Normally we start our annual newsletter in May, however this year there were a couple of items that has delayed the start. The first was that our server was no longer supporting the publishing program that we have always used. We had to change programs and completely redo the web site. Although this took quite a while we were able to go through every page of the web site and update all of the information and pictures. For those of you who follow our newsletter you will notice that we have only had the chance to complete 2 years of newsletters, 2012 & 2011. We will be adding all of the newsletters back to 2002 as time permits.
The 2nd delay was actually my fault as I was going to South Africa in June this year and I thought it would be best to wait to start this year’s newsletter until I returned. I’m glad I did as there are several things in the camp that have changed and I can pass these new things on to you now rather than waiting until next year.
Pieter & Lizelle have a wonderful family. The 2 girls, Elizca & Clarissa are as beautiful as their mother. As it is with 2 girls aged 2 & 7 they are full of energy and can be a handful. I know that Pieter is now happy that he built an electrified high fence around their house for when the girls get to be dating age. Christiaan is now 10 and he plans on becoming a PH as soon as he can. He tries to go out with the other PH’s when possible to learn as much as he can for that future endeavor. The only thing that he is not happy about is studying for the PH written exam.
On a happy note our PH Hans has returned this year. Those of you that have hunted with him know of his outstanding hunting and tracking skills. I’m sure that Hans will be staying with Cruiser’s now for a long time. Our PH Craig always seems to have a smile on his face and his great nature is an excellent asset for Cruiser’s. The remarkable training that he has given his tracking dogs has saved many a client from losing a wounded animal. Our PH Johan and Amalia (who is in charge of the laundry for our clients) were married this past February. What a great couple and we wish them all of the best in their married life. We have a new PH this year, MC. I should have asked him while I was there what MC stood for. MC is a young PH with a great personality. He has an excellent knowledge of the bush and the burning desire to be the best PH possible. He is another outstanding addition to our staff.
As he does every year Pieter has made improvements to the camp. New this year is the addition of a bird aviary. It is located just to the left of our boma area in a beautiful setting by the trees. Underneath the trees Pieter has a little sitting area to relax and enjoy the aviary. About 4/5 of the aviary is full of different birds and ducks with a beautiful Golden Chinese Pheasant as the highlight. The other 1/5 of the aviary contains 3 Banded Mongoose. These are very busy little animals and fun to watch. The female is named “Ears” and really loves attention and to be petted. Pieter has also made the shooting range a very beautiful area. Each side of the path to the pond before the target is lined with flowers. He has cleared out all of the area around the pond and has ducks that stay in the pond (even with the shooting). He has made a nesting home in the center of the pond for the ducks to use. I have saved the best for last. Pieter recently purchased the property just across the river from the camp. This is a very nice sized property and will offer excellent hunting in the future. He is currently busy drilling another well and making other improvements to the property. Some of the area is very thick and he will be putting in roads for better access to the hunting area. I don’t think it will be done this year but next year there will be another awesome property for our hunters.
As in the past, 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 and future clients can find excellent information that will help them with getting an idea as what to expect when they arrive. Every hunter that comes to Cruiser’s is included in our newsletter. Included are where they are from and all of the animals that they take. Those trophies that qualify for the record book are indicated by a * and in the case of Kudu’s, their size is also listed. All trophy pictures that are sent to me are included as well. Thank you to those that have contributed their safari stories and I hope everyone enjoys this 2013 edition of Cruiser Safaris newsletter.
NOTE: The * behind the animal indicates that it qualified for the record book.
MIKE CIRIAN – Montana
ROBERT O’ROURKE – Montana (observer)
Animals taken (Mike) – Gemsbok*, Impala*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Warthog, Kudu* (50 ¼”)
Highlights: (Mike’s Kudu & Zebra hunts)
Both these animals took multiple days to hunt. I have a new respect for the Zebra. It seemed as if they saw you they would run two miles and if they would smell you they would run three. We went after a couple of herds and could never put the right sneak on them. We finally went to a waterhole and waited. It was not my first choice to hunt by a water hole, but I thought I would give it a try. Zebras are an interesting animal to watch and tough to kill. Our PH said make the shot, I did and it looked perfect, we even had it on film. After many kilometers of following a blood trail we got the dogs and found the animal not far from where we brought the dogs in. Upon inspection the shot wasn't that good but did hit an artery. We went back and looked at the film (we filmed it and yes we are amateurs) but Peter noticed the problem, I hit a branch. Luck is sometimes better than skill!
As for the Kudu, we saw many animals, that one is too small, that one seen us and disappeared, there was a blur. These animals give you a very short window of opportunity to make the shot. We hunted 3 days for the shot. We hunted the foot hills of the mountains and we hunted the veld. The hunt finally ended with a close 50 yd. shot free hand from my 300 win mag using 180 grain barnes tsx. Animal went down and got back up and we looked for a couple of hours until our tracker John went in a different direction and found the animal dead, stiff from rigor, but again a decent shot but no exit would as the bullet traveled from shoulder to back hip and no exit wound. Again, better to be lucky!
RICK ZIOLEK – Florida
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Kudu, Impala*, Warthog
CHARLES CATRI – Florida
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest* Warthog*, 2 Impala (1*), Blesbok*, Kudu
BRIAN ISENBERGER – Nebraska
Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Blesbok*, Warthog*, Kudu, Gemsbok*
JEFF ANDERSEN – Nebraska
Animals taken – Impala*, Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Kudu
No Hunt Photos Available
RICK OSORIO & SELENE AVILA – Texas
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Steenbok*, Impala*, Warthog, Gemsbok*, Kudu, Zebra
No Hunt Photos Avaiable
JAMES & TRISHA EBELL – Florida
Animals taken James: – Kudu, Gemsbok, 2 – Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Blue Wildebeest*, White Blesbok*
Animals taken Trisha: Impala*
JAMES L. EBELL (observer) – Texas
Travel: The flight from Atlanta to Jo-burg was no-frills. After a few tasty beverages, meals, a couple of movies, and 8 hours sleep, we were safely across the big pond and watching our descent down into Jo-burg. Upon exiting the plane, we grabbed our bags from the baggage claim and walked toward the main terminal where we were immediately greeted by the representatives (the cook) from Afton House (we apparently stood out like sore thumbs with our camo’d Cruiser hats…LOL). We went into the SAPS office, and we were provided with our rifle permit and rifle within 30 minutes. No problems or issues with the officers. Glad to say our entire luggage arrived safely as well. We walked out the airport doors, got into a van, and were on our way to the Afton House.
Afton House: Very comfortable, excellent steaks, and fun to talk with all the people who had just arrived from all over the world…..and talked about our upcoming adventures. Can say for sure, I tried to stay up as late as I could so that I would sleep further into the night. Unfortunately, jet-lag got the best of me and I was awake watching Rugby on TV from midnight all the way until sunrise. Had some coffee and breakfast (awesome breakfast) and was picked up by Craig (PH) by 8:00 AM……off to Cruiser-land.
Cruiser: Awesome!! Well kept, gorgeous, and comfortable accommodations. Great food. Great people. Professional staff and service. Made friends for sure. I will not go into detail about this. You will have to experience this for yourself.
The Hunt – Monday. Up bright and early and ready for the first day. Ate breakfast, grabbed my rifle, and we get into the truck…off to the hunting grounds. Today we are looking for a Gemsbok. Upon arriving at the hunting grounds I get out of the truck, grabbed my porcelain coffee cup, finish drinking the coffee, and then flick the cup toward the ground (in order to empty the cup before putting it back into the truck). Upon doing so, I break the handle of my cup, and the edges of the broken porcelain cut my thumb and shooting finger wide open. We spent the first 15 minutes while Dr. Craig applies pressure, iodine, and bandages (Cruiser is well equipped with first aid). Lovely…off to a good start. We begin driving around looking for the gemsbok. After several hours of driving, Craig and I exit the vehicle and start tracking through the woods (with my observer dad and wife) not too far behind. After not too long, we spot a couple of Gemsbok approx. 100 yards out and behind some bushes. We pause. We sight them in with the binoculars. Craig gets excited and we move a little to the right. We place the sticks in position…….Busted. Gemsbok are now standing and looking straight at us….I place my rifle into the sticks as quick as I can, look through the scope, and aim at the front portion of the body. Just as I am getting to pull the trigger, he turns his body broadside. I shoot. The animal falls to the ground but then to our amazement, he pops back off and then hightails out of dodge. We ran after him for a moment and didn’t see any immediate blood in the area. Eventually, our fine tracker (Sammy) arrives from the truck and finds some blood. We begin to track after the animal, and were only finding blood every 50 yards or so, and the blood was high up in the bushes (an indication of a shot high on the animal’s body). We searched for nearly three hours, and could not find the animal. The blood thinned out and too many Gemsbok tracks to confuse us. Not a good start for me.
We stop for the afternoon to eat lunch. We ate inside a hunting blind near a waterhole. I spent most of the time pouting about my lost animal. We had several opportunities to kill a fine looking wildebeest, which stood broadside looking at us for at least 5 minutes. However, at the time I was too upset and afraid to pull the trigger again. Confidence is hanging on the balance…not good being the first day.
After lunch, we proceeded back out. Sammy let Craig and I out of the truck. We started tracking through the woods again. After about 15 minutes, Craig and I are diving to the ground because he sees a Gemsbok lying on the ground 100 yards ahead. He pulled out his binoculars and discovers that this animal has a hole above his hip with blood surrounding it. Just as he is telling me to shoot, the animal runs off again. We walked up to where the Gemsbok had been lying and we found a large pool of blood. This is nuts, because one minute I am deeply saddened for just having lost my first $1,100.00 animal, and then the next thing you know the chase is back on. It was definitely my animal. What are the odds of this. Craig looks at me and says, let’s get “blue”. Blue is his hunting hound dog that can apparently sniff out any wounded animal. We drove back to Cruiser-land and picked up Blue. This dog was an amazing, howling, creature. We drove back to the hunting grounds, back to the site where we found the pool of blood and off went Blue. Craig asked for me, my wife, and father to stay with Sammy in the truck and wait at the closet intersection……..in case Blue flushes the animal out and across the road. There we waited, as we could hear Blue howling in the distance (non-stop in a large acreage of land) there I sit on the top of the truck, with my rifle ready for a Gemsbok to pop out. All of sudden....there it is…an animal running across the street. I point my rifle and…..whoops, it’s blue. Glad I didn’t pull the trigger. We move to another intersection. A few minutes of anticipation, out pops the injured Gemsbok. He stops, looks right at us……pow!!!…..I missed again. Off goes the Gemsbok again. We searched until dark, but couldn’t flush the animal out again. Time to go back….
I spent most of the evening sitting by the fire….with my head down wondering what happened to my shooting skills, while the other hunters, PH’s, and Pieter all tried to cheer me up with some words of confidence (special thanks to MC that evening). At this point, I am wondering if it is a good idea to even take a shot at the Kudu or other animals. However, I learned that we are heading into Kudu grounds the following day.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday: I successfully drop the Kudu the following morning at around 11:00, then a second Gemsbok that evening, Blesbok and Red Hartebeest the following day, and White Blesbok on Thursday. My wife was also given an opportunity to shoot one of my package animals (Impala). These animals were all shot in the shoulder, and most fell immediately. What gratification.
In the end, I discovered that the first day was my favorite day. I ultimately lost the animal, but the hours of tracking and finding blood…..the amazement of finding the wounded animal long after he was shot, in a track of land in excess of 20,000 acres…..watching Blue chase this animal around the woods and getting a second shot at the Gemsbok….the excitement and the ups and downs of the whole event was unbelievable.
Cruiser is awesome. My father has already booked for next year with his buddy from Atlanta. My wife will likely follow the following year. Can’t wait to visit with my distant friends once again. Thank you Craig, Pieter, Tiny, Christian, MC, Hans, and Johan and everyone else for an excellent hunting safari. Craig, be sure to treat your future clients with the sacred coca-cola appetizer by the fire.
GARY & GAIL MASSENGILL – Tennessee
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest, Blesbok*, Impala*, Kudu* (53 ½”), Zebra
ROGER & KIM CLAIBORNE – Tennessee
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, Warthog*, Kudu, Impala*
MITCH OLSZEWSKI – Tennessee
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest, Warthog*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Impala*, Waterbuck*, Kudu
(Mitch) General: I had a great time. The trip went very smoothly. The instructions and advice provided by Cruiser Bob made things very straightforward. Folks from the Afton House met us at the airport and helped us through the SAPS firearms process, which went very smoothly. When we got to the Afton House Johan and MC were there to meet us. We left the next morning to go to the lodge. Everyone at the lodge was friendly and made us feel right at home. The service is great and the food is excellent. Be forewarned, Peter is a practical joker. Make sure you know where he is at all times.
Hunting: The quantity and quality of the animals is excellent. My PH was Hans. He is excellent. At the beginning of the hunt we went over my expectations. From then on I trusted him completely. If he said “shooter” I shot. There were several instances when I thought the animal looked really good but he did not think it was good enough so we did not take a shot. In every case I was able to harvest a really good trophy animal. His ability to judge the quality of an animal was excellent. When we saw my impala he glassed it and then said that it was 26 inches. After getting it on the ground we measured it and it was 25⅞ inches. I was also impressed with his knowledge of the animals’ behavior and his ability to track animals. We spent the better part of 8 hours over two days tracking a Kudu before we finally were able to get a shot at him.
Specific hunts: On day 1 we entered the hunting area and within 100 yards spotted two red hartebeests. Hans said the second one was a shooter. He assured me that we would see him again. At about 4:30pm we found him again on a road. I shot and he ran into the bush on the left of the road. Hans and I both thought it was a good shot, right on the shoulder, and the congratulatory high 5’s started. About 5 seconds later a red hartebeest walked out of the bush on the left side of the road and proceeded to cross the road. Hans and I just looked at each other in disbelief. We both felt that the shot was well paced and could not understand how the animal could still be walking around. Apparently it was the companion animal we had seen in the morning. We walked over to where the hartebeest went into the bush and found him 10 yards off the road.
We hunted Kudu for a total of 4 days. We spent three days in the mountains to no avail. That was some very hard hunting because we were constantly climbing mountains and then glassing the opposing ridge. We then switched to a property closer to camp that did not have mountains (or as Peter called it “flat mountain” area) for an afternoon hunt on day 7. Within about 30 minutes we found a shooter. However, he was at the fence and was facing the fence. Hans did not want me to shoot because he was afraid the Kudu would jump into the fence. We hunted that Kudu all afternoon. We spotted him several times but never had an ethical shot opportunity. We decided to come back the next day (my last hunting day) to see if we could get him. We picked up the track early the next morning and trailed him for about 5 hours. We got several glimpses of him but no shot opportunities. At about 11:15 we decided to get some lunch. Hans decided we would make one final circuit around the perimeter to see if we could spot the Kudu. We came on a fresh track and Hans put a plan together. He had our driver follow the track hoping to bump the Kudu (the shooter was with a younger bull and two cows) while we raced ahead to set up an ambush. We spotted the Kudu several times and to move each time because he did not offer a shot opportunity. He finally made a mistake. We had set up on a small clearing in the brush and when he came though he stopped to look at us. I shot using Hans’s shoulder as a rest and the Kudu went down.
