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CRUISER SAFARIS

Your Ultimate South African Safari Hunting Destination

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Safari hunting Speicals

2011 Safari Newsletter

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2011 Safari Newsletter

Cruiser Safaris yearly safari hunting client newsletter.

2011 Newsletter

2011 is going to be a great year and it couldn’t have started on a better note. In February Pieter and Lizelle had their 3rd child. An adorable little girl that they named Katryn after Pieter’s mother. They have nicknamed her Clarissa and she is every bit as beautiful as her older sister Elizca. You can see pictures of her on our Host page of the web site and we will try to keep all of the children’s pictures updated as time goes on.

My wife Leesa and I go every year for a visit and when Katryn was born we thought that it would be a good idea to go over early to see the new arrival. But we also decided that this year we would surprise hem and not let them know that we were coming. We wanted to do everything to keep the trip quiet and the only people that knew we were coming was our daughter (who was sworn to secrecy) and Annelise at the Afton Guest House where we stayed with a group from Arkansas that was hunting with Cruiser’s and thus they had to be picked up and we snuck into the van with them. Our driver was John and since we had never met him before we just told him that we were friends of Pieter & Lizelle’s and not to call ahead to let them know we were also in the van as this was a surprise visit. The whole plan worked out perfectly and everyone was completely surprised when we also got out of the van at Cruiser’s. Pieter was away for the day at a seminar and was shocked when he came into his house and saw us sitting on his couch. We had a great visit and totally enjoyed the Arkansas group that was in camp with us.

On a sad note our PH, Pieter Fourie and his wife Magda, have left Cruiser Safaris. Pieter took a job that was in line with his college education. We will miss both of them and wish them all of the best. Joining us this year is Juan (John) Booyse. John is from the Limpopo Province and will make a great addition to our staff.

Pieter has fenced in the area around the camp and is in the process of purchasing Sable for a breeding program. Now when you are sitting in camp or enjoying a Braai in our Boma area you will be able to enjoy seeing one of the most beautiful antelope in all of Africa.

Although I am starting this years newsletter a little later than normal because of web site problems the hunting so far this year has been great. As before every hunter is included in our newsletter. I include where they are from and all of the animals that they take. Those trophies that qualify for the record book are indicated and in the case of Kudu’s, their size is also listed. All trophy pictures that are sent to me are included as well. To give the reader a sense of what everyone’s safari was like from the hunter and non hunter aspect, the stories that are included in the newsletter are those that are written by our clients. These personal stories have proven to be an excellent addition for the reader. There is sometimes a delay in receiving the safari stories so continue to check back as these stories will be added as they come in to me. Thank you to those that have contributed their safari stories and I hope everyone enjoys this 2011 edition of Cruiser Safaris newsletter.

Cruiser Bob

NOTE: The * behind the animal indicates that it qualified for the record book.

March

MARK EASLEY – Texas

Animals taken – Waterbuck*, Bushbuck*, Blue Wildebeest*

JUSTIN EASLEY – Texas

Animals taken – Impala*, Gemsbok, Kudu, Warthog*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

NICK CUSATO – Texas

Animals taken – Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Gemsbok*, Impala*, Kudu* (51 ½”)

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

I would not have expected it, but the zebra hunt was very exciting. The kudu & gemsbok is what I wanted and they too were exciting but the zebra was the most exciting. The gemsbok was tracked by Blue, Craig’s' dog. He tracked the gemsbok the next day and found him in less than an hour and a half. I was very impressed. You will not lose a wounded trophy while Craig is on duty.

VICTOR KITCHAROEN & KULLAPLEE – Bangkok, Thailand

Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu* (51 ½”), Warthog*, Gemsbok

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

BRAD & JACOB (JB) HOLLOWAY – Arkansas

Animals taken (Brad) – Gemsbok, Kudu* (51 ½”), Warthog*, Black Backed Jackal

Animals taken (JB) – 2 – Impala*, Blesbok*

DANA WEATHERFORD – Arkansas

Animals taken – Impala*, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (55 ½”)

MITCH HOVIS – Arkansas

Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Impala*, Kudu* (52”)

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

(Brad) The Gemsbok was our first animal to hunt on our Safari. With my 13 year old son along we begin tracking him through the bush and our PH, Craig, spotted him in some thick brush. I was in single file behind him and he fell quickly to his knees. "Do you see him, do you see him?" I could only see his head through a very small opening in the thick brush and Craig said "Hurry, hurry, rest your rifle on my right shoulder and shoot just below his chin on the black stripe". Not to make any excuses, but I was in a hurry, shooting left handed off Craig’s right shoulder through a very small opening, and could only see the animals head. I really didn't think I could get the shot through there but fired anyway. Craig said "He's hit!" What some amazingly tough animals! We tracked good blood for a good ways before Craig decided to go get the dog, "Blue". Being the Dog man I am, this I really enjoyed even though I was nervous about recovering the animal. We put the Blue tick hound on the track and I felt like I was back in Arkansas chasing a Whitetail when he opened up. We tried to stay up but after he "jumped him", he pushed him really fast. Craig radioed Pieter and Cindy (forever to be known as "Maggie" after being dubbed the Gemsbok Magnet"). They were on one of the roads in the property trying to "cut him off" when the wounded animal with no bottom jaw ran directly into the side of the truck, broke off both horns, and fell as dead as a wedge! There was a huge dent in the side of the truck and needless to say, "Maggie" was a little shaken up. Pieter told us that in all of the years at Cruiser Safari's, that was a first. I was assured that the Taxidermist could fix him up and I was very excited to see him down even though he was "suicidal".

(JB):  Before this one was taken that same morning I had taken a trophy Impala. It was 24 1/2. A great trophy and my dad, Craig and I were very excited. After taking it back to the lodge, when we came back the same morning we saw another huge impala. My dad was going to shoot this one but he was worried it was going to be bigger than mine because this was a big Impala. We get out of the truck and went after it and it was a perfect shot for my dad but he didn’t take it because he was worried it would be bigger than mine. It turns out to be a great decision because we were just going back for lunch and Craig spots two huge Impala. Then he spots it. The biggest Impala we would see all week. The second largest one they have ever guided there. This Impala steps out. Craig says “I don’t care who shoots it but somebody is going to”. We get out of the truck and dad hands me the Rifle. We start running toward this Impala. We stop and set up the shooting sticks. He is staring right at us. All I can see is his head and the back of his body. Craig is saying shoot shoot shoot shoot shoot. BANG!!!! The Impala drops dead. This one is 26 inches. What a monster.

CLAYTON ELLIS & his friends FRANCA & ROSS – Australia

Animals taken – 2 – Blue Wildebeest*, 3 Impala (2*), Red Hartebeest*, Bushbuck*, Zebra, 2 Blesbok*, Nyala*, Gemsbok*, Eland*, Kudu* (52”), Waterbuck, Buffalo, Warthog*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

Sunday 20 March – Day -0

We were picked up from the Oasis Guest House by our Professional Hunter, Johan, and headed off on the 4 hour journey to the Cruiser Safari Camp and my first South African safari. As we traveled along the roads closer to camp we saw lots of animals inside the various properties we passed along the way. It was very exciting!

On arrival we were greeted by DelMarie (and a refreshing drink). We were introduced to some hunters already at the camp and then were shown to our rooms. After a very quick unpack we were off to rifle range to check out Johan’s rifle (I gave up on getting my own rifle over – too much red tape when you are traveling through multiple countries!). The rifle checked out ok and Johan offered for us to head out for an afternoon hunt.

We spent a couple of hours stalking through the bush after Impala but the wind was very inconsistent so no there was no opportunity for a shot. But it was nice to get out and see some animals all the same.

Back to camp on dark, a quick beer, dinner and then bed!

Monday 21 March – Day 1

Our first official hunt day started early, up at 5:00am for a 5:30am departure. We were on the road at 5:35am. Not too bad for the first morning.

Almost immediately on entering our designated hunting property Johan spotted a good Wildebeest bull, we stalked the bull to a reasonably handy position, 140yd shot off the sticks, missed! New rifle, new environment, new animals and shooting sticks – this may well take a bit of getting used to!

Soon after we spotted another good bull and we stalked him for about 40minutes. We were now very close to him, about 30yds through thick scrub. Johan tells me he is now accompanied by another much younger bull, so don’t shoot the wrong one (I wonder if I can even tell the difference in this thick scrub!). Johan advises me the bull will soon come through that gap in the scrub and I should be ready to shoot. Sure enough out comes the big bull, an imitation calf call from Johan and the bull stops and looks, I quickly line up and shoot where I think middle of his body is in line with his shoulder. Down he goes, this is getting better! We move round to try and get a better position to fire a back up shot but as we approach to within 20 ft the bull suddenly jumps to his feet and takes off – stunned disbelief! Johan yells shoot him in the butt. I snap out of my shock and fire another shot at the fleeing animal – I was unsure if the shot hit or not. Either way the Wildebeest is gone.

We tracked that bull for the rest of the day, used the dogs and we used ourselves to track him with little joy. Finally late in the day he broke cover and I got a clear shot at about 200yds. Got a good hit with what I thought was a shoulder shot however he was off again. We tracked him until darkness but no joy.

Tuesday 22 March – Day 2

Up at 4:30am, breakfast and on the road at 5:30am. Headed back to yesterday’s location to try and locate the Wildebeest. 2.5hrs of searching later he is officially declared lost. Seems the second shot only touched lung given the way the animal was quartered towards me when I shot.

Hunted Hartebeest and Impala for the rest of the day however very unkind swirling winds meant that every time we got close to any animals they scented us and took off without presenting any shooting opportunity.

Finally after a difficult stalk (in very hot conditions) managed to get to a reasonably good shooting position on a good Hartebeest bull front on at around 100yds. With the Wildebeest still on my mind, I tried for a good centre of chest shot. Missed again! Not having all that much fun at the moment!

Decided we would hunt some Blesbok we had seen early in the day. The buck (who was now acting decidedly flighty) fidgeted while prepared to shoot. With a nice steady rest I took the shot – and as fate would have it the Blesbok decided to take off as I fired. The bullet struck behind the front leg and angled back. After a vigorous foot pursuit Johan finished the animal off. Pleased to have my first trophy animal, but not happy with my shooting!

With evening still approaching there was still time to try for an Impala. We spent the next hour stalking a large mob of Impala but were having trouble getting to a shooting position with so many pairs of eyes and ears on us. Darkness was falling and we couldn’t locate the buck. He was nearby but it looked like he had moved into some very thick bush to our right. However at that time a good Wildebeest bull approached from our right and passed through the mob of Impala. We were in an excellent shooting position lying on a sandbank. Johan said “want to even the score?” I thought why notJ! At about 100yds from a great rest I placed a quality shot directly into the shoulder. This time we got the desired response and I had taken a nice 25” Wildebeest bull. As night fell we quickly snapped some photos and then it was time to call it a day (and I was feeling much happier!)

Back to camp where we enjoyed a lovely dinner, then a quick trip to the skinning shed for a look and then off to bed.

Wednesday 23 March – Day 3

Bit of a sleep in today with a leisurely 5:45am start. We went to a new property today. We hunted through to lunch without any luck. Very hot temperatures and a variable wind made for very unfavorable hunting conditions. It didn’t seem to matter whether we were on the vehicle or on foot; we saw few animals and got closer to even fewer!

We decided to go back to camp for lunch and a rest. We headed out again at 3:00pm. It was still very hot and the unhelpful wind still blowing. We tried to stalk some Hartebeest and Wildebeest but no luck.

The only action for the day was Johan trying to shoot a running jackal on dusk, however despite Johan’s best endeavors that Jackal is still running.

It was time to head back to the camp for dinner and bed.

Thursday 24 March – Day 4

Up nice and early for 5:30am start. We were hunting the same property as yesterday. We spotted a nice Hartebeest bull and decided we would try and stalk him. After about an hour of stalking it looked like we wouldn’t get a shot, we got close on several occasions but he kept moving ahead of us, determined not to present himself for any kind of shot whatsoever. Then, as we came out onto the track there he was, standing front on to us at 160yds. Off the sticks I took the shot. It looked like a good shot but he was off into the bush. Called up the driver and headed off to take a look to see if we could locate the animal. 30yds into the bush Johan turns to me with a big smile on his face and his hand extended (over the next 7 days Johan’s grin and extended hand became my favorite sight). The 23” Hartebeest bull was dead. He had run into a tree at full flight but had been dead on his feet.

It was time for some pats on the back, some photos and then back to camp to drop him off and some lunch and a well earned cup of tea.

Headed out again early afternoon to try and get a warthog. It was very hot again (37 in the sun and 32 in the shade). Not much animal activity again this afternoon. We hunted on vehicle and on foot without luck. At dusk we decided to stake out a waterhole. Sure enough right on darkness a nice warthog came along. Resting up against a tree I took a 100yd shot. The warthog took off immediately after the shot. Seconds later there was a lot of crashing and banging as the warthog tumbled head over heels. A perfect shoulder shot had ensured we didn’t need to go far to collect this good 10.5” trophy animal.

A few quick photos and then it was time to load up the animal and head home for a beer and some dinner!

Friday 25 March – Day 5

Planned for a 5:30am start but I was out of bed by 4:00am. The days couldn’t start soon enough for me as I was having a great time. We headed off to a new property today to hunt Impala. We hunted for an hour or so before we spotted a nice Impala buck that was very handy. A quick shot and I had my first Impala with a nice set of 20.5” horns. (I had decided I was going to hunt two of these beautiful little antelope).

After a quick photo session we loaded up the animal and started looking for Impala number 2. We soon spotted a nice mob with a couple of fine looking bucks some way off and started to plan our stalk. With a variable wind we stalked closer and closer to the two bucks that we had been eying up. After a further 50yds of crouching, crawling and scrambling on our bellies the two bucks were now about 100yds away. Johan said you ready? I just smiled. Johan stood up, positioned the shooting sticks, I swung the rifle up, and he whispered “take the one on the left” I lined up on the shoulder, squeezed the shot, and my second Impala trophy was taken. He was a beauty, a really nice 24.5” buck.

Time for some photos and a reflection on how tough the stalk had been, then it was off home to drop off the animals and have a well earned cup of tea.

After lunch we decided we would hunt Gemsbok. I though this should be interesting given I hadn’t seen a single Gemsbok since my arrival. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking but without any luck. With a storm brewing and light starting fade we embarked on a last stalk through some fairly open bush. Ahead of me Johan suddenly froze, there was a Gemsbok just around the bush from us. Suddenly I heard a bark and then the clatter of hooves, it had winded us! As we moved through the bush we came across another Gemsbok standing in a gap between two trees at just over 200yds. Up went the shooting sticks, Johan said “it’s a good one”. I lined up on the shoulder and fired. The Gemsbok jumped and then ran.

To my utter despair about 50 Gemsbok broke from cover and ran off. We all stood there in shock….where did my animal go? Ross and I thought two animals broke right but they were no longer visible. All we could do was walk over to where the animal had been when I shot it and try and pick up the trail before it got too dark. Suddenly off to our left stood a single Gemsbok, I immediately lined up on it and Johan was saying “wait until I make sure it’s our one”. The Gemsbok then broke into a run with a very visible limp, Johan shouted “shoot” and I immediately fired another shot. We located the animal about 50yds further on. A quick shot to finish it off and I had bagged a fantastic 38.5” female Gemsbok.

A very quick photo shoot and then we high-tailed it out of there as the rain began to fall in earnest. What a fantastic end to a very productive day!

Saturday 26 March – Day 6

I had decided some days earlier that I wanted to also hunt an Eland. So as per usual we were ready to go hunting at 5:30am. We arrived at the property at daylight and immediately spotted some Waterbuck. So we decided we would take a look. We stalked the Waterbuck and were able to get up to about 70yds from 2 females. There were another 6 females in the surrounding bush area. After about 60 minutes of closely surveying the area we determined that there were no males with the herd so we set off on foot to follow some Eland tracks that we had come across early.

After another 30 minutes or so of tracking Johan determined that the Eland tracks were from the previous night and not worth continuing to pursue. With that we headed off in the vehicle to renew our search. About an hour later Ross spotted a good Eland bull not far into the bush. We carried on past and then after about 300yds turned back.  Johan took one look at the animal and said “it’s a good one, shoot”. While it was a reasonably close shot (by previous standards) it was a difficult shot through the fork of a tree. I quickly lined up on the best part of the shoulder I could see through the gap and squeezed off a shot. The Eland bolted and we went after it in quick pursuit. We heard the animal hit the ground well before we located it. It had run 60yds or so and was down and dead. Wow, what a monster!

Time for some photos and then we needed to figure out how we were going to recover the body. Some expert track clearing later, coupled with some sheer brute strength, we had the Eland loaded onto the vehicle. It was time to head back to camp to drop off the animal for processing.

After dropping the Eland off it was time for a quick bite and a cup of tea. Ross and I wandered down to the skinning shed to have a look at the Eland being processed and take some photos. This was one very large animal!

Johan informed us that we were to hunt Kudu next and we loaded up our vehicle and headed off to a new property that we hadn’t hunted on previously. Johan said that if we can find a shootable Kudu on this property it will be a good one, however the bush on this property is exceptionally dense.

We entered the property after a short 40 minute drive. Literally within 15 minutes of driving Johan signals to Moensu to stop the vehicle, he had spotted a good Kudu bull. We were immediately off the truck and heading up the side of the track through thick bush cover. For once the wind was perfect! Johan snuck out to the clear several times and then signaled for me to keep following. This went on for what seemed like ages. Then Johan stepped out of the bush and set up the shooting sticks. This was my signal and I slipped out of the cover behind him and mounted the rifle on the sticks (I hadn’t even seen the Kudu up to this point). Sure enough there he was. He stepped forward out of the dense bush and into the clearing. Johan said ‘shoot’. It was all good except the Kudu had stepped in front of an old fence post and it was covering the Kudu’s vitals. Many thoughts went through my head as the large animal raised his head and seemed to look directly at us. I think I had stopped breathing I was so frozen to the spot. Then unbelievably he put his head down and started grazing again as he took one more step forward (nicely clearing the old fence post). I had a perfect shot at his shoulder and squeezed off a shot. The Kudu bull immediately bolted (much to my horror) however seconds later we heard him crashing to the ground. He was down and dead not more than 40yds away. Everyone was delighted!

We took some great photos with the Kudu and then loaded him on the vehicle from a very handy position. We would take the Kudu back before we headed out again. As we headed around the corner towards the first property gate there was a nice male Waterbuck crossing the track in front of us. Johan immediately said “I know where he is going” and we jumped off the vehicle and took off on foot. The Waterbuck was heading to nearby waterhole. We almost ran to the waterhole in the hope of getting there first. But having to sneak past several other animals on the way meant by the time we got to the waterhole the Waterbuck had already taken a drink and was standing under some nearby trees. While he was only about 80ys away all we could see was the white circle around his rear end…there was no shot on offer. So we just set up the shooting sticks and waited. I watched that animal through the scope for about 15 minutes without any opportunity to shoot. Finally, as luck would have it the swirling wind finally came in handy for a change and the Waterbuck took our scent. He briefly turned in our direction and for a split second I could see his shoulder. I immediately fired and he took off. We set off in pursuit but didn’t have to go far, the shot was a good one and had passed through both shoulders. The Waterbuck had run about 30yds and was dead. He was also a beauty, an old, heavy bodied male with very thick 24” horns. We were having a good day!

We managed to get the vehicle in to the location where the Waterbuck had fallen, and we took our  photos and then loaded him onto the truck with the Kudu. It was quite an impressive load (of course I heard all of the tales of how many animals had been loaded on these vehicles before and how this was a small load by comparison!). Now it was back to camp to drop these two fine animals off.

Once the Kudu and Waterbuck were safely at the skinning shed we had just enough daylight left to head out for an evening hunt.

We headed back to one of the properties we hunted on previously. Again within minutes of arriving we spotted some likely game. Johan turned to me and said to me “want to hunt Nyala”, naturally I said “of course, let’s go”.

We stalked the Nyala and Kudu cows to a nearby waterhole. We set up and Johan said the one on the right is the one we are going to take. I lined up at an animal about 100yds away and Johan politely said, “the other animal on the right”, I shifted the scope to the right. I couldn’t help myself and said “wow” out loud. This was one of the most beautiful animals I had ever seen in my life. I quickly lined up on the shoulder and fired. I kept a very close eye on the Nyala’s reaction to the shot, but there was no need for any further action as he fell to the ground in a couple of seconds.

What a special animal and what a special day. I had shot trophy Eland, Kudu, Waterbuck and Nyala in a single day. Time to take some photos before the last light disappeared and then home for a well earned beer in celebration of a great day!

Sunday 27 March – Day 7

Given the success that we had enjoyed the previous day we decided that we would take the following morning off, have a bit of a sleep in and go ride some elephants at one of the nearby reserves. After an exciting ride on some “reasonably” co-operative elephants we returned to the camp for lunch.

After lunch we decided we would try and hunt Zebra. I was somewhat dubious as to how this would go given the inconsistent winds and the only Zebra I had seen or heard had been running full tilt away from us. All that said, our luck was about to change. Within minutes of entering the designated property Johan spotted a mob of Zebra. We jumped from the vehicle and started to stalk the Zebra on foot. The wind was still swirling and the Zebra took our scent, anarchy broke loose and at one stage the Zebra almost ran right over us. Ducking and weaving we tried to position for a shot. But no luck. Fortunately the Zebra decided to try and cut back into the thick bush and we were able to cut them off and set up the sticks at the edge of a clearing. A female with a young one ran past us at 50yds. Then a stallion galloped into the clearing. Johan whistled at it and it stopped. I looked through the scope for the triangular pattern on the shoulder that all Zebra have, aimed slightly behind it (the animal was slightly quartered away from us) and fired. The stallion took off. I thought the shot was a good one but the Zebra had not reacted as I had expected. Quickly we went to its track and it was immediately obvious that the animal had taken a good lung shot. Seconds later as it crashed through the bush we heard it fall to the ground. Now we just had to find it. The Stallion had run a good 300yds into very thick scrub. Getting it out was going to be a challenge. With everyone pitching in, a road was cut through the scrub so that we could retrieve our trophy. A photo session in beautiful afternoon light after which it was time to load up the animal and head for camp. What a great way to end the day.

Monday 28 March – Day 8

Up bright and early and off at our usual time. Today we were going to hunt Bushbuck. I needed to get a Bushbuck to conclude my South African Spiral Horn Quest (having already taken Eland, Kudu and Nyala two days earlier). After several hours of searching, one close call (but not chance for a shot) we stopped the Bushbuck hunt (it would resume again mid-afternoon).

It was now time to hunt another Wildebeest (I was so fascinated with these wonderful animals I decided I needed to hunt one more!). Soon enough we spotted a nice bull in quite open ground and decided we would stalk it. A herd of cows was nearby and they watched us closely as we stalked closer and closer to the bull. By now the bull had spotted us and was slowly moving away. This was about as close as we were going to get. We set up the shooting sticks and at about 160yds I lined up squarely on the bulls shoulder. I squeezed off the shot and saw a good bullet strike through the scope. The bull took off and ran a 100 or so yards before my backup shot broke both his right legs and he hit the ground hard. It was a fine 26” trophy. As we set up for our photos Johan commented on the chrome pigment in the bull’s cape. The cape had a very nice reddish tinge to it which was a bonus given I was looking to take a full cape from this animal.

After returning to the camp to drop off the Wildebeest we headed out again. This time we were hunting for Impala. Ross had decided he would like to take a nice Impala trophy. Luck was again on our side. Within minutes of arriving at the property Johan spotted a nice Impala. Within seconds he had set up the shooting sticks and Ross shot a lovely 23.5” Impala. At a range of around 100yds, the Impala ran a short distant before dropping to the ground. It was a perfect shoulder shot and a great trophy. Time for some more photos.

Back to base to drop off Ross’s animal, and to have what was now our customary cup of tea. Then it was back to the same property that we were hunting earlier to continue our search for the elusive Bushbuck. We hunted for the next 3 hours or so, on the vehicle and on foot. While we spotted fleeting glances of Bushbuck from time to time we were nowhere near getting a shot at one. About now Johan pointed out that the Bushbuck was a particularly hard animal to get a shot at (outside of the rut) and any I shot I did get was likely to be at a moving target.

