ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe 2019 With JKO Hunting Safaris On Lake Kariba


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Jul 21, 2011
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US (All over), New Zealand, South Africa(Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, Northwest), Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda
Well folks, sorry for the delay in getting this report started, been a little hectic since I've been back. I returned 2 weeks ago now from Zimbabwe, hunted Sept 24-Oct 3 on Lake Kariba. This hunt was with Jacques Spamer @JKO Hunting Safaris in conjunction with Jimba Safaris. This hunt originated at DSC 2019, when Jacques, @whitetail , and myself were all discussing plans for this year. Both @whitetail and myself were turning 40 in 2019 (and have since turned the page), and both of us wanted to go somewhere different this year. After discussing with @JKO Hunting Safaris , plans were made to go to a remote and wild part of Zimbabwe!

My journey there was the usual long haul, with little to no surprises thankfully, especially traveling with a rifle this time. The only new news to me was upon arrival in CLT, checking in the firearm with Delta and TSA. I was told the TSA no longer comes to the counter to verify your rifle being unloaded and watching you lock your case. I asked multiple times if this was indeed correct, they assured me yes. I was told to wait 20 minutes before going through security to see if TSA would "show up" or not!!! The Delta agent said the TSA would call her back direct which made me feel somewhat better. Anyways no call and fingers crossed going through security that the rifle would get on the plane with no issues to JFK. The SAA flight from JFK to Joburg was quite normal. Upon arriving in Joburg, meet up with Jacques and head to the departure area downstairs at Joburg to head to Vic Falls. Once there, we go through the process of checking in rifles and counting ammo, and filling out new paperwork that was ow in place of the paperwork we pre filled out, of course something like this always happens right lol, TIA!
Next up 5 hour drive to camp, and hopefully make it on the boat for the 40 min ride to the final destination! Unfortunately we ran out of daylight to make it the final 40 minutes, but settled in for a relaxing evening to head out early the next morning. Here a few pics of camp 1.

The boat ride that morning was very nice, the lake was calm and the scenery was great!



Day one just getting started!

Been patiently waiting!!!!
Yes come on with it .....
Come on Charlie! We’ve been looking forward to this report! Great pictures to start with!
Arrival in Chete Safari Area around 7:30 am on hunting day 1. The chalets are very nice and relatively new. In my experience in bush camps (6 in total) in both Zim and Zam, these are probably the nicest accommodations I have been in.

We check in to the local Zim Parks Ranger station to get our rangers assigned to us. In this area, the rangers are with you for the entire hunt, not just for lion, leopard, and elephant. Once we get that all sorted out, we head to the range. With the first shot, the PH says you're good to go! Always nice for the rifle to still be on after the long trek over. I take one more shot to make sure and everything looks good. This hunt for me was more a take what Africa gives you hunt, with a focus on 1-2 DG animals as well.

A few days before I arrived, I was made aware that there were still 2 leopard tags available in the area with one of those tags being hunted over and ending the day we arrived. I definitely would be interested in attempting to take a cat if the chance was there. When we arrived the prior night, the client that was in camp was unsuccessful on his leopard hunt, but a big cat had been on bait. The PH told me that unfortunately the big cat that they could have shot (but didn't due to clients choice) had not come back to the bait. If it had come back, we would have sat on the bait that night just hours after we arrived, but oh well it was not meant to be. Anyways back to the story, I chose to look for buff for a few days before really deciding on hanging baits for a leopard.

As I mentioned, this was a take what Africa gives you hunt, and she offered up quite a bit. This portion may disappoint many of you, but I passed on quite a few very good caliber animals, either because I didn't care to hunt that particular species, or because I already had 1-2 of a particular species. I believe I am at a point in my life and hunting career( if we can call it that), where I am ok just enjoying myself out there, taking game or not. I am also at a point where record book or very good caliber species don't overtake me just so I can have " a good one" and I am more than ok with that! With that being said riding around on day one, I could have taken a real big impala, but already having three I just passed. Hindsight being 20/20, perhaps I should have taken him and got a leopard bait up on day one, but oh well.

It was hot!!!! Well over 100 luckily not humid as well. The day ended with us seeing impala, duiker, baboons, warthog, kudu, zebra, some buff tracks as well as elephant tracks.

Here are some views from the campfire/eating area. There were lots of lizards/geckos and rock hirax that lived in the trees there as well that entertained us every night!

I forgot to add in some pics of the journey... back to the hunt in the next post!
Day 2:

Tracking buff, but nothing fresh. See lots of game throughout the day including: duiker, impala, baboon, hippo, croc, eland, grysbok, leopard and ele tracks. Another great day and relaxing evening by the fire with some castle lite!
Also pictured is one of the many fine dessert we had in 10 days, this was banana bread with custard.

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So far so good Charles!
I believe I am at a point in my life and hunting career( if we can call it that), where I am ok just enjoying myself out there, taking game or not.

