Our goal at Cruiser Safaris has always been to provide exceptional services, quality animals and personalized individual attention to all of our clients. In order to maintain these high standards we limit the number of hunters at one time. This ensures that everyone’s African safari experience is one that they will fondly remember for life. Also in limiting the number of hunters we can provide quality animals year after year. In reading this newsletter you will see that we meet this goal and by careful game management this same quality will be maintained in the future.
2008 was another exceptional year for everyone involved. Even though we were completely booked for the year our clients continued to take exceptional trophies. Although many great trophies of all of the species that are available in our area were taken, Kudu seems to be the benchmark that everyone is looking for. The “Gray Ghost” is the primary species that tops everyone’s list. The “Holy Grail” number of 60” is always sought but it is seldom achieved. In 2006 our hunters took 2 of these fantastic animals and in 2007 Ken Berry took a monster that measured 64 6/8”. Although I doubt that this record will ever be broken, I understand at the time that I am writing this, a client has taken one over 60” already in 2008.
In October of last year our PH Craig and his wife Maryke had a beautiful baby girl that they named Jeannelize. Congratulations to the proud parents. And then at the end of the month, just a couple of days after our last hunters of the year, our PH Pieter and his fiancé Magda were married. Congratulations to the happy couple. On a bittersweet note, our longtime PH Jacques and his wife Beatrix, our chef, had a baby girl. This is great news for everyone, however the bittersweet note that I mentioned is that because of the long hours that they both worked daily during the hunting season they felt that to properly raise their bundle of joy, Madelein, they couldn’t keep working all of these hours. It was on a sad note for everyone that they have now left Cruiser’s. Both of them will be sorely missed and we wish them all of the best in their future endeavors.
With the departure of Jacques & Beatrix we needed to fill their vacant positions. After a long interview period Johan Van Staden was hired as our newest PH. Johan is a very enthusiastic and knowledgeable PH and from all of the favorable comments that I have received, he is a definite asset to our company. Tanya Pienaar was hired as our new chef and with the glowing comments from everyone, it sounds like you will gain some weight on your safari. In thinking of the future, Pieter also hired Jaco Eramus as an apprentice PH. Jaco will be working with all of the other PH’s this year learning from their vast skills and we expect that next year he will be guiding clients on his own.
In the format for this newsletter the Highlights area for each hunter is the actual stories that they have sent to me. We thought that with the actual hunters submitting their stories it would give the reader a better understanding of the hunter’s actual feelings and experiences in their own words. From some of the stories that I have already received, I think you will agree that this approach will be worthwhile.
For those of you that have hunted with us and have not as of yet sent any of your stories, please do this at anytime and I will ensure that your story is included in its entirety for all to enjoy.
NOTE: The * behind the animal indicates that it qualified for the record book.
BRANDON FEWINS – Michigan
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Gemsbok*, 2 Warthogs*, Kudu, Blesbok*
ALEX HOUGHTON – Michigan
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala, Blesbok*, Zebra, Kudu*, Gemsbok, Warthog
PAUL JOAQUIN – Michigan
Animals taken – Blesbok, 2 Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (52 1/8), Zebra, Warthog*, 2 Impala*, Steenbok*
JUSTIN REVNELL – Michigan
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Impala, 2 Warthog*, Zebra
The Gemsbok was a day of stalks. In the morning we came close to nice mature bulls and females but nothing that offered a shot. In the afternoon Pieter went with us and around three o'clock it began to rain. To me it was a break from the heat. As with the morning hunt, it was stalk after stalk. One time during the lighting, thunder and rain, Hans had me in mid stride hunch over holding perfectly still. The sweat was pouring off me and my left leg started to shake. Right then it occurred to me that I was truly living life. I truly believe that hunters like to make themselves a little miserable in order to make themselves truly happy. As we were trying to get a good shot at the one big bull in the herd, the wind was swirling and it was truly a game of cat and mouse. One that Hans and I lost! But as daylight faded we spotted a single bull and the last stalk of the day was on. We crept within about 40 yards and we set up the sticks while I was on my knees. The problem was that I didn't have a shot without brush in the way. We decided that Hans and I would stand up together. He took the shooting sticks and guided them up while I went up with my gun. I knew that I would only have a split second to shoot and I pulled the trigger only to hear a click. With all of the stalking the bolt of my gun had worked its way up and the gun didn't fire. I slammed it back down put the scope back on the animal and squeezed off a shot.