It was just beginning to get dark when I spotted a white rump disappearing through the bush about 80yds in front of us. Johan confirmed that it was a good buck (not quite sure how he determined that on such a brief sighting) and that as it doubled back on us I would get a shot as it passed between two bushes about 60yds to our right. Out it came in the expected location and I swung the sights onto its shoulder and fired all in one motion. I saw it was a good hit but with all these African game animals the Bushbuck took off. It was a short pursuit, we found the animal dead about 30yds from where he at been hit. He was a very fine buck with a beautiful cape and 13.3” horns.

We took some photos in the fading light and then it was time to call it a day. It had been another spectacular day of hunting for us.

Tuesday 29 March – Day 9

We took the day off from hunting so had a sleep in and a leisurely breakfast. The meat truck was coming first thing and then once it had been loaded we were heading off to town to take care of few domestic errands.

Wednesday 30 March – Day 10

It is our last day. We decided it would be good to go out and try and get one more Warthog and, if possible, I was keen to hunt another Blesbok.

We headed out to one of the watering holes and staked it out from one of the shooting blinds. While the weather was accommodating (it was very warm) the animals weren’t and we saw little activity. After about 4 hours we decided we needed to walk so we set out to hunt some nearby Blesbok. We soon spotted the herd down one of the long tracks about 600yds away. So we stalked up through the bush on the side of the track until we were about 100yds away. Johan and I crawled out to where there was a sandy ridge on the side of the track that I could shoot from and I lined up on the buck closest to us. However Johan felt that the second buck (who was directly behind the first one) was a better animal. So we watched them and they watched us for about 5 minutes until the buck closest to us barked and decided to run, the buck behind him stood up and I immediately fired. The second buck ran maybe 10yds and then went down. We waited for about 60 seconds to confirm he was dead and then moved over to claim our trophy. He was a very nice 15.5” buck.

We returned to camp to drop off the Blesbok. We relaxed until late afternoon and then went out again in pursuit of a second warthog (at the property directly opposite the road that leads in to the camp). We drove around for a bit and on our travels spent quite a bit of time watching the buffalo. Johan and I discussed how good it would be to hunt the big bull (and we talked a little bit about trophy fees).

Finally we staked out the waterhole in the hope that a nice Warthog might come in for a drink before it got dark. We saw two pairs of juvenile boars that came in for a drink (and then literally walk right past us as they left the waterhole) but no big boars. So it wasn’t to be and we headed back to camp in darkness.

At dinner time Johan and Pieter discussed the buffalo again and Pieter asked if I wanted to hunt the big bull. I was very keen and although this wasn’t part of my original plan or budget it seemed like a perfect opportunity. We sorted a few logistics (like how I would pay the trophy fee) and we were locked and loaded. We would hunt the buffalo at first light.

Now I had a few other logistics to sort out (like we needed to be at a dinner in Johannesburg at 5:30pm the following evening and we couldn’t be late – or at least I couldn’t be the cause of that lateness!), so promises were made and the planning continued.

Thursday 31 March – Day 10 + 1

I didn’t sleep that well given I was somewhat pre-occupied with the prospect of the Buffalo hunt. So I was out of bed and ready very early. We headed over to the rifle range at 6:00am to put a couple of shots through the FN Browning 373 H&H that I had borrowed for the hunt. Two shots confirmed the rifle and I were compatible and we mounted up and headed to the Buffalo block. Pieter accompanied us and so I had two back-up shooters should they be required.

We located the bull at the very far end of the property just on the edge of one of the tracks about 150yds in front of us. These guys don’t scare easily so he wasn’t overly bothered by our presence. We set off on foot and closer to about 80yds. Johan stopped and set up the shooting sticks. Earlier Johan and I had agreed that there was only front shoulder, middle shoulder and back shoulder as shot placement areas. I preferred not to shoot at the Buffalo at an odd angle and I didn’t want any confusion about my shot placement (based on Johan’s assessment of how the animal was quartered to us).

However by now the bull had moved the entire front part of his body into the clearing, and was fully broadside. This made the shot placement considerably more straight forward!

On the way down to the property Pieter had also made it clear that I needed to ensure that I followed up my first shot with a second regardless of bullet strike. And almost certainly a 3rd and 4th shot may be required to dispatch the bull humanely.

Off the shooting sticks I lined up on the middle shoulder and squeezed off my first shot. I saw good bullet placement through the scope as I worked the bolt for my second shot. The bull spun around and ran. My second shot hit a foot or so behind the front leg and on impact the bull spun around towards us. This allowed me to put a third round directly into the opposite shoulder from my first shot. The bull roared and went down. And this is where it became very interesting. The bull was down however we had a new, and fairly significant, problem to deal with (however that is a whole new story that I will leave Pieter to tell you over dinner and a glass of wine one night).

My Buffalo was a magnificent trophy. A fantastic cape and a 39.5” spread. I could not have been happier. We took a bunch of photos and loaded up the animal onto the vehicle (another interesting experience!) and headed off back to the camp just in time to make our scheduled departure time.

Franca, Ross and I had the time of our lives and my special thanks goes out to Johan for being such a great PH as well as being such a great guy to spend 10 days hunting with. I would also like to pass on my appreciation to Pieter and the team for running such a fantastic operation. Cruiser Safari’s gets my vote and I recommend it, not only as a great place to hunt, but also great value for money! Thank you guys.

MIKE & SALLY REAGAN - Texas

Animals taken Mike – Gemsbok*, Impala*, Kudu* (51”), Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Red Hartebeest*

Animals taken Sally - Zebra, Impala*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

Our adventure began with Mike saying “Let’s go to Africa”. Not really taking him seriously I said okay. The search began on the internet trying to find somewhere to go. He looked at many websites and emailed different places trying to gather as much information as possible. As we searched for information we began talking to people who had traveled to Africa. We found that the Cruiser Safaris website held a lot of information and Robert Clark was very helpful in answering the many questions we had. After over a year of searching and planning and making sure everything at home would be taken care of in our absence our day of departure had arrived. We left home on Tuesday March 22, 2011 in the morning. We drove to San Antonio, Texas to board a plane to Dulles Washington, DC. That evening we boarded South African Airways to our destination in Johannesburg with a stop in Dakar.

The trip across the ocean was a long trip and after seventeen hours on an airplane we arrived in Johannesburg.(Wednesday March 23, 2011) We were greeted at the airport by the people from the Afton House. They helped us with getting the guns through customs. We then traveled to the Afton House where we had a delicious barbeque supper and a much appreciated shower and a comfortable room.

(Thursday March 24, 2011) The next morning we had a good breakfast and awaited our trip to the lodge. John from Cruiser Safaris arrived to pick us up and we took a four hour ride to what would be our home for the next ten days. We arrived at the lodge, took our belongings to our room and had lunch. We decided to use the afternoon to do some hunting. First we went to shoot the rifle to be sure it was shooting accurate after the trip. We proceeded to drive to see what we could and it did not take long to find zebra. Zebra is on Sally’s list of animals to shoot. We began to walk and finally caught up with them. We watched them in the distance for quite a while but they were a bit too far to shoot. We hunted till dark and went back to the lodge for supper.

(Friday March 25, 2011) The first day of the hunt started very early. Breakfast at 5:00 AM and we climb into the truck at 5:30 am. John is our PH, professional hunter, and Isaac is our tracker. We started the day hasing zebra, still no luck. The hunt starts with driving until you see animals or tracks, then you may start walking or running in some cases. We decided to sit at a water hole for the morning. Just as we decided to leave a female warthog and two young ones decided to cool off in the water. They are fun to watch. Shortly after that the truck arrived to pick us up and by then it was time to eat lunch. Lunch breaks are long and a time to rest. That afternoon Mike shot his first animal, a Blesbok. It took a few shots to bring down the animal but it was exciting. After a long day of hunting you are glad to get back to the lodge for a good meal and time to visit with the other hunters and share stories of the days hunt.

(Saturday March 26, 2011) We had a 5:30 am start. We did some driving and looking when we came across a very large Blue Wildebeest. Mike took a shot and the animal ran. The race was on. In the end he shot four times with John taking a shot also. John said this wildebeest was an old animal and beautiful. This one will be mounted life size. It is amazing how the guide and tracker can load these large animals in the truck. We were back at the lodge for lunch. Then around 2:00 pm we were back out again to hunt. It was again time to chase zebra through the brush. We again got close but the wind always seemed to be against us. We lost them again in thicker brush. We began to drive again. As luck would have it we found more zebra. We managed to walk up on them. Sally took a shot and off it ran. Isaac our tracker found blood but it was getting late. We had to return to the lodge with the hope of finding it the next day.

(Sunday March 27, 2011) We left around 6:00 am with “Blue” the tracking dog. First order of the day was to try and find the zebra. John, Mike and Isaac started walking into a wooded area where the zebra had headed the night before. With luck they were able to find it. While waiting for them to return, Sally and Blue waited a bit impatiently in the truck. We took the zebra back to the lodge. Then we returned to hunt again. Before going very far an Impala was spotted. We had to walk a short distance to get closer to it. Mike was able to use a convenient dirt pile as a rest for his shot. It was a good shot. We took pictures, loaded the Impala and traveled a short distance to find a Red Hartebeest. Mike this time used John’s shoulder as a rest. Again a good shot. These two animals were shot in a time span of about 30 to 45 minutes. Finding the zebra and shooting the impala and red hartebeest were all done before lunch. It was a lucky day. We ate lunch at the lodge and went out in the afternoon to hunt again. We saw a lot of animals but nothing we were looking for. Three new hunters arrived that day, Joe from Ireland and Greg and Natalie from Canada.

(Monday March 28, 2011) We had an early start leaving the lodge at 5:00 am. The hunting area we went to was an hour drive away. There was a beautiful mountain to climb with huge rocks and a fantastic view at the top. We saw a huge leopard track and found an old Kudu skull and horns. We had climbed to the top looking for Kudu but saw none. We drove and looked for animals for a while then stopped for lunch at a weekend home on the property. We ate lunch at a picnic table under the trees. There were monkeys everywhere. We rested and began our excursion again around 2:00 pm hoping to find kudu. Around 5:00 pm we finally spotted a big Kudu bull. He was in the most open area of the place. He had to shoot for the neck because that was all he could see. Unfortunately when he took the shot it was standing behind some branches. The Kudu ran. We then took off looking for it but found no blood. Mike found where the bullet had hit a branch and it must have deflected off. Just bad luck. It was a great kudu. On the way out we tried walking up to a water hole looking for warthogs. There again, no luck. We headed back to the lodge. That night the owner Pieter Lamprecht ate supper with us.

(Tuesday March 29, 2011) We had a 6:00 am start. Went to hunt on the property across the main road. We started out hunting for gemsbok and chased them across the property but lost sight to them. We then came across a good warthog. Sally took the shot but it ran. Isaac stayed behind to track it while we went to get the dogs and help. Isaac tracked it to the fence line into a neighbor’s property. We were not allowed to go in to look for it. Bad luck. So it was back to the lodge for lunch. Afterwards we went to hunt at the same property. Due to some rain the night before we took a different route and were fortunate to see Rhinoceros on another property. That afternoon we saw waterbuck, baboons, and impala. Did not see any animals we were hunting for. We quit a little early due to muddy conditions from the rain. Dessert that night was called Maggie’s Pudding and inside it there were coins. Clayton Ellis found the most and for his prize he almost had a lap dance from DelMarie (the Chef).

(Wednesday March 30, 2011) Went to a new property today hunting Kudu, Gemsbok and Warthog. We decided to sit at a water hole looking for warthogs. After driving around for about 15 —20 minutes we found some brush with no thorns. This was going to be used for a blind to build at the water hole. Saw four different groups of warthogs. We had one sow come within ten yards of the blind. No large males ever came in. We had a waterbuck come up behind us while in the stand. John had to get up and chase it away so it wouldn’t scare off any warthogs. We also saw a water lizard that was about three foot long. It was a fun hunt but no luck on finding a warthog. We spent the rest of the day driving, but no luck on finding any other animals. We did see a family working cows. Mom and Dad, two daughters, Grandmother and Grandfather. We were told the Grandfather was 93 years old. Supper was a special treat. We had Bar-B-Que cooked by Craig and John. It was DelMarie (our Chefs) birthday and she made herself a delicious birthday cake. It was nice to celebrate her birthday with her.

(Thursday March 31, 2011) Went to a new place today. Saw a lot of animals. Two gemsbok were in the brush next to the road but could not get a shot at either of them. Mike and John tried to follow them but the brush was too thick. Saw a nice Impala beside the road. But not quite enough time for Sally to get a shot. Saw a big Kudu bull but again could not get a shot. So we decided to try to stalk him. As we were attempting this a young bull began barking at us and spooked everything. Saw a very large warthog, but as luck would have it no shot was given. Late that morning we came across another Impala. Sally, Mike and John began to stalk. A perfect shot was made by Sally on a large Impala. Everyone was really happy. We had lunch at the lodge with Pieter. He is known for practical jokes. This time he put vinegar in Mike’s water glass. After lunch we went back to the same property and saw a lot of animals but nothing we wanted to shoot. That evening after supper Pieter again put something in Mike’s water — this time it was vodka. Thanks Pieter!!! There was an impressive lighting storm but no rain.

(Friday April 1, 2011) We again started our day around 5:45 am. We went to the same place as yesterday in search of gemsbok and kudu. As luck would have it we saw a gemsbok early but Mike could not take a shot at it. We drove some more and John saw another one down a power line easement. So we drove some more and then stopped for Mike and John to get out of the truck. They began to walk through a wooded area. This all took place around 8:00 in the morning. Isaac and Sally stayed in the truck. After a while we heard a shot and John called back to Isaac to come and help. When Isaac returned he said Mike had shot a good gemsbok. It was a very old and very large female. I asked John how he knew where to stop to start walking and looking for the gemsbok. His reply was that he had counted the power line towers when he first spotted the gemsbok. We then drove to the other side of the woods again counting the power line towers. This told him where to stop and walk across to hopefully find the animal. As always after each kill we took pictures, loaded the animal and returned to the lodge for lunch. We left again around 2:00 pm in search of kudu our last large animal for Mike to find. We saw some very large kudu but the location on which we were hunting had a limit on the size of animal we could take and all that we saw were too big.

(Saturday April 2, 2011) We left before 5:00 am and went to the mountain to hunt for kudu. We once again climbed to the top of the mountain. We looked around for a while but did not see anything. This was all before 8:45 in the morning. Then we drove around for the rest of the morning and did not see any animals. We stopped for lunch around 11:45 am at the same house as before for lunch. We did see some impala as we drove in to the house. Lunch was served and we all rested until about 2:00 pm. We began to drive again. We did see some kudu cows, the first we’d seen all day. We had been driving for about 10— 15 minutes when Mike saw something in the road. John and I were looking through binoculars. We both looked to the right then to the left of the road. It was a kudu standing behind a tree and bush. John said “Shoot it, shoot it”. Mike did. The kudu hunched up a bit then ran. Isaac followed the tracks into the thick brush and after about 30 yards Mike found the first blood, it was lung blood. After another 30 yards and a lot of blood we found a very good kudu bull. John and Isaac found him first and started yelling as Mike came around and saw him.  Everyone was very excited. What made this bull impressive was that his horns were very wide. He was the last animal Mike was after and this was the afternoon of the ninth day of hunting. For a day that started out very slow it ended very exciting.

(Sunday April 3, 2011) We slept a little later and then spent the day looking for warthogs for Sally. While sitting at a water hole a big male came in. Sally and John tried to get closer. Something spooked him and he ran right next to them. Sally was still looking forward and did not see him until he was too far away. We drove for the rest of the day and got one last chance at another warthog but it was a clear miss. As the sun was going down we drove back to the lodge.

(Monday April 4, 2011) Well this is the last day of our trip. We woke early and began to gather our belongings for the trip home. Breakfast was served and we said our “Goodbyes” to everyone. We were ready to return home but sad to be leaving. We had a wonderful time. Everything was fun and enjoyable and everyone was very nice. We thank all involved with Cruiser Safaris for making this a great trip.

GREG & NATALIE KNOX – Manitoba, Canada

Animals taken – Gemsbok, Kudu, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Zebra

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

Greg’s Kudu hunt: We were hunting in the mountain area. After hiking for approximately 4 miles we ended up back at the truck. We hopped in the truck and started driving to another area of the concession to start hiking again. As we are driving along the trail we saw a cow hop across the road and we jumped off the truck. As we got closer to the area where she crossed we suddenly spotted a good bull standing back in the trees. I could not see very much of him but I aimed at what I thought was his front shoulder. At the shot he stumbled and disappeared into the thick bush. We started following the tracks expecting to find him dead close by. After tracking him for 100 yds we saw him take off running ahead. There was no time to get another shot into him before he disappeared. This is the first time we thought that maybe he was not hit properly. We immediately called back to the camp and asked one of the other guides to bring out the tracking dog Blue. Once the dog arrived Samuel (our driver) took up the track along with Blue and Craig, Natalie, and myself moved ahead to the next road expecting him to come this way. It wasn't long before we heard Blue baying and we knew he was on the track. Just then we spotted my bull coming through the trees towards us. The road was very narrow and he crossed a little farther down than expected and there wasn't time to get a shot. When we saw him jump the road with Blue on his track we quickly ran back to the jeep and took off to try to get in front of them again. Once we knew we were in front of them we hopped out of the jeep and ran through the bush to where we expected him to come to. As the baying got closer we new we were in the right spot and were able to finish him with another shot as he ran past us in the bush. We would never have recovered this bull without the great work of Blue, Samuel, and Craig. I was absolutely elated when I was able to walk up to my bull and actually put my hands on his horns, they are beautiful.

JOE BONHAM – Ireland

Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu, Gemsbok, Steenbok*, Warthog

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

(Joe’s Gemsbok hunt) We saw him cross a track at 7am and we rolled out of the truck 100 yards further on. We saw him once again after 20 minutes then Hans thought we should get ahead of him so back into the truck and headed one mile up the concession. We walked up a small track and I saw a jackal which was running towards us. I wanted to "pop" him but Hans told me to hold my fire. Within minutes we saw the Gemsbok walking through the bush, horns visible but nothing else. It was due to cross in front of us about 20 feet but must have sensed something because it burst across us at full gallop. I threw up the rife and fired but missed the chest and shot it in the liver (according to the skinners). This required a 2 hour and 2km track. It was amazing to see Hans at work. I'm speechless at his skill. The animal stopped bleeding and so we had to call for the bloodhound which arrived and tracked the gemsbok to 200 meters of where we lost the trail. Another 2 shots were required to finish him off and the relief was amazing. Not quite record book but will always be with me.

April

KEVIN & ANGELA KAZUK – Manitoba, Canada

Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Kudu* (53 ½”), Impala*, Warthog*, Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest*, Blesbok*, Waterbuck*, Female Blue Wildebeest, Black Backed Jackal

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

March 31st 2011  My wife and I started our journey from Manitoba, Canada , off to the airport for 9 am. After a 1 hour flight to Minneapolis and a 2 hour flight to Atlanta, we finally boarded our flight to Jo’burg, 14 hours and several movies later we reach our destination.

April 1 2011  Marius from Afton was there to greet us and help clear the firearm but I was missing a piece of luggage, which happened to be the one that contained the ammo.

Delta said it would come on the next flight the next day at 5 pm (good thing we came 2 days early to the Afton as I was using 300wsm not a common round in SA). The next time I come I am going to split the ammo into 2 different lock boxes into 2 suitcases. Off to Afton, they have nice clean rooms and a great hot breakfast.

April 2 2011  we used this day to relax and get use to the time difference, we went to a flee market for a couple hours to have fun bargaining over prices and off to the airport to see if my ammo came. I was so glad when I saw the suitcase on the baggage pickup.

April 3 2011  After a wonderful breakfast at Afton, Johan from Cruiser’s was there to pick us up. We loaded everything and started off to Cruiser’s. After a 4 hour drive, we had lunch and off to sight in the riffle. We just used the day a relax and take in the wonderful hunting lodge and meet Hans our PH for the trip.

April 4 2011  5:30 wake up to a nice breakfast buffet and off to hunt. We were out for Blue Wildebeest, we drove for awhile until Hans spotted some tracks and off we went. Angela stayed with the truck, I think she saw more animals than me during my stalk. The second stalk after a wildebeest resulted in coming within 100 yards of a herd of Zebra. Since I wanted to take a Zebra this was the time. It was very thick bush ,and as the stallion was in front of us, all I could see was his head so I waited and when he moved so I could see his shoulder Hans said do you have the shot, I replied yes, he said shoot and bang one shot Zebra down. After lunch out for the Blue Wildebeest, we went on another stalk and Hans spotted a bull behind some trees, I had the scope on him for what felt like forever and finally the bull presented a small piece of his shoulder again Hans asked me if I could make the shot, bang blue wilder best down, we ran the 80 or so yards and Hans told me to shoot him again just to make sure he doesn’t get up. This was a very exciting day.

April 5 2011  Up early to go to mountains for Kudu, we departed at 5 am after about an hour we started hunting for Kudu, this property is huge I didn’t know if or how we were going to find a Kudu. After hunting for a couple of hours for tracks, we finally saw a Kudu at around 150 - 170 yards away, we were looking at him for awhile but Hans said he was on the small side. He was just standing in a clearing looking at us and I was looking at him thru the scope. I herd Hans say there’s another one shoot it. I found it quick and bang, I asked Hans if I had hit it because it didn’t drop. Hans felt I had made a good shot and I felt I had too until we got to the spot where I had hit him and no blood. I felt a little discouraged at the lack of blood, but as I was looking around Hans and Frankie found blood and the 53½ Kudu wasn’t far away. I had made a clean shot thru both shoulders. This was the animal I came to Africa for and was happy to have gotten a nice one. In the afternoon we went in search of Impala, after 2 unsuccessful stalks (I was too loud in the bush) Hans spotted a nice impala he said it was good 24+. I put the gun on his shoulder and took a 24 ½ Impala one shot. After loading up we were driving back to camp and Hans spotted a male warthog. We began a stalk. I cant believe how good Hans is we almost walked right past this warthog when he started to run Hans said shoot it. I took the warthog on the run right in the shoulder another one shot warthog down. Thus ends a very exciting day.

April 6 2011  This day began looking for gemsbok. Hans spotted a gemsbok cross the road and we stalked it for about an hour. I tried my best to step at the same time as Hans and let Hans do his job of quietly tracking. We got to within 60 - 70 yards and we had to crawl because of thick bush in order to get a shot. I again put the gun on his shoulder and took a 34” gemsbok, (THANK YOU BARNS TRIPLE SHOCK) Take premium ammo it’s the best thing you can take on your safari. Since the hunt was going so well ,we took the rest of the day off.

April 7 2011  Today was a day for a side trip we went to Marakele park and predator park. We saw lots of animals  and got to play with baby lions, took 400 pictures.

April 8 2011  Today is Red Hartebeest day. We were driving into a hunting area when Hans spotted a jackal. He said there’s your jackal as I had been asking him to find me one. Another one shot but left a huge exit, hopefully Highveld can fix it. We started walking as Frankie took the jackal back to camp. After a long walk I spotted a Hartebeest and Hans said it was a good one. He set up the sticks and I dropped a nice red hartebeest at around 100 yards. I had to shoot it again because it was trying to get up.

We went back to camp and let Angela try my 300 to see if she could shoot the blesbok. After lunch we went in search of blesbok for Angela, after a couple of failed attempts Hans saw a small herd of blesbok walking up a path. He set up in the bushes and waited for a male, Angela made a one shot kill on her first animal a 15 ½ blesbok.

April 9 2011  today is a day off. We were just sitting on the sofa when Pieter asked me if I wanted to come for a drive. I said sure and went on an adventure checking waterholes and properties. This was one of my favourite days, thank you Pieter.

April 10 2011 today was our elephant back safari, this was a good day riding and interacting with the elephants.

