ZAMBIA: Amazing Cape Buffalo Hunt At Mbizi Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by cls, Aug 29, 2017.

  1. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Yes...:A Popcorn:
     
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  2. VonJager

    VonJager AH Veteran

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    Nice buff. Ready for the rest of the story!
     
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  3. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    Now "for the rest of the story".
    After cleaning up and a great lunch I met with Simon and Michael to discuss the plan for the rest of the week. I had mentioned to them that if I was lucky enough to take my buffalo early in the hunt that I would be interested in hunting a Hyena and a Chobe bushbuck. So the planning to make this happen started. Little did I know that this would end up being the hardest part of the hunt.
    While Saxon the skinner was finishing up in the skinning shed it was decided to set up a couple bait sites for the Hyena with the carcass(rib cage) and intestines from the buff then head out to have a look for a bushbuck. My wife would accompany us for the afternoon. We headed out to the first bait site at around 2:30. the drive was about 45min from camp. This site had been used previously for leopard. The guys hung the bait and set the trail cams.


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    Then we are off to the second bait site to repeat the process.

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    Once the baits were hung and trail cams set we headed off on our pursuit of the elusive Chobe Bushbuck. We would be hunting along the Luangwa river in hopes of spotting a bushbuck coming down to water. We parked the land cruiser along a dried river bed and headed down to the Luangwa. My wife decide to stay back at the cruiser as we were headed down this rocky river bed.

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    We hadn't gone 50yds when Steven stops and whispers to Simon that there is a Klipspringer standing on the rocks. The sticks come up but before Simon can see if it is a shooter or not the ram winds us and is off, unknown to us this would be only Klipspringer we would see on this trip. We headed down stream to the flats of the Luangwa where we found a good place to sit, spot and wait for the bushbuck to come to water. Before long a herd of waterbuck shows up with a couple good bulls but I had already taken a good bull on the Eastern Cape so we let them pass. Before long Simon spots a bushbuck ram about 900yds down river, the ram is standing behind some scrub so we can't get a very good look at him, it is decide to put the stalk on him. The wind seems to be in our favour as we set out to get a closer look at this ram. Over the next 1/2hr or so we managed to traverse about 500yds without the ram being alerted to our presence. But as luck would have it the wind picked up and changed direction blowing directly down stream to the ram. It didn't take long before ram's head came up, he gave a warning bark and was off into the high thick stuff. Oh well that's hunting, as it was starting to get dark we made the decision to head back to the truck. When we arrive back at the land cruiser my wife had a big smile and informed us that for the past 15 minutes or so she had been watching a bushbuck not more that 100yds from the truck and she had a picture to prove it!

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    Back to the lodge for a great dinner and spectacular sunset over the Luangwa.

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    Day 3,
    Up again early with a full breakfast and coffee on the deck. We head out by 7:30 to check the baits and trail cams to see if we will be building some hides for the late afternoon hunt. We arrive at the first bait site to see that something had hit the bait. We see both Lion and leopard tracks on our way to the bait which is not good as the Hyena won't stick around with the cats being in the area.

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    We have look at the trail cam and see that both lion and leopard had been here as well as a civet cat but no Hyena. So it is off to check the second bait. The lions have been here as well, the bait is completely gone! We check the trail cam and see that the hyena was the first into the bait followed by the lions, with the lions making short work of the bait.

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    The decision is made to set up a hide on the first bait site as there is still bait there and hope the hyena will be the first in this evening. We then head back down to the river to see if we can find a bushbuck. The scenario is much the same as yesterday, the bushbuck comes out to feed in the same spot as yesterday and we have a 900yd stalk. This buck looks like a shooter so the stalk is on. However just like last evening the wind changes and our stalk is blown. Time to head back for lunch then build a hide for the evening. The guys get the hide built about 15ft up in a tree 30-40yds from the bait. Simon and I are dropped off at 4:30pm for the wait.

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    In Zambia you can not hunt after dark so we will only be able to hunt until a 1/2hr after sunset which makes it to around 6:30-7:00. We hear the tell tale call of the hyena off in the distance. Simon figures he is on the way in to the bait. After a half hour we hear a Lion roar. Simon explains that now one of two things can happen, the lion will either cause the hyena to rush into the bait before the lion arrives or the hyena will slink off into the bush and not come in at all. Well on this occasion the hyena decides to let the lion have his meal. We are out of the stand by 7:00pm and back to camp for a late steak dinner. We will be back to check the trail cam tomorrow.

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    Day 4,
    Breakfast as the sun rises over the Luangwa. Time to head back to the bait to see if anything hit the bait. Sure enough the lion had been in for dinner and the only thing that was left was the buffalo hide.

