TANZANIA: The Selous With Game Trackers Africa

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by JES Adventures, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Sorry for being a couple weeks late but after being gone nearly a month I have been hammered since I got home!

    This Safari was to the Selous primarly for East African Greater Kudu and Nyasaland Wildebeast.

    Day 1

    I was up at 5:45 to leave the hotel by seven for my 15 minute walk over to the terminal to check my bags. Flying South African airways Johannesburg to Dar Es Salaam check in was fairly expedient however had to drop guns off at the Firearms Office before going through passport control. It took an extra 10 or 15 minutes but went fairly smooth. Once through customs I shopped around a bit, picked up some gifts for the family and headed to the South African Airways lounge. I had a light breakfast and caught up on my journal and answered some emails taking advantage of the last bit of wifi for 10 days.

    The flight left about 15 minutes late however the pilot was able to make up the time in the air and we touched down on time in Dar. While standing at passport control I could see Suleiman, Game Trackers man on the ground with my luggage waiting for me to come through and go check in the firearms. He had everything under control with my rifle in about 20 minutes. As we exited the airport I saw my professional hunter PJ Wyngaard come across the parking lot with a big smile on his face as he greeted me. The last time we saw one another was in Dallas at the Convention.

    A short drive over to the charter terminal and we went through security once again and checked the rifle with the local police and headed for our charter plane which was loaded and waiting for us.

    About a 50 minute flight from Dar to the camp which is just South of the Rufiji River. I saw quite a lot of water down on the ground below and I asked PJ if that was normal. He said that they had unseasonably early rains over the last week to ten days and there was quite a bit of water in the area. As we landed we could see that landing strip was muddy in some places. The pilot wanted to hurry and offload because there was another storm rolling off to the South and he wanted to get in the air and get back to Dar as soon as possible.

    Not 10 minutes into the drive to camp we found the other vehicle with the trackers and the game scout stuck in the mud. They had left this morning about 6 to collect the scout from the local guard post and had been stuck many times through the day. What would normally be a 5 hour round trip had taken them nearly 11!

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    We winched them out and they cut a path going around the pot hole and we were at camp in 10 minutes. What a beautiful setting built right on the lake. The tents and dining veranda all had a gorgeous view however the fire pit was completely underwater due to the heavy rains.

    PJ mentioned he had never seen the area like this in October and he has hunted the area for the last five seasons. I knew that this would pose problems but had no idea how significant they would be.
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    After a lovely meal of calamari and salad I was beat from the travel so went to bed early. Wake up tomorrow morning at 5:30 to check zero on the rifles and go out and start hunting for Kudu and Wildebeest.
     

  2. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 2

    About 15 minutes from camp we found that the shooting range bench was sitting in a puddle of water. We continued down the road and finally found a long straight so tied a target to a tree and checked the rifle. I took two shots and everything was fine. On our way hunting now we can see dark clouds off in the distance and hope they would break up before they got to us.

    About an hour into the drive we spotted a lone Wildebeast and proceeded to track him. We bumped him a couple of times and could see that it was a bull but never got a good look at his horns. With all the green grass everywhere, the game is very scattered and so far we have not encountered high concentrations in any one area.

    We carried on driving through the morning and saw several groups of Impala with their newly born lambs. Warthog were seen regularly in singles, pairs and sometimes trios plus occasional group of Zebra.

    We stopped for lunch under a big tree tree overlooking a small pan and relaxed for about an hour. After lunch we started working our way back towards camp we were hit by a light shower. After it broke we continued on and spotted Roosevelt Sable and more Lichtensteins Heartebeast. Unfortunately no Wildebeest or Kudu.

    About an hour and a half from camp week got caught in a huge downpour. We stopped for a while for it to blow through so we could see clearly to navigate the road. Not 5 km from camp we got stuck in a big mud hole but fortunately there was a tree close enough for us to winch to. That was fortunate as it only took about a half hour to get back on the road.