April 11 2011 Today we were after waterbuck. This was a hard hunt, we saw a good one but only saw him once, so no waterbuck today.

April 12 2011 We were out for waterbuck again. Hans spotted the one we saw before. We stalked him for a while till he gave me a shot. I took it at around 130 - 140 yards but he didn’t drop. We found blood and tracked the blood for awhile and then we looked up and he was standing there but did not give me another shot. I think that last run wore him out and he laid down after about 100 yards more, a 28 ½ waterbuck down.

April 13 2011 Today was another side trip day as I had most of my animals I wanted to take. We went to the flee market at Hartebeesport dam. It is fun to argue over the price, that is the fun of going to the flee market, most times you have to start lower than half so you can pay half of what they are asking. They are very pushy here so don’t go if you don’t want to bargain for the items. That’s all part of the fun.

April 14 2011 Everyone else left today as we had booked 2 extra days for side trips. We said good bye and then off hunting for female wildebeest for a rug. Something spooked the wildebeest and we couldn’t get close in the morning. In the afternoon we had a herd of wildebeest 170+ yards away. Hans was spotting for one. Hans was telling me which one to shoot. He said do you see the big female in the middle walking away from us? I said did it just turn its head. Hans replied yes. I said are you sure? Hans said yes BANG blue female wildebeest down.

April 15 2011  was a relaxing day as we leave the next day

April 16 2011 Pieter drove us back to Afton as all the PH’s were out hunting with the next group. We got ready to go to Kruger Park, but that’s another story

RAY MILLER – Pennsylvania

Animals taken – Impala*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest*, 2 – Warthogs*, Kudu

DURAN KNAPP – Pennsylvania

Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu, Warthog*, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Waterbuck*, Red Hartebeest*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

(Ray) Loved the Gemsbok, Kudu and the cute warthogs!!!

CHRIS & ALLISON HOUSTON – Washington

Animals taken – Zebra (Allison’s first animal ever), Warthog, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, 2 – Impala*, Kudu (49 ½”)

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

This was their honeymoon.

KRISTIAN GAUTHUN – Norway

Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog, Kudu, Blesbok*, Steenbok*

THOR OALAND – Norway

Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Blesbok*, Waterbuck*, Steenbok

TERJE RISVOLL – Norway

Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog, Impala, Kudu, Blesbok*, Steenbok*

NILS ENDRESEN – Norway

Animals taken – Impala*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (51”). Warthog

FREDRIK ENDRESEN – Norway

Animals taken – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Warthog*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

MIKE & STEPHANIE MCKOIN – Pennsylvania

Animals taken – Steenbok*, Warthog*, Zebra, Blesbok, Duiker*, Red Hartebeest*, 2 – Impala*, Gemsbok

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

TONY & LORETTA HAFFNER – Kansas

Animals taken – Impala*, Red Hartebeest*, Warthog, Eland*, Kudu* (53 ¼”)

FRED & KANDI WASHBURN – Kansas

Animals taken – Kudu* (54 ¼”), Impala*, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog, Zebra, Blesbok*, Female Impala

DOUG & JANEL KYSAR – Kansas

Animals taken (Doug) – Nyala*, Eland*, Bushbuck*, Warthog*, Steenbok*

Animals taken (Janel) – Zebra, Warthog, Impala*, Blesbok*, Ostrich

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

(Tony) After our hunt with Cruiser’s in August 2009, I said we would be back. I didn’t think it was possible to have a better time than we had last time, but we sure did. This time we came with two other couples, which added to the fun.

Pieter and Lizelle have an outstanding operation. The PH’s, DelMarie, and the rest of the staff go above and beyond to try and do anything for you. For example the set of Big Five tile that Pieter and Lizelle went to the trouble to get for Loretta.

Craig was our PH this time and he did a wonderful job for us. I wanted a nice wide Impala and if possible a Kudu above 50”. He really came thru and found us a beautiful Impala and a great 53” Kudu. He also put me onto a really nice Red Hartebeest after stalking a waterhole just after daylight. One evening we were watching a waterhole where we had seen a nice Kudu bull just at dark the evening before. The Warthog I eventually shot came in, left, came back, fought with another pig and left. He came back a third time just before dark and Craig said it was too late for the Kudu and asked if I wanted the pig, I did, so I took him.

The Eland hunt was one I will always remember. We followed tracks and birds and Craig used his vast knowledge to finally find the Eland in brush so thick that we were 40yds from them and could only see an ear flick or a leg move. They moved off and we started to follow, catching up to them again and not able to see them well enough to tell if there was a bull in the bunch, let alone if there was a good one. The Eland moved off again and Craig said they are now going the direction we wanted and we would get one now. Yeah right, all I had seen so far was a piece of one here and there. Craig tracked them down and we saw the back 2/3’s of a bull in a little opening. The sticks went up but we could not get a look at his head before he walked out of sight. A few seconds later another bull walked into the opening and turned away from us. All I could see was his butt. Craig said he was a good one and to get ready as he was going to try and turn him, and if he turned to take him. I said I was ready and he shouted HEY!! Loud enough to wake the dead, and the bull turned and looked back giving me a quartering away shot. We found the bull about 40yds from where I had hit him.

The dinner table was always exciting, waiting to find out who would be Pieter’s next victim. One evening it was Pieter’s turn to be on the receiving end.

We had a wonderful time and are talking about coming back again. While you are there you feel like part of the family.

May

CARL JENSEN – Wisconsin

Animals taken – Zebra, Impala*, Warthog*, Red Hartebeest*, Kudu* (55”), Blesbok*. Blue Wildebeest*, female Blue Wildebeest

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

LON REHKOP – Missouri

Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, Waterbuck, 2 – Warthog*, Eland*, Steenbok, Zebra, Kudu* (50 ¾”), Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

(Lon’s Eland hunt) We came around a corner and spotted 2 Eland bulls crossing the road. We drove to where they were at, got out and started tracking them. We went about 150 yards and got upon them, with 5 other bulls. There was no shot and they took off. We started following them and chased them for about 10 minutes. They came across another road about 200 yards in front of us. I was out of breath from running. Craig put up the sticks and picked the large bull on the right which had cleared the rest of the herd. He braced my elbow and said shoot. Out of breath, I fired and the Eland herd was back off into the bush running again. He thought I hit it but I did not know. We were off after them. We started trying to track and/or find blood. This took 5 or 10 minutes. The Eland herd then ran across the road again about 300 yards away. This time there were only 6. Craig said get ready, because the other one may be trailing behind. He was right, and the critter crossed the road running. I fired again, reloaded and fired a third time. Then he was out of sight into the bush. We were off running again, but I could not keep up with a young PH. He got to where the bull ran into the bush well before me. When I finally got there, he came out of the bush and said "congratulations on a fine Eland". It had dropped dead just 10 yards off the road. I had connected on the first and second shots, but missed the third. What a magnificent animal, and true record book trophy that I had only dreamed about. What a blessing, and such a challenge for an old guy!

DON & SANDI CHRISTNER – Minnesota

Animals taken – Impala*, 2 – Warthog*, Gemsbok, Kudu

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

(Don’s Kudu hunt) Started the day walking into a water hole and spotted a small bull and other game. Then drove to 'rock mountain' (my name for it) and climbed to the top. Walked around the top glassing for animals. Dropped down the back side and hunted the bush for 2+ hours back to the truck. I had ankle surgery last month (after sitting on my butt since 2/24!) and was only out of my cast for 2 weeks at this point. It felt great to be out and about even though I twisted my ankle 4 times. I loved being able to work the bush and we saw three kudu cows. After lunch in the shade, we took a short nap and then decided to sit at a water hole where there were good tracks. After and hour and 15 minutes, Juan tugged on my shirt and whispered that there was a kudu cow to our left. I didn't move because I by now knew how spooky kudu can be. I strained to make my eyes rotate further to the left than is humanly possible and finally it walked into view. Turned out to be 4 cows with 3 calves. All of the cows and calves hadn't got to the water hole yet and when I looked straight ahead, I saw more coming in from in front of us. Juan said, "Here comes your bull" and I then saw a cow being pushed by a bull with very nice ivory tips, followed by an immature bull and a very young bull. As they approached, I'm not certain if Juan or I was breathing harder! We ended up with 11 kudu from 25 to 45 yards from us. Way too many eyes and those huge ears! I didn't think that there was anyway that I would be presented with a shot under the conditions. Juan kept telling me to wait, no movement, etc as there always seemed to be one or the other looking at us. Finally, the bull pushed his way forward, but then decided the cow was much more interesting. Cows and calves started fighting and leaving, so as the bull followed the cow to the left, Jon said to get ready. I could see that the youngest bull had us dead to rights, but I had to take the chance and get ready to shoot as they were starting to leave. The youngest bull spooked and all of the animals started wondering what's up. Juan said "Take him" as he stepped into a shooting lane. I broke both front legs and went through the lungs. He dropped instantly and there were kudu everywhere as I bolted in another shell. Juan told me to wait because of the number of kudu running around. After they cleared, he told me to shoot him again as he was struggling to gain his feet. Another shot and all was quiet. Again, I'm not sure who was happier, Juan or myself. Great way to end my hunt, put some miles on, lunched in the bush, and then had 11 kudu in front of me, beautiful.

JUSTIN & MICHELLE SATTERFIELD – Alaska

Animals taken – Warthog*, Kudu* (53 ¾”), Impala, Zebra

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

Justin & Michelle were married in Cape Town just before their safari.

STEVE PAIRMAN – Australia

Animals taken – 2 – Warthogs*, Impala*, Zebra, Kudu* (50 ¼”), 2 – female Blue Wildebeest

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

JOHN GUNNELS – Alabama

Animals taken – Impala*, Nyala*, Waterbuck*, Bushbuck*, Zebra

BILL & KELLEY HICKS – Alabama

Animals taken (Bill) – Gemsbok, 2 – Impala* and 1 Impala (one horn), Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (54 ¼”). Warthog*

Animals taken (Kelley) – Blesbok*, Warthog*, Zebra, Impala*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

(John): This was my second hunting trip with Cruiser Safaris. My first trip was in March 2009. I was planning this trip even before I had finished the first one. After going on a safari (especially hunting with Cruiser Safaris) Africa seems to get in your blood and you just can't get it out. Thoughts of Africa seem to stay with one every waking moment. It has been a long two years before my return. I thought nothing could surpass my trip in 2009 but I had no idea how wrong I could be. This is my story.

Sunday May 15th ---- I met two friends Bill and Kelly Hicks, who were going on this safari also, at the airport in Mobile around 11:00AM. We checked in our baggage and rifles with no problems. We left for Atlanta at 2:30PM and arrived around 4:30PM. After a three hour layover we boarded our plane (which was with Delta) and left around 8:00PM for the sixteen hour flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Monday May 16th ----We arrived in Johannesburg around 5:30PM. Customs and baggage claim were no problem (the rifles made it!) We were met by two people from the Afton Guest House in the main greeting area. The big sign with both of our names on it made it very easy to spot them. They then took us straight to the SAPS office. There were eight other hunters in the office when we arrived. After a HOUR we had our permits and were on our way to the Guest House. You can't beat staying here at the Afton Guest House after the long flight from the States. After being shown to our rooms (and a quick change of clothes) we were ready for dinner. Bill, Kelly, and I had a wonderful steak dinner ($25) and then since we were all beat we were ready for a good nights sleep. Around 8:00PM I heard a knock at my door. It was Johan from Cruisers. He had remembered me from my first trip. We were glad to see each other and we continued to talk for thirty to forty minutes. Then Steve and Dawn Klotz (who I made good friends with from my first trip and who were also going on this hunting trip) came walking down the hall toward my room. We continued to talk another thirty to forty minutes. We then retired to our rooms. So much for going to bed early. Oh well, it was fun.(:

Tuesday May 17th ---- Up at 5:30AM and met Johan, Bill, Kelly, Steve and Dawn for breakfast. Had a great breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee. We then loaded up the van and left around 8:00AM for the four hour drive to the lodge. Upon arrival we were met by Pieter (the owner) and DelMarie (the cook) with a cool fruit drink. Hand shakes, hugs, and greetings followed. We had a good lunch and then it was off to the firing range to check the rifles. All was good. Johan then took Bill, Kelly, and I on a photo drive to allow Bill and Kelly to see some of the animals that they were to hunt the next day. It was so much fun to see the excitement in their eyes as they watched the animals for the first time. That evening we had one of DelMarie's scrumptious dinners and later relaxed around the campfire before retiring to bed for tomorrow hunting begins.

Wednesday May 18th ----This trip I was using a Browning A-bolt 300 WSM with 165 gr. Barnes Triple-Shock bullets and a Nikon Monarch 2.5 - 10 x 50 scope. My guide for this hunt (as with my first one) was Hans. I awoke around 5:15AM, Hans and I ate breakfast, and we were off by 6:15AM. We went to a property to look for Bushbuck, Nyala, Waterbuck, Zebra and a very big Impala (25") if one showed himself. We started walking down the river, and had not been hunting but for thirty to forty-five minutes when Hans spotted a shoot able Bushbuck of around 14 inches. The Bushbuck couldn't have been more than thirty yards away and had no idea that we were there. We must have watched him for about five minutes while I was trying to decide whither to take him or not. Since we were only one hour into day one of a ten day hunt (and I wanted something a little bigger) I decided to let him walk. As we eased on through the bush I wondered if I had made the right decision. Only time would tell. Later that morning we were easing down a dim road when we came upon three warthogs with four babies. When we got with in twenty yards of the hogs the adults trotted off into the bush, but the babies held tight to the spot. We eased to within less than ten yards of the babies and stood there for at least a minute watching them. Then they scurried on to fine there mother. That was neat. Hans just grinned. For the afternoon hunt we went back to the same property. Nothing much happen this afternoon. Did see two male Impala fighting. That was interesting. Came back to the lodge and had a great dinner. At dinner Pieter crawled under the table, grabbed Dawn's ankle and yelled. She screamed and everyone had a good laugh. I relaxed by the fire for awhile and went to bed early to get a good nights rest for the next day.

Thursday May 19th ----We went back to the same property to look for Waterbuck and Bushbuck. We had not been on the property thirty minutes when Hans said "That's a MONSTER warthog! We need to get him." I said "Hans. I can't. My wife would never let me put a Warthog in our house." Hans said "But he's big! Really, really Big! I want him bad." I said “Hans I can't." Hans just laughed and shook his head as we drove on. From the first day of hunting until now Hans and I had seen about two hundred Impala. THEN, as we were slowly going down the road I looked to my left and spotted a really nice Impala. I showed him to Hans and Hans said "He's a very nice one. Could be over 24 inches. Do you want him?" I said no. We drove on for about 30 to 45 seconds and something told me that I needed to get that Impala. Then I told Hans "Let's go back and take that Impala." Hans told Frakkie to slow the truck to a crawl and he and I stepped off the side of the truck and started to ease down the road to the spot where we had last sighted the Impala in the bush. After about 20 to 30 minutes (while covering about 50 yards while Hans watched the Impala through his bino's the whole way) Hans slowly put up the shooting sticks. I placed my 300 WSM on them and Hans said "wait until he clears the brush into that little opening on the right and then take him" I watched the Impala through my scope. Hans and I stayed quite and motionless for about five minutes until finally the Impala stepped into the opening. I eased the trigger on my Browning 300 SWM and the rifle fired. I expected the Impala to drop, but he just STOOD THERE! Hans said “Shoot him again!" I chambered another round and fired. The Impala kicked up his hind legs, ran less than 15 yards and was down. How (I don't know) my first shot missed at about 30 yards, but my second shot hit him in the heart. After the first shot the Impala had no idea where we were or what had just happened, so he just stood there. The second shot got him. Hans and I were walking up to my Impala and Hans said with a big grin "He's a really big one. We better be glad we came back to get this one. I didn't want to tell you earlier." Hans measured the horns and they were 25 3/4 by 25 5/8 inches with bases both at 5 5/8 inches. I had just shot a gold medal Impala! Hans told me that he would be around eight to nine years old. Hans said again "He's a really good one." Hugs, hand shakes, and pictures followed. We then took the Impala back to camp. If I had shot the big Warthog earlier in the morning we would never have seen this Impala. Thus is hunting. The afternoon hunted ended with a missed chance at a 26 inch Nyala. Could not get the shot because of shadows falling in the thick bush where the Nyala was standing. All in all a very good day in the bush.

Friday May 20th ----This morning we went to a different property which was along the same river that we hunted yesterday. We were again looking for Bushbuck and Nyala. Early in the morning we saw four Nyala (two females and two males). Hans said "We need to take a look at the two males." We slipped off the truck and eased through the bush. After watching them for about twenty minutes Hans said "We can do better. We did good. We watched them for awhile and they never knew we were there." It was now around 8:00AM. The rest of the morning was slow. I mean SLOW! We did not see a thing for about three hours. Then all of a sudden Hans had Frakkie stop the truck, through his bino's and said "BIG Nyala. Let’s go!" We stepped off the truck and Frakkie continued down the road to keep the Nyala tuned in on the truck. Within thirty seconds Hans set up the shooting sticks and I was on them. I had the Nyala in my scope at about 80 yards, but he was behind some brush. Hans said "Wait till he steps clear, and then take him." He cleared and my 300 WSM fired. The Nyala kicked up his hind legs and ran. We hurried to the spot where the Nyala stood and started looking for blood. Hans said "He's hit hard. We will find him." Just then we saw the Nyala, but he got up from where he was laying and took off like a bolt of lighting. Hans said "Give me your gun. Too thick for two people. We won't do anything but push him. You go back to the truck and get Frakkie. We don't want him to get away. I said "ok." I just got back to the truck and we heard Hans fire. I told Frakkie "He got him." Just then we saw the Nyala fly across the road about 50 yards in front of us. He crashed through the brush for about sixty seconds, and then all was silent. I told Frakkie "He's down." We then began to track him. It is simply amazing to watch Hans and Frakkie track an animal. They tracked my Nyala for about 45 minutes spotting tracks, small broken single twigs on bushes, massed down grass, and small drops of blood ever so often. Hans said "I hope I shot the right one." Then a few minutes later Hans found my Nyala. Hans turned around with a grim look on his face and said “I shot the wrong one." I said "No way!!" Hans and Frakkie laughed and we admired my Nyala. My shot had been low and Hans shot had hit the hind quarter. A lot of hugs, hand shakes, and pictures followed. Hans was really excited. He said "He's really a old, old bull. Should be ten or eleven years old." Hans measured the horns and found them to be 27" by 27 1/2" with bases of 8 1/4" by 8 3/4". A beautiful old Nyala bull! We loaded him up and headed back to camp. Lunch never tasted so good. For the afternoon hunt we went to another property to hunt along the "Big river" for Waterbuck. No luck this afternoon, but we did see a 55 inch Kudu and a pack of about thirty mongoose. They were slipping down the river bank and came within five yards of us before they knew we were there. Several of the mongooses stood up, looked at us and then decided to go along their merry way. They were simply beautiful. Another great day in the bush.

Saturday May 21st ----This morning we went back to the first property to look for Bushbuck and Waterbuck. No Luck, but we did see another shooter Kudu of from 52 to 53 inches.For the afternoon hunt we went back to yesterdays property in search of Bushbuck and Waterbuck. Hans and I left the truck and start hunting to the river bank while Frakkie drove back to the other side of the river. As soon as we got to the river bank Hans looked across the river and spotted three female Kudu and two Kudu bulls. Hans looked through his bino's and said “One is a good bull about 53 inches, but the other one is a MONSTER around 58 to 59 inches!" I looked at the bull through my scope and told Hans "Call Pieter on the radio and see if he will allow me to take this Kudu. If he will I will forget my Waterbuck." While Hans was trying to get Pieter on the radio I changed my mind. I told Hans “Don’t call Pieter. That Kudu will make another hunter really, REALLY, happy. I want my Waterbuck. We looked at the Kudu one last time before starting on up the river. As we were tip-toeing I said a prayer. I said "Lord. Please allow me to take my Waterbuck on this river with Hans. This is such a beautiful place. If you allow this I will remember it for the rest of my life. Amen." Then as we eased up the river, it wasn't five minutes; Hans looked ahead of us, spotted a Waterbuck about 30 yards away and said “He’s the one." Hans dropped to his knees and said “shoot off my shoulder NOW!" I placed the rifle on Hans shoulder, found the Waterbuck in my scope and fired. The Waterbuck dropped like a ton of bricks. This whole episode took about five seconds. Hans and I jumped up, hugged, and we both yelled "He's down. He's down." My body was just tingling because of the prayer I said earlier. We walked up to my Waterbuck and Hans said "He's a VERY old bull. Maybe twelve years old. He's a very good bull with good bases." That's when I told Hans about my prayer. He was just speechless. Hans then pulled out the measuring tape and measured my bull. He was 26 inches on each side with 9 inch bases. Hans said "He's a very good old bull." Another record book trophy. Now we had to get him to the other side of the river. Hans and I rolled him over the edge and into the river. We called Frakkie to come to the other side. Frakkie crossed the river and barefoot they began to roll my Waterbuck to a sand bar in the middle of the river. I went barefoot to the truck and got my video camera and captured it all on film. We took pictures on the sand bar in the middle of the river. That was special. Hans and Frakkie winched the line to the sand bar and attached the Waterbuck. As Hans winched the bull across the river the dead weight of the Waterbuck caught in the sand bar and Hans yelled "Oh No!" as the rear of the truck was pulled off the edge of the bank and into the river. We were STUCK! We had to radio Pieter to come winch us back on to the bank. Pieter soon arrived, we were back on the bank, load up my Waterbuck, and we were on our way back to camp. Believe you me that river water on bare feet was COLD. I will never forget taking pictures barefoot in the middle of the river. A fabulous day in the bush.

Sunday May 22nd ----Missed a chance at a MONSTER Bushbuck. The brush was really thick, I couldn't get the shot, he winded us, and he was gone. Hans said he would have been over 17 inches. We were both just sick. If I could have had a couple seconds more, but then that's hunting. ):

Monday May 23rd ----The morning hunt was uneventful. We did see a large female warthog with what Hans said would be 14 inch tusks. Hans said they don't shoot females because they are for breeding. She was really something to see.

This afternoon Pieter sent us to a new property for Bushbuck that was yet to be hunted. He told Hans to have Frakkie jump the gate of the property and go get the key. We arrived at the property, Frakkie jumped the gate, was gone twenty minutes, and came back saying no one was at the house to get the key. Hans then called Pieter to find out what to do. Pieter told Hans for us to go back to where I shot my Nyala to hunt for Bushbuck. I told Hans "there may be a reason why we couldn't hunt the first property and had to go back here". Hans said "Maybe." We would soon find out. We drove for a short while on the property when we made a right turn on the road to start going down the river, when Hans looked on the opposite side of the river and said "BIG Bushbuck! Let’s go!" We slid off the side of the truck while it was still moving and quickly headed to our side of the river. Hans was running to the river bank with me right behind him. When we got to the edge we both saw the buck on the other bank. Hans said "No time for the sticks. Shoot off my shoulder." We both dropped to our knees, I placed the rifle on Hans shoulder, and I had the Bushbuck in my scope only to watch him walk behind a big patch of brush. He had heard the truck! Hans quickly motioned for Frakkie to go on down the road to keep the buck focused on the truck. Hans said "He will come out on the other side of the brush. Just wait and then take him." We waited for what must have been two minutes. Hans said later I was saying the whole time “Come on boy. Just show yourself. Just show yourself." Finally, the Bushbuck slowly cleared the brush. I pulled the trigger and my 300 WSM fired. I asked Hans "Where did he go?" Hans jumped up and started yelling "He's down! He's down!" Hugs and hand shakes followed. For the second time in six days I had to cross a river barefooted to recover an animal and pictures were taken barefooted in the middle of a river on a sand bar. While we were on the sand bar Hans measured my Bushbuck and found the horns to be 13 7/8" and 13 3/8" with bases being 5 1/2" and 5 1/4". A beautiful record book Bushbuck. In six days I been lucky enough to see three record book Bushbucks and I took the third. That doesn't happen very often. We loaded up the Bushbuck in the truck and headed back to camp. We were back early so the rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing.

