Welcome to our 8th annual newsletter. Over the years this has grown to be our most popular section of our web site. The stories about our guests’ safaris are enjoyed by all. I’m often asked what an average safari is like. This is a very difficult question to answer as each and every safari is different. With our recent change of having everyone write their own story I am able to answer this question by referring them to this newsletter. A hunter who is with us in South Africa as I write this has said that he read our 2008 newsletter over and over again and is printing off all of the previous issues to read on the flight over. Looking back at all of the past newsletters I think he may have enough reading material for not only the flight over but the flight back as well. I am starting this years newsletter earlier than normal and will update it throughout the year as the stories come in.
2008 was another excellent year for us. Although we were completely booked for the entire year, due to Pieter’s outstanding game management policies we continued to take excellent quality trophies and as you can see from reading last years newsletter, a majority of all trophies taken qualified for the record book. Already this year you will see that this quality will be maintained for years to come.
All of our PH’s have returned for the 2009 season and already this year you will see that this quality of trophies that we have had in the past will be maintained for years to come. The newest addition to our staff is our Chef, Delmarie Jacobsz. She is an outstanding cook and several of this years hunters have said that they gained weight during their stay. Thank you Demarie and we look forward to your culinary delights. Over the years Pieter has made many improvements to the camp and properties’, all the while living in what was a converted office for their home. Late last year they finally completed their own dream house. With it being a little removed from the camp it is a perfect spot to raise their 2 children, Christiaan and Elizca. Back in 2003 we were fortunate enough to take Christiaan along on one of our hunts making it his first safari at the tender age of 6 months. I’m not sure if it influenced anything or not but a few days ago (May 2009) Christiaan shot his first animal on his own. It was a nice Warthog which is also our favorite animal to hunt. Congratulations Christiaan and I’m sure that these hunting experiences will make you an outstanding PH down the road.
As I mentioned earlier, the stories contained in last years newsletter were the ones that were written by our guests. These stories were excellent and the response to this format was very favorable and so we are going to continue with this for all future editions. Thank you to everyone and please enjoy our 2009 hunting season included below.
NOTE: The * behind the animal indicates that it qualified for the record book.
DAN GEORGESCU – Ontario, Canada
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Steenbok*, Red Hartebeest*, 2 – Warthog*, 2 – Impala, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest*
DAN GOCHNOUR – Idaho
Animals taken – Zebra, Gemsbok, Warthog*, Kudu (49 +”), Impala*, Blue Wildebeest
No Hunt Photos Available
MARTY & D’ON KYLER – Idaho
Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu*(52”), Gemsbok*, Zebra
No Hunt Photos Available
BART SCOTT – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Kudu*, Impala*, Red Hartebeest*, Blesbok*
JOSHUA SEIVERS (Bart’s son) – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Kudu, Blesbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
I enjoyed every hunt and each had something very remember able about them. Probably my favorite was the Red Hartebeest. Pieter and Johan had sighted the Red Hartebeest out near the waterhole. We got off the Land Rover to stalk thru the felt. About 60 feet from the edge of the waterhole field we got down on hands and knees to crawl. We moved about 50 feet like that, and at one point we had to freeze in position. My one hand and opposite foot were right on ant hills. The ants were crawling on me and biting me. The last 10 feet we move forward fully prone, and I shot it from a prone position at edge of the Felt. It was the first animal I had shot from a prone position.
STEVE & DAWN KLOTZ – Wisconsin
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Impala*, Impala female, Kudu* (55”), Zebra, Gemsbok, Eland*
GLEN JACKSON – Wisconsin
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Zebra, Impala*, 2 - Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu
After 1 1/2 years of planning and preparation for our 1st South African Safari, it all came down to 10 days in March of this year 2009.
Our flight was as they say.... LONG...... A seven hour time change doesn't sound like much, but add in a few plane transfers, a pinch of customs and security hurdles, and 18 1/2 hours on the last flight, we were pooped! A stay at the Afton Guest House was a good idea.
We were picked up on time by Cruiser from the Afton the next morning.
About 1 1/2 hours out of Johannesburg, we began seeing some animals on our hunting list that got our interest up. Arriving in camp just after noon, we were shown our rooms and informed lunch would be ready around 1:00 PM. During lunch, Pieter let us know we would sight our rifles in after lunch and anyone wishing to hunt the afternoon was welcome to do so.... Lets GO!
I was teamed up with Craig as my PH. We found ourselves stalking a Blue Wildebeest by 3:00 PM. By the end of the first afternoon, I had bagged an old Wildebeest and a very nice Blesbok. My first actual day of hunting didn't begin until tomorrow!
The next couple days were way more then I could have expected. Animals everywhere. No shortage of game, what so ever. Birds, insects, monkeys - you name it. I was lucky enough to have bagged a Blue Wildebeest, Blesbok, Red Hartebeest, Impala, Kudu, Zebra, Gemsbok and a 1500 lb Cape Eland in only three day's of hunting!!
My most notable hunt - although they all remain vivid and will for a long time would probably be my Zebra. Craig knew an area where Zebra liked to hang out in the early morning. Instead of spotting from the truck, he decided we would get out and walk hoping to run into them. After a mile or so, sure enough, Zebra! 200 yards out he spotted 10-12, but said there were many more we couldn't see back in the bush.It was a crystal clear morning. No wind and lots of dew. The temperature was about 62 degrees. We began our stalk cautiously. We moved from bush to bush in a zig zag motion until we were within 75 yards. Craig set up his shooting sticks low, as we were sitting on the ground trying to pick the right animal. After Craig decided which one I should take, I set up on the sticks and put the crosshairs on him. It was picture perfect. They didn't know we were there, which made the shot easier. No hurried shot, plenty of time... He was mine.
Every animal I took during my hunt will forever be in my memory. The sights, the sounds, the smells, all of it. We had such a good time we decided our trip of a lifetime would have to be extended to another safari! The next trip we plan for mid 2011 will be just as special as my wife Dawn plans to hunt an animal as an observer. Someone pinch me!
Cruiser Safaris is more than they portray on their website. The accommodations, the PH's, the setting, all of it. They are an A-1 first class operation, bar none. We'd go back next year, but we have to pay the taxidermy bill for the eight animals I got this year. I hope two years goes by quick. This could become a habit!
My wish was to see Steve get a Kudu and be along when it happened. My wish was granted!! It was so great to see him and Craig giddy like school girls when he got it. There were hooting and hollering from 80 yards back in the bush I could hear them. I still remember hearing the shot and Johanes (our driver/tracker) looking at me and saying "He got it" with a big smile on his face.
JOHN GUNNELS – Alabama
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (51”), Zebra, 2 – Impalas*
I left Mobile on Tuesday 3/10/2009 with Delta Airlines and arrived in Atlanta around 11:15am. After a long layover, the plane left Atlanta around 5:05pm for the 19 hour flight to South Africa. I Arrived in South Africa on Wednesday 3/11/2009 at 4:04pm. I went through passport control, claimed my bags in the baggage claim area, and then walked to the general meeting area where I was met by Dean from the Afton Guest House. The big sign that Dean had with my name on it made it easy for us to find each other. Dean and I then went straight to the SAP office.
When we arrived at the SAP office there were only two other hunters besides myself. Dean knew the employee at the police office and my permit was soon in the works. The whole process (with Dean’s help) took only twenty to thirty minutes and soon we were off to the Guest House.
After checking in my room, I met other hunters with Cruiser Safaris, had a wonderful steak dinner, and talked with new found friends. I also met Johan with Cruiser Safaris who would be driving us to the lodge the next day. Soon I was ready for a much needed good nights sleep (no sleep on the plane) before starting off to the lodge the next morning.
I woke up at 6:00am on Thursday 3/12/2009, ate breakfast with other hunters, and waited for Johan to pick us up at the Guest House. Johan soon arrived, got the van loaded with everyone’s gear, and by 8:00am we were off for the four hour drive to the lodge. Time pasted quickly as we drove on paved roads, then dirt roads, as we soaked in the sights of the landscape and some of the animals that we were to hunt. Finally, after two days of travel we were at the lodge. The lodge was just as the web page had pictured it. FANTASTIC !!!!!!! We had lunch, I got settled in my room, and soon it was off to the gun range to check the rifles. After the rifles were checked you had the option of resting at the lodge or hunting a half day where if you took an animal you were charged for the half day and if you did not you were not charged. I chose to ride in a truck with the driver and take pictures. We came back to the lodge at dark, had a delightful dinner, had companionship with new found friends, and was soon ready for a second good nights sleep before starting the next day on a life time dream of hunting in Africa!
On Friday 3/13/2009 I was up at 4:45am, ate breakfast, and waited for Hans my PH to arrive at the lodge. Hans soon arrived, ate his breakfast, and we were off by 6:00am. My dream was now turning into reality. I will not go into the details of each stalk (that would take to long), so here is my ten day hunt in a nut shell.
On Friday 3/13/2009 I took a 15 ½ inch Blesbok and a Gemsbok that measured 36 ½ inches. On Saturday 3/14/2009 I took a Blue Wildebeest that had a 27 ½ inch spread. On Sunday 3/15/2009 I took a wonderful 51 inch Kudu. On Monday 3/16/2009 I took a beautiful Zebra stallion. On Tuesday 3/17/2009 went shopping with the group in the morning and missed a 25 inch Impala that afternoon. On Wednesday 3/18/2009 I took a 23 ¼ inch Impala. On Thursday 3/19/2009 I was lucky enough to take a second Impala that measured 23 ¾ inches. On Friday 3/20/2009 hunted hogs with no luck. On Saturday 3/21/2009 missed a 17 inch Blesbok and hunted hogs with no luck (grass was too high). Sunday 3/22/2009 I just relaxed and packed for the long flight home. All of my animals made the SCI record book.
All of my fantastic trophies were totally due to my PH Hans. I can’t say enough about this man. Hans took a green horn like my self and in a ten day period showed me the wonders of the African bush. The sunrises, the sunsets, the two hour plus stalks, the crawling on hands and knees for hundreds of yards to get so close to the animals, the staying motionless for five minutes to keep from getting busted by female Impala on one of my trophy Impala stalks, the lunches at the truck, the great shots, the good shots, the missed shots, and then the unbelievable animals of Africa. I can truly say that I have made a friendship that will last a lifetime. I think Hans could track these animals over rocks and through water if he had to. Franke , Hans’ driver, was just as cordial. I guess you could say that this trip and this man in some way changed my life. Hans is a great PH.
In closing, everything at the lodge was fantastic. Tiny’s meals, the room, the room leaning, the staff, Pieter the owner, the other PH’s and everything involved in the hunt was excellent. The only complaint is that the time went by to quickly. I hope to one day again to visit the bush of Africa.
DALE DUCHOW – Washington
Animals taken - Red Hartebeest, Steenbok, Nyala, Blesbok*, Bushbuck
SHAWN DUCHOW (Dale’s son) – Washington
Animals taken – Impala, Kudu* (53 3/8”), Waterbuck, Eland*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok, Black Backed Jackal
My quest was twofold; to complete the South African spiral horn quest and to have a enjoyable hunt with one of my sons, Shawn.
Pieter, the owner, and especially Little Pieter, my PH, expanded their efforts to insure I was in a position to take a world class nyala with a bow as well as an exceptional bushbuck to achieve the spiral horn goal. The rest of the animals taken were purely a bonus.
Although my son and I had a completely different slate of animals on our agenda, plans were manipulated on short notice so we could enjoy days together with each other.
In the course of the safari I had opportunity to hunt with the other PH's Craig & Johann. All are top shelf, hunt like cats, see through trees, and can track an ant on pavement in a rainstorm. Truly, much of the experience is watching your PH working for you.
If the planets align and Cruiser beckons, prepare for a grand experience, take a bag or two of practical jokes with you, and don't forget to ask Little Pieter or Craig about getting schooled on free hand shooting by "Trigger" and "Madala".
Shawn - We had tried on and off for a few days to get a shot at a decent Gemsbok.& We tried tracking them, spot and stalk, and ambushing them. Every time something happened. Either they were immature animals (even though they looked like shooters to me) or they would give us the slip. At dinner one night Craig said "we're going to get you a gemsbok by nine o'clock tomorrow." My dad came with us the next morning to get in on the fun. We drove in to the property across the road from the lodge entrance and started looking. A little while In Craig spotted a Zebra moving away and said that gemsbok are sometimes nearby so we should start tracking them. Dad stayed in the truck with Johannes and off we went. Sure enough we caught up with Gemsbok in the thick stuff. The only ones visible were a bit small. We continued following for thirty minutes or so when we caught them in the open. Standing 120 or so yards out slightly quartering towards us is a nice bull. "take him now, shoot him" I hear as Craig sets up the sticks. Immediately when I shoot I know it's a touch back. It would have been a double lung on an elk or deer but as we all know, these aren't elk or deer. The gemsbok gets in with the herd and we loose it for a second. One lies down and odds are that it is the one but we need to be 100% sure of course. When it gets up and starts moving away we see that it is hurt and I get a follow up shot at about 200 yards but miss. The herd takes off and we follow. Where he bedded down we find that he is bleeding out his nose and is mortally wounded, but still traveling unfortunately. When there is a wounded animal these guys go into overdrive. Craig made a few mental notes where we were and where the herd went and calls Johannes to come pick us up so we can get Craig’s hound dog, Blue to help track. As we're racing back for the dog my dad tells me that he and Johannes heard the action. On the first shot Johannes gave my dad a thumbs up sign then he heard the second, got a concerned look and said " I like it when they lay down, FLAT." I hadn't even heard Johannes speak English in the four days I had been hunting with him because he and Craig always speak Afrikaans. So, it was quite amusing to hear his take on things. I don't think he was looking forward to a long tracking job through the thorns that morning. We got Blue and made it back to the spot to start following up the gemsbok. Craig said "I'm just going to take Blue to smell the blood, then we'll work our way back to you and we'll go get him." So, I decide to drain off the morning coffee real quick while I'm waiting. It turns out that the Gemsbok had been too hurt to follow the herd after all and had laid down and hid in a thick patch of brush not 75 yards from us. I'm halfway through relieving myself when all heck breaks loose. Blue jumped the bull immediately and I hear Craig hollering "shoot him, shoot him!!" I'm diving for my rifle while trying to pinch off the flow with little success. Johannes grabs Craig's rifle and sprints towards him. I caught a glimpse of him racing away and I think that Johannes may be the fastest man alive. He looked like a cartoon, standing straight up and down with just a blur of legs beneath him. We knew this animal was as good as dead but I had told Craig to feel free to put a finishing shot into him if he got a chance before me. Everyone wants to see the animal put down as quickly as possible. Craig got a couple of shots off that really slowed the bull down. We sprinted up to where Blue held him in the thick thorn bushes. I put one more bullet in him to end the chase. My dad had been trying to get someone to let him drive the cruiser. This was his chance, so he jumped in and came tearing over to where we had the Gemsbok down. I tore my eyelid open crawling through the thorns getting the bull out but I didn't feel a thing. We high fived, hugged, took pictures, and got the animal loaded up. When it was all said and done Craig pointed at the clock. It was nine o'clock straight up.
BILL & PATTI MCDOUGALL – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken – Waterbuck*, Impala, Kudu, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Eland*, Warthog*, Gemsbok
My Eland hunt was a lot of fun. Craig tracked them in the sand and grass. I was always doubtful we were on a trail when he was tracking. I've tracked animals here but I would never have been able to track in that terrain. Craig was always right on the animal we were after, I was very impressed with his ability. We bumped the herd after close to an hour of tracking, maybe longer. The herd ran and we ran a semi-circle and the bull happened to have his head down standing at about 100 yards, feeding. We had to wait for his head to come up to figure out what he was (bull or cow) because the grass was tall and the bush was thick. When he finally looked up, Craig said it was a great bull and told me to shoot. I shot, it bucked and ran. Craig found blood right away but I was paranoid I hit it high because it was a fast, free-hand shot. We lost the blood trail, found it again and then found the eland. It was the best hunt of the safari, and turned out to be a huge trophy. It tasted awesome, too.
I ended up with a kudu, impala, gemsbok, warthog as per the package and added on eland, waterbuck, wildebeest, and blesbok. We enjoyed every minute and can't say enough good things.
JAMES & ARLENE KELLY – Alberta, Canada
Animals taken – Zebra, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (55”), 2 – Impala*, Warthog*, Waterbuck*, Blesbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
(As told by James’ PH, Johan) James wanted to shoot a Waterbuck bull and I knew of beautiful bull on one of the concessions and also in which area we were bound to find him. We drove around the farm for quite a while looking for that Waterbuck bull. We saw a couple of Waterbuck but none of them could match the one I was looking for. At the end of the day we haven’t even seen any sign of him. I decided to try one more time to find him. We stalked the waterhole were I saw him last. As we got close, I saw the Waterbuck licking the salt near the waterhole. The area around the waterhole is very open so it will not be easy to get close for a good shot. So, we had to leopard crawl for about 120 yards to get near the waterhole. Just as we got close the Waterbuck started to slowly move away, all the while the Zebra and Blue Wildebeest were looking at us. We got up, I opened the shooting sticks and James shot the Waterbuck at about a 100 yards. The Waterbuck was a very nice trophy bull of 28 inches. What a wonderful hunt!
JOE MENNILLO – Connecticut
Animals taken – Steenbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Impala*, Warthog*, Waterbuck*, Kudu* (54”)
Arrived in Johannesburg and stayed at the Afton Guest House. There shouldn't be any other decision besides this, especially if you arrive in the late afternoon or early evening. I flew from NYC and it was around an 18 hour flight and I definitely didn't want to continue on with another 4 hour drive to camp. So I stayed at the guest house where I got to meet the other two couples coming into camp with me along with one of the PH's Pieter. I also got to speak with numerous other hunters which were continuing onto other destinations.
