Wayne and Sarah join Eastcape and Karoo Safaris
Sunday, 24th September 2017
Wayne and Sarah joined us all the way from USA. This was to be Wayne and Saraha's third trip with us. We have established a true friendship now and always looking forward to our safaris together - each time seems to get better !
Wayne and Sarah were scheduled for pick up on the 15th September 2017. Everything did not start off well and their plane from Atlanta was turned back twice. They eventually arrived the following day, having hardly slept and lucky to have only lost one hunting day. The pressure was on !
Our first stop would be the River Bush Lodge. After picking up our tracker "Muntu" on route, we arrived late afternoon and went straight to the shooting range to make sure all was on target.
The first evening was set aside for catching up sleep .... we had dinner, some dessert and straight to bed for some well deserved rest.
Day 1 - Sarah wanted a nyala, so we started our safari down at the coast. The thick valley coastal bush is well suited to these beautiful animals. We were keen to get going and started our day off with a simple breakfask, picked up our tracker and headed out to Leopard Ridge.
We spent the morning walking, and glassing. We spotted a few young bulls - plenty of bushbuck and impala. After a long morning out we went in for brunch at our river lodge.
After brunch we went up to our favourite lookout spot - from here one is able to see for miles and the unmistakeable black bodies of the nyala bulls are spotted easily enough.
I spotted two bulls which were both worth a closer look - we made our way down the mountain and worked our way to a spot which we would be able to walk from. Walking slowly into the wind we approached a koppie where I had last seen one of the bulls - he was a good size and I had the sticks up quickly for Sarah - there was a small window of opportunity and we waited for him to step into the clearing. Unfortunately there was a slight noise which the nyala picked up and he slipped away into the river.
We walked back to the truck to re-group, have some water and a short rest before moving on. The area where I had spotted the other bull was a lot thicker and closer to the river. He was going to be more difficult to find.
We worked our way up the river - peering into the river at intervals. The river bush was thick and we were trying to be as quite as possible. Then I picked up some movement down to my left - I lifted my binos slowly and there he lay under a tree. He was unaware of us - we needed to be patient and wait for him to get up. I set the sticks up for Sarah and we waited. After around 40 minutes he suddenly got up and I motioned to Sarah to get ready. Within a few seconds he stepped into the clearing and I gave Sarah the go. There was a big thud and blood gushed out the side of the animal as he ran below us. Sarah had hit him square in the heart. What a beauty !!
A lot of excitement, photos and the end to a perfect first day.
Day - 2
We had our nyala, we were on the move. Heading North West we were going into drier more open terrain. Sarah also wanted a warthog so this was next on our list.
We stopped at Eges place to hunt as long as it takes to get our warthog. It was very hot and the wind was trying to pick up - not pleasant weather to hunt in. We walked along some valleys and creeks and suddenly Muntu called us to come have a look. Below us towards the river were two warthog boars making their way up towards us. The wind was in our favour and we moved slowly down towards them. We lost sight of them below us so we stood ready and waited. The bigger boar suddenly appeared to our right. Moving very slowly Sarah turned on the sticks and fired. Excellent shot Sarah. Definitely big and ugly enough !!
While Muntu assisted with the skinning of our pig - we enjoyed a light lunch out under the trees. It was extremely hot and we were lucky to have found our pig so early. After Muntu had finished his lunch we packed up everything, said our goodbyes and continued on our travels.
We arrived at the Karoo Lodge in the late afternoon and plenty of nyala grazing in the field greeted us when we entered the lodge area. There was just enough time for some photographs and sundowner !!
Another scrumptious meal prepared by our staff.
Day 3 - After breakfast we headed out looking for a white blesbuck or sable - whichever was to be found first. We spotted several herds of blesbuck with white rams. Cover was scarce and they proved very difficult to get up on. We spotted one or two young sable bulls and several herds of scimitar oryx. Wayne indicated to me that he would really like to take a scimitar in Africa - so we set about finding a big bull. After looking over several small herds - we found this big bull. With the wind blowing at a steady pace - Wayne still made a great shot as the herd was moving away from us.
There were still a few hours left in the day - we carried on glassing the hills for sable. With an hour left of light the tracker tapped on the roof of the truck and pointed out a sable bull on the horison. We set off on foot and the bull kept moving just out of shooting range. Eventually we caught up to him before crossing a deep valley. Wayne made another fine shot to take this beatiful bull down.
We had a very good afternoon - with two great trophies on the back. We made our way back down to the lodge to get the animals in the salt.
Day 4 - We spent the morning going after a white blesbuck for Sarah. It was another hot day out in the Karoo sun - and after a few long stalks we headed back to camp for lunch.
We snuck in some shut eye and then were soon back out for the afternoon. The terrain is flat with wide open spaces making stalking difficult. We needed to do some back bending stalking and manouvering using the terrain.
Eventually we were lucky enough to get within shooting distance of this big ram. Sarah made another fine shot - great shooting Sarah.
Day 5 - We set aside to go after another impala for Wayne. The wind was up again as well as the tempereture .... the animals were extra spooky. We did a few stalks without success and decided to stop for something to eat.
After lunch we were pressing hard on foot, with conditions difficult we were all tired and worn out. We were walking along the top of a river bank where we had last seen a group of impala - we all needed to stop and take a well earned break. As we sat down two impala broke out the river bed and were running up the opposite side of the river up the mountain. I jumped up and put out the sticks shouting for Wayne at the same time.
Wayne was quick to react and hit the ram with the first shot and he dropped in his tracks.
Muntu did the skinning for us while we packed the vehicle. Our next stop was for a vaal rhebuck in the mountains.
Day 6 - We were up early for breakfast - Vaal rhebuck can be very difficult and require some skill to get close to. They normally right on the top of the mountain looking down at you with massive eyes and binocular vision. Our host had been seeing a very big ram on the neighbour's property and we were to start there. We drove to the area and it wasn't long and we had spotted the ram with a group of his females.
All very excited and various plans were put in place !!!
Two hours later and everything was going according to plan. All we needed was for Wayne to come to the party. We had the ram 200yards out and Wayne squeezed the trigger. A hit on the first shot - this is truly a once in a lifetime trophy. Well done Wayne - not many left that are this size, another excellent trophy for your collection !!
We had been very lucky with to get the rhebuck so early and headed back to the lodge for some lunch and a quick visit to the local community school sponsored by the local farmers.
Plenty of time left for an afternoon hunt for Sarah so we headed up the mountain slowly. Our host had told us that there was a lone zebra stallion running with some black wildebees - so we went scouting. The area was vast and way up there - what an amazing view from the top. The first area we searched turned up empty so we found a good spot to sit down and glass. Eventually we spotted the small group with the zebra and we put our plan together. They were very far from where we were with little access and cover.
Eventually before the afternoon was over Sarah made another excellent shot on this magnificent stallion. What a hunt !!
We were able to get the vehicle fairly close to the animal. We loaded up and started making our way back down the mountain. That evening we enjoyed another great meal around the table with good friends.
Day 7 - We had hunted all our trophies that were on the list with some time to spare. After a hearty breakfast and saying our goodbyes we were on our way down to Port Elizabeth to see the taxidermist and a quick visit to the local lion park. That evening Wayne and Sarah spent the evening with my family in our home. What a pleasure to have you guys !!
We already look forward to seeing you again - Until 2018 !