Just back from a belting fewweeks in South Africa,just a brief overview of my trip, hopefully might be of some use /interest to other’s whom are possibly considering similar in the near future.
I have been out to SA now on anumber of occasions, previously typically “ A lads doo”, basically near enough full on hunting , consisting of a few specific trophies and management hunt.
However after what as been a really hectic year with work for me, My partner Michelle and indeed Myself were looking for a more relaxed affair then a Solid hunting trip. We stayed initially for the first week at the beautiful Thorndale Safari lodge in the Eastern Cape above PE. I am pleased to say it lived up to its billed 5 starlodge rating, Lovely people and a stunning lodge. The ground “testing”enough but not overly.
I was to management hunt only,howver in all probability that turned out to present us more of a challenge more than trophy on this occasion. I was not planning hunting every day, spent the first day relaxing and another wholeday sight seeing at Addo Elephant Park ,of which for any African wildlife lover armed with a decent pair of Bino’s is areally enjoyable day, plenty of Kudu, Warthog, Zebra,Eland, Elephant,Buff, aswell as various other plains game.
With regards the Hunting, it wasnot by no means essential I took all the animals on the intial Management plan,however I was fortunate to complete that plan by the end of my time at Thorndale, the Kudu as know doubt very often the case proved to be the most challenging. Typically had we been seeking trophy we would find management opputunitys, the case here was verymuch vice versa. We came across some some magnificent Kudu trophies, the management Kudu however did really present us with a real challenge. In the end we spent best partof Two and half days hunting to secure that management animal, we got close on a number of occasions very close indeed on one particular occasion, literaly just about to squeeze off the trigger however with many eyes in attendance especially Impala, we were rumbled right at the death so to speak, three of four fantastic stalks incurred, the management Kudu Bull was finally secured late on my last afternoon of hunting.
All the “Stalking” was conducted as exactly as I had wished, not overly serious but serious enough of course toget the job done efficiently and humaly, but more relaxed without too muchpressure to secure all the animals,al though we achived the target by the end of hunting.
Cutting to the chase Thorndalewas a lovely place, catered for exactly as pr my remit to the lovely and very helpful Leigh Myles Rohroff, nothing was too much trouble. Thorndale challenging enough but not overly challenging and aside from the hunting, highly relaxing with excellent facilities and greathospitality.
The second week was a pre-planned touring holiday, hence why on this occasion I did not consider taking my own rifle, I had used the estate rifle which I found to more than adequate. Estate rifles I have notalways had a great experience with, like the majority of “Stalkers” I would much prefer to utilise my own gear. I must admit however how not taking My own rifle made the journey significantly simpler and more enjoyable, so much so Iwill have to think very carefully if it is indeed worth the “hassle” of taking My own rifle ongoing.
Cutting back to the chase, thekey difference with this trip to SA was rather than merely staying at the hunting lodge and then concluding with a flight back home, we went on to hire acar out of PE then spent the second week driving “down the stunning spine” ofSouth Africa more commomly known as the“Famous Garden route” this includingstayover within the Cape Winelands and finally culminating with the last few days in Capetown.
Anyone thinking of a similar combination of hunting, and touring I cannot recommend highly enough a similar itinerary.
Having been SA numerous times purely for the huntingexperience, this itinerary worked really well for us both. Aside from the numourous rest stops at landmarks en-route we stayed over a few days at the lovely coastal “harbour” town of Knysna, staying at Oyster Creeklodge right on the estuary an exceptionally beautiful area. Like many other such towns dotted along this coast, it was very pretty with great Seafood restaurants dotted around the harbour.
From there we drove down into the Wine land regions, stunning scenery travelling through two mountain passes enroute. On arrival at Paarl in the very heart of the wine lands , Leigh from Thorndale had arranged a very reasonably priced guide for a days tour of some of the numourous local Wine estates, this allowing us to partake of course in the neccsary “Wine Tasting”(hiccup).
The culmination was the final few days in CapeTown staying down near the Waterfront of which is again a combination of good quality restaurants, Bars and Shops. Whilst Cape Town itself is not the quite the same value as the other places en-route its still pretty goodvalue, and whilst in Capetown I would recommend a visit to Robben Island, the former prison now a museum, it has however been preserved near enough as when it was a prison, indeed amongst other interesting sights you get to see Nelson Mandela’s cell where he was detained for the best part of 20 years.
All in all a really enjoyable overall trip to South Africa, indeed go so far as to state my best trip to date.
Whilst no doubt again I will enjoy the full onHunting SA Hunting trip, this is maybe something of an alternative option for people with a Wife or partner in tow.
This worked extremely well forme on this occasion, striking the right balance partaking in a past time that Ienjoy very much, whilst offering something for my partner, providing us both with a highly enjoyable and relaxing Holiday.
SA really is great value at thetime of writing, UK sterling is strong against rand. I would be more than happyto pass on any assistance or information for anyone contemplating a similarTrip - Regards;Ste