Outfitter: Charlton McCallum Safaris PH: Buzz Charlton Cameraman : Justin Drainer Appy PH : Peiter Trackers: Criton, Nyati, Eddie our driver Dates: Sept 12-19 Area Hunted: Nyakasanga Rifles: Camp .375 H&H Winchester model 70 & 7x57 Brno Animals taken: Kudu, Impala, Baboon and Cape Buffalo This goes back to March or April when I made a post wanting a hunt for Cape Buff in the wild countries. We are having our second child and my wife gave me the go ahead to go hunt before we have more rugrats running around. I was in contact with a few outfitters that were like minded and had the hunt I was looking for. Wild areas, no fences, proper tracking and hunting. The way Africa should be experienced in my mind. As I don't know how many times I'll be able to go to Africa I wanted to try an achieve this my first trip. May cost more then other options but it meant a lot to me. Track Buff in the thick stuff, in close. See trackers work their magic, watch a PH carry his double around like its an extension of his arms. And what can I say. Buzz delivered this and more. For my first Safari and what I hoped to experience they were a 10/10 in every way. Originally we were booked in Dande, in Mururu camp, and how luck unfolds between a cancellation and CMS having a Fly tent camp setup on the Zambezi it was a no brainer to hunt Nyakasanga. Arguably some of the best Buff hunting in Zim. The only two things I hoped to achieve with my trip was to hunt a Cape Buff And hopefully take a Kudu. Both of which I'm happy to say we were able to do and both hunts were perfect. I left Vancouver on Sept 9th, would be going to Frankfurt, Johannesburg, Harare. Losing a day I'd arrive on the 11th. First time I've flown in a double deck plane, first time ever on plane for longer then 5 hours haha, and am glad to say Lufthansa was great to fly with. I flew economy mostly with one upgraded flight on premium economy. Gotta have a good German bratwurst and pretzels in Frankfurt Landed in the morning in Joburg and has a short time till connecting through Harare. One short flight later I couldn't believe I was finally halfway around the world finally here. Beautiful feeling. Met Justin and Pieter at the Airport, Eddie and Criton were waiting. And we drove to Buzz's to pick him up and off on our way to camp, I think a 6 hour drive. We stopped halfway at a side store and ate a burger and had my first Biltong and also a form of pepperoni which was delicious. Also stopped and grabbed some tomatoes, oranges and sugar cane for the guys in the back to chew on haha. Also learnt of the pay-by-phone system that have going in the absence of cash. The drive actually flew by for me, talking with Buzz for hours just getting to know each other and talking about all things hunting and everything in general. We came down the escarpment just as the sun was setting and my first view of the Valley was amazing. It was much wider then I thought and seeing the hills rise up on both sides was a great sight. Looking out over Zambia was very cool. We hit the unpaved road into camp and as it got darker we seen a porcupine, a serval cat and hyena running down the road. Also some Waterbuck females. Camp was set up great. Overlooking the river, hippos sounding off, nice dining room tent and two big tents setup with showers and flush toilets. Not that ritzy nor too roughly it, probably just the right accommodations I was looking for. Next morning up at a good time. I was doing very good with jet lag. I had stayed awake the first flight and then slept on my next flight when I was in the same timezone as Zim. I almost didnt have a single issue with jetlag. We sighted in the .375 H&H I would be using. Peiter normally carried it for his duties, but I shouldered both the Winchester model 70, as well as Buzz's Blaser which was just a touch short for my LOA. I made the rifle look pretty small hahaha It was left with iron sights so we put the quick detach scope back on and after a small adjustment and it was shooting perfect! Off we went, I couldn't believe it. I was hunting in Africa, and I've always loved the saying “Whatever you do, Go until the view feels a less familar.” That's something I've always struggled with in my head. I hunted a lot of places in North America, and I can always find something similar to home, a group of trees, some sort of outcropping. And I knew I was good when we set off into the bush. This was nothing like back home. I thought it was the neatest thing seeing groves of Mopane trees, and stunted 8 feet high, as you quickly realize Elephants just walk by and eat anything at mouth height and mow all the trees the same height. We stopped at many pans and checked for tracks, so many amazing sights and trees. One pan we stopped at was still holding quite a bit of water, enough for a bull and two female Hippos to be living in. My first up close sights of them. And before long we were sitting under a large tree and we heard something falling. Turned out a baboon had shit above us and Buzz and Justin ran for cover!!! Too funny, and I learnt just how much everyone didnt hated baboon shit haha The culprit I love how every Baobab tree is slightly different from the next. And even cooler to see how the elephant dig into the bark with their tusks. How some are almost hollowed out. After that it was still quite early, we cut 3-4 buff tracks crossing the road. I got to finally witness the tremendous tracking ability of Criton and Nyati. And the complement eachother so much, Criton may be the better tracker by a little, but Nyati's eyes are sharper and well trained for animals. Its a great 1-2 combo and works great how they both track but with Criton