ZIMBABWE: Amazing Zimbabwe Safari With JKO Hunting Safaris


AH enthusiast
Oct 14, 2016
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Hunting reports
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RSA, Zimbabwe
So the beginning of my post-safari report will now begin. I and @cpr0312 met up at the DSC convention this past January and as we were both turning over the hill this year, wanted to get back to remote and wild Africa (and not spend our hard earned cash on Harley Davidsons ) so as we were drinking a couple beers and hanging out with my good friend (and business partner) Jacques Spamer of JKO Safaris, we hashed a plan to get to Zim in conjunction with Jimba Safaris right on the banks of Lake Kariba in the Chete Safari Area about 5 hours drive NE of Vic Falls. Our plan was dangerous animals as well as whatever Africa may put in our way. As the months tick by, the usual preparation unfolds. It’s amazing how fast the time goes as the trip was here before we knew it! Joining us would be another buddy of mine, Chris Esterhuizen of Jongosi Media, who would be filming the safari. I’ve said this before and I will continue to say it again and again-especially if you’re hunting dangerous game but even if only plains game, I highly recommend getting your hunt professionally filmed. The quality is so much better than your Sony Handycam that your buddy is using the film you! He also films for several of the folks on Outdoor and Sportsmens channel so he knows what he is doing.

Our hunting permit was for 10 days beginning September 24 and Indian October 3. As per usual end it takes a couple days to get there. I flew directly out of my hometown in Missouri on American Airlines to Chicago. This time, I used Lori at @Travel Express Who I also highly recommend if you’ve not used them before! They make the travel so much easier! We decided to save a little money and use Qatar Airways. This was a deviation from my usual Delta flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg. I have course had a layover in Doha Qatar which actually is a very nice airport and good people watching. But don’t try the natural milk at one of the shops-YUCK!!!! Lesson learned!! The airline is very nice and comfortable even in coach. Of course at Chicago O’Hare, it is always a pain going through the international terminal. Unfortunately I had all of my paperwork filled out prior to the trip and able to give them at the counter. But some of the ladies at the counter were new and didn’t quite know the process when traveling with firearms. Also, you have to fill out a couple more forms specifically for guitar for your rifles. Fortunately I had all my serial numbers written down on the form 4457. Anyway, I had on the way there plenty of time in my layover in Doha and able to stretch my legs which was not the case on the way back! It was a 13 hour flight from Chicago to Doha and then a nine hour flight from Delhi to Johannesburg. I first met up with Chris at the airport who met me there and then we met Jacques and @cpr0312. We went downstairs and then boarded the shuttle to get to the South African Airways plane to fly to Victoria Falls. And as was the usual theme for the few weeks we were there, I cracked open a couple Castle Lites on the plane. Man I love that stuff! Best tasting beer ever! Got through Victoria Falls airport and fortunately didn’t waste much time to get on the road. Bought some beer right out of the airport for a ride up which was five hours to Sijarrira safari area Which is the first camp that Jimba safaris uses. We tried to get there quick enough so that we could take the boat on up 45 minutes to where our camp was but we were just a little bit too late. So we had more Castle Lite (and a few shots of Jack Daniels which is a tradition of Chris and I ) and then called it a night. The evening meal was just a first taste of the great food that we had the entire week. Got up early and got on the boat to get up to Chete. The water was especially calm that morning as opposed to a few times when the water was fairly choppy and we had to use the boat to cover more ground. The sunrise was spectacular and always zoned me in that I’m back in Africa! As we got to camp and unloaded our things we immediately went out to the range to make sure our rifles are on. This becomes one of the only snafus of the trip....

