ZIMBABWE: 2018 Cast & Blast x2 With Nyamazana Safaris

Discussion in 'Hunting Reports Africa' started by Edge, Aug 3, 2018.

  1. Edge

    Edge BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Hello everyone! Michelle and I are back from our second trip to Africa in as many years accompanied by my brother Jeff and his lovely girlfriend Dana. This all began after Jeff saw the pictures, read the blog and listened to me drone on and on about last year’s safari with KMG,

    (https://www.africahunting.com/threads/south-africa-kmg-safaris-rocks.39278/).

    Jeff wanted to experience Africa but without being on a high fenced game ranch, a list of species he wanted to target, and of course it all had to fit within budget limitations! My search for a Safari Operator and country began in earnest late in 2017 and I contacted various operators in Mozambique as this destination was at the top of my list. I couldn’t match up all the requirements we both had within our constraints to make Mozambique a viable option. The search continued and I contacted Wayne from Nyamazana Safaris and inquired about the list of species and if he had any openings for June/July 2018. After a few emails and a phone call with Wayne Van Den Bergh and confirmation with my brother we booked a hunt with him in early January for this July! Details for those who enjoy such things.

    Safari operator: @Nyamazana Safaris

    Area: Zimbabwe, Bubiana Conservancy – Drummond Ranch


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    PH’s: Wayne Van Den Bergh for myself and Michelle; Mike Blignaut for Jeff and Dana

    Flight Reservations: @Travel Express Lori Ginn

    Dates of Hunt: 18 – 27 July 2018

    Hardware:

    Ed & Michelle

    #1. Colt Light Rifle in 30-06 with handloaded 165gr Peregrine bullets topped with Zeiss Diavari 2.5-10x 50 with illuminated #60 reticle. Load development documented here (https://www.africahunting.com/threads/peregrine-165-gr-30-06-load-development.42317/)

    #2. Mod 70 Alaskan 375 H&H using 300gr Federal Premium Woodleigh Hydro’s topped with Leupold VX-6 2-12x42 with firedot duplex.

    Fishing Rod(s): #1. Fenwick HMG Casting Travel Rod with Shimano Chronarch CI4+ casting reel. This rod comes in 3 sections with two different tips, a medium and a medium-heavy as well as a nice travel case.

    #2. 2 piece spinning Rhino Rod with a Diawa Lexa 2500. This was the only two piece rod I had that fit nicely in the top of my rifle Case.

    Rifle Case: Pelican Storm 3300

    Jeff:

    Colt Light Rifle in 300 WinMag shooting Federal Premium 180gr Trophy Bonded Tipped with 2.5-10x Nikon Monarch

    Animals seen: Buffalo, Kudu, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Impala, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Klipspringer, Grysbok, Civet, Genet, African Wildcat, Baboon, Bushpig, Eland, Duiker, Hyena, Monkey, Jackal, Warthog, Aardvark, Mongoose, Springhare, Rock Hyrax, Poachers and numerous birds

    Animals taken: read on!

    Sunday 15 July Departure Day: Arrive at Pensacola airport with plenty of extra time to check rifles and baggage for international travel when we get a call from Jeff and Dana who were departing from CAK (Akron-Canton). The Delta agents had started checking their bags through to Bulawayo instead of checking to Johannesburg. We needed to collect the rifles and bags in JNB, overnight at AfricaSky Guesthouse and re-check the bags to Bulawayo the following day. Our agent was trying to do the same and had to enlist some help to figure out how to only check the bags to JNB. With that seemingly sorted out we all arrived in Atlanta within a few minutes of each other and headed to the Delta Skyclub to get primed for our flight still three plus hours away.

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    In our seats on Delta 200 with a little priming from the Delta Skyclub. much happier now!

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    It turns out Katy Perry was performing in Johannesburg on Wednesday and there were 80 roadies and dancers on our flight! Let me just say drugs and alcohol were being mixed and things were getting out of hand. I wasn’t going to be a witness to a sexual assault as one of the dancers was basically passed out in the galley with two intoxicated men and after complaining to the ancient head flight attendant three times they finally broke up the party.

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    Monday 16 July, Arrival in Johannesburg: Jeff and I both used AfricaSky Guesthouse rifle permitting service to clear our weapons at the SAPS office and we had no issues and arrived at Africasky. In no time we were sitting and having a delicious beef filet dinner and settled in for a good night’s sleep. We had no issues with our rifles or bags arriving in JNB on Delta, thank goodness.


