So tomorrow i get on the plane for my third trip to SA with Bushwack Safaris and i thought it might be a good time to finally write up my trip from last September!
After going in 2014 after winning the Stalking Directory competition to hunt for the first time.
i was warned that Africa is addictive, so lo and behold it didn't take too much effort to get back over!
i landed early on a Monday morning being met at the airport by Patrick before we started the drive north from Johannesburg to the Limpopo province where we would be hunting. It was nice to catch up with all the local politics on the drive up stopping now and again for coffee etc.
We arrived at the concession mid afternoon and after having a quick look at the tents we would be staying in we headed to the range to check zero on both my .375 and .308 barrels.
Fortunately when both barrels were reassembled everything was spot on so just my own shooting ability to worry about.
We then went out for a quick drive and stalk to see what was about and we were soon on to a small herd of impala. Patrick selected the one we were after and I took the shot, the impact looked good and after waiting for everything to settle down we started following the blood spoor. The impala buck had run about 20yards into cover and was easily retrieved.
Patrick said that was tomorrows dinner sorted out.
We had steaks on the brai that evening and after a few beers I retired early to get some sleep for the big day tomorrow.
The next day we rose at 4am to drive and meet with grant, the PH who would be taking me out for the Buffalo. Five of us set out to start tracking the herd.
As dawn appeared we set out walking along a dried up river bed to try to pick up the buffalo spoor. It was great being out in the bush feldt again and the anticipation was starting to build.
It took about an hour to get a glimpse of the herd but they had an amazing ability to vanish into the landscape covered with mupani trees for such large animals. We tracked them up until lunch time when the heat became a big much so we retired from the field to have lunch.
Back in the afternoon we again picked up the spoor and tracked along another dried up river bed. The PH, landowner & myself crawled up the bank and about 20 yards into some scrub putting up within 150 yards of the approaching herd. Whilst the 2 guys discussed the animals in afrikaans I noticed a dead scorpion next to my leg. I was snapped out of my wondering about the live scorpions, when Grant told me to get ready as they had selected a buffalo. I had just started getting into a comfortable position with the rifle when 2 giraffe strode between us and the buffalo.
They looked right at us and cantered off in that slow lopping movement causing the buffalo to vanish again.
At this point Grant the PH decided to place us where he thought the buffalo might be heading. We worked our way alongside, then ahead of the herd. This was probably about 6-7 hrs in to the day but we had plenty of light left.
There was a clearing in the bush and the herd approached cautiously. Grant glassed the animals and selected the one that I was to take. With his instructions I placed the first .375 shot into the heart and lungs. The hit was good but the animal still stood. We were up and moving towards the buffalo, and as soon as we had another quartering shot, Grant offered his shoulder and I sent another round into the animal. This time it went over on its side and as we cautiously approached gave its death bellow. The PH had me put a final round into the sternum stating “it’s the dead ones that kill you”.
That evening back at the lodge sitting in the boma eating the previous days impala was pretty special.
We spent the next day on a tour of the Kruger national park being able to see all the other wildlife that South Africa has to offer.
The next day, having taken two of the quarry, only the warthog remained. We had seen plenty of evidence over the last two days including the tails zipping off behind cover on a few occasions.
So we set off to some areas that had burrows but we had limited luck. So we drove to another part of the hunting concession. Again we would stalk in on a group to only to have them detect our approach and to vanish into the thorn bushes. This cat and mouse game continued into the afternoon until we came across a lone male standing just off the track.
Having witnessed how fast they move as soon as Jacques hissed to indicate where he was, I brought the cross hair just behind the front leg and released the round.
The warthog took off into the bush, Patrick said to listen as the warthog noisily moved away through the undergrowth. “there, it’s over you can hear his legs are kicking”. We followed the blood spoor until we came across the animal. The shot had been good but it had made it 200 yards on adrenaline.
The only reason i was not sad to leave is that i could look forward to returning.