I have just returned from this hunt (Sep 2009) and thought it might be of some interest. This was my first time to Africa though I have dreamt of hunting buff since a teen. I chose a package hunt from these guys: http://www.tallgrasssafaris.com/index_files/aboutus.htm
at a special rate which was very reasonable and was to include a Cape Buffalo cow and 2 warthog.
The buff hunt was to take place in the Mpumalanga province on a 500 Hectare concession a few miles from the town of Nelspruit. A certain amount of spice was added to the fray when we were told there was also a Black Rhino on the concession. The terrain was mostly flat with numerous dry river beds and very thick thorn so visiblity was mostly poor although most of the leaves were down.
The technique was to ride around in the observer seat on the back of the Toyota until we made contact with a herd and then jump out of the vehicle and get ready for a shot. On the first day we had plenty of contacts but the buff were happy to keep on the move. On the second day I was getting a little fed up with the vehicle and although the temp was pushing over 35 I convinced the PH we should actually get out of the vehicle and do some real hunting.
The PH actually seemed a little surprised at this, but to give him is due he took it up with relish. We had a terrific mornings stalk with a couple of close contacts and the thought of the Black Rhino never too far from my mind, but no shot presented itself. I would dearly have loved to hunt a bull buff in free roaming Africa but this was all I could afford, I know the fenced consessions of South Africa have thier critics and with good reason, but this hunt seemed if anything, a little more dangerous than free roaming as there were buff who were a little more used to humans (less willing to run) and the Rhino was always somewhere in the area.
We stopped for a bit of lunch by a waterhole and noticed alot of fresh Rhino poo, but that was all we saw of it. We then started to drive round again, which due to the increasing heat of the afternoon I was quite pleased. Shortly after this we spotted the Cow I was after, one of two old big matriachs past there breeding years and as big in the body as many of the bulls. Jumping out the truck the PH passed me my rifle, a CZ602 zkk .458Win, and one of the trackers set up the sticks. I could see the cow slightly quartering towards as it glowered at me. She was about 20 yards away but partially obscured by dense thorne. I was glad I had decided to scope the rifle and I could see the shoulder clearly through the Leupold 2x scoutscope. The big rifle roared and all hell broke loose, I worked the bolt as fast as I could but there was no chance of a follow up solid and the PH never shot.
I had asked the PH before the hunt if we could buy some softpoint 458 at a gunshop, (as they are illegal in this calibre in UK) I had my heart on the Barnes X 450gr, but the PH said he had some Winchester 510gr and they would be fine. My solids were Hornady 500gr homeloads over 72gr of 2230.
To begin with we found a great blood spoor, big globs of nice arterial blood, we forced ourselves to hold back and wait, and I was secretly hoping to hear its famous death bellow somewhere in the tangle of thorns but that was not to be.
Concluding part tomorrow plus pics.