    Tuesday 17 July, Zimbabwe here we come! : Breakfast in the morning and back to the airport to check into the South African Airlink flight to Bulawayo. The first hint of trouble, couldn’t get our boarding passes at the automated machine. Went to the first counter to be greeted by a lady who told us our tickets had been cancelled. She said she couldn’t help us and go down to the supervisor a couple of desks down. Michelle and I haul our bags and rifles down to her and she tells us the same thing. Tick tock tick tock, our flight is now just over an hour away and no tickets for Michelle or I. I wish I had a blood pressure monitor on me to see how high it had gotten. Boss lady tells us we need to go to the SAA ticket booth and purchase tickets. Rinse and repeat, haul all our bags to the ticket booth, show him our itinerary with CONFIRMED purchased tickets from 13 Jan. No dice, somehow our tickets were cancelled. Steaming now, really steaming.

    I throw him my credit card and purchase new tickets, well above what I paid in January. The only good in this, there were a couple of seats left on the plane so we didn’t lose a day or two awaiting the next flight! See, there is only one flight a day from JNB to BUQ and if it had been full we would have lost a day or more. We return to the first SAA attendant who was just finishing with checking Jeff and Dana’s bags. We get our bags checked and head to the SAPS office to check our rifles, Gilbert from AfricaSky helped us through the check-in process. The SAPS “ladies” made sure and asked us for a little tip. We hurry through passport control and head to our gate, just in time as they had begun boarding the shuttle bus to take us to our aircraft.


    Arrival in Bulawayo to heavy leaden skies.

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    Have to wait what seems like forever, 20-30 minutes, for the Gov’t officials to grant us our visas and then a relatively painless weapons and bag check. Make sure you bring an extra pen, the Officials pen quit working and he permanently borrowed mine!

    We also had turned in the Form 47, Revenue and Customs Declaratoin, with our passports but we didn’t realize they weren’t stamped until later. This could cause you a problem if you try to leave the country with more than $2000, ie confiscation. It also makes it more difficult for citizens to deposit large sums of cash. Make sure you insist they sign and stamp the blue Form 47.

    Wayne and Mike were there to greet us and we split up in the respective vehicles. Mike, Jeff and Dana were to push on to the hunting area while Michelle, Wayne and I had an errand to run. I had ordered some custom soft gun cases from TCI a few months ago through Wayne and they had them ready. I also picked up a case for one of my buds here on AH, @jacques smith

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    We stopped at the Indian Food restaurant in Bulawayo, yes Indian food, for some spicy meat pies. Delicious!


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    We swung by Wayne’s house to collect up Sam and Cowboy his game scouts/trackers and to finish loading up the Toyota. We were also able to meet Wayne’s wonderful wife Jen and gave her a surprise, Salted Dark Chocolate! We got on the road after a few minutes and experienced Wayne’s driving abilities. Sit down, hold on and close your eyes!

    We arrived at the Drummond Ranch and our first views of the granite outcroppings in the fading light.

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    We quickly took our bags to the rooms and had enough time to check the rifles before darkness settled in upon us. I had to make a slight downward adjustment on the 30-06, the 375 was on as well as Jeff’s 300 WinMag.

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    WE ARE READY!!!
     
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  2. wipartimer

    wipartimer AH Veteran

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    And then?
     
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  3. Edge

    Edge BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    We were ready for cocktails, dinner and 3 bottles of wine! :A Thumbs Up:
     

  4. Edge

    Edge BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Wednesday 18 July, Day 1 of Safari: After a wonderful dinner of Impala and Blue Wildebeest Steaks the morning alarm at 0525 was a welcome sound. The wind during the night was not so welcome. Michelle and I head from our quarters across the lawn to the dining area. Heavy mist and wind making everything wet wet wet. We down our coffee and eggs and stare out at the morning dawn and the light rain now falling. We wait a few minutes to see if its going to stop but we are all anxious and climb into the Toyota and head down the road. We stop after a few Km and park, rain still coming down but seems to have slowed a bit. I say to Wayne we can sit in the truck and wait a bit to see what the weather is going to do. No, we grab the rifles, 375 H&H in my hands while Michelle carries the 30-06 and Wayne has his trusty 458 Lott with him.

    Wayne has run into Buffalo in this area and wants to check it out so we press on through the bush, kicking out a pair of Klipspringer as they dash away across a rock pile. We continue on and the skies open up and we are starting to get wet, then a blur rockets out of the grass and disappears. Grysbok in flight, this will be a common theme for the next 10 days!

    We climb up through a steep rocky valley and top out and begin working our way towards the road where Sam is supposed to meet us with the truck. We cover 4.5 miles wandering through the dense vegetation and grass, thoroughly drenched. We head back to camp to change clothes and warm up as it’s not only wet but cold, mid-40’s F.