TOM MORELLI – Delaware
Animals taken – Eland*, Waterbuck*, 2 – Impala*, 2 – Warthogs, White Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest, Zebra, Bushbuck*
BILL & KIYOMI OLIVER and their daughter KANA – Oregon
Animals taken – Waterbuck*, Sable*, Impala*, 2 – Zebra, Nyala*, Eland*, 2 – Gemsbok (1*), Bushbuck*, Black Backed Jackal
KAI OLIVER (their son) – Oregon
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Blesbok*, Kudu* (51”), 2 – Warthogs*, Impala*, Gemsbok*, Black Backed Jackal, Steenbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
JACK & CAROLYN LEGGETT – Nevada
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Zebra, Impala*, Waterbuck*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*
ALBERT SCHWEIKERT – Nevada
Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog, Zebra, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*
This year’s trip began in May of 2012, when my wife and I came home from our first trip to Cruisers; it was a fun trip, with so much to see and do, meeting such nice people along the way.
In 2011 after we had made our plans we went to see a good friend who I had worked with before retirement, we had been telling Albert all about our upcoming trip and that he should come along, since his Father had passed away about 10 years prior, he hadn't done much of anything, he became a kind of hermit you could say, but it wasn't to be. Until we came home, with all the stories, pictures, that's when he said well gee I should have gone with you, so my wife said Albert I'm sure I can get hold of Cruiser Bob, and we can go again, so the trip of a life time began again. You see we loved South Africa so much the first time we knew in our hearts we had to go again some one of these days. After sending an email to Bob, and getting confirmation that we could go again right around the same time as in 2012, the odyssey was a go.
The trip was booked; we were to leave the US April 4th. Since we still had all of our gear, we didn't need much, just getting Albert ready to go. Now with all the reservations made and confirmations that we would be in South Africa by a certain date, the hardest part was now done, or so we thought. March 16, 2013 my wife was coming down the stairs, the next thing I heard was her screaming and laying face first on the floor, I helped her up, got her crutches, and off to the ER we went, only to be told she has a broken right leg, and a sprained left ankle. The following Tuesday we were sitting in the Ortho Doctors office explaining we were to leave April 4th, and him saying don't think so right now, it's about 5 weeks away, but we will have to see how thing look a little closer to your departure date. As it worked out, the Doctor finally agreed to let her go, with the conditions she wear the walking boot all the time, take it off on the Plane, when sitting, and walk the plane about every 2 hours because of blood clots. As it worked out, couldn't be any better, she had gotten a hold of the Airline, and made plans to have a wheel chair at each stop, we had curb& service, priority boarding, that meant first on and last off the plane. Got from one boarding gate to the next with the greatest of ease, since the person pushing the wheelchair knew where they were going. And customs, talk about slicker than slick, right to the head of the line. As nice as it was I don't recommend this kind of travel.
Johannesburg here we are, Anna was waiting for us at the airport just like last year with our names on a sign, got us thru SAP office, it was a breeze, with her help. Saw a fellow whose gun case didn't quite make the trip, had two large holes in it, don't know about his gun, took Cruiser Bob's advice, I have to say it paid in the long run to buy a good case, it's now made 2 trips to South Africa, so thank you Bob. Off to the Afton House, Annalise is a great hostess, she remembered us from last year, but the first words out of her mouth were what did you do to your sweet wife?
The first full day at the Afton House, I got to meet MC the newest addition to Pieter’s PH staff, what a nice young fellow, asked him right off the bat is he could promise me a 80" Kudu, all he did was laugh at me, I knew right then that we were going to have a fun trip. He said where are your bags, let’s get them loaded, told him we were not going to Pieter’s for 2 more days, he shook my hand and said he was looking forward to picking us up in 2 day. So off he went with the Oliver family, Bill, Kiyomi, Kana & Kai, unlike last year when all 4 couples went at the same time.
Last year we planned 1 extra day just to catch up on sleep, this year we planned 2 extra day's in Johannesburg, one for sleep (decompress), and one to take a tour. We went to the Cradle of humankind. The tour was nice, but the tour guide took us to a restaurant called the Carnivore, talk about getting the whole South African food experience, Eland, Impala, Crocodile, Red Hartebeest, Kudu, Beef, Pork, Chicken, and so much more. Until our plates are full and over flowing, our tour guide starts to laugh, he then tells us as long as the South African flag is flying the food keeps coming. Have to say that was the best part of the tour.
Monday morning and the day has come, Albert, Carolyn and I are sitting on the patio, just waiting for MC to get there, as he pulls into the driveway, the excitement of our trip has now happened, off to the next leg of this adventure. Now the 4 hours’ drive, to Pieter’s. Like last year, we again stopped at Hartebeest Port, to do the shopping for DelMarie. This has to be the classiest farmers market I have ever seen, and a nice place to shop. Being a Monday not nearly as busy as last year, that was a Sunday, and a holiday weekend.
DelMarie was waiting with a tray of Fruit Juice to welcome us. After all the hugs and introductions we were shown to our rooms to clean up for lunch. Too our surprise Pieter gave Carolyn and I the Honeymoon suite, a very nice room, the hot tub was a God sent.
I was introduced to Hans, my PH who was back after taking a year off, he had worked for Pieter for over 10 years. Right after lunch Albert and I went to the shooting range to sight in our guns, then Hans asked if I wanted to go out and scout for a Blesbok, or if I wanted to rest, I came to hunt. So off to find a Blesbok we went. Lots of Blesbok, and after a short stalk, Hans said the 4th from the left was a shooter, up went the sticks and a nice Blesbok was on his way to the skinning shed.
Tuesday Morning, up at 5am, dresses and out for Breakfast, its 6am, Hans said lets go, so off the find a Red Hartebeest. Hans asked why your wife wasn't coming, I told him later that day. Hunted all morning, no Hartebeest was to be found, so back to Pieter’s we go for lunch. Hans said we'll try again this afternoon, around 3 o'clock. Left camp around 3pm and the hunt began again. As we started to stalk near a waterhole that Hans knew about, we came around the corner Hans froze, two Hartebeest were feeding right near the waterhole, and since we hand the sun to our backs we had the advantage, about 300 yards away knowing we needed to close the distance, now the cat a mouse game. Every time they looked up, we froze, finally about 150 yards, Hans put up the sticks, I got ready, and Hans said the one on the left was the best. Every time I got ready to shoot the smaller of the two would get in the way. Finally the smaller Hartebeest moved out of the way and I took my one shot, then we were attacked by a nice sized Warthog and a cow Waterbuck, coming straight for us, when they saw us veered off to the left and right of us, would have taken the Warthog, but it was a female. Had a nice Hartebeest and off to the skinning shed we went.
Wednesday morning left camp right around 6am on the way to find a nice Impala, didn't see any shooters in the morning so we headed back to camp for lunch. Started joking with Hans, calling him Mr. Afternoon since most of my animals have been taken late into the afternoon. We left camp right around 3pm and sure enough there was a nice Impala, one shot and back to the skinning shed, we went.
Thursday we left camp at the usual time, in hopes of finding a nice Zebra. Hans and I hunted all morning without seeing much of anything, back to Pieter’s for lunch, Hans said we would leave around 2 o'clock, off we went, and still couldn't find any signs of Zebra. Finally late in the afternoon we spotted a heard of Zebra, Hans spotted a nice Stallion, the sticks went up, I had a quartering away shot, when I shot the stallion almost went down, as Hans and I started in the brush after him, found blood but no Zebra. Finally it was getting to dark and Hans said we will have to come back in the morning, oh my I guess I just bought myself a Zebra. Morning came, worried all night about finding the Zebra, 6am and off we went right back to the same spot, Hans told me to stay with the truck, while he went to see if he could pick up any tracks of the Zebra. Just about 15 minutes later Hans comes back to the truck telling me the Stallion is still running with the herd. We started to stalk, about 30 minutes later; I was finally able to drop my Zebra. My hats off to Hans for being able to track my Zebra, when there is nothing but Zebra tracks everywhere you look, a big thanks to Hans.
I have to say Pieter is the greatest host, because I had taken a nice Kudu last year, Pieter asked if I would like to take a Waterbuck, instead of another Kudu, I said sure. So now with a Waterbuck on the menu, Hans tells me if Pieter would give him permission he knows where we can find a nice Waterbuck. Hans told me that everybody had been hunting this one Waterbuck but no one could get him. Hans and I started our hunt, we saw plenty of Waterbuck, but not the one Hans knew about. We finally came around the corner and this big Waterbuck was lying down, up went the sticks and waited for him to stand up. Finally he stood up, I took my shot , down he went, pictures, I was going back to the truck and heard yelling, hooping & howling, I went back to see what was going on, Hans told me that if I ever came back to hunt Africa again I would probably never shoot any bigger Waterbuck, way to go Hans. Thanks Pieter for this opportunity.
Pieter asked if we would like to take a tour to Marakele National Park, sure, we would love to go, so Albert, Carolyn and I are going to town. DelMarie went along, she had a bad tooth, and had been taking medication for the infection and swelling, today was the day to have her tooth pulled, and we dropped her off and planned to pick her up after the extraction was done. Marakele National Park is in the Waterberg Mountain Range, such a beautiful place, MC did tell us that he and his friends would go camping there, he told us what they would name all the different mountains ranges. Then to see all the animals, came across a group of Elephants with a new calf, as we backed up a bit and pulled off the road to watch them, the Mother flapped her ears, kicked the dirt, came towards us as if to say get away, and away we went, but we did get the chance to see them. It was a fun morning. Back to town, we picked up DelMarie, stopped at a restaurant called Spur's. MC knows all the hot spots to hang out, MC and I ordered a Milk Shakes, Albert decided he wanted one too, talk about good, we all had a good lunch, even DelMarie with her sore mouth. Next stop was the Grocery store, DelMarie needed to do a bit of shopping, talk about a kick, Albert and I walked down the deli counter, checking out everything they had, got a bang out of seeing chicken feet, that is a new one on us. Near the door is a machine with blades, the people buy fresh bread and stop and run it thru the slicer, this machine gets a good work out every day.
Friday left Pieter’s around 6am on the quest of a Blue Wildebeest, off to a neighbor’s place. After a short stalk Hans finds a very old bull, up on the sticks I go and the Bull goes down, Hans does it again. Off to the skinning shed we go, Left Pieter’s around 9am, on the hunt for a nice Warthog. Every time we saw a nice Warthog, Hans would say female, female, I started to think that's the only word Hans knows how to say. No Warthog today, or so I thought, off again to sit in the blind near a nice water hole, about an hour went by finally a small Boar comes into the waterhole, no shooter's. Hans hears a noise and a nice Boar comes in and I finish the day's hunt with one shot, I heard Hans telling our driver in the African language that he would have to go swimming to get him, the driver in the African language basically told him the "L" you say, and off to the skinning shed we went.
Pieter talked to my wife and I about staying 1 extra days, because Bill and his family would be leaving in 2 days, it would save MC from having to have back to back trips to Johannesburg, so we agreed to stay. It gave us the chance to take a tour of the Golden Wildebeest at a neighbor’s place, how beautiful they are. My wife said they reminded her of a person who is bleaching out their hair, that reddish golden blond color, with the exception these are naturally this color. On the way back to Pieter’s we were going down the road, and out of the fence comes a very nice Warthog, talk about big, as he ran alongside the fence, MC went a little faster, the race was on, then out of the gate comes one of the workers, he sees the Warthog, he's unsure do I go back inside the gate or do I stay, closer and closer the Warthog comes, faster and faster MC went, alas the Warthog finds a hole and into the hole he goes, the worker is safe. It was quite a ride needless to say; this Warthog lives to run another day.
On Tuesday, Lizelle took Pieter to Johannesburg for his Birthday for a 3 day trip; they went to what we have in the US, something like our Safari Club's shows. Pieter is a great host, with the exception of his jokes, he try's and gets almost every one, so we turned the table on him. When it is meal time, DelMarie has the table set with all the plated turned upside down, Pieter never turns over his plate until he is in line ready to fill, so on Pieter’s first day back my Wife asked DelMarie if we could deface one of the plates, drawn a Birthday wish and sign all of our names and see Pieter's expression. Low and behold, Pieter had to check out his plate as he picked it up, the gig is up, we didn't get him. But he was surprised and happy that we did this for him. It was still fun. Can't imagine how to get the better of Pieter.
Our last morning is here and I hate to see it come so soon, it's breakfast and as we are getting our food, and sitting down, my wife and her walking cast, (boot), pulls the chair out to sit down, we all hear is a ungodly load screech, and my wife scream, low and behold one of the cats had gotten under her cast, she stepped on the cat, it scared the holly crap out of her, the cat ran for the hills, not sure if the pour cat was ok or not. But her face had turned red, as she apologized to everyone for her outburst. Pieter said he now had to charge us extra for the cat. Off to Johannesburg we go, Carolyn, Albert and I wanted to stop at Highveld, we had asked MC if we could, unbeknownst to us so did Bill. Last year this is one of the trips we didn't do because we only had Highveld do the dip and ship of all my animals. We were doing the dip and ship again, but had heard so much about Highveld, knew we needed to take the tour and see it for ourselves. If you do or don't choose to have Highveld do your animals it's a worthwhile trip just to see everything and everyone should make.
This year was a challenge for my wife, she had a wonderful time last year going out in the field with me every day, this year with the walking cast on her leg made it hard, she did manage to go with me just about twice in the afternoons, just enough to let Hans know that I couldn't take another Impala, she would grab the gun, or wrap her wrist around the strap, it became a joke. But she did get to swap recipes with DelMarie and hang out at the pool. She does have a saying, land is land, the difference is in the sights, sounds, smells, vegetation, animals and people, and something everyone should do and see.
I have to say this may have been our second trip, and even if I had such a wonderful trip last year, this year’s trip was so much better, I had a real kick in the pants good time, my thanks goes out to everyone at Cruisers, from Bob, who has all the helpful advice and tips, Pieter, a great host and prankster, you never know what he will do next. To Craig, & Johan, who like Pieter are pranksters, ;you need to watch out for. Amalia a beautiful young lady who does everyone's laundry with such ease. You know everyone has a doppelganger, MC (Mathew Christopher) a great young man and in my wife's words said, who is as cute as can be, she looks at him and say's he looks just like Jake, a friend of our sons, he could be his younger brother, (Jake's wife even agreed), is in fact is full of fun & ornery, just like Jake, you never know what he will do next. DelMarie a great cook who is willing to meet everyone's likes and dislikes and does it with ease. Hans, a great PH who has the patience of Jobe, a good eye and a great since of humor, without him I couldn't have had such a wonderful second trip and hunt, I had more fun this year than last year. Last but not least is Christiaan, a PH in the making, like his father a prankster, has a knack with the animals, a good kid with too much energy. Thank you one and all, we enjoyed our time spent with you, take care.