tracking it gives Nyati alittle extra to look up when you get closer to get eyes on the target. Buzz and the guys guessed at how far behind we'd be, he guessed just over an hour and the trackers figured 1.5+ turned out Buzz won hahaha. Just over an hour, one dry river crossing, and into the thick stuff. I got my first view of a Buff at 75 yards. Wind swirled and just like that they were gone, I was surprised I thought they'd be jet black but they actually blend in alittle better, old age and mud and lighter hairs. But it was a good first tracking session. Also positive in that Buzz saw enough to know he wasnt a shooter and he was with two younger bulls. By then it was lunch time we parked in the shade on a dried up pan. Pretty soon we were eating around the table and here come a half dozen female impala walking by under 50 yards. What a sight to see! Buzz decided on a quick nap in the pickup to beat the midday heat and all the sudden a half dozen rams come walking by the same line! A bit of quiet yelling and we grabbed the guns and sticks and before any action they were gone. The running joke was we could of shot our impala over the dining table! After lunch we did more looking for pans and got up into a beautiful area of the concession. Its namesake was 100% accurate in its description. Paradise. Not long after we spotted a gorgeous Kudu bull. We started walking into the bush to hopefully get it crossing in front of us. We were alittle over 100 yards and the sticks went up and we waited for him to walk out from behind a large bush/termite mound. Turned out he walked out from another bush just alittle further but he turned broadside and I let a round off. It felt good. I practiced alot with sticks at home before to get used to them and quite liked shooting off them. At first glance I saw the kudu bull cringe and bolt, he actually ran towards us alittle and I knew my second shot was behind, he then turned and was running broadside into the thick jess. My 3rd shot I was leading and thought it made contact too. We started tracking it, and as Buzz had said, he thought the shot went alittle forward. We found some bone fragments in the blood trail which validated his thoughts. We tracked him till just before dark. He bedded many times and lots of pools of blood. He just had enough strength to keep getting out infront of us. We finally had to leave his trail so we made time to not be hiking in the thick stuff in the dark. We also found blood spots up high on the right so that confirmed my 3rd shot hit somewhere high on the neck. With the amount of hyenas in nyakasanga and near mana pools, the trackers somberly said, “atleast hyena dont eat the horns” Upon video review, Buzz was correct, shot was forward and hit shoulder and brisket. He was hurt but just not bad enough. I felt bad and everyone has experienced similar. The guys had did their jobs flawlessly and I added alot more tracking then should of been needed. We got up early and walked to be walking back into the trail at daybreak, when we came around a corner about 1km from the spot we came to a pride of lions. 4 female and 1 young male. I couldnt believe how tall the male was in real life. They sat 15 feet off the road and looked like the had eaten in night. They were watering up at a pan. We joked that Eddie should go back when we hike in to check that pan for any tracks. He was not amused and much laughter ensued. We only drove by them a km before stopping and hiking in. Half hour later we were at the spot we left the kudu trail. We started tracking again, and soon came to an odd track. It was a hyena track that had been dragging something. I didnt have a good feeling. Buzz had said he had a similar thing with a sable once and the sable had actually stayed alive and fought off the hyenas in the night till morning. But that hyena track soon washed any hopes of finding it alive. All I hoped now was maybe they'd start from the rear and work forward. Not 200 yards from where we had left the trail the night before we finally came to the kill site. Turns out those very same lions had most likely killed the Kudu or found it in the night. And then many hyenas had come and finished the scraps. We started walking around looking for the horns. The only consolation price to this magnificent animal. I started to worry that a hyena had even dragged those away! But before too long Nyati had found the horns 40 yards away. And when I tell you the hyenas ate everything. I mean it. There was alittle pile of stomach contents back at the kill site. But all that was left of the Kudu was the skull and maybe 3-4 neck bones. That was it. Even the skin on the face they worked over. Not a single scrap was anywhere. The predators ate well that night. The team was sad about no kudu meat in camp, and sad for me not to view the beauty of a large male Kudu. He has deep deep curls! I've never owned a ruler for measuring Big game animals, and Buzz didnt have anything in camp so it'll be fun when it gets home to see what it actually measures out too. Mid 50s was Buzz's guess, and hes probably right. He was fairly tall but those deep curls will sure add to the length. There must be 4-5+ inches atleast inside the curl. There was actually another set of kudu horns in camp which you could actually put them inside the curl since that set was such a tight curl. Just a stunning bull, and I cant wait to get Justins video so I have more footage of him alive. I'll try to frame a shot of it alive as they're so majestic. Buzz said he'd look around for a kudu cape if I wanted to get a shoulder mount which I will definitely will be going for. Peiter was put to work, a good young Appy.