ZIMBABWE: Zim hunt with Touch Africa

sestoppelman

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Back from my safari with Touch Africa. My report will be relatively brief as there is not much to report on. Took two (2) animals in ten (10) days. More later.
 

nsok

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Hi sestoppelman,
That can be good news or bad news but I think your list was bigger...I hope you can give us good ones.
 

sestoppelman

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Not good news I am afraid.
 

James.Grage

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sestoppelman, we are all on pins and needles waiting for your report..
 

35bore

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Welcome back sestoppelman, sorry to hear "Not good news I am Afraid", keep us posted. Scott.
 

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Sestoppelman

A 10 day safari...they list 2 - 10 day safari's... Buffalo and plains game or elephant and plains game...or were you on a 10 day plains game safari...

What game were you after... they offer both dangerous and plains game safari...from the baboon all the way up to elephant...

last year they had good to great reports so it will be interesting in what you have to report.

Back from my safari with Touch Africa. My report will be relatively brief as there is not much to report on. Took two (2) animals in ten (10) days. More later.
 

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PHOENIX PHIL

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Disappointed for you Scott, I was actually thinking about you today and was looking forward to your report.
 

sestoppelman

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Well rather than give a full blown account I think I will just list things as they come to me. Still on jet lag time which is not conducive to objectivity but a few facts now and more later.

My main quarry you may recall was eland, waterbuck and hyena, all listed and stated by Jonathan as quite doable in 10 days. Had also hoped to better my kudu of 51.5 inches and bushbuck as well. Kudu were hard to come by and we only saw two shoot-able bulls that my PH said might go 52 or so. Just not enough better than my best to warrant the fee in my opinion.

Never saw one bull eland despite much hard hunting by vehicle and lots of miles on foot including climbing some of those small mountains in the area. Many hours spent tracking in the thorn and mopane to no avail. Shot a blue wildebeest on the second day in hopes of shaking things loose. Had planned to leave it till last, if at all. Took the waterbuck on the 5th day. The waterbuck was the only priority animal taken and it too was not easy and only 3-4 shoot-able bulls were seen. My hyena hunt was given somewhat short shrift amounting to a total effort of hanging some meat and guts at 2 different locations hoping for activity and then on the 9th night we went out after dinner and spent a total of perhaps one half hour at two places (15 minutes each) playing a hyena feeding frenzy flash drive over the Landy stereo system. No results. Oh well.

Day 5-10 are spent doing the same thing each day; driving and climbing and tracking. Had a chance at bushpig on day 9 just before dusk on the way to camp, but they gave us the slip. Saw them 3 times. Also saw grysbok for the first time ever, twice. We did see the buffalo several times but this was PG only. I was offered the chance to shoot a giraffe at no cost to me as they have several in the herds that have developed some form of skin disorder, fungus, warts or whatever and want to get them "out of the system". I thought about it but declined as I just didnt feel like being an executioner to a critter I always felt is so uniqely African and harmless. Others have taken them and I have NO problem with that whatsover but it wasnt something I wanted to do even for free.

Saw three bushbuck females and when I told my PH I wanted a bull over 15 inches he laughed out loud and said he had never seen one like that at Mjingwe though to be fair my PH is not a full time PH, but a fill in when needed. Jonathan was hunting another client for lion on another property.

Other impressions of the place; too many people wandering thru the bush, both employess and itinerant/squatters, which is being dealt with by the Zim police. Jonathans dad runs a small herd of cattle that appear at odd times and places usually driven by several people. Once while on a hot track for eland we came across the bloody cows in thick bush. Sort of takes the "flavor" out of the hunt. Also constantly bumping into people driving burro wagons, again some are employees, some not.

Camp is beautiful and well apppointed. Electricity is provided by diesel gen set. Fine and dandy. Except you only have lights in your tent/chalet in the wee hours and from about 6-9 pm when the lights go out. If you like to read as do I, its a flashlight affair after 9. Fortunately I had along one of those silly little hand-crank lights "just-in-case" that kept me reading. I remember in a remote bush camp in the Okavango we had power on demand all night. THey used a system of batteries hooked up to solar panels to provide juice, worked great.

Food was good if not totally inspired. All cooked in a kitchen, No braii! The first couple of nights we had a stir fry of chicken and beef over rice which while tasty enough left me wanting for game so I told my PH that game should be served for every dinner meal, and so it was from then on. I asked him who it was that had stock in the rice company! Green salad was always served at lunch instead of dinner which was usually one dimensional, good deserts though. The game meat we did have was good and tasty. Dont like to nitpick over this kind of stuff but it adds to the overall experience.

Basically as to the game situation I am not sure what the deal is. The more commom species like impala, zebra, wildebeest, wart hog etc; these are seen often during the day. The ones most of us who have been to Africa more than once want, were very hard to find. I have seen way more kudu in Namibia, RSA, and Botswana and even the other Zim hunt in '96 than I did here, way more. And the same would apply to eland in Namibia for sure and perhaps my other Zim trip. Eland are very wary animals and I would have had one opportunity to take one if I had been with my PH on his side of the hill glassing instead of my side of the hill glassing, but it could just as easily been the other way around, who knows.