@cpr0312 quickly cited his rifle in and went off with his professional hunter. Then it was my turn. As I’m getting my boxes of ammunition out, Jacques and my other PH, Heath, ask me where my solids are. I quickly responded that it’s the 300 grain Hornaday. They look at me and laugh and ask if I’m serious. I took both 270 grain and 300 grain and have been told repeatedly by The owner of a sportings good store And I frequent near my home that the 300 grain bullets or solids. Unfortunately, they were not. This kind of knocked the wind out of me to be honest with you! I had cited the rifle in to zero at 100 yards with those 300 grains that I thought were solids and ended up not being. Fortunately, @cpr0312 had some extra solids that he was able to lend me. Therefore, we had to make sure the rifle was on because they were 350 grain Normas. I couldn’t believe it-the scope was actually 9 inches low! My rifle is a .375 H&H CZ SafariMagnum with a Leuopold VX 1.5-6 scope. As per that day as well as a few times throughout the trip, the scope did not stay on target. I will discuss this later and report eventually but I am certainly going to be changing rifle scopes. It’s just not the right one for that rifle (likely will go with a Trijicon with higher magnification). So once we got it pretty well on we went on out and search for dangerous game. I had multiple species on my list.

So.... this is where a decision had to be made between @cpr0312 and I about what all we can really write up on our species list here on this forum openly. Secondary to my profession, I do not feel it appropriate That I put all the species and what not on this forum for greenie trolls to read. Those of you that know me, please don’t hesitate to PM and I will respond to you more of the story. But I will not let that deter the majority of our Hunt report!

I also want to say that on another forum that will remain nameless haha- it has been said that Chete area was completely shot out and not with any game secondary to all the poaching that occurred several years ago. That is absolutely not the case anymore! There is a fairly new ranger station not three minutes drive from camp. There are all kinds of planes game as well as dangerous game such as hippo, elephant, crocodile, cape buffalo, lion, and all kinds of leopard tracks that we saw. I will let @cpr0312 speak more about the leopard thing In his report. There were also enormous Sable, kudu and impala. I was actually after a sable on the last day but he ended up not being in the right spot. So for those of you out there that are considering Zimbabwe-I highly recommend that you get a hold of me so that I can tell you more about this place! Here are some pictures of the start of the hunt including Sijirra and Chete camps. More of the story will come later so stay tuned....

Also, this story may or may not end with me bungee jumping off the bridge at Vic Falls- like I said, this will be quite the write up!!

Please note the pic in the rangers station about how many poachers killed. Wow....
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Day 2

So the day started out with a fantastic breakfast and in the land cruiser we go! Went down to look for any signs of water (besides the lake) and only found one lil spring but perfect site for leopard. Saw old elephant tracks as well as kudu and plenty of impala tracks. So we kept going and found an unexpected large water source (that was way down because of the drought). There were plenty of crocs that had already came out on the sandbar. There was also plenty of hippo tracks- kind of a “hippo highway”. Went back for lunch and then scouted another few locations. Went back by the lake and saw plenty of PG. As @cpr0312 has posted in his thread- we’ve reached that point in our safari “careers” that just taking in the sights, sounds and smells is enough. No reason to rush. Went back to camp and enjoyed dinner and drinks and of course, the mopani fire....
Great start on the hunt report. I like the size of those Zambezi beers!
Excellent start! Looks like a very unique place.
Thanks gentlemen!! It is very beautiful there with many different types of terrain. Some places were so arid and desolate it reminded me of a volcanic environment with all the black rocks.

Days 3-5

Each morning was a very early rise and getting in the bakkie to spot and then stalk. There were adventures a plenty! One of the more comedic (certainly not at the time!) incidents was on the afternoon of day 3. So, it is a must to always double check that “white gold” (toilet paper) is in the truck or on your person because you never know when duty calls. Jacques and Heath were out checking tracks when immediately my stomach didn’t feel so well and nature came a calling. I had to make do with dried grass as my only sanitary wipes- not good (and very itchy)! I know doubt made sure my wet wipes were in my backpack the remainder of the safari! .... Moving on- no pun intended lol- we continued to see all kinds of game. We made a stalk on 2 hippos that had beached for an afternoon siesta by trekking up and down a mountain to get to them but a shot didn’t present itself (this was on the shores of Lake Kariba). We continued to see several huge crocs as well. But being as how crocs were to be my final objective, we passed. I just can’t say enough how beautiful the scenery was- plenty of great sunsets and sunrises. The third evening we went to the Ruzi River that fed into a bay of Kariba and were startled by running into 3 cow elephants and a little one- they didn’t like our presence all that much and trumpeted at us as they stormed off. After that excitement, we kept going along the River (that was really down) and came upon a lone bull hippo in the water. It was only about 30 yards off but would not show us his tusks so weren’t sure if this one was a go or not. We decided to let him stay where he was as it was getting to be dusk and didn’t want to shoot as he would go down in the pool and we’d have to wait til he floated up. Hippo skin is so tough that we doubted the crocs would get at him but didn’t want to take that chance.

