Well I'm two weeks back from Africa so I'd better get busy and write some thoughts down before it all becomes a blur! I was scheduled to retire for the third time on July 1st. Having failed at retirement twice before, I thought that scheduling five weeks on safari would ensure that the event took place. Imagine my surprise when my company asked me to stay on until November 1st even with 5 weeks off in Africa! I guess if someone wants to pay for your retirement party you may as well let them! The trip was really three safaris, a plains game hunt in Limpopo, a buffalo hunt in the Zambezi Valley, and a plains game hunt near Etosha Park in Namibia. Any who have read my threads know that I am addicted to buffalo hunting. The plains game hunts were the result of incredibly low priced purchases at a local SCI banquet/auction. Since I'm a buffalo hunter we're going to start with the buffalo hunt even though it was sandwiched between the two plains game hunts. The hunt was booked with Charlton McCallum Safaris in the Dande hunting block on the Zambezi river. The area borders Mozambique to the East and Zambia to the North. Our PH was Len Taylor. For those of you who enjoy the safari shows on TV, Len is no stranger. Len is one of the old school Zim PH's, an incredibly talented hunter, a true gentleman, and above all humble and unassuming. Most importantly, my wife was very comfortable hunting with Len, and as this was to be her first buffalo, that was a prime consideration. Below is a picture of Len looking out over the valley. It is incredible country with fantastic buffalo, elephant and cat numbers. We flew in from Harare in a 206. I loved every minute of it, however my wife, prone to motion sickness, had a very different experience. We flew over prime farmland for the first hour of the flight. Having grown up on a farm in Canada and being in the Ag industry, I was saddened to see the ruin that Mugabe's land reforms had left the country in. They have truly turned a land flowing with milk and honey into a wasteland. I hope that the future brings positive and I will leave it at that as this is a hunting story, not a political diatribe. Len was at the strip to meet us. We loaded our gear into the cruiser and embarked on the 45 minute drive to camp. The drive convinced me that we had made the right decision on this hunt. This is truly remote country and encompasses nearly a million acres of prime big game hunting. This meant that buffalo could be hunted in the way they should be hunted, tracking on foot, and the chances of running into any human activity or boundary that would impede them or us was remote. We were staying at Mururu Camp. A classic Zimbabwe bush camp with thatch roofed huts on a dry riverbed. The camp was well situated, well maintained and well run. We were grateful for the efforts of the cook, who did an outstanding job with the game meat, but also provided excellent salads, fruits and vegetables in the meals. For those who have been on a meat and potatoes diet on safari, you will understand how nice it is to have a more balanced approach to dining! As usual, there was a great selection of fine South African wines that are notably absent in our liquor stores! The first morning started as I wish all mornings did, with a cup of coffee drunk around a fire. After a light breakfast we were off to see what the day would bring. It being her first hunt, we decided that we would hunt until Sue was presented with a good killing opportunity. I would hunt my buffalo when she was done. We cut tracks early and were in a herd after about a four mile follow up. It was fun to watch Sue as we worked in tight and were pinned by curious eyes. Until you've done it, it is difficult to understand the excitement of working in tight on buffalo. Len hunted as well as I've every seen anyone do it, circling ahead of the herd, finding opportunities to move in, and above all being patient and cautious. Eventually the late morning winds began swirling and we backed out. We quickly re-engaged in the afternoon and worked the herd until dark. It is likely that I could have shot, however, we were being particularly cautious to get Sue a very high quality shot. As stated previously, this was her first buffalo, and it was the first time either of us had seen a 9.3x62 used on the big bovines. Day 2 was a carbon copy of day 1. We were quickly into buffalo, worked them all morning, ate a bush lunch and rested until the afternoon winds settled in, re-engaged and worked the herd until dark. If there is a better way to spend a day I don't know what it is! On the trail! An attempted bushwack from a termite mound!