    Just about the time I thought the day was finished and the sun was setting we were close to camp when at last light we came around a small curve and I saw a porcupine straight in front of us about 75 yards. Quickly I tapped the roof to stop the car and I got out on the sticks as he was walking away. Fortunately he came to a mud puddle and decided to turn broadside and I shot. I was elated, I have been looking for a porcupine for quite some time and this was a nice mature male.
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    After photos we made it back to camp and had a shower a nice meal. We sat and talked for an hour or two after dinner discussed our plans to move to a fly camp the day after tomorrow at higher elevations so we wont be battling the muddy roads near main camp.

    I Turned in shortly thereafter anticipating what tomorrow will hold. This is definitely not the weather I expected to encounter as October is typically hot and dry in the Selous.
     

  3. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Good start. Eagerly awaiting the rest.
    Bruce
     
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  4. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 3

    Up to the sound of the generator and my porch light, I slept solid last night. It was about 5 so I got dressed and headed over to the dining room for a light breakfast and coffee. JP was up and we chatted a bit about the upcoming day, we would go in search of Wildebeast where we had seen a lot of fresh tracks late last evening.

    We left camp a little before 6 and a light rain was falling but sunlight starting to show up so we were optimistic. We had about a half hour drive to the location that PJ wanted to hunt and the light rain stayed with us for most of the way. As we drove we started to see multiple herds of Impala with the many young just born, it was quite the sight. I spotted something ahead a couple hundred yards looking at us and I said “Hyena”. But as we approached we could see it was a Wild Dog. We carried on and a couple passed from our left to right then we saw the pack. We stopped the vehicle and two of them came towards us, very curious. I took some photo’s and a little video and we carried on. One of the trackers said something and we looked back and several of the Wild Dogs were following us! It was cool to see them but PJ commented “if they have been hunting here through the night, everything will have moved on”.
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    The Dogs lost interest in us and we continued on in search of Wildebeast. Suddenly, there was talk among the trackers and PJ stopped the vehicle and everyone bailed off. “Bicycle tracks” he said, there should be no one here in the concession. We had spoken at length last night how he never encounters poachers or sign of humans in the concession as the anti-poaching patrols were diligent.

    The tracks disappeared and we kept on hunting, stopping to glass occasionally. At one point, the driver wasn’t paying attention and got us into a wet area and when he found dry ground he stopped. Then everyone offloaded and started looking for a dry pathway out of the mess we were in. About the time a path had been chosen and we were going to proceed, the Game Scout said something in a very stern voice, grabbed his AK and chambered a round. Right there, 25 yards from where we stopped were the poachers two bicycles, one with a freshly killed Impala ewe and the other with their camping gear. I asked PJ how far the nearest village was and he said “60 K’s”. Amazing they would ride that far and come into a hunting area while season is underway and poach. They probably figured it was so wet no one would be out hunting and gave it a go. As we drove away, we speculated how amazed the poachers must be at tracking them all they way in there and take their stash! Blind luck but at least we stopped those two from poaching for a while.

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    Human encroachment and poaching continue to be the primary problem that all wildlife face on the African Continent. I don’t have the solution but I know it gets worse every time I go back.

    Between the Wild Dogs and Poachers we chose to change our luck and go East to where we found Wildebeast yesterday. The sky looked ominous but we forged ahead. When we got to a small creek crossing, the driver got out to assess the water level and one of the trackers said “Tandala” which means Kudu in Swahili. There were fresh tracks beside the road and closer inspection was made. PJ said “come, lets go have a look”. We took off in hot pursuit and with the wet ground the tracks were easy to follow. After about 250 yards the the trackers pointed at the tracks and that the Kudu had started running. The sound of the vehicle approaching must have startled them. Another 50 or so yards and they went back to a slow walk. After a few more minutes the Masai tracker Pashet spotted the Kudu near the creek. As I raised my binoculars to glass, a male baboon let out a bark and the Kudu bolted. All I could see were cows and calves but we carried on for a second look to be sure. Within ten minutes we spotted them again and no bull was present.

    Back to the car we crossed the creek and kept searching for Wildebeast and Kudu. Not far down the road we spotted Kudu off to the side about 75 yards, cows and calves evident. We stopped the vehicle and slowly walked back glassing and picked them up deeper into the bush. No bull was spotted and after closer inspection of the tracks, the trackers confirmed it was a group of cows and calves.

