Some of you may recall the story A near perfect safari…. posted in April 2012. At the time we had just enjoyed the company of Steve Travis out on his first hunt with John X Safaris.
On that particular hunt things just fell into place, and before we knew it we had racked up one of the best trophy collections ever harvested on one safari.
Soon thereafter I was once again in Dallas, at DSC’s annual show when Steve walked into our booth and introduced me to the rest of his family. Unbeknown to me plans were already underway for a return trip to the East Cape where his son, Justin, would embark on his first African hunt.
Justin’s safari got booked, with the hunt only due to take place in August 2015. So when the opportunity arose during 2014 for a late-season Mozambican Buffalo hunt, Steve jumped on-board once again. Never one to shy away from a hunting opportunity, we made the most of our 7 days in the Zambezi Delta, Mozambique.
We once again struck gold in our hunting partnership, with a certain highlight being a day in the swamps, where Steve hunted 3 magnificent Cape Buffalo all within the space of an hour. That particular day combined with the biggest Chobe Bushbuck I had ever harvested in Mozambique, set the stage for yet another high-class hunt with the rest of the family during 2015.
This would be Justin’s safari – For there is only ever once a 1st trip to Africa….
Together with Steve, Haylee, and Justin, was family friends Glynn and Jayne Underwood, as well as their 2-year-old son Woodson. Our hunt started in the south from our coastal area, Lalibela, before heading north to the Great Karoo.
Justin started off his hunt brilliantly, with a superb Waterbuck and hard-earned East Cape Kudu within the first 3 days. A sly old Cape Bushbuck crossed our path too, giving Justin the same opportunistic trophy his Dad had earned some three years previously.
While Professional Hunter, Carl van Zyl, and the Travis family were hard at it, Glynn and PH, Greg Hayes, weren’t planning on sitting around either. Glynn had previously hunted in South Africa, but never before with John X Safaris. Glynn’s hunt would turn out to be one for the ages, with GTS Productions capturing Glynn’s entire safari on film. Join him and his crew as they embark on one great adventure…
Meanwhile Justin and crew were enjoying one of Steve’s favorite places on earth – The Great Karoo.
A Gemsbuck bull that first afternoon up in the Karoo set the stage for a busy three days.
With Steve and PH, “Stix”, focusing on a Kudu and possibly a Cape Eland if the right bull showed itself, he too bumped into a good Gemsbuck. It would however take our second day in the Karoo that just about broke us. We had hunted hard giving it our everything, but gale force winds and chilly temperatures, saw us limp home without a hint of success.
The following day saw us rise well before dawn hoping to amend our poor luck from the previous day. While we had spotted good animals the day before, it seemed lady luck wouldn’t give us a break. But it was a new day with revitalized spirits.
We had spotted a big Blue Wildebeest from a distance and dully started a long and patient stalk. Soon we were within shooting distance…And Justin let him have it.
From there on wards our day just kept getting better and better…
With Justin having achieved all he had come for and more, we headed back to Lalibela and the coast. All this time Steve had been waiting patiently in the wings, ensuring Justin would experience the safari of a lifetime. With two days to go, Steve and PH, Carl van Zyl, rekindled that hunting partnership from two previous safaris together.
It is said that once a PH meets his match in a hunter that trusts him wholeheartedly and refuses to quit, it can lead to mind-blowing results.
A great old Warthog had started our day off on the right foot, but like the saying goes, it’s not how you start – Its how you finish… And we finished strong with a 54″ East Cape Kudu late that afternoon.
With Steve’s hard-work earning him one of the biggest East Cape Kudu to be hunted during 2015, it would be his trust in his PH that would see him hunt an Eland bull worth writing home about for years to come.
A brute to say the least… An Eland connoisseurs trophy of a lifetime.
And so our hunt came to an end. Our last afternoon was enjoyed with the families, taking in some of the experiences and sites once the guns were oiled and packed away for another day.
The Elephants were a hit, but then again no safari would be complete without a Lion, Giraffe, Zebra and an African sunset…
As we said our goodbyes at the airport the following day something told me I’d be hearing back from Steve and Glynn sooner rather than later. Needless to say, it took them exactly one week of being home when the phone rang in South Africa. Steve and Glynn were on the other end; ” Hey Carl, we were just thinking, you wouldn’t by any chance be able to accommodate us…. say in late-May 2016 for a return hunt with a bunch of friends?” There’s no guessing what my response was. Come May 2016 and we’ll be back for round 4…
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