PAUL BAKER – Wisconsin
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu*, 2 – Impala*, Blesbok*, Warthog*
The blue wildebeest was the hardest for me to collect. Hans and I hunted for two days before I was successful. The wind was always a factor; it seemed to only blow in one direction for a few minutes before switching 180 degrees. We were busted many times that first day. On one stalk we got in nice and close and was just waiting for others to clear my intended target when a Gemsbok appeared and almost walked right over us. It didn't see us until he was within 20' of us. Busted again. I finally took a nice old bull late in the afternoon of the second day with my 375 H&H at 150 yards.
MIKE SQUIRES – West Virginia
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Zebra, 2 – Impala*, Blesbok*, Kudu* (53 ½”)
I had Africa on my mind for quite a few years. I finally said “Just Dot It”. I surfed the internet, went to shows and finally came up with Cruiser Safaris. After contacting Cruiser Bot the date was set, April 19 – April 28. Bob sends a travel/information packet out that’s Great! Follow it and you will be at the Afton Guest House in Johannesburg, South Africa waiting to be picked up to go on your hunt. I was picked up by Craig, a PH at Cruiser Safaris, and as fate would have it my personal PH for the next 10 days. We started with Gemsbok and worked our way through the list plus along the way we added a Zebra and a 2nd Impala. Each stalk was exciting and fun which makes it extra special and very memorable. Also between hunts we had time to go on a trip to Marakele National Park, rode elephants, visited a lion park and I had time to sit by some of the water holes to get some great pictures. From day 1 it was a great adventure with a lot of great people. Would recommend it to all. For some reason the nicknamed me “Magic Mike”. So from “Magic Mike” call Cruiser Bob and “Just Do It”.
Gun – 7MMSTW, 150 GR Barnes bullets. Shots – 40 yards – 228 yards. 5 X 15 power scope. I had 7 one shot kills and one 2 shot kill (Most of them dropped in sight). Practice, practice, practice shooting off shooting sticks. Bullet placement critical. Study the animals anatomy and hit ‘em where it hurts.
JOHN & JENN MCKAY – Alberta, Canada
Animals taken (John) – Waterbuck*, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*
Animals taken (Jenn) – Gemsbok*, Kudu, Impala*
No Hunt Photos Available
BRYAN & RITA MARR and their daughter BREANNE – Ontario, Canada
Animals taken – Zebra, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest* (Breanne)
Well the big day had finally arrived! My wife and daughter and I arrived in Johannesburg on Apr 18 and were met at arrivals by Annelise. It was off to the SAP office to retrieve my gun. Annelise was a great help and we were off the Afton House. We had a steak barbeque and met some other hunters that were also hunting at Cruiser’s. The sleep felt as long as the flight over but the clock said we were only in bed about 1 hour.
Apr 19 Well morning did finally get here and we had a nice breakfast and we met our driver and my PH M.C.! Well about 4 hours later we arrived at Cruisers’, to "Tiny" the cook holding beverages for everyone. The place looked very impressive as we looked around. We just rested and sighted our guns in. We stayed around camp and took it all in. The sights, birds and animals. It was great! It was dinner time when the rain started coming down with a big crack of thunder to make everyone jump and the power flicker. Off to bed around 10 pm. Had to get up at 5 am.
Apr 20 Still raining hard in the morning went out but thunder and lightning was happening so we went back to camp! Went back out around 2pm looking for an Impala. Seen some nice ones but got busted on some stalks. Went back to camp around 6; 30pm. Tomorrow is another day.
Apr 21 Got up a 5am. Had breakfast and left by 6am. It was a heavy fog/drizzle in the morning could not see 20 - 30 yds. Finally broke and we see some Zebra's and Impala but nothing was cooperating it was running or whatever before we could judge any of them too make sure it was a mature animal. The rest of the day was hot and 75 F. We are seeing lots but just not working out. But still enjoying our time in Africa.
Apr 22 Well up at 5am again , Still trying to get my first animal, Went back to try for a Zebra. But they always seemed two steps ahead of us. We tried a stalk on some more impala's. But by the time we got too them they had disappeared in to the bush, Then I see some Zebra coming our way and I finally got my first animal a nice stallion . Took some pictures and off to the skinning shed. I was totally blown away after 2 days of hard hunting we got our hard earned Zebra. We had lunch and went back out in the afternoon. Did some nice stalks on Impala but the wind was changing every 5 seconds, Finally a nice old mature ram came out and after a short stalk I had my Impala . Took some pictures fast as the sun was already set and it was getting too dark for pictures. Back to the skinning shed. Good day! Went to bed around 10pm, trying for Kudu tomorrow !!
Apr 23 Got up around 4;30am , We were going to the mountain property about an hour drive. Got there at daylight. Seen our first Kudu in the hills it was a cow. Then a bull stepped out for a second but no shot and it was gone. It was a hot day had a nice picnic lunch and sat in a blind in the afternoon, a nice bull came out about 80yds but his horn tips were hidden by the trees and M.C. could not tell if he was mature. Then he spooked turned 180 and then he was gone. What a long ride back to camp! So close.
Apr 24 Got up around 4am. Trying for Kudu again. Spotted some Kudu but not mature. Tried a stalk on one but it took off! Seen some other nice bulls but no luck. Built a blind for the afternoon hunt but nothing showed up! Still a great day to be in Africa.
Apr25 Took today off we went on the elephant back ride. It was a great day and quite the experience to go and do. I am glad I went. But 45 minutes on the back of an elephant is enough for me. Got back to camp had lunch and went out to a new spot in the afternoon. But a little bit of mix up and we got there late and only had a few hours to hunt but no luck.
Apr26 Got up around 4;30am still trying for Kudu!! Seen 1 nice bull as it jumped across the road in front of us. Then only saw some cows and calves the rest of the day. But seeing lots of country and enjoying the moments!
Apr 27 Trying a new spot for Kudu today. Seen a couple of nice bulls but no luck. It was a really nice area. Lots of animals and another hot day! But no luck. I think I have the Kudu curse?? Tomorrow we will try for Blue Wildebeest for my daughter!
Apr 28 Got up at 5:30am. We went to another property. We walked all morning but no luck. We built a blind over a water hole and sat down for about 5 hours and some Eland and some sow warthogs came in. Then around 5:30 some Wildebeest came in and M.C. picked out a nice mature bull and my daughter shot it. What a day, seeing your child take their first African animal, the emotions ran high. We tracked him and found him about 100yds, took some pictures and off we went to the skinning shed. What a excellent day.
Apr 29 Well my last day of hunting. Still trying for that elusive Kudu. Well they do call it hunting for a reason!! Picked up a tracker from the property we were hunting. We see two nice Kudu first thing but they vanished as fast as they appeared. We tracked them for a few hours then we see one but it was not mature. I think today was the hottest day yet. Sat at a water hole in the evening. It was quite at first then a cow Kudu barked behind us and we could hear horns hitting the trees, then they were gone! They were coming in behind us and caught our scent (busted again)!! I guess I was not meant to be. I then looked out front to the water hole and could not believe my eyes there stood not 60yd a large tom Leopard WOW!! It walked to a tree rubbed its neck against it and sniffed it. Then got a drink at the water hole and left. M.C. and myself were totally shocked, the chances of seeing a Leopard is slim to none. Sure I can get a Leopard to come in to a water hole but not a Kudu!! The hunting gods are crazy.
Apr 30 Time to pack up and leave this magnificent place. Where did the time go? The lodge and atmosphere were excellent, my wife who does not hunt was really glad to have had the African experience. She had a great time staying at the lodge just relaxing around the pool or coming with us and seeing all the sights and wildlife. We had an excellent time and hope to come back one more time in search off the elusive Kudu.
ROBERT GOTTS – South Carolina
Animals taken – Waterbuck*, Gemsbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Eland*, Zebra, 3 – Impala*, Ostrich, Blue Wildebeest cow
RICHARD GOTTS – Michigan
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Black Backed Jackal, Gemsbok, Zebra, Impala*, Kudu, Warthog*
No Hunt Photos Available
STEVE BROWN – Texas
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, 2 – Warthogs*,
Kudu* (52 ¾”), Blue Wildebeest cow
JOE YOUNG – Texas
Animals taken – 2 – Warthogs*, 2 – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Eland*, Bushbuck*, Steenbok*, Nyala*, 2 – Zebra, Kudu* (52 ½”), Gemsbok*, White Blesbok*
RAY ALLEN – Texas
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog, Kudu, Impala, Zebra, White Blesbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
GORDON HUMPHREYS – Nova Scotia, Canada
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, Impala* Warthog, Kudu* (53”)
Arrived at Cruiser safaris on May 3,2013. after two very long flights. I was met by DelMarie with a big smile and a glass of orange juice. I would soon learn that DelMarie was a great chief and fed us all very well with some of the best wild game dishes I have ever eaten. Thank you DelMarie. I rented a 375 mag. rifle from Craig the PH that picked me up at the airport and ( Skilfully ) drove us to camp. After sighting in the rifle I met my PH Hans , but opted out on an evening hunt as I was too tired after my 34 hour trip. At the bar that evening I met all the other hunters, five gentleman from the U.S. who just happened not only to be great sportsman but the best group of guys you could ever spend a week in a hunting camp with. Lots of laughs had by all.
May 4. at 6 am I met Hans and John my driver, skinner and tracker whom I quickly took a liking to as he was very good at all his skills, it did not take me long to realize that I was in good hands with these two, they turned out to be the “A” team. Thank you guys, you made my hunt a great success. My first order of business was to take a blue wildebeest. Hans pointed out a small heard in the bush. We made a stalk on them, the wind changed and we got busted. That afternoon we spotted a huge bull, he made the first heard bull look small, after several attempts and three hours later he made a mistake and gave me a quartering away shot at 125 yards. Hans told me, I shot a monster, 28 2/8 “spread, 35” around neck behind ears, a very heavy bodied animal. He truly was a beast, now that is what I came here for.
May 5. My next order of business was to take a Gemsbok. After my” A” team spotted some tracks Hans said we are going to track them, it did not take long to find them, four of them, after a closer look Hans said they were not shooters ,that we could do better. Later in the day Hans spotted a nice one feeding in the bush about a 125 yards away, the only shot I had was a neck shot , too risky, we slowly moved 50 feet ahead, he was now looking straight at us with his neck and chest fully exposed. I rested the 375 mag. on Hans shoulder, I made a heart, lung shot and my Gemsbok hunt was over. Nice trophy, horns were 36 6/8”. Thank you Hans, you have a great eye for spotting game in the bush.
May 6. To-day we are looking for a wart hog and an Impala, saw a lot of them and a lot of other game. Later in the morning we spotted a shooter Impala , we tried a stalk on him but too many eyes, we got busted. We got in the truck and drove past the heard and parked in a spot we thought they would pass through , they did, but I could not take a shot, they were just too quick. Later we came across another group and a shooter buck ran for cover, he was about 75 yards from the bush , I made a quick shot and my Impale hunt was over. Hans and Johns team work and experience made my hunt a success. Thank you guys.
May 7. To-day we are looking for a Kudu. Saw several bulls and cows in the morning, no shooters, Went back to camp for lunch. Barbequed Wildebeest sausage, a most tasty delight, I am glad we came back for lunch. Went out in the afternoon. Saw lots of game but no shooters.
May 8. Looking for Kudu to-day, saw lots of game and 1 nice Kudu Bull, but no luck, a great day hunting.
May 9. Another beautiful day in South Africa. While looking for a greater kudu we came across a shooter Warthog, he was about 75 yards away rooting in the dirt totally unaware of our presence. I took my time and made a clean quick kill, the wart hog is off the list, with 9” tusks. Its time to park in the shade and have some lunch and make a greater Kudu hunt plan. We tracked and found a kudu the PH,s called old crocked horn, He may have a crocked horn, but he outsmarted us this day, we were about 40 yards from him at one point, but could not take a clean kill shot, but he gave us a thrilling hunt. I now know why they call them the grey ghost.
May 10. Pieter decided to send us to a different area that had not been hunted for a while. We were only there 30 min. when we saw a nice kudu feeding on the side of a hill, he had several cows with him and they were in heavy cover. The bull started getting nervous so we decided to leave and come back in 25 min. to check them out again, when we came back the bull was mixed in with rocks and heavy bush about 90 yards, could see an opening to the lower third of his right front shoulder. When the 375 mag. fired my kudu hunt was over. His right horn is 53” and left is 50”. Thank you guys, Hans you are truly a great PH. Tomorrow start my two day journey home. I will miss my new friends and South Africa, God Bless you all. Gordon Humphreys, Nova Scotia, Canada. Bob you can tell Pieter that the Great White Canadian Stallion hopes to return one day to find that” Zebra”. Pieter you’re a great guy, have a laugh on me.
ANDY HOAK – Washington
Animals taken – Kudu* (51 ½”), 2 – Warthogs*, Gemsbok*, Blue Wildebeest*,
3 – Impalas*
No Hunt Photos Available
(Andy’s Blue Wildebeest hunt) We just put the wind in our faces and started walking through the bush. After about 20 minutes we came to a stop and began to glass ahead of us as we heard noise in the brush. After about 2 minutes we began to see the horns of a gemsbok then another and another. There were 5 gemsbok, 4 zebras, 4 or 5 warthogs and one large old bull wildebeest. They were all only about 15 yards from us but so hard to see in the brush. Finally all but the wildebeest walked away. We were able to get to about 15 yards from him before a shot presented itself. Was the adrenalin flowing??? Oh Yeah!!!!!
ED DEAN – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Kudu* (50 ¼”), Impala*, Gemsbok*, Waterbuck*
ROSEMARY DEAN – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Impala, Red Hartebeest*, Kudu
CRAIG DEAN – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – 2 - Gemsbok*(one with a bow), Kudu* (51 ½”), Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*(bow), Blesbok*, Warthog*
CORY DEAN – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Impala* (bow), Kudu* (51 5/8”), Warthog* (bow)
No Hunt Photos Available
ROLAND PARDUN – Wisconsin
Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest, Kudu*
No Hunt Photos Available
At this point all I have to say is that this was the best adventure I have ever experienced, ranking a very close second to our wedding day and the birth of our two children! Pieter and all the staff were not only extremely competent and professional but just a heck of a lot of fun to be around.