    It has been a very wet year for this region and the trees are still holding their leaves and the grass is still very green in places, waist high. This is going to be tough hunting.

    Back at camp we change into warm dry clothes and I literally pour water out of my boots! We are relaxing and Michelle is taking pictures around camp.

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    Wayne comes over and asks if Michelle wants to shoot a baboon. I run and grab the 30-06 as Wayne leads us across the lawn and we hide behind a brick shed. There they are, a couple of baboons have come down out of rocks as the sun has poked her head through the clouds. They are feeding on some old corn that is put out for the Impala and Warthogs. Di wants the big male gone as he’s been causing some issues.

    Michelle and Wayne sneak around to the side of the building, shielded by some large green leafy plants and sets the sticks. Can’t see through the large leaves so they go into the green patch and set the sticks again. Michelle leans back against the building and I can hear Wayne coaching her to wait until he presents a good shot. Boom and the big male is down immediately. Way to go girl!

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    The green patch next to the left building is where she took the shot, probably a good 100 – 125 yards.

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    We load up the Baboon and take it to the skinning shed, Michelle wants a full mount. We take a short drive down one of the dirt tracks and spot a good Waterbuck bull as he disappears into the bush. We dismount and head after him, hoping to get another look at him. We look and look but can’t find him again and continue on through a tight valley with a lot of rocky outcroppings when we spot a “rare” black Giraffe!

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    The giraffe move off and scare everything along their path so we sit down and just watch one of the narrow corridors from atop the rocks letting things settle.


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    We end up climbing down and following the corridor out until we hit a track that circles around the lake. We are walking along the lake shore looking for game as the sun is now low in the sky and the game should be moving, coming from the thick bush to grab a drink.

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    We move on down the road walking quietly and 3 Kudu bust out of the think grass and bushes along the lakeshore to our left with one looking to be very good. The sticks go up and I’m on them!

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    But the Kudu have run behind some thick bush and we have to quickly move down the road a few yards and re-position. Where are they?

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    There, a small bull steps out into a small window between the thick bush maybe 75-100 yards away. They are still on the left side of the road and haven’t bolted across. I put the crosshairs and dot about 2 feet in front of the young bull as I don’t want a pass through and hit the smaller bull. I can see the big bull coming and Wayne is whispering to me he’s a good one. The big bull passes on the near side of the young bull and I wait until he walks into my crosshairs. I’ve planned this out perfectly, boom! We lose sight of the bulls at the shot.

    Wayne watching the road as I work the bolt.

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    Wayne asks me where I think I hit him, I tap on my shoulder and say maybe a little higher than I wanted but I had to clear the deep grass for the 165 gr Peregrine. We walk down the road on high alert and hear some large animals crashing through the brush to our right wondering if those are the Kudu. Sam, Cowboy and the local game scout Sunday begin to scan the area behind us along the lakeshore looking for sign as we look and listen for any movement or sound. We hear a shout and they have found the bull, just yards from where the shot had taken place. Wow, what a bull!

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    First impression, the size difference between the Eastern Cape bull I took last year and this one aren’t even comparable in both horn and body. It appears he tried to leap over the log and just face planted into the grass.

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    With the sun quickly setting, the guys cleared out the deep grass and we set up the bull for a few photos.

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    Mike, Jeff and Dana weren’t too far away and heard the shot and came over to join us as the guys were clearing the grass!

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    We loaded up the Kudu and headed for the skinning shed.

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    The question, how big was the kudu? Wayne pulls out the tape and does a measurement on one horn, 56” and change.

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    Little did I know, the day was still young even with the setting sun.

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    More day 1 night events to follow!
     
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  5. BRICKBURN

    BRICKBURN AH ENABLER SUPER MODERATOR CONTRIBUTOR LIFETIME TITANIUM BENEFACTOR AH Ambassador

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    (y)
     

  6. Edge

    Edge BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Thank you for fixing the picture orientation.
     

  7. Brent in Az

    Brent in Az AH Elite

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    Wow.! Big Baboon, and dandy Kudu.! The landscape looks amazing.
     
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  8. stug

    stug AH Fanatic

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    Fabulous kudu!
     
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  9. gillettehunter

    gillettehunter AH ENABLER AH Legend

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    Nice Kudu. Good shooting. Congrats.
    Bruce
     
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  10. wipartimer

    wipartimer AH Veteran

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  11. AfricanEclipse

    AfricanEclipse AH Member

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    Hey all!

    Ed's brother here giving an account of the first day of my virgin safari with my gf, Dana.
    As Ed said, the excitement was high and little sleep was to be had that first night (and for many others).
     