For those who have hunted Touch before and had a great hunt, please feel free to comment but remember this; 'this aint my first rodeo' as the saying goes. Its the reason that I always go with a different outfitter on these sojourns. I have something to compare to. Those who go to RSA or wherever and hunt with the same guy at the same place 5 times dont have anything else to compare to and thus no knowledge of whether their hunt measures up or not.

Oh and did I mention the fences? I was under the impression that fencing would only really amount to the perimeter fence but such was hardly the case. We were going thru gates and driving fence lines every day. It was all explained to me when I asked but I dont like fences where I dont really expect them. In RSA I expected them so was not surprised to see them; I was a little surprised to see so much fencing here.

I will write more as it comes to me. For those who would like specific questions anwered feel free to PM me and you will get my honest appraisal.

Thanks to all for your kind thoughts. But like we all like to say on here, "A bad day in Africa is a good day". TIA, right!?
 

Mike70560

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Thanks for the report. Yours was not a case of TIA.

Not many comments on the PH. Did he put in the required effort on the animals other than the hyena?
 

TERMINATOR

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Did you got to Torch direct or through a booking agent? If a booking agent who?
 

billc

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sorry to hear all did not go well.Sounds like they may of over hyped there area some and a part PH may not have helped the tough hunting.Hope you did get at least some good memories for the hunt. Billc
 

sestoppelman

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Thanks guys, The PH did work hard for me with the possible exception of the hyena. He stated he had ordered a predator call system that did not arrive in time for the hunt and apparently Jonathan had the other set with him. More time could have been devoted to it sooner.
Mike 70560 the TIA was meant as an insider joke, not an excuse.

I booked thru Touch's US booking agent, Terry Wagner in Orting, WA. All travel worked well also booked by him. Perhaps the least painful of my 6 trips.

As always I have good memories of any trip to Africa because I love it.

For you bullet nuts, I used my 9.3x62 with 250 gr Barnes Triple Shock and recovered one, from my gnu, and it weighed 249 grs and mushroomed perfectly just like all pics ever seen of one. The other was a neck shot thru and thru on the waterbuck who ran maybe 150 yards max and fell over and was stone dead when we got to him.
 

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Sestoppelman

Your disappointment is felt by all...

Your expectation were high before you left for the 10 day plains game trip that you went on. You kept your list short and had your priorities trophy animals in hand and communicated before you left...i would have thought you were on target before you went...

Were the conditions dry? This would be there winter (December here) and i am not sure about water and range for the animals or if they move about...there picture on the home page shows a winter picture with dry grass and trees with no foliage. To me eland would blend in and disappear in the dry land scape and be extremely difficult to see.

Were you at the main lodge and were animals present at the water hole below the camp?

The web page indicated a 25,000 acre hunting area and that is a good chunk to go and see looking for animals...

Hyena, last year i ran across them days on end getting to with in 20 yards before they would lope off. We had then in camp nightly for the first part of my safari...they woke me up and that is difficult to do with my poor hearing. As you have no desire to shoot a Giraffe i had none for the spotted hyena...

Was this a high fence where animals are in a block or low fence area and game animals are free to move at will?

One last question, the PH you had was he fairly new or seasoned?
 

sestoppelman

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James,

Conditions were a mixed bag. Typically cool mornings with warm afternoons, fairly breezy at times. Leaves had not yet dropped, much green turning brown foliage. Bush very thick in places especially where eland live. I was at the main lodge and the waterhole was mostly home to pigs, baboons and a few kudu cows one day.

As to the fencing, its mostly perimeter I was told but they do run a high fence between the so-called big 5 area that houses the buffalo, but you are in that area hunting as well. Leopard are around, we saw the tracks and apparently elephant come and go at times and knock the fences down but none were seen of course.

Yes its about 40 square miles making the area roughly 5X8 miles in size. I think we saw most of it but no way I can really tell for sure never having been there before. I can tell you we covered a lot of ground.

My PH was 33 years old and been licensed since 20 in Zim and was I felt competent and knowledgeable and has hunted with Touch previously and knew the area. I prefer to not mention his name here but those interested can PM me for his name. Jonathan Collet is apparently the only resident PH.
 

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Sorry for the bad news sestoppelman, people and cattle all over the hunting area do not help !
 

sestoppelman

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Thanks Nyati. I wish to make clear that those who have hunted with Touch successfully in the past need not change their own opinions of the place. This was just my experience and I admit to not being a particularly lucky hunter.

And if you have booked with them for a future hunt, you may have a completely different and much more satisfactory outcome. I certainly hope so anyway!

Thanks all!
 

35bore

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Scott, very well put. If you would have went a week earlier or later the outcome may have been completly different. With all the variables and obsticals during your hunt it is nice that you got the two animals you did. Scott. By the way I saw a guy at Joburg airport that looked alot like you, probably was'nt, but, kinda wierd I almost approached him but thought I would look like an ass if it was'nt you. Later, and chin up you were in Africa again.
 

sestoppelman

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35bore, It may been me. When was it, do you remember?
 
 

 

 

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