Woke up and had a nice breakfast and we started our journey into camp. As I mentioned, this is about a four hour drive from the guest house. Oh and if you get Pieter "Grassy" for your driver, please don't talk to him when he tries to merge onto the highway!! Especially if it is rush hour. He is a little bit un-nerved by the traffic:-) Once we arrived at camp, it was nicer than I expected. A special drink was handed to us as we exited the vehicle. We had very warm welcomes and then shown to our rooms, a nice lunch, to the range and then off to a late afternoon hunt if we choose to. Well needless to say, I choose to and was happy I did. We went to the one of Pieter’s properties and saw many different species of game. A Blue Wildebeest caught my eye but he was behind some brush and I didn't get a chance at a shot.
Off to hunt Kudu. Well I was out for a large Kudu. Pieter knew I set my goals high for the number 1 animal on my list so he said that I should concentrate on this one animal. Well he sent us to one of his larger concessions that he knew there were large Kudu at. This concession was over 20,000 acres I believe and had a few mountains on it. Hans then had me hike over 3 mountain tops, through the valleys and along the peaks but we didn’t see any sign of the “Grey Ghost”. Once we were done, we returned to the truck for a much needed rest. Well the rest lasted for about a minute when the vehicle got stuck in the sand. So we dug out the vehicle and decided it was time for lunch. We hunted hard all morning long and saw some game (Warthog, Impala, Klipspringer) but no Kudu. We had a very nice lunch in the shade by a watering hole, where I watched some monkeys and warthog come into. We got to speak to the workers and they told Hans were they’ve been seeing some nice bulls.& We hunted much of the afternoon and still didn’t see any Kudu. As we were going down the road, Hans turned and I could see a Steenbok, Hans said Looks G – BANG – Before he could even finish Good, I had taken my first animal. A very nice Steenbok with 3 ¾” horns.
As the previous day was very long and we worked hard for a Kudu, we decided to go back to the property where I saw the really nice Blue Wildebeest the first day and see if we couldn’t get a shot at him. We stalked a few herds of Wildebeest but didn’t see the one we were looking for. We searched for much of the morning, seeing giraffes, gemsbok, zebra and impala and then Hans said let take a stalk over here. Now you have to understand something, if the PH says that he wants to walk into the thick bush even though you didn’t see any animals in the area, I suggest you just do it! I was thinking to myself, he is just taking me on a little hike because we didn’t see anything passing by this area before. Well we walked around 300 yards and a Blue Wildebeest took off. We thought we spooked the herd but then Hans dropped down to the ground and told me to get down. I got down and couldn’t see a thing. He said there is a really big Wildebeest over there about 175 yards in the brush. We crawled forward about 100 yards and then scooted on our backsides for another 25 yards or so. The Wildebeest was standing in some thick cover so I was happy that everyone talked me into bringing the 300 win mag. He placed my rifle on his shoulder and I squeezed the trigger. The Blue Wildebeest dropped in his tracks. As we approached he got bigger and bigger. The coloring was gorgeous and the big male had very long points. He measured 55” from point to point with 13” bosses. This was definitely an animal that exceeded my expectations. We decided to call it a morning and bring him back to camp. We finished lunch and decided to try our luck for a zebra. It didn’t take long for Hans to stalk a herd of zebra. I told him that I wanted one that was very bright white as some of the older Stallions at other properties were a yellowish color from the rich dirt that they like to roll in. As we approached the herd, they seemed to be all around us. The wind was right and we had a small patch of bushes to try and hide along the side of. The zebras were about 200 yards out in the open so we decided to stalk a little bit closer. We probably made it another 25 yards and we noticed some warthog and gemsbok and knew we couldn’t go any further. Well we had to wait about 20 minutes for the zebra I wanted to give me a shot. I took the shot and they all took off. We heard some brush cracking and thought that was the gemsbok/warthog off to our right. As we approached were the zebra was standing, we didn’t see any blood. We looked for blood for 75 yards all around the area but couldn’t find anything. So Hans and I went into the bush to look for any signs but he said that nothing went through there. So we decided to walk back to where the zebra stood when I shot at it and as we were walking back, we found it under a single tree. The shot was right on the mark and we found that the zebra ran for about 100 yards without a single drop of blood. The bullet did not exit the animal and I was lucky enough to retrieve the 200 grain trophy bonded bear claw that performed flawlessly.
Back to the mountain property for Kudu. Hunted all day, saw a huge Kudu in the mountains that winded us and watched the grey ghost run for about 800 yards until disappearing in the brush.
Off to hunt a new property for Kudu. We were instructed to meet with the owner before hunting. The property was about an hour away and right after entering the property we saw 2 huge Kudu but couldn’t take any shots because we needed to meet with the owner. We met with the owner and he gave us a tour of the property. As he was giving us a tour, we ran into 2 jackals running away from us at about 200 yards. I took a shot but they kept laughing, zigzagging into the brush. We hunted the rest of the day and saw some beautiful Nyala and some large Impala. We hunted all day but never saw either of the Kudu again. It’s amazing as the brush this time of year is so thick that if the animal is 10 yards deep in the brush, you would never see them. Toward the end of the day, we found a small group of Impala. Hans told me that there was a really big one in the front of the pack. As I got my crosshairs on him, he bolted into the brush. Hans said that the one behind him was also very nice so I took him. He was a very nice and each side measured 22”. As the sun was setting, I was able to capture a few pics of this beautiful trophy.
We decided to take the morning off and go into town to do some shopping. The one bit of advice I will give you on shopping is that you should do all of your shopping at the airport right before you leave to go home. They have everything and anything and the prices seem to be better than going into town. We made it back for a great lunch and then Pieter decided to come out with us for a late afternoon hunt. This was another new property and as we arrived at it was saw a very nice Kudu. I put up the gun and found that I had my power up on my scope from the day before and unfortunately by the time I found the bull out of the other small bull and cow, he had already took off. We saw another Kudu which was very nice but we were about 150 yards out and we could only see his horns signing in the sun light.
Back to the mountain property for another chance at the grey ghost. On the way into the mountains we saw a large Steenbok but the little animal was too quick for me to get a shot. We saw a bunch of adolescent males and then made it onto the top of the mountain to glass the valleys. We glassed for about 20 minutes and Hans caught a female Kudu about 800 yards out. I watched her for a while and then all of sudden the big male showed himself. I yelled to Hans and he said, that’s what are we waiting for, let’s go. We stalked all the way to where we saw the big guy and crept closer and closer. All of a sudden, the bull started to BARK and SNORT at us. It was very heart wrenching that the bull was aware of our presence and he was only about 25 yards in front of us but because the brush was so thick, we couldn’t see him at all. As we made our way towards him, he would keep on moving 25 yards away and keep snorting at us. The hair was standing up on my arms and it was very draining when we realized that we would never get a glimpse at this old bull. At the end of the day, we had a female warthog run out in front of us and then Hans yelled big male, SHOOT. I quickly put up the gun and took this very respectable Warthog. The outside tusks measured 10” and I believe that in the end he was around 11 ½”. This animal is dedicated to my Uncle Ed, which passed earlier on this morning.
We decided to go back to the property where we saw the 2 large Kudu but couldn’t shoot because we had to meet the owner first. Well this time we had the green light. We were on the property for less than 10 minutes when Hans said there. He was running back into the brush since it was a full moon and a lot of animals were moving all night long. I was definitely ready this time around and took the shot as he began to enter the heavy brush. I dropped him in his tracks and as I ran up to him, the reality set in. This was the animal I dreamed of. I had worked so hard for a week going after this majestic animal. Well it was definitely worth the time I put forward as he was everything I wanted. He measured in at 54” and made both SCI and Roland Ward. We had to move quickly though as Kudu tend to have hair slip in the warm weather. So we cooled him down and got him back to camp. I relaxed for the rest of the morning, had a nice lunch and went to a bunch of other properties with Pieter. Later on in the day, we decided to go for the elusive bushbuck. With the thick cover and super high grass, it was going to be difficult but I wanted to try. We ended up seeing 3 female bushbuck.
We got up early in our quest to hunt bushbuck. Your best chances are early in the morning, late in the afternoon.& Well we started to walk along the river where they like to hang out and quickly ran into another female. We kept going and saw a really nice male across the river but he was on another property. As we walked down the road we had two other bark at us and take off. They are little animals with lightening quick speed and they sound very similar to the bark that came out of that large Kudu I came across in the mountain area. As we came around the corner, Hans spotted a large Warthog. I contemplated taking him but decided to hold off. Well luckily I did because as we came around the bend, Hans yelled MONSTER! I looked over and quickly realized that it wasn’t a bushbuck, it was a MONSTER Waterbuck. I hesitated because it wasn’t an animal originally on my list (although both other people in camp took one and I really liked the animal). Well he took off and ran into some thick stuff. I put up the scope and could only see his neck and very front of his shoulder. Since this animal presented me with the longest time out of any of my animals to take the shoot, my heart was racing and my adrenaline pumping. This was about a 125 yard shot upon which he was probably 30 yards into the brush. I took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger. I couldn’t see what happened so I yelled to Hans, where did he go? Hans smiled and said straight down. When I made it over to him, it was way beyond my expectations! He was truly a MONSTER. He measured in at 29 5/8 horns with 10” bases. He easily made book for SCI and RW.
This was truly a trip of a lifetime and will surpass any hunter’s expectations. Cruiser Safaris is a first class operation that made a dream come true for another hunter. I hope to be able to share this magnificent place with my son in a few years.
RON & CHRIS DUNKIN – Texas
Animals taken – 2 – Blesbok*, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, 2 – Impala*, Kudu* (53 ¼”), Steenbok
We finally arrived in Johannesburg on April 11th after a lifetime of dreaming of Africa. We were met by Dean from the Afton House and he helped get us thru SAP. This went by with no problems. Since SAA schedule had changed we had to spend and extra night in Afton House which was good and we chose to go to the Lion/Rhino park instead of sitting around. This was a welcome break and the Lords driver (the tour company) Patrick was very nice and interesting.
The next morning Craig picked us up and we drove to camp. After shooting my rifle I told Craig we might as well hunt the rest of the day since we're here. We saw some blesbok before we got to the gate of the property and made a stalk on the group. At 40 yards it was a bit of a slam dunk and I had my first African trophy. I have to admit, I had not paid much attention to blesbok trophy sizes and Craig was more excited about this one than I was. He was 17 " and very heavy.
We hunted with Craig all the next day and took a Zebra late in the afternoon. We had a lot of fun with Craig these 2 days as he is very personable and knowledgeable about most everything in the bush. His standard answer to what kind of Lizard is that? “The kind that eats flies." I was a bit nervous when he took pictures of me and my wife in front of the buffalo since I had been giving him a hard time that day. He said " Don't worry I’ll watch them”.
We hunted with Johan the rest of the trip and could not have had a better time. I thought Craig tried to walk our legs off the first 2 days! The first stalk on the first day with Johan, he started crawling. It was tough but got the job done. I took and excellent warthog the first afternoon and a 25" Impala. We hunted 6 different properties all total and the most were very good and had lots of quality animals. On the forth hunting day, we headed to the mountain property and went from crawling in sand to climbing rocks. When we finally got to the top it was well worth the work, some of the most spectacular views you can imagine. We hunted this property hard for 2 days with not much to show and Johan thought it might be wise to sit at a water hole, which I was fine with until I saw the tree stand if you want to call it that. So now we've added another activity, tree climbing. Later that evening I told Pieter that in Texas we had invented some things called ladders which would help. We did see a huge Kudu but was not able to get a shot so we came back the next day. The wind was swirling and Johan thought he would try to light some cow patties to cover our scent and it worked since we ended up with a Kudu bull watering 30 yards from us and walking almost right under the tree with other Kudu all around us and none smelled or saw us, good tribute to the brushing up of the blind. We ended up with Kudu’s behind and when my bull walked out Johan told me "shoot the wide one". I made the shot although not the best one, he only went 50 yards. When I walked up to him I could not have been happier, he was all I ever wanted in a Kudu, long, wide, heavy and big ivory tips to boot.
We had been trying to get a steenbok as we hunted other things but they are quite quick except in the one area that we could not take them. We were finally able to get a shot on one on the next to the last day.
All in all we had a wonderful time and enjoyed everyone with Cruisers. Pieter, all the PH's, Delmarie's food was fantastic, our driver and the skinners did a great job.
I was extremely blessed by the quality of animals that I took and would never expect that same quality again across the board, however Cruisers does have a great quantity of quality trophy animals and everyone should expect to take some of them. They also adhere to some strict quality wildlife management practices to maintain quality thru out the properties. This way Cruisers will continue to take record book trophies year after year. Cruiser Safaris are as good as it gets and we would recommend them to anyone.
HANS & ELFI RUED – Germany
Animals taken – 5 – Impalas*, 6 – Impala females, Steenbok*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, 4 – Warthogs*, Zebra
MATTHIAS RUED – Germany
Animals taken – Zebra, Blesbok*, 2 – Warthogs*, Kudu* (55”), 2 – Impalas*, Red Hartebeest*, 5 – Impala females, Black Backed Jackal
MICHAEL EBI – Germany
Animals taken – Kudu, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala, Blesbok*, Warthog*, Steenbok, Zebra, Female Impala
ARMIN DOTT – Germany
Animals taken – Kudu*, Blesbok*, Warthog, 2 – Impalas*, Impala female
I try to tell you something about our hunting holiday. First of all I want say that the time in Pieter’s camp was great for all of us. For Armin and Michael it was the first time in Africa and from the first day they were enthused during the whole hunting days. At the first day Armin shoots his Kudu and the whole evening he narrates us his Kudu hunt again and again. The second day for Armin was terrible. We all put our money and documents in the safe we have in our rooms (I don’t close my safe because I know in this camp nobody steal something). Armin and Michael leave the camp together because they want hunt their Blesbok. They walk thru the bush and they see some Blesboks. Then they want go closer to the animals and suddenly Armin notes that he lost his key from the safe!! He stops hunting and get really crabby. Michael said to him that they can go to the camp to check the safe after hunting but Armin wanted to go back to the camp ASAP. So they go immediately back to the camp and they see that the key was still in the safe because Armin forget to close the safe in the morning. Now Michael was a little angry and said let us go back to hunt Blesbok. On the way to the bush Armin say to his PH stop the car immediately because he must puke. So they stop the car Armin jump out of the car and puked on the roadside. After this event Michael give him a dram of whisky to calm down (Armin was very crabby) Then they go to the bush to hunt Blesbok. After some time they found again the same animals that they had come close to earlier. Pieter (PH) shows Armin witch one he have to shoot and Armin go to a small tree and try to target and wait and wait and wait (the others don’t understand why he not shoot) the Blesbok always move away from Armin and when the Blesbok was approx. 200 meters away from Armin he shot suddenly and the Blesbok goes down. All of them must laugh a long time after this hunting morning. From that day forward Mr. Pieter and all of us called him “Mr. Key”.
Michael has a really nice hunting time in Pieter’s camp. For him it was the first time in Africa and each day he made a lot of pictures from animals and of course he shoots some of them. Each evening he told us how many animals he sees. During the whole time he was really lucky to be in Africa. And of course he will come back again to this nice place.
For Matthias it was se second time in Africa and he was hunting with PH Hans. Last time we were there we hunt together and I can translate for Matthias. This time all of us are hunting alone with their own PH and for Matthias sometimes it was quite an experience because he doesn’t speak English. But it works really good and they talk together with hands and feet. Sometimes our PHs drives fast on the gravel paths. I like it very much but Matthias was very fearful and he asks PH Hans to drive slower. From this day on Hans always drive accurate 70 km/h and not more and we call Matthias slow motion hunter.
My hunt was as expected great. One time Craig and I walk thru the bush and we spot Impalas. Craig found the right one and I shot the Impala above Craig’s sticks.
I shot more then 20 animals and all of these hunting situations were different. One time we see an Impala male standing straight to us in distance maybe 150 to 200 meter. We wait and wait that the Impala turn around for an accurate shot but the Impala stand and look and stand and look to us. After a minute I say to Craig I try to shoot the Impala to the front (Craig filmed it) I hit the Impala a little to the left side and the bullet destroyed his shoulder and he run in the bush. We go there and then we hear that the Impala run deeper in the bush. With us was Craig’s dog called Blue. Blue smelled the Impala and ran behind him. I give my rifle to Craig because I can’t run fast ( I am old, I have overweight, I am smoker and so on) I hear blue barking and Craig run behind Blue and the Impala more then one mile. After 15 minutes the Impala stand in front of Blue and Craig can shoot and the Impala goes down. I hear the shot far, far away. After I reach Craig and Blue and the Impala I see that Craig was bloody as well as the Impala because he must make a difficult shot below a tree and the scope hit his nose. Also I see that his shirt was disrupted because he runs thru the bushes with a lot of thorns. Both of them (Blue and Craig) do a really good job so that I don’t lose this Impala (really a good team) Afterwards we must laugh a lot about this hunt.
This time it was not possible to make a lot of video film. Craig and I start too late to try hunting and filming. The last three days Craig took my camera all the time and he must search the animals, he must help me shooting (I lay my arm on his shoulder) and he must film when I shoot. All this jobs he does very well. So we have some small videos from shots of Impala male, female and Warthog. We both were very unhappy that we didn’t think of this idea to film from the beginning. Next time I am there we want film from beginning, the first hunting day.
One day we want hunt zebra and Pieter (Mr. Pieter) come with us (a big glory for me) so we walk thru the bush in front Pieter I follow him and behind me was Craig. Pieter saw two zebras on the road and we try to go closer to the roadway along side of it in the bush. As we come close to 100m near the zebra Pieter whisper to me “I’ll jump on the road and lay down. You also jump on the road and lie above my butt and shoot the zebra quick”. We did it in this way and I shot the zebra on top of Pieter’s butt, accurately to the shoulder and the zebra goes down 20 meters from the point I shot. Pieter have a very nice butt unfortunately I have no time to have a long look on his butt because I have to shoot the Zebra. It was also a great hunt for me very exciting and funny.