  12. AfricanEclipse

    AfricanEclipse AH Member

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    After breakfast Mike Blignaut plus hes trackers Pizza and Tiger, myself, and Dana followed Ed's crew away from camp and out into the chilly African bush.
    We happened upon the usual Impala that frequent the area near camp as well as a big, beautiful, owl that was patrolling the road in the early morning hours.

    With Kudu being my prize quarry we set out to get one! The bush of course, had its own ideas about what it was going to offer us. Wildebeest ahead! A BIG one... There. On the ground still waiting for the sun to warm it.

    Mike and I glassed it for a few moments before the beast rose and became an enormous SHE. Oh well. Certainly was impressive to see. I have to say they are rather intimidating when staring at you squared up with head down! The bush can give and the bush can take away.

    Not long afterwards we spied a decent herd of Zebra. "Want to shoot a Zebra?" I was asked. Needless to say the truck stopped and the stalk was on! We slowly approached them through several hundred yards of brush as quietly as the dried grasses and twigs would allow. Not quiet enough. Off they went. We followed them to the lee side of a copi and there they stood grazing. "There, on the left. Take that one." I heard Mike whisper as the sticks went up and my .300 WM rested in the crook. I took as much time as needed and it seemed the Zebra was slightly quartering away. The Colt bellowed and Zebra herd took off with one trailing. We found blood but not much. We tracked. And we tracked.

    Lunch time came and it was decided to give it some time to lie down and expire and come back to resume the search. "Did you shoot the black or the white stripe?" Friendly wagers were made.

    We returned and it wasn't long before we found it. As it turned out I ruined the bets by splitting the difference between the black and white stripes! What are the chances of that? The Zebra as it turned out was slightly quartering towards us not away when I fired. Not a good shot but a mortal one nonetheless.

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  13. AfricanEclipse

    AfricanEclipse AH Member

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    After visiting the skinning shed to drop off the Zebra we acquired some &parts& to put out as hyena bait and returned to our search for a Kudu. Carefully picking our way along a reservoir. We spied a Hippo and her young one down the way a bit.

    What's that up ahead? As we aproached Wayne's truck we noticed a commotion. Brother Ed had shot himself a fine Kudu specimen! Kudos bro! The late afternoon sun lit the hills with a golden fire as my brother beamed with joy.

    Little else worth mentioning happened the rest of the day for this first timer. More to come!
     
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  14. BenKK

    BenKK AH Fanatic

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    Way to go! Great adventure shared with brothers!
     
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  15. cpr0312

    cpr0312 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Enjoying the report and pics!! Nice kudu congrats!!
     
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  16. Royal27

    Royal27 AH ENABLER AH Ambassador

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    Great start to the report!

    Sam and Cowboy are fantastic to hunt with.
     
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  17. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Wonderful report and photos! Congratulations on the fine trophies so far! Anxious for more!
     
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  18. Edge

    Edge BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Wednesday 18 July, NIGHT 1 of Safari:

    After dropping off the kudu at the skinning shed with instructions for the skinners to find the Peregrine bullet as it did not exit, Wayne hands me his CZ 22 Hornet. We weren’t done hunting yet and we are at the 12 hour point of our day after covering 9 miles of bush walking and rock climbing on our two walk-abouts (keeping things at an international level here on AH haha!).

    A little background is in order. I had contacted Wayne just a week or two before we were to arrive inquiring about hunting some of the night creatures, Wayne assured me they were available. He would bring a shotgun and his 22 Hornet so we wouldn’t ruin the pelts as I was already bringing two rifles. Quick instruction on how to use the 2-stage trigger and safety of the CZ Hornet and we departed with Sam manning the spotlight with me seated on the high seat sandwiched between Sam and Cowboy with Sunday riding in the single seat in the back.

    We were within the farming area of the Ranch which is surrounded by a tall fence with multiple strands of wire and also electrified I believe, probably 15-20 strands. The fence is there to help keep out all the wild creatures to include the Elephants from destroying the crops. There are also people manning fires every couple hundred yards surrounding the fields to further deter the wildlife. Tomatoes was the primary crop growing while we were there and the wildlife LOVE tomatoes! There were also fields of onions and butternut squash planted. With people manning the fires and also living quarters for the workers next to the fields, one had to be mindful of the direction of fire.

    It wasn’t long before Sam spotted a large African Wildcat on the other side of the fence, weaving in and out of the thick bush. I got the scope on him a few times but every time I picked out an opening that was relatively clear in front of the cat he would change direction. I could hear Wayne in the cab saying it was a big one and take him, the trackers all urging shoot, shoot. Do you see him, shoot! It wasn’t to be as I could never get a bead on the big cat before he melted away into the night.

