Over the years I’ve had numerous emails, conversations and debates about hunting in South Africa. Many at times have felt that once you’ve experienced your first safari to South Africa it was time to look further North. Time to look for a rush of blood in the tall grass on the track of a Cape Buffalo. And yes, I agree hunting Cape Buffalo is something each hunter must experience at least once in his life. Then there are those who return to the Eastern Cape, South Africa, after a few years. They come for the variety, great accommodations, and you’ll meet a few who will tell you about mountain hunting, Mountain Hunting in South Africa.
The Eastern Cape, South Africa, with its abundant wildlife boasts with all 3 Mountain Species. With enough mountain ranges to even generate appreciation from the Sheep hunters of the world, one can find a combination of habitat and terrain to support Vaal Rhebuck, Mountain Reedbuck and the ever elusive Klipspringer.
The Vaal Rhebuck is seen as one of the finest trophies in any hunters trophy collection and considered by many as the hardest trophy to hunt in South Africa. This species only occurs in South Africa and prefers an elevation of 6000 Ft above sea level, forming small groups of up to 12 animals with 1 dominant male. This species is a mono species, having no relation to any other species, making it a unique animal. From a distance, always occurring along ridges or mountain slopes, they appear larger than expected with their grey coats.
Their terrain and grey color is where their name comes from, “Vaal”, the word the first Dutch/Afrikaans settlers used to describe their color and “Rhebok”, meaning ridge buck. They camouflage extremely well and can cover great distances in a short period of time. Their eyesight is what sets them apart from other game, with the eye sockets taking up approximately 30% of the skull. The body is covered by a rabbit like fur allowing them to thrive at high altitude during the winter. All in all a fantastic trophy and one that has seen hunters return year after year.
The Mountain Reedbuck, often mistaken as a cousin of the Vaal Rhebuck, can be found in similar terrain to the Vaal Rhebuck and live side by side in many areas. The Mnt Reedbuck is more abundant and hunters can expect much more opportunities on this species. They occur throughout most of the Eastern Cape, forming small groups with 1 Dominant male. During the harsher winters they have been known to heard, forming herds of up to 200 animals, a sight to behold considering ones usually looking for a group of 10 animals.
A fantastic trophy to hunt with kids, as their terrain and weary senses teaches kids the great art of walk and stalk, while still allowing enough opportunities due to their great numbers. The Mnt Reedbuck is often hunted as an opportune trophy as many hunters have harvested some of the best trophies of this species while on the trail of a Vaal Rhebuck or Klipspringer.
Klipspringer, the absolute champions of the rocks. They are much smaller in comparison to Vaal Rhebuck or Mountain Reedbuck, and occur in pairs or at times in 3’s with the previous years young still to leave the pair’s territory. They require mountain ranges with numerous outcrops of rocks or sheer cliffs. Once while on safari with a good friend from the US, in the quest for a particular Klipspringer that had slipped us the year before, my friend, by now annoyed that the Klipspringer had gained another mountain range on us,turned to me and said: “Carl, do you think its possible to ask the trackers to remove the velcro from the rocks?!” That summed up how at ease a Klipspringer is among the rocks and how our day was going, as by now you had the whole hunting party in stitches of laughter on the ground!
Klipspringer make for exceptional hunting and is a personal favourite. One may ask what could possibly be hard about hunting a two foot tall rock dwelling antelope? The terrain for one favours the trophy more than most and their sheer size and color makes them very difficult to spot and approach. They are much more compact than what they appear at a distance and have an extraordinary coat with hollow quill-like hair. Once harvested its essential to skin immediately as hair slip occurs easily.
These 3 mountain species as a combination make for exceptional hunting and can be hunted from our Northern Areas. Hunters should allow for at least 3 days of hunting in their 10 day safari when wanting to pursue these species.
For more detailed information on hunting Vaal Rhebuck, Mountain Reedbuck and Klipspringer, visit our web site www.johnxsafaris.co.za , and see “Species List South Africa” under South African Safaris. Keep an eye out on the Versus and Great Outdoors channel for SCI Expedition Safari with host, Mike Rogers Jnr., and watch him in pursue of Vaal Rhebuck and Klipspringer while on safari with John X Safaris. Unfortunately we will not be able to tell anyone when the shows will be broadcast as the network does not commit to the exact dates of the shows.
Join us – it’s highly recommended for any hunters who wish to challenge the mountains and enjoy the view on top of the world, while on the hunt for these masters of the mountains.