My wife Elfi goes only two days with us to hunt. She enjoys it to have nice breakfast with coffee and relax in the camp and let the sun shine to become a brown skin. That is women’s.
LANCE SCHNEIDMILLER – Washington
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest* & female, 3 – Warthogs*, 2 – Waterbucks*, Steenbok*, Eland*, Impala, Zebra
CHRIS HENJUM – Washington
Animals taken – Impala* & female, Kudu* (52”), 2 - Blesboks*, Eland*, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest, Warthog
JERRY DERR – Washington
Animals taken – Impala*, female Blue Wildebeest, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Warthog*, Kudu* (52”)
CLIFF PRYOR – Georgia
Animals taken – Blesbok*, 2 – Impalas*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu, Gemsbok*, 2 – Warthogs*
(Lance’s Eland hunt)
The Eland was charging up and down a fence line, apparently trying to get back to another property. Craig wanted me to wait for him to turn sideways and stop, which he did not do, and would spin and go away. Third time coming towards us I told Craig I would shoot him in the chest while he was running towards us. Craig wasn't sure but said it was up to me. @ around 100 yards I shoot him once, he stumbled and kept coming faster, my second shot put him down. Was using Nosler's new etip, 180 grain in a Akely 30-06. what a thrill. Went back that afternoon with one of my buddies and he got the other Eland both measured 89 inches. What a day to be on two Eland hunts in the same day.
My Eland hunt.... I was thinking of hunting Eland if we had the opportunity prior to our departure. After seeing Lances Ii could hold back no longer!!! We spotted a nice bull....after a short stalk he busted us.....Grassy and I sprinted back to the truck to find him again (Grassy is only a slightly faster sprinter than I)...we got on the truck and there he was running to us...unable to get steady from the sprint there was no shot. We tracked the animal (I say we really it was Grassy and Issac) When the animal crossed the tracks and onto another property the tension was a little high...Grassy quickly called Pieter to obtain permission to keep the hunt going...with permission the hunt was on. We tracked the animal to the end of another property finally Grassy said get ready.....Being a little to intent on getting ready the beast ran 60 yard right in front of us; no shot. Issac was in the area where the big bull ran to...He took one look at Issac and ran back to an opening right in front of us....as instructed by Grassy if you see him again shot until he is down...With Lance and Grassy screaming shoot, shoot....I finally shot! I believe this was a very lethal shot how ever I did what Grassy said......three more shots and he was down...Please note .5" bigger than Lances Bull....
....a non-hunting highlight was the Kudu dropping spitting contest...Johann drug me though a crowd of people after a cool helicopter ride at the annual fair in Ellisras. We were split up form the crew and Johann says to hurry as we do not have much time...for what I am thinking. We break through the crowd and Johann grabs something out of a container and talks Afrikaans to the announcer.....places the object in his mouth and hails the projectile from his mouth....looks at me and says your next. I obliged and the announcer laughs and says "we have Chris form Washington". I am sure Cliff and Lance busted a gut at this point since they had no idea where we were going. I launch the Kudu dung as hard as I could looking like I may win...not quite, missed by a couple inches. Johann says wow that was close; "yes I know" I said. He said no it was close to starting a riot..."if you would have won that would not have been good with the locals....fun times at the fair!!!
GEORGE & SANDI WALKER – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Blesbok* (Sandi), White Blesbok, Blue Wildebeest* (Sandi), Red Hartebeest*, Eland*, Zebra, Nyala, Bushbuck*. George took the following additional animals with his bow – 2 – Impalas*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*
BRAD CHUDIAK & his wife PATRICIA – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken – Eland*, Zebra, Impala* and Brad also took a Nyala with his bow.
(George & Sandi)
We are calling this second trip: “The Return – Unfinished Business”. When we finished our hunt at Cruisers in 2007, we hadn’t even left the airport in Jo’burg when we were planning our return in 2009. Two years is a really long time when you have had such a good experience!
Well, the time went quickly and we were once again in South Africa. I chose to build my own package in order to complete my spiral quest….along with some other animals I did not harvest on our first trip.
When we arrived at Cruisers camp, we almost felt like we were coming home. That familiar, welcome feeling you get when you have been away and return. Delmarie had a delicious lunch for us, and then off to the gun range. Craig was our PH again this trip…it was like hunting with an old friend.
had us hunting for Gemsbok. After several unsuccessful stalks, I finally was able to take a nice male just before dark. What a great way to start our hunt!
Sandi had expressed a desire to hunt a bit this trip, so the next day it was her turn. Craig brought his gun, a 308 Bruno, for her to use. We were after Blesbok and a herd presented themselves first thing in the morning. Sandi was nervous at first, but Craig was very calm about getting her set up for a shot. When a nice male stepped aside, Craig felt that this would be a good one. He talked to her about the shot placement and told her to take the shot when she was ready and not to hurry. She fired and made a good hit. The Blesbok ran a bit and stopped behind some bush. We waited for the opportunity to take the second shot. Finally she had a clear shot and the Blesbok dropped to the ground. Turns out it was an exceptional trophy that measured 17 inches and made the record books. She was so excited! Her 1st African animal! Craig even convinced her to have her picture taken with blood on her forehead. Tradition, he said. She wasn’t totally convinced about that. Next it was my turn. I was looking for a White Blesbok. We made several stalks and I was finally able to take a shot, and the Blesbok was down. We each had taken a Blesbok on the same day, so not only did this make a great photo, it made a great memory.
Today we were out looking for a nice Zebra. Craig & I went for a walk and spotted some nice animals. After a great stalk and a really good shot, I had my Zebra. We were able to have lunch at camp and went out again in the afternoon for Eland. No luck though.
Craig was not able to guide this day as he had a course to attend, so Pieter (owner) took us out. I was still looking for Eland and Sandi was going to take a Wildebeest if the opportunity presented itself. This time, she was going to use Lizelle’s gun, a 7 x 57 Mauser - the same gun that Pieter’s son Christian had used to take his first Warthog the day before. It was a cool day, so the game was slow getting moving. By mid-morning, we came across a lone Blue Wildebeest bull. Pieter wasted no time in getting Sandi set up for a shot. He was patient and calm, talking about where to aim. She fired and made a good shot. The Wildebeest ran about 100 yards and stopped. We were able to catch up and Sandi fired a second shot and he dropped. She was some excited! No blood on the forehead this time. This was also a record book trophy! We continued hunting after lunch at the lodge and in the early afternoon, we came across a Red Hartebeest bull bedded down right in the middle of the road. Pieter told George to do a “Texas heart shot”. I had heard about this shot, but had never done one. Well, it turned out great. The Hartebeest never moved. The afternoon continued with our pursuit for Eland. We finally jumped a herd crossing the road and the chase was on. We tracked, followed, stalked the herd, but they just always stayed ahead of us. There was a thunderstorm brewing, but Pieter kept on the tracks. We could see their tracks on the road, but they just always stayed ahead of us. As the storm neared and the sun went down, Pieter asked if I could still see well enough if I needed to shoot. I looked through the scope and felt that I still had enough light to shoot. Pieter said that this was our last road, leaving the call up to me if it was too dark. We came to the end of the road, and Pieter said we were done. As we rounded the corner, there were the Eland. Off came the hat, then the glasses to give me more light through the scope. Pieter watched them crossing the road. He said: not that one, not that one, not that one….THAT ONE! I fired and hit the bull. We took off running down the road where we had last seen the Eland going into the bush. The light was gone and the thunder and lightning was almost on us. When we arrived at the spot where we say the Eland, we saw him running. I took a quick shot. He turned and ran the other way. We had to run after him again. We caught up to him and I was able to take another shot at him at about 10 yards. He dropped on the spot. My first shot was a fatal shot had we been able to leave him, but Pieter didn’t want to wait because of the storm. Pieter sent Johanas to get Sandi and the camera. By now the first raindrops were starting to fall. We were able to get some photos before the rain really started to fall. The lightning and thunder was spectacular! And then it REALLY rained! It washed out any tracks or blood from the Eland and from us. We had the Hartebeest in the back of the truck, so Pieter radioed Johan to come on his way back to camp to help out. I don’t know how Pieter found the Eland again in the dark when Johan arrived. He walked into the bush, with no flashlight, in the rain and found the Eland. It was like he had a 6th sense about it. When we returned to camp, Craig met us at the gate. He told me my Eland was a “monster” measuring in at 37 1/2"….the biggest so far this year. What a day….what a hunt….what a trip!
We slept in today. Tough to top a day like we had just had. In the afternoon, Craig and I went out for Nyala. I had wanted to try to take one with my bow, but after a couple of failed attempts due to the wind, I decided that I would use my rifle. Success! Number 3 of my spiral quest, counting my Kudu from our last trip. Later in the afternoon, we went looking for Bushbuck. We didn’t see any that were big enough.
We hunted in the morning for Bushbuck, but didn’t see anything. On our afternoon trip out, a nice male popped his head up out of the long grass, and that was all I needed. My quest was complete!
Time to put the gun away and bring out the bow. We went to a bow property and got settled into a blind. We didn’t see anything there all morning. Craig decided that we would change blinds, and when we arrived at the next one, there was a nice Kudu bull. If only we had been there sooner! After getting settled into the blind, the action started. Warthogs, (too small) and Impala (too far). We waited and pretty soon a nice Impala walked right in front our blind. I drew back and fired off an arrow. He ran about 80 yards and I had my first African animal with my bow! Sandi wanted to know why I didn’t have to have blood on MY forehead. Craig insisted that this was just for the Ladies.
We were back to the same blind again. After about an hour, a nice Blue Wildebeest bull came in. He came in to about 32 yards and I took the shot. He took off on the run. I knew I had hit him hard because Craig had caught it all on video. He called Johanas back to bring Blue. What a great nose on that dog. He got on the track and found the Wildebeest in no time. He had run about 250 yards. Talk about an adrenaline rush! What a great animal.
Back to the blind. A nice Warthog came in to 30 yds and I was able to get a shot off. Again, Craig got it all on video, and again, thank goodness for Blue’s nose. That Warthog ran over 500 yards!
Another sleep in day. We went into town with all the others in our group to look for souvenirs. After we got back to the lodge, Craig, Sandi and I went out to a different blind hoping that a big Kudu would come in. No Kudu, but lots of Eland. They were everywhere. It was pretty neat sitting at ground level looking up at an animal that is so large. No luck with my bow today.
The last day. We went out first thing in the morning as I wanted to be back to take some last photos before dark. A nice Impala came out at about 26 yards and I was able to make good shot on him. As I climbed out of the blind for the last time, it was with a heavy heart. Not knowing if I would ever be back. After making such good friends with everyone here, especially Craig, Pieter and Grassey, it was hard to think I might not see them again. Little did I know that back at camp, Sandi was having the same feelings as she walked through camp taking video of our last night.
We want to say a special thanks to Craig. He made our first trip to Africa a hunt of a lifetime and now has made our second trip an even better experience than the first. We will always think of you as a friend.
We would like to think that we will be back one day…..another 2 years perhaps…..for more unfinished business, like the big Kudu!
LARRY FLEENOR – Virginia
Animals taken - 2 – Impala*, Warthog*, Gemsbok, Blesbok*, Kudu, Kudu female
SHANE FLEENOR – New York
Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu* (51”), Waterbuck*, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, 2 – Warthogs
No Hunt Photos Available
GEORGE BLANKENSHIP and his wife REBEKAH – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Blesbok*, White Blesbok* (Rebekah), Impala & Impala female, 2 – Warthogs*, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest* & female, Gemsbok, Zebra (for both George & Rebekah), Red Hartebeest*
To start with, we want to thank Cruiser Bob for the wealth of information he provided prior to our leaving the US for our travels to South Africa. Even though there were a couple of uncomfortable moments at the Johannesburg airport during the firearms registration process with the police constantly asking for tips, we eased through most of the process. It went fairly quickly and we were on our way. Also, the arrangements with the Afton Guest House picking us up at the airport worked out perfectly and we enjoyed our steak dinner there before getting a good nights rest before the long drive to camp. We also got to meet Johan who we would learn later would serve as our PH for the entirety of our safari. This was good news to us as we immediately took a liking to him and it was obvious that he was extremely knowledgeable about the African animals we were going to hunt.
The next morning we left the Afton Guest House for our trip to camp. We arrived in camp around 1:00 in the afternoon. We were met by some of the staff and some of the other hunters and had a great lunch. After lunch and after checking the zero on my rifle, Pieter offered to take us out to start our hunt even though this was the day before our hunt officially started. We didn’t hesitate and were in the Landcruiser heading to the concession where we would hunt that afternoon. Pieter picked up our driver/tracker/skinner Moonsu. As we arrived at the property we saw one nice Blesbok. Immediately upon entering the gate to the property Pieter told me to go ahead and take the shot. I wasted no time and was able to make a shot at around 120 yards, which turned out to be perfect and the Blesbok only ran about 15-20 yards and fell over. Each horn measured just over 16” so it appeared my first African animal would make the record book. After loading the Blesbok in the truck we continued hunting and saw lots of Blesbok, Hartebeest Giraffe, Impala and Blue Wildebeest. Becky was even able to put a stock on a couple of zebras as that was her animal of choice. Pieter took her into the tall grass on a short stalk while I stayed back on the road, but the zebra winded them and it was over. On the way out of the concession near dark we saw two really nice Impalas fighting, but I was unable to get a shot. Later that night as the skinners caped my Blesbok, they retrieved my 180 grain triple shock bullet, which was perfectly mushroomed and appeared to have retained all of its weight.
On the first official morning, we left camp with Johan before daylight and went to a different concession than the night before. The morning started quickly with a stalk on a Red Hartebeest, but we got spotted probably due to there being three of us attempting to stalk the Hartebeest out in the open. We continued hunting and saw Impala, Warthog, Steenbok, Eland, Gemsbok and Zebra. Becky again got to stalk some Zebra, but again got noticed or winded. We continued on and Johan decided to walk ahead and glass. He stopped where he could see well in two directions and spotted Gemsbok in each direction. He decided we should go to the right since the Gemsbok in that direction was alone and was bedded down looking away from us. We followed Johan on the stalk to within about 80 yards of the Gemsbok. Johan got the shooting sticks in place and I got ready as he whistled to get the Gemsbok to stand up. The Gemsbok would not stand up so Johan started to grunt louder and louder and it finally stood and I shot and it dropped where it stood. After pictures we loaded up and headed back to camp for lunch. In the afternoon, we went back to the property where we hunted the night before, but were not able to get any shots, but again saw a lot of animals. Becky got to go on another stalk on a zebra, but we were unable to find it. While we were on the stalk we saw a nice Red Hartebeest, but could not get a shot.
On day 2 we went back to the property where we hunted the night before and chased Blesbok all morning trying to get a shot at a White Blesbok. We attempted several stalks, but could not get close to them. Finally Johan decided to stop pushing them and we set up to ambush them if and when they came back our way. I asked Becky if she wanted to shoot the White Blesbok and she was more than happy to do so. Johan got her on the shooting sticks aiming in the area where we expected the Blesbok to come. It was only a matter of a few minutes when the Blesbok started coming back our way. When they were about 60-70 yards away Johan gave Becky the ok to shoot, which she did and the White Blesbok dropped in its tracks. I ran up to Becky and Johan and as we were celebrating the Blesbok got up and started walking away from us. Becky tried to make a follow up shot, but was unable to drop it. We quickly followed and met up with Moonsu who saw the Blesbok enter the bush. The four of us, plus Johan’s young tracking dog, Ricco, went into the bush after it. With Ricco’s assistance we headed in the right direction, but could not find any sign. Finally the Blesbok jumped up and we were able to get a finishing shot into it and it dropped. As it turned out, Becky’s shot was just an inch or two high and while it was a fatal shot, it allowed the Blesbok to get into the bush where we had to track it. This hunt turned out to be a true team effort as we relied on both ohan’s and Moonsu’s tracking ability and Ricco’s keen nose to find the Blesbok in the bush. We moved the Blesbok out of the bush to a more open location to get some pictures. Becky now had her first African animal.
After loading the Blesbok in the truck we headed back to camp for lunch. Becky decided to stay in camp for the afternoon so Johan, Moonsu, Ricco and I headed out for the afternoon to the property where I killed my Gemsbok the day before. We checked a couple of water holes and at the second water hole Johan spotted a nice Warthog. We stalked to within about 100 yards and I got a good rest on the shooting stick and made a good shot and the warthog dropped. The Warthog had about 10.5” to 11” tusks so I was very happy. After taking pictures, we loaded the Warthog in the truck and continued on our hunt. About 45 minutes later we spotted several Zebras along with several Eland. Johan picked the stallion out of the group and told me to quickly get a rest on his shoulder and take the shot. There were three Zebras lined up like dominos and the front Zebra was the stallion. I shot and the Zebras ran first to our right and then came running back to our left. There was not any sign of a hit and none of the Zebras appeared to be injured so I was somewhat concerned. We quickly walked to where the Zebras were located when I shot about 60 yards away and found clear sign that the Zebra was hit hard. Even though we knew the Zebra would be close, Johan wanted to give Ricco some practice tracking so we put Ricco on the obvious trail and off he went. We followed closely and found the Zebra about 80 yards away. We got some pictures and loaded the huge Zebra into the truck and after hunting for a short while longer, we decided to head back to camp early since the day was so successful. When we arrived back in camp, Becky was both happy and sad as she really wanted to take a Zebra. We agreed that a second Zebra may be possible if everything worked out with our other animals. We celebrated Becky’s first African animal and our much desired Zebra by toasting with a bottle of South African Champagne we bought while visiting the wine country near Cape Town before arriving for our safari.
