We started off the 2016 season with Torkild Krog from Norway that took some great Buffalo Cows and some plains game in the Hoedspruit area of South Africa.
The Safari started off on 16 February where the client was picked up in Sandton from his hotel in the early hours of the morning. The road to Hoedspruit took us 5 Hours to drive and has many memorable sites along the way. We stopped at the Hunting Lodge around 12 o’clock and was welcomed by the Bushbuck Lodge staff with an ice cold beer and a welcoming lunch.
After everything was offloaded and set up we headed down to the shooting range where we quickly sighted in the clients rifles. First he fired his .375 H&H loaded with a 300gr soft point and the bullet hit the mark time and time again. Secondly the trusted 30-06 was shot at 100m and was hitting the bull perfectly. So now the rifles were ready and we decided to use the last bit of the afternoon to look if we could find some buffalo herds or any sign of them. The hunting concession has more than 600 buffalo on it so it wasn’t long before we walked into the 1st herd of buffalo, we glanced over the herd and spotted many old buffalo cows that could be hunted but decided to not take any until we have seen many other herds. Before the sun slipped away behind the mountains we had already taken the client into three herds of buffalo, so we ended the day with a snack and some ice cold beverages served in the Africa Bush.
On our way to the camp after our snack we drove into 3 lions that were waiting in an open area that was about 500m from the spot we chose to have our snacks. There were two large female tawny lion and one white lion which we managed to capture a photo of.
On the second day of the safari we did allot of walking to numerous watering holes to see if we could find fresh spoor of buffalo herds. We came across many plains game species but we did not take a shot at any of them as our main priority was to take a buffalo cow. Halfway into the day we came across some hyena and we only caught a glimpse of them as they quickly disappeared into the thick cover of the bush. We were unsuccessful to find any good buffalo this day so we headed back to camp with tired feet. At least now we knew where the buffalo were not moving around.
We got ourselves out of bed early on the third day and started the morning off as usual with a breakfast on the deck of the Dam lookout point. While eating breakfast hundreds of animal would come down to drink water for the long day ahead.
We realised that the buffalo were all feeding in the dry river beds and drinking water at numerous holes along the river as the area was very dry and the river was not flowing anymore. So our plan for the day was to walk alongside the river bank and to see if we could find any buffalo grazing in the thick reeds. After some walking we heard the sound of ox-peckers not to far from us and we quickly followed the tell tale sound and found a herd of about 60 buffalo feeding in the river bed. We got ourselves ahead of the herd and waited on the river bank for the buffalo to pass our shooting gap. They came thick and fast and it was challenging picking out a good shot with no obstructions on a old buffalo cow. Many of them passed but one particular cow stood out from the rest of the herd and we had our sights on her. The client was on the target and all we had to do now was wait for a clear shot. The herd split a bit while feeding which gave us a perfect broadside shot of the cow, the shot went off and the cow jumped into the air. It was a perfect shot and she went down in 10 meters followed by her death bellow. We waited for the herd to clear and walked down to this amazing buffalo cow.
The rest of the day was spent stalking wildebeest and warthog until the sun disappeared over the horizon. On our way to camp we drove past a hyena that didn’t seem to phased by the hunting vehicle. We were happy with our efforts for the day and enjoyed dinner around the camp fire with a couple of red wines and the famous kudu milk (Amarula) as the client referred to it.
The next morning we woke up to the all familiar sounds of the bush veld and started planning the day ahead. We spent the morning looking for buffalo and they seemed to have disappeared off of the concession so we changed our plan a bit and set our sights on the wildebeest and warthog again. We didn’t manage to get a warthog but the wildebeest bull went down quickly with a broadside shot from the 30-06
After lunch we set out again to find the buffalo, we drove around to a area we called the Serengeti to see if there were any buffalo feeding in the plains . To our surprise we spotted a herd wallowing in a mud pool so we drove off and started our down wind stalk. Half way to the herd the lions jumped out in-front of us and our nerves jumped, we were hunting the same buffalo that the lions were after.