Tuesday May 24th ----This day I did not hunt. All of the group went to the game park, to see the lion cubs, and to do some shopping. In the game park at one point we were surrounded by Elephants. That was exciting and could have been dangerous. Wonderful pictures were taken.

Wednesday May 25th ----This morning we went to hunt for Zebra. We had driven for a little while when we came to a large field. There were Zebra, but there were also Wildebeest, Kudu, Impala, and Warthog. Hans said "Too many eyes. We are not even going to try." So we drove on. About an hour later Hans spotted more Zebra. Hans and I got off the truck and began our stalk. We eased through the bush for about twenty minutes when we heard the Zebra run off. Hans turned and said "The wind." We started to walk back to the truck when we heard two male Zebra bark. Hans said "Let's go." We followed the barks for at least an hour when Hans spotted movement up ahead. He quickly set up the shooting sticks and said "Get ready." Hans soon sighted the Zebra and asked "Do you see him?" The Zebra stallion was about 30 yards away looking straight at us. I said "Yes." Hans asked “Can you get through the small opening for the front of his neck?" The Zebra was standing behind a little brush. I said "Yes." I placed my crosshairs on the bottom of the Zebra's neck and fired. The Zebra dropped in his tracks and Hans yelled and did a dance that only Hans could do. My wife now had her Zebra rug. After seven days of a ten day hunt my hunting was done. We were back at camp before 10:30AM.

Thursday May 26th thru Friday May 27th ----I just relaxed at camp, went shopping one more day, and spent time with Bill, Kelly, Steve, Dawn, and the other PH's. I also, packed for the long flight back to the States.

Saturday May 28th ----We made the four hour drive back to Johannesburg, went by Highveld Taxidermists, and then waited at the airport to board our flight with Delta to leave Africa for a second time.)

In closing I would like to thank Pieter for a truly well ran Safari destination, DelMarie for her excellent cooking, and Johan, Craig, and John for their superb treatment of me even though they were not my PH. I would like to thank all the staff for the wonderful care of my room and my laundry. The water bottle in my bed each night was a nice touch. You can not go wrong with choosing Cruiser Safaris for your African safari. Most of all I want to thank Hans. This man has given me two unforgettable Safaris to Africa (the second one being even better than the first). All of my animals this trip will make the SCI Record Books. Hans with his personality and his ability has given me memories that I will take to my grave. I have made a true friendship that will last forever. I will think of him often until I return. Yes, Hans has made me want to return for a third trip. Hans, until then ----- Thank You.

Highlights (Kelley): Sunday May 15, 2011- My parents brought us to the Mobile airport at 11:30 AM. We met John and Diana Gunnells there. We checked our luggage in and rifles in, then talked with the Gunnels. Diana left, and the three of us went to eat lunch upstairs, then went to the gate for Atlanta! We left Mobile at about 2:15, so it was about 4PM when we arrived there. In Atlanta we had a layover. We ate at Chiles, and went to the international gate. We boarded the Delta 777 for a 15-16 hour flight for Johannesburg. We did not sleep at all. We watched 3 movies, ate about three small meals and arrived in Johannesburg on Monday.

Monday, May 16, 2011- at about 8pm (their time, which was 7 hrs ahead of our time...when it's 2pm in Mobile, it's 9pm in Ellisras/Limpopo). John sat in the seat in front of us. There was a man and woman who met us at the airport from the Afton House Bed and Breakfast (where we stayed that night). They took us to SAPS office in the airport to get our permits for our rifles, which was a little confusing because we couldn't understand if we were supposed to fill out one set of paperwork or two, since we had two rifles. But we made it through it okay, but I was so tired from lack of sleep, and my left ankle that I had broken in December was as fat as a 400 pound woman's foot from not being able to elevate it for the 16 hour flight! After a 20 minute drive to the Afton House, it was raining a little...we brought our bags up to our room, went down to the kitchen for a beer; Their cook fixed us a nice steak, scalloped potatoes, salad and bread...a young, just married couple from Alaska, was eating in the quaint Dining area with us. They had just arrived from the hunting camp, so we got to hear a lot of adventures that we would be doing in our next ten days!! It was fun hearing about what they had done... Their PH was Johan who we were going to have! Then we snuck off to bed, and John waited up to see Dawn and Steve Klotz who arrived at about 9:30 PM at the airport. We slept great that night.

Tuesday May 17, 2011- We ate breakfast with everyone and met Dawn and Steve. John had met them on his last trip two years ago! After a fantastic breakfast Johan drove us to Ellisras, which took about 4 1/2 hours. We got to Cruiser Safaris at around 2pm...where we would stay for ten days! We unloaded our luggage, etc...and we sighted in the rifles that afternoon. I had a lot of difficulty trying to hit the target!....Bill did great. Johan made some alterations to my settings, and we all laughed, talked as though we have known each other for years. I knew right then that we were going to be having a wonderful time!!!

May 18, 2011 Tuesday- We went out today at 6:30. The first day I had BIGTIME anxiety in the tall grass. Needless to say I think I actually had my very first PANIC ATTACK of my life that morning!!! I was holding on to Bill's shirt and stepping all over his heals. He did not realize that I was not just crying wolf...I was petrified, and luckily Dawn had told me that it was okay to sit with the driver. After I realized that Bill wasn't taking me seriously, I told Johan how PETRIFIED that I was about snakes and that I wanted to go sit in the land rover and chill out!! In about an hour we drove over to the area that Bill had taken his first South African animal, a Gemsbok. I was so excited for him! Johan kept us on the open roads that afternoon, and I put my snake guards on!!! I took my impala that afternoon. Bill stood back because our boots were real noisy. We went after to find Johan’s jacket, and I stayed in cruiser with Dubby and Monsu. It was thundering when they got back.

May 19, 2011-Wednesday- Bill and Johan went to some new land about 1 1/2 hours away in the beautiful mountains. Bill. Johan, and Monsu were the first group to ever go from CS!! I regretted not going when he came and woke me up from my 1 hour long nap at 10:30 AM!!! A huge kudu; Should make record books...they had to climb up mountainous rocks about 40 feet up. It was cool weather there in shade! They saw a lot of baboons (like monkeys). We had a great lunch cooked by Dell Marie, AKA Tiny...then back out to hunt a wildebeest, but it was very windy, and the winds messed us up.

Sunday May 22, 2011-We left at 6:15 this morning. I missed two shots on.....

Afternoon: we were stocking an impala...the wind was blowing and he just walked right in to the woods (bush). Then Johan heard a warthogs teeth clacking together. He whipped out binoculars, and said he is a "Monsta"!!! "We have to shoot him!" There was a wire fence, railroad tracks, and then another fence. Well, Bill said that he wasn't going to climb it...so I said I would! I climbed after Johan . Then he set up the tripod in the gravel by the tracks, which we set my 270 rifle on. Bill watched from the other side of the fence...he saw the tripod go down when I was about to shoot the monster warthog. Well needless to say I missed the first shot, and Johan said it's okay, reload and shoot him to the right of his Arss, so I did! He whipped out his pistol and shot him too just to make sure he didn't go far. So we either had to climb the second fence or go under it...so I told him that I was going to go under it (on my stomach) through the warthog hole that was dug! He hesitated and almost went under, then he said, with all of this ear, phone, walkie talkie, gun...he climbed the fence! Johan started running after the hog, and I followed him. He thought the hog was going to get up and run. But fortunately, we found him in some bush, not to far either! He said my shot killed him!

Bill had shot one horned impala (right) from the rocks at 244 yards on the 23rd and my Blesbok at 175 yards. Sitting along the fence line one evening at sunset was so relaxing...The 2 South African sunsets on the Rocks were great! I thank Johan for his great sense of humor, we laughed with him so much! Loved following the warthogs! Even the ride to Highveld was exciting, LOL...with Craig!!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011-Johan took our group to Marakele Park today. Saw elephants and Giraffes at the park. Had a nice picnic with everyone. Then went to see the Lions! There were 2 baby cub lions that we got to play with! They were 3 1/2 months old and weighed approx 17 pounds. We had so many cool in all of our Hunts! Also the food , hospitality, Pieter's pranks(even the salt in my pockets and our drinks and food!!). Made it so much fun!! Oh and we can't forget about our 13th wedding anniversary; how special it was...Pieter went to town and bought us flowers ,chocolates, strawberries, and Champagne; which was such an awesome surprise for Bill and I. Del Marie's personal attention, Amalia was so fun to talk with, and Craig's wife had some great jewelry for sale. It took us at least 2 months to get our lives back to reality...not a day goes by that we don't think of you ALL!!!!! We had a SUPER TIME!!!!! We hope we get to go back and reunite with y'all. THANK YOU FOR MAKING IT A TRIP OF A LIFETIME!!!!!!

STEVE & DAWN KLOTZ – Missouri

Animals taken (Steve) – Bushbuck*, Nyala*, Zebra, Waterbuck*, female Impala

Animals taken (Dawn) – Gemsbok*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

(Steve): They did it again! Our second visit to Cruiser Safaris proves to be just as good, no, better than the first! It was just like a homecoming meeting with old friends. Ah, memories that will last a lifetime...

After the plane ride everyone grumbles about, stepping foot on solid ground felt darn good, especially after being delayed ON THE PLANE for an additional 5 hours due to the weather and mechanical problems. The Afton reps, Maurice and Anna really helped streamline our arrival at Jo-Burg airport. A short 10 minute van ride, and we were at the Afton. On the way to our room we met up with John from Mobile and Johan from Cruiser. We met John on our last trip and planned this trip together with him along with his friend Bill and Bills wife Kelley. Off to bed right away. Johan wants to be on the road by 9 am. So do we! Got to the kitchen the next morning at 7:30. John was there talking over a cup of coffee with Annelise from the Afton. We soon met Bill and Kelley, ate, loaded up our gear and headed out. A couple of stops and 3 1/2 hours later we were there. We were greeted by DelMarie the camp chef, who showed us to our rooms. We helped unload our bags from the van to our rooms and headed to the dining area for lunch. Pieter, Craig and Hans arrived soon after. So nice to see familiar faces...After lunch we sighted in the rifles. We all talked during the afternoon, had a very nice dinner, as all are, and settled around the fireplace for a little more visiting. We then met PH John and his hunting client Steve from Australia, who had just come in from the bush. Still a little pooped, we headed off to bed in high anticipation of what the morning hunt would bring. We headed out with Craig to hunt Bushbuck and Waterbuck at 6 am. Reality really hit that first morning when the rifle was loaded up, and we were jumping off the truck. We "still" hunted along a beautiful river in search of a Bushbuck. This is Craig’s favorite place and I can see why. We had walked in maybe a mile or so seeing many different Warthogs, Impala, Eland, Vervet monkeys and 3 Bushbuck. One of the Bushbuck being a buck that was too small. We continued along the river another 1/4 mile or so, and Craig spotted 2 more Bushbuck at about 120 yards. A female, and YES!, a shooter buck! He set up the sticks and re- positioned 3 times until we got in place for a shot. The doe kept herself in front of him, until finally stepping back a foot or two for me to get a clean shot. She was still blocking his back half, but we had a good sight of his front quarters, which made me a bit nervous......On the sticks, Craig’s' all familiar words came quietly in a whisper " when you're ready, take the shot". In seconds my rifle spoke, and down went the buck. Like a flash Craig was running at top speed toward the buck to make sure he was indeed down, as there was high grass in between, and seeing him down was not possible at 120 yards. I followed Craig at what seemed like 45 mph on foot, and in a split second ....CRAIG WAS GONE!! I had been only 5 yards behind him. Still at full stride, I look down and see Craig sliding hands and head first for a full 10 feet or more on his belly, in the wet dewy grass as if body surfing...AND ENJOYING IT!...Just as quick as he was down, legs never stopping, he was back on his feet at full speed like it never happened. Do they teach this stuff in PH school?? The buck was down at the spot he was hit. Craig figured him to be 15 years old and a "scrapper”, given his scars. We later discovered Craig had landed in an old grown-over warthog hole. Thankfully he was fine. We headed back to camp after many pictures by the river at Craig’s favorite place....and it's only 8:30 on the first morning! I think this concession has become my favorite place too.....

We had the honor to have taken a Bushbuck, Nyala, Zebra, Waterbuck, ewe Impala, and a Gemsbok. Dawn shot her first ever animal which was the Gemsbok. Without the help of Craig, Johan, and Craig’s hound Blue, we would have lost it. We owe them many thanks, sooo...Thank you for your dedicated determination to hunt and find a wounded animal. You are true professionals and should be darn proud of it.

Dinner time was always an interesting experience. What would it be tonight? Ice cube in a pocket? Missing silverware that was just there? Vinegar in your coke? Extra salt on the tomatoes? Extra pepper in the pudding? A lap dance from Tiny??? That will be hard to top!

We left after a very short 10 days with the promise to return to rekindle friendships and make new ones alike. To all at Cruisers: Thank you for the memorable moments, the laughs, the camaraderie and friendship. Your sincerity is admirable.

Steve’s highlights and observations:

-the sights and sounds of all the different birds

-the PH's conversing in Afrikaans

-the sunsets outside the dining room window

-the beating of the drum

-the delicious cuisine prepared tirelessly by DelMarie

-the smile on her face as we enjoyed it

-the fact thatched roofs really don't leak

-the hot water bottle at our feet at bedtime

-PH John grilling steaks to perfection

-the beauty of the animals

-meeting new friends, reuniting with old ones

-the number of stars there actually are in the night sky

-the fresh air

-ticks love human company when wearing no deet

-the herd of waterbuck that didn't know we were there at 20 yards

-hearing my heart beat just before the shot

-the look on Dawns face as she approached her downed Gemsbok

-Pieter’s laugh

-Johan’s giggle

-Craig’s smile

-the lump in my throat the day we left

-the joy in the thought of returning

-time flies in South Africa

(Dawn): There are so many great memories from our afari it is hard to put them into words. Pieter's jokes at the dinner table are so funny! Coming back a second time we felt like we never left. Everyone remembered us and we were very comfortable in camp. I wish we could have stayed longer than 10 day's. DelMarie’s cooking was excellent as usual! We were all talking about seeing if she could come home with us!! I mustered up the courage to hunt one animal this time around and got a Gemsbok. I was very lucky. I made a bad shot (to high) and Craig, Johan and Blue had to help me. It took three shots, but it was finally mine. Of course Craig had a great time putting blood on my forehead showing that it was my first kill. We plan on coming back to see our Cruiser Safari Family in three years.

KEAVIN NELSON – Pennsylvania

Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, Gemsbok*, Kudu, Warthog, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

May 28th Well the long plane ride is finally over, we touch down at 8am sharp in J-burg. A quick trip to passport control – no issues then out to baggage. My bags were some to the first off of carousel 7, which was great, but…… then couldn’t find the place to sign for the gun, no sign, or anything. So I went on through and met Craig immediately. First thing he asked was if I had signed for the gun, explained no, couldn’t find it, no-one to ask. So he took me to the police counter, explained my predicament, and a very congenial officer took me back through security, the back way. Back to the gun sign up place – by the time we arrived, there are gun cases sitting at the end of the hall way, and a number of hunters waiting. It is right across from the end of carousal 8, I had walked right by it, but there were no guns, no signs, and no police or hunters. I simply had come through too quick. In any event it was taken care of very quickly, I signed the book and back we went. As instructed I had the permit application filled out, and the gun was there, so it took only a few minutes to get it. BUT, as suggested I checked all the numbers, they had gotten the gun serial number wrong – they had written a Z as a 7. I think an honest mistake, and they immediately corrected it, but not sure what the outcome might have been if I hadn’t caught it. Off we go to the van. Then to Afton House to pick up the other hunters. Two couples from Canada, and a father and son from Mississippi. Loaded all the gear and the vegetables for our feasting in the week to come. About 3 ½ hours later we arrive at the lodge to a nice welcome, settle into the rooms, out to the range to check the guns. By now it is about 2:30 and the question comes out if we would like to go out. Ok, this is like a kid on Christmas morning, no way yours truly was going to sit in the lodge even though it is an extra half day fee if I take an animal. So Juan and I are off, pick up Issac the driver/tracker at the gate to the ranch and we go to one of the hunting properties. Going in we see Gemsbok, Impala, Warthogs. Up on the hunt truck with Issac driving, we slowly cruise on the bush roads and spot a herd of Impala. Off Juan and I go on the stalk. They are very wary, but Juan spots a nice ram. After maybe twenty minutes of hide and seek, crab walking (did a lot of that in the days to come), and then a bit of on our knees we get up close enough (can’t get closer, too much open and other eyes on us). It is about 80 yards and we are kneeling. Juan tells me to put the gun over his shoulder and with a little wait until we have a good broadside shot, with nothing behind, tells me to take it. It goes down to stay, but still kicking. So we carefully move up on it, circling around to come in from behind so he can’t see us, and maybe spook up. A second shot finishes it. It is 3:45 and I have my first African trophy, a beautiful 21 ½” Impala ram. As we set up to take pictures, two more Impala rams come in, get into a head banging session, then an aerial leaping demonstration and are off in a flash! Dinner is great, roast buffalo, and somehow I know this trip isn’t going to be a weight loss experience. Del- Marie is truly a great cook.

Monday – Day 2 – up very early, but I don’t have my ShXXX together so we are the last out of lodge. We will get better organized. Out to a different property of about 3500 acres. We are looking for Gemsbok today. We spend the morning cruising a little, then after sighting a group of three or four, we put on a stalk, only to get busted by a group of warthogs. Off everything goes, so we start looking again. We spot a pair, and start into a talk, only to lose them in the bush. Further into the bush we go, doing what I call sneak hunting, very slow, wind into our face, perfect. But these huge animals just disappear like ghosts. We slow walk the trails, bush roads, for uite a while and miles. Spotting several other Gemsbok, but nothing of note. Back to the truck, and a bit more slow cruising, and spot a herd of Blue Wildebeest, hey change of plans. It is becoming clear to me, that flexibility is the thing to have here. Issac slows to almost stop and we step off, crouching around the back as he moves off. Into the bush to circle around downwind from the Wildebeests. Maybe 15 minutes we work out to see if we can spot them, they are gone, back to the bush to try and pick up a track but not sure of where they went. So back to the rig. It is now getting toward noon, and lunch/siesta time which feels good with the walking we have done this morning. At about 2pm we set out for the afternoon hunt. Cruising more bush road, haven’t been on the same one twice. Standing in the back the view into the bush is decent, but it is thick and still quite a bit of foliage on the trees (which all seem to have thorns). Juan takes us in his secret back way into a favorite area, I see why, with the cover and such. Working into the wind, Juan wanders into a very large web, with an ugly looking spider. Thought I might have to cut him down (Juan, not the spider). The wind is swirling, making it difficult to keep a good direction, we work around and eventually back to the truck. Cruise a bit more, and spot three Gemsbok. Sneak off the truck and again off into the edge of the bush to put on a stalk. I would guess they were 300 yds. off when we spotted them. The wind is right so we work closer. After a bit we pop out to have a look, they are now with a group of Blesbok, but we still see two. So back into the bush for the stalk closer, into the wind. Move around into the open at what we think should put us in range, and now we have the Blesbok, two Gemsbok and a group of warthog, a lot of commotion. The Gemsbok have moved into the bush, but we can see the three, and the one is a big bull, nice horns. But with the other animals milling around, no shot at anything. The Gemsbok start to move off, because the Warthogs have spotted us and are moving. So we fall back to stay upwind of the Gemsbok, watching them go slowly through the bush back to our right. We track with them, stopping several times to look, up and keep moving with them, then further into the bush to get closer. Crabbing, then down to look through the bush, up again and forward very slowly, and then there is the bull. Back down again, crabbing, down and finally, once again off of Juan’s shoulder, he says straight up the leg, about 1/3 up the shoulder and take him when it feels right. I get my breath, and squeeze it off – it drops like a stone. Up to him very cautiously, as he is thrashing a bit, and those horns would spear you straight through. He quickly expires and I have my second trophy, a wonderful 36 ¼” Gemsbok – these are truly beautiful animals, very majestic, stunning with their spear like horns and the contrasting black and white markings on the face. I now get a very insightful lesson in the golden triangle, or kill zone on most African game. As it turns out, exactly where I put the shot. Pictures, then we load it on the truck and back to the farm. Another great dinner, Kudu stew is the highlight – very tasty.

Day 3 – I have my act together and ready to go at 6am as we are off to the mountain property after a Kudu – my dream hunt.  Although the paved highways are pretty good here, the secondary roads can be VERY rough. It is about 2 hours to the property, and as we get farther north the mountains ome into view. Although not our Rockies, they clearly have some very steep faces to them. We arrive at the ranch and are greeted by the keeper. We are joined by an observer and as it turns out another great set of eyes. What has amazed me is the ability of Juan and Issac to spot game in the bush. I know it is in part their experience at knowing what to look for, but still very impressive. We move out into the bush which is dense, following the trails, spotting from the back. After about an hour of cruising Issac spots the first Kudu – up on the hill, off we come, spotting. Not far off, but cover is dense, the bull is actually coming toward us, Juan says it is good, but no shot – I am on the tripod, swiveling with the bull’s movement. Doesn’t stop, waiting for it to cross the trail but it turns off at the last minute, and then it is gone. And my heart is going about 100! Back to cruising, and another spot on a bull, in the bush. We get off, but never really get a good view, or spot on him. Go into the bush, but it is noisy with quite a bit of gravel. We try sneaking around a bit into the breeze, toward where the bull was spotted but no luck. Back to the truck. Cruising on the trail down into the valley, doubling back around, and they spot one up on the side. All out, and looking, I finally locate it in the shade with Juan’s help, standing broadside, everything open but the head/horns. We watch, wait, I can see the shadow of the horns across his back, Juan says it is 194 yds., can I hit it – no problem – wait for another look at the horns, but it doesn’t happen, he moves completely behind the bush. We wait, and then Juan decides to send Issac in to push the bull. In the meantime our observer has walked about 30 yds. down the trail and spots another bull, this one in the bush down on the flat. Juan goes and looks, tells me to bring the sticks and I move, set up – find it in the scope, but all I can see is part of the neck. I don’t like neck shots. The shoulder is behind bush, and I don’t like that either, in the meantime it moves, coming at us around to our right – no shot – about this time the bull on the hill side decides to come out, we move back up the trail, set up to see it jogging across the hill side, I follow it, but it doesn’t stop, then…….disappears! At this point I could use a little nerve tonic! Load back up and set off, we go for quite a bit and see another bull, but it is gone off before anyone gets a good look. This is number five! We keep cruising around back toward the lodge, some very steep inclines here, and at one point we pile out to let them drive up, not risking being in it if it slides. These folks are all very safe. And then another bull is spotted, in the flats and close, we are both out my side crouching, as Issac drives away, scooting up the trail we are down on knees looking. I lose track of the bull, Juan sits and I am behind him, gun on his shoulder – but I can’t see the bull, “he is right there, pointing, I can’t see it”. Juan takes the barrel in his hand and guides it toward the bull, can’t see it, not sure what Juan said, but clearly he was frustrated, then I see it, the face in the bush, unmistakable chevrons on its nose, looking at me – but that is it, I can’t see another thing – Juan says six inches below his chin – I get my breath, squeeze it off, and it disappears. I have never shot an animal that I could see so little of. But you have to trust the PHs as they are what control your destiny in this. And somewhere in all of this my back goes out! I go to get up and almost can’t, use the rifle to push up with, and hobble behind Juan into the bush after the Kudu, which is lying where I shot it. No finishing shot required. A beautiful majestic 48 ½ granddaddy – old bull according to Juan. But I am in serious pain, and I go for the Advil once the truck is there. Fortunately for me and Juan, it is accessible by truck, so no quartering and packing. Pictures taken, and loaded we are out, and I am in the Advil again. I grimace all the way back to the lodge. The folks here are immediately in help mode, DelMarie gets me cold packs and hot water bottles, Pat brings by Brad who has had back problems too, and has Naproxen, Amalia gets me the stick on hot patches and Craig comes by to ask if I would like some pain killers, YES!, and goes to get Wade, the hunter from Mississippi who turns out to be a doctor. He has some Oxy, which I gladly accept. Between that, the hot/cold pack, and some Advil, by morning  I am mobile and keep my back belt on (I had it on when it went out), get up, very hot shower, breakfast, a very slow walk around camp with the camera. Spent the afternoon, writing, and napping with hot/cold packs on.

