others he stopped the two others moved away in placed the cross hairs on the centre of the shoulder breathed out and squeezed the trigger to see him drop on the spot. at that point we were all relieved dani looked at his watch well 3 shots and done by 9 o'clock we set up the photos went back to the farm, where Lloyd skinned out the springbok then headed back to the lodge to relax for the rest of the morning.
AFTERNOON : while we relaxed at the lodge after the mornings adventure our attention returned to our plan for the next animal on the list, bushbuck was back on the menu the plan was to go and wait it out at a choice spot overlooking one of the valleys at mpunzi and if this didn't work depending on the weather the following day if its was good we would return to where we had seen the first bushbuck at the start of the week if the weather was bad we stay at mpunzi and hunt here for the day. it had turned into a very nice day really hot and no wind for the first time I broke out the shorts and louis even had a dip in the pool. At lunch there was a bit of ribbing about missed shots and Marius's dodgy home loads again and a bit more time was spent watching and spotting all the animals from the lodge veranda eventually it was time to change and set off louis stayed behind again as siting still for to long has never been a strong point of his . we were also accompanied by graham who we were to drop off along the way to sit over a jackal den that had shown some fresh activity . we spent the rest of the evening until dark sat on the edge of a cliff looking across the valley floor and opposite slope for signs of bushbuck but nothing was seen apart from a couple of kudu cows. but it was a nice way to spend a quiet sunny evening
we set off back to the lodge collecting graham along the way he jumped into the back of the truck just in case we saw a jackal on the way back well we had not gone far when stood in the middle of the track was a jackal it ran and stoped 30 meters away in the headlights of the truck dani say' " ears " I think ears I can see the whole bloody thing. then I understood as graham let off the shot from his 30-06 above us no sound moderator on that one above the ringing in my ears I could hear graham say " did I get it " we all go to look not a sign of anything I turn to dani and smile and shout " this missing virus is very contagious " graham spins out a few excuses I was shooting free hand my view was blocked etc etc me and dani get back in the cab we agree that there was a clear shot and that dani thought he could have hit it with iron sights. back at the lodge you should hwve seen louis face light up when we retold the missed opportunity to everyone 30 meters away really . after another great evening meal we all sat down and began to watch what we found out was one of Marius's favorite films a jean claude van dam martial arts, one he apparently has on blu ray well those that were present know flex the dog really in not named after a bow at all and a certain photo that appears every now and then takes on a whole new light Marius decided to turn in early or perhaps to work on his pose but much fun was had at his expense this evening after a few more beers it was time for bed
FRIDAY: The last day at breakfast we discussed the weather forecast for the day it did not look good rain coming in late morning so the choice was made stay at mpunzi and hunt bushbuck here we spent the whole morning looking at many valley sides and sunny slopes but no luck it was starting to look like we would be heading home without a bushbuck and after several hours of looking in was time for lunch so we returned to the lodge on our way back dani spotted a huge warthog we bailed out of the truck and set off but they were gone into the dense scrub before we could get a clear shot . we return to the bakkie and lunch. well the rain never came and it turned out to be another lovely day. after a little game spotting from the lodge it was time for the final opertunity on the final day I could not believe that it was nearly over already . Louis decided not to come with us and spend his last afternoon at the lodge in relax mode ready for th etrip back home Saturday .