And that sir, is when we have truly arrived as a hunter!

Looking forward to the rest .
Looking forward to hearing all about your hunts?
Day 3:

It rained in the afternoon the previous day, which is really rare this time of year. Good news is pleasant sleeping conditions and fresh tracks to cut this morning. About 7 the trackers tapped on the rood of the truck, and were excited about 2 very fresh buffalo tracks. The PH looked at the size of the tracks and said lets go! We get out and pick up the trail, and its only 5 minutes or so in some very thick stuff, that we spot some black patches through all the brush. The wind is not in our favor and before long they smell us. We get a brief glimpse of them climbing the hill, one bull looks pretty good to me! I love tracking through the brush like this, well tracking and stalking game in general, but something about the DG that makes it even ore of a rush! They keep on going into even thicker stuff, at that point the PH decides its too dangerous to continue due to the close quarters we will be in with limited visibility. Oh well, that was fun! We carry on down the road, see another leopard track as well as elephant, huge gray mass appeared to our right in one of the clearings! Very cool to see!

So now we have seen two leopard tracks and the other guys have seen one as well. That gets the wheels turning to shoot some bait and try for a leopard while looking for buff. I know the odds area against us seeing that its already day 3 of a 10 day hunt but what the heck! Anyways, we look the rest of the day but no luck, we see more baboon, duiker, impala, and a lone sable bull. This area doesn't have a lot of sable, but they have some big ones. If I didn't already have a sable, this guy would have been in trouble. Some lucky hunter will on day have a heck of a free range sable trophy!! Africa offered up again, but again for certain reasons I passed, still way cool to see! pics coming later, they wont upload right now.
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Like I said, if i didn't already have one this guy would have a new address in the states;)

Keep it coming Charles!
Day 4:

The pleasant weather continued and another great night of sleeping weather the prior evening! We decide to start trying to get some bait in the trees for 2 different leopard tracks that were of interest, one of them pictured here...

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We have been seeing hundreds of impala daily, and wouldn't you know it as soon as we want a few, they are nowhere to be found. We do end up getting one by days end, but it was a disastrous day of shooting on my part, lots of misses while guessing at longer yardages, but at days end we had one ready for a tree. Actually I shot this impala on the shores of Kariba, and with the lake levels being down it was actually hunting on a beach! Here are a few pics of what the terrain looked like. This day consited of seeing impala, baboon, kudu, and duiker. I also took a kudu cow on behalf of the Zim parks ranger stations request for meat.

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Day 5- bait day

Once again the hundreds of impala all around here eluded us pretty much all day! I shoot a warthog at last light for another bait. We saw a big blue colored eland today, an absolute brute. This is another case of if I didn't already have one, we would have been after that big guy!Still amazes me how fast and nimble those big beast are, and how quickly they can disappear! On top of the big elan, we see some klippy, and not just some klippy, on the PH estimates at 5".

This may heart some of your hearts, but I passed as this is one I don't have interest in. Again, Africa offered up , and I made a decision to pass. To this point in 6 hunts on the African continent, believe it or not, I have managed to not take any, not 1 on the Tiny 10 so far. This has been by choice, and I figured why start now. Anyways, I know lots of you would like to know of the trophy klippy quality in the area.
Day 6- looking for more bait and buff

The weather turned hot again today, we had an unexpected run of cool weather for three days now. We check the two baits we have put up, the warthog has no activity. The impala is gone from the tree! Now that being said we hoped it was gone because the PH set up the bait as "a take away" where you dont tether it to the tree. We anxiously check the trail cam, only to find out a hyena had somehow worked its way into the tree to take the impala. That excitement was short lived! Now its off to get another impala hopefully. We got on one midday, and get it back to the tree, only this time higher in the tree.

No fresh buff tracks worth going after today, so we check the Sengwe river in the afternoon for bushbuck and kudu. What we found instead was a big waterbuck, I mean big! I once again had been given an opportunity at a very nice trophy and had a decision to make. I already have a fairly nice waterbuck, and am pretty much down to doing mostly euro mounts versus shoulder mounts anyways. It was a hard pass, but awesome to see such a big boy in free ranging wild Africa. I'm sure many of you are questioning my sanity at this point passing a big sable, klippy, and now waterbuck. In the moment and now looking back, its cool to know that the score/size/record book potential doesn't mean anything to me like it used to. Its really fun being out there with no real agenda and seeing what happens. Now if this had been a 16' bushbuck or high 50's kudu, this day would have ended differently, but I digress. Once we got back to camp, all the PH looked at the pics, it was a shared estimated guess that this waterbuck was between 32-34'

Here are some pics of the waterbuck, enjoy.
Yep, at those horn lengths I would have pulled the trigger on the klipsringer or the huge waterbuck! Envy! Envy!
Yep, at those horn lengths I would have pulled the trigger on the klipsringer or the huge waterbuck! Envy! Envy!

Tough calls trust me!

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