Day 5 –in deference to my back, we decide to take an easy day and hunt warthogs from a blind. This could be interesting. We settle in and watch – I have the camera and the big lens, so lots of pictures – warthogs, nothing big, waterbucks, impala, more little piggy’s. Then, a beautiful Impala comes in, Juan says it is big, I am clicking away with the camera, “that is a very nice Impala, says Juan”, click click click, “if you don’t shoot it I will” – now he has my attention, I put down the camera, up the rifle, and it is over quickly. To my surprise it runs, (everything else has dropped so far) – but not far, maybe 50 yds. And Juan finds it quickly. A very sparse blood train in spite of a solid shot. This is a beautiful mature Impala that will measure 26 5/16” which depending on the base measure will make the book. I am a very happy camper! We leave the food/ gear in the blind, take the Impala back to lodge and back out to sit. We have one nice hog come in, and I dally taking pictures, pick up the gun, but it is gone. Then the wind starts to swirl, and animals come in and leave, funny the hogs seem almost the most sensitive to our sent, the Waterbucks the least. Four cows come in, and wander around. A number of lesser Impala, and one nice one, which interests Juan, but he declines the loan of my rifle. The wind gets worse and we decide to go cruise. We head down toward the river, and get out to walk. About a ½ mile into it, Juan spots a nice warty and I take him – maybe 60 yards, one shot and it is down. Old gnarly with about 9” tusks. This is definitely a skull mount. Back to the lodge. Gemsbok filet on the brae for dinner – wonderful!

Day 6 - We are out early for Wildebeest. Very cold, up on the truck just at sunrise, and I thought I was back in PA. We cruise for a while, and then head to the water hole where there is a hide. Set up and see quite a few animals, wartys, Impala, blesbok, hartebeest……… Then the wind starts to swirl, and won’t stop. We see nothing else, and at about 10 we go to find the truck. Cruise and come across fairly fresh Wildebeest spore. We circle down wind and go in after them. More tracks and spore. We hear them, and Juan spots them about 80 yards off in the bush, but they are moving and apparently in spite of our stealth, they have us. We see them no more. Back to the truck, and lunch/siesta. We decide to try the waterhole again. We find fresh spoor at the waterhole, obviously after we left. Juan and Issac build a hide, and we set up, the wind is right. We see the typical selection of warthog, impala, etc. and a very impressive Waterbuck. Very tempting, but I pass. The wind shifts, we change hides, it shifts again, swirling. No animals. We stay until about 4 and head out as it doesn’t want to settle down. Cruise for the rest of the afternoon with nothing significant. The first day out that I haven’t shot, but plenty of time left.

Day 7 – I elect to go to town with the Canadian folks for a bit of shopping. One very nice African shop and I pick up a few things. Back to the lodge by 11:30, and lunch. We go out hunting about 2:30 and are planning to going into the waterhole. To minimize disruption we park about a mile out and walk back in. On the way we spot a Blesbok ram alone. A bit odd. He is nice and I consider taking him, but we are on a Wildebeest quest. We start to move off, and so does he, badly limping. We watch and he is obviously in bad shape in the back end. I decide since he is a nice ram I will take him. He decided to go off at that point, so we had to stalk. Not too tough because he isn’t moving very fast. He stops facing us at about 70 yards and I take him into the chest, he drops. Turns out his right rear hip is very messed up, and the left rear hoof is swollen twice its normal size. Juan says he wouldn’t have lasted much longer. And he is a 15 ½“ heavy ram which makes it a nice win for me.

Day 8 – Wildebeest! – up early and out by 6.We set up on the waterhole, determined to stay the day, lunch with us. Juan adds to the cover on the hide, on the front and back. I am in camo, no sun block or bug juice (they both smell). Could use face paint or a head net here. Wind is good, for now. We change hides once during the day, only to change back to the denser one, as the animals are very good at spotting us, and the dXXX!! wind keeps changing. We see every animal there is today, and catch much of it on camera. Kudu, Waterbuck, Impala, Gemsbok, Warthog (over 100), Blesbok, Red Hartebeest, Steenbok, Duiker, Giraffe (four of them), a lone Zebra. At one point the Hartebeest decide it is nap time and two of them put down on the far side. A young Kudu bull comes in to my left about 15’ away, waters and then spots us. We sit like statues. He comes right at us, to maybe 10’, a stare down. And then moves off, but slowly. Mid-day a herd of Waterbuck show up, all cows and young ones. Momma parks the two yearlings at the water hole to play and off she goes. There is nothing cuter than a weanling waterbuck, and play they did, until it was nap time, then over in the shade they lay down, one at a time, the other on watch. Everything was good until the Giraffe show up, and then everyone clears out – which is odd because they certainly don’t appear aggressive, but Juan says it is their size. The young waterbucks absolutely spaz out and scoot. The Hartebeest return in force, maybe a dozen cows. And one spots us, and starts snorting, sounds a bit like a car horn, then they all join in. Juan decides nothing is coming in with this going on, and gets out of the hide, goes running across the open like a mad man, it works, they are gone. A little later two nice rams come in, and he tries to entice me into shooting one, not very hard. Wildebeest! We get a lesson in the social life of warthogs, a sow is in season, and the bores are very amorous. The big granddaddy chases another off, then instead of tending to her, goes off to beat up his competition. While this is going on, another moves in and gets lucky, they do really smile! Later another pair of bores get into quite a battle, and it moves closer to us, about ten feet at one point. I hear a click, snap, click, and turn to see Juan loading his pistol. Fortunately it isn’t needed. Later Issac finds a piece of broken tusk from this battle. Then at 3:40, Juan says “get ready”, and then grabs my sleeve as I am reaching for the gun. To our left, at maybe 30 feet, the Wildebeest are coming in. First the cows and then the young ones, and then the bruiser. I ease the rifle up, and get on him, but must wait as there are other animals behind him. Wait, wait, and then he moves right and is clear. I follow him on the sticks, turning with him, and get the “put it in the crease, up the leg” from Juan. I take the shot and it drops like it is pole axed. I have my bull, and 27 ½” bruiser. As it turns out, I pulled the shot a bit ahead, turning off balance in the chair I guess, and put it back in the neck, spinning him. He barely twitched. What a day!

Day 9 in camp (8 of the hunt) – I have taken my six animals plus the seventh, the nice Impala, so I sleep in late. Spend the day writing, reading, hiking around the lodge property. With the Nyala on site, some nice pictures. I finish my trip shooting some Guinea fowl with a 22 Peter has loaned me, and we visit a breeding farm one morning for Sable and Nyala. Very interesting. A great trip, terrific hunting, great trophies, delicious food, and made some new friends. Juan is great to hunt with, terrific eyes, great bush craft and enjoyable company. And four of my trophies should make the SCI record book. Couldn’t ask for anything more!

GEORGE & SANDI WALKER – British Columbia, Canada

Animals taken (bow) – Zebra, Kudu* (58 ¼”), 4 – Warthogs*, 2 – Impala*

Animals taken (rifle) – Warthog*, Bushbuck*, Steenbok*

BRAD CHUDIAK & PAT SCHMIT – British Columbia, Canada

Animals taken (bow) – 2 – Impala*, Kudu* (55”), 2 – Warthogs*, Bushbuck*, Blue Wildebeest*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

(George) Who would have thought it? We sure didn’t. Our first trip to Cruiser’s in 2007 was going to be our trip of a lifetime….but we had to go back. So in 2009, we did indeed go back.This was definitely going to be our last trip….until my wife said “I wish we could go back one last time”.So right then, I called Cruiser Bob and wouldn’t you know it? The only time slot available was exactly the one we wanted. We called our friends, whom we had made this trip with both times, to see if they were interested. Count me in, said Brad. I called Cruiser Bob back and we booked for 2011.  I had some very particular animals on my final wish list. A big Kudu and Zebra with my bow and a big Bushbuck were at the top of my list. Little did I know how things would go.

This trip, my wife wanted to spend some time in Kruger photographing animals. We booked this part of our trip before our hunt. On May 19/11 we left Vancouver on our trip to South Africa. We stayed at Afton House the night we arrived and again when we returned from Kruger Park. There was a Father and son from Mississippi also staying there that were headed to Cruisers, so we all had much to talk about! Craig and John arrived in the morning to pick us all up. It was so good to see Craig again. He was our PH the last 2 trips. The last hunter from Pennsylvania had just flown in and was already in the van. By the time we loaded up all the gear (for 7 people) and the groceries for the week, to say we were full is an understatement! We were off! About 4 hours later, we arrive at Cruisers. It was like coming home. DelMarie was there with our drink and she showed us to our rooms. All the hunters went out to sight in the rifles and then I made sure my bow was sighted in. We didn’t go out hunting that day as it was just nice to kick back and rest up for the coming week. Pieter’s father had taken a fall and was in hospital, so he wasn’t home. We were all very disappointed that we didn’t get to see him until much later in the week.

Day 1 – May 30/11 - we were up at 5:30am for breakfast and by 6:30 we are heading out to the new bow property. We dropped off Brad and Johan at their blind and then Craig, Sandi and I got settled into ours. Not 10 minutes later, a small herd of Zebra came in. There was a very nice stallion in this group and I made a good shot with my bow. We had set up our video camera so we had it all on tape. After a while, Craig, Samuel and I set out to find the Zebra. It took a while, but we found him. After pictures, we loaded him up and took him back to the skinning shed. Then back to the blind. There were lots of Warthog and Kudu cows/calves come in, but the wind was swirling so I didn’t get any other opportunities that day.

Day 2 – We are up again at 5:30am, had breakfast and headed out to the bow property again. Since Brad was only hunting with his bow this year, we all traveled together every day to this property. We went to the same blind as yesterday. The morning was quite cool, so it took awhile for the game to start moving. Impala, immature Kudu bulls, and Warthog all came in…Nothing large enough to shoot. The afternoon was also quite slow. Craig was going to wait until about 5:15pm and then call the truck. A large Warthog came in and I thought about shooting, but decided to hold off. About 4:45pm, out of nowhere, like a ghost, a huge Kudu bull appeared. Craig figured him to be 53”-54” so he told me to get ready. The bull came in and stood broadside at 20 yards..…like he had already read the script. I fired off and arrow and it was perfect! I couldn’t believe it! My trophy bull and I had taken it with my bow! We waited a bit and then called in the truck and Blue. Dark would be coming quickly, so Craig didn’t want to wait too long to go after it. When Samuel and Blue arrived, we started out. I gave Sandi the video camera to film the recovery of this magnificent animal. Before long, we found the Kudu bedded down, but Blue spooked him and he took off running…..so we all followed. Or at least I thought we had all followed. I was sure that Sandi went back to the blind. When we finally caught up to the Kudu, he was on his way down. I put another arrow in him for insurance and I had my trophy Kudu. Right away, Craig had out the tape measure. I couldn’t believe my eyes when the tape went past 54, 55, 56….and finally stopped at 58 ¼”. This was unbelievable! I had wanted to take a big Kudu with my bow and I ended up with a monster! I was ecstatic!! Craig sent Samuel back to pick up Sandi from the blind. When the truck arrived, it was almost dark.  I was so excited; I didn’t notice right away that Sandi was visibly upset. Then she told me that when she realized that she couldn’t keep up to us running after the Kudu, she tried to go back to the blind, but couldn’t find her way. She was lost and didn’t know which way to go. The bush all looked the same, but fortunately, she stayed where she was. Samuel heard her and tracked her down. Guess that would explain why we heard her calling. A frightening experience for her, especially so close to dark. The big Kudu still got the last laugh on us all though. Once he was loaded in the truck, we started out of the bush. Craig suddenly told us to all get out of the truck. We didn’t know what had happened. The rear tire was hissing like a snake. We had to get the jack out and get it under the truck before the tire got too low or we would have to unload the Kudu to change the tire. Samuel managed to get it done in time, so once the tire was changed we were on our way out. What a day…….one that both Sandi and I will always remember.

Day 3 – We were in a routine now. Up early, breakfast and head to the blind. Today I shot a really nice Warthog.

Day 4 – Today was a really special day for me as this marked the 25 day that Craig and I had hunted together. I was going to be the guide and Craig the hunter – my treat. He brought his bow to the blind and by lunchtime, he had shot his first Impala with a bow. He was very excited and pleased, as was I. I tracked it down (it didn’t go very far), dragged it out for pictures and Sandi even lay flat out on the ground to get a good photo for him. The Samuel and I loaded it up. By the time we got back to the skinning shed, we decided to call it a day and enjoy the rest of the afternoon at camp.

Day 5 – Today most of us went into Ellisras to shop for souvenirs. Later, we went out looking for Steenbok, but didn’t get a shot at anything.

Day 6 – We went back to the blind today. Lots of Warthog. Today we had Baboons come into the blind. The landowner was looking to cull some of them and had requested that we shoot any big males if we had the opportunity. Well, mine came. My arrow was a perfect shot and the baboon didn’t know what hit him.

Day 7 – Today I was able to take another big Warthog with my bow.

Day 8 – Back to the blind. Lots of Impala came in and out. Finally a large Impala ram cam in close enough for a shot. I made a good show and after we recovered the ram, we decided to head back for a rest before we head out for Bushbuck later.

Brad, Johan, Craig, Craig’s Dad and I headed out for a property that has had some good Bushbuck on it. What a hunt! I shot an incredible animal. Brad shot a great Bushbuck also. This was the first time Cruiser’s had taken 2 Bushbuck on the same property at the same time. Double Trouble….as Pieter would say! My Bushbuck measured 18 ¼”! It was a monster! I couldn’t believe my luck. Craig told me that this was the largest Bushbuck taken by a client in 16 years. Unbelievable!

Day 9 – Today I was able to take a very nice Steenbok. Craig and I spent some time in a pop-up blind hoping for a Gemsbok or a big Eland. No luck with that.

Day 10 – June 8/11 -This was our last day of hunting. The time goes by so quickly it is hard to believe our hunt is almost over. I took another Warthog today and got a great group shot of Brad, Johan, Craig, Samuel and myself….oh, and Blue too. What a dog! What a nose he has!

Our time at Cruiser’s has been exceptional. Each of our trips has held some very special moments, but I think that this trip has been the best. In total, I hunted with Craig for 30 days. We both thank you, Craig, for your friendship, your energy, your great sense of humor and your incredible ability. I could not have known that on this trip, you would help me achieve a lifelong dream. Thank you, DelMarie, Johan, John, Hans and everyone else who made our stay with our “African family” such a wonderful experience.

When Pieter came home with his father, he shook my hand and said “good things happen to good people”. Thank you Pieter for you gracious words, but I believe that you need to put in the time to make things happen. We missed you Pieter while you were tending to your dad. The dinner table was much quieter than normal and we missed your practical jokes. Perhaps, we will be back on a 4th trip to enjoy your hospitality. We have certainly learned to never say never!

WADE DOWELL – Mississippi

Animals taken – Blesbok*, Kudu* (52”), Gemsbok*, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, 2 – Impala*, Waterbuck*, Red Hartebeest*, Black Backed Jackal

MATT DOWELL – Mississippi

Animals taken – 2 – Kudu* (54”), Gemsbok, Impala*, Warthog*, Zebra, Blesbok*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

June

STONEY GRAYSON – Florida

Animals taken – Warthog*, Kudu* (55”). Blue Wildebeest, Impala*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

GREG SCHULTHEIS – Pennsylvania

Animals taken – Gemsbok, Kudu* (52”), 2 – Impala*, 2 – Warthog*

KEVIN ZIEGLER – Pennsylvania

Animals taken – Kudu, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Steenbok*, Gemsbok, Impala*, Zebra

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

LARRY SHINE – Texas

Animals taken – Blesbok*, Warthog*, Kudu, Impala*, Gemsbok*, female Impala & Blue Wildebeest

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

STEVE MILOSER & his sons ERIC & ADAM – Pennsylvania

Animals taken (Steve) – Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, Kudu* (53 ½”), Impala*

Animals taken (Eric) – Warthog*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*

Animals taken (Adam) – Impala*, Zebra, Kudu* (54”), Blue Wildebeest*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

(Steve): After months of preparation and anticipation my sons {Adam and Eric} were finally in Africa. Our flight to Africa was extended due to bad weather by an additional five hours, we were going to start our trip of a lifetime. It was Father's Day June 19th and what our way to spend it then to be hunting in Africa with my sons. We woke up early {don't think we slept at all} and were off to hunt. My son Eric and I hunted with our PH Craig while my son Adam hunted with John. It was cold in the morning and we were glad that Bob had prepared us on what to bring. After getting to our hunting area, we walked and glassed for animals. Craig spotted Blue Wildebeest and a good male was in the herd. I took a shot at about 250 yards but only wounded it. We spent the next hour tracking the wildebeest but could not get close enough to get a shot. Craig decided to return to the lodge and get the hound{Blue}. Returning to the hunting area the Wildebeest was quickly located and finally gotten. We returned to camp to drop off the hound and wildebeest and eat lunch. Then we were back hunting.  My son Eric was now up and Craig soon spotted a good Blesbok. After stalking it for awhile all three of us crawled to an area where Eric could get a shot. One shot and the Blesbok dropped in its tracks. After pictures and loading the animal in the bakkie, Craig said to me "Your turn now". We walked for a distance when Craig spotted Gemsbok, an animal second on my list.  Craig, Eric, and myself again walked, walked bent over, and crawled to a spot were I could get a shot. Craig said shoot the one in the middle because it is the best one. The shot did not feel right so I had to move slightly {I was thinking about this morning}. I took a deep breathe and took the shot. When I heard Craig yell reload, I thought I missed. The Gemsbok took several steps and dropped. Craig tried quickly to get Eric in position to get a shot at one of the other Gemsbok but they were250 yards out and running. Eric did not shoot. While walking up to my downed Gemsbok, Craig was telling me I got a nice trophy. As we got closer Craig was becoming very excited and said that I don't know what I had. Craig took out his tape measure and measured the horns. The Gemsbok horns were over 45 inches in length. Craig said this was the largest Gemsbok taken ever at Cruisers. It took a time for the whole day to sink in. I had gone from a great day to a bad day to a fantastic day. As a side note my son Eric got a 40 inch Gemsbok the following day.   Tuesday June 21st tied with Father's Day. I wanted to hunt with both of my sons so Pieter arranged for the three of us to go hunt Kudu together. We got up at 4:30 in the morning to drive to the mountains with both Craig and John. We arrived at the hunting area and drew straws to see who would hunt first, Eric won. After driving for a short while a Kudu was spotted on a mountain side in some heavy bush. Craig helped to direct Eric were to take a shot. Seconds later our first Kudu{130 yard perfect shot}. Now the fun began we had to climb a steep hillside to get to the animal, dress it, and bring it back to the truck. We all decided not to get another Kudu in this terrain. Adam went with John to take Eric's kudu to a cooler. I was now up and so Craig, Eric, and I began to walk and glass for Kudu. While walking we saw many animals including baboons. We stopped to wait for Adam and John when Craig glassed the second Kudu. It was 270 yards up a steeper hillside. The Kudu was looking straight at us. I did not see it at first but Craig helped me to locate it. After several nervous seconds and Craig's advise the second Kudu was down. Adam and John returned and could not believe where it was. After getting to the animal it was necessary to get additional help to get the Kudu out. It was now Adam's turn after several spottings and stalking it looked like Adam would not get his Kudu today. With only less then 1 hour left to hunt a Kudu was spotted. as it was quartering away, Adam shot. We now had three Kudus and the best was last. What a great day.{Eric-Kudu 47 inches, Stephen-Kudu 53 inches, and Adam-Kudu over 54 inches}. A day none of us will ever forget.

PHILIP DIXON – Australia

Animals taken – Bushpig*, Impala*, Waterbuck*, Warthog*, Zebra

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

I had a great trip guided by Johan who proved to be a fine hunter and companion.

I did not take my own rifle due to problems with the airline I traveled with, however, I need not have worried as Johan's 30-06 Ackley Improved was very accurate and he even went to the trouble of changing the scope to compensate for my ordinary eyesight!

We hunted the thorn bush for Impala on the first day, but were thwarted by Wildebeest.

The second day we hunted the river and took a fine Bushpig at first light. Apparently Bushpig are quite a rare trophy within the Cruiser’s areas. The numbers and variety of game was incredible. Later I shot a lovely Impala and half an hour later a nice Warthog.

The next day we hunted a different area for Waterbuck and sighted a nice animal but could not get into position for a clear shot. The next morning Johan spotted the Waterbuck at some distance moving away. We waited him out and closed the distance to 100 yards and I took him with a spinal shot. The Zebra proved to be the most challenging trophy to collect and we spent the next day after them but could not get into a telling position. I was happy in a way that we had not scored early as it meant we could hunt another day.

On day five we tried several stalks and finally got a shot after putting one of the workers into a tree to spot for us which helped to close the gap to about 50 yards.

The hunt ended with 5 trophies for 5 shots in 5 days!. Overall the hunt was well organized with excellent food and accommodation. The quality of the hunting and guiding was unsurpassed. The best hunt of my life!!

VICTOR CELO – Pennsylvania

Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Kudu* (52 5/8”), Impala*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

July

MIKE & LUCAS DOLAN – Minnesota

Animals taken (Mike) – 2 – Impala*, Kudu* (52 ¾”), Warthog*, Gemsbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Blesbok*

Animals taken (Lucas) – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Steenbok*, Gemsbok, Kudu, Bleswbok*, Duiker*, Black Backed Jackal

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

My favorite hunt was for my son Lucas” Kudu. We hunted on some mountain property about an hour and a half from camp. This was very rough and hilly property and the ride on the vehicle itself was an adventure with all the overhanging trees. We say fresh leopard tracks and several other animals we did not see elsewhere such as Klipspringer and mountain reedbuck. Before lunch we saw at least twelve mature bulls but without a shot opportunity. Shortly after lunch Lucas had a shot at a nice bull about 165 yards away and steeply uphill. One shot and down the Kudu went. It went down so hard that it broke its front jaw in the fall.

Thank you to everyone at Cruiser for a wonderful time. The food is wonderful and the cook Del Marie is committed to making Cruiser your home when you are there. The PH’s work hard and our PH Craig was particularly nice to Lucas and worked hard to make every day special. Our driver Samuel is Lucas’ age which added to the experience. Thank you to Pieter for running such a good operation. While Pieter is a joker and you need to watch your pockets and your wine glass at diner but he is also committed to his work. In a serious moment he said: “When you are responsible for fulfilling peoples’ dreams you have to take your job seriously.”

We had a wonderful trip, great hunting, quality animals, nice people, good food, fun atmosphere and a hardworking PH. You couldn’t ask for more.

SHERMAN & GAYLE LIECHTY – Indiana

Animals taken – Impala*, 2 – Warthogs*, Kudu* (53 ¾”), Gemsbok*, 2 - Steenbok*, Nyala*, Blesbok*, Zebra

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

Both my wife and I had a wonderful safari. I did not expect to be able to harvest the trophy class animals that I did. Food, lodging, and friendly staff made it an enjoyable trip.

ANDY LAINAS & his wife YAN – British Columbia, Canada

Animals taken – 2 – Zebra, Warthog*, Impala*, Giraffe, Gemsbok*, Steenbok*

YONG SHEN LI – British Columbia, Canada

Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu, 2 – Zebra, 2 – Impala, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Nyala*, Steenbok*

LIANG QIAO – British Columbia, Canada

Animals taken (Doug) – Impala*, Zebra, Gemsbok, Kudu* (51”), Steenbok*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

ROBERT GOTTS – South Carolina

Animals taken – Gemsbok*, 2 – Zebra, 2 – Warthogs*, Kudu*, Blesbok*, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, female Blue Wildebeest

ANDREW GOTTS – South Carolina

Animals taken – Impala, 2 – Warthogs*, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Blesbok*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

Andrew was 11 years old and on his first safari.