    We are off to the river to try again for the bushbuck, today we will try and come up on the buck from the down stream side and hope the wind will stay in our favour today. We make it down to the river and sure enough the bushbuck is out feeding. We begin our slow stalk but after about 400yds of slow going we are busted by a group of baboons which warn the whole neighborhood that we are there. No luck again this morning.

    The decision is made that we will need some more bait if we are going to keep trying for the hyena. We hang more bait at the second bait site and hope for the best. then off to the river to try again for bushbuck. On this go round we see a herd of waterbuck and a large herd of kudu that come down to the river to water. There are couple good bulls in both herds. But I am here for the bushbuck. The hunting Gods don't seem to be on our side today. Back to camp and a much needed sundowner on the deck. Tomorrow is another day.

    Day 5,
    We check the trail cam at the second bait site, the hyena had been there but had not touched the bait. The guys will be setting up a hide overlooking the bait for an evening sit. We head back down to the river with a different plan. On the past couple occasion as we were headed down the dry stream bed to the river we had heard bushbuck barking as we walked along, we will find a spot to sit and watch up stream at a couple areas that still had a little water that the animals had been coming to during the day. We sat and spotted for a couple hrs and watched numerous baboons come to the water as well as a group of 4 bushbuck ewes but no rams today.
    Back to camp for lunch and head out to the blind for an evening sit.
    We are in the blind by 4:00pm, not much moving. At around 6:00pm we hear something at the bait.. Could this be it? I get ready and there at the bait are a pair of huge Civet cats. Although I would love to shoot one we don't have a permit to do so. Nice to see though. No luck again tonight. Back to the lodge for dinner and we get to listen to the hyena laughing at us most of the night.

    Day 6,
    Today we will be hunting exclusively for bushbuck. We hunt hard for the morning covering large areas along the Luangwa. We hear may rams but nothing so far. We stop to have a sandwich and cool down under some overhanging trees. From here we watch as buWaterbuck, kudu and bushbuck ewes come down for water. Then across the river we spot a lone ram coming down to water, he looks like a good ram. He is only a couple hundred yards out, pretty easy shot from a sitting position off the sticks. The only problem is that he is across the river on a GMA that we don not have permission to hunt. So we watch as the ram waters then slowly heads off into the thick bush along the river. I think he was mocking us!

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    New plan for this afternoon, we will be heading in the opposite direction upriver from the lodge past the gorge. As we head out on foot we see a large herd of impala with a good ram as well as a group of kudu. Not far into our walk Steven spots a ram up on the hill side, the sticks come up but before I can find him in the scope he has moved into the brush. I wait for him to exit on the other side of the brush but he is spotted going directly up hill away from us. No shot. After another couple hundred yards we spot another ram and this time I am quicker on him but he is not good enough for Simon. I am on the sticks a couple more times but for various reasons I don't get a shot. We finally make it up over the gorge and back down to the river where we stop to spot. We watch some waterbuck, then a bushbuck ewe materializes from a high grassy area on what used to an island. As we are starting to settle in a ram moves in behind the ewe. He is a shooter, up come the sticks and I take aim and "pull" the trigger. Something felt off but I am sure I hit him. he is off across the sand and up the mountain behind us. What the hell happened? Steven and Mathew head to the spot that the ram was standing and don't find any blood. They get on the track and we head up hill, it is tough going and we see him a couple times but he barks and heads higher. We find one spot of blood about 300yds up hill but that is it. They are marking the trail as we go. It is starting to get dark so after tracking up hill for a few hundred yards the decision is made to mark this spot and head straight back down hill and hopefully the ram will bed down an stiffen up overnight. I kick myself all the way back to the lodge as this is the first time in my hunting career I have not retrieved the game I have shot. I am pretty disappointed with myself, I just didn't take the time and hurried my shot. I can't even finish my dinner tonight.

    Day 7,
    No sleep last night, up very early. We head back to the area we left off last evening. We head up hill to the spot we last saw the ram and begin the slow steep up hill tracking. Steven is on the track I am huffing an puffing as the terrain gets steeper. Then off to our left Steven spots the ram. The sticks come up quickly and I hear the bark of the classic 275 Rigby. The ram is down. I can now feel somewhat better about yesterday, lesson learned, take your time with the shot. The ram had only gone 300 or 400 yards (all straight up hill) from where we last saw him yesterday.

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    My Safari is over and what a way to end it. I cant' say enough good things about Imbizi.
    Thanks to all the hard work of Michael, Simon, Steven, Saxon and Mathew along with all the staff made this an amazing 7 days for my wife and I.

    If anyone is looking for a true free range DG hunt this is the place to do it. They offer hunts for 4 of the big five along with croc and hippo. They also have other PG game as well, We saw good Roan, Sable, Kudu, Waterbuck, Impala, Klipspringer, Duiker, Chobe bushbuck and Wart hog. The hunting is not easy but it is very satisfying.