    By now it was about 11 o’clock and the rain was starting to fall. We put a tarp over the back of the Cruiser and sat it out. When it got light enough to bear, we headed out on foot as there was a lot of fresh Wildebeast sign. Twenty minutes into the walk we got onto a good set of tracks, looked like four bulls from the size of them and we were off. At a quick pace we covered a lot of ground when we heard a clap of thunder behind us. One helluva rain was coming and we took refuge under a large tree. Well, it was a nice thought but after 30 minutes of a solid downpour we were all thoroughly soaked to the bone. Fortunately it was warm so even though it was uncomfortable from being wet head to toe I was not totally miserable.

    The velocity of the rain slowed a bit so we decided to make our way to the car. It took us a half hour or so and we loaded up and started back for camp - it is 12:35.

    The rain was heavy and the road flooded in many places. We made the creek crossing even though it was a foot or two higher in elevation. As we made it across one long stretch I said to PJ “we still have the big field to cross”. When we got there, everyone got out to scout a new path as the current road was deeply rutted and full of water.

    The path was established and the driver took off at a high clip. He almost made it but lost traction the last 15 yards and we were dead in our tracks.

    After two hours of jacking, putting logs, pushing and rocking no success. We tried to use the winch right off the bat and we were 15 yards short to reach any tree.

    Finally, I suggested we cut a log about 4’ long and bury it 4’ deep with the winch cable attached and use it as an anchor to pull out. As the cruiser winched forward, I could see the ground shifting where they had buried the anchor and I hollered over to the two trackers to come and I motioned for them to stand next to me on top of the ground. We were successful in getting hte vehicle 30’ before the log pulled out and that allowed us to reach a tree with the winch cable and get free. In all, it took nearly three hours of various attempts but the anchor system worked.

    Once free we headed straight for camp, getting back about 5PM so the day was done. I stripped, cleaned and oiled my rifle and took a shower. As the sun was setting a light rain fell across the lake and I asked PJ to check the weather forecast for the area. The 10 day forecast has some chance of rain most every day so we know what we are in for.

    Tomorrow we move to fly camp which is at a higher elevation in more sandy soil so less chances of getting stuck. As I sip a Kilimanjaro Beer and work on my journal I think of what a challenge the day was, but what could tomorrow hold.
     

  5. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 4

    I woke this morning to the porch light and sound of the generator. I slept extremely well through the night got a solid eight hours. We will have a light breakfast this morning pack the vehicles and head for fly camp. We’re taking 12 men and supplies for four days.

    We finally rolled out of camp about 7 o’clock and within five minutes the second vehicle was stuck. We backed up pulled him out and carried on only to be stuck again 15 minutes later.

    This will be a slow go, as we have several mud holes to cross so each time we approach one we assess the situation and cut a new road if necessary.

    Many of the ditches are deep now and rutted on one side so can be somewhat treacherous when trying to pass at a high rate of speed. The second vehicle with all of the camp supplies was following behind us when I looked back he had come through a turn too hard and the left front wheel came up off the ground as the cruiser swayed to the right.

    I expect it’ll take us 4 to 5 hours to get to camp but we will be in a much better situation for hunting the balance of the week.

    Fortunately, there hasn’t been any rain yet and the cloud ceiling is broken with some blue sky showing. Hopefully we will get some drying weather to help these roads out.
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    We had to winch out three more times by 10 o’clock. Spent an hour and a half cutting a new road along the forest edge to bypass a bad stretch through a swampy area.

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    We got to fly camp just after 1 o’clock and everyone got busy unpacking and putting up tents. After lunch a light shower passed through then we headed out for a drive, mainly to check the conditions of the roads. The soils here are sandy and drain off well so there were no real mud hole issues. We encountered some game but no big numbers. No sign of Kudu or Wildebeast. Back in camp we had a shower in typical bush camp style. A 5 gallon bucket with a shower head piped off of it. The waiter Mau would heat water and fill the bucket for a nice, warm shower.