End of May to the first of June
ROBERT & CYNTHIA SWANN and their granddaughter DAMIANA – Kansas
Animals taken – Eland*, Gemsbok, Bushbuck*, Warthog*, Black Backed Jackal, Nyala*, Waterbuck*
No Hunt Photos Available
(Bob’s Waterbuck hunt) The Waterbuck was very hard for me to shoot. Craig got me an excellent shot at about 60 yards on the sticks, and I pulled the trigger and there was a CLICK, no shells in the gun. Then we stalked another Waterbuck and waited 40 minutes for him to come out of the bush. I took a rest on Craig’s shoulder, and fired and missed, checked the gun at lunch, bottom screws had come loose. I am sure after the two attempts Craig was ready to shoot me. He never complained and just said we would find another. Which we did late in the day I shot and wounded a bull at about 5:30 P. M. Craig saw it lay down about 200 yards away. We tried to get closer for a better shot; however the bull saw us as there was no good cover. He took off and Craig decided to go back to the lodge and get his dogs, which we picked up 2 and headed back. Within a few minutes the dogs were barking and had found the bull, he again jumped up and ran. Again we heard the dogs barking and they had found the bull lying down in a large water tank looking around as if he was hiding. I shot the bull in the neck and we rolled him out of the Tank. If it had not been for Craig and his dogs and his persistence the bull would have been lost. I cannot thank him enough for putting up with me while hunting Waterbuck.
PAUL & ELAINA COWDELL – Utah
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, 2 – Impala*, Warthog*, Kudu, Blesbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
CARL PRYOR – Texas
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Impala*, Waterbuck*, Gemsbok*, Kudu, Zebra
RANDY MULLINS – Missouri
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Gemsbok (1*), Kudu, Warthog*, 2 – Impala*, Waterbuck*, Blue Wildebeest cow, Blesbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
ANDY & CATHY MAZUR – Alberta, Canada
Animals taken – Impala*, Warthog*, 2 – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Zebra, Gemsbok*, Kudu* (51 ½”)
June 3 , 2013 - We were picked up by Ralph, who is Craig's father, from the Afton House. Ralph kept us entertained and laughing all the way to Cruiser's. Upon arrival at Cruiser's we were given a warm welcome by DelMarie and had a wonderful lunch. Then Pieter asked me if I wanted to do an afternoon hunt. Of course I said "for sure!" After finishing at the rifle range, Cathy and I went with Ralph looking for Impala. We saw many Impala, but none that Ralph liked, but eventually he spotted one and told me it was a good one. I shot then asked Ralph where did it go, he said down. The horns were 24 1/2" and 6" basis .Ralph was so excited because it would go into the SCI record book. Back at the lodge we met our PH, Craig. Later had celebration drinks with Elaina, Paul, Randy and Carl who were also guests at the lodge. Many days later we would learn that Ralph holds the world record for Impala!
June 4, 2013 - Craig asked us to be ready at 5:45 am which we were. Off we went with Ralph and Samuel. Craig ran over many crocodiles that morning to keep us awake. We tracked a wart hog and at 80 yards I took a shot off a bog pod. Craig held my elbow to steady the shot, and he thought it was too low but when we got to the wart hog he said "no it was a perfect shot". It had 10" tusk. After lunch went out looking for Blue Wildebeest. Craig and I walked a few miles and came out to a road where a big one came out near the corner. Craig said "Shoot him" I took the shot and Craig said "Oh, it’s not good" Then he called the truck on the walkie talkie for everyone to come and track. Ralph, Samuel, and Cathy just started out when the truck tire had a blow out, so Craig and I tracked it. It had come around the corner and went about 100 yards from where it was shot - right through the heart. It had slid 20' into a hole. Craig and Samuel prepared the site for pictures. Craig measured and said it would make SCI book at 75".After pictures we went looking for Kudu. Went for a walk, but was getting dark. Saw some Gemsbok. Called it a day and took some pictures of the beautiful African sunset. At the lodge, had DelMarie’s Kudu soup and beautiful dinner. Cathy tried to play a joke on Pieter by making the fire change color, but she was caught by Pieter. He sees everything!
June 5, 2013 - Left at 6:30 am to a new property and immediately saw a giant Eland. Craig said "shoot it!" Cathy said "no" and I said "next trip" at 8:25 we spot Blesbok and start a stalk but they took off. Saw 4 more Eland and 6 zebra run past us twice on the road. Craig and I go for another walk and bump some Gemsbok who run right in front of truck. Then leave for lunch at 4pm we leave for pm hunt. Craig immediately spots a Gemsbok and we go for a long walk inside the bush. A zebra came out on the road but would not turn sideways for a shot; however it did spook the gemsbok. We drive around some more and see Impala, Red Hartebeest, Eland and Waterbuck. Craig says "shoot him" and I say "no!” at 4:55 pm we spot 3 Blesbok. Just as I pull the trigger, the gun slid down, missing the Blesbok. We go down the road and there they are again. I lined up freehand and give them another warning shot. They ran again, and Craig yells "shoot the one on the left in the chest NOW" I took the shot and down he went. He is 42" so another SCI record book. We load him up and go down to the water hole. Lots of animals there and I spot zebra to the right. He is already starting to run and Craig says "Shoot him NOW" I shoot freehand and knocked him down. He dropped and Craig yelled "reload" but gun jammed up. I could not take another shot as Craig went running after the zebra with his pistol as it had gotten to his knees and ran off. I go after Craig with Samuel. Found the zebra 50 yards from where I had shot it through both lungs. Ralph said it was a beautiful stallion with lots of battle scars. Took our pictures and headed back to lodge. Had another great day in Africa!
June 6, 2013 - Up at 5 am for morning hunt. I am bringing my Dad's knife with me so that it would have a taste of Africa. He is no longer with us, but I am sure he would be happy to know his knife was in Africa. After we drive for a while, Craig climbs a tree to take a look. He spots zebra, Impala, Red Hartebeest. Later we spot gemsbok but they are all too small. We also see giraffe, Blue Wildebeest, and wart hogs. Craig says "shoot him" and of course I answer "no" Another Gemsbok is spotted and we go for a walk. Got in behind a big tree, Craig put up the bog pod and I got the gun on the Gemsbok. She came into the open and Craig said “shoot it when you are ready". I took the shot, she spun around and ran. I took another shot but missed but then she dropped. Another SCI record at 88". For the afternoon hunt, Craig set us up in a blind waiting for Kudu. Had a great time in the blind, spotted Kudu but not big enough. Went back to lodge and had DelMarie Wildebeest wrapped in bacon and sweet potato pie. Delicious!
June 7 2013 - Looking for Kudu today. Early, Craig spotted a nice bull and said shoot him, I put up the gun but sun was too bright to shoot. Saw others but not big enough for Craig. I spotted a cow and calf but no bull. At the lodge DelMarie outdid herself and made me a beautiful birthday cake and at supper Pieter named me Brandy Andy. Had a great birthday party.
June 8, 2013 - Saturday Morning hunt out for Kudu. At 7:30 am Craig went to open gate and came right back and said "let’s go for a walk" as he saw a Kudu cow and calf way down the road, we walked about 500 yards and they crossed the road with a big bull behind them. We kept walking with the wind in our face to where they crossed, but they had gone into the bush. Craig said "leave them, they are not spooked and we know where they are" Around 8:30, we both saw movement on Craig's side, and Craig said it was an Impala, but also a young Kudu, and there might be a big one with them. I grabbed the gun and started counting Kudu, 1,2,3,4,5 small bulls and cows, 6 was a big bull. Craig said "big one" just as the Kudu started to run and I shot before Craig could say "shoot him" The shot was high but it broke his back and he dropped in his tracks. We cleared the site for pictures, Craig put camera on auto as Cathy had stayed at the lodge this morning. Then we went to the farmhouse to thank the farmer for allowing us on his land. Back to the lodge in time to say good bye to Randy and Carl. We told Craig to take the rest of the day off as his family had come to visit him for the weekend, and we were going to relax at the lodge. I was on an 8 day, 5 animal package hunt and after the second full day June 5th, I had 5 animals, but also wanted a Gemsbok and a zebra which made 7 animals in total. Didn't want any more than that.
June 9, 2013 - Sunday We still have 3 full days left at Cruiser's, so we are going to build a blind at Ben's lodge at a water hole with only our camera's to shoot with. Cooler full of food and beverages, enough for a week. We were watching warthogs at the water hole and Cathy noticed a giraffe staring at us from behind, then moved to the front of us, more giraffe came and surrounded us, soon there was 12 of them. It was like a Mexican standoff for over half an hour, so I started clicking, kissing, and doing low moose calls, they all calmed down and started moving towards the water and the trees. We saw all kinds of animals, Gemsbok, zebra's wart hogs, waterbuck, Impala and blue wildebeest that were chasing each other like children in a playground. Also saw a young Kudu bull trying to mate a Kudu cow. It was a great day at the water hole!
June 10, 2013 - We are looking for a unihorn Impala for half price. After seeing hundreds of Impala but no unihorn, I say maybe a cow Blue Wildebeest for a rug and we came across a herd of Wildebeest and I asked if there were any cows, Craig said "no-all males, but one monster" I said "no" We spotted another herd that had cows, as soon as I grabbed the gun, they took off running, and the bull herd took off in the opposite direction and stopped. Craig said "let’s go for a walk, as they are too far away" We walked a little ways, and Craig said "the big one is looking right at us, we cannot get closer". He put the sticks out, and I put the gun on them, waited for the bull to turn broadside. As soon as he did, I took a deep breath and squeezed off a round. The herd took off, I thought I had missed. Craig went back to the truck to get more bullets because he did not want to walk up to a wounded Wildebeest with only 2 bullets. Walked about 150 yards and Craig said "I see a hump in the grass, I think you got him" and I said "no just a lump of dirt" We walked up closer, Craig said "it’s a monster, congratulations!" Back at the lodge by 9:30 am, took the rest of the morning off. at 3:30 pm, we went for evening hunt looking for a unihorn Impala again. Saw Hartebeest, big waterbuck, Kudu's, Craig says "big one shoot him!" and I say "no" Craig, Cathy and I went for a walk and Craig showed us different tracks of animals.
June 11, 2013 - We go back to Ben's lodge on the other side of the water hole to build a blind only for picture taking again. We had a herd of zebra around 80 yards away but they picked up our scent and left. Nothing much again until noon, then warthogs came right by us 30 yards away. We had 7 waterbuck come to the water hole and one unihorn waterbuck which is Cathy's favorite. He and one cow ended up laying down 60 yards in front of us. Also Kudu, Ostrich, herd of Impala to our right, herd of Blue Wildebeest behind us, 3 waterbuck sparring each other to our left, and then as it got hotter, they all laid down and rested. Around 2 pm, I thought I would stir things up with a real loud moose beller. Every animal stood on its feet looking at us and when Cathy zoomed in her camera on the Wildebeest, they were snorting and pawing the ground getting ready to charge. All Cathy said was "you better do something NOW" I started calling like I did to the giraffe 2 days ago, it calmed all the animals down, they all laid down again, including the unihorn waterbuck. 3 pm Craig picked us up and back to the lodge, for a great dinner by DelMarie of back strap Wildebeest. Pieter signed and dated a bottle of Brandy for Brandy Andy.
June 12, 2013 - We are packing to leave and reflecting on the great time we had here. I did not have the intention of only shooting trophy animals, but that is what happened, due to Craig's skill as a PH. The 2 days at the blind with the camera were just as amazing as the hunting. Pieter runs an excellent operation, his PH' s are truly professional, and DelMarie is a fantastic chef! We hope to return with our children soon. I think Craig may have a Cape Buffalo with my name on it.
BRET MARCHAND – Louisiana
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Gemsbok, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Warthog*, Eland*, Kudu* (56”), Waterbuck*
SHAYE MYERS – Louisiana
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Zebra, Gemsbok*, Kudu, Impala*, Waterbuck*, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest cow
CHET MEDLOCK – Louisiana
Animals taken – Kudu*, Impala*, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Zebra, Waterbuck*
JEFF DAVIS (photographer, turned hunter) – Ohio
Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*
Bret’s kudu hunt: I hunted this animal for two and half days. Through mountains and varying terrains and only saw a limited amount of mature bulls. So this hunt was the most rewarding. Not to mention, he sported 56" horns!
Besides hunting most memorable moment: Spending time in the bush with Hans and watching him track and stalk mature animals. Also, the laughs we all shared at the bar each night.
EUGENE LAM – California
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Zebra, Gemsbok, 2 – Impala*, Warthog*, 3 – Blesbok*, Kudu* (51”)
Not Hunt Photos Available
DAVE & MARGARET HOGAN – Alberta, Canada
Animals taken – Kudu*, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Warthog*
(Dave’s Blue Wildebeest hunt) After sighting rifles and dinner on arrival day, I was told we were to be up early to go hunting. I was awake well before someone knocked on the door. Quickly dressing and collecting my gear I had a quick breakfast with Hans. We loaded the truck and were away in the darkness. I told Hans what my choices of animals were. He replied that we should see kudu where we were going. As we rode along my nerves belied my self-confidence. What if I didn't shoot well. We had been in the property for about 40 minutes when Hans touched me and said wildebeest. What’s this? That was my sixth choice. I thought it would be a nice rug, but no nice curly horns like a kudu. Hans and I departed the truck and John drove away. Hans and I found a place to somewhat conceal ourselves while watching a young bull. Hans whispered there was an old bull that sooner or later would move across the opening. He set up the shooting sticks. I placed the rifle on them and waited. A cow crossed. The youngster resumed feeding. Nerves really started bothering me. Slowly the big bulls begin to move across the opening from left to right. The young one moved to the left. Hans whispered to me to make sure there were no animals behind the big bull. About half of the bull was visible. The reticle steady on the shoulder. Hans whispered shoot. I pressed the trigger and the bull collapse as if hit by lighting. We waited a short time. I told my nerves to go away and leave me alone. I was not going to embarrass myself on this hunt. Yes I am having a rug made of the skin but I am having the skull and horns mounted.
(Margaret): I loved South Africa. When we arrived at the airport I was so tired I just wanted to rest. It was a long trip from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and the airplane was full the entire way. But my husband and I were looking forward to an exciting new experience. We had never been off the North American Continent. I remember when we first were given the opportunity to go to Africa, we were overwhelmed with emotion. We could not believe it was real.; We had that feeling when we landed in South Africa. Then, everything fell into place and we were on our way to the lodge. I must have eaten something that did not agree with me while I was on the plane so I got ill. I found that the person who drove the vehicle was very concerned about me. He was one of the professional hunters named M.C. Nothing could have prepared us for the beauty of the lodge and our accommodations. I felt so fortunate to be there. We both did. I stayed at the lodge that first day that David went hunting. I needed the rest after such a trying trip and I was quite happy to just look around and enjoy my surroundings. Imagine my surprise when David came back from his hunt with three animals. He contracted for six animals and he got three in one day. Our stay was for 10 days. I asked him what he was going to do the other days. He laughed. As it turned out, David got his six animals in three days. The rest of our time was spent going to the water hole and taking pictures of the animals that came by and relaxing and enjoying the great outdoors of South Africa.
