When the fist rains hit during late September last year and continued throughout the summer and into the new year, a true sense of optimism began brewing as the start of our season drew ever closer.
By the time early March arrived the East Cape was in full bloom to welcome Kevin Fain, his son Hunter, and Tim Rainwater with his sons, Connor and Austin.
Kevin had hunted with us previously many years ago, but this time round the focus was on Hunter. Like many first timers, Hunter was focused on plains game, with no specific preferences, hunting hard and taking what Africa gave him. Needless to say he enjoyed tremendous success on a superb bag of animals.
Kevin on the other hand wasn’t going to pass up on the opportunity of a lifetime when a huge Sable stepped out late one afternoon.
While the Fain’s were hard at it, the Rainwater’s weren’t being left behind for one minute. As first timers to Africa their interests varied tremendously between the three of them making for an extraordinary safari in variety of both species and hunting terrain.
Tim and Austin were interested in the traditional big hitters, namely Kudu, Gemsbuck, Impala, Zebra and Wildebeest, which they dually achieved great success on.
Of course there were the usual unexpected ones, such as the ever impressive Nyala, and the crazy experiences along the way that makes the safari a memorable one. Don’t ask us…. Ask Austin about his exciting Kudu hunt.
But there was one particular hunt that blew us away, and that was Tim’s massive Cape Eland. It is very seldom that one finds an Eland bull in this class. The rare combination of color, dewlap, mop and horns, makes him the standout trophy of the trip for many of us. An incredible animal to say the least.
With Tim and Austin spending most of their time on the traditional species, it was Connor who surprised us most. Here was a youngster on his first safari to the dark continent… you’d expect him to be interested in Kudu? Right? Wrong! Not this young man. Instead he could tell you all about the biggest and the smallest, with an addiction for the Tiny 10.
We’d be driving along from one type of habitat to the next during the course of the safari and without ever discussing it he’d confidently share his knowledge on why that particular terrain or habitat would be an ideal spot to search for a particular specie. It was incredible seeing his passion for Africa. Something we had not witnessed in over 35 years of guiding.
So it was only fitting that he started off his African hunting career with a beautiful old Giraffe bull.
And from the biggest he went to the smallest. Hunting his first two species in his Tiny 10 collection. Both his Steenbuck and Common Duiker reached the magical 5” mark. No small feat on such small critters.
With that the safari was slowly but surely coming to an end. Everyone had just about achieved what they were wanting to when the second last evening rolled along. It was time for the much-anticipated Springhare hunt the boys were promised when they first booked the safari.
During midday the boys headed off with the trackers and cut their very own hunting sticks and then at nightfall we headed out with a spotlight for an evening of fun and laughter.
It proved to be the highlight for these three with the many others captured by the crew from Got The Shot Productions.
There were far too many experiences along the way to mention or have captured them all, but for these two Dad’s it would be about their boys and the privilege of time spent together in Africa. We salute you for quite literally “passing the buck” to the next generation of hunters by affording them this unique opportunity. Neither you or they will forget their first big hunt. After all isn’t that what it’s all about?
Enjoy their safari with them. We couldn’t have asked for a better start…