    After dinner and a smoke, I turned in hoping that tomorrow we will get a break from the rain.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2019

  6. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 5

    I woke this morning about 4 which was an hour early, didn’t have a very good nights rest.

    After coffee and a light breakfast we were on the road quickly. All the trackers seem to be very energetic this morning as the meat supply has run out for them and they’re ready to hunt. We headed to the big sand river in the corner of the concession to see if we can locate a Kudu bull that it had been seen their on previous Safaris. We drove for about two hours before we encountered the first pair of Dagga boys are on a hillside 2 miles from the Sand River.

    Once in the bottom about a kilometer from the river we slowly entered the forest and made our way towards the river where we could glass. Just as we reach the edge Pashet stopped and whispered “Mbogo”. There were six Dugga boys laying in the middle of the sand river. The wind was right so we took a wide berth and crossed over around them slowly moving through the forest and glassing for the Kudu.

    As we moved forward, the trackers caught movement ahead near the river. After we glassed, it was determined to be a lone eland. We saw two more buffalo bulls together and one Hartebeast bull in the river approaching the water hole.

    We crossed the river once again and walked about a mile or so, glassing in the other end of the river past a bend. Unfortunately no Kudu or fresh tracks so we struck out at this location. We headed back out to the main road to make a way to a more open area for the afternoon Hunt. This is the place the trackers had aptly named Serengeti. Since they are all Masai and the majority of the Selous is forest or thickets this open place with lots of game reminded them of the Serengeti.

    Multiple Large open areas of several hundred acres each divided by strips of brush and forest.

    We stopped along the way and had lunch under the shade of a massive tree and rested for about a half hour. I happened to look through my scope into the forest just to check field of view when I discovered my scope had fogged. Somehow the integrity of the seal on the Leica ER 5 had been breached and in the torrential rain water had gotten inside my scope. I told PJ I wanted to check the zero as well so we made a mark on a tree and backed up took a shot. The zero was fine but the view was like looking through a light fog. I felt comfortable using the rifle so we carried on.

    Once we got into the area known as the Serengeti, we could see signs of Wildebeast, Zebra and Impala however it was all several days old. It seems like with the green up the animals are moving about to new places and staying put. Finally after a couple of hours of slowly driving through the area PJ motioned the driver to stop. He got out to check some tracks and and territorial scrapings of a Wildebeest Bull. By now it was 3 o’clock and game was starting to move a bit more than the previous couple of hours. We started to see more Impala and finally we ran across one lone Wildebeast bull and Eland cow off in the distance. The Wildebeast took off like a rocket and we were 500 yards from him so I really don’t understand why he was so spooked. We continued on through the mixed brush area bumping Warthog, Impala and spotted three different Hyena. I was amzed at the number of Hyena we had encountered in the daytime.

    As we continued on, we came around a corner and saw some Impala off in the distance and just then there was a lone Wildebeast bull standing in front of us a couple hundred yards He spooked and ran so we immediately hopped off the cruiser in pursuit. We walked about 300 yards and spotted him again about 200 yards away. The last time we glassed and could see that he was exceptional bull but he immediately bolted. Sheboni the tracker had seen him run to the left and motioned to us to follow him. As we did we made our way towards the bull, we could see he was out in an open grassy area. On our final approach PJ went to the left side of a large bushy tree that concealed us from the Wildebeast and leaned out and saw the bull looking our direction. He set up the sticks and I put the 338 on top and got the bull in my crosshairs. He was facing us straight on and I really didn’t want to take shot as I just was not comfortable. I estimated that he was about 160 to 170 yards. He was nervous, so he broke again and started a lope to the right I repositioned the sticks and followed him and he stopped again this time slightly quartering. I took a breath and exhaled with the crosshairs on the right center of his chest and focused. I feel comfortable with the shot to start of the trigger squeeze. As the Lapua barked, I could see the Wildebeast drop in his tracks. We advance forward and he was still kicking a bit from nerves so I checked and he was dead from the shot. After congratulations and slaps on the back I confirmed the shot had gone in to the center of the chest slightly right taking out the top of the heart thus causing the bull to sink in the back and then drop where he lay.