CLAIRE & SUSAN BINDERT – Minnesota
Animals taken – Impala*, Warthog, Zebra, Blesbok*, Kudu* (55”)
JIM & ROXANNE UZZELL – Minnesota
Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest cow, Blesbok*, Zebra, Gemsbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
LEVI TAYLOR – Kansas
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Kudu*, Impala*, Steenbok*
COLE TAYLOR – Kansas
Animals taken – Kudu, Zebra, Impala*, Gemsbok*
No Hunt Photos Availalbe
Their Impala hunt: “We arrived at the property a little after sun up. I told Craig since we had already shot both of our Gemsbok and Kudu on the first day that I wanted to be picky about our Impala's since we had 6 days to hunt them. We walked for about a mile only seeing 1 male Steenbok along the way and hearing some Impala grunts in the distance. Then suddenly there were horns coming our way. We all three took a knee while Craig decided if he was big enough or not. I had told him that I just wanted one with wide tips; because I think they look better that way. The ram was about 50 yards away and quartering toward us. All Craig said was use my shoulder and shoot him, but he was behind a tree. He then sensed something wasn't right and he ran about 20 yds. and stopped behind another tree. He took another 20 yd. run and stopped behind a little bush that I shot through to drop him at about 80 yds. He measured 25.5" with 6" bases, which puts him high in the SCI book, which wasn't important, but it is nice. I was only going to European mount the Impala, but Craig said that he had not shot one that big and I really should have him mounted. We then started walking for my brother's Impala. After 2+ miles of walking we came to a clearing where 3 rams were chasing a ewe, just like white tail deer in the rut. Craig told us which one was the biggest and we waited quite a while for him to come out of the trees for shot. It was great hearing the grunt and watching them chase around. My brother Cole shot him at about 100yds then the Impala ran toward us and he shot him again to put him down. The first shot was through the lungs. He measured 23", which is nice and we were done by around 10:30”.
BRENT MARCUM – Tennessee
Animals taken – Bushbuck*, Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Warthogs*, Waterbuck*, Nyala
STEVE MARCUM – Tennessee
Animals taken – Impala*, Waterbuck, 2 – Warthogs*, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra
DAVE & DARLA HAAS – Arkansas
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Zebra (Darla), Red Hartebeest, Gemsbok*
JOHN M. HAMPEY – South Carolina
Animals taken – Zebra, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Gemsbok*, Warthog*
JOHN E. HAMPEY – Missouri
Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Warthog*, Red Hartebeest*
No Hunt Photos Available
(John E’s Kudu hunt) one of the trackers at the property saw the Kudu about a mile away, we climbed up and down the mountains to get to him. Finally saw him and had a perfect shooting lane. Shot and missed low, quickly reloaded and he allowed for another shot led him just a little, shot and he dropped. Now the fun part began we had to carry the animal out over the mountains. Two hours later with some help from 6 other guys we had the animal loaded in the truck.
JODY POOLE – Texas
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Impala*, Zebra, Kudu*, Blue Wildebeest*, Waterbuck*, Red Hartebeest*, Eland*, Blesbok*, Warthog
ALVIN POOLE – Texas
Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, Warthog*, Kudu* (54 ¼”), Steenbok*, Blesbok*
July 14, 2013: Just a normal every day Sunday for most, but it was the day that my father and I had been waiting for all our lives. We were heading to DFW airport to depart on our first hunting safari in South Africa! My father has been an avid hunter all of his life, and introduced me to the sport (addicted more like it) at a young age. Not being financially able to himself while I was growing up, I promised him that once I finished with graduate school, I would take us both on our first safari and complete one of our dreams that we have been waiting so long to do! So upon graduating in the fall of 2010, and starting my career I booked our trip with Cruisers in February 2012, and we were finally on our way.
After nearly a 20 hour plane ride from Dallas to London and then to Johannesburg, we finally arrived in South Africa. Quickly we were greeted by personnel from Afton Guest House, completed our temporary hunting permits and we were at the guest house relaxing and eating steak in no time. After a good night sleep and a great breakfast, we were greeted by M.C. and on our way to Cruisers to begin our adventure. After several hours of driving and a few pit stops, we finally arrived at camp and were readily greeted by DelMarie with fruit drinks and a great lunch. Shortly after, Pieter arrived and we were all introduced to our PHs for the trip. I was paired with Hans, and my father with M.C. They gave us the option of just relaxing the rest of the day, or going out hunting after checking our rifles....hmmmm which one?!? Heck yeah we will go out!!! So it was off to the rifle range to check our weapons. Dad’s rifle just required a little tweaking and he was off. Of course, my rifle was off from the plane ride and after some re-sighting, it was on and ready to go…but we only had about an hour left of hunting light.
So not having a lot of time left, I told Hans that if he wanted to wait till morning (seeing as this was our day of arrival anyway) that it would be fine with me, since the sighting in took longer than expected. Hans looks at me and says “Let’s jump in the truck and go see, we might get lucky!” And was he right!! We went to a property across the road from camp due to time constraints. Less than 20 minutes out, we rounded a corner and a nice pair of Gemsbok ran off from a watering hole. We pursued them to the next bend and they both stopped about 120 yards up the road way. I got setup to take the shot and Hans tells me to take the one on the left…but as soon as I was about to line up my sights, it walks into the brush. About to raise my rifle up, Hans says “Wait, the one still standing there is really good if you want to take it!” I look, and heck they were both nice to me, so I take the shot! Good hit, the Gemsbok turns and runs into the brush, and now the tracking begins. Well not a lot of tracking, since it only went 40 yards and was done! Upon inspection I could tell from Hans and Jan’s reaction that this wasn’t just an ordinary Gemsbok and after breaking out the measuring tape, it measured 42”. A true rarity I came to realize and the longest Gemsbok harvested in camp so far in the 2013 season (at least up through July) and one of the biggest harvest at Cruiser Safaris period. And the crazy thing was, the other one that I wasn’t quick enough to get on, was even BIGGER. Oh well, I am tickled to death with the one I got! Not even my first official day of hunting and I have a once in a lifetime trophy in the skinning shed, and to top it off, Dad returns to camp with a great Blue Wildebeest and an Impala! Needless to say, we were sold!
If I was to sit down and go into detail all the events and excitements of every day, I would end up writing a novel. So to save time Ill provide an overview of each day’s successes with a day by day breakdown for our 10 day safari.
Arrival Day: Me- Gemsbok (42”); Dad- Wildebeest (23”) and Impala.
Day 1: Me- Impala (24”); Dad- Impala
Day 2: Me- Zebra / Kudu (50”); Dad- Gemsbok (39”)
Day 3: Me- Blue Wildebeest / Waterbuck (27”); Dad- Warthog
Day 4: Me- Took the day off to hunt with dad; Dad- Steenbok (3 1/2")
Day 5: Me- Red Hartebeest (22”); Dad- Hunting for his Kudu
Day 6: Me- Cape Eland (33”); Dad- Hunting for his Kudu
Day 7: Me- Blesbok (16”); Dad- Hunting for his Kudu
Day 8: Me- Took the day off to hunt with dad for his Kudu
Day9: Me- Hunted for my Warthog and Dad hunted for his Kudu
Day10: Me- Warthog; Dad- Kudu (54”) / Blesbok (17”)
We had an amazing first safari in South Africa and took a wide variety of great plains game animals and it far exceeded either of our expectations. You always run a risk and take a chance in the sport of hunting, and the same goes when choosing a hunting outfit. Plus the added pressure of trying to complete one of your father's dreams, and wanting to make this experience priceless and not to let him down. Needless to say, Cruiser Safaris was the best choice for our first safari experience and truly a top notch operation. Great wildlife, great people and overall an amazing experience. Can’t wait till our next adventure to the Dark Continent.
DAVID & KRIS KNOTT – Minnesota
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Kudu*, Blue Wildebeest* (Kris), Warthog*, 2 – Impala*, Zebra
Kris and I were excited as the plane descended into Johannesburg. We were looking forward to seeing our South African friends and experiencing Cruiser Safaris again. We had booked our 3rd safari with Cruiser’s and Bob built us a package that included animals that would add to our plains game collection. Bob is the USA contact for Cruiser Safaris and is a true professional, who works to satisfy the client’s needs completely.
We had reserved a room at the Afton Guest House for a good night’s rest before heading to Cruiser’s camp. Afton Guest House is a bed & Breakfast, owned by Annelise. A member or two of her staff also help work clearing of firearms upon arrival at Johannesburg airport and transporting to the Afton House. After a fine steak supper it was time for some quality sleep.
MC, a new PH at Cruiser’s collected us the next morning and we were soon on our drive into the Limpopo. DelMarie greeted us with fresh fruit drinks upon our arrival at the camp and assigned us to our room. We took some time to settle in before heading to the rifle range. Pieter & Johan were all smiles as we walked to the range. We have known them since our first Cruiser hunt in 2008. Johan was our PH in 2011 and I requested of Pieter to assign him as our PH. In 2011 I had taken gold medal Eland, Bushbuck & Nyala with him and wanted to complete the Spiral Quest with him this year by taking a Kudu. After sighting in the rifle we took a couple hour drive on one of Pieter’s concessions. After supper and a couple of hours of stories we went to our room anticipating the morning when the real fun would begin!
We had booked a 7 day hunt and the days flew by. I was able to take a fine bull Gemsbok, 2 beautiful Impala, a warthog, zebra and a well-earned Kudu. Kris took her 3rd African animal, a dandy Blue Wildebeest.
Too soon it was our departure day. We lingered before climbing into the van, not wanting to say our final goodbyes. The ride to Johannesburg was silent for many miles. In that quiet time I realized that Kris and I had hunted with Cruiser Safaris on 3 occasions and each safari was as near to perfect as possible, a true testament to the ethics of Pieter and his entire staff. Thank you all!
BILL & TERRI CAMPBELL – Ohio
Animals taken – Waterbuck*, Eland*, Impala*(Terri), Tsessebe, Blesbok*(Terri), Steenbok*
RICKY ROSPIERSKI (their nephew) – Ohio
Animals taken – Impala*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu, Warthog*, Steenbok*
(Terri) This was my third safari to Africa and it was the greatest! I got to do so many things take pictures of game, watch my husband and our nephew hunt their animals. I got to hunt with Craig, he was patient and I felt safe in the field while hunting and observing and it was a great experience the days flew by,. We also met very nice people in camp as well who had similar experiences and it all was wonderful!
End of July to First of August
BILL & MARTY AXLUND – South Dakota
Animals taken – Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, 2 – Impala*, Kudu*, Red Hartebeest*, Duiker*
On day 2 of our hunt it was my wife's birthday and we headed out to hunt gemsbok and wildebeest. We spotted several groups of wildebeest and made 3 or 4 stalks on the groups only to be busted by their eyes or noses. It was on this day that I learned to really appreciate the hunting skills that Hans possesses. Despite these early minor setbacks I followed Hans as we stalked catlike through the bush. I watched as he looked "under" the bush to look for legs as we stalked closer. At one point we were sitting within 7 yards of two bedded wildebeest. I could actually hear them breathing but had no shot. They must have heard my heart beating because they suddenly got up and walked off. I was disappointed but Hans simply said "we'll get them". We continued to look for and stalk wildebeest until Hans spotted one standing in the middle of a herd of impala. After carefully looking the animal over he said it was a very big one. Again we stalked to close the distance although Hans warned that it would be tougher with all the extra eyes watching us. We stalked to within 200 yards when suddenly the wildebeest laid down in the middle of the impala. Hans thought for a moment and simply said "stay close and be ready". Off we went at a snail’s pace through the bush. Each step a measure of slow motion to assure not a sound was made. I felt glued to Hans and even my breathing sounded too loud. We finally closed to within 150 yards but the wildebeest was still bedded. After a few moments of carefully watching the impala he found a moment of inattention on their part and we stood straight up and slowly put the rifle on the sticks. When they noticed us it seemed that they couldn't believe we were there. As they spooked the wildebeest stood up and as he did I shot. Delivering a fatal shot. Although he ran for about 250 yards Hans, quickly assured me that it was a good shot and that we'd find him. Hans and our tracker John quickly went to work and found the magnificent wildebeest where he fell. He was even bigger that I had imagined with a beautiful tall mane. I turned to my wife and said Happy Birthday! How many women get a wildebeest for their birthday? She smiled!
Each animal hunted has provided me a lifelong memory, but none more than the three that I added to my hunt. Having shot my 6 animals in 5 days and still having 5 days to hunt I took a day to sit by a waterhole with nothing but a camera. While that was fun I just had to get back to hunting but I had to find a way to slow the pace of my success. I decided to first shot an impala but set a lofty minimum horn length. I told Hans if we couldn't find one that was okay, but I wanted to hunt hard for one. We hunted hard and after stalking many that fell only slightly short I passed. Finally Hans found "the one" and after a stalk had a beautiful impala that surpassed the minimum by 1/4". When I said how did you do that? He smiled and said "what's next"? We returned for lunch where I did some research on what constitutes a really good red hartebeest. After lunch we met Hans and I presented him with our new challenge. After he conferred with Peter we were off to hunt. We spent the afternoon looking at, stalking and eventually passing on a number of beautiful hartebeest. I was beginning to think my minimum was too high. The next morning I reassured Hans that it was okay if we couldn't find "my hartebeest” as long as we hunted hard. I even asked him if I was being unreasonable. He simply smiled and said be patient. After a morning of more stalks and more passes Hans spotted a hartebeest that met my minimum. After a long stalk and a bit of luck I had a beautiful red hartebeest which again exceeded my minimum by 1/4". How does he do that??? Hans again turned and smiled and said "you are one lucky hunter, what's next"? My reply was "you are really good". Returning to camp that evening I asked other PH's and clients what they believed to be the most difficult animal to hunt. To my surprise the most common answer was a gray duiker. In fact I was told most are shot as an animal of opportunity and not actually the focus of a single hunt. The challenge was presented to Pieter and the next morning Hans, my wife and I set off on our new challenge. Over the past week to had seen 2-3 female duikers but no males. I again told Hans that this was a no pressure hunt and that I was totally okay with just hunting hard. Hans assured me that if my "lucky" streak held we'd find one. We hunted hard all day and saw several females. At one point we spotted a male but Hans couldn't get a good look at it and we continued to look. We joked about hunting a ghost but Hans always gave me the feeling that this was not impossible. Sure enough just before sunset he spotted what he described as "a big one". A quick shot and we had a magnificent gray duiker. He looked at me and again said "you are one lucky hunter" I replied "you are one great PH". My wife laughed and said "alright you two we're done". Hans laughed, looked at my wife and said "now what would you like to shoot"? We all laughed and a lifelong bond was formed between a hunter, his wife and their PH.
