I am writing this in my hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City as I have a bit of time before going to the airport to catch my flight to Bangkok. This trip to Vietnam has been plagued with disaster. I forgot to apply for a visa in advance and finished up having to buy an ‘Emergency Visa’ at the airport at a cost of 150 USD. Then the Customs people decided that they had an opportunity to gain some funds for their personal benefit so, in order to get my hand-carry demo equipment into Vietnam, I had to part with 2 million Dong and 40 quid (about £100 altogether). The Medical Exhibition I came to attend for the past two days was badly attended due to a remote location and heavy rain. The only good things about being here are that the people are very nice and the ladies are beautiful and wear very short skirts!
I recently returned from a great cull-hunting trip to South Africa’s Eastern Cape. The trip was arranged by my friend Russell Clarke who lives in Cape Town and the four rifles were Russell, his seventeen year-old son Oliver, his brother Alex from England and me.
I travelled to South Africa alone since Alex was already there taking an extended holiday. My trip with South African Airways was trouble free as they are used to dealing with firearms and my passage through the airport in Cape Town was also painless as my South African Police firearms application forms were all in order.
After a relaxing day in Cape Town visiting the gun shop in Stellenbosch and clay shooting we loaded up the Isuzu bakkie, Landrover Discovery and two trailers for the eight hour drive to the Eastern Cape which was to start the following morning.
The following evening saw us at the game farm about an hour’s drive from Port Elizabeth where we to spend the next week. We were met by our two PH’s, Hennie Pretorius and his partner Shane Webb who operate Wild Sky Safari’s .The weather was good but, as usual for this time of year it was chilly in the mornings and evenings.
During the week we were accommodated in a century-old farmhouse that was tastefully furnished, a local lady made our beds and cooked our breakfast every morning and in the evening we had bries in the garden. On two evening we drove 55kms to the nearest town, Stadtlerville, to eat in the local restaurant which was ably managed by a very nice Boer lady who shot kudu on her dad’s farm and carried a .38 Special revolver in her handbag! The area around Stadtlerville is wick with kudu and we saw several on the highway whilst driving back to the game farm.
The hunting was walk and stalk and Hennie, Shane and their trackers worked very hard to make the week memorable. During the course of the week I accounted for one Kudu bull, one Waterbuck cow, two Mountain Reedbuck, two Springbok, one Warthog and one Steenbuck. I really wanted to shoot an Impala and we saw plenty but they always managed to stay just out of range or in thick cover which prevented taking a clear shot. However, it was whilst stalking Impala that we unexpectedly happened upon the Kudu so I was very pleased about that!
The other three rifles also had a successful hunt and managed to shoot the species that they had hoped for. All thanks to Hennie and Shane!
At the end of the week, with all the animals caped or skinned as appropriate, we loaded up the vehicles and set off back to Cape Town in torrential rain. We took two Impala and two Springbok with us and Alex and I butchered these back in Cape Town for immediate use. The balance of the meat, some 980kgs, was being butchered by the local butcher in the village next to the game farm and was to be sent to Cape Town by a refrigerated truck.
This was my second hunting trip to South Africa organised by Russell and this trip was by far the best, I really, really enjoyed it. If anyone wants the contact details for Hennie and Shane then please pm me.