so in between moving house since my return i have finally managed to put a few words down about my trip over to South Africa.
After a lot of nerves about getting my rifle overseas i now know that it is an extremely simple process and Stans(Smullery) advice was spot on, as once in heathrow it was a matter of presenting at the check in desk and the wheels being put in motion.
Over in OR Tambo after waiting 2hrs to get through passport control i met Patrick and he took care of the details with the South African police. They weren't interested in any letter of motivation and after one person read the form, another printed the licence out and then a third stamped the licence! I know understand what African time meant!
Then we were off towards Rustenburg the only hiccup being that a 5.3 magnitude earthquake occurred during the drive!
The accommodation we stayed in can only be described as palatial (no joke and much to my wife’s delight!) and not what I expected. There was enough room for 12 people but we had the place to ourselves.
On the first afternoon we spent some time zeroing my rifle at 100yards against an impala target with Patrick giving advice on shot placement.
We then went out for a walk and stalk over the 600 hectares that we would be hunting over. The bushveld was still very green and visibility was limited to about 60yards at best, we saw impala and wildebeest but were unable to get close enough for a shot.
Wednesday morning my wife had a sleep in whilst we went out again on a walk and stalk. we came across more game but again no opportunity for a shot. In the afternoon we had similar issues and changed tactics to sit in a grass blind but without any luck. Highlight of the day was when a huge kudu stepped out as we were walking back to the lodge, as it moved noiselessly back into the bush I understood why they call it the grey ghost!
On Thurday we spent the morning on a walk and stalk seeing nyala and warthog but again no chance of a shot. The afternoon proved to be the highlight of the trip. We were waiting behind a grass blind on a route that animals were taking to get to a watering hole. A herd of wildebeest was about to move past when something spooked them ( i blamed my wife). They were waiting about 40yards away but without a shot as the undergrowth was heavy. After waiting for 20mins to see if they would shift Patrick said that light was fading and that we would have to go to them. We stalked up and i had a bead on one as they were starting to move off but Patrick nixed the shot because of the failing light. I have never been so close to pulling a trigger!!
On Friday morning it was my last chance to take an animal and i had the chance on a blesbok broadside at about 100yards off sticks. Despite my buck fever, and knowing that this was probably my last chance, i managed to drop her with one shot with the blesbok taking a few steps before going down motionless.
We then went off for a day in pilanesberg nature reserve to see three of the big five (Elephant, Leopard and Rhino).
My wife and i had a great time over there spending the remainder of the 2 weeks with my family down in cape town.
Only thing remains is to thank Patrick(Bushwack)for being a great host and to start saving up so i can get back out for a buffalo!