LEE COX – Colorado
Animals taken – Impala, Warthog*, Black Backed Jackal, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Nyala8, Gemsbok*, Zebra, Eland*, Bushbuck*, Waterbuck*, Kudu
HUNTER COX (Lee’s son) – Colorado
Animals taken – Impala*, Warthog* Steenbok*, 2 – Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Kudu* (56”)
No Hunt Photos Available
DALE CHAPPLOW – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken (bow) – Gemsbok, 2 – Impala*, Zebra, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*
MC was my PH. I was on a 10 day bow hunt. This was my very first guided hunt and I was not sure what to expect. When I got into camp everyone made me feel like I was at home.
My number one animal that I wanted to take on this trip was the Blue Wildebeest. I let MC know this and he did everything he could to get me my Wildebeest. It worked and I got a 15 yard shot. I found out why they call this animal the poor man’s buffalo... they are one tough animal. He went about 800 yards before we found him. If it wasn't for my tracker we might not have found him. Even though I had to finish him with MC’s rifle, he still is my number one trophy.
The ten days went by way to quick. MC and I had a lot of laughs, he made the 10 days fun. When I was packing to leave it felt like I just got there. On my last day I had bow hunter’s remorse. Never pass on an animal day 1 that you would shoot on day 10. I have a Red Hartebeest that will haunt me until I get back. I had him at 12 yards and MC kept telling me to shoot but I never did. Now this animal will drive me crazy. So if you have a chance, take it.
I would like to thank Pieter and all the staff for the best holiday that I have ever had.
JOHN & LISA RIGGE and their daughters AMANDA & SARAH – New York
Animals taken – Cape Buffalo, Impala*(Amanda), Impala* (Sarah), Bushbuck, Nyala*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*
As promised in 2011, I returned for Cape Buffalo. My 2011 hunting trip and experience with Cruiser Safaris was infectious. Not a day went by that I did not think of the times I had and how soon I could return. This year’s safari included my wife Lisa and two daughters, Amanda & Sarah. I wanted to share this unforgettable experience with them. We left for Africa on July 28 and arrived the next morning. We were greeted at the airport by MC (new PH) and his girlfriend Amy. We spent only about 10 - 15 minutes retrieving my rifles and temporary permit at SAPS before we set out to the Afton House to pick up other guests. A quick stop at the market for a few bushels of produce for the week, then off to camp. We were received at the camp by DelMarie. She was waiting with a cold beverage and escorted us to our accommodations. Within moments, we were greeted by Pieter, Lizelle, Christiaan, Johan, Craig, and other familiar faces from my first visit. Before dinner, we headed to the range with Johan for the rifle check. While at the range, Hans (my PH from 2011) showed up to greet me. It was great to see him again.
Highlights of our adventures and hunting follow. One observation I would like to share as a prelude to our adventures, is that this time, I reveled in the excitement and joy of the other hunters’ first time African experiences/stories. They were especially memorable as a consequence of Cruiser’s staff. This was my second time and I found myself more interested in hearing them tell of their day’s conquest or the uncanny skills of their PH than me conveying my day’s tale.
July 30 - We were up early to pursue Cape Buffalo. I coordinated with Johan to bring my daughters with us on the hunt. However, they were to stay in the land cruiser with Munsu (driver/tracker) for the hunt considering our quarry. We had a short ride to the hunting concession. When we arrived, we hopped on the back of the cruiser to start spotting for buffalo – tracks, spoor, etc. After a short ride, Johan found many tracks – some old – some not so old so we hopped off the cruiser and set out for more sign on foot. Munsu and my daughters stayed in the immediate area to spot for sign by vehicle. Buffalo had been in the area recently. Johan and I made our way through the bush. We saw many tracks, old and new, but no buffalo. We did this a couple more times until we came across some very fresh spoor/tracks. Again, we got off the vehicle and were on foot pursuit. After about an hour of tracking, Munsu called Johan on the radio to report they had spotted the bulls cross a vehicle path. Once the location was identified, Johan and I tore through the bush for about ten minutes. We then changed to a more stealth-like approach for about 15 minutes in hopes of a visual on the buffalo. Johan stopped in his tracks and gave me the hand gesture to do the same. About 30 yards away, we could see nothing but bosses through the bush. How Johan saw them is beyond me. We stood like statues for about 30 minutes watching the bosses turn away for a moment at a time only to return facing us. When the buffalo’s head turned, it was possible to assess the bull – it was a shooter. We could not see the others. The buffalo knew we were there though. After about 20 – 30 minutes of the stand-off, Johan pointed out a small bush about 10 yards closer. He also pointed out the path we were going to crawl on to get there. If we got there without alarming the buffalo, we may be able to get a shot from a sitting position through the bush. We took our time crawling and listening. We made it to the location in about 15 minutes. The last two feet were crucial. Once I got into the exact location Johan indicated, the buffalo and I would likely have a good view of each other. Sure enough, as I eased into the location in a sitting position, the bulls were watching and bolted. For a split second, I had looked up from my compromised sitting position and saw only the larger bull’s snout and horns. At less than 20 yards, this was an exhilarating moment! Johan carefully listened to the bulls trample off and focused on their direction. We waited a brief time and pursued. We came across them a couple more times. We were winded each time and they galloped off. The third time the wind was in our favor and we spotted the bulls in the bush about 30 – 40 yards away. We worked in to about 25 yards and Johan set up the sticks for a shot. We could only see top of horns and dark body through the heavy bush. We waited a few minutes for larger bull to move forward into a small opening where a clean shot was available. The bull stepped out – mostly facing us but partially broadside providing a clean shot. I hit him hard inside the front left shoulder with a .458 Lott trophy bonded bear claw and the buffalo buckled. Johan immediately said “shoot again.” This was our previous night’s discussed procedure. “No matter where the first shot goes, I want another shot immediately.” So I obliged. However, the second shot was a “Hail Mary” at the big dark shadow through the bush. (Later, Johan told me my second shot zinged off tree branch.) In a heartbeat, Johan shouted "he's coming back, be ready.” The buffalo had gone about 5-10 yards and backtracked towards us. My final shot entered straight through the base of the buffalo’s neck and he dropped in his tracks at the spot of the initial shot. Done! We contacted Munsu by radio and he brought my daughters to our location. My oldest daughter greeted me with the shot count! – Thanks Amanda…
Early that afternoon, Amanda & Sarah got their first rifle lesson from Johan. Both were attentive and expedient in their learning. Pieter provided a tricked out .243 win complete with silencer. No noise! It reduces any potential flinch with young shooters. Both pass the range test with target & Coca Cola cans.
Johan took Lisa and me out later in the afternoon to hunt along dry river for bushbuck. Drove and stalked until sunset. We spotted many females and many young rams. No shooters today.
July 31 - Amanda & Sarah start the day at the range again with Johan to ensure their confidence and once again they pass the Coca Cola can test. Then we ventured off for impala hunt by 7:30 AM. Johan took us to an area with a blind set up. He set up the shooting sticks and had Amanda practice targeting objects. After things settle down, Amanda got a shot on a nice impala. It was a good solid hit. We exited the blind in pursuit. Johan saw blood from the shoulder on the shot. We tracked the impala for about 50 yards when we came across the nice old ram. Amanda was quick to point out that it took only one shot. After returning Amanda’s impala to the lodge, it was Sarah's turn. We returned to the property and set up again. After about 2 more hours of watching and waiting, Sarah got her turn with an impala that matched Amanda’s. Sarah’s impala went right down in its tracks on the shot. She too was swift to indicate “one shot Dad.”
About 3:45PM - Johan and Munsu grabbed me for another attempt at Bushbuck along the sand river. Best time to see and hunt is a couple hours before sunset to sunset. We drove for a short time spotting a couple females and a couple young male Bushbuck embedded in the thick cover along the sides of the dry river. Just as we were about to get off the truck and walk the river bank, Johan spotted a nice old ram buried in the brush along the near river bank. It was moving slowly. Through my scope, I could make out its profile angling away from us. Johan said to hit the largest part since I had a .375 H&H. I could make out the body silhouette and shot at center mass quartering away. Johan said it was a solid hit. We found the old ram about 10 feet from the point where it was shot. Bullet entry was under the rib cage on the right side and exited the front left shoulder. Johan was excited as it was a very old ram. He had much wear on his horns, and scars on his neck, and under his eyes from battle. He indicated that this ram may not have lived another year and was a great ram to harvest. He called it a “flour neck.” I was happy and got to point out to my daughters – “one shot.”
Later that evening, we were secretly whisked off in the dark by Lizelle to an uncharted location along the sand river for a barbeque with everyone in the camp. Barbequed Cape buffalo loin, eland sausage, and steaks in the fire pit along the sand river’s bank. Kids had their own fire pit set up in the middle of the sand river for s ’mores. We enjoyed a glorious meal, compliments of DelMarie and staff. Lisa and I were amazed with the elegance of the remote event.
Aug. 1 - Side trip with the family to the Marakele National Park and Marakele Predator Park out past Thabazimbi. Johan was our guide for the day. We spent about three hours winding through the park into the mountains and back down. Saw an abundant amount of game on the tour. After lunch in town, Amanda & Sarah were able to play with a 9 week old lion cub at the Predator Park. Lisa was in awe of the animals and rejoiced in the memorable experience.
Aug. 2 - We were up early for another family side trip. This time we went to the Waterberg Elephant Safari area. We arrived at our destination at 7:00AM after a little over an hour drive from camp. We were greeted by the staff and taken to the elephant loading area. After some refreshments and important safety instructions, we climbed aboard the elephants and had a slow meandering ride through the bush for about an hour. It was a very scenic area and a memorable experience. We spotted many animals. After we disembarked from the elephants, we were driven back to the entrance for more refreshments and a sore ride home. My wife and I realized that elephants are wide! Hot tub time!
My wife and kids spent the afternoon around camp. Pieter’s family and the staff were delightful company. Lisa and DelMarie became good friends. Christiaan entertained the girls with the mongoose and new aviary along with the constant deluge of pranks. Johan & I spent the afternoon searching for a nice Nyala bull in Pieter’s vintage cruiser. We headed out around 12:30 PM. Upon our arrival at the hunting concession, we immediately spotted a nice lone bull. I joked to Johan that this is usually jinx to see one so soon. I was right. We entered the area for the “spot” portion of the hunt. We came across many other animals including black impala – very rare and not for hunting yet. Ran into a herd of Cape buffalo and noted their location in case we were on foot in the area. We potted a few young male Nyala but no mature bulls. Johan spotted a couple decent bulls concealed in the thick bush standing like statues. We put on a stalk and got within 50 – 60 yards but were unable to assess one bull’s horns as he was standing at the base of a tree with his head up in the branches. We circled the Nyala and got in behind it. We spent almost an hour sitting behind a termite mound glassing the animal with no clear ability to assess his horns. At that point, Johan and I backed off and returned to the cruiser. As we were walking back to the cruiser, we were greeted by the lone Nyala bull that we had initially spotted. He was about 60 yards behind our cruiser. The next few hours were spent on/off this animal. One stalk found him lying in the thicket. Johan only saw the shape of his horn through his binoculars. Battling the wind, we sneaked and crawled as close as possible. No clear shot was available. We circled the animal completed and set up on the ground with a prone shot only if the animal moved. We could only see head and partial horns due the thickness of the bush. Johan instructed me to keep an eye on the animal. If he got up, there may be a quick shot on the shoulder. As Johan finished his instructions, the Nyala did just that. Johan said “take him.” I followed his shoulder as he stood up and at the point of pulling the trigger, my cross hairs were embedded in a tree. No shot….Nyala ran. We ran through the bush to get its trail and pursued for a brief time then headed back to the vehicle to circle around the area and et the bull settle down again.
After a short ride in the vehicle, Johan spotted our bull in another thicket. Instead of the foot stalk, we made the power game drive with Pieter’s vintage cruiser to get the bull out in the open. We went straight through the bush with the cruiser effortlessly and came within 10 – 20 yards of the bull buried in the thicket. The Nyala appeared to run out but visibility through the bush was extremely limited. We thought we had kicked him out with this tactic but spent the next 45 minutes or so not finding our bull. We were running short of daylight now, about 30 minutes remaining. Johan was perplexed and wondered if the bull ever left the thicket so we returned to our power drive location and got out of the vehicle. Sure enough, the bull had not moved 10 feet from the protection of the thick cover. Johan asked if I had any solids for my .375 H&H as I may have to fire through some thick stuff. I did. I asked Johan if I should load two solids. He said “no, one should be good.” We worked our way around the bull to get the best shot path but it was lousy from every angle. The Nyala winded us and moved about 30 yards into a good opening, finally. We moved quickly to set up the sticks but as I lay the rifle in the sticks, the Nyala bolted again. This time, Johan and I sprinted through the bush flanking the Nyala for about 80 – 100 yards. Suddenly Johan threw down the sticks as the Nyala appeared through a small clearing about 80 yards in front of us. I sent the solid through the Nyala. He went about 20 yards collapsed. Five minutes of daylight left. Great hunt!
08.03.13 – This morning my daughter Sarah joined us for the hunt. With Munsu and Johan at the helm, we crossed the main road and a couple properties into a large concession with much open area favorable for Blesbok. We saw a few small herds of Blesbok as we drove. Many small rams were spotted, but nothing to pursue. We drove for a while to the back side of the property where we found two nice rams by themselves. They were working their way along the power lines that traversed the property. Johan, Sarah, & I got off the cruiser and started our stalk. We walked just inside the bush along the open area of the power lines to remain concealed. Unfortunately the winds were swirling and the Blesbok were wary. We got within about 250 yards and picked a position about another 50 yards from the Blesbok. If we got there, we were going to get a shot. We made it to the chosen location but the Blesbok took off as we were getting into position. No matter. Johan observed their direction and we flanked them through the bush for about 200 – 300 yards where we found them in another opening. This time the wind and cover were in our favor. We got within 150 yards and I set up on the sticks. Wind was gusty and swirling. We waited about 10 - 15 minutes for them to offer a clean broad side shot. My first shot was high but knocked the Blesbok down and immobilized him. We walked in about 50 yards and had to shoot again to finish the ram. We took the animal back to the lodge for processing and were mysteriously asked by Johan to go back out with him to start a water pump. So Sarah & I obliged. On our return to the bush, we came upon the remainder of my family set up with a picnic lunch surprise party for Sarah’s upcoming Birthday. Lizelle & DelMarie had orchestrated a glorious feast of delicacies in the bush. We gorged!