On day three we went back to the property where we both took our Blesboks. Upon arriving at the property early in the morning we saw a good Blue Wildebeest and went on several stalks with no luck. On one stalk we actually got to within 10 yards of the Wildebeest with a large bush in between us, but it saw us before we could get a shot. We continued tracking them when we stumbled onto a nice Red Hartebeest. Johan asked if I wanted to continue tracking the Wildebeest or try for the Hartebeest, which was an easy decision for me. We were able to stalk to within about 100 yards of the Hartebeest and Johan set up the shooting sticks and I took a shot and missed cleanly and the Hartebeest just stood there. I quickly reloaded and took a second shot and the Hartebeest fell where it stood. This was a beautiful animal and we got our pictures before the truck arrived to load it up for the trip back to camp.
After lunch we headed out to a property where we had not yet hunted. This property was extremely thick and we did not see many animals, but we did see three ostriches up close. As it was getting dark it became very cloudy and started raining very hard.
On the morning of day 4 we headed to the mountain camp to hunt for kudu. We did not see much in the morning, but we stopped and had lunch with Hans and his hunter Larry from Tennessee. We had a great barbecue thanks to Johan’s excellent cooking skills. In the afternoon, we were going to sit in Johan’s new tree blind near a water hole. When we got to the water hole we unfortunately chased off some kudu, including a bull. The rest of the afternoon we watched Impala, monkeys and baboons all around us. Then, just before dark we saw several kudu cows, but no bulls. Johan and I were very proud of Becky’s willingness to climb so high into the tree to sit in the blind. We were so high that we could only make it up half way with the ladder and then had to climb the other half holding onto the tree limbs, all the time watching to avoid the thorns that were all over the tree. Once in the blind, however, we felt very secure and safe and had an excellent view of the water hole. We even had Impala walking directly under us. We were even more proud of Becky climbing back out of the tree in the dark.
On the morning of day 5, Johan, Moonsu and I headed back to the mountain camp, but Becky decided to stay back at camp as we were planning to be out all day. Johan and I started the morning off by walking up into the rocks. Johan spotted a huge warthog, but we could not get a shot as it took off immediately. About 11:00 we climbed back into the tree blind to spend the rest of the day watching the water hole hoping for a nice kudu. We saw several kudu cows and Impala, including 3 nice Impala bulls. We also again saw several monkeys and baboons. However, the big kudu bull never came out.
On day 6 we went back to the first property where we hunted where Becky and I harvested our first African animals, Blesboks. As we arrived at the property Johan spotted a nice Blue Wildebeest bull and off we went on our first stalk for the day. As we stalked the Wildebeest started walking down wind so we felt our chances of getting a shot were unlikely. Johan decided to walk back towards the road when he heard a Wildebeest in the bush. Johan immediately started calling back to the Wildebeest and we could hear it calling back to him. We started walking closer to the Wildebeest and ran into Eland and Gemsbok. Johan realized we couldn’t move any closer to the Wildebeest due to these other animals so we got down in the bush to wait for the Wildebeest to come to us. Johan had me get down behind him quickly as he felt that the Wildebeest was getting very close. He had me rest my rifle on his shoulder as we both were on our knees and as soon as I got my rifle on his shoulder he said “hear he comes” and a second later I saw the Wildebeest in the bush heading towards us at about 10 yards away. I shot immediately and the Wildebeest ran off. We tracked the Wildebeest about 50 to 75 yards where we found it on the ground dead. Johan said it was very large and would definitely make the record book. We took pictures and had Moonsu bring the truck to where we were in the bush and we loaded it and Johan said we should go back to where we had seen a kudu bull when we first started stalking the Wildebeest that morning. When we got back to the area, it didn’t take long to spot the kudu. The kudu took off so we circled around to where Johan thought it was heading. Fortunately for us, we were able to spot it again and I was able to take a shot off hand while the bull faced towards us. I hit the bull but hit a little to the left and high and the bull took off. Johan and I walked over to where the bull was standing when I shot and we saw clear sign that I had hit the bull. We put Ricco on the bulls trail and we took off following Ricco and almost immediately saw the kudu take off again. After a few more shots at the bull running, we were able to get it on the ground and I had my kudu. After some pictures we loaded the kudu in the truck with my Wildebeest and headed back to camp for a much deserved lunch. What a great morning. I was able to take two of my most desired trophies. After lunch we headed to the property where I harvested my Gemsbok, Warthog and Zebra to see if we could find a Zebra for Becky. Almost immediately after arriving at the property, we saw Zebra, but they quickly ran and got away into the very thick bush. We continued around the property and then just before dark we saw a nice Impala and Johan told me it was a shooter and to get ready to take the shot. I shot it at about 130 yards and it fell in its tracks. This was a perfect ending to a great day of hunting.
On day 7 it was Becky’s day to spend the day looking for her elusive Zebra. We headed to a property where we had not yet hunted and started off checking a few water holes. At the first water hole, we saw Gemsbok, Impala, Giraffe and Zebra. We slowly started stalking towards the hole and I decided to stay back so that there was less movement for the animals to spot and let Becky and Johan go ahead. They crawled on their hands and knees and after about 40 yards Johan realized they would not be able to get close enough from this angle so he decided to circle around and approach from a different direction. Unfortunately, this didn’t work either due to the many other animals at the water hole. We moved on and saw one other large group of Zebras, but could not get close to them either. Around lunch we decided to sit at a water hole and saw Impala, Waterbuck and Warthog, but no Zebra. We later moved to another water hole and saw a really nice Warthog, but did not get a shot. Closer to evening Johan wanted to go back and check a few of the water holes where we saw Zebras in the morning and the first one we approached he saw several Zebras moving towards the water hole. We quickly moved through the bush to get closer and finally crawled the last 50 yards or so. Becky and Johan got behind a bush just as the herd stallion stepped out into the open. Johan put the shooting sticks up and Becky got the rifle ready for the shot. The stallion kept walking and Johan started whistling and had to start grunting to get it to stop, which it finally did. Even though she was excited and breathing heavy due to the quick stalk, she made a perfect shot and the Zebra took off running and got with the other Zebras. We weren’t sure at first if she hit it good, but it only ran about 100 yards and fell over. What a great shot. She was so excited she had tears in her eyes and she started hugging all of us. We took a lot of pictures and celebrated more as this was the most exciting hunt of our trip. When we got back to camp Pieter decided to weigh the Zebra as he and Johan both felt it was extremely large and possibly the largest ever killed by a Cruiser Safaris hunter. As it turns out, it was the second largest missing number one by less than 5 lbs.
On day 8 Johan and I headed out looking for a second Warthog for me and it wasn’t long before we were headed into the bush on a stalk. The Warthogs moved into the thick bush and we followed to within 30 yards of where we last saw them. Johan told me to get the gun rested on his shoulder and get ready, which I did. The Warthogs came walking back through a small opening about 30 yards away and when the boar stepped out, I shot and it fell over. This was another nice Warthog, about the same size as my first. In the afternoon Becky joined us as we headed out looking for a Blue Wildebeest cow, which we thought would make a nice rug for our trophy room to go with our Zebra rug. We saw a couple of groups of Wildebeest, but were not able to get one. Finally we saw a large group with a couple of cows. We were looking directly into the sun when Johan pointed out the cow and told me to take the shot. I am not sure how he was able to pick out the cow with all of the Wildebeest standing all around with the sun shining in our eyes. Even more importantly, I am not sure how I was able to identify the one he wanted me to shoot, but somehow I was and took the shot. All of the animals, including the one I shot took off running. I wasn’t sure if I made a good shot, but when we got to the spot where she was when I shot we saw good sign, however, it took just a little while to find more sign to track. Ricco didn’t seem overly interested in looking for her, but we eventually found her about 75 to 100 yards from where I shot her.
On day 9 all of the hunters, and spouses, in camp decided to take the morning off from hunting and travel into Thabazimbi to shop. When we returned Johan and I decided to go out to look for a female Impala for me. We were able to find some Impala, but could not get a good shot. We did get really close to a nice bull, but I did not want to take another Impala bull.
On the morning of day 10 Johan, Becky, Moonsu and I headed out for one final hunt to try to find a female Impala. Almost right off we saw a nice sized female and I took the shot too quickly and made a bad shot at about 150 yards. When we got to the spot where she was standing we saw some sign of a hit, but it was clearly not a good hit. We tracked her, with Ricco’s assistance, for quite a while and determined that she was not seriously injured so we gave up and moved on to look for another one. It didn’t take long to find another female and this time I took my time and made a perfect shot at a much shorter distance. She ran maybe 20 to 30 yards and fell over. My last hunt turned out to be both happy and sad since I wounded one animal before taking my female Impala. It was also sad as it represented the end of our wonderful African Safari. We can’t thank Johan enough for the excellent job he did getting us on all of our trophies. Also, we are very thankful to Pieter and all of the Cruiser staff for making us feel like family. Delmarie’s cooking was outstanding and the African game we ate was delicious. We may or may not be lucky enough to return some day, but if for some reason we don’t we will feel like our African experience was complete thanks to the team at Cruiser Safaris. Again thanks to everyone at Cruiser Safaris for making our safari a trip of a lifetime.
RYAN & JENNIFER BENSON – Utah
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Kudu, Steenbok, Zebra, Impala*, Blesbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
RON & DONNA GILSON – Alaska
Animals taken – White Blesbok*, Blesbok*, 2 - Blue Wildebeest*, Impala, Kudu, Gemsbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
GARY PEARSON – California
Animals taken – Warthog*, Blesbok*, Kudu* (51”), Gemsbok, Impala*
TOM PEARSON (Gary’s son) – California
Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, 2 – Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (53”), Zebra, Blesbok*
BRETT MONIZ – Wyoming
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Kudu*, 2 – Warthogs*, Impala*, Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest*, Steenbok*
JERRY DILTS – Wyoming
Animals taken – 2 – Warthogs*, Blesbok*, Steenbok*, Nyala*, Red Hartebeest*, Kudu*, 2 – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Zebra, Waterbuck
BRANDON DILTS – Wyoming
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest*, Eland*, Kudu, Warthog*, Impala*
COLBY THOMAS – Montana
Animals taken – Kudu* (52 ¾”), Warthog*, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Blesbok*, Zebra
No Hunt Photos Available
ROBERT SIMMONS – Georgia
Animals taken – Bushbuck*, Waterbuck*, Steenbok*, Nyala
PETER GILL – Arizona
Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Blesbok*, Kudu*, Warthog*
Prior to starting the hunt, I was told the bushbuck might require several days of hunting. However I got one within the first 15 minutes of day 1. It took 5 solid days of hunting before I got my waterbuck though. Much of that hunting was on foot. The best trophies are those hard earned.
CASEY GWOZDZ – Illinois
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala, 2 – Warthogs*, Gemsbok, Blesbok*, Kudu* (58 ¼”)
MIKE STARAL – Wisconsin
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala, Zebra, Warthog, Blesbok*, Kudu
My favorite hunt was for the Kudu. We hunted out of a tree stand over a water hole. The bull was following a couple of cows in heat. They came in once but just as we were about to make the shot, he smelled us and all of the Kudus took off into the bush. My heart sunk and I though the hunt was over, but 10 minutes later it came back with the cows. It walked through the 2 cows and finally I had a shot. The bull ran 50 yards and died. I was very happy.
We were after Kudu for about 3 days and I had almost given up, but Johan kept on going. We climbed hills, water towers, trees, and finally build a blind one afternoon and the Kudu came from behind us. For my Blesbok I ended up crawling for about 300 yards which was a feat for a man my size. I want to thank Pieter for the heavy present he gave me for my luggage on departure.
FERNANDO CASTILLO & his wife ENCARNI – Spain
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, 2 – Warthogs, Kudu, Gemsbok
FRANCISCO CUENCA & his wife Ana – Spain
Animals taken Francisco – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu, Impala, Warthog
Animals taken Ana – Gemsbok, Warthog*
(Fernando, NOTE: Because English is not his main language I am including his story without correcting it. I feel that reading it the way he wrote it conveys a lot more to the reader)
“We returned to Spain after HUNT WITH CRUISER SAFARIS. It has been an unforgettable experience, PIETER BOTH AS THE REST OF THE STAFF HAVE ACHIEVED THAT NEVER FORGET OUR STAY IN SOUTH AFRICA.
I would emphasize especially the work and the fine work he has done HANS, a great professional and a great person. We are very pleased TROPHIES ACHIEVED THE BACK AND WAIT FOR THE NEXT YEAR.
Transmitting ME LIKE THESE WORDS TO PIETER.
TIM PENDER – Arizona
Animals taken – Impala, Warthog*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Gemsbok, Kudu
FRED NEWTON-PENDER – Arizona
Animals taken – Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Black Backed Jackal, Kudu* (53”), Gemsbok, Impala*
LARRY GOOD – California
Animals taken – Warthog*, Impala, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
Several years ago when I retired, after a 32 year career as a Wildlife Manager with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, my wife, Dianne, decided that I needed to go on an African safari as a retirement gift. She didn't tell me about it until my oldest son, Fred, announced the gift at my retirement party. I was flabbergasted to say the least. Of course Fred and long time hunting buddy, Larry Good, had to accompany me as they couldn't let me go all the way to Africa, alone. What self sacrifice! The only catch was that I had to do all the research and make all the arrangements for the trip for everybody. Oh well, what's a retiree to do? I read everything I could and checked out all the ads in the sporting magazines and spent hours on the internet. I located an outfit by the name of "Cruiser Safaris." They had a great website and very reasonable prices. I contacted Cruiser Bob and came away satisfied that they could offer us what we were looking for. Coincidentally, I spoke with another Arizona Game Department retiree and I mentioned planning a trip to Africa. Glen Dickens told me he had made an African hunt with Cruiser Safaris several years previous. He had a spectacular hunt and highly recommended Cruiser Safaris. That sealed the deal and I made reservations through Cruiser Bob who made everything as easy as you could hope for.
We flew into Johannesburg and were met by a representative of the Afton Guest House. We made it through customs and got our gun permits with far less trouble than I expected. Cruiser Bob helped out with all the necessary forms and instructions. That really sped things up. After a really tasty steak dinner at the Afton House we hit the sack. We met Johan at breakfast the next morning. The ride flew by as we traveled north. We spotted all kinds of game on the way into the Cruiser Safaris headquarters and Johan was full of information about our upcoming hunt. We were met by Pieter Lamprecht and many of the staff when we got to camp. What a place! I've never hunted out of a "camp" anything like this before. It was just spectacular. Pieter was a very gracious host. Tiny was a fantastic chef and the food was great beyond description. We hunted with both Pieter’s, Craig, Hans and Johan. These guys are great guides and spot game tremendously well. Their ability to estimate horn lengths in the field was very impressive. There was just game of all species everywhere we went. That isn't to say that the hunting was too easy, as it was not, but it made for a great hunt. There was nothing more spectacular, to me, than to be walking down a trail, see a movement off to the side and spot a giraffe staring back at you. Then a herd of zebras would run across the road. We were really in Africa! The hunt went very well and we took game almost daily. We took Kudu, Gemsbok, Wildebeest, Impala, Blesbok and Warthog. My personal goal was to take a good adult representative of each species we were to hunt. As it turned out, most of the trophies we took would have qualified for the Safari Club Record Book if we chose to enter them. I only know that I was very pleased with the animals I was lucky enough to take. I hunted mostly with Pieter Fourie (not sure of spelling) but was fortunate enough to hunt with Johan, Craig and Pieter Lamprecht as well. Pieter Fourie was a college graduate in Range and Wildlife Science and was very knowledgeable about plants and animals throughout the area. It was a real pleasure to hunt with him. Issac was our driver and he and Pieter worked together very well. Craig, "Shoot the..." and Johan were a real pleasure to hunt with as well. We were treated as family especially around meals and after dinner in the evenings. This hunt was just plain fun! I would recommend Cruiser Safaris to anyone interested in a really great African hunt.
ED & KATHRYN GROVER – Utah
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Gemsbok, Eland*, Blesbok*, Impala, Kudu, Waterbuck*, Warthog*
DEREK & AMY MARSHALL and their children ALYSSA & TANNER – Indiana
Animals taken – Impala, Warthog* (Tanner), Gemsbok*, Blesbok* (Tanner), Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra (Alyssa), Nyala*, Blesbok* (Amy)
We arrived with great anticipation and stayed overnight in Johannesburg. We left for camp (3 1/2 hrs away) and were sightseeing the entire way. We arrived at camp and had lunch and headed to the rifle range to check zero on the rifles after the 15 hr flight.
A restless night (just like Christmas Eve as a kid) and the sun came up! Our African dream is here!
My son and I walk and stalk Impala for over 2 hrs and finally end up with a respectable representative.
We load the impala and return to camp and hurry back to a water hole to see what shows up in the heat of the day. We see in excess of 20 warthogs within the first hour. Finally this old guy shows up and my son drops him. It was a 60 yd shot and the pig never moved! My son is very excited!!
The whole family goes hunting today and we were not disappointed. Very early we start tracking blue wildebeest and cross a herd of gemsbok. There is a very nice male and a short "cat and mouse game" later and we harvest a very nice male (37" with 7" bases). Pieter told me that it was the largest gemsbok he had guided on to date this year. On the way back to lunch we spot a herd of blesbok 600-700 yds away in the open grasslands ahead. My wife made a perfect stalk (most crawling) to get in position for a clear shot on this fine male. The Blesbok dropped in it's tracks from 140yds away. We head back to camp for lunch and the plan is to see what approaches the open field this evening for food and water. Near the magic hour a large blue wildebeest starts moving in our direction. A decent shot and exciting tracking job and we have another beautiful animal ready for salt right before dark!