GARY WALKER – Alaska

Animals taken – Eland*, Zebra, Steenbok*, Warthog*, Duiker*, Waterbuck, Blue Wildebeest*

CHUCK BERGSENG – Oregon

Animals taken – Kudu* (59”), Zebra, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, 2 – Warthogs*, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Waterbuck*, Steenbok*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

Chuck and I left for Africa on July 9th. We arrived at Cruiser Safaris on the 12th where we were met with a welcome drink and introductions. After settling in, we made sure our guns were lined in and we all went for a drive. It was great to be back in Africa. It was even greater to be there with Chuck, an 84 year old family friend.

July 13th: I have Craig as a PH and Chuck has Hans. I went out to track eland while Chuck went to look for a Kudu. We tracked eland all morning without finding the right one. We returned to the lodge for a great lunch. Upon leaving the lodge we saw Hans and Chuck coming down the road. Chuck had killed the animal that brought him to Africa, a 59.75 inch magnificent Kudu. As they returned to the lodge, we set out to find an eland. After chasing eland until near dark we finally got a crack at an old "blue bull". The shot was about 70 yards and the eland dropped at the shot. None of this would have happened if it had not been for Craig's determination and never say quit attitude. Walking up an eland is truly an exciting experience.

7/14: Today we started out to hunt waterbuck, but as so often the case we were able to harvest a nice zebra stallion early in the morning. At lunch we found out that Chuck had also shot a zebra. I hunted the rest of the afternoon without harvesting an animal. We did see an African wild cat laying under a bush. Had a great brai with eland tenderloins being the star attraction.

7/15: It was a cold morning but I made a vow to hunt in shorts and will see this through to the bitter end. If it gets any colder I may end up looking like the Vervet monkeys that are seen over here. Today was a day of ups and downs; I was able to harvest a nice steenbok and a warthog but missed a really fine waterbuck. Craig said I grazed a branch, I say I missed. Maybe a case of waterbuck fever? Today Chuck was able to harvest his impala and warthog.

7/16: We took it easy today and hunted from a blind near the river to give my foot a chance to heal from an enormous blister on my heel. Chuck hunted with us and we saw lots of game but never fired a shot. Tonight at dinner we celebrated PH John's 24th birthday. Happy birthday John. I think I have a rash that's older than he is.

7/17: I hunted the morning with Chuck and Hans from a blind over a waterhole. Chuck was able to harvest a nice gemsbok around noon. We lazed around camp the rest of the day. As usual, DelMarie prepared a wonderful meal for us.

7/18: Today we all visited Marakele National Park, a local lion park, and a curio shop. We had a wonderful time. Our group is truly a great bunch of people to be with. I say if you haven't hunted with old McDonald and his wife, an Uzi salesman from the south and his son, and an 84 year old gentleman you are really missing out. This evening Craig and I went for a drive and saw a nice waterbuck but it didn't offer a shot.

7/19: Brrrr, It feels like I'm back in Alaska! Today we went to a new property looking for waterbuck. Around 10 a.m. Craig spotted a duiker 25 yards from the road which I promptly missed. Fortunately this duiker wanted to come home with me so he ran about 30 yard parallel to the road and I was able to get him. After lunch we returned to the same property and hunted about 15 minutes before I was able to harvest my waterbuck. It was a great day. Chuck was able to harvest a really nice blesbok from 250 yards. Those 84 year old eyes see really well and his shooting has been impeccable.

7/20: Today was physically one of the toughest days of my hunt. We hunted klipspringer on a property about an hour from camp. We walked right up on a pair of klipspringer not 30 minutes into the hunt. Though they were very close and I was on the sticks, I couldn't see them. Craig was frustrated and so was I but that’s hunting. We hiked up and down the rock hills without firing a shot. We saw 6 klipspringer all told but couldn't get a shot.

7/21: Went to Ellisras today as we are nearly done with our hunting. We had a great lunch, did some curio shopping, and had a really relaxing day.

7/22: Today is our last full day in camp. I was done hunting and lazed around and read a book. Chuck harvested a steenbok and another warthog.

I would like to thank Cruiser safaris for a great hunt, specifically Cruiser Bob, Pieter, Craig, Hans, John, Johann, Amalia, DelMarie, as well as all the drivers, skinners, kitchen help, and staff. I would also like to thank my fellow hunters who were in camp. I'd especially like to thank Chuck for believing that this crazy idea would really work. You all made this a hunt I'll never forget.

DAVID & KRIS KNOTT – Minnesota

Animals taken – Eland*, Warthog*, Nyala*, Bushbuck*, Zebra (Kris)

Animals taken Kris – Zebra

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

“A Quest to Remember”

We stepped out of the terminal into the crisp evening air of Johannesburg. Kris and I had left the heat and humidity of a Minnesota July and were back in South Africa. We were about to start our 3rd safari in the Limpopo, returning to Cruiser Safaris, where we had hunted in 2008.  We had taken some awesome animals on our first safari with Cruiser’s and enjoyed our stay with this first-class outfitter. We hope to add more top end trophies to our collection in 2011.

With airport transfer and lodging reserved with the Afton Guest House we were able to recover from the trip across the Atlantic. The Afton Guest House is a short drive from Tambo Airport, located in a gate secure community. Good food, comfortable beds and quality service are provided by Annelise and her staff. The evening steak fry is a classic and offers a chance to visit with hunters either heading out or coming off safari. Kris and I also renewed our friendship with Johan. Johan is a seasoned PH at Cruiser Safaris and would drive us to camp.

Our PH in 2008 had left Cruiser’s to take a job in line with his college degree. I asked Johan if he knew who would be our PH. “The other 2 parties came in yesterday and hunted today. I think you are stuck with me” he replied. We were very happy to be stuck with him! We went to bed anticipating tomorrow and our arrival at Cruiser’s.

On the drive to camp Johan asked what animals we had on our list. Kris wanted to kill a battle scarred Zebra stallion. My list included a bull Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest, Kudu, Bushbuck and perhaps a Nyala. Johan explained the Cruiser’s offered 4 spiral horned animals: Kudu, Nyala, Bushbuck & Eland.  A hunter who takes these animals has completed the Spiral Horned Quest. He knew that I had taken a Kudu in 2008. “Why not add an Eland to your list and concentrate on the 3 animals that will complete the quest?" he asked. Eland was never on my list, ever! Not first, not fifteenth. I wondered if we could find 3 quality animals that would require patience, stamina and a good bit of luck. Would Kris have time to get a herd stallion? Johan assured us that Kris would definitely get her Zebra and I might complete the spiral quest. “I’m in! Let’s do it!” I said.

We pulled into Cruiser’s camp, unloaded and relaxed a bit. After spending the necessary time at the rifle range we took a late afternoon drive on one of Cruiser’s concessions. With our driver Munza behind the wheel Johan, Kris and I were up top in the Land Cruiser. We saw a lot of game throughout the ranch. As the sun hung on the horizon the road took us into the shadows of a river bottom. A Nyala bull crossed the road and paused 20 yards out. The Nyala looked good to be. I waited for Johan to give the OK. His words were “nice bull, but not one to shoot the first night”.

At supper Kris and I were reunited with Pieter Lamprecht, the owner of Cruiser’s and Craig a PH who guided at Cruiser’s in 2008. Pieter introduced John, a new PH, and DelMarie the camp cook. We also met the other 2 parties on safari. There was a father and son from South Carolina and a retired gentleman from Oregon and his buddy from Alaska. We had a blast with these guys for ten days. The saying that your first safari is the best doesn’t always hold true. We hope to reunite with them in 2013 at Cruiser’s.

We went after Eland on the first full day of our hunt. We got on fresh tracks early. In 2011 the Limpopo Province had a very wet rainy season which encouraged extra vegetative growth. When the dry season came all of that vegetation dropped to the ground and made quiet stalks impossible. We caught up to the herd numerous times and Johan saw that there was an old blue bull with the group. Eland, such a large animal but flighty. If one thought they heard, smelled or saw something the whole herd was gone and we were on their tracks, double timing it in an effort to catch up. Johan called a halt to our hunt in the late afternoon. My legs were grateful.

You never know when an animal of opportunity will show itself. On our drive out of the concession a Jackal hopped into the road and streaked away from us.Johan shouted “Shoot that …….!”  Munza stopped the truck. I leaned over the cab roof and threw a piece of lead after the Jackal. Surprise! The predator ran into the bullet. Johan ranged the shot at 170 yards. Pure luck for me, bad luck for the Jackal.

Day 2 was spent in the dry, noisy, thorny bush with Eland again the primary target. On our drives to different areas we had seen several large tusked Warthogs. Johan was encouraging me to take one. I kept telling him that I didn’t want a hog. When we turned a corner and saw an old boar with a long set of tusks Johan won the battle. My shot left the hog lying in the sand as its companions high-tailed it into the bush. When we retrieved the Warthog we found it to be in poor physical condition. It was good that I gave into Johan’s urgings. The rest of the day I tried to stay a step behind my PH. I found only moderate success in ducking around under and through the brush while trying to be quiet. We saw a few shooter bulls through the day but wind shifts, thick brush and blown stalks kept me from getting a clear shot. Late in the day we climbed into the back of the truck. I was exhausted and looking forward to relaxing back at the lodge. We were heading to pick up the Warthog when Munza pointed and called out, “Big Bull!”  The Eland was a couple hundred yards down an intersecting road standing broadside. Johan and I jumped off the truck. Johan was heading into the bush when he looked back and saw me hobbling after him. My legs had cramped up. Johan assessed the situation, then said it was getting late. Let’s try to pull it off from here. We slithered onto the road. Johan set his binoculars on end in the sand. They provided a sturdy rest for my Browning A Bolt in .300 Win. Mag. I put the scope on the Elands shoulder and between leg spasms was able to pull off a steady shot. The blue bull disappeared into the bush. The Eland lay dead only 15 yards off the road. It was huge. Johan estimated its weight at 2000 pounds. The trophies horns would exceed 36” on the spiral. The Eland more than filled the bed of the Land Cruiser. A blown tire would not have been a surprise given the rough road back to camp.

There were a lot of stories and lively talk around the evening fire. All of the hunters were having success and we were falling into the pace of an African safari. Before turning in Johan said that we would hunt Nyala next. We would return to the concession where we had een a nice bull on our first evenings drive. “We will hold out for a bull a couple of inches longer than that one. A nyala over 26-27” will take work, wear walking shoes!”

Johan killed the engine and the truck coasted down the slope into the dark shadows along a dry river bed. It was day 3 of our safari and we were hoping to take the most beautiful antelope, a trophy Nyala. Kris and I took our cue from Johan and prepared for our first walk in silence. Seeing we were set he flicked his wrist and we quietly moved out. We had not gone 100 yards before spotting a bug bull. The Nyala saw us and a game of hide and seek began. The bull left the darkness along the river and moved into the surrounding scrub land. Scattered clumps of dense brush allowed the animal to hopscotch ahead of us without offering a shot. We lost sight of it and knelt by some brush to glass. Johan whispered, “That clump, 125 yards out, He’s head on shoot it! It’s a fine trophy.” I found the ivory tips of its horns and dropped the crosshairs to its chest. I held on the Nyala hoping it would turn and offer a shoulder. It didn’t. I took the shot. The animal dropped but the shot was not a killing shot Johan sprinted to the downed bull and finished it off with his sidearm. Mass, length and ivory tips.; Forty five minutes. Unbelievable! After returning to camp and dropping the Nyala at the skinning shed we took the rest of the morning off. With 2 spiral horned antelope in the cooler it was time for Kris to carry her .270 Browning X-Bolt into the bush and find a Zebra. After a relaxing lunch at camp we loaded up and headed back to the bush.

It took a good bit of time to find a Zebra herd. When we did find Zebra we stalked them, Johan, Kris and me in the rear. We closed the distance to the herd a couple of times but the wind was not steady. Wind shifts brought alarm sounds from the herd and rising dust as the Zebra moved off. Johan was frustrated. He shook his head, threw up his hands and we returned to the truck. Kris went back to camp empty handed.

On day 4 we took the day off from hunting and went to Marakele National Park and a lion park near Thabazimbi. We enjoyed the company of our campmates, bought some curios and had a burger with fries.

It would take the next 2 days of hunting for Johan and Kris to close the deal on an old stallion. The bush was dry and noisy. The wind was more unpredictable. I chose to stay at the truck with Munza. It was boring not being on the stalks but Kris had a better chance of taking her Zebra without me. I do admit I was getting a little edgy as our 6th day turned to late afternoon. Then a shot in the distance. Minutes passed. No follow-up shot. Did Kris make a kill, miss or were they following blood? I was up top when Johan radioed asking to be picked up. Munza offered no information. I assumed that the shot was a miss. Kris and Johan were on the road as we drove up. Just off the cut lay the largest Zebra I have ever seen! My favorite hunting partner had fulfilled her goal for this safari. She excitedly gave a replay of her hunt. She and Johan had hunkered down in the bush as the herd crossed the opening. As Johan predicted the stallion was last in line and paused on the edge of the clearing. Kris’ shot was perfect, through the shoulder and heart. I wish I had been there.

On the 7th & 8th day of our safari Johan took us to a ranch with a river snaking through it. Thick bush, reeds and tall grasses lined the river which had a small flow of clear, fresh water. This was classic Bushbuck habitat.  We slowly walked in the shadows glassing the far river bank looking for Bushbuck warming in the morning sun.; We saw Bushbuck and heard others barking from the thickets. We walked the river bed looking for well used crossings and watering spots. In the hear of the day we sat at these places. The ranch did have a healthy population of Bushbuck but we hadn’t seen any that satisfied Johan. With a great Eland and a 28” Nyala to our credit he was on a mission to find me a superb Bushbuck.  After 2 days of searching, doubt was creeping in. Would we finish the quest?

Pieter and Johan had a conversation. They planned a later in the day hunt for an area that was about an hour drive away. This property was irrigated and Bushbuck loved to feed on the tender buds and bed in the brushy ravines near these fields. Pieter would be our driver. Kris decided to stay in camp. As Johan opened the gate I mentioned to Pieter that I thought we would be back at the lodge in 90 minutes. He shook his head, laughed and told Johan what I had said. Johan reacted as Pieter had. Pieter slowly drove the roads along the fields and we kept a close eye out for Bushbuck laying in the thickets. Johan grabbed my arm and said “Big Bushbuck”. We got off the truck and moved to an area where I could get a better angle. I finally had my first view of the Bushbuck. It was buried deep in the brush. When I found it in my scope I knew my Spiral Quest was completed. We would not do better. Hugs, smiles and handshakes were exchanged. Pictures were taken. We didn’t make it back to camp in 90 minutes but we were close. When we got back to camp Kris and I walked to the skinning shed. When she saw the Bushbuck she said “That’s bigger than any we have seen!”  I smiled, gave her a hug and said “it’s over 17 inches!”

Now what? Two days of safari remained. The Spiral Quest was achieved. We had a beautiful Gemsbok cow from our 2008 safari and wanted to match her with a big bull. Johan took us to a ranch that had a healthy Gemsbok population with some outstanding bulls. He warned that it was a difficult concession to hunt. Not only was it thick with brush but the owner did not allow shooting within a quarter mile of water. The wind was picking up and the temperature was rising. Through the morning hours we had seen groups of Gemsbok but no bulls needing a closer look. As we drove the roads the dust rose up and settled on us. I was losing my focus when Johan tapped my leg and hopped off the truck. I followed him into the bush. He had seen a bug bull not 50 yards off the road. At ground level you couldn’t see 50 feet. I then understood why this was a tough ranch to hunt. We got real close but the brush and unpredictable wind were against us. The herd bolted, we followed. As we trailed the Gemsbok we came upon a pair of Bushpig. It was midday and unusual to see Bushpig at this time. Johan said “You will never have a chance like this again. You should shoot one!” I replied “we are after Gemsbok”.  We skirted around the pigs but were soon busted by the Gemsbok. We stalked a couple more groups during the afternoon but came up empty. With all the ribbing I took at camp that evening I wish I had listened to Johan and killed a pig.

Where did the days go? It was our last day on safari. Johan offered to take us to a different ranch to hunt Gemsbok. I requested a return to the previous day’s concession. I knew the heavy brush on that ranch limited shot opportunities but we had seen true trophy bulls. As day 10 slipped away our stalks were unsuccessful. I had no regrets. If I didn’t kill a bull it would not be a disappointment. We had torn through the thorns, crawled through the bush and hunted Gemsbok on their turf. By mid afternoon I was content to kick back on the cruiser. We drove the roads in silence afraid to interrupt another’s thoughts. I pulled the sights, sounds and smells into my soul to keep if I never return to the Limpopo. I took Kris’ hand; her smile said what I felt. Long before sundown I said “Johan, our safari is complete. Take us to where we can enjoy the sunset. We climbed to the top of a rocky outcrop, then talked and laughed, reliving our time together. As the sun dropped to the horizon we again sat in silence. Quietly Johan said “Time to go.”

MIKE & JOHN TURZENSKI – Wisconsin

Animals taken (Mike) – Blesbok*, Impala*, Kudu, Zebra, Warthog*, Gemsbok

Animals taken (John) – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Warthog*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

After 1.5 yrs of planning, my son John and I finally made it to Africa for our first safari. It was an ncredible experience. Cruiser’s is a world class operation. Everything came together as planned…perfect airport service by the Afton House, an enjoyable ride with Johan to the lodge, great guiding by John, awesome food prepared by DelMarie, a friendly/courteous staff, a perfect lodge and best of all…incredible numbers of quality animals. The entire staff treated us like a family member and always made us feel at home.

Here are a few highlights of the experience:

  • John was our guide for the 9 days. He did a great job at identifying trophies and was incredible at spotting game. We were floored by how many animals we saw each day.
  • On Friday night, Pieter invited us to a festival being held in Thabazimbi (about a 1 hr drive from the lodge). John drove and DelMarie, my son and I came along for the trip. It was a lot of fun and allowed us to experience some local culture. Thanks Pieter and John for inviting us.
  • We finished our hunting in about 6 days. You really need to pace yourself as we experienced multiple animal days. On the non-hunting days we took a side trip to Marakele Park and we sat at waterholes for 2 days. We enjoyed Marakele but we really enjoyed just relaxing at a waterhole and watching game all day (and taking photographs)…One of the days we saw several hundred animals including a herd of approx. 125 Impala.
  • Mike’s favorite hunt was the Kudu hunt. We got up early and drove to a mountain region. We arrived at about 7:30 and started hunting around 8am. By 8:30, John spotted a nice Kudu sunning himself at the top of a mountain we were near the bottom). John shouted that it was a shooter. I took my time and steadied the rifle and made a deadly shot at 225 yds. It took us about 2 hrs with 6 people getting the Kudu off the steep mountain side.
  • John’s (my son) favorite hunt was the wildebeest hunt. We were situated at a waterhole for some warthog action. A beautiful old warthog was coming in for a drink when we noticed something bigger coming in. John (the guide) quickly indicated that it was a wildebeest and we should take the wildebeest as we could bag a warthog later. There were 3 beautiful bulls coming in for a drink and John indicated that the last one was the one we wanted to take…I couldn’t tell the difference in horn size but John knew the last one was a big one. At 75 yds, a nice heart shot was made and the wildebeest collapsed after a 100 yd run. He was a beautiful old bull with awesome bosses…thanks for the great guiding John!
  • We also really enjoyed warthog hunting. They are comical to watch and are challenging to hunt as their senses are quite keen.
  • Last, we really enjoyed eating different game…The wildebeest, gemsbok and eland were excellent.
  • I’ve hunted on many North American guided trips in the past and Cruiser Bob is by far the most organized and helpful outfitter agent I have ever dealt with. The information provided before the hunt was extremely useful. Also, the Cruiser website is the most informative site available.

Thanks again to the staff at Cruiser’s for making our trip an incredible experience and we are already thinking about a return trip.

August

JOHN MARTINS – Florida

Animals taken – (bow) – Impala*, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, Red Hartebeest*, Waterbuck*, Eland*, Kudu* (50 ½”), Steenbok*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

JEFF & MARCIA WILSON & Jeff’s mother VIVIAN – Texas

Animals taken (Jeff) – Nyala*, Impala*, Duiker*, Ostrich

Animals taken (Marcia) – Waterbuck*, Impala*, Warthog*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

Our first trip to Cruisers Safaris was in 2006. I thought choosing an outfitter was going to be a nightmare until I stumbled upon Cruiser Safaris web site. Once I had talked with Cruiser Bob I knew this was going to be the proverbial "Hunt-of-a-lifetime". What we didn't expect was to make such long lasting good friends. Bob has always gone out of his way to prepare us for anything. All of the calls, e-mails and letters have made each trip so simple and nothing has been left for chance. To say Pieter and Lizelle have become great friends would be an understatement, they are more like family. Pieter has always made sure everything has been perfect, the lodge is warm, comfortable and very inviting. The wildlife management is very obvious, there is a wide variety of species and they are managed so everyone at any time of the year has the chance to shot quality record book trophies. ;We have had the pleasure of hunting with three different PH's and we have had two different "cooks", the thing that has always remained constant is they ALL have been professional, friendly and have tried to give us the best experience possible. We have hunted at Cruiser Safaris three times, shot 25 trophies from 17 different species and we can't wait to visit our friends again!!!

BILL SHELTON – New Jersey

Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu, Warthog*, Gemsbok*, Blue Wildebeest*

CLARK PERRY – New Jersey

Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, Gemsbok*, Kudu* (53”), Eland*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

JOHN & BAERBL FRANKENBURGER – Virginia

Animals taken (John) – Impala*, Zebra, Eland*, 2 – Warthogs*, Bushbuck*, Waterbuck, Cape Buffalo*, 2 – Blesbok*, Steenbok*

Animals taken (Baerbl) – Eland*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

The safari was fantastic and we can readily say it completely lived up to our expectations and more. The staff of Cruiser’s is wonderful and we were well cared for and we felt like we were leaving long time friends when it came time to go.

The buffalo hunt was a real test for a 67 year old with bad knees. We were led on a merry chase for 2 ¼ days but finally caught up with tem after logging something around 12 miles of tracking – something I never thought I could have done but Craig set a comfortable pace that I could handle. He was great! I couldn’t believe I managed a one shot kill on my bull and he only went 20 yards!

Babs also surprised me when she agreed to try her hand at taking her first ever animal – and it turned out to be an Eland bull at 250 yards! What a thrill! We had a great time and will try to tuck away a little into a separate account monthly to try and come back.

JOE & ANGELA JANASKI – Florida

Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Blesbok*, Impala*, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (54 ¼”), Waterbuck, Warthog*

LARRY RUSSELL – Florida

Animals taken – Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Impala*, Kudu, Zebra

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

(Joe) “The idea of hunting in Africa started years ago. My hunting buddy had talked about for years. We ound Cruiser Safaris on the internet. I was immediately impressed by the amount of information provided by the website. I was able to get answers to questions that I hadn't even thought about yet. I then sent request to several reference that were listed. Once I started receiving the responses back, I shared them with my hunting buddy. I then compared prices with some of the other Outfitters. Cruiser Safaris was our choice. It was now down to planning and preparation. The year went by fast. Bob Clark answered all questions in a timely manner. The info from the Custom Travel was complete and detailed. When Aug. 12th arrived we were as prepared as anyone could be. On Aug. 13th we landed in Joburg without incident. Because of the amount of details that we received regarding our gun permits, we had no issues. It does take time to move through the process. It could be done better on the part of the Police but that’s out of our control. We went over the application several times before leaving home and ensured all copies were made. If you are prepared when they get to you it makes the officer’s job easier.

It was then to the Afton House for a meal and good nights sleep. The next day we were picked up by a PH from Cruisers and were off. Four hours later we arrive at the Lodge. We were introduced to everyone and given lunch. After we got settled into our rooms it was time to check zero on our rifles. Then we just relaxed for the rest of the day. DelMarie the chef prepared a great lunch and dinner. It was like that everyday (breakfast, lunch & dinner). She was great. You kill it and she cooks it.