Aug. 4 – Restful day at camp then off to a waterhole located on a neighboring property for pictures. Saw everything including golden wildebeest. Lisa & Sarah walked up to a herd of 9 giraffes. They made it to about 30 – 40 yards before they scurried away. At dinner, Pieter surprised me. Johan was needed to escort my wife and kids into Thabazimbi the next day for a day of pampering at the spa. Another couple intended to go into town as well. Pieter’s surprise was that I would hunt again with Hans, my PH and friend from 2011.
Aug. 5 - Hans & I left for the hunting concession about 6:30 AM. He informed that the animals were very spooky here. We were after wildebeest or gemsbok, whichever presented the best trophy/opportunity. We saw a few gemsbok but nothing of any size or maturity. We spotted numerous steenbok. Shortly after arriving, we came across a herd of wildebeest about a half mile away in an open area grazing. We took a left down a side road and exited the vehicle. We proceeded with a short stalk towards the herd to assess the bulls. Mostly cows were observed and some young bulls. Wind today was the worst yet, changing direction continuously. We were winded and the herd moved off. As they did, Hans spotted a very good bull that was grazing separate from the herd in some thick cover. The herd followed him. We called John, Hans’s driver, and returned to the vehicle. We had a couple more instances of stalking this group. Each time, they would smell us due to the wind and run in a chaotic fashion. They did not see us but could smell us. Hans suggested we leave this group alone and search for a herd of bulls he was familiar with in the concession. After some spotting and sign, Hans and I exited the cruiser on foot. He had seen fresh tracks from a small group of wildebeest cross the road. It was the small herd of bulls. We put on three separate stalks on the group with no success. They were very spooked and the wind was not our friend. At Hans’ suggestion, we broke for lunch and let the herd of bulls settle down. He didn’t tell me but I found out later he had a good idea where to find them again. About an hour and half later, he said “I think we should go find them now.” We set off on foot for about 15 to 20 minutes through the bush being very cautious. We then stepped up our stealth mode for the next 30 minutes moving as slow and quite as possible. We covered less than 100 yards in 30 minutes. Every step was silent. Hans had guided us within 50-60 yards of the herd of 6 – 8 bulls. Some were lying in the heavy cover. Others were standing guard. Hans set up the sticks and I placed the rifle on them in anticipation of some wildebeest shuffling into an opening. Nothing- except the wind swirled giving us away. The wildebeest ran off in one direction then another but did not go far as they could not see us. We froze until they stopped. We got on the ground and crawled to an advantage point for a potential shot. I was on the ground in a sitting position as we could only see them from a point about 2 feet off the ground. Standing provided no visibility of the animals due to the thickness of the area. From my position, we could see two of the bulls in an opening about 1’ x 2’. They were about 50 yards away. One was facing us, the other facing away. Hans checked with me to ensure a shot was clear. It was if they moved a little. The bull facing away from me turned slightly and took one perfect step allowing a clear shot at the vitals broadside. I took the shot and hit him hard. We ran to the point of impact and found a good blood trail. It took us to the bull about 80 yards away and conveniently about 20 yards from the nearest cross road. I used my .458 Lott that I brought for the buffalo. The bullet went in one shoulder, took out the vitals, and exited the other shoulder. How the wildebeest went as far as it did was amazing. Hans was surprised. I was delighted to end my safari with a good clean kill and to hunt with Hans again.
Aug. 6 - After a hearty breakfast, final walk around the compound, sad goodbyes, and gracious thanks, we set out for Highveld Taxidermy and the airport…..Special Thanks to Johan and his masterful skills, Pieter & Lizelle, Hans, Craig, MC, Amalia, DelMarie, Munsu, Christiaan (for pranking my daughters), Clarissa (for being so cute), and the rest of Pieter’s family and staff for an unforgettable experience. It was like leaving family. Special thanks to the other guests as well. It was an extraordinary group (Bill & Marty, Dale, Lee and his son Hunter). Next up for me – Sable! My youngest daughter Sarah wants Buffalo!
MARK EASLEY – Texas
Animals taken – Eland, Nyala, Red Hartebeest*, Klipspringer*
TIM WILSON – Texas
Animals taken – Warthog*, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Kudu* (52 ¼”), Blesbok*
MATT WILSON – Texas
Animals taken – Blesbok*, 3 – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Warthog*, Kudu
JAMES WILSON – Texas
Animals taken – Impala*, Red Hartebeest*, Blesbok*, Steenbok*, Gemsbok*
ALEX FAREMOUTH (James’ Grandson) – Texas
Animals taken – Impala*, Gemsbok, Kudu, 2 – Warthogs*
(Matt) The thing that I would like to tell people is this. If you are a bow hunter, bring your bow. It is not as difficult as bringing a gun. I brought both. We hunted from a blind overlooking a water hole. I very much enjoyed the time that I spent in the blind with my PH MC. It was very exciting and having the opportunity to harvest an African animal in Africa with my bow was the highlight of my safari. And to quote the great Ted Nugent “Where have we seen this before?” was great.
GUY CURTIS and his daughter JENNIFER – Utah & Alaska
Animals taken – 2 – Zebra, Gemsbok, Kudu, Impala*, Warthog*
DANIEL CURTIS (Guy’s son) – Utah
Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*
No Hunt Photos Available
(Guy’s kudu hunt): First thing in the morning I spotted the bull Kudu moving away from the road at only 20 yards. We stalked it for about 15 minutes with no shot opportunities due to the brush. The PH knew the area and the direction the animal would go as he started up a ridge. The PH positioned me with a view of the hill side he said he would cross and 5 minutes later here he come. I followed him in my scope as he worked thru the brush across the hill side till he crossed an opening and at that point I squeezed the trigger of my 300 Win Mag. The big bull dropped instantly and never got back up. Upon inspection of the shot placement there were 3 entrance wounds. It was later discovered that I had shot thru a tree that was the same color as the Kudu's hide. This tree was 8 inches in diameter and fragmented the bullet, thus causing multiple hits with one shot.
BRIAN NASSET – Washington
Animals taken – Eland*, Bushbuck*, Nyala, Waterbuck*
COURTNEY NASSET (Brian’s daughter) – Washington
Animals taken – Impala*, Blesbok*, 2 – Warthog (1*), Red Hartebeest*, Kudu
MICHAEL HALKIAS – Australia
Animals taken – 2 – Zebra, Blue Wildebeest*, Black Backed Jackal, Gemsbok*, 3 – Impala*, Waterbuck*, Warthog, Kudu* (51”)
Day 1: As we arrived late the previous afternoon, we had no time to sight the rifles on arrival day. We spent the first half hour of light sighting the rifles to confirm all was good. We arrived at the first property which was very thick Bushveld. We were on the property for only a few minutes when we saw a jackal running away from us along the road. By the time I readied for the shot, he was over 300m away, and still running. To the PH's surprise, and my own, the jackal went down. My first animal and a good confidence booster. After several failed attempts at stalking into some zebra, we encountered a lone stallion. To my surprise, the zebra blends into the bush, and their distinctive stripping does not make them as visible as I had thought. An easy shot off the sticks, and the zebra went straight down. It was beautiful to see. I was just thrilled to be so close to the animal and carefully observed all of its features. I was not really in a rush to take photos. Animal preparation and photos followed. Then I observed the process of animal recovery with the safari vehicles. Quick and effective. Back to camp we headed.
After lunch we returned to the same property. We ventured on several cold stalks through the bush and had several fruitless attempts to stalking into Wildebeest (either no good bulls or being winded). Late in the day we had an opportunity at a Wildebeest, and the shot was taken. I found it difficult to place the shot precisely due to the limited view, and the animal was off. It was a very heavy blood trail, which made the stalk very easy. I was relieved. At this point we had about 1 hour of light left, so I was happy enough we would find the animal. After about half-an-hour of stalking however, we still did not have him and the blood trail was drying up. He spooked ahead of us a couple of times, and seemed to run well enough. We had a race against the setting sun. We caught up to the beast very late in the day, with the sun already set. A second shot was required, and we rushed to get some photos in. Just glad we did not have to return the next morning to continue the track.
Day 2: Chasing a second zebra, with not much luck. The zebra had the better of us on this day. We parked the car under a tree, had lunch and then a siesta in the middle of the day.
Day 3: Again chasing Zebra. We spot a herd of four Zebra in an open plain from the car. The Zebra were not spooked and we were able to drive with 100m of them. After yesterday’s fruitless hunt, I did not hesitate to take the opportunity. The animal was hit and started to stumble around for about a minute. A second shot was not necessary, and before long the animal was down. This was a magnificent Zebra. Its hide is so beautiful, and the stripes so contrasting. Photos, and then recover the animal onto the truck. We continued to hunt as we drove out of the property, and we spotted a couple of nice Gemsbok besides the road. A short stalk and we were onto them. When the shot presented, there was no time for shooting sticks, so the shot was taken off of the PH's shoulder. With the shot the animal bolted. I was confident of the shot, and off we went to look for the blood trail. We stalked for about 100 m before finding the animal. The usual routine followed of initial amazement of the animal. Observation of features and shot placement. Relocate the animal for photos, and take lots of photos. This time the quick recovery of the animal was necessary, as the Zebra on the back of the truck had been dead for almost an hour now. We needed to get it out of the sun ASAP to avoid spoiling of the hide. Back to camp for a relaxing lunch and returned again in the afternoon.
Day 4: New property, chasing Impala. After spotting a herd of 4 nice bulls, and having the pick of them, I make the mistake of shooting the wrong one. Nice animal just the same, just not the biggest of the lot. I quickly decided that I would shoot another when the opportunity arose, as I really wanted a nice trophy for a shoulder mount. Another early return to camp for a welcomed relaxing afternoon.
Day 5: Today we hunt Kudu for the first time. Tough days walk through the mountains with no success. Spotted a couple of bulls that got away, and were barked at by a herd of cows.
Day 6: Rest day. We visited the nearby National Park and Predator Park. Nice relaxing day.
Day 7: Back on the Kudu trail. Several animals spotted, but I was not quite quick enough with the shot. Hard days hunting in the hot sun. Loved it!
Day 8: Decided to have a crack at a Waterbuck (not one of my intended animals). After an easy morning drive, a very nice bull was found just off the road. An easy shot and a very nice trophy. Took my time with the photos and tried to enjoy the moment. Back to camp to offload. About an hour later we head off again to sit in a blind. Hoping to get a big warthog and a bigger impala. Sitting in a blind is not my idea of a challenging and memorable hunt, but when hunting for large male Warthog however, you have little choice. It was more enjoyable than I had expected. I had not used my binos in the hunts to date, so it was a good opportunity to glass the animals as they drank from the waterhole. Nice to see them relaxed and get such a good viewing through the binos. We saw lots of Impala, Warthog, a few Kudu cows, an Ostrich and even a Monkey. After about 1 or 2 hours a couple of Warthogs arrive and one of them had a nice shaped set of tusks that curled nicely. Agree to take it and it was an easy shot. I shot him whilst drinking in the middle of the waterhole. This was a mistake, as we quickly realized it would have to be recovered from the center of a mud pit. I should have waited until it finished drinking and walked out. We had a nice messy job getting him out and cleaned up for the photos. Ugly creatures. He suffered from a severe case of 'ground shrinkage'. The tusks were nowhere near as big as they looked from the blind. Nice shape just the same. No chips and perfectly formed. A few photos and the days hunting was over.
Day 9: Chased that bigger Impala. Another mix-up had me shooting the 'not the biggest in the herd'. Got to either laugh or cry (I chose to laugh). I did end up getting the large Impala I was after (24"). The PH was just glad I did not have to drop the whole herd to get it. Impala are such beautiful animals. As we finished hunting so early in the day, we spent the rest of the day in the nearby town doing some souvenir shopping.
Day 10: Back to hunting Kudu. Up until about 11am we had no luck. The closest we got was hearing a Kudu spook in the thick gully scrub below us. Sometime before lunch the PH spots a lone bull in the distance. We rushed across several valleys and stopped on a small ridgeline hoping that he would reappear. Before long the PH spots 3 bulls walking directly across us. We setup for a shot as we saw the 3 walk past a small opening in the thick scrub. I saw the second move past and readied for the third. A poorly timed adjustment of my scope magnification meant that it took too long to react to the third bull passing the opening. No shot taken. It was a massive bull, and could have been as big as 57". My heart sunk. Those three bulls were not seen again. I quickly learned that Kudu will not give you much of a chance, and I was determined to be quicker on the trigger if I got another opportunity. After lunch we walked for kilometers up and over many mountains. As the afternoon went on, the shadows grew long on the sides of the mountains, and the mountains were bathed in the red glow of a low sun. I knew this was the perfect time to be hunting. One last chance I prayed. I was determine to pull the trigger if I saw hide! We climbed over a saddle, and spooked a couple of immature bulls who fled up the side of the mountain, and didn't offer a shot (too young anyway). At this I realized it was all over. From this position we would sidle around the final mountain and head towards the vehicle. From here I knew the visibility would not be good, and so had pretty much resigned to having to wait until my next African safari to get the big bull. Just then a bull is spooked in front of us and climbs the mountain. We got a very limited view of it, and it disappeared. These Kudu are now playing with my emotions! We continued to walk when the same bull appeared again on the adjacent mountain, just across a saddle. It was facing broadside and looking back at us, from a distance of about 260m. I rushed my rifle on the shooting sticks, aimed and pulled the trigger. We then heard the unmistakable thud of the bullet hitting the animal. I yelled "I hit it, I hit it". Although confident I had, I was looking for confirmation from the PH that I had. He agreed. There was no time for congratulations, as we still had to find the location, locate a blood trail, track it, cape it, butcher it, and then carry it to the car. We mark a reference point on the other mountain and off we run. We find the general location and it takes a few minutes to find the blood trail. In fact the PH finds its tracks before the blood trail. Finding the blood trail was a relief, but the relatively small amount of blood was worrying at first. A minute later we find the bull stone dead about 50 m from where it was hit. The emotions were strong as I realize it was a big bull. It was clearly a +50" bull. The sun is very low on the horizon by now, with less than an hour's usable light left. Photos and the recovery of the animal was rushed, and we ended up walking back to the car by headlamp in complete darkness. The Kudu measured 51" and 50 3/4". Perfectly symmetrical horns with good mass. I was ecstatic!!!
I am very grateful for a great hunt and a dream come true. Thank you to Cruiser’s for the experience, and I intend to return some day.
BRENDON REITER – Saskatchewan, Canada
Animals taken – Impala*, Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest, Warthog, Kudu*, Gemsbok
TANNER BROWN – Alberta, Canada
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog, Kudu, Impala*
(Brendon) We started our safari on Aug 28/2013. As much as I would love to type out every hunt and every memory for y'all, I think I'll just give you my most memorable and favorite hunt.