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    After photos and loading the bull we made our way back to camp now about 5:30 we had an hour plus drive to get there. No problems with the roads we enjoyed a few beers and were able to get to camp just after sunset. The tent boy had prepared hot water for the shower and we were cleaned up and enjoying a beer by the fire in no time. Everyone was happy, one of the two species I was after was in the salt and the camp had meat. God is Great!
     
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  7. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 6

    We got out of camp this morning just after six in search of Kudu. As the sun rose we could see it overcast sky and hoped we would not see another day of rain. We went to the place where we tracked the first females on day two to see if we could pick up any sign of a bull in the area. We walked slowly for about an hour and ran across some tracks from the females but no bull seems to be in the area. We carried on for the next few hours through various areas that are known to be to Kudu habitat.

    Through the morning drive we encountered Impala, Warhog, Hartebeast, Wildebeast, and a Bush Pig in sparse numbers.

    It is discouraging, as we are seeing very little game movement due to the early green up. All the animals have food and water whenever and wherever they need it so there is no reason for them to cover any distances. This is making hunting very difficult as we are unable to find Kudu or fresh tracks.

    In search of new areas to hunt we took a road previously untraveled and unfortunately got stuck in some black gumbo. It was decided not to carry on any further as the conditions were getting worse so we turned around to head back the way we came. Unfortunately got stuck in the same spot again and had to winch out one more time.

    We drove for another hour or so looking for Kudu sign when we came to the edge of a thick patch of forest where we would stop for lunch.

    After a short siesta (about 2:30) we got on the vehicle and started through the forest. Not two minutes into the drive, way down the straight road in front of us I said “look, is that buffalo walking ahead?”.

    We stopped and glassed as it walked away about 500 yards in front of us and it had extremely wide horns sticking out each side of its body.

    PJ said “quickly, lets go have a look” so I swapped barrels and scopes on my Dakota to the 416 Rigby and we were off. I have never seen a buffalo this wide so we were in fast pursuit.

    Within 10 minutes of the walk a light rain began to fall but the buffalo were not fazed and continued grazing as nothing had changed.

    Glassing through the forest we could only get glimpses of 4 dugga boys together and one appeared to be wide but we could never get a front on look. It was not the Buffalo spotted in the road but warranted a closer look.

    We carried on closing the distance as they fed and we stopped at a somewhat clear lane where we hope to get a good look.

    The bulls fed about, 70 yards in front of us, one grinding his bosses against a tree. At this point we were close enough to hear their rumbling and bellowing. I could see the wide bull walking forward and coming right into the lane. PJ waited with the sticks, both of us following the bull with our bino’s.

    The bull stepped into the lane and stopped, chewing his cud with not a clue we were 50 yards away. As he looked about, he slowly moved his head our direction and it was instantly obvious the bull was exceptionally wide.

    I whispered to PJ that I will take the bull so he set the sticks. I put the Dakota up in place and eased the safety off. The bull was facing us slightly quartering so showing his left shoulder. I said to PJ “you want me to shoot him in the chest?” He said “no, on the front of the shoulder”. So, I settled the crosshairs in and just as I started to squeeze the bull realized we were there, whirled around and showed his right shoulder. Quickly I adjusted to the right shoulder and let the shot go. He took off with no reaction to the Rigby so I took a follow up shot as he ran across in front of me.

    We could see him running through the forest keeping up with other bulls showing no sign of being hit. We followed the tracks for a long way, no blood.

    Then we backtracked all the way to where he stood and no sign of being hit. I just dont know what happened, how could I have missed that close off of the sticks. I have switched the barrel on the Dakota Traveler many times and it always goes back to zero.

    At the landcruiser, I proceeded to switch back to the 338 and discovered the problem. I am using Talley detachable rings on this rig. In a hurry to get after the buffalo, I tightened both levers down however the rear ring was on top of the base. Of course, even at 50 yards the rifle shot extremely low.

    A tough lesson learned about being more precise with my equipment. The Buffalo won that day, but I am totally fine with that, I want a reason to come back. Well, I guess thats hunting - not everything goes perfectly but we carry on.