We approached the mud pool but the herd was no longer there. We quickly circled the area and found the spoor of the herd, every couple of meters you would see wet mud drops on the ground as they were walking over the hard soil. We followed the spoor of the wet mud for about 500m until we found the herd in some thick cover. We set up the shooting sticks and got the client comfortable, just waiting for a good cow to present herself.
There she was about 60m away and facing us just slightly quartering. the client took the shot and the cow swung around with an open mouth and disappeared into the thick bush. We waited for the death bellow but we heard nothing. We moved in and the herd started running off to the same direction we earlier found the lions. We found the position where the cow stood and started looking for blood, we only found small specs of blood here and there. With a positive attitude we slowly followed the spoor and quickly realised that the buffalo was wounded and that we had to follow it into thick cover with the lions in the area. We kept on pushing forward, circling the bush and finding blood every 20 to 30 meters with eyes wide open for that famous buffalo charge. After a hour or so we found the herd moving back to the same mud hole they were in earlier and we quickly got into position to shoot the wounded cow. The client shot the cow three more times before it went down. We walked up to the buffalo cow and she stood up when we were 20m away from her so i finished her off with a brain shot from my .450 N.E.
We went back to the camp and spent the rest of the night talking about the days activities.
On the morning of 20 February 2016 we decided to wake up before the sun came up as we spotted some bushpig early the previous morning while having breakfast at the lookout point of the dam. With some luck on our side the bushpig were spotted in the same location and we started our stalk before the sun rise. We worked our way around a clearing to a thick bush in the middle of an opening next to the dam, there was almost no cover so we used the bush as cover while walking over the open plain. We got into the bush and they were still there eating the water lilies off of the water, we got the client into position and he took the shot from 90m away. The bushpig boar fell in its tracks with a perfectly placed shot from the 30-06.
Now that the bushpig was down we headed back to camp for breakfast and to plan the rest of the day. The client asked if there was another buffalo cow available to shoot, so we quickly made some arrangements and we were off into the bush for our third Buffalo.
We started off by walking the river again for about 4 hours and we didn’t spot any buffalo moving around in the river bed as they have been doing for the entire week. So we had to change our location to the top river banks.
We drove to the top river banks and parked the hunting vehicle. With rifles ready we headed down to the river bed which was 500m in-front of us. As we got to the river bed there were no buffalo to be seen, so we stood there for a couple of minutes glancing around and listening. There it was the sound of a buffalo moaning to each other and it was just across the river bank on the other side. We carefully walked through the river bank and slowly moved up the far side, there was a big herd of about 80 buffalo standing in a clearing. We set up the shooting sticks and started looking at each cow in the herd to pick the oldest and best suited cow possible. There were some really nice cows on the left and we got the client aiming at some of them but they did not give us any clear shots. Then some old cows walked out to the right hand side and we spotted a really old cow with very unique looking horns so our sites were set on her. The client was sitting with the shooting sticks and we waited for the old cow to give us a clear shot. After about 5 minutes the cow stepped out of the herd and presented herself perfectly at 50m, the shot went off and the thump of the bullet striking her was solid. The herd ran around in confusion and the old cow moved to the right of them and laid down followed by her death bellow.
Now all that was left to do was to load the buffalo and get back to camp.
When we got back to the camp we asked the client to get ready as we had a bush braai set up for him on one of his favourite spots on the concession. We took him to the location where the chef and some camp staff had already set up everything. We prepared the clients buffalo fillets and had a great time out in the bush listening to the jackal, hyena and lions call out in the silence of the african bush.
On our last day we decided to set up a blind near a mud hole to get our warthog that the client wanted so badly. We drove and parked the hunting vehicle in a nearby river bed and walked to to the location where we wanted to build our blind, the wind was blowing hard and we quickly picked our location. We set up 70m away from the mud hole with a dead tree and the river bank to our backs and we chopped some other branches down to pack in-front of us. When the blind was all set and we had a clear shooting line we started the long wait.
At 13:30 the warthog came in directly in-front of us and trotted to the mud hole. At first we did not have a clear shot at him as he drifted to far right but he came back to the left and as soon as he was standing still the shot went off. the warthog fell right on the spot.
We waited at the blind for several more hours to see if any other warthog would come in but they all came in from the river bed side and smelt us as soon as they approached the river bank.