The hunting started on the 15th. My PH was Johan. The young man knows his stuff, but they all do. I took a Red Hartebeest, Blesbok, Impala, Gemsbok, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest, Warthog and Waterbuck.

My advise to anyone going, is start walking. It will pay off. You do not have to be in great shape, just good. I am 55 and my hunting buddy is 62. We had no problems. He has had a knee replacement and I have had a hip replacement. Also, shoot as much as you can. Short and long ranges. The PH will try and get you close but expect some 150 + yard shots. This hunt with Cruiser Safaris was everything I hoped it would be and more. I hope to go back some day.”

(Angela) As the wife of a hunter, but not a hunter myself, I was determined that I was going to South Africa with my husband no matter what. I had no idea what to expect or what I would do while there, but I was going. I thought that riding along while they hunted meant that we would just ride into an open field and there would be all of the animals and we would just choose one and shoot and that would be it, but I was very surprised at the experience. Our PH, Johan, was excellent. He was very patient in answering my 1,001 questions and encouraged me to track through the bush with he and my husband while they tracked the animals. I am so glad that I joined them and shared in the experience of the hunt. It was very interesting, exciting and helped me get some exercise in to help burn off some calories from the bountiful meals that were prepared and served three times a day. I enjoyed the hunting experience and I am so grateful that I took the opportunity to share in that experience with my husband. Even though this was a hunting trip, Pieter made sure that the wives received as much attention as their husbands. A Spa Day was scheduled for the wives and I must say that it was excellent. It was very affordable and the services provided were 5 star rated. Needless to say, we wives were in agreement that we could have spent half of our time at the Spa.

I wasn't sure what to expect in the way of food, but I was more than pleasantly surprised. The Chef, DelMarie never disappointed us. She was just as accommodating as everyone else and catered to any special needs or requests. I must say that since we have returned home from our trip, I truly miss DelMarie and the wonderful meals that she prepared. Even the food was an experience and DelMarie shared with us how the foods were prepared and if they were traditional of the region. I am sure that I asked a lot of ridiculous questions on this trip, but I must say that each person that was on staff never thought twice about answering. Everyone made us feel like we were at home and part of a family. This was a trip of a life time and I am so thankful for the opportunity to have visited South Africa and spent the time there with Curser Safaris. Pieter engaged the wives to visit specific animals that they were breeding and caring for and allowed us to see them up close and share with us the steps they take to ensure the health of the animals. He was quite the prankster and really kept us laughing and always guessing who would be the next victim.

We can all share our experiences and tell others about what we enjoyed, but I feel that everyone should plan a trip, go without expectation of what everyone else has experienced and build your own experience that you will remember for a life time.

(Larry) IN SPITE OF MY WIFE AND GRANDDAUGHTER'S OBJECTIONS, I WANTED TO TAKE A ZEBRA. MY ZEBRA HUNT DID NOT START WELL. I MISSED TWICE! WHEN I FINALLY CONNECTED IT WAS AFTER THE BULLET WENT THROUGH A 2" TREE. IT STRUCK THE SHOULDER BUT I DID NOT GET GOOD PENETRATION DUE TO THE TREE. JUAN AND ISSAC DID AN EXCELLENT TRACKING JOB FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF BEFORE ANOTHER SHOT IN THE NECK FINISHED THE JOB. DURING SKINNING IT WAS DISCOVERED I ONLY HIT ONE LUNG!

FRANK & GEORGEANN CORONA – Pennsylvania

Animals taken (Frank) – Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, Steenbok*, Waterbuck*, Impala*, Kudu* (52”), NYAKU*, Blesbok*, Zebra, Duiker, Eland*, Warthog*, Bushbuck*

Animals taken (Georgeann) – Gemsbok*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

This is my wife and I first trip to Africa. It was 100 times more than what we ever expected. There were three other hunters and two of their wives in camp. We all got along great, and that made the trip even better by being with great people. The staff and Pieter are truly dream makers, but no one ever tells you of their hearts. They are warm and caring. The food as you heard in other news letters is great. For DelMarie, she is truly a angle on earth. One of Gods special people. I’m sorry this is so long, but I took Cruiser Bob’s advice and experienced all of my trip.

Sunday: Aug. 14, 2011. We arrived at camp. DelMarie had a traditional African dish “Bobotie” made with beef. Unbelievable! Then off to the range to check the guns. I put 3 in the bulls’ eye. The 200 rounds I shot before getting here paid off. Then they asked if I wanted to go hunting. I was ready in 4 minutes. They introduced me to my PH, Hans. He asked me went my number one animal was and went I expected of him. I told him a 50” or better Kudu and a warthog with curled tusks. The rest was up to him. At 4pm, I shoot my first animal, a Blue Wildebeest at 90 yrs. After pictures, Hans thought we were going back to camp. Wrong. I told him we still had time to hunt. My wife fears were coming true, after one, I was going out of control. At 5:15pm, I shoot my second animal, a Gemsbok at 70 yrs. I had two of my original six on my first afternoon.

Monday: Aug. 15, 2011. The actual first day of my 11 day hunt. I had four animals left. We arrived at the property were we are to hunt that day. It’s about 7am. We walked for about 3.5 hours. We kept seeing Warthogs and Impala. But Hans kept saying, “too small”. Then he said “shot, shot”. I was looking for a Warthog or Impala, but couldn’t see any. “Shoot”. Where, I said, He pointed. I saw this small looking deer, “that”, “Shoot”, so I did. Hans and Frankie, my tracker, were jumping up and down saying Monster. Ok, but what was it? Hans said, a once in a life time trophy, a Steenbok. Both hones were 4 ½” long and with bosses of 1 5/8”. My first animal not in my package. It scored 12 ¼”. We stopped for lunch. Before I knew it, we all were taking a nap. I awoke to see a Warthog by the water hole. I gave Hans a shake and pointed. “Too small”, Then Hans said, don’t move, Waterbuck by big tree. (Ok, you are at a water hole and big trees are all around), So he told me were to look. Then I heard those words, “Shoot”. So I did. Hans looked at me and said, “Monster”. The left hone is 29” and the right is 28 ½”. The second animal not in my the package. My wife fears have come true. So back to the hunt. About 5:30pm, I shot my Impala.

Tuesday: Aug. 16, 2011. We are up at 4:30am to go to the mountains. It was a rare day where it is raining. I’m after Kudu. Hans told me it was a bad day to hunt as the Kudu will be lying down. It stopped raining about 11am. It is very hard to walk due to all the rocks. Around 2pm we saw two Kudu. Hans said the one was about 48” and if I wished to shoot it I could, but he wished I didn’t. We’re looking for 50” or better, he said, or did forget. At 4:20pm, Hans spotted a Kudu Bull at 260 yrs. upon the side of the mountain. He told me where to look. It stepped out and Hans said shoot, he’s 52”. That was the longest shot I took in Africa. The bullet hit home. He went 5 yrs. Animal number six was down. All six animals were with one shot. His total scored was 124”. It took all three of us a 1.5 hrs to get him off the mountain side.

Wednesday: Aug. 17, 2011. We are after a Nyala and or Eland. We were in the area we hunted on Monday. Hans said that is were a big Nyala was. The wind was swirling and there were Impala everywhere. After 3 hours of walking and only seeing one female Nyala we went looking for Eland. We saw three herds and after each stock, they were all females. I didn’t know female Eland have horns. About 4:30pm Hans said lets go look for the Nyala again. We looked for him on the left side of the river, that’s were we seen him on Monday. Hans found two large Nyala bull tracks, they crossed the river. There is no water in the river at this time of year. We climbed up the bank and Hans dropped to his knees and said “It’s him”. I stepped to his side and saw two bulls. I asked the back one? Yes he said, but he did not say shoot. I stepped in front of him. I could see halve of his leg do to a tree and thick bush in front of him. I know it was a bad shot, but the gun with off. They took off running. It was about a 80 yrs shot, and told Hans I hit him. After 150 yrs, we found three small drops of blood. We went about 30 yrs when we saw them take off. There were eight small drops of blood. I told Hans “I gut shot him”. We went about another 60 yrs and saw them in a thick brush. We could not tell which one to shoot. They ran again. We found a small puddle of blood, but now its 5:40pm. We are running out of time and I asked Hans to call for the dogs. He called for Blue. Crag, another PH, and Blue got there about 6:15pm. Blue was off and about 100 yrs had the bull. Crag grabbed my gun and with Hans were gone. I heard the shot. It was dark and Hans and Crag both said “Monster, one of a life time”. Then they told me it was a cross between a Nyala and Kudu. Crag and Blue went back to camp and told everyone. I have to tell you that I was sick because I took a bad shot and my wife would kill me if we did not get it. Yes you pay if you draw blood. When we got back to camp it was about 8 o’clock. I told Hans that maybe I would do a pedestal mount. They had already cut the back legs off when Pieter came and said “Do you know what you have done. There has never been a cross between a Kudu and Nyala killed in all of Africa. You are the first”. This was confirmed with Highveld Taxidermy and the South African Government. I got to name it a “Nyaku”. Both hones are 27 5/8” with bosses of 7 ¾”. A total score of 70 ¾”.

Thursday: Aug 18, 2011. We all took the day off from hunting and went to the Marakele National Park.

Friday: Aug 19, 2011. Went out for Blesbok and Warthog. I shot my Blesbok at 10am. A 160 yrs one shot kill. Yes, Hans said shoot. Back to camp for a hot lunch. I told Hans to put Georgeann on the shooting range, I want her to shot a animal. After 9 shots, the last two in the bulls’ eye, we were off to the water hole to sit. Hans said she could hunt until 5:30pm, just incase she had a bad shot, we would have time to find it. We saw six Warthogs, two each, mother and baby. Around five we saw seven Blesbok and a Blue Wildebeest. She was looking for a Zebra or Gemsbok. I told Hans the Gemsbok would have to be bigger than mine. We watched them for about 10 minutes when Hans said don’t move, Gemsbok. I know it was bigger than mine. She found it in the scope and I took the safety off. It stepped out from behind the tree and she shot. It went straight down. Her first animal ever and it’s a record book Gemsbok. A 100 yrs, 400 lbs animal. The left horn is 38 ¼” and the right is 38”. Both bosses are 6 ¼” for a total score of 88 ¾”. (SCI min. is 80’). Mine was 81”. Out of everything I did in Africa, That was my happiest and most proud moment. Everyone in camp said my chest was pumped and my face was glowing. Georgeann was in shock and didn’t stop shaking until after six shots of JD black, that was around 10pm. She still doesn’t believe she did it.

Saturday: Aug. 20, 2011. Hunting for Zebra when Hans said Shoot. There was a small deer that I thought was a Steenbok. I look at Hans and said “I already got that”. He replied “Duiker”. I raised a shot. A Gray Duiker is rare in this area. They told me it was the third this year. Talk about Luck. We spotted Zebra, there was three big ones out of eight. We spotted a dark one and I told Hans that’s the one. We made four stalks but kept getting busted by other animals. We decided to break for lunch and let them calm down. After lunch we found them right away and four stalks later, when they were doubling back, Hans got me into position for a 100 yr shot, quartering away. 250 yrs later, Hans said Congratulations. It is beautiful.

Sunday: Aug. 21, 2011. I took the day off to spend time at camp with my wife.

Monday: Aug 22, 2011. We are going to the mountains for Eland. Pieter arranged for a hunt on a ranch that was for photos only. They had too many bulls. We spotted a herd of Eland and the owners’ representative said he thought there was a big bull in the herd. We stalked them for 300 yrs. when Hans said that there’s no male tracks. We walked about a thousand yards when Hans spotted a bull. That first we thought there were two, but then we saw five more to the left. Hans looked them all over and knew which one was the oldest. He was following a young bull which was heading for a clearing, but instead of coming out like the young one, he laid down in the thickets. The five to the left were walking right to us. They were all young and came within 25 yrs when we stopped Zebras walking towards the big bull. We were frozen by a tree for over one hour. Thank God the wind was right. Finally they moved away and the big bull stood up. He walked towards the herd and at 105 yrs, I got my shot. They all ran about 100 yrs when the big boy went down. The other bulls and the Zebra were standing around him. We moved to get another shot, but I was shaking too bad to shot. I told Hans to stay and I was going to move right at him. I got to within 40 yrs. when he stood up. I fired two more times and he was down. He was the biggest animal I ever shot. He has 32 ½” horns and 11” bosses. A total score of 87”.

Tuesday: Aug. 23, 2011. We were out for Bushbuck. We walked up to this big field where Hans spotted a Warthog in high grass. The wind was blow hard right at us, so we started stalking him. His head was down and we couldn’t see his tusks. We got to within 10 yrs when he lifted his head and I heard those wards “Shoot”. He ran about 25 yrs and stopped to look back, that was his latest mistake. We had seen nine others, but they all had a broken tusk. He was the first with two. The outside measures 11 ½”. We did not see a shooter Bushbuck for the rest of the day.

Wednesday: Aug. 24, 2011. We all took off and went to the Cultural Village. We all highly recommend.

Thursday: Aug. 25, 2011. The last day. We were out for Bushbuck and about 8:10am, Hans said shoot. There in the thicket was a old male. One shot later and my dream of a spiral horn slam was complete. He is a old male with lots of gray. His horns are 14 1/8” with bosses of 6 ¼”. My hunting was now over. I got back in time to say good by to Joe, Angela, and Larry. There are heading home. They are great people and fun to be with.

End of August - First of September

BEN LINER – Tennessee

Animals taken – Steenbok*, Impala*, Waterbuck*, Warthog*

MIKE UEBELHERR – Ohio

Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Impala*, Kudu, Warthog*

STEVE BROWN

Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Kudu* (51 1/8”), Warthog*, Impala*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

(Ben) This was my second trip to Cruiser Safaris. I didn’t think anything could be better than my last trip, but Pieter and his staff continue to improve. My Professional Hunter (PH) Hans, was superb. I can not say enough about him.  DelMarie’s food and service was exceptional. Her preparation of the game we took gave us an opportunity to sample what we hunted. Likewise, the facilities and housekeeping staff was flawless.

My Impala hunt was great. Hans spotted a great looking male as we were driving past a thicket. We continued past about 250 yards nd jumped off the truck. We began our stalk!! We played cat and mouse with the herd for about thirty minutes until we had a chance. Hans picked out a good one and said shoot. I did! Now a nice Impala is going to America.

My best stalk lasted more than two and a half hours and ended with no shot. However, the time spent was well worth every minute. We were after two nice Waterbucks that loved to stay in thick cover. Hans’ tracking was exceptional, but my feet may have been too heavy. Time and time again we would get within about 60 yard when they would move into the cover keeping us from a clear shot. The experience of seeing the skills of a true Professional Hunter is something I will cherish forever. By the way, after we gave up on these two Waterbucks and were on our way our, when two different Waterbucks appeared right in front of us, 60 yards away. Hans said take the one on the left. Boom! I now have wonderful memories and a great trophy.

GLENN & CARLA WOODCOCK – North Carolina

Animals taken – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog, Gemsbok*, 2 – Zebra, Eland*, Kudu* (52”), 2 – Impala*, Red Hartebeest*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

TERRY & RACHAEL NIEUWENHOUT – Australia

Animals taken – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Warthogs*, Steenbok*, Waterbuck*, Zebra, Gemsbok*, Impala*, Kudu

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

28 Aug 2011 Day 0

We arrived at the lodge to be greeted by Pieter and the PHs, John and Johan and DelMarie the chef and handed a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. We were then shown to our room by DelMarie to unpack a little and then called for lunch. Already Rach wanted to come back next year as the Lodge and people are truly amazing.

After lunch we were off to the lodge’s 100 meter range to zero the rifle, an old Savage in 30/06 wearing a new 2 – 8 X 42 Zeiss Duralyt in Leupold rings and Warne bases. Thank goodness the Federal, 180gn Barnes triple shocks that I picked up in Sydney between flights shot well and we were good to go.

We headed out with Johan, our PH to have a look and see. Passing by the Trackers house to collect him we found he had disappeared for the day, lucky for us Johan located another tracker to take with us for the afternoon. We saw a herd of wildebeest which we tried to stalk but to no avail. The other animals were constantly getting in our way and the herd made it to cover before we could get a clear shot at the bull Johan had selected.

We got back just in time to have a quick shower and then dinner, which was stuffed Kudu. After dinner we sat around the bar and fire talking and listening about everybody’s day finally calling it quits just after 9pm. Our room had been turned down (bed and mosquito net) and chocolates had been placed on the pillow.

29 Aug 2011 Day 1

We were woken up at 5.30am for breakfast and then headed off at 6.30am to the same block (25,000 acres) as yesterday. We parked and stalked in towards a clearing looking for the wildebeest and came across 2 Blesbok. Johan glassed them and identified the lead one as a taker so I crawled to the nearest thorn covered tree for a rest and took aim on the shoulder concentrated on my breathing and waited for him to stop as he came closer. After a dozen or so more paces he stopped to look behind him I centered the No 4 reticule on his shoulder and squeezed the trigger. The bullet hit him well, he took half a dozen wobbly steps and lay down as we watched for a minute and then walked the 113 paces to look at him. The 180gn triple shock penetrated both shoulders.

As Johan was propping the blesbok up for a photo, the tracker pointed behind Rach to the herd of wildebeest moving through the bush we had just come from.  Johan put up the sticks, told me that the second last one was the best of the heard and when it stops to shoot. I took aim and fired. The wildebeest stumbled and tried to break into a run so I smacked him again and down he went. The first shot was good, penetrating both shoulders; the second bullet stayed inside and was recovered against the off side skin with the textbook four petals. 2 animals before 8.30am, not bad for the first morning.

We went back to Lodge to take the animals to the skinning shed then back out to the front block with Johan to chase an old warthog that had been hanging around and been eluding a few. Rach and Johan spotted the old hog and we were off, it stopped 80 odd yards away and appeared to be looking for us sensing something was wrong. Johan threw up the sticks and I took the rest steadying the rifle, again I took aim on the shoulder, concentrated on my breathing and squeezed the trigger, it dropped on the spot the bullet exiting the offside shoulder.

30 Aug 2011 Day 2

Today was the big Kudu hunt. We were woken at 4:30am for a 5:30am start. Johan had the customized twin cab Toyota Land cruiser packed and warming up at 5:20 so we made a start for Pieter’s father’s old property an hour away.

We parked up and glassed some faces; Rach spotted a giraffe on one of the faces with Johan spotting a bull Kudu way up near the top of the most distant ridge and with nothing else on offer we set off on foot to get around and level with the bull. Two hours latter Johan spotted the bull 330 meters away in some thick vegetation. We closed the gap to a ranged distance of 173 meters. We set the rifle up, the forewood in the fork of a tree and the stock in the sticks and waited for the bull to step out and offer a clear shot. After some time the bull stopped browsing on the bush and slipped out the back and down to reverse slope out of sight. It was a slow walk back to the vehicle at the bottom of the hill. Johan displayed his dedication after coming to grief on the walk out and opening up his shin on a loose falling rock. Thankfully nothing that a little lie down could not fix and on we continued.

After lunch we toured the block glassing the faces and stalking in on a waterhole all to no avail. As it was getting closer to dusk, Johan thought we should try a stalk on a waterhole that we had not been to today. We stalked in and came across a warthog and froze, the warthog came to within 6 meters from us before it realized we were there and skirted around us and backed into a hole. We then continued on and Johan signaled he had seen something, a quick look revealed two eland and a kudu bull on the other side of the waterhole. We crawled in closer and Johan set up the sticks, in order to remain unseen I crawled to the sticks and took a rest off one of the legs. The light was fading fast and I could not see the bull so I wound the magnification up on the scope to 8 in an attempt to see better and found him; however I could not see the definition of the shoulder of the bull standing almost side on. I placed the crosshairs on where I thoughtthe shoulder should be and took a number of deep breaths before I squeezed the trigger. I lost the bull in the recoil and muzzle flash, thankfully Johan observed the reaction to the shot and the direction in which he moved off. We waited, watched and listened before we moved to where it was when I fired. When we arrived at the spot there was no kudu and I thought how I could have missed until Johan became all animated as he pointed out a tiny speck of bright red blood on the ground. I felt sick. I had wounded the animal and the light was fading quickly and I doubted we would find him before we lost the light. To Johan’s credit he tracked him for 10 meters in failing light before turned to congratulate me. There he was 5 meters away on the ground, and as corny as it sounds I felt a wave of relief sweep over me. He was an old bull with worn down tips, the 180gn projectile had entered behind the shoulder and passed through the lungs exiting the off side shoulder. We set up for the obligatory photo session and were thankful for the camera’s flash as it was dark by now.

31 Aug 2011 Day 3

Today was a lazy day and we went to the Marakele National Park.

1 Sep 2011 Day 4

It was a late start today, as we headed off at 6:50am to look for an impala. We saw a few on the drive there and a couple more when we parked before we set off. We walked a bit through the thorn bushes until Johan spotted one and we started to stalk in closer for a better look. He looked good so we crawled in to get a better look and try to find a gap through the thorn bush to take a clear shot only to be met by multiple snorts. We had stalked into a bachelor herd in the thick stuff. We skirted around the thick stuff only to come upon a nyala bull and while we waited for him to pass by the bachelor herd of impala split into two groups with one group staying in the thick thorn bush cover and the other group heading out the back.

We cautiously started after the second group and after some time closed the gap to 115 meters before we were spotted by the two rearguard bulls. Johan set up the sticks and I crawled over to them using what little cover I could find and took a seat by the sticks. Again using one of the legs as a rest I shouldered the rifle and Johan informed me the left one. I could not see his head but Johan assured me he was a good one and so with 80% of his body showing I took a couple of cleansing breaths and took the shot. The shot felt good and all I could see was a cloud of dust.

Johan said he did not think the round make it to the impala so we set off to see what went wrong. I inspected trees and termite mound on the way to the spot where they were standing when I took the shot and nothing. When we arrived at the spot where they were standing there was nothing. Johan said he was going back to where I took the shot to see and turned to leave, at that point Rach and Johan spotted the impala about 10 to 15 meters away on the ground. Johan turned back to me and said congratulations. Again it was time to take the photos, get the vehicle, load the impala and head back to the lodge for lunch and a rum. That afternoon Johan took us out for Rach to see herds of giraffes.

2 Sep 2011 Day 5

Today we are going out to find a gemsbok, so after breakfast we headed out for a look around. We drove around for a while seeing kudu, impala, red hartebeest and some juvenile gemsbok.; As we were getting nowhere we decided to go for a couple of walks to see what was in the thorn bush without much luck.

The wind was making it hard work this morning as it was swirling around constantly betraying us. After a while of walking we came across some fresh gemsbok tracks and followed them up. We ended up losing the bull but found 2 cows and a red hartebeest. They were aware something was not right as we closed the range and got into position. From behind the cover of a pile of thorn bush Johan set up the sticks and said to get ready. I closed the bolt and said “is it the left one?” and Johan replied “you will know when you see it”. I stood up, placed the rifle on the sticks and started to breath as I lined up the large old cow. She was standing front quartering with her right shoulder closet to us. The scope was set on 3.5 X magnification and the crosshairs came to rest on the shoulder and I took one final breath. I slowly exhaled 2/3rds of the breath and squeezed the trigger. The shot rocked her and she regained her feet ready to run but the front right leg would not work. She made 15 to 20 meters before she fell down and that was where she stayed. We took the mandatory photos and were back at the lodge for lunch and an easy afternoon of writing, reading and rum.

3 Sep 2011 Day 6

We were up early and off to the first property we hunted to hunt zebra. We drove, walked and stalked this morning. We put in a couple of good stalks but the wind was swirling all morning. We continued to get close but never close enough for a clear shot before the wind would betray us. We stopped for lunch by a water tank and Johan made a fire and barbequed some eland sausage for lunch.

