I’ve grown up hunting the Eastern Cape my entire life. As a young boy I followed my dad where ever the road less traveled took us. I’ve been fortunate to guide almost every region that could be considered game rich areas and find pride in the fact that John X Safaris evolves each year, always on the lookout for new areas – hoping to find “that” something special that separates a fair area to a good area. We feel confident that after 29 years we know our backyard better than most. That was until now.
As one leaves the lush forests of the coastal belt and travel towards the interior the land becomes increasingly more arid, and game surprisingly abundant. Then you head east for a couple of hours more before setting a northern bearing once again. As the Toyota reaches its cruising speed and civilization gets left behind you find yourself entering a new world.
Hundreds of small villages, all decorated in the brightest pinks, greens and blues jump out of nowhere and you find yourself in the centre of the traditional homelands of the Eastern Cape. Tribal Xhosa kings rule the land here, with subsistence farming being the only means of survival.
After an hour or so you can clearly start hearing the trucks’ engine starting to take strain, the climb to 9000 feet has begun.
As the climb continues the world becomes a blanket of green with rocky outcrops dominating the mountainous landscape. You now find yourself at the foot of the Southern Drakensberg. A neatly thatched mountain cabin adds to the splendor of this rustic environment, there’s something romantic about being a mere 16 kilometers from the border of the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. I’ve hunted many impressive mountainous landscapes in my time, but this place allows the spirit to soar. I’m sure the mountain hunters of the world can relate to my spirit at this time. There’s something about the mountains that I find hard to explain, I’m told you either hate it or you become an eternal addict. I guess I’m the latter.
Many will wonder what draws me to this place. Why here and not somewhere else? I’m after Vaal Rhebuck and Mountain Reedbuck – I’m after finding an area that boasts these species in abundance, and more importantly, in their natural environment. It’s all open country up here, dominated by stock farming, Ronald Small continues, I’m the 6th generation of my family farming up here and as far as I know there has never been a Vaal Rhebuck hunted in over 40 years. We harvest 10-12 of the fleshier Mountain Reedbuck each year to stock our freezers, that’s about all the hunting that happens around here on our 25 000 + acres of land. Our neighbors do about the same Ronnie Sr. ads.
During the course of the three days Ronald and I covered as much terrain as possible. A heavy down poor with an electrifying lightning display kept us off the steeper ridges that first day, but we made the most of our time and met with neighboring ranchers to broaden our scouting area to well over 50 000 acres. I found out more about the area and what other opportunities it presented the adventurer who was willing to travel to this mountain paradise.
Wild trout thrive in the natural streams, with an afternoon of fly fishing being a certain highlight of my visit. Then there’s Grey Wing Partridge over English Pointer from horseback for the connoisseurs of wing shooting. And to top things off there’s the chance of hunting a Mountain Reedbuck, Black Wildebeest, or one of South Africa’s hardest game species the Vaal Rhebuck. Needless to say – An experience well worth it’s while!
This hunt is not for everyone. The hunting is tough and camp is comfortable, but rustic. Weather plays a major role in the success of the hunt and mountain tracks are limited depending on weather conditions. Horses are available for hire to those hunters interested in hiring horses for their time in the mountains. Snow fall is extremely common in winter, so come prepared.
John X Safaris has secured exclusive hunting rights to the area, with extremely limited quota. Due to the fact that the area is all free range, one can only hunt this region during open season each year, 1 June – 31 July.
If you’re interested in being one of the VERY FIRST to hunt this new and exclusive area, then send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Hunters wishing to add 3 – 5 days hunting this area can do so as a combination between our Coastal, Northern and Mountain Areas.
Don’t be left behind. Be a pioneer. Offers like this don’t crop up every day.
For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our website!