On the 4th morning we headed back to the Ruzi River where the hippo was the previous evening. Unfortunately he wasn’t in the same pool so we kept hiking on in that valley along the river until we had to cross it. None of us were willing to wade into the 7foot wide crossing point as crocs abounded. Fortunately there was a makeshift canoe that was lying near so we used it as a bridge to cross. Lil slippery but got the job done. We hiked all the way to where we could see the inlet in our binocs- plenty of hippo that had beached but had no way of going further so we decided to backtrack and make another plan. This was how it went for these few days.

Side note- also be sure to watch for thorns where you decide to take a small after lunch snooze- I had to pick a few out of my back and behind
Side note- also be sure to watch for thorns where you decide to take a small after lunch snooze- I had to pick a few out of my back and behind
At least it wasn't in your bush toilet paper!
Looking forward to the rest of the report!

And I will send you a PM to get some details on the other details of the hunt as I'm quite interested as you can imagine.
Looking forward to the rest of the report!

And I will send you a PM to get some details on the other details of the hunt as I'm quite interested as you can imagine.

I will PM you soon
One of the more comedic (certainly not at the time!) incidents was on the afternoon of day 3. So, it is a must to always double check that “white gold” (toilet paper) is in the truck or on your person because you never know when duty calls. Jacques and Heath were out checking tracks when immediately my stomach didn’t feel so well and nature came a calling. I had to make do with dried grass as my only sanitary wipes- not good (and very itchy)!

Oh, and there was absolutely no reason to use dried grass.

Just saying....

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Yep a shemagh is handy for all sorts of things! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::sick:
Thanks for sharing your hunt report and all the great photos............glad it was a successful trip!
Sure it wasn't that Zimbabwe beer. Might of been a bit green
So jealous I’m not there!;). Have the time of your lives men!
Day 6-8

The days earlier in the week had been much cooler than expected for that time of the year (usually around 110 F) so we got very lucky. But then it started heating up. We used the boat to get to places we wouldn’t otherwise been able to do so. The water was calm at times but very choppy at others- the closest I’d felt to being a pro bull rider was one day in front of the boat crossing the lake to a good hippo and croc spot.

We made a big stalk on a pod of over 60 hippos that got out of the water on land but in the end couldn’t get over to them so we took the boat back to an inlet where another large pod in the water was. We passed over them with the boat and beached the boat and got up in the boulders to glass them. As time passed, they kept snorting and making their usual grunts and groans. Heath told Jacques that it was highly unlikely that they’d come any closer and that we should go straight at them and put up the shooting sticks. So we did... Heath said that there is usually a 70% chance that the hippo with the largest head is usually a bull but it’s no guarantee. Fortunately, the biggest one was the one nearest to us. So the sticks went up and I zeroed in right on the diamond shape between the eyes and nose and slowly pulled the trigger. I was using a Norma 350 grain solid and at the shot, he immediately went under without any splash. Upon further review, when a hippo goes under without a splash- that’s great news!! We looked at the video feed and knew it was right on- the ears tipped downward immediately before it went under. So we had to wait 1 1/2 hours for him to float. Went over to the spot and under the water- there he is starting to float up. Got him tied to the boat and drug him thru the water to another spot on the lake so we could get him on land. I of course, was wielding the rifle while the others were rolling him out of the water to the beach. Crocs love the smell of blood. Fortunately the guys did a great job with no crocs coming to investigate. This made for some great pics and celebratory Castle Lites (and Jameson) that evening by the mopani fire!!

Now that some of the pressure was off- it was time for some tiger fishing at sunset! I had one on but it got off. Heath landed a small one so I could at least get a pic with it. Thanks Heath!!! Such gorgeous sunsets and the taste of the beer was so much better. Now on to crocodile so stay tuned!!!
One fine hippo! Congratulations!

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