I could see its legs kick out and I knew I hit it hard. Hans thought I missed but when we went up to where it was shot it was a clear lung shot. 60 yards later I'm smiling like a little school girl! I have to make a quick mention of my Kudu. After 3 1/2 days of hard hunting, Hans and I were walking up a river with a good wind in our face. We had one of those feelings that this was going to be it. We were able to walk up on a lot of close animals and were hoping to catch a Kudu either watering itself or bedding down by the river. After about an hour and a half we spotted one bedded down across the river. The Kudu was located on a little notch in a bend of the river that was a little elevated above it. I swear it picked it because the beautiful location. More likely because it look up the river and down river for long stretches. We set up in position with me on my knees and the gun on the shooting sticks. I only had a neck shot so Hans decided to start whistling. After about 5 minutes it stood up and bam...I blasted it! I could see his body buckle in so I knew I hit him hard with the .338 250 grain bullet. Hans and I took off our boots and rolled up our pant legs and crossed the river. Once on the other side we quickly saw the Kudu about 35 yards from where I shot him and put the final shot into him. Shooting across the river like that was right out of a story book!
Paul Joquin (Paul’s reply when asked to pick just one animal or hunt that was his favorite)
“This is a hard one. I had such a unique experience on each animal. However I dedicated my hunt for the Impala to my father-in-law who passed away during the planning of the trip”.
Day 7 Craig, my PH, and I had 3 full days to hunt a record Impala. I had not mentioned to him that I was hunting this particular animal in memory of my father-in-law. Craig and I were able to make SCI record book on all other animals so I told him I would like to see if we could set up on a record Impala. I think Craig was just as motivated as I was, since he had never guided a client that made record book on all animals. Since he was excited to start his season with a "Grand Slam" I could tell that he was extra picky about which one to take. We stalked up on 3-4 different herds of Impala and backed of on all of them. I knew we had glassed Impala in the 21+" range that morning. We headed back to the lodge to exchange my gun, I was hunting in the AM with a 7X57 and we were concerned it was a little too light for brush hunting in the afternoon. We returned to the field with my .300Win Mag and my brother-in-law (who had completed his package) and another friend. We set out to the "Big Property" as a group. We were on the property for about 15 min when Joseph (our driver) spotted a lone impala about 40 yards in the bush. Craig quickly handed me my gun and told me to shoot. I knew he thought this was the one. Overly excited I raised the gun and took and off handed shot at him. I pulled the shot a little and bagged the nicest tree on the property! We all had a good laugh as I posed with my trophy tree, then off we went in search of another chance. Not but 10 min later Craig had me of the truck and quietly stalking through the bush. Craig and I must have been on foot for about 15 min in 90+ degree sun when he froze in place. We sloooowly snuck up to a large bush. Craig opened the sticks, pulled back the branches to give me just enough opening to see & shoot through. Then Craig asked "See him?" before I could answer Craig ordered "shoot him!" just 30 yards away was a lone impala broadside. As I took aim he turned to a 1/4ing away pose. I could tell Craig was getting anxious but I had no choice I needed to re-adjust my aim. After the shot we walked up to him. Immediately I could tell this was the animal we were in search of, Craig had a smile 10ft wide. He estimated the size to be 22 inches. As my brother-in-law Brandon arrived he was sure it was just under 22" which would have made it smaller than his. The tape measure quickly was produced and confirmed an unarguable 23.5 inches! Thank you Craig!
In Memory of Bill Moore (We miss you)
TOM & LINDA AISENBREY – North Dakota
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Blesbok*, Impala*, Blue wildebeest*, Kudu, Warthog
VERDEAN ROLOFF – North Dakota
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Warthog*, Impala*, Kudu* (51 ½)
The Blue Wildebeest was my favorite hunt. We made many unsuccessful stalks (wind changes, busted by other animals, etc.) before Hans got me in very close to take a very large bull right before dark.