    Buffalo was not on my primary list but I told the outfitter I would take one if it is exceptional. I had my chance and muffed it. PJ said that would have been the biggest bull of the season. Maybe next Safari I’ll just go back to how I hunted in the past. I’ll take two rifles and always be prepared.

    By now it was 5:30 so we headed down to drive the road along the sand river in hopes of Spotting a Kudu. We saw warthog, Impala, Wildebeast, Hartebeast and more Buffalo but no kudu.

    Back in camp by 7:40 I had a shower followed by wonderdul dinner of Wildebeast tail soup followed by grilled Wildebeast tenderloin and potatoes. I relaxed at the fire for a bit, enjoyed a cigar and whiskey before calling it a night. Time is running out and we have no solid leads on the Kudu. The green up has really changed their movement and we just cant seem to nail them down.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019

  8. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 7

    Up at 5 and out by 6 we were going up to the area where I shot the Wildebeast as Kudu had been seen there earlier in the season. We saw lots of game this morning, it was a gorgeous day with blue skys and whispy white clouds. Impala by the hundreds along with Eland, Wildebeast and Warthog. We spent the better part of the morning combing the area for Kudu to no avail.

    PJ wanted to go back to the big sand river at the bottom to check for sign. Just as We were going to stop for lunch, Sheboni spotted Kudu. I grabbed my rifle and PJ had his glasses up. He said “cows” but continued to glass for horns. No bull was with them so we drove another 10 minutes or so and pulled over under a shade tree for lunch. We rested a bit then got back on the road to get to the river. Tetse flies are ever present and did a number on what little exposed skin I had. Annoying little bastards but thanks to them they are keeping many places in Africa wild.

    Once there, we offloaded and started to walk down a game trail. PJ said “its the heat of the day so we shouldn’t have to worry with Buffalo being in the sand river, its too hot”. Like a replay from the pervious trip here at the exact spot Pashet said “Buffalo” last time he stopped and said “Mbogo”! I couldn’t believe it, there in the river, over 100 degrees on the sand were 3 dugga boys.

    We watched them for a bit them went down river to cross far enough away not to spook them.

    When we reached the water, everyone scattered studying tracks. I followed PJ to the sand river where we all reconvened at some tracks - Kudu! They had been here earlier today and one track was clearly a bull. We made a plan to come early tomorrow morning and find a vantage point overlooking the waterhole and wait for the Kudu.

    We got back to camp by 7:30 and had an early dinner. With a 3:30 wake up call I was down by 9:30. Exhausted from a long day, I fell asleep in prayer giving thanks for the opportunity to experience this special, wild and challenging place.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
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  9. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 8

    The wake up was set for 3:30 but I woke at 3, thinking about the day ahead - strange how your mental clock works. I have only 2 days left and hold hope that the Kudu come to the waterhole at some point before I must leave.

    A quick cup of coffee and toast and we got the cruiser loaded and were on the road at 4:20.

    We arrived at the river a little after 7, parked and walked a mile or so to the vantage point overlooking the waterhole and sand river.

    We got settled in by 7:25 to a shady spot by a large termite mound. An overcast sky kept the morning cool and a slight breeze blew in our face from the East as the sun tried to burn through the clouds. Within 5 minutes of settling in, one of the trackers was fast asleep and snoring.

    With high hopes for the day, clouds formed and it started to rain. It just seems I cant catch a break on this trip. If it comes a big rain and puddles up everywhere the Kudu will have no need to come to the waterhole and drink.

    The rain lasted about 10 minutes and the sun came out. It is a partly cloudy day, cool and comfortable for sitting but no good for hunting. We need it to heat up so the game will come to drink.

    As the morning went on, clouds rolled through with occasional sunny periods. At nearly 11 the first animals appeared - Impala.

    Around 11:20 the Impala ewes and lambs came running our direction. Obviously something spooked them but from my vantage point I could see nothing.

    JP was about 10 yards from me on the low side of the termite mound and I looked over and he mouthed “Lioness”. I moved over to get a look and there she was in the shade of a tree near the waterhole doing the same thing we are - hunting!

