I have been an avid hunter of North American game for 50 years and had some trepidation about this experience being a “real hunt”. Then to further add to my trepidation upon arrival, entering the game reserve viewing vast herds indifferent to us did not alleviate my uneasiness at first. Once the hunting got underway I could see this was real hunting with a PH and tracker that knew exactly what they were doing.
Every stalk was a long and memorable experience which I have indelibly sketched into my memory. No animals peacefully grazing in easy range for sure! I was excited on every stalk, but Greg and Bless where just as excited as I was and the planning and thought that went into every stalk illustrated clearly their experience and natural instincts. They were not afraid to work hard on every hunt and not afraid to push me. Doing what we needed to do to be successful.
In many cases decisions needed to be made quickly and most shots were long and many in windy conditions off sticks. Two memorable shots were a Kudu stalk of a couple of hours and, even then, he was still 355 yards when we peeked over a bluff and there was no getting closer. The tracker was keeping tabs on the big boy from 1200 yards out – where Greg’s keen eyes had spotted him in some brush. Ultimately it was matter of fact “take your time and make the shot”. I really appreciated the confidence and the permission which was pervasive throughout the trip. The permission was only withheld by “we can do better” or that shot is just too risky.
All in all I killed 8 animals of trophy plus quality. It is hard to compare sitting in a tree stand for two months trying to kill a trophy whitetail to Africa, but I would say to sum it up “I will be back” and my trepidation about barn yard animals are replaced by dreams of wonderful challenging experiences.
Having hunted the northern areas and returning to the coast it was just as challenging, if not more so for the Nyala and the Waterbuck. I kept feeling we were lucky given the wind and general conditions, but I think the guys turned the odds in our favor more than a little making the seemingly impossible happen through perseverance and experience.
Having arrived back home, we have now, as a group, compared our trophies to others who have been to Africa. I am very proud to say John X Safaris sets itself apart and should be very proud of the quality of their animals and staff.
A bit about John X Safaris – Everything was great. From the accommodations, first class service, right to the friendly staff. The PH’s were all very much into it and worked very hard, as did the trackers, skinners, extraction teams, and camp staff. The food was wonderful and best of all was the camaraderie.
I could not believe the PH’s and staff hung with us in the evenings and added a lot to the trip with their stories and experiences. It is a long season and the stamina that it takes to stick with hunters from 7:00am until very late is beyond the call of duty. I thought having a PH and tracker exclusively assigned to each of us for the trip was extraordinary and enabled us to really build each day on our teamwork and effectiveness.
My good friend, Paul Latchford, and I stayed a couple of extra days to fish, but 8 meter seas precluded that. The hospitality extended to us by John X Safaris in lieu of the fishing trip was extraordinary and we really appreciated Louwrens delaying a long anticipated visit home to show us the beaches, restaurants, and surroundings. An added bonus during this time was our participation in a Zebra and Warthog hunt that added to the memories… I am still on overload a few weeks back!
Thanks so much for beyond a bucket list experience.