    We continued on down the track along the fence and Sam spots a set of eyes out to our right on the hill across from us in a grassy area, Grysbok! I really wanted one of these small antelope, my excitement was already high after seeing the Wildcat just a few minutes before and now a grysbok. This spotlighting is fun! The grysbok didn’t stand still for long and would dart away, further and further making identification difficult. For those who don’t know, the horns on a Sharpes grysbok are small and a big one is just over 1.5 inches in length and will exceed Rowland Ward minimums. Wayne and the trackers look and look through binoculars but determine it was a female. We drive around the farm fields looking for more night creatures and come upon a couple spring hares. These are interesting creatures, you can think of them as a cross between a kangaroo and a rabbit or hare but they are actually a rodent. Wayne stops and tells me to take one to verify the 22 Hornet was on as we didn’t have time to shoot it prior to breaking it out of the case, it was on as Cowboy points out!
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    The trackers will have the springhare for the pot tonight, nothing goes to waste in Africa!
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    You will notice I’m bundled up pretty tight with a fleece jacket and another wind resistant fleece underneath and a neck gaiter and head cover, it was chilly and with the open air blowing frigid at times. We decided to head back towards camp as it was getting late, a 15-20 minute ride away. After passing through the gate, Sam shines up two Genet which quickly jump into a thick bush. I try to pick out a body outline with the scope on the Hornet but without being sure I held off. The genet disappear and we move on down the road with me holding the CZ in one hand the other hand bracing on the roll bar in front of me. We spot impala, warthog and giraffe on the drive back.

    We are approaching a T in the road where we will turn left towards camp and standing in the middle of the road is a Hyena! Shit, I have a 22 Hornet in my hands. I tell Cowboy to hold the Hornet as I grab the 30-06 from the case and rack in a round. The Hyena knows better and turns and lopes off and around the corner to the right and we lose sight of him. Dang, I bet he’s gone but wow that was cool!

    We proceed and turn right and Sam spots him in the bush, Wayne turns the truck towards him and stops. I already have the Zeiss illuminated dot on the Hyena. He is facing us down, with his head held low. I wait as I’m not shooting him in the skull, he picks his head up and poom, the 06 goes off and I hit him square in the chest and you can see the shot has rocked him hard but he’s still standing. He turns to his left and I put another one in his shoulder and it’s over, probably wasn’t required but good insurance as I didn’t want to be chasing a wounded Hyena in the dark!

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    We are setting up for photos and Wayne tells Sam to stick his tongue back in while I’m holding the massive head in my hands. Sam reaches down and mutters he’s going to bite me. I couldn’t help myself, as Sam pushes the tongue in I push the head up and give a growl, everyone was rolling with laughter except for Sam!


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    Back to the skinning shed we go, the skinners had a busy day and night with Baboon, Zebra, Kudu and Hyena taken by Michelle, Jeff and I today. We head back out with Sam shining the spotlight the entire way home, we drop off the trackers at their quarters and head to the lodge for a cocktail, dinner and red South African wine and smiles and laughter on the events of Day 1!

    Hors d'oeuvre of mushrooms and garlic bread

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    Followed by the main course of impala, mashed potatoes, cauliflower, squash and red wine!

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    Well, what's left of the 2nd or was it the 3rd bottle?
    IMG_4306.JPG

    What hand will Africa deal us on Day 2?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2018
    enysse, ActionBob, whitetail and 7 others like this.

  19. Roan

    Roan AH Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2012
    Messages:
    369
    Video/Photo:
    5
    Likes Received:
    295
    Location:
    Hermanus
    Member of:
    NHSA, SA Wingshooters, SA Hunters
    Hunted:
    South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia
    Amazing trip so far!

    Love that Hyena.
     
    AfricanEclipse likes this.

  20. AfricanEclipse

    AfricanEclipse AH Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2018
    Messages:
    38
    Video/Photo:
    30
    Likes Received:
    85
    Location:
    Ormond Beach
    Member of:
    NRA
    Hunted:
    Zimbabwe, USA (PA, FL, AL)
    The hippos I spoke of above. It wasn't easy taking pictures and hunting at the same time! Dana did her best to capture what she could. Mike Blignaut was very accommodating when it came to pictures. Often he was the one using Dana's camera/phone! LOL


    hippo.jpg

    The baiting log using Michelle's baboon and Zebra inards. Not a smell for the queesy!

    part0.jpg

    The glowing sunset setting fire to the hills.

    20180718_171750.jpg
     
    ActionBob, whitetail, Mauser and 5 others like this.

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