We are trying to hunt Eland and Zebra today. It is just me and my daughter in the field today and it is great! In 3 short days I have had the opportunity to watch my wife and two kids harvest African game. My daughter made a great shot (in a very limited time window). Her Zebra will make a wonderful rug for her.
Day 4 and 5
I chase Kudu and Eland with no luck but will never forget climbing the Waterburg Mountains and having a troop of baboons blow my closest stalk on a large kudu bull.
We visit the river at lunch and my son finds a termite mound. My buddy Bill and his son are with us on day 5 as his kudu is in the salt.
I skip the side trip to the Elephant back safari to chase Kudu again. Today instead of the mountains we will try the river bottoms and thickets to change the pace. The rest of my family goes on their photo safari and I try to break the kudu voodoo!! No luck, however in the river bottoms I harvest a great Nyala and my PH is excited as it could be the largest that he has ever guided on (it was close but second best for him).
My son really wants a blesbok like his mother's. He has blown a few stalks in the days before and he knows this is our last day in camp as we leave for Cape Town tomorrow.
He has grown up greatly on this trip as a hunter. Today he and our PH make a 2hr long stalk and only cover around 500 yds. He shows great patience and I am proud. After crawling the last 200 yds to get into position he readies for the shot.....That's right!! He made a great shot that hit both lungs at 150yds!
BILL & JANET SPLAIN and their son BRODY – Indiana
(They traveled with the Marshall’s)
Animals taken (Bill) - Zebra, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Kudu* (51 ½”), Eland*, 2 – Black Backed Jackals – (Brody) – Impala*, Steenbok*,
Animal taken (Janet) – Blesbok*
We arrived in Joburg after about a 15 hr. flight from Atlanta. We were taken to the Afton Guest House where we net our PH, Johan. After a great steak dinner and some drinks, we hit the sack.
After a great breakfast Johan and Pieter loaded our gear for the 4 hr. trip to the lodge. We got fired up because on the way we saw monkeys, guinea fowl, wildebeest and blesbok. Upon arriving at the lodge we ate some wildebeest steaks and settled in. We sighted in our rifles and met Pieter, the owner, a great practical joker. To all who read this, watch out for Pieter's pranks!
Day 3 - Our first morning hunting the Dark Continent! We immediately spotted a wide kudu but couldn't get him in the scope. Then later, we spotted a small group of zebra, and Johan said we'd track them. After about a mile, he climbed up a tree and said they were about 200 yds. away. We hurried there, and soon spotted them. I took my first African animal. Later that day we spotted a large group of impala and I dropped the largest ram at about 150 yds. Later that day, Brody also killed a beautiful ram from the same herd.
Day 4 - This was my best day ever. After a fruitless morning (Johan said it was probably because of the full moon), we were headed back to the lodge for lunch. We saw the same wide kudu we saw the first morning crossing the road about 100 yds. ahead. We hurried to the spot we saw him cross. He was trying to hide in the thick brush, but I saw enough of his neck to drop him in his tracks. This was my dream animal since I was a young kid watching outdoor shows. A monster kudu 52" long by 41" wide!; Later that day I dropped a warthog running away from a waterhole at about 100 yds.
Day 5 - Today we're trying for a wildebeest. Pieter was hunting the same concession we were and radioed our Land Cruiser and said he saw a big lone bull in a savannah about a 1/2 mile from us. We hurried over there and spotted his tracks in Pieter's truck tracks. We followed them up the road until they disappeared in the brush. We spotted him facing us at about 40 yds. Johan set up the sticks and I hit him in the chest. He ran about 80 yds. and we found him dead.
Day 6 - Saw some game today but didn't shoot anything.
Day 7 - We spent the day trying to get Fizz (Janet) a blesbok. She shot a beautiful record book ram. In the evening I shot a huge eland with a perfect neck shot at about 80 yds.
Day 8 - We went on an elephant back safari. It was a unique experience and unforgettable. We hunted in the evening to try to get a gemsbok. I shot a jackal right at dark hunting over a salt block.
Day 9 - Tried to get a gemsbok again today, but they're proving to be very elusive. Brody shot a beautiful little steenbok with Johan's 30-06.
Day 10 - Took a break from hunting and visited Pilanesburg National Park. We saw beautiful scenery, much bird life, and wild life such as elephants, hippos, rhinos, crocodiles, giraffes, etc.
Day 11 - The last morning I shot a running jackal at about 100 yds. I hit a gemsbok, (a very large one) about 3 hrs. before dark but we couldn't find him. Although I lost this animal, it just gives me something to dream about for the next safari.
Brody - The first day of hunting dad had killed a zebra and an impala. After we had lunch we went hunting for another impala for me. Johan spotted a nice impala ram standing in the road. After looking at it for a few seconds, it went into the brush, then we went after it. We got in really close waiting for it to step out in the open. Finally it did. I put the crosshairs on its shoulder and shot. Johan said I missed it. We tried to find a drop of blood but we never did. Then we got back in the Land Cruiser to try to find another one. Less than 5 minutes later we spotted a herd of impala out in a field. We drove down the road trying to get a shot at a nice ram.After they crossed the road a nice ram stepped out in the open. I got my gun up and shot, he went straight down. I couldn't believe it, my first African animal, and also my first big game animal, was on the ground!
Johan spotted a herd of blesbok of about 30 and he informed me that they spook easily so he said we would have to crawl on our hands and knees in order to get close enough to get a shot at one. We crawled, I think, about 40 yds or so, and a pair of geese saw us and alerted the hear. Of course, they ran off. Johan was mad and wanted to shoot the geese. Then we climbed up to the top of a blind that was about 25 ft. high. Johan started to climb up on the roof of the blind when he was startled by a hissing sound when he grabbed the corner post. He jumped back and put his hand on his pistol. Brody teased him after later finding out that it was only a Gecko. He thought it was a real hoot. Johan climbed up on the roof and spotted the herd again so we climbed down from the blind. We drove around and spotted them from the road and once again, crawled on our hands and knees. After getting close enough for me to shoot at one, Johan set up the shooting sticks and told me which one to sight in.; It was so intense that I was shaking all over, to the point that I was having trouble sighting it in. Then the ram moved and he picked out another one. Before I could get it sighted in, it moved. Finally after about the 3rd or 4th ram, I shot and it didn't move. I was worried that I missed it but Johan said I made a good shot and said, "look at it staring to rock back and forth. He's gonna go down". Then all of a sudden it did. Johan was laughing at me because I was shaking really bad. He hi-fived me and said, "Good job" Like Brody, this was my first big game animal. It was so great that it was taken in Africa.
I certainly know what "Buck Fever" is now!!!
ROGER & TOMMIE SCHULZ – Florida
Animals taken – Impala* (and a female), Blesbok*, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Kudu* (52 7/8”), Waterbuck*, White Blesbok*
Our hunt for the Gemsbok had some adventures and challenges that both frustrated and challenged me. We spent all of day 2 on one property in search of Gemsbok. The brush was rather thick and every time we came close, the best view we could get was a patch of white face and their horns. We tried several approaches from driving to stalking on foot, to water holes. Saw lots of trophy Kudu but no gemsbok, so we went back to base camp empty handed. Day 3 saw us on a different property in search of our elusive quarry. After searching for tracks, Hans and I started off across country. In, around and through the brush we went, I started to wonder if we where lost. After much walking Hans stops dead in his tracks. He has them spotted deep in the thick brush. Making several attempts to move into a area that would allow a shot, finally on hands and knees, we move within 80 yards and they mingle around in the trees. There is a very nice bull directly to our front behind a tree, but slowly moving to a small opening between two trees. Resting my rifle on Han's shoulder I take aim, my breathing still not under control. Han's tells me not to sight too long, wait until he moves into the opening. Finally the time comes to pull the trigger, the gemsbok's front shoulder is between the two trees. Already having the sights in place, I squeezed the trigger, but the shot is not true and our monster gemsbok takes off un-hurt. We search the area to ensure and follow the tracks until we are once again back on the road. With my head hanging low, we head in for lunch and decide on the way to check the sights. While setting up at the range we notice a nasty mark on the side of the scope. Holding steady on the target, we fire and find out we are not even on the paper! We are way high and to the right, no wonder I missed. We end up first bore sighting and then firing several rounds to get things lined back up. Then it's back to the bush. Shortly after getting to an area that Han's believes should be good for Gemsbok, we spot several about 200 yards away, then they start moving. So Hans and I are off on foot to intercept them. Han's amazes me once again, when we stop with the Gemsbok directly in front of us, crossing a small clearing. Setting up the shooting sticks, Hans judges trophy quality and tells me which one to take. With the shot, our trophy is on the ground and we move forward to ensure it stays that way. After the challenges and frustrations of the past two days, we have a nice Gemsbok bull. And I learn that Hans is an exceptional PH not only with putting you on an animal but in judging the one to take.
After getting all the animals in my 10 day package, we decided to try our hand at the one and only white blesbok located on a property about 20 mins from base camp. We are thinking this should be a fairly easy hunt, after all we are picking out the only white animal out of a herd of red ones. Little did we know. Spotting the herd, Hans and I start out on a stalk working our way around the side hoping to come in from an area that will cover our approach. With a change in the wind the herd is off and running. Heading back to the truck, Hans also tells me my light colored shirt probably didn’t help either. So stripping my shirt and putting my camouflage jacket over my tee shirt, we are off once again. Now the herd has split up, but spotting a group Hans and I are off on the stalk once again. With a small group of blesbok on a trail, we spot the white one with them and slipping trough the brush we close the distance. Finally on hands and knees we edge our way out into the opening, but there are blesbok laying down in the middle of the trail looking directly at us. Moving ever so slowly we continue to edge ourselves into a position for the shot. But now the white blesbok has crossed the trail to our side and is standing behind some brush. Still trying to move into position, we are pretty much out in the open now and eventually the ones laying down get nervous and the group is off once again. Once again on the look, we spot some tracks and head out on foot. After some serious stalking we work our way around some brush and there stands a group of about 20-25 blesbok about 40 yards away. Sitting perfectly still, we watch as they move to within 30 yards but there is no white one in the mix. Hans has my video camera and gets some good footage until finally they move off in the other direction. Which is a good thing as my foot is all cramped up from sitting in a less then perfect position. Back to the truck and on the scout again, we come across a couple of groups and Hans spots the white one in one of them. By now it is lunch time and Hans says we are going to an open area and we are going to let the blesbok come to us. This being day 9 I have come to trust Han's abilities. Setting up under a tree, we dig out all the fixing for lunch and start handing things out. Tommie in on the ground walking around and I just opened a soda. Suddenly, the Blesbok start coming out of the brush about 75-85 yards to our front. Hans and I are trying to get Tommie to stop moving as she did not see them. Dropping everything, we get ready, me with the rifle and Hans with the video camera. As they move out in a file, sometimes 2 or 3 at a time, we watch and wait. About half way through the group the white one appears and follows the same path. Hans says "wait for him to stop", but every time he does, he is either hidden by brush or has another blesbok beside him. Finally they start clearing the trees and I keep tracking my target, wondering if he is going to stop. They are walking with easy, not in any hurry and once he is in the clear and does stop I lay the cross hairs on his front shoulder and squeezed the trigger. At the shot, he is off, turns to the left as that is where the rest of the herd is headed, slows, tries to run again and falls into a heap from the perfectly placed shot to the heart ung area. Hans says, I told you they would come to us! And they did, a little earlier then expected, but a perfect set-up none the less. So with lunch bouncing around in the rack, we head over to our trophy white blesbok and a hunt that will be remember for a long time to come. And of course the other PH's loved the fact that we got much of it on video!
TOM CLAYTON – Tennessee
Animals taken – Kudu* (51”), Gemsbok, Impala*, Blesbok*, Zebra, 2 – Warthogs*, Blue Wildebeest*
ARTHUR ALLEN – New York
Animals taken – Gemsbok, 2 – Impala*, Kudu, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*
RYAN SNIPES – North Carolina
Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu* (51 ¼”), Zebra, 2 – Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*
JOHN SLATOSKY – North Carolina
Animals taken – Impala*, Gemsbok, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest*, Eland*, 2 – Warthogs*, Blesbok*
My wildebeest was the most challenging and rewarding hunt. After a poorly places shot at 7:30am we began tracking and tracked with the absence of blood for two hours. We bumbled into a group of gemsbok and I shot a nice male that proceeded to run as if not even hit. So we tracked him for another hour with no hint of blood or animal. By this time it is midday and I have wounded two animals with neither one recovered....it was like losing two thousand dollars on one hand of poker. Needless to say I was a little upset with my shooting and the obvious lack of animals in the back of the cruiser. I insisted on shooting my rifle to check my scope....I punched the bulls eye at 100yds. So back we went to the spot where the gemsbok was shot and we found him 60 yards away dead as Jesse James. After lunch we brought another tracker and proceeded to track and jump the wildebeest through several miles of thorn bush. The story ends with an ambush on the wildebeest and my PH shooting him twice with a 460 Weatherby magnum so he would sit still for photos.
I don't know where to begin to describe the adventure that I had at Cruisers. I had some reservations about seeing and shooting quality animals going in the middle of the hunting season, but I was completely wrong. Every one in our group killed SCI trophy book animals. Johann was absolutely amazing at spotting animals, and he was even better at tracking wounded ones. Beware of Pieter's pranks, he likes to put garlic juice in your drink. I had a great time and made many great memories and friends.
JOHN CALLEJA – New South Wales, Australia
Animals taken – Kudu* (52 ¼”), Gemsbok, Impala, Blesbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
MIKE & STEPHANIE McKOIN – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Impala*, Kudu, Warthog*, Blesbok*
JACOB & JACQUELINE CRESPIN – California
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu, 2 – Impala*, Warthog*, Blesbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
My best hunt was for the Blue Wildebeest. It was my first African trophy. We spotted it early the first morning and I had to make a quick shot, it was off Hans’s shoulder, 1 shot at 154yds (per range finder) perfect shot dropped him like a stone. It really set the tone for the rest of my hunt. 6 shots 6 animals none moved more than 10yrds.
SHAUN YORGEY and his wife AMBER along with her friend KATHLEEN MCCARNEY – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Shaun - Gemsbok, Blesbok*, Steenbok*, Blue Wildebeest* Warthog*, Kudu, 2 – Impala*
Animals taken - AMBER – Impala*
No Hunt Photos Available
(as told by Pieter their PH)
After a couple days of hunting we went looking for a Blue Wildebeest. Never in my wildest dreams had I thought that a poor man’s Buffalo could be as dangerous as the real thing. We walked and stalked for over two hours looking for them. Shaun and I finally spotted the Blue Wildebeest. I let Shaun lie down and take the shot that was approximately 40 yards off. After the shot went off the Blue Wildebeest jumped back and ran around the watering hole and came running directly for us! I screamed at Shaun to shoot it again! Shaun looked through the scope and all he saw was black, so he let the bullet fly hoping it would hit something vital. The Blue Wildebeest Bull veered off to the side missing us by 4-5 yards. We went tracking after it to where we saw where it went down. We started looking for the bullet hole of Shaun’s wild shot. We found a bullet hole right through the left horn!! If Shaun hadn’t hit it, the Blue Wildebeest would have surely run over us.
LOREN & RONNA DELLINGER and their daughter MORGAN and son GRANT – Colorado
Animals taken (Loren) – Red Hartebeest, Eland*, Waterbuck*, Zebra, Kudu* (50”), Warthog*
Animals taken (Ronna) – Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Impala*, Kudu
Animals taken (Morgan) – Impala, Steenbok*
Animals taken (Grant) – Gemsbok, Warthog*, Zebra, Blesbok*
I am truly a blessed man. My wife suggested we celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary with a hunting Safari in South Africa. In order to properly seize the moment, we decided our children needed to join us on our trip of a Lifetime. After ots of research, checking references and talking with Bob, we settled on Cruiser Safaris. We are thankful we did.
Friday July 31st
We landed at Johannesburg and were met by a representative from the Afton Guest House. All of our bags arrived as did our guns. We were able to get our Temporary Firearms permit without a problem and head to the Afton House where we stayed for our first 2 nights.
Saturday August 1st
We arranged to go for a day trip to the Sterkfontein Caves. Interesting place to visit. We opted to spring for the Guest House steak dinner ($25 US) that night and we weren't sorry! Johan from Cruisers arrived late in the evening to take us to Cruisers the next morning.
Sunday August 2nd
Once we finished with our breakfast served by the Guest House, Johan from Cruiser's gathered us all for the trip. There were 7 others going with us to Cruiser's who were also staying at the Afton House. Craig, one of the other PH's arrived that morning to help with the transportation to Cruisers which was a 3 hour drive. Once at camp we sighted in our rifles for the next day's hunt.
Monday August 3rd
Pieter asked us the night before how we wanted to hunt. We decided we would like to hunt as a family for the first day. Ronna, Morgan and Johan went to one area of the property we were hunting while Craig, Grant and I went a short distance to another area of the same property. The first animal we attempted to go after was a Red Hartebeest. We located a herd and the stalk was on. After several attempted stalks followed by the same results of the animals spooking, we finally got to a spot where we might get a shot. We had Eland, Impala, Steenbok and Waterbuck around us, but there were no shooters according to our PH Craig. We crept closer and were now within 200 yards. Little did I know, this was about as open of country as we would experience the rest of the trip. A 200 yard shot on the ground would be very uncommon going forward. It was now about 11:00 a.m. and had warmed up a bunch. We were all sweating and hot. We were kneeling under a tree that provided shade when the herd of Hartebeest started walking. They were going single file through an opening about 180 yards away. Finally, the bull stepped into the opening and turned to face us. He must have known we were there the entire time because he was looking right in our direction. Craig asked if I could shoot him head on at that distance while the bull was facing us. I said "yes", steadied the shot under the animals chin. At the shot, you could hear the bullet hit its mark. Craig said "good shot, good shot you got him good". I had my first animal. A few minutes later, Johan, Ronna and Morgan who could hear the shot arrived and we were able to take pictures together with this beautiful animal. We hunted other animals that day but nothing was harvested. No problem though, because we were taking a lot of still pictures of all the beautiful animals that we had never seen before.