    She was pretty relaxed and lounged a while but after a few minutes when I glassed somewhere else and went back to her she was gone.

    Probably not doing a lot of good for our attempt. We can only hope she’ll move on. And, of course that we see the Kudu before she does!

    At 1:30, still no game coming to drink so JP wanted to go see if the lioness was still in the area. We did not find her but did see her tracks. She had come in after the rain then left the same direction she came from.

    PJ spoke to the trackers, the fact nothing has come to drink yet and it heats up leads us to believe our chances are increasing into the afternoon.

    We will stay until sunset comes or the Kudu, whichever arrives first.

    Sometime around three o’clock, two Dugga Boys came in for a drink and wallow. They didn’t stay long, something startled them and they bolted. We speculate that they smelled the Lioness and wanted nothing to do with her.

    As the minutes turned to hours, sunset approached and we made our way back to the car. A two plus hour drive back to camp, we had a late arrival.

    Once back at camp, PJ confirmed with the driver that the road to main camp had dried well so we could now go and hunt one last area they had seen Kudu in the past. It would be a regular 5AM wakeup call so I turned in shortly after dinner. Tomorrow is the last day so we will give it our best.
     
    Game Trackers Africa likes this.

  10. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Day 9

    I got a decent sleep through the night but woke up a little foggy. After a couple of cups of coffee I was right and had a quick breakfast then got on our way.

    As we were drove to the riverine where we would walk, we saw a fair amount of game. The most interesting sighting of the trip was a big Civet just bounding along with his unusual gait. A beautiful site to see in broad daylight. He was obviously on his way someplace as we stopped the car and he passed within 40 yards in front of us without fear. After hunting them successfully a couple of times at night it was so nice to see them in the daytime, they are an amazing little cat.

    When we arrived at the riverine, we walked along the edge and almost immediately we found Kudu tracks from the previous days but nothing fresh. We carried on walking for about an hour and a half in hopes of seeing a Kudu or at the least cutting a fresh track. Unfortunately, it never happened. We got the car and drove along looking for Kudu or tracks.

    It was a beautiful, clear day with very few clouds for the first time in a week. This of course made it much hotter so I welcomed the stop for lunch under the canopy of a huge tree. We spent about an hour relaxing and by 2:30 were back on the road. Not ten minutes into the drive, we come around a corner and there stood four Kudu cows and calves. The vehicle came to a halt and immediately PJ started glassing about the bush for a bull. Three of the Kudu jumped and ran but one remained frozen staring at us. Finally she ran to the right with the others and they then turned back an all ran left in front of us but there was no bull.

    PJ had another area in mind so we drove on stopping occasionally whenever a track was spotted. Finally, we found some fresh tracks from the morning where Kudu were feeding on acacia leaves. We circled around and got the wind then slowly made our way through the thicket. Once inside, it opened up some and we could see 50 to 100 yards from time to time. At once, the trackers froze and what I thought was a buffalo about 75 yards in front of us turned out to be an Elephant cow and her calf. We backed out and left them to feed undisturbed. Not five minutes later we spotted two more Elephant with their calves. It is nice to encounter Elephant while on Safari but from a distance as you know you are in a wild place. Its a shame that all of the Elephant I saw were tuskless and this is a result of the large scale commercial poaching that went on a few years back. PJ told me that the poachers shot everything that showed a tusk - Bulls, Cows and Calves.

    After about an hour we reached the main road and radioed the car. One more place to walk where Kudu had been frequently seen so we drove about fifteen minutes and offloaded. This place where we tracked the first group of Kudu on Day 3.

    We walked along, not seeing much game and no fresh Kudu tracks. It seems they have all moved somewhere else and with the abundance of food and water you have to be lucky to find them.

    Sunset was fast upon us and we started back to the car. Once more an Elephant was seen moving across in the distance and a few Impala fed about.

    As the sun set and we headed back to camp we had a cold beer and toasted the Safari now finished.

    Suddenly I spotted Kudu off to my left. I tapped on the window and the driver stopped. I pointed them out to PJ and the trackers as we backed up slowly. There was a total of 6, all cows and calves! They bolted and we carried on to camp, sipping on our beer and talking about the last weeks adventure. It was hard to believe with the amount of time we spent hunting, spotting 24 cows and calves but never a bull. It just didn’t seem possible but it happened.