After a nap we packed up from lunch we drove around a bit until we spotted the zebra. The zebra was in nasty thick thorny bushes. Johan and I jumped of the cruiser to start a stalk; the wind was still a problem and continued to betray us. The zebra were very skittish and we only saw glimpses of them. We continued to stalk hoping for the wind to improve or the vegetation would open up. Finally we stalked onto the herd sentry, the herd stallion. After getting to a tree to use as a rest we waited for a chance of a shot. Finally one presented itself. I had set the scope on 6X and rested the crosshair on the shoulder and squeezed. The zebra reacted to the shot and ran behind the scrub again after what seemed an eternity it moved back out again and I rushed a shot. It then started moving towards our right, I followed through the scope a squeezed the trigger firing into a bush, I worked the bolt again with the zebra started to run away, so I fired again off hand and heard the impact and saw the zebra start to go down. 3 meters away it hit the deck. When I approached him I saw I had hit him 3 times. The first shot hit something on the way there and the projectile impacted side on one foot left of POA, the second shot trimmed a patch out of the mane, the third was into a bush and the fourth was in behind the ribs exiting the off side behind the shoulder. We had the photo session and loaded him up and returned to camp, finished for the day at 1635h.

4 Sep 2011 Day 7

Johan and I were off at 6.30 this morning to get a steenbok. Again we drove and walked a fair bit of ground in the 1,800 hectare block that we shot the gemsbok on day 5. We did not see much this morning, eland, kudu, red hartebeest, warthog and 3 female steenboks and 1 small male. On the drive out for brunch we saw a “new” animal that had not been seen before and apparently it was a good one. So Johan and I jump off the back of the Cruiser and get into the bush to close the gap for a closer look only to find a warthog 20 meters in front of us when we are 80 meters from the steenbok. Johan set up the sticks and I take a rest and wait for it to walk into the clear, the waiting spoils my breathing and when I shoot I shoot high. The steenbok runs towards us as I work the bolt and it stops to look for us, I slow down and fire again and the shot is good. We take the obligatory photos and return in time for the Sunday brunch. The rest of the day was spent writing, resting and having a quiet rum until it ran out.

5 Sep 2011 Day 8

We head out to try for duiker this morning with no real expectation of seeing one and have a good hog as a backup plan. We head over to a new property to have a look for a duiker without much success and see some good hogs running for cover which Johan takes note of. We continue to look for duiker until lunch and head back to the lodge for a feed. We head back to this morning’s property for another look, and after a while Johan leads off into the bush to have a closer look at a spot he knows. As we approach the spot Johan indicated that there are a number of hogs ahead of us. For a change the wind is steady and in our favor as we start to close in and we are forced to stop and wait while a sow and her young walk across our path. Once the sow and her young have moved on we continue to close the gap to the hogs to about 35 meters. At this point we start to glass the hogs to gauge their potential and watch their antics for some time before deciding on one, once the decision was made me crawled to our left to get into a better position to see the hogs’ exit path. Now we were in a better position to see the hogs we lay down and crawled some more to get in behind some cover and wait for the hog to come to us. We continued to lay there for some time with all the accumulated thorns and burs sticking into us to remind us of the crawl to get some cover. Finally the hog we were after broke off from the group and started to move towards us, at about 13 meters from us the warthog was starting to fill the scope even at the lowest setting so I concentrated on my breathing and fired into his skull and he dropped on the spot. More photos and back to the lodge.

6 Sep 2011 Day 9

Today was a bit of a lazy day with no animals.

7 Sep 2011 Day 10

We spent the morning looking, glassing and stalking unsuccessfully for a one horned impala for a skin, then returned to the lodge for lunch. Johan and I were out looking for a one horned impala for a skin. Johan as usual spotted the waterbuck which was aware something was up. We sat down and glassed him for quite a while as he tried to find us, he then moved into thicker vegetation trying to hide and identify the possible threat. We continued to glass him for a while and as we stopped glassing to discuss options on getting closer he slipped away. We waited and waited and waited some more, then I noticed that some of the reeds in front of us were moving in a different direction to the reeds around them and suspected he was coming closer to us. I adjusted my position and closed the bolt. After waiting some more I briefly seen the tops of his horns moving through the reeds diagonally across us. I repositioned myself so that I was sitting facing where I thought he would come out of the reeds, set the scope to 3.5 magnification, raised my rifle and waited. Cautiously the waterbuck took a tentative step and peered around the tree at us from 20 meters; I concentrated on my breathing and waited for him to step out from behind the tree. Finally he looked away and started to move off showing his shoulder; I centered the reticule on the shoulder and fired. He stumbled and tried to run so I smacked him again 2 inches horizontally from the first shot and he crumpled. A great animal to finish off a great trip and one I will always remember fondly.

September

CHAD LUNSKI (and his father, RICHARD and Uncle DENNIS) – Minnesota

Animals taken (bow) – Kudu* (53 ½”), Gemsbok*, 2 – Impala*, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*

DONN HANCOCK (and his son COURTNEY) – North Dakota

Animals taken: Donn – Blesbok*, Zebra, Impala*, Warthog*, Kudu*, Blue Wildebeest*

Animals taken: Courtney – Zebra

CASEY HANCOCK – North Dakota

Animals taken – Blesbok*, Warthog*, Gemsbok*, Impala*, Red Hartebeest*, Kudu

RALPH DODGE – Oklahoma

Animals taken (bow) – Warthog*, Kudu* (51 ½”), Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*

STEVEN DRILL – Minnesota

Animals taken (bow) – Kudu* (51 ½”), Warthog*, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

(Chad) I would like to personally Thanks Crusier Safaris for making my Safari Bow hunt come true. We had a great time and shot very high quality animals. Bob Clark was a great help in answering my questions about our Safari. Craig my PH was a true professional hunter and I would now call him a friend. I took 7 animals with a bow and many of them will make the SCI record book including my 40 inch Gemsbok/25 inch impala/54 inch Kudu. Tiny our Chef was great at helping us gain some weight with her wonderful meals. The staff was always friendly with a smile. Cruiser Safaris is a top notch Operation. Thanks for all the wonderful memories you have made for us. Till we meet again.

(Donn’s Impala hunt) We had seen some Impala one a good one. We started the stalk and were spotted by the "eyes" of many more impala and other animals, plus the infamous "GO AWAY BIRD" and that was strange indeed. After seeming some other good animals and trying to get a good shot we always seemed to get busted. After a couple of hours we started back to the Rover and saw some Kudu and more Impala. The wind then switched again so we crossed the river and sat down in the shade beside some trees and waited as animals started to move all around us. Always looking in our direction for movement. We seen some nice ones feeding in our direction and Hans said which to follow. After awhile he came out on the river bank out of the brush and Hans said to shoot if I wanted to. I shot a little over 200 yards across the river and I had my first Impala!!

COLIN PERSO – Australia

Animals taken – Impala*, Blesbok*, Zebra, Kudu, Warthog*, Gemsbok

RAY WINTER (non hunting observer) – Australia

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

My hunt for a Gemsbok bull was over 3 days and comprised of many stalks on animals that would either be pregnant females or immature animals. Many times a group of animals would be located but the brush would be so thick that a shot could not confidently be taken or positive identification of a trophy  bull. Over the period of 3 days the Gemsbok seemed to know we were close as they always seemed to move off for no apparent reason. Also many stalks were foiled by things like change of wind, being given up by other species, Zebra's breaking wind and scaring off the Gemsbok. Finally got my chance at a 35 inch heavy based bull after 3 days and was elated with my hard earned trophy. All credit must go to John for his persistence as he never gave up trying to get my trophy Gemsbok Bull. This hunt tested the persistence of both PH and hunter over three long hot days stalking and I could tell by the punching of the air smile on John's face that this Bull was a very special hunt for both of us.

JOE HOUSTON – Texas

Animals taken – Zebra, Impala*, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Kudu, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

SCOTT GRIFFIN – Illinois

Animals taken – Impala, Warthog*, Kudu*, Zebra, Gemsbok, Ostrich

DAVID SCOTT – Illinois

Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu* (52 ½”), Gemsbok*, Warthog*, Zebra

BILL STAGINA (non hunting observer) – Missouri

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

DARRYL HOLMES – British Columbia, Canada

Animals taken – Impala*, Gemsbok, Warthog*, Kudu* (51”), Steenbok

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

JAMIE HARVEY (and his brother DAVID) – Saskatchewan, Canada

Animals taken – Gemsbok, Impala*, Kudu, Warthog*, Blesbok*

David – 2 – Impala*, Blesbok*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

TOM MORELLI – Delaware

Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (51 ½”), 2 – Impala*, 2 – Warthog*, Blesbok

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

LARRY & MARILYN FALASTER – Illinois

Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Zebra, Kudu, 2 – Impala*, Warthog*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

October

DWAYNE CONKLIN – Florida

Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Steenbok*, Kudu, Gemsbok

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

SCOTT ELLINGSON – Minnesota

Animals taken – Zebra, Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Warthog*, Nyala*, Steenbok*

RICK KASPRAK – South Carolina

Animals taken – Gemsbok, Blesbok*, Steenbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Warthog*, Zebra, Kudu* (52 ¼”), Eland*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

ULI & JACKI SCHMIEMANN – Alberta, Canada

Animals taken – Kudu*, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Gemsbok*, Waterbuck, Blesbok*, 2 – Warthogs*, Red Hartebeest*, female Red Hartebeest

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

BILL & KAY MCCONNELL – Pennsylvania

Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Zebra, Warthog*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

Bill & Kay McConnell Oct 2011 Safari

What a wonderful adventure my wife and I went on. It was our first time in Africa. We did a 7 day safari with Cruiser Safaris. I took a rifle and she took a camera. We were treated like a king and a queen. We ate wildebeest, gemsbok, warthog and all sorts of wild game. The chef, DelMarie is simply a genius. Everything we ate was tasty and certainly not gamey at all. Her deserts were to die for. All the accommodations made us feel welcome and comfortable. Pieter is the perfect host.

I came to hunt. 4 animals were on my list. It was not to be a “normal” hunt as I have a bum leg and can’t walk very far or fast in any given day. My PH was aware of this and it was not a problem.

Blue Wildebeest

We saw them on and off from the Land Cruiser and finally tracked them on foot for an hour. We’d move and they’d move so no clear shot presented itself. Hans, my PH, decided the best tactic was to get ahead of them and we did just that. Then I got a 150 yard shot off the shooting sticks. Hans picked out a nice one. The wildebeest was facing me & slightly quartering towards me. Hans had me put the bullet in his right shoulder. He milled about for 3 min and fell over dead. Strangely the other Wildebeest hung around until we got to the kill. It was a nice one for sure. Hans made it all possible.

Gemsbok

We rode around for hours looking for signs of Gemsbok. Hans would see plenty of females but the males were tougher. Many times we got in and out of the Land Cruiser to follow up a lead. Then late in the day we finally got everything lined up for a 100 yard shot off the sticks. Just as I was waiting for the crosshairs of the scope to settle, the male walked behind a female and was gone. By then the sun was getting low in the sky and I still wanted a shot at a Gemsbok. Hans found another group about a mile away with a nice male. The light was still good but time was short as the group was moving. Hans picked the best one for me and offered me his shoulder for a quick rest to pull this 95 yard shot off (first time I ever shot off a shoulder. It was very steady. They must learn that in PH school. ) The Gemsbok was fully quartering away so I put the 210gr Barnes X bullet (338 Win Mag) in about 12" behind the near shoulder. It went through the ribs, lungs and the far shoulder. The bullet finally settled just under the skin outside the far shoulder. At the shot the Gemsbok jumped up, did a 180 and took off. It made 50 yards or so and collapsed.

Zebra

First thing Monday morning with my wife, Kay along we were cruising the hunting lands looking for sign. We had been looking for zebra since the first morning as, more than any other animal; it’s what I came to Africa to take. It does not take long to learn that zebra are very shy, nervous, skittish and jumpy. They have thick hides which allows them to live in the deep thorns where there stripes are perfect camouflage. Again, Hans perks up and sees a herd deep in the brush (where the zebra always are). We follow and he says they have not seen us and there is a good chance they will cross the road somewhere in front of our Land Cruiser. Hans is always right about these things and this time is no exception. A half dozen Zebra cross 60 yards in front of us. They are caught totally off guard. They mingle & move about for few moments. It was long enough for me to get on the zebra Hans picked out and prepare him for the first stage of the tanning process.

Quite out of the norm the 338 210 grain Barnes X totally failed to expand. There was a small entrance hole just behind the right shoulder and a pencil point size hole about 2 feet further coming out of the paunch on the other side. Apparently the bullet did not expand but only entered the chest far enough to hit one lung and take a 45 degree turn to the rear. When it hit the zebra did not react in any way at all. He just trotted off with the rest and we saw him fall 15 minutes later. Simply terrible bullet performance. The bullet did fine on all the other animals though. I guess nothing is perfect.

Warthog

Something had to be last and I decided that unless we ran into a record book wart hog, it's what I would shoot last. We hung around a couple water holes hoping for gemsbok and/or zebra but did not see them or worthy warthogs. Finally, with the rest of my list filled we spent some hours at a different water hole. Many warthogs showed but they were either all female or very small males. A large male did sneak up on us. He was too fast and I never got a shot. At Hans' suggestion we moved to cover on the other side of the water hole. More females approached. But finally a decent male came in. It took a while to get the shot lined up as he was blocked by the water tank. He started to trot off laterally from us. Hans said to get ready as he would stop in a moment. He did and I put a bullet through both his shoulders with an 80 yard shot off shooting sticks. It was like the warthog was struck by lightning. He was instantly down.

In addition,

PH’s

As I said, this was my first time in Africa and my first time working with PH’s. The closest I had come before is reading a lot of Capstick’s books. So the night before we start hunting I met my PH for the week, Hans. I don’t mind being pushed but I’m hoping he does not drive me into the ground. After all I’m in my late 50’s with a crippled leg. Hans is young and in perfect health. (all the PH’s were). I need not have been concerned. Hans handled everything perfectly and paced things just right. Hans and I got along like old friends. He was patient with me where he needed to be patient and encouraging where he needed to be encouraging.

After a day of hunting with Hans I was convinced he had X ray vision in the bush. How he saw everything he saw I’ll never know. But watching him work was way beyond this suburban guys understanding. He is the consummate pro. One evening I asked the other hunters if their PH’s had X ray vision too. All agreed that they did… or something that looked like it to us. Mostly I’d say you gotta know your stuff if you want to PH for Pieter. In many ways these were outstanding young men. The PH’s make all the difference for a great hunt.

What a great time we had with Cruiser Safaris. We look forward to our return.

EDUARD & EVA SIROTNY – Slovakia

Animals taken – Gemsbok, Kudu* (52 ¼”), Blue Wildebeest*, Eland*, Warthog*, Waterbuck, Red Hartebeest*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

JOHN RIGGE – New York

Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Waterbuck*, Gemsbok*, Kudu* (52 ½”), Impala*, Warthog*, Red Hartebeest*, Eland*

Hunt Photos

Highlights:

I left for Africa on October 23, 2011 and arrived the next morning, greeted at the airport by Craig (PH), his wife, & his youngest daughter. It was a very welcome greeting but reminded me of my wife and girls back home who I missed very much. After a quick visit at the SAPS for the rifle import permit, we set out to the Afton House to pick up Fred C. & his wife Nancy. They were a delightful addition to my safari and hope to keep in touch. We survived grocery shopping with Craig and the ride to the camp.

We were greeted at the camp by DelMarie and a beverage. All accommodations exceeded expectations.

Pieter came in immediately to meet and greet us. After a quick lunch, Fred & I passed the rifle range check. We had a fabulous dinner and I finally met my PH – Hans. We went over some details for the next morning – where and what we would be hunting.

October 25: Welcome to South Africa in the summer time. We left early for the first hunting area to beat the impending heat. Temperature reached 42°C during the early afternoon with swirling winds throughout the day. We spent most of the morning on and off Gemsbok. We stalked a group of six (four female/two male) for most of the morning. At one point, it was a 30 minute stand-off waiting for the one larger bull to come into an opening about 150 meters away. When he did, he set up directly behind the females (no shooting females in October – pregnant) and shuffled in and around them. At the moment a shot was finally available, we heard our driver – Frankie - returning. We were without radio’s this first AM – so Frankie was just meeting us at his directed time and place. Needless to say, the opportunity disappeared. No harm – I had already had more excitement in a single morning in SA than many seasons in New York. Late to mid afternoon, we got back in the truck to spot. We came across blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, and another group of gemsbok. The latter two did not have any above average bulls according to Hans. The wildebeest offered the opportunity to take a “very good” bull. After some shuffling back and forth in the heavy bush, I had a shooting lane on the largest bull. Initially, he was facing me so the cross-hairs went under his chin. In an instant, he turned broadside with his head and neck hidden. After confirming with Hans, I took the shoulder shot and had my first animal. Best 12 hours of hunting in my life…only to be surpassed by tomorrow’s events.

October 26: We started early again. Upon arrival at the area, we spotted a group of 4 cheetahs exiting the property. They are reportedly a scourge to any hunting area. Back on the truck, Hans spotted a small group of gemsbok. We circled ahead to get a look before we started the stalk. Unfortunately, all females – and one old bull with small horns. About 7:30 AM, we turned onto a cross road in the concession and came upon two red hartebeest bulls and another group of gemsbok, both deserving a second look. At the moment the truck was coming to a stop to get off and stalk, Hans said “waterbuck – big one.” Waterbuck was the animal I really wanted outside of my package. It was standing like a statue through some thick bush about 120 meters. Hans slapped the top his left shoulder indicating I was to use it as a shooting rest, and plugged his ears. This was new to me. I took the shot and Hans asked immediately if I had hit it. I was confident that I hit it dead on and I was right. We found the 29 ¾” waterbuck about 10 meters from where it was shot. We took the animal back to the camp for skinning and processing. Early afternoon, we headed back out for ???? Again, we saw much game. We ended up spotting and stalking a nice gemsbok bull for nearly five hours. We were on and off this group all afternoon. Finally, about 6:30PM, the shot on the bull we had sought was available - picture time!

October 27: Waterberg Mountain day in South Africa for Kudu. We spent most of the morning hiking up the rocks and enjoying the views across the valley. Saw a baboon on a neighboring cliff and a klipspringer about 100 meters away in the rocks. Saw a couple females through the binoculars. Hans followed some fresh tracks through the rocks somehow. At one point, he said it was too hot, not good for big bull Kudu. He said we were following cows and one small bull. After about two – three hours of hiking, we saw what we had been following through the binoculars – a couple females and one small bull. After lunch, we came across one small bull and one large bull. The small bull presented himself as an easy target about 80 meters away as the large bull headed away at an angle. I quartered the larger bull on the left side. He reared back, went about 10 feet and dropped. By the time we got the Kudu loaded and back to the camp, it was late in the afternoon. I spent the remainder of the day with a glass of Chateau Libertas and the company of Pieter and other hunters.

October 28: We left a little later this morning to different hunting concession.  Hans spotted a promising group of impala, so it was off the truck and time to stalk. After an hour or two, we set up downwind and in the direction the impala were heading. Within a short time, the impala crossed the opening but most were females and small males. The final impala to cross into the opening was the one Hans had spotted earlier. It crossed and stopped in a tight group of about four impala. Finally, a clear shot presented itself. The impala was partially facing me at an angle. My shot was low. The bullet hit high on the impala’s right front leg. Two hours of brisk pursuit pushing the impala until it was tired paid off. Hans’s tracking skills were exceptional. It remained just ahead of us, out of sight- but not sound, for the last 30 minutes or so. Hans spotted the impala through the bush about 70 meters away. I ended the pursuit. When we got up to the impala, Hans turned to me and said “you do not know what you have got here” and he got his tape out. I knew what I had. I had a great PH. When we got back to the camp, Pieter repeated Hans’s statement. The afternoon was spent looking for a decent warthog. The weather was threatening from several directions. An impending front with heavy thunderstorms could be seen forever but t seemed to skirt us. About 4:00 PM with light rain in the air, gusty winds, and darkening skies. Hans spotted a decent male warthog about 200 meters at the base of a mound of dirt and grass that provided great cover as the warthog was covered in the dirt. He did the shoulder tap for me to set the rifle over him and plugged his ears. I took the shot. Warthog never moved. Redemption for the morning’s failed first shot. We got back to the camp and were greeted later by a tremendous thunderstorm. Power was out for about 28 hours. Even without power, Pieter and the staff at Cruiser shined. The accommodations and hospitality was unmatched. Not much quieter than Africa at night with no power.

October 29: With not much hunting pressure now, Hans and I went back out this morning see what we could find. This morning we saw a pack of three cheetahs immediately upon entering the area. Within an hour, we spotted a couple good red hartebeest bulls. We started the stalk. Flanked by zebra and impala, we had our work cut out for us. At one point, the wind shifted and we had to reposition ourselves – so we hustled ahead to get alongside the hartebeest and downwind. Along the way, we came across a baby kudu in a tree. I asked Hans if it was a leopard kill, he confirmed. Later, we came across the two hartebeest and zebra. They seemed to work together to spook one another. This continued for about an hour or so when the hartebeest broke off from the zebra conveniently in the direction Hans had predicted. Another angle shot, about 80 meters ended the hunt. We packed out and enjoyed a hot lunch back at the camp compliments of DelMarie. This afternoon, I took a walk around the immediate compound – picture taking. I was undecided on what or if I was going to hunt the next day as it would be the last day of hunting. I had plans on going to Lephalale for gifts/banking on the 31st. With a little coaxing from Hans and considering my surroundings, I decided that we would hunt Eland on the final day. Hans informed Pieter and he arranged access to another hunting area about 30 minutes away.

October 30: We set out to the neighboring area early. Hans reported that the area was about 15,000 acres. We drove for some time before we spotted eland. All average according to Hans. We continued further into the property before we came across a group of two bulls, one young big bull and one very old bull, but small in size. We pursued these two for a shot for about an hour or two. Once they start moving, they continue without tiring. We got ahead of them on a couple occasions, but a good shot was not available. The older bull was not impressive in body or horn size. About 9 am, we came across three bulls and a cow. One bull was exceptional according to Hans. Much of the next two hours was spent hunching, crawling, stalking, and making like a statue in the bush to get a shot. This group traveled with about six to eight zebra. With no luck, we broke off pursuit to get ahead of them. One time, we managed to get in front of them and set up a shot. The zebra came through first. They stopped in the opening and stared at us. Then the eland came into sight. They were 20 meters behind the zebra who were provided a perfect shield. Once they passed through, we broke off pursuit and got in the truck to get ahead of them. We drove for about 15 minutes and got out of the truck. Hans & I headed off on foot to spot the eland. About 20 minutes later, Hans stopped and said “Zebra.” He had heard them. We froze and waited. About ten minutes later, Hans spotted the zebra about 150 meters away. Soon after, we saw the eland. A little crawling and hunching later and several attempts at getting shooting lane, I took the shot. The shot knocked the eland down. Hans and I started to walk towards it after a handshake and we saw the eland stand, stagger, and walk away from us. When we got to the point of impact, we found no blood. I told Hans my shot was placed at the base of the neck because of the amount of brush between us. He said I must have hit the top half of the neck above the shoulders. We tracked the group on/off for the next five hours…losing them (by sight) and finding them. They continued being flanked by the zebra adding to the fun. The bull I hit showed no signs of injury or fatigue. Finally, the three bulls came into an opening. My bull was second in line. It was amazing how Hans was able to differentiate my bull from the others. The next shot went directly into the shoulder. Unfortunately, one more shot was needed when we came up to the bull. My first shot was exactly where Hans had thought – upper half of the neck – not lethal. It was by far the most memorable hunt with closure only made possible by the PH’s skills.

Special Thanks to Hans, Pieter, Bob, Craig, John, Johann, DelMarie, Frankie, and the rest of the staff for an unforgettable experience. I will be back with my wife for Buffalo! Hopefully Fred and Nancy C. from Alberta Canada will join us.

FRED & NANCY COCKROFT – Alberta, Canada

Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, Impala*(Nancy) Gemsbok*, Eland*, Zebra, Warthog*, Kudu*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

MIKE & PAMELA HARDIN – Alabama

Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Warthog*, Kudu, Impala*

No Hunt Photos Available

Highlights:

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