Tuesday August 4th.
We got up about the same time as the day before. Ronna and Morgan hunted with Johan while Grant and I hunted with Craig. Ronna and Johan got on a herd of Wildebeest early in the morning and after a short stalk, Ronna was able to place a perfect shot on the bull which traveled only 20 yards after the shot. After lunch, we were driving back to our property when Craig noticed some fresh spore on the road of both Gemsbok and Zebra. We hopped out of the truck and began our stalk. After 30 minutes of tracking, Craig spotted a large Gemsbok bull feeding just 40 yards ahead of us. The bull and the others with him had no clue we were there. Craig sat on the ground and Grant kneeled right next to him. Craig motioned for Grant to rest the gun on his shoulder and shoot. Grant steadied the gun on Craig's shoulder and took the shot. Craig said, "You hit him and hit him good." Grant had his first South African animal and he was a beauty. The bull was gorgeous and 35" long. We took pictures and loaded the bull. We then started driving around looking for other possible animals on our list. The sun was starting to set when we came up on 3 Eland Bulls 100 yards off the road. I readied my rifle. Craig picked out the biggest bull and said shoot the one on the left. Once we were sure we were on the same bull, I prepared to shoot the big bull head on as he had his head stretched out looking at us. I placed the cross hairs of the scope under his chin on his chest and squeezed the trigger. I could see the bull collapse in the scope before the recoil caused me to lose view of the bull. I knew Eland would be big, but pictures and reading about them does not do them justice. They are huge! We had to get another truck to come help since we already had a Gemsbok in our truck. On this day, we saw lots of Warthog, Impala, some Kudu, Steenbok, Grey Duiker, Giraffe, Ostrich and Red Hartebeest and Eland. Ronna and Morgan did not take another animal this day but had fun seeing so many different animals. There was a lot of laughter at camp this night with the staff and other guests in camp who were also having a great time.
Wednesday, August 5th.
It's my turn to hunt Waterbuck and Kudu today. We went to a new property and picked up the care taker who would hunt with us that day. As we approached a waterhole, the caretaker said we should get out and climb in a tower blind near the water to look around. He often saw Waterbuck in this area near this time of day. So, we walked a few hundred yards and Craig climbed up the ladder. In seconds, Craig said, "get up here, the Waterbuck are right here." By the time I got up into the blind, the Waterbuck had spotted us and were off. I could not get a shot through the thick brush. So we climbed down and began tracking them. We caught up in just a few minutes, but could not get a shot and the animals spooked. We attempted a couple more stalks only to be foiled by the noise we were making in the thick brush as we tried to get close enough for a shot. Finally, we got into a position where we could shoot as we once again caught the animals. They knew we were there. The cows busted and ran into the thick brush. The bull walked through an opening, Craig coached me to shoot him and I did. The bull went down immediately. Craig ran to the bull to finish him but the bull was down. Craig was excited and when we got to the bull he decided he had to measure him. Previously, I had told Craig I would love to take a bull that was near or over the 28" mark. As the tape stretched across the horn, I could see the 28" mark pass with some horn left. When Craig finished, he turned with a huge smile on his face, jumped up and down and hugged me. He said, "You killed a monster, he is almost 31" long. What a monster"! My excitement level went way up knowing how excited my PH was. My son Grant was videoing and got it all on tape. We loaded the bull in the truck and headed back to camp. When we arrived, Ronna and Morgan were still out. I wanted them to see the bull, but they did not get to see him before he was skinned. That afternoon, we went back to the property in an attempt to take a Kudu. I had a shot at a great bull that was very wide, but missed. I hate to admit missing, but it is part of hunting, especially in the thick brush of South Africa.
Ronna spent the morning learning that this Africa hunting was harder than it looked. Several blown stalks and spending time in a blind through the heat of the day proved fruitless. Around 3:00 PM she and Johan attempted to stalk a promising looking area and came upon some Gemsbok feeding over a little rise. All they could see was black horns glinting in the sunlight from time to time and hear the crunching of their steps. They aited them out, even after Johan stated that he thought they were "busy leaving us". Suddenly the bull was standing 100 yards away having melted from somewhere in the bush. Ronna took quick aim and the bull was hers.
Thursday, August 6th.
Ronna and Grant hunted with Johan while Craig and I were going to hunt for Kudu. Johan, Grant and Ronna scanned the property they were on without much success playing chess with Impala without success throughout the morning. At 3:00 p.m. they headed out for the afternoon. Along the way, Johan stopped the vehicle and motioned for Ronna and Grant to follow him. They had no idea what they were hunting for but Ronna carried the rifle thinking it would be Impala. The stalk seemed somewhat random until they crossed some fresh Zebra sign. Ronna gave the gun to Grant and let him know it was his turn to hunt. They closed the distance until Johan told Grant and Ronna they were going to have to belly crawl the last 100 yards to get into a position for Grant to shoot. After a 100 yard crawl, Johan raised up the shooting sticks and told Grant to slowly come up, get into position and shoot. Grant followed instructions and the Zebra did not even know they were there until after the shot. The Zebra Grant was shooting at dropped in its tracks. This was the only animal we took this day. We were amazed at the Zebra's beauty up close.
Friday, August 7th
We were up and on the property we would be hunting by 7:00 a.m. We immediately saw Kudu, Waterbuck and some Eland. Then about 8:00 a.m., I spotted some Zebra. We got out of the truck and started stalking them. Every time we got close, the Zebra would hear or see us and take off. This game of cat and mouse lasted for a couple of miles and a couple of hours. Craig decided we should go back to the truck and try to get in front of them. As we were driving, we spotted the Zebra off the road. The only animals that presented a shot were young ones and mares with colts. We got out and started stalking them. We closed the distance and were trying to get set for a shot on one of the old dry mares when one of the young ones spotted us and away they went. There must have been 20 of them. They crossed a road and into nother pasture on the property. We drove to get in front of them. After a 1/2 mile we stopped and listened. Sure enough the Zebra sounded off. The only thing was it was still in front of us and about 500 yards away in the thick brush. We looked at each other and could not believe they had made it that far so quickly. Then all of the sudden and as if on queue, a Zebra sounded off right next to us a couple hundred yards away. We quickly bailed out of the truck and headed in their direction. After about a 100 yards, we knew we had to be close and about that time, Craig put up the sticks and told me to get ready. A great Zebra stepped out 80 yards away. I knew I had to shoot quickly before the Zebra bolted again. I settled my crosshairs on the shoulder and touched it off. The Zebra fell in its tracks at the sound of the gun going off. Craig indicated that the shot was perfect and I now had my 4th African animal. We walked up to it and once again, I was amazed at their beauty. Quite a bit different than the Zebra my son had taken earlier.
Ronna had taken a nice Impala that morning. She, Johan and Morgan headed out at 7:00 a.m. with the idea that Impala would be pursued until one made a mistake. After several long and slow stocks, they came up on a rather large heard. Johan spotted the one they wanted and told Ronna to put the gun on his shoulder to shoot. No sooner did she do this and the bush exploded with Impala everywhere. The stalk seemed blown but the herd moved to he opposite side of a long opening so Ronna, Johan, and Morgan circled around the herd for another try. The stalk was long with a lot of crawling for the last 50-60 yards. The shot was a bit long for our area of South Africa at 150 yards but Ronna had no problem getting a good rest in a tree, pulling off the shot and the ram went down. The ram was 21 and 1/2 inches with great mass and lots of ridges along the length of his horns. Well worth the crawl!
After lunch, Pieter said we would be going after Kudu on another property. Ronna, Grant and I piled into the truck along with Craig, Johan and our tracker, Moonsue. Our daughter Morgan opted to shop with some of the women who were in camp this day. We traveled to a set of properties about an hours drive away in the mountains. Johan and Ronna would sit waiting for Kudu to come in at a waterhole on one property while Craig, Grant and I went to an adjacent property. We drove up to the owners’ house and Craig introduced me. The owner said he would like to go with us and look for Kudu. So we all got in the truck and started to drive into the mountains. While driving around, a Kudu bull and several cows stepped out. Craig said, "Shoot him, he is a good bull." My first attempt failed because I failed to chamber a round earlier (duh). I chambered a round and the bull stopped in a very small opening. I hurried, took aim and squeezed the trigger. This time the shot rang forth and the bull took off. In just a few seconds, we could hear the bull stumbling and falling down in the rocks on the mountain side. We ran up the hillside and found the bull lying in a pile on some rocks. My dream of taking a big Kudu bull had finally become reality. Craig measured the bull at 50 1/2 inches.
Johan and Ronna did not have any Kudu come in to the waterhole they were waiting at.
Saturday, August 8th
Grant and Ronna were going hunting for the day back at the property where I took my Kudu. Morgan had not planned on shooting any animals in South Africa, but she asked if she could take a couple of animals. I said, "sure". Craig, Morgan and I were going to another near by property to hunt for Warthog and Impala. We set up on waterhole in a makeshift blind. fter only a few minutes, Warthogs started coming in for a mud bath. They were fun to watch as they got into the mud and start twisting and throwing mud all around. After about an hour, a half dozen Kudu came in. Just young bulls, cows and calves. Then a little bit later more Warthogs and Impala started showing up. First a couple, then a few more. Before you know it, there were about 30 Impala at the waterhole along with the Kudu and some Warthogs. A nice Impala ram came down the bank to get a drink. Craig said, "Morgan, get ready, you are going to shoot him". She got ready, took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger. Craig said "good shot, Morgan. That was a perfect shot". Morgan got really excited about taking an animal in South Africa. I could not have been more happy or proud.
Ronna and Grant were out all day with Johan hunting for Kudu and Blesbok. When they returned that night, we found out hat Grant had shot a record book Blesbok. Grant took his Blesbok around 2:00 p.m. The herd was in an open area and spooked when they attempted to crawl up on them. They got back into the truck and decided to come around them. The herd was spooky which left the animals weaving in and out around each other. Once the Blesbok they wanted was spotted Grant rang off a perfect shot and his 14 and 1/2" Blesbok was down with Ronna getting the whole thing on tape. After lots of back patting the Blesbok was hung to cool until after the afternoon Kudu hunt was completed without success for Ronna.
Sunday, August 9th
Today, is our day for an Elephant Back Safari. We got up at 5:30 a.m., ate breakfast and left to go the Wattenberg Animal Park This was about an 1 hour drive through the countryside which was pleasant. This was a trip that we all looked forward to but Morgan probably more than anyone. When we arrived, everyone signed a waiver and we were driven to the area where we would be introduced to our Elephants. We were served breakfast and the guide proceeded to tell us the do's and don'ts of the safari. The safari lasted a couple of hours and will forever be a wonderful memory of our trip.
Monday, August 10th Our 25th Anniversary
Lizelle made special arrangements for us to experience a private traditional Zulu wedding at the Lesedi Cultural Village to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Here we would experience and learn about some of the original tribes in the country of South Africa. After the normal tour experience, we were pulled aside and instructed to follow some of the tribesman. We then experienced the Zulu wedding where they danced, chanted and we exchanged cows (and vows) for gifts. This was a very neat experience and we were able to video the whole thing. This is something we will be able to remember the rest of our lives where we were on the day of our 25th Anniversary. Pieter and Lizelle had our room decorated and made sure our 25th was a special experience and a day to remember. THANK YOU!
Tuesday, August 11th.
Back to hunting after a couple of days of relaxing. I asked if I could go with Ronna to try and film her shooting her Kudu. While we did this, Craig was going to hunt with Morgan and Grant and try to help them get their last two animals which were a Warthog for Grant and Steenbok for Morgan. Ronna did not get her Kudu but when we returned to camp, we found out that Grant shot a 10 1/2 inch warthog in the morning on a stalk with Craig. We also found out that Morgan had a couple of exciting stalks. First, they came upon a nice Steenbok and Craig got her set on the shooting sticks. When she went to squeeze the trigger, she pulled on the trigger guard of the Thompson Encore instead. Grant said, "wrong trigger" and the Steenbok ran off. I guess they all had a laugh over that one. The next stalk paid off. Morgan was able to take her Steenbok and he was a dandy with 4 1/4 in horns which allowed him to make the record book. She was excited and had the animal she wanted most.
Wednesday August 12th.
Ronna and Johan went back to the Kudu property while Craig, Grant and I went back to a property to hunt Warthogs. We had a nice Bushbuck come into the waterhole but the quota for Bushbuck at Cruiser's is very limited and had already been reached for the year. We had a bunch of Monkeys come in for a drink. It was fun watching them as they played and cleaned each other. We had more Impala come in as well as some Kudu, 19 Warthogs, but no hooters. We got out of the blind late afternoon and went for a drive. We drove around until dark but no luck. No Warthog on this day.
Ronna and Johan were exiled for what they thought would be the entire day to the same blind as the day before. The sun was brutal but they were determined to stay awake and aware for the bull they had caught a glimpse of the day before. Around 10:30 a.m. Johan interrupted Ronna's journal writing w/low quick finger pointing in front of them as he told her not to move and said "Kudu Cow". Slowly, Ronna picked up the rifle and got into position for the bull who was with the cow and only 150 yards out. The property was so thick that the bull and his few cows could disappear at will and neither Johan or Ronna saw too many openings for a shot in the herd's predicted path. Finally, at 50 yards the bull stepped out, Ronna took aim and connected with a great shot. She and Johan heard the bull go down. Ronna showed Johan her shaking hands and He grinned and showed her his shaking hands. What a great hunt they shared!
Thursday August 13th.
I am the only one in camp still hunting. Craig and I are going to a property where he had seen a big Warthog with nice tusks. We set up a ground blind and got ready for a long day of waterhole hunting. It was 9:00 a.m. and we got settled in. Craig said he thought it would be between 1pm and 3pm when the Warthogs would come in. I asked, with a smile, what were we doing out here so early. At around 10 am, our first Warthog showed up. We also had some Eland come in and then more Warthogs, but nothing big. We ate our lunch and it was approaching 1pm. We had seen 20 Warthogs up to this point. A bunch of Waterbuck came into the waterhole. We were videoing and taking pictures. Two of the cows kept lifting their heads and looking at the brush to our left. I kept looking in that direction and two Warthogs appeared. I told Craig there were two as he was filming the Waterbuck. Then, he saw the one we wanted and said, "He is a monster, shoot that sucker". Needing no further encouragement, I took the shot. The pig had 12 1/2 inch tusks that laid out to the sides. He was neat looking. The time was 1:05 p.m. which was right when Craig said he thought the big boars would come in. We took our pictures and it was time to head back to camp.
Friday August 14th.
Craig drove my family into town to shop. We found several nice souvenirs and stopped at a place along the road that had soapstone carvings. They were very reasonable. We ended up buying 3 carvings. We returned to camp in time for lunch. We then finished packing and took some group pictures.
Saturday August 15th.
We had a good breakfast and got all of our gear loaded up. Around 9 a.m. it was time to say our goodbyes. Everyone got a bit teary eyed saying goodbye. None of us wanted to leave. Johan drove us to Highveld Taxidermy on the way to the airport so I could instruct them on what I wanted done with all of our trophies. What a place! It was a very interesting visit. We then continued to the airport where Johan dropped us off a little past 2 pm. The Johannesburg Airport has an amazing mall in it where one can pick up all the souvenirs they need without a problem. You can shop for hours there, the prices are great, and you can get a great meal before boarding your plane.
Sunday August 16th.
We arrived back at IAD at 10:40 Sunday morning about 24 hours after leaving JNB airport.
Thank you Pieter, Lizelle, Johan, Craig, Delmarie and the rest of the staff for making our trip of a lifetime something very special!
ENZO & GIUSEPPE GERARDI – New Jersey & New York
Animals taken (Enzo) – 2 – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Gemsbok, Kudu* (50 ½”), Waterbuck, Blesbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
KENNY VIGIL – Colorado
Animals taken – Waterbuck*, 2 – Impala*, Blesbok*, Steenbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*
LARRY BERREMAN – Colorado
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, 2 – Impala*, Kudu, Bushbuck, Warthog*, 2 – female Impala
When asked which was his favorite hunt or animal) “o.k., this is a trick question. Yes, all animals/hunts were special indeed!! but I’m going to pick the top two that tied for first place: the "hog daddy warthog" and my second impala ram that measured 26 1/2". And, I really got excited about this impala ram after Hans told me that this was the biggest one that he had ever guided a hunter on and Pieter told me that of all of the impala that he has shot in his life, he has never shot one over 26". So this ram was very special. back to the warthog: I love big ole' hogs!! They will always be my favorite next to the Gemsbok!”
I'll try and keep this short. First off, on the afternoon of my third day, Hans and I built a blind next to a stock tank so as to wait for hogs. We had 21 different hogs come in after only 2 hours. Then, all of a sudden, off to our left, this single impala ram came feeding in towards our direction. Han looked him over and got excited, stating that this impala was bigger than the 24 1/2" ram that I had shot that same morning. With no hesitation at all; I told Hans that I was going to shoot him. He fed to within 30-35 yards from us as I was slowly raising my rifle in to position. As he turned broadside (behind a bush), I picked my shot and slowly squeezed the trigger. The .243 had done it's job well. The great ram ran a distance of 35-40 yards and piled up!! He was dead. Great shot!! yoohoo!