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    I am sure I will be back to find that elusive Hyena along with a huge croc.

    Now it's off to Victoria falls for a few days of some much needed R&R with my bride of 34 years and many thanks to her for putting up with this hunting obsession that I have had for all these years.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2017

  4. cagkt3

    cagkt3 AH ENABLER PLATINUM SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Congrats on finding the bushbuck! Looks like a nice one. Just curious, where did that first shot end up hitting?
     
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  5. jasyblood

    jasyblood BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Glad you found your bushbuck and he is a beauty...again congratulations!
     
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  6. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    I hate to say this but... it was in the upper leg, through and through. I don't think I've shot low on any critter. Not much damage and the reason there wasn't a blood trail. We never could figure out why he acted like he was badly wounded. Every time we pushed him he only went for a short distance and laid down. In fact in the morning he wasn't more than 300yds from where we had left him the prior evening. Oh well hunters luck I guess.
     

  7. bubba-one

    bubba-one AH Member

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    Congratulations! I am booked for an October buf hunt with Michael. Hope to get as nice bull as yours.

    Any words of advice concerning the trip? Political problems with all the police checkpoints, etc.? Is Lusaka safe? We are also planning a trip to the Victoria Falls, any suggestions?

    Thanks,

    Chris
     
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  8. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    Hey @bubba-one you won't be disappointed. You will be hunting the thick stuff and it will be pretty hot by the time you get there, I see you are from Texas so the heat shouldn't be a problem. A lot of the water holes will be dried up as well so it shouldn't be as hard to find the buff as they will be congregating on the remaining water holes. The terrain is fairly hilly so be ready for that. Should be easier to spot as the leaves will be off the trees by then but the 8ft tall grass will still be there. You probably won't be taking shots at more than 50yds. get ready for up close and personal.
    No real problems with the check points, just a pain in the ass and with any luck the situation should be cleared up by the time you get there.
    They say Lusaka is relatively safe, It definitely isn't Jo'Burg. I went out one evening looking for cigars and didn't have any issues.
    We had a great time in Vic Falls. Stayed on the Zimbabwe side of the falls, my wife loved it there. Took a sunset dinner cruise, half day fishing on the Zambezi which was pretty cool, the heli tour over the falls, had a cigar on the patio of the Old Victoria falls hotel, plus a bunch of misc. stuff. If you are planning on traveling back and forth between Zambia and Zimbabwe I would suggest getting the Kaza Visa when you go through customs in Lusaka it just saves a lot of hassle at the border crossing.

    Hope this helps and good luck on your Safari. I am looking forward to your hunt report.
     
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  9. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Congrats on the awesome bushbuck and a great hunt! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  10. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    Forgot to mention the puku and Lichtenstein hartebeast that we also saw on the property.
     

  11. cagkt3

    cagkt3 AH ENABLER PLATINUM SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    No worries, I think we've all made some less than stellar shots. You followed up and got the job done. (y)
     
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  12. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Glad to hear you could get back on him, very nice ram!
     
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  13. rinehart0050

    rinehart0050 GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great end to your report. I too have found that often the big, main trophies seem to come easier and its the smaller guys that are toughest.

    Now that I've said that, my next safari will be the opposite experience!

    Congrats on all your success. Great trophies
     
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  14. PeteG

    PeteG AH Elite

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    @cls Glad to hear the hunt went well overall and the bushbuck was recovered.
    Did you see many elephant?
    We were down that way early July and saw plenty ele, we were about 30km upstream from Mbizi though.


    The police check points are a real pain in the ass, but nothing more than that. They are generally harmless.
    On my last trip to our fish farm, 1,160km, i went through 14 checkpoints. Only one actually stopped me! The rest let me roll through without question!
     
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  15. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    Congrats on a very nice Bushbuck.
    Thanks for sharing the adventure.
     
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  16. IdaRam

    IdaRam SILVER SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Congrats on a great Buffalo and a dandy Bushbuck! It looks like you had a wonderful hunt. Thanks for the report and the pics :) Well done!
     
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  17. Dr Ray

    Dr Ray AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Congratulations. Nice bull. I guess you wouldn't want to get much closer.
     
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  18. Pheroze

    Pheroze AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Great report and thanks!
     
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  19. cls

    cls AH Elite

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    We only saw the one elephant while I was there, but Michael just sent me a picture of 2 bulls that were standing outside our chalet this morning.
     
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  20. TTundra

    TTundra AH Fanatic

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    Congrats on the hunt! What a majestic place Mbizi looks. After reading this report and seeing your photos, its makes me want to see it for myself now.
     
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