THE LAST CHANCE : Me Lloyd an dani head off we drive to the far end of the property and park up at one end of a long valley one side slopes gently upwards while the side we begin to walk along is very steep to almost vertical but only about 50 meters high we slip in to the thorn bushes and follow a narrow trail used by animals that follows the edge of the cliff and as we reach open areas we stop and glass the surrounding valley we see very little animal movement of any kind but we keep going there is always the next gap and maybe who knows lady luck may shine one last time. the sun is now casting long shadows and I start to think about the missed opportunity earlier in the week and the realisation that I will not get a bushbuck this trip, but it means another trip will have to be organised so not all bad just a shame the last day would draw a blank. We stop once more to glass the opposite slope and as we go to move off Lloyd does a double take, points down just in front of us whispers to dani and crouches down and slips back past me all in one movement. I slip the rifle off my shoulder into both hands dani goes to set the sticks and freezes he carefully slides his arm down to his side and signals for me to move up I quietly move up using dani to hide my movements , dani whispers shoulder I slowly take off the safety and place the rifle on dani's left shoulder and look through the scope the first view I have is of a female bushbuck not twenty meters below us stood on the path that has split off from the one we were on and dropped to the valley floor and see is staring straight at us motion less dani whispers " see the doe " " yes "I reply dani whispers " below her to the left the dark patch in the bush you see it " I move the rifle to the left slowly and make out the dark blurry form hidden in the middle of the bush " I see it " I reply dani whispers " can you see the shoulder" I scan the bush for a point of reference I see what I believe is a bit of front leg move up the body a bit higher that should be about right and fire the bush buck takes off and we lose it for a moment we all stand looking down the bank I say to dani the shot felt good dani he said yes he's hit I then spot movement in a bush just below us and we move down the path toward it the buck is stood against a bush dani says shoot so I put another into the shoulder he still stood, dani said again so I placed a third shot into the shoulder area again the bush buck dropped his head and was done we almost ran down the bank to him when we got close we realised he had ran into the bush and got stuck, the first shot he was more angled than I thought had gone through the shoulder split its stomach and smashed a back leg which had caught in the bush the two other shots had both hit home one going straight through a small branch parts of which were embedded into the bushbuck the three of us just stand looking at him dani looks at his watch just under an hour left talk about taking it to the limit we all shake hands Lloyd says " good old buck " dani looks really happy as
we carry the bushbuck down to the valley floor when there is a track his head and neck are almost bald this teeth the ones that were left were worn right down this was an old man, dani and Lloyd went to fetch the bakkie while I waited wow what an animal the dark coat the solid horns a real hard won trophy dani and Lloyd return and we set up for the photos when we finished the sun is just setting dani takes us straight to the lodge we park up and walk in everyone is there Marius asks " all ok" dani's all cool " yes " marius enquires "did you see any bushbuck" dani " yes just the one " marius " where did you see it " dani describes the location and marius is like yes I know that is a god spot marius then asked was it a young buck Dani cool as you like " no its an old buck take a look its in the bakkie out side " Marius's face lights up " what you got one" dani" yeap about 40 minutes ago " everyone decamps out of the lodge to look hand shakes and smiles all round everyone was made up with the successful end to our hunting trip . the beer flowed that evening as we were all leaving the following morning.
DEPARTURE : Everyone was leaving today the weather was terrible wet windy and so foggy we could just see the veranda outside the lodge, we all gathered for breakfast suitcases all lined up the ph's were all busy wrapping them up in black bin bags for the trip, we were all going in two trucks so all the luggage would be out side for the trip back to port Elizabeth along with a trailer with the whole groups heads and skins to be delivered at the taxidermists we were also taking along the trackers who were having a few days off before the next group arrived. we thanked all the staff that were staying behind said our farewell to dani and thanked him for all his hard work and perseverance over the last week as he would leave to go home a 12 hour drive. we drove to port Elizabeth and dropped off sandy and Robert who were traveling on for a few more days and off to hunters and collectors with the heads and skins were we looked round and marius booked them all in then off to the airport Marius made sure we were checked in we said our goodbyes and we off and on our way home.
CONCLUSION : I thought I would add this to my report as it was our first trip to Africa and apart from AH reports and internet searches and y tube clips it was a leap into the unknown. my biggest concern was that it would be shooting and not stalking/hunting. Well what I experienced exceeded my expectations 100% every animal was worked for and earned . As for Marius and KMG my research paid off and their reputation as one of the top outfitters in the east cape is well deserved. As for our ph Dani Robberts he is a great guy we had lots of fun with Dani some at our expense some at his. He got us onto some great trophy's even though I am claiming two that I got him onto. Dani helped to make the trip into the fantastic experience that it was.
I would like to say thanks to Mark, Sharyn and Robert and Sandy who made the evening enjoyable even though they can to fight off louis every evening when the snacks came out.
So would I hunt with KMG again absolutely
Will I hunt in Africa again ( yes already started planning my next trip)
the only regrets were perhaps we should have booked a day or two longer but if we had I probably would have said the same thing and I did not take enough photo's but louis and I will always have the memories. so I will end with the African sunset picture taken just after louis shot his Zebra.
It is interesting to learn that your research consisted of internet searches and AH reports.
Glad it worked out.
I have watched Marius and KMG doing the same thing you did. AH recommendations certainly provided the basis for my choosing to hunt with Marius.
You’ve got an interesting screen name. Will the Thrill provided lots of great times for me as a lifelong Giants fan. Even though I never met him, a number of buddies either duck hunted or shared a dugout with him. He’s a great guy according to those guys. Cool screen name and if that’s your real name, it’s a great one.
I ran across a message from you a couple of years ago while I was going through old emails. I have arranged a second bison hunt in Nebraska in September 2024, about 6-years after the first, when my supply of bison meat was exhausted. My email is [redacted].