September 1/13 We got up at 5am, had breakfast, got things sorted out as to where we were all going and slowly 1 by 1 we all left. I was a very cold morning and about 630 AM by the time we got on the road. It took us just under an hour and a half to drive to the area we would hunt for kudu. We got to the area just before 8am and we couldn't find the other tracker we were to meet. It was almost 9 am by the time we found out where we were supposed to meet him and go hunting. We drove onto the property and he showed us where he was having the problem with the kudu stealing the food from the nyala. The other tracker, myself and Oki walked on fresh kudu tracks for over a half hour. In that half hour, we had a 15 yard encounter with a massive bush pig boar. After our walk we went back to the truck to get John, our other tracker. John found some different tracks through some of the thickest/thorniest bush you can imagine. The track eventually led to a small river bed. As we neared the edge of the bush John spotted the kudu. We ran out of the bush, got set up on the shooting sticks and waited for the kudu to cross the river in the shallow spot. The biggest bull in the herd stepped out into the shot opening I had and stopped. Oki told me to shoot and â?¦ click! The double safe of the rifle was still on â ¦rookie mistake. The kudu crossed the river into 10-12 foot reeds and there was no more shot opportunity. The only word that came to mind was x#â,¬K!
John quickly got us back on the tracks of the 7 kudu and before long we were closing the gap. We stalked the kudu another 1.5 miles before they decided it was time to cross the river once more. We didn't get out of the bush in time there for a shot but the kudu doubled back on the river and were walking on the sand shore. We all then ran several hundred yards to get ahead of the kudu to a spot where we would have a shot opportunity. Out of breathe; tired and starting to cramp up because we haven't stopped all morning for a drink, I finally got on the shooting sticks. This time I made sure I was ready. With some of the kudu already passed the open spot, not including the 2 big bulls, Oki told me to get ready. The 2 big bulls stepped out into the open area, Oki told me to get ready on the wide bull and he whistled. The bull stopped and I squeezed the trigger. I was 100% on my shot but Oki only saw dust fly up from behind him so we thought I missed. I never took my eye from the scope and never left the bull I shot till 60 yards later where he toppled over in the reeds. After seconds to settle down we started for my kudu. Oki wasn't sure it was a good shot so he told me to reload and be ready just in case. The other tracker stayed on the vantage point in case the kudu got up while we were making our way to him. Oki, John and I hurried across the knee deep river to the other side. As the sand ran out and the reeds got thicker, John spotted a horn in the reeds. We slowly approached the bull to find him stone dead. A perfect 225 yard double lung shot. He only ran 50-60 yards from the impact zone. We flagged over the other tracker, dragged the bull onto the open sand for pictures and had a nice long break. John and Oki went back across the river to get the truck as close as possible to the river to minimize the work we would have to do. It took them about 30-45 minutes to get back because they had to cut a trail. We all had a long drink of water, took plenty of photos and the field dressed my bull. We took the bull out in halves and it took all 4 of us and everything we had left to get the bull 200 yards to the truck. After we got the bull back to the truck, we collected all our gear and made it back to camp just after 3 pm. John made quick work of butchering, caping and preparing my trophy for the taxidermist. Oki brought out the tape measure and measured the horns, I'm telling you know that the only measurement that I cared about was the outstanding 48" tip to tip measurement. This kudu I'm being told is the second widest bull ever taken at Cruiser. That's all the trophy I need. THE HUNT OF A LIFETIME!
We left camp on Sept 7/13 and look forward to the day we can go back.
Thanks again to everyone at Cruiser Safaris for making this trip memorable and amazing.
BRIAN CLARK – Nebraska
Animals taken – Steenbok*, Eland, Klipspringer, Bushbuck*
BRENT VERKLER – Nebraska
Animals taken – Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Kudu* (52 ½”), Impala*
TOM STARLING – Nebraska
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Kudu* (53 ½”), Blesbok*, Warthog*
AL CAMPSALL – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken (bow) – Gemsbok*, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Zebra, Kudu* (51 ½”)
TOM TURNER – British Columbia, Canada
No Hunt Photos Available
Note; Al’s Kudu was taken with a rifle, all others were with a bow. Al’s Kudu hunt: We traveled two hours northeast of home base for a spot and stalk hunt. Sitting on the seat above the Land cruiser box was 'just like in the movies', then when Hans spotted several kudu bulls, the real fun began. It took us nearly an hour to close the distance and wait until a shot was presented. Hans' ability to assess trophy quality through the brush was impressive and greatly appreciated. Using the shooting sticks, I was able to make a good shot and the kudu dropped about 40 yards from where he was shot. I had coveted a kudu for 45 years! Most gratifying!
CALEB WRIGHT – Texas
Animals taken – 2 – Warthogs*, Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Impala*, Kudu* (52 ¾”), Nyala*, Gemsbok, Bushbuck*, Zebra, Steenbok*
No Hunt Photos Available
MAX FULDA – South Carolina
Animals taken – 2 – Warthogs (1*), Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Gemsbok, Kudu
WOW!! My expectations are rarely met, especially with hunting outfitters, however; with Cruiser Safaris, those expectations were grandly exceeded. This was my first trip to South Africa and I shall return very soon. I harvested Wildebeest, Gemsbok, Impala, warthog, and Kudu. From the moment I arrived at the lodge and DelMarie met us at the gate with fresh orange juice, to the moment I left for the airport, my every need was catered. Mints on the pillow, clothes cleaned each day, meals prepared graciously, and the ambiance of this place was all more than expected.
Animals everywhere. I saw hundreds of animals each day. My harvesting opportunities were abundant. In fact, I took a wildebeest and Impala on the first afternoon. Johan, my PH, also had my crosshairs on 2 other trophies that day. They were monsters and my heart was exploding out of my chest. I waited for Johan to give me the ole "take him" statement and instead heard, "wait, not big enough". ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I did not shoot and took a much larger, more mature, gemsbok and Kudu later in the week. The PH's are all very personable, knowledgeable, and kind. They treat you as a good friend and not as a client. The owner, Pieter, is always smiling and asks regularly if you are happy. For he is only "happy" if you are "happy". The lodge is beautiful with every amenity including a pool, hot tub, bar area, WiFi and cell phone service.
I had a wonderful time. I made some new friends, harvested some great trophies, and experienced a lifelong dream of a true African Safaris. Yes, it was a trip of a lifetime and I was happy. Very Happy Pieter.
ORSON & MARY GOLD – Montana
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Kudu, Eland*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Zebra, Impala*, Cape Buffalo*, Gemsbok*, Red Hartebeest*
(Cape Buffalo hunt) I wasn't planning on taking a buffalo on this trip and didn't know they were available until after I arrived in Johannesburg and the PH picking us up told me they might have one. Pieter later confirmed they did have a big bull and after consulting with my wife (cape buffalo aren’t cheap) I decided to do it. The hunt started early in the day and after finding his tracks, we stalked the animal several times but couldn't get a clean shot opportunity. We changed tactics and had one of the drivers push them out of the thick stuff and we were able to intercept them in an opening. He was facing us when they came into the opening and stopped and the PH told me to take the facing shot. Unfortunately he turned just as I shot and I didn't hit him where I wanted. It all happened very fast and is still a blur to me. I was able to hit him again as he was running away which slowed him up a bunch, the shot probably broke his hip. Fortunately we were later able to spot him in the thick brush he veered into and were able to safely dispatch him from a distance without having to go in after him or get the dogs. Unforgettable experience facing down something that looks at you with apparent hatred and seemed to be weighing out whether he should be running you over or away from you.
BRETT COUNTRYMAN – Colorado
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Steenbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (52 ½”), Impala*, Warthog*
CODY BELT – Colorado
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Warthog*, Gemsbok*, Kudu*, Impala*
No Hunt Photos Available
ROY & KAREN JOHNSON – Michigan
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Zebra, Nyala*, Eland*, Warthog*, Waterbuck*
DAN & CINDY ZATARGA – Michigan
Animals taken – Warthog*, Zebra, Impala*, Blesbok*, Eland*, Gemsbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Waterbuck, Kudu* (51 ½”)
(written by Dan’s PH) Uncle Dan’s Eland hunt was probably the highlight of his safari. Three hours on the Eland’s tracks was just so much fun, and hard work. We gone on the track 02h29 and we started the stalk in the heat of the day. 37degree Celsius isn’t a joke. It was very hot and we were sweating and spooking behind the Eland’s. We caught up with them a couple of times, but they were just too quick and clever for us. At 03h45 when we crossed a road where the Eland’s went over, I called John our tracker and driver to bring us more water, because we were drained completely. After a 10 min. stop, we got back on the tracks and start stalking. We stalked and stalked till 05h10 when we finally caught up with them without spooking them. I told Uncle Dan, this is our last chance of the day to get an Eland, because the sun was going down. We were patient and quiet. We glassed for about 20 min. and could just not see a good bull between the herds, and there were about 15 to 18 Elands in that herd. After a while I turned to Uncle Dan and told him, I am not sure if there is a big bull in this herd, because I couldn’t see one. It wasn’t 10 sec. after I turned back to glass and the beast came walking out right behind the herd. He was calm and the only one moving. I turned to Uncle Dan and said “you are going to shoot that bull if it stops.” The whole herd was looking at us when we got up, and prepare ourselves for the big moment. I thought they were going to run when we got up, because all eyes were on us except the big bull. He just kept moving behind the herd until he got to the front, and then he stopped for a moment.
Everything slowed down and I could hear my heart beating after I told uncle Dan “shoot him NOW”! Everything went silent, and “bang” went the shot. It was a brilliant shot right on the shoulder. He went 25 yards and down he went. We were so happy, and Uncle Dan, so proud. And in the end, hard work pays off. Three hours in the sun isn’t jokes, but we got rewarded pretty well. Good work Uncle Dan.
PAUL & KATARZYNA DANIEC, their son JAN & daughter JULIA – Texas
Animals taken – Impala*, Warthog, Kudu* (54”), Blesbok*, 2 – Blue Wildebeest*
No Hunt Photos Available
MIKE SEYMOUR – North Carolina
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Zebra, Red Hartebeest*, Eland*, 2 – Warthogs*, Impala*, Kudu* (54 ¼”), Steenbok*, Bushbuck*
This was my second hunt with Cruiser Safaris. To be honest, I knew that I was going to have a good time, but I did not think that it would be as fun as my first time. And while the second time may not be as exciting as the first, I can assure you that this adventure was as fun and as good, if not better, than the first one.
There have been several improvements made at Cruisers since I was there in 2010 and some of the PHs have changed. What has not changed is the way you are treated and taken care of while you are there. The entire staff goes out of their way to make sure that you are comfortable, well fed and as happy as you allow yourself to be.
I used a Winchester Model 70 in 300 WSM, a Zeiss 3.5 X 10 X 44 and loaded a Barnes 180 TSX at a little over 3000 fps for this trip. I had never hunted with this rifle before, but I had shot it many times before I got to Africa and I have hunted with the Barnes TSX many times. I could not have asked for better performance from the rifle or the bullets. Do yourself a favor, use a good quality bullet and follow Bob's advice to practice shooting just like you will be hunting. Use shooting sticks, fence posts, trees, plus prone and some free hand and get comfortable with your rifle. It will pay off for you.
I had Johan as my PH for this trip. He picked me up from the Afton House and we got to spend some time together while we were waiting for another hunter that was picked up at the airport. Johan and I discussed what my wishes for this adventure were while we waited. I told Johan that I would love to take a 50+ inch Kudu with a good curl and a narrow spread, but mainly I wanted to hunt older, fully mature, male trophies. I told Johan that I wanted to hunt on my feet, spot and stalk whenever possible. He did an excellent job and hunted just as I had told him I wanted to. Johan was very patient and worked very hard in trying to get me on the type of trophies that I had told him I desired. We passed up several animals that looked like they would score high, but were immature. We walked a lot, crawled some when necessary and ran a little when we had to. And no, I could not keep up with him when he ran, but he figured out my pace and never pushed me past anything that I could not do.
Johan and I had some excellent, exciting hunts together. Some of these hunts took a couple of days, some of them took a few hours and some of them only took a few minutes. We ran into and were able to take the Kudu that& I longed for while we were walking and looking for an Impala that we had spotted. We were fortunate to take the same Impala the following day. We spent over two hours slipping and crawling through the bush after the Zebra. And while I enjoyed all of the hunts, my most memorable hunt was for the bigger Warthog. The entire hunt probably took only 10 - 15 minutes, but it seemed like it took 2 hours. We spotted the Warthog from the truck at about 400 yards, saw that it was very nice and jumped off the truck in pursuit. It was very windy, I was breathing hard from the chase and& the hog would not cooperate by waiting for us. After a couple of attempts to get on the sticks and to get the hog to stop, we were lucky enough to get within 150 yards, get on the sticks and take advantage of the only shot we had. I thought that I was happy about getting the Warthog, but Johan seemed to be just as happy as I was. (When your PH gets really excited about an animal, you know that you have done well!) We shared several hugs and handshakes and both of us were relieved that I had not let this trophy get away from us.
It was a privilege to hunt and spend time with Johan. It was a real pleasure to be able to return to Cruisers. Pieter, DelMarie, Amalia, Hans, MC, Zorro, Johan and all the others do everything that they can to make you feel welcome and comfortable and to make your safari successful. Bob does everything he can to prepare you for the trip. You owe it to yourself to do your part. Get in good walking shape, use the best bullet you can get and practice shooting. You will have a great adventure if you do.
GARY & CHERRY DOUGLAS – Georgia
Animals taken – 2 – Zebra, Gemsbok, Steenbok*, Kudu*, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Duiker*, Warthog*, Blesbok*
BRUCE ANSLEY – New Zealand
Animals taken – Kudu, Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Gemsbok, Impala*, Warthog
No Hunt Photos Available
BOB TUMA – Montana
Animals taken – Waterbuck*, Klipspringer*, Bushbuck*, Steenbok*, Warthog*, Impala*
I was going to wait 2 years before I came back. It didn't work out. I hunted with Cruisers March of 2012.I lasted until August of this year and called Bob to see if there was an opening. There was and I made the trip again. Everything was just super like last time. I took great trophies including a 4 1/2 in. Klipspringer and a 17 1/8 Bushbuck, both will go high in SCI record book. It is the hunt of a life time.
PATRICK DOWNING – New York (currently living in Kenya)
Animals taken – Kudu, Blue Wildebeest*, Waterbuck*, Tsessebe
JOHN ATKIELSKI – Arizona
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Blesbok*, Kudu*, Warthog*, Gemsbok, Impala*
LON FOWLER – Minnesota
No Hunt Photos Available
ALAN THOMPSON – South Carolina
Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, Gemsbok, Kudu* (51 1/2”), Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest*
No Hunt Photos Available