    Something definitely changed with the early rains and green up. The Kudu bulls were off the herds and doing their own thing. Unfortunately, we never found where that was.

    Despite my lack of success taking an East African Greater Kudu I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Selous. Jaco Oosthuizen of Game Trackers Africa has put together a first rate team of trackers, skinners and camp staff. Having met my Professional Hunter PJ at the Dallas Safari Club Convention in the years past I was instantly comfortable with him. What happened over the course of eight days working together towards a common goal (the Kudu) is that I developed a great amount of respect for him. His professionalism and dedication to his client, his calm and positive demeanor and never ceasing efforts to achieve success are what make him an excellent PH. Nothing worked this time but he kept on thinking and trying. As I said to him after dinner this last night of the Safari as he apologized one more time was “you cannot control the weather”. Typically, it is not an issue in Africa but this year for me it was.

    I am so happy to have had the Blessing to experience the Selous with a great group of men. Even though I really don’t like hunting in the rain and hate tetse flies more than mud I will be back. This place is wild and thats its real value. The Buffalo numbers are extensive and I could have gotten on a respectable bull (37-40”) every day. For anyone that wants a traditional, East African Tented Safari for Buffalo and a couple of special antelope (Lichtensteins Hartebeast and Nyasaland Wildebeast) this hunt is a great value. Oh and if you get a Kudu, don’t tell me! This was my third Safari to Tanzania with Kudu on license each time and I struck out.
    AC27D565-1650-4912-A996-4403CD1B2C18.jpeg

    The East African Greater Kudu - My Nemesis!
     
    BobT, DieJager, Wheels and 4 others like this.

  11. Brent in Az

    Brent in Az AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Grand adventure! How many camps does Game Trackers operate in the Selous?. I have heard good things about them.
     

  12. Firebird

    Firebird AH Enthusiast

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    I love it-thanks for taking the time to post it all up!
     

  13. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    Congrats on the wildebeest, thanks for a great report
     

  14. Game Trackers Africa

    Game Trackers Africa SPONSOR Since 2016 AH Enthusiast

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    Hi John Ed

    Thank you for the great write up about your safari and for your kind words about our staff.
    We do strive to provide the best safari experience and service for clients to return and experience the magic of East Africa.
    Looking forward in seeing you in January.

    Kind Regards
    Jaco & Magdel

     

  15. Game Trackers Africa

    Game Trackers Africa SPONSOR Since 2016 AH Enthusiast

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    Hi Brent

    We operate two camps in the Selous Game Reserve.
    Should you require more information.
    Please feel free to contact us at magdel@gametrackersafrica.com

    Thank you

    Kind Regards
    Magdel Oosthuizen
     
    Brent in Az likes this.

  16. Foxi

    Foxi AH Elite

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    Thanks for taking us to the Selous.
    Great report and pictures.
    Yes, what you hear from hunter circles, is the East African Kudu once again a completely different house number.
    And the weather is really crazy, in southern Africa animals are dying of thirst at the moment.
    Regards from Munich
     
    kudukid and Brent in Az like this.

  17. JES Adventures

    JES Adventures AH Fanatic

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    Two camps in the Selous and another in Masailand.
     
    Brent in Az likes this.

  18. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Thanks for sharing and congrats on the wildebeest!
     

  19. Wheels

    Wheels AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    What a wonderful adventure. Glad you got the NW. Sorry about the kudu. The good news is you have reason to go back again.

    Your description above brings back so many memories of hunting to long after the rains start or trying to get on the plains before they dry out. I have dug, or participated in digging many a "deadman". At the time the memories weren't very good, but I now look back on them fondly. It was said you could tell the change of season's when the staff would tie a deadman and a jembe to the rack.

    Thanks for sharing your memories of this safari!
     

  20. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Sounds like a great hunt. Very nice WB. Sorry about the kudu. Some hunts are like that. Part of why we go. Its hunting and not shooting. Congrats
    Bruce
     

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