My PH Craig spotted a nice blesbok so we started to put a stalk on it. We were soon surrounded by a whole herd and some were even bedding down within 10 yards of us and to make matters worse a small herd of impala also moved in to surround us. It was amazing that Craig could sneak around (much less have a fat flat lander stumbling around) with at least 35 or 40 pairs of eyes all around us. After about 2 hours we got close and I mean close to our targeted Blesbok. Craig had me take my shot (we guessed it to be between 20 and 30 FEET) and I had my trophy blesbok.
MATT BOSOWSKI & his wife DEBRA – New Hampshire
Animals taken – Warthog, Blue Wildebeest*, Klipspringer
BEN BOSOWSKI – NewHampshire
Animals taken – Warthog*, Gemsbok, Eland*, Ostrich, Steenbok*, Duiker*
KEN BERRY – New Hampshire
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Nyala
DAVE JENNINGS – New Hampshire
Animals taken – Kudu* (53), Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest*, Waterbuck*, Impala, Warthog*, Gemsbok
I'm very excited with all the animals that I took. But I must say I enjoyed the WATERBUCK the most. Johan and I worked very hard to stalk that animal and waited very patiently for him to make his move, as it turned out we didn't get a chance at him until just after sunset. Then we where a long way into the woods so off to find the truck trying to get back to the animal. We made it back to the road to find Richard and the truck and headed back in to collect our trophy but it went black before we where able to get close losing all landmarks, we had to rely on flash lights and the trackers to get back to the animal. I have to say these trackers and Johan know the stuff. I wasn't so sure we where there until first light, but these guys whet right in and located the Waterbuck. We drove the truck to it, loaded him up and were out of the woods and on our way back to camp by 10:00 pm. I for one was very pleased that they took this as serious as they did and we recovered this Waterbuck that night. I can't thank Johan, Hans, Richard and the others enough.
MIKE DANIELS – Ohio
Animals taken – Warthog*, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Zebra, Kudu* (51 ½), Red Hartebeest, Blesbok
MIKE LUCERO – Oregon
Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Warthog*, Kudu, Steenbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Caracal, Blesbok*
JOHN LUCERO – Oregon
Animals taken – 2 - Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Warthog*, Blesbok*, Kudu* (55 ¾), Red Hartebeest, Black Backed Jackal
BRANDON EMMONS- Texas
Animals taken – Waterbuck*, Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Warthogs*, Zebra, Bushbuck*, White Blesbok*
The main animal that I went for was the bushbuck. Since I took a really nice kudu on my first trip, I thought that I would continue my "spiral quest" with the bushbuck. When I arrived, I was told that the hunting conditions would be hard. The grass was tall and water was everywhere, so I would have to be lucky to get a chance at the bushbuck. On the first day of the hunt we saw a small bushbuck for about 2 seconds and then saw some females later in the day. I ended up shooting a Red Hartebeest and I guess I was a little anxious. I made a bad shot and ended up spending too much time tracking a wounded animal. We tracked the rest of the day and the second day was spent tracking, with no luck. I was a little down, but things turned around when I took a really nice waterbuck, and luckily it only ran about 10 yards before crashing. The day ended with a stalk on a wildebeest that was dropped in its tracks. So the next day was back to the bushbuck. No luck. I took a decent warthog in the rain and then it was back to bushbuck. We spotted one late that afternoon but my scope was fogged up and I couldn't get a shot. I was getting pretty depressed about the bushbuck. On day four we concentrated on zebra. We had seen a lot of zebra on the long property, but couldn't shoot there. It seemed that zebra were everywhere, until we started hunting them. Day four ended with a 13 inch warthog...a real monster.
Day five we took a break from zebra hunting when Pieter called Craig on the radio. He said that the workers building fence had a bushbuck in a fenced area at the camp. We rushed back to camp as quickly as possible. Craig should have been a rally driver instead of a ph.....he can really drive. On the drive back, I joked with Craig that I hoped Pieter had "planted" a good bushbuck in the fenced area. When we got back, the workers attempted to flush the animal into a shooting lane. I was set up and the bushbuck ran thru the fence like it wasn't even there and disappeared without me getting a shot. Day six I finally took