On the warthog, I got him in the early afternoon on my 8th day. My buddy Larry was with Hans and myself this day. We built a blind next to a different stock tank this particular morning, but this morning started off cool and totally overcast. No sunshine at all. Hans stated that this would not be good for the warthogs. No hogs at all came in. We ate lunch in the blind at noon. Then afterwards, the cloud cover broke, and the sun came out. Wouldn't you know, the hogs came out as well. Due to a switch in the wind direction, we had to move our blind. We watched 8 pigs come to the tank for water. Then, here comes lucky #9. He was huge on his left side, but broke off on his right side. I wasn't going to shoot this pig. I was hung up on the fact that he had a broken tusk. Hans said that he was over 13" on the left side, and asked if I wanted him? Larry was amazed by this pig, and told me to shoot. I just watched him drink at the tank for several minutes until he walked away. Larry said "Kenny, that pig is bigger than you think". I still had the .243 rested on the shooting sticks watching this hog walk away. Han said "That's a big pig". I said nothing. I just decided that I better shoot, so I eased the safety off and waited for a shot. As the hog turned SLIGHTLY to the left, I had my severe quartering shot. So, without saying a word, I pulled the trigger! Bang! The shot startled both Larry and Hans! The hog was 75-80 yards away when I finally decided to shoot. He ran for 30-35 yards before he pilled up; d.r.t. great shot behind the last rib on the left side, and the bullet exited the front right shoulder. The .243 did it's job well. Left tusk: 14" right tusk" 9 3/4" awesome pig!! NOTE: A Blue Wildebeest can be a tough animal to bring down and Kenny’s set some kind of record at Cruiser’s by being shot with the greatest variety of guns. These included a .50 caliber muzzleloader, a .338, a .243, a .300 and finally a 9MM pistol.
Our Warthog adventure actually took place on 2 different days. We went together but hunted separately with our respective PH's. Craig and I dropped off Kenny and Hans at one farm and we went to a neighboring farm to hunt. By the time Craig and I got set up at a waterhole it was about 10:15. I figured it would be a couple of hours before any pigs showed up so I was planning on a nap. Nope, first some Kudu arrived after we had been set up for only about 20 minutes and immediately upon their arrival a whole family of warthogs arrived. That sow had a half a dozen piglets with her and they were a riot to watch. They left and within a few minutes some more came in. Then more Kudu arrived. Then at about 11:35 HE arrived. When my boar came over the dike of the pond Craig could not see it because of the layout of our blind. I told him that a BIG Boar had just arrived and that I was pretty sure it was a shooter. It dropped down into the waterhole in a place that neither of us could see and another boar came in right behind him. The second Boar was much smaller and when it came out from behind the little rock pile that had hidden it and the larger boar, Craig (having not seen them originally) did not know that it was the small one. I told him that that was the small one and could feel his relief (there for a minute I thought he thought I was crazy) I had told him that I did not shoot initially because I wanted his conformation that it was a shooter (although I had already made up my mind that it was) well, when it stepped out Craig immediately said "Shoot it" Shoot it" "Now" ... I was all but laughing at this time because there was no rush, I was just waiting for the pig to stop, and it was only about 40 yards away. While swinging my rifle on the pig I came to a place in the blinds construction that hindered my ability to follow the boar any farther, I had to pull the rifle back and reposition to swing further to my left. Once done, the pig stopped and I nailed it through both shoulders (with my trusty .243). Then the funny part.... the pig takes off on his little death race and piles into this acacia bush, actually propelling himself up into it off the ground where he died suspend by his tusks, it was hysterical. On this day Kenny did not see many pigs and none worth even thinking about, but had a great time none the less with all the other game that came in. Blesbok, Impala, Kudu and a troop of very annoying Baboons. The next day dawned with something we had not yet seen....clouds. It was rather cool with a pretty good wind blowing. Hans said this was bad weather for pigs and I got the feeling he thought we were wasting our time, and with this weather we were. But, we stuck it out until about noon when we had lunch, the skies cleared from totally overcast to totally clear in a matter of minutes, and the waterhole came to life. Kudu, Impala and warthogs all started arriving like on cue. It was at this time that the wind changed and we had to make an emergency move of the blind. While repositioning about 60 yards away, a couple of Boars came in.... we knew we were good now because we continued building the blind while they were only 50 yards off and in plain sight without them spooking. Once the blind was complete it was time to sit back and enjoy the show. A few kudu cows came in and a juvenile bull. Then a couple of Mondo bulls showed up just inside the tree line and were hesitant to come in. While watching and drooling over them this Giant boar appears out of nowhere and is at the waterhole drinking and I did not even know it until I heard Hans and Kenny discussing him. When I first saw him he was facing almost head on and I could see he was a very respectable pig. Kenny is looking at it through his scope (my scope actually, as he was using my .243) and seemed a bit non committed about shooting it. The boar's left side was broomed off pretty good and Kenny was put off by this at first. When that boar came around the pan and started walking away from us, the site from behind was incredible! I told Kenny (who at this time still did not seem all that interested) that the boar was bigger than he thought with probably 13" tusks and that I thought he should really consider shooting it. At the same time Hans tells Kenny he hould shoot this very large boar. Kenny still shows no reaction and I start looking at the 2 big Kudu bulls that are now coming in. Neither Hans nor I knew Kenny was going to shoot, but he did and scared the poop out of both Hans and I. It was a very sharp quartering shot that went from behind the last rib all the way out the far front shoulder. The boar went about 50 yards before piling up in a cloud of dust. When we got to the pig it was an absolutely amazing site to behold with 14" tusk on one wide and a well broomed 11' tusk on the other and the mass "OMG" huge. What a memorable experience shared with my best friend of 23 years on an adventure of a life time. Thank You for the opportunity!!
ROB & LEAH WARE – Ohio
Animals taken (Rob) – Blue Wildebeest, Blesbok*, Impala, Kudu* (51”), Nyala*, Gemsbok, Steenbok*
Animals taken (Leah) – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu, Impala, Zebra, Warthog*
Just returned home from our first African safari. What a time! Went through Cruisers Safaris, and used Kathi at Wild Travel, and was not disappointed. Better than that, pleasantly surprised. We left Cleveland on Aug 14, flew to Dulles, and then took SAA to Johannesburg and arrived the evening of Aug 15. Took the advice of Cruiser Bob, and did an overnight at Afton Guest House. Here we met everyone that would be in camp with us for the next 11 days.
The 16th was a travel day from Afton to camp, and also to verify our rifles were sighted in. Leah is using a Tikka T3 Stainless Lite in 300wsm using Winchester 180 grain Silver tips. I am using a Browning A-bolt in 7mm Rem Mag with Federal 160 grain Accubonds. Oh boy tomorrow we HUNT! Our PH is Pieter, and our tracker is Isak.
Woke up, had breakfast and then off to one of the concessions. The first thing we see is a Blue Wildebeest but it takes off. Not so for the Blesbok. Leah takes it with her 300wsm. One shot. We load her Blesbok into the vehicle, and shortly thereafter we find a beautiful Blue Wildebeest. I shoot, it stumbles twice and disappears into the brush. Short story, blood, and cant find. $#@#! As we continue I find a Blesbok, and shoot. Its down.
Two Blesbok down and only 4 hours into the hunt! So we continue on and we find some more Blue Wildebeest. One looks like the one I shot, so Leah shoots. Another kill! But not the one I shot. We spent the rest of the day searching but never found blood or the one I shot. The second and third days past without a shot op. Many stalks but not close enough. Made a stalk to a water hole to look for warthog and was confronted with this.
We backed away slowly and returned to the truck to try again the next day. Evenings were spent hearing about the days hunts and a great dinner. Even a glass of wine.
Our forth morning we took off to a new concession and on the way ran into a free ranging herd of Impala. We located a bull and made the stalk. Impala Down! That evening after lunch, we went to a neighbors place. Chatted with them a while and then went on the hunt with the owners son, Hans. Leahs turn, and what do we find.....KUDU SHOOT!, Another one shot kill. Man can she shoot. We load the Kudu and for the next hour try to get a shot on an Impala. Finally near dusk she gets her chance. Did I mention that it was another one shot kill? Thanks Hans for a great hunt. We met Hans father that night and expressed our appreciation for letting us hut the property. Very nice to meet them.
Our fifth day starts again with breakfast, and then off to hunt. We return to the scene of the crime from the night before. This time the owner does not join us. I'm looking for Kudu. There’s one! 150 yards, aim one third up, above the leg....squeeze....BOOM....Kudu down. 51 inches each side! 10 1/2 in bases!
We return to camp. Word comes in that one of the guides has spotted a nice Nyala. So off we go. A short stalk later and he's down. After a great lunch we head out for an evening hunt. We see Gemsbok but no shot. However, we do find Zebra, and one makes the mistake in standing still in the open. Leah shoots and there is a cloud of dust. He has to be down. We get to the spot and no Zebra. Isak the tracker finds blood and 60 yards away we find the stallion. Yes, another one shot kill. Do I need to shoot?
5 days of hunting done. Five more to go. But tomorrow is a rest day. So we take a day trip to Marakele Park. Yes it’s nice to relax. Tomorrow is Sunday and the last five days start. Hunting is tougher now as we have fewer animals to hunt. The afternoon we set at a water hole. A lot of animals come in like Eland, Kudu, Warthog and a small Gemsbok. But none for me. However just when we are getting ready to move out, a shot comes from Leahs direction at another water hole. No second shot. Hmmmm. Warthog down
Yes, 6 shots, 6 animals....why did we bring 80 rounds a piece? Two more days of no shots, but some great photos. OK, 3 days left. Leah goes to town with some of the others in camp and I go hunting for Gemsbok and warthog. It’s a cool morning and the animals are skittish. 4 hours into it and we find a Gemsbok bedded. I set up and what seems like an hour but was only five minutes and I get the shot. Gemsbok down. Alright! We head back out for the afternoon. Looking for a Warthog or a Steenbok. After several sightings I finally get the " Get your rifle ready" "There next to the shrub at 125 yards is a good Steenbok" I place the crosshairs and ........ Steenbok steaks baby! The remainder of the time we try for a Bushbuck but don’t get one. All in all a great time. Great people. No regrets. We'll go back someday. What a great trip! Great camp, Wonderful food and rooms. We really enjoyed meeting Tony and Loretta, Larry, Kenny, Joe and Enzo. Would I recommend Cruisers.....see the smile in the first picture that says it all.
TONY & LORETTA HAFFNER – Kansas
Animals taken – Kudu, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbok, Impala, Zebra, Warthog
NOTE: At press time I have not received the sizes of his trophies. I will add them when I recieve them.
We had a wonderful time. Everything was better than expected. Used Custom Travel for Flights and Afton Reservations. All went off without any problems.
We drove from NW Kansas to Colorado Springs the morning of 8-14. Flew Delta to Atlanta then to JHB arriving on 8-15. While standing in line at the gate in Atlanta we found out that the two guys (Kenny & Larry)that had been on our flight from Colorado Springs were also going to be hunting with Cruisers.
Everything arrived in JHB. We were picked up at Afton by Cruisers on the 16th for the trip to the Lodge. One Stop along the way to pick up fresh fruits and vegetables for the Chef, two heaping carts full! After arriving at the lodge and meeting everyone we checked our rifles and had a wonderful meal.
We hunted seven of our ten days and harvested, Impala, Wildebeest, Gemsbok, Kudu, Blesbok, Zebra, & Warthog. The other days we went to Marakele National Park. Went to see Lions, and to Ellisras to do some shopping. My PH was Jan our tracker was Caro. Jan did an outstanding job. Also, Jan can cook!! I would recommend Cruisers to anyone.
We were able to visit with some local people and learned a lot about the country and the way they live, which is one of the things we wanted to do in addition to hunting. My Kudu was shot by the only farmstead in the area to survive the Boer War. To me a great bit of history. Pieter and the guides were all very knowledgeable about the plants, animals, & area. I hope they did not get too tired of my stupid questions. The food and accommodations were outstanding. In addition to going on the hunts with me, my wife was able to play with some lions, and spent some time with the chef and brought home some new recipes.
We had a wonderful trip and met some great people from the USA and Africa. We will be back.
End of August into September
MATT & CARIN JOHNSON – Wyoming
Animals taken – Gemsbok, 2 – Impala*, Warthog*, Kudu, Blesbok* (Carin)
No Hunt Photos Available
ROCK BAKER – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Impala, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog, Kudu, Zebra
No Hunt Photos Available
My Zebra hunt was special because it was not a planned part of my package. I was fortunate to tag out early and wanted to add the zebra but my trip had been a 25th anniversary gift from my wife. Because of that I did not want to get greedy and pressure my wife for more funds for the Zebra. But after 2 days of not hunting she offered to me adding the zebra without my asking. I was pumped. The morning of the hunt was beautiful and temps were comfortable enough to ride in the back of the truck without needing a jacket. We hunted the concession that only my PH had access to. Part of that property has a no shooting zone that you have to drive through before you get to the area that is hunt able. This area is teaming with game and as we passed through we saw literally hundreds of impala. As soon as we broke out the no shoot zone we crested a little hill and my PH immediately spotted a jackal standing in an open clear-cut a couple hundred yards away and yelled shoot it. As I grabbed for the rifle out of the rack the jackal took of running. The Ph said oh forget it, he's running. I leveled the gun and swung ahead of the jackal who was on a dead run and fired. At the shot the jackal flipped butt over head a couple times and came to a stop quite dead. I think that shot even impressed “Y-han”! After the pictures and handshakes we proceeded up the hill in search of the Zebra. We started through a series of 2 tracks through some very thick brush. When we rounded a corner and I actually saw the zebra before my PH. Before he could say anything I had my gun up and just said to him tell me which one to shoot! He looked them over quickly through the field glasses and said shoot "shoot the one on the left". At his instruction the .338 found the sweet spot on the zebra's shoulder and the gun roared. The zebra took two steps and went down. The 250 nosler accubond reloads broke both shoulders and passed through completing my safari. I looked at my watch and it was only 8:30 am. What a Morning!
ERIC NEWTON – New Mexico
Animals taken – Kudu, Red Hartebeest, Blesbok*, 2 – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*
KENT ARGUBRIGHT and his son TOM – New Mexico
Animals taken (Kent) – Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Impala*, Warthog*, Kudu
Animals taken (Tom) – Blesbok*, Impala*, Zebra
I thought my Kudu hunt was going to be easy. By the beginning of the afternoon of the second day we had taken a zebra, a red hartebeest, a blue wildebeest, a blesbok and an impala. Three had made the SCI record book! We had seen numerous kudu and warthogs. By the end of the afternoon I had seen one kudu that I could have taken a shot at, but the shot was "marginal" and Craig was not overly impressed with the animal. Everyone else in camp, three other hunters, had their Kudu already. I really thought I was going to be relegated to "tourist" status in less then a day or two. It was not to be. Over the next seven days I had the hunt of my life. We sat at waterhole stands/blinds, we hid in a farmer's feed shed and, we got access to "special properties". I got to see a lot of the Limpopo countryside and met numerous Afrikaner farmer/ranchers as we hunted their properties. Pieter even opened up one of his properties that he doesn't currently have open for Kudu hunting with the stipulation that there was only ONE animal I wasn't allowed to take on that property. One guess which one was the only one I got my sights on that day! It was close. The kudu bull was in my sights, my finger was lying along the trigger guard, the safety was off, waiting for Craig's OK to shoot! Right, it was the only one I wasn't allowed to shoot! So, back to hunting for us. We must have tracked and stalked at least 10-12 Kudu bulls, 5 in a bachelor herd over those seven days. My advice to Kudu hunters is be prepared to WALK a lot and run some, be prepared to ride on the back of a hunting pickup at the ready for hours and be prepared to sit still and quiet in a brush blind for hours with only bees and flies for company!! This was the hunt I had hoped for. On one afternoon alone, Craig, my PH was up 3 hi-tension power line structures and 4 trees, glassing the plains. He later told me I could have had a "good" 200 yard shot if I had climbed up one of the trees with him! Fat chance! Hip replacements and tree climbing do not mix well. Then it was the morning of the last day and we were headed to a totally new "special" property. A 10,000 acre "Kudu heaven", except the Kudu hadn't heard about it! There were Kudu cows and young bulls, kudu tracks and Kudu sign everywhere, but no kudu bulls! Finally, there was one! 65 yards in the brush, I had him in my sights waiting for the call......then Craig said "NO, we can do better. If it was 4PM we would have shot, but not now." The safety went back on, the muzzle went up, and the hunt continued. We stopped a while later and a friend of my son and I, who had "limited out", and was observing from the cab, asked me, "why didn't you take the shot?" I just told him Craig and I didn't think it was good enough. He just shook his head, but by that time I had so much trust in Craig and so much hunting/tracking experience with him, there wasn't any issue or question in my mind, it was a good call. 20 minutes later, "the shot" came. Nothing like I had imagined in my mind. I had run this shot over in my mind over a hundred times just that morning. When it came, I was glassing a bachelor herd of 5 kudu bulls with my scope on 4 power. They were in the brush and shade. The "Grey Ghost of Africa". Craig cried out, "no!, no! over there......shoot, shoot, shoot!!!" I swung to the left and a kudu bull loped along, his flank totally filling my four power scope field. A shot in the open bright Africa sun, not shaded brush, a moving shot, not a still shot, the scope power was all wrong, I was sighting free-hand, totally unsupported, no rest. The shot rang out. Everyone heard the slap of the shot hitting home. He was hit but loped off with the herd. We found the blood trail, but it was scant. We tracked after him, but lost the trail. We sent Blue after him, but lost the dog. It looked like I had hit him but only a "flesh" wound; a hunter's nightmare; a bad shot. We went back to the truck to wait for the blood hound's return. The trackers and Craig continued to track. 45 minutes later Blue returned and shortly afterwards Craig appeared out of the brush frantically signaling to me. He had found my kudu bull! He had separated from the herd less then 150 yards from the shot and 50 yards down that trail there was a 4 foot diameter pool of blood and a massive blood trail led us on. He was hit, he was hit good. Then, there he was, 100 yards further on. He was lying down, my second shot put him completely down and a uick pistol shot brought it all to a close. Like I said earlier, my best hunt, ever.
DEAN & MARY SHOUP – Ohio
Animals taken (Dean) – Impala*, Bushbuck*
Animals taken (Mary) – Impala*, Zebra, Red Hartebeest
STEPHEN MELLOR – Ohio
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Zebra, 3 – Impala (all*), Kudu, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Warthog
No Hunt Photos Available
MARK & LORIANNA EASLEY – Texas
Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu* (50 ½”), Gemsbok*, Steenbok*, Warthog*, Zebra
JON PETERSON - Colorado
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Gemsbok* (shot on Jon’s birthday), Blue Wildebeest, Kudu* (52 ½”), Steenbok, 2 – Impala*
JIM AUSTIN – Colorado
Animals taken – Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbok, Impala, Warthog (Note: trophy sizes not available at press time, I will add when I recieve it)
No Hunt Photos Available
JOSHUA JOHNSTON – New Jersey
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (52 ¾”), Impala*
TIMOTHY KENDRICK – Maryland
Animals taken – Impala, Gemsbok, Kudu, Warthog*
BRUCE & CECILIA JOHNSTON & NICOLE LACEY
Non hunting observers in the group
Coming to Africa was a dream come true for both my sons Joshua and Timothy. Both are avid deer, turkey, and goose hunters. My wife and I had been in Africa in 2004 and have been planning a return since the day we left. The information given us by Cruiser Bob and Custom Travel proved invaluable. They went that extra step that was appreciated by all. Upon arriving at Cruiser Safaris we found a group of people that seemed in a very short time like a group of old friends more than strangers. With conversations every evening about everything from hunting to politics we found we were in a like minded group of people. It seems hunters are the same all over the world. The food was delicious. The accommodations more than comfortable. I wanted to tell about the one hunt that stuck out in my mind. I rode the truck with my son Joshua. Joshua is a Staff Sergeant in the Army. He is very serious about his job. He is equally serious about his hunting. After bagging an Impala his first day out we headed to the mountains near Ellisras the next day. We arrived before the sun was up fully in the sky. After what seemed like hours of walking, jumping from rock to rock, in actuality it was maybe thirty minutes, a group of Kudu were spotted a half a mile away as the crow flies on the opposite side of the valley. Joshua and his PH Johan moved out smartly to take a shot if it presented itself. Myself, being older, out of shape and yes a little over weight stayed with our driver at the truck. After a short nap, (three hours), I heard a gun-shot. Our driver spoke with Johan and told me to grab the camera. We walked for what seemed like forever when I was told to look up . On the other side of the valley near the top was a dead 52 and 3/4 inch Kudu and my son looking very proud. After several stops to catch my breath and lower my heart rate I reached the Kudu. I was told don't worry Pop, it happened to me too, youth will only take you so far. After several pictures Johan devised a way to take the animal back to the truck involving 5 trackers and a homemade stretcher. I have never in my life seen men laboring under the type of load they had that showed as much good humor as they did. The whole experience is one that my son and I will never forget. Joshua and Johan sat on that mountainside waiting for three hours for a shot to present itself. That shot was a 250 yard shot. I am very proud of my son. On the trip home we talked about the next trip back and how we would take my grandchildren to let them hunt Africa. Africa haunted my dreams for five years until I returned. I know it has the same effect on my sons, now. I have never met a more accommodating group of people. A group from Pieter to Delmarie that I shall never forget and hope to see again soon. At home now, we often talk about our trip and show pictures whenever the opportunity presents itself. And we can't wait to go back. Thank you all.
DAVE & SHEILA FORD – Oregon
Animals taken – Kudu* (52 1/8”), Impala, Impala, Blesbok*, Zebra
WILL & LINDA ROBERTS – Oregon
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Impala*, Kudu, Impala female
No Hunt Photos Available
BRIAN BRISTOW – Louisiana
Animals taken – Baboon, Nyala*, Impala, Eland*, Kudu* (59”), Bushbuck*, 2 – Warthogs*, Black Backed Jackal
KERRY MONDELLO – Louisiana
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, 2 – Warthogs*, 2 – Impalas*, Waterbuck*
GERALD WILLIAMS – Louisiana
Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Zebra, Kudu* (52 ½”), Gemsbok*, 3 – Warthogs*
My hunt started about as exciting as you can get. On day one we headed to one of the mountain properties to hunt Kudu and Baboon. We had just walked to the top of one mountain to glass when we saw the Baboons on another mountain about a mile away. Right away we could see a large male in the group so we headed out after them. When we reached the area we had last saw hem there was nothing. Then all of a sudden the large male comes running down the mountain straight at us barking. At first I thought he was charging us, but at about 25 yards he turned into the brush and we could see he was actually chasing a younger male. He stayed in the brush barking for a short while and then it went silent. We move about 20 yards so we could see back to the top of the mountain again and there they were. They had apparently spotted us and were headed away. The large male stopped on top of a large rock and I made a 300 yard shot off of the sticks. The shot was perfect and I had my Baboon. We hunted several more days and I was lucky enough to take some exceptional trophies including a 59 inch Kudu, a 28.5 inch Nyala and a very large Eland bull. Then as my hunt was winding down we were on the hunt for a very large Wart hog, as this was my second hunt with Cruiser Safaris I had taken several reel nice Wart hogs. So I was looking for something special. We had been hunting all morning with no luck.
As I mentioned earlier this was my second hunt with Cruiser Safaris, but it will not be my last. I am continually amazed and impressed by the quality of animals that are on Pieter’s concessions and the family atmosphere that is a part of each hunt. You truly do provide the total African experience. I can’t wait until my return.
KENNETH BAGGETT AND HIS WIFE KATHRYN – Florida
Animals taken – Zebra, Eland*, Kudu* (53 ¾”), Red Hartebeest*, Gemsbok*, Waterbuck
On his Kudu hunt:
“We hunted all day in the hills. The sun was high in the sky and the temperature was higher than normal. We stalked Kudu all day over rocky terrain. With about 30 minutes of light left, we found our Kudu. We watched the Kudu for about 15 minutes waiting for a shot. Other Kudu were nearby and we had a heck of a time staying hidden from them. Finally Pieter put me on the sticks and I was able to get off a shot. A beautiful Kudu for my trophy and just enough time for photos before dark”.
Just a short note to let you know how much Kathryn and I enjoyed our time in your wonderful country and at your beautiful lodge. Our safari and entire African adventure exceeded our expectations, I cannot think of one thing to make it better. Pieter and his staff were wonderful hosts. Your camp staff saw to our every need and my PH Pieter is one of the finest young men I have ever met. He loves the animals, plants and overall beauty of his country. Most importantly, he loves what he does. He made Kathryn’s and my Safari a total success. I’m proud that I was allowed to hunt with him.
Thank you all so much for making this possible. I feel like I left a small piece of me there. I guess I'll have to work on getting back to look for it. I took a beautiful 54 in. Kudu, Zebra Stallion, 33 in. Eland, 22 1/2 in. Hartebeest, 36 in. Gemsbok and 25 in. Waterbuck.My wife took hundreds of beautiful photographs.
KEN & JULIE MELDER & their daughter TIFFANY and granddaughter ESPERANZA – Wyoming
Animals taken (Ken) – Zebra, Steenbok*, Kudu*, Gemsbok, Eland*, Red Hartebeest, Impala, Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*
Animals taken (Julie & Tiffany) – Blesbok*, Gemsbok, Nyala, Impala*
No Hunt Photos Available
NOEL & KATHY RUBECK – Australia
Animals taken – Warthog*, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Waterbuck*, Blesbok, Kudu, Impala female
15th Oct Arrived at Johannesburg after a long flight from Australia. Got to fly over edge of South Pole on the way to Johannesburg which was a great start to the next 2 weeks ahead. After being picked up from airport by Afton House we settled in & got to meet Johan over a BBQ & he ended up being my PH for my hunt.
16th Oct Up early, had a hearty breakfast & eager to get started, we headed off after everyone got organized, had a few stops on the way & then 4hrs later we arrived at Cruiser Safaris to be greeted by Tiny with a cool drink. We meet the other staff there & were shown to our rooms, this was more then we expected. Wasn't long & the drum was beaten as a sign lunch was served. This was just the first of 10 days of being pampered & well feed. Need to go on diet when returned from the great meals served to us. After lunch we went on a sight seeing drive with some other American clients, Ken, Julie their daughter Tiffany & 4yr old grand daughter Esperanza. Johan & Craig our PH were driving while we were all in the back of the 4wd looking at all the different animals when we spotted a giant warthog, which was estimated 15 to 16" so Johan said to have a go at this one, After a short run & stalk we were in position 120mts away waiting for it to appear, when it did for a split second I shot as it moved to the right and I missed. Johan’s face said if all. I couldn't believe one shot one miss, what a start.
17th Oct Up early breakfast by 5am & off into the African bush to hunt another warthog & Impala. After seeing so many animals with some stalking on Impala bucks, Johan said we could do better so we continued to look further & we ran across a nice warthog of about 9 to 10" long. I made sure I didn't miss this one, feeling good about getting this warthog we headed back to the lodge for a rest & then after lunch we headed back out to chase Impala, on the way we spotted a good waterbuck of about 30", so we set up a stalk which took about 1hr to get close, but he wouldn't move out of the bush he was under, with the wind all over the place he finally scented us & took off in the opposite direction where we tracked him for about another hour but couldn't get into a good shooting position so in the end the waterbuck beat us. So on the way back to the truck I spotted a nice Impala buck & Johan said shoot it, so on the sticks at about 120mts I shot & he hit the ground after about a 30mt dash. A good looking Impala of about 23ins I was very pleased with my first day of hunting.
18th Oct After some big storms in the night we arose to some steady rain & no power, but after some magic from Delamarie our great cook came up with a hot breakfast & the rain slowly cleared. Johan & I were of to hunt another property down the road about 30mins away looking for waterbuck & kudu. This was a great looking property with all sorts of animals. On the way in we spotted a dead Impala which a Caracal had not long killed & covered over to save & eat later, these cats are fairly small but have great strength & skill to pull down & kill an Impala. After seeing a couple of waterbuck that Johan didn't think were good enough & some small Kudu we didn't shoot anything that day.
19th Oct We got up really early this morning because we had about 1hr drive to another property which had some big Kudu & some Wildebeest on it in some semi rocky hilly country on arrival we picked up Charlie who was one of the caretakers. So Mossure our driver/tracker & Charlie drove us in some rough rocky tracks & dropped Johan & myself off to hunt a hilly valley area, but on the way in we spotted 3 good wildebeest bulls, so we stalked in on them only to be beaten by the wind again, so we continued on with our Kudu hunt. We saw some bulls & got close to them but Johan said we could do better, so on we went up, down & around. Looked at some more bulls in some pretty rocky country but not quite good enough. I was after a Kudu bull over 50" & Johan loves hunting Kudu so he knows a good one when he sees it. He goes to a lot of trouble getting into a good position to look the animals over & judge trophy potential etc. He is a very good hunter & I enjoy his hunting ethics. Late in the afternoon we came across a real big Wildebeest bull & after tracking & stalking in on this bull, at about 4.30 Johan said it's a shooter & really big. So he set up the sticks at about 120mts & the bull stopped behind a tree & stood there for what seemed like 10mins but finally stepped out on an angle, so I shoot on about the 5th rib angling the bullet up between the shoulders & he took off flat out but hunched up. Johan said these animals are very tuff & he thought we may have a long track to find him, but after walking over to where he was standing we found him about 50mts away piled up stone dead. Johan was very happy & hand shakes all around. The rifle I was using was Johan’s, it was a very nice semi custom 30/06 Ackley Wildcat with 180 grain Barns x bullets which did the job very well. So we called in Mossuer & Charlie with the 4WD & after a bit of maneuvering got the truck in close. So with lots of photos we loaded up & headed back to the skinning shed & the boys did their job skinning & capping in very short time with Stanley knives of all things.
20th Oct Up early again, Kathy is off to Marakele National Park with the others for a sight seeing tour & packed lunch We headed back to the same property after Kudu again, we did some walking stalking & looking for those Kudu which can be elusive in some harder country, saw a few today which they were quicker then we were, saw some Eland, one really big blue bull, a beautiful big animal in his prime, bigger then a Brahman bull. It was very tempting but he wasn't on my list of animals. No trophies today but Kathy had a great day with Pieter (PH) & Maggie taking her to the National Park, so she had lots to talk about with seeing Rhinos, elephants, giraffes & many more animals, she is enjoying her time here also.
21st Oct We spent one more day on the same property looking for the big Kudu but again we couldn't get into a shoot able position on these Kudu bulls. I now have a lot of respect for these animals. Saw 7 bulls, 1 pretty good shooter but of cause he was on the other side of the fence. Tomorrow is another day, Johan & I had a few hard days hunting starting to get a bit tired with 4.30am starts & 8.30pm returns & still no Kudu.
22nd Oct Sleep in today with a 6.00am start onto a close by property up the road 10mins away. Still looking for that Kudu, sitting on a waterhole at about 10am we spotted 2 Kudu bulls coming in for a drink, they snuck in through the bush & don't stay long. Johan said we could do better, so we keep looking. No joy so back to the lodge for lunch & a rest & at about 4pm we have a break from Kudu hunting & look for Waterbuck with Kathy my wife coming this afternoon, might have a change in luck today. Down to road to another property through the gates & spot a big Waterbuck but it had one broken horn, pity, we go on & see some smaller ones but Johan said we can do better. Traveling on we see 4 good looking Kudu bulls about 58" long but Kudu was off the list on this place. Not much further on we find a really big Waterbuck & some cows feeding Johan said he is a big at about 30"+, so up with riffle at about 180mts I said to Johan there was some bushes in the way, he said the bullet will go through alright, so I squeezed the trigger & it sounded like it hit wood, the Waterbuck hunches up & runs. We walked over with the trackers to where he was standing & followed tracks to about 70mtrs where he was dead. Very pleased with this great trophy. The bullet had hit the timber & key holed, hit the shoulder sideways & penetrated & finished up all the way in past the liver which it had destroyed. Barns X bullets have great performance on these types of animals. So more photos, loaded up & back to the skinning shed.
23rd Oct Another day chasing that mystery Kudu. After driving around looking for tracks & walking we saw 2 bull Kudu 400mtrs down the roadway, so we backtracked & circled to get the wind right & come up behind them, but like ghosts they disappeared. We checked out more areas spotting young Kudu bulls but Johan said we can do better. Johan has a high standard of trophies. No Kudu today.
24th Oct Kudu hunting again today looking in the same area as the day before, some smaller bulls spotted, at about 11am we sat on a waterhole near where we saw the 2 larger bulls the day before, watching every animal come in for a drink, gemsbok, zebra, warthogs (about 36 of them) impala, red hartebeest, wildebeest, but no kudu bulls until about 3.30pm when Johan spotted 2 bulls 200mts away coming very carefully on the edge of the timber, Johan said to get ready & I was already set up. Johan said one was bigger then the other, but the smaller one was a much better shape & slightly heavier so we let them come in to about 60mts & I shoot the smaller one, which looked much better than the larger one. He ran about 50mts & collapsed, I finally had my Kudu. I was very happy & so was Johan. So more photos & back to Cruisers to find no-one as everyone had gone to Lepahale to do some gift shopping. Kathy had a good day out & with a number of gifts for everyone she was also happy. So spent the evening having a few drinks.
25th Oct Blesbok was to be my next target. So on the trail with Johan looking & checking waterholes & tracking some animals we came across a small clearing which had about 12 Blesbok in & around some trees. After looking at them Johan said the one on the far left sitting down was the best one, after a slight whistle or two he stood up at about 130mts & I shot him in the shoulder, he was about 16" long, after photos & back to Cruisers that was it for today & I spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool & bar at the lodge.
26thOct Seeing I had all my animals, Johan & myself went out later in the morning & shot an Impala doe for a skin & had a relaxing day at the lodge again.
27th Oct Kathy & myself sat at a waterhole in a hide with the cameras from about 10am to 3pm with a packed lunch, we had a great time watching & taking some great photos of warthogs, waterbuck, zebra & gemsbok, no kudu.
28th Oct This was our last morning here on our day of departure, so all of us, Kathy, myself, Ken, Julie, Tiffany & Esperanza had a light breakfast & headed of on a photo drive with Pieter (PH) for a couple of hours, before we packed up & left this wonderful place. We all took lots of photos of all sorts of game, we headed back for a feast prepared by Delmarie & then it was time for us to say our goodbyes to our new friends & drive back to Johannesburg. Kathy & I had a most outstanding time at Cruiser Safari & would recommend it to anyone thinking of doing such a trip. Johan my PH put in a great effort going the extra mile always first out & last back & always looking for the best possible trophy. Thanks to everyone at Cruiser not to mention Pieter (owner) being the practical joker at the dinner table & keeping everyone amused.
MARIO CARNESI – Australia
Animals taken – Zebra, 3 – Impalas (all*), 5 – Warthogs (all*), Kudu* ( 51 5/8”), Waterbuck
No Hunt Photos Available
KARL ENGELKE – Utah
Animals taken – Impala*, Blesbok*, Kudu, Steenbok*, Gemsbok, Eland*, Blue Wildebeest*, Red Hartebeest*, Warthog*, Zebra
I found out personally that a wounded Gemsbok can be a very dangerous animal. My PH Johan and I were looking through the bush slowly one day when Johan spotted a Gemsbok. I rested my gun on his shoulder and took the shot. The Gemsbok went straight down but Johan took off like a shot with his pistol in his hand. The Gemsbok got up and was coming right for me with his head down moving his horns from side to side. Johan was behind some brush when the Gemsbok saw him and proceeded to come right for him. Johan stood his ground and shot him at a mere 3 feet and the Gemsbok finally went down. Of all the guides that I have had, Johan showed absolutely no fear during this dangerous moment.