Hunting Elephant and Leopard with Dalton and York Safaris in the Omay, Zimbabwe...
We just got back from a little over 3 weeks of travel, with time spent in Zimbabwe and Dubai. I'll do this report in installments by animal/event rather than chronologically, as many parts overlap.
I cannot over emphasize enough how great this safari went. Hands down our best hunting and travel experience to date, made possible by the exceptional efforts and support of our Professional Hunter, Dalton Tink; our outfitter, Dalton and York Safaris; our agent, Michelle Buchanan of Buchanan Hunts; and our videographer, Andy Buchanan of This Is Africa/Africa Five! If you're looking for a hard hunt in truly wild Africa with a professional team and great friends, look no further. These are the people you need to contact and they will make the safari of your dreams a reality.
Also, don't wait to travel because of Covid! I'll cover this more in depth later, but covid presented only minor inconveniences during our trip. The reward though, was that we basically had Vic Falls all to ourselves, as well as other places we visited. Travel now, avoid the lines and crowds!
We hunted in Omay North, part of the Omay CAMPFIRE area. The Omay consists of 2 million acres of wild country, directly adjacent to the Matusadona National Park, along the banks of Lake Kariba. It is bordered by the Ume River to the east and Sengwa River to the west. This is wild country, ranging from mountains to flood plains, and from thick jesse to the fields of local villages. The area is rich with big game- Lake Kariba and the Ume River are home to giant crocodile and hippo; while even a stalk on plains game must be approached with caution as elephant, buffalo, and lion are plentiful in the bush. And leopard. There are leopard everywhere! Prior to our arrival, three leopards had been hitting lion baits and during our hunt we have five separate leopards on baits!
The Omay is rough country that demands hard hunting, but rewards the effort with great trophies. I would not recommend the Omay if you suffer from reduced mobility, as you won't be shooting any trophies from the truck. Our PH, Dalton Tink, is a passionate hunter that never stops pushing to get you opportunities on the animals you're after. On some days, we exceed 20kms (12+ miles) of stalking with the darkness of a setting sun the only thing halting the pursuit. As the report will later show, Dalton is not one to compromise. He is only satisfied with the best and oldest trophy animals and wont have you shooting at some young bull just to cash in on a trophy fee.
Dalton and York Safaris just recently took over the entirety of the Omay and are investing heavily into conservation and community engagement in the area. However, they are not new to the Omay, both having extensively hunted the region with other outfitters over the past decade. They have extensive anti-poaching teams working non-stop, with clear positive results. The region was once plagued by elephant poaching, but that is no longer the case and the elephant population is extensive and healthy. Equally, the results of their work with the locals, ranging from digging bore holes to problem animal control to meat distribution, was apparent as we drove through villages and talked with the locals.
So, without further ado, on to the report...
Outfitter: Dalton and York Safaris (facebook/instagram)
Agent: Michelle Buchanan, Buchanan Hunts
Professional Hunter: Dalton Tink
Tracker: Tongai (Dewa)
National Parks Ranger: Million
Council Game Scout: Time
Videographer/Truck Comedian: Andy Buchanan of This Is Africa (Pursuit Channel/Youtube) and Africa Five
Hunting Area: Omay North
Hunting Camp: Ume Camp
Other Areas visited: Harare, Victoria Falls, Dubai
Dip/Pack: Collettes Wildlife Artistry, Zimbabwe
Trophy Imports: Safari Specialty Importers
CITES/USFWS Permits: Conservation Force
Flights: Emirates, Fastjet
Other lodging: Amanzi Lodge (Harare), Old Drift Lodge (Vic Falls), Le Meridien (Dubai)
Rifles: Chapuis Brousse 470NE double rifle, Blaser R8 chambered in 375H&H and 300 Win Mag
Ammunition: Swift (A-Frames and Break-Away Solids)
Optics: Nightforce and Vortex
Animals hunted/fished: Elephant, Leopard, Hippo, Chobe Bushbuck, Spotted Hyena, Impala, Vundu Catfish
Other Animals seen: Cape Buffalo, Crocodile, Waterbuck, Kudu, Zebra, Klipspringer, Civet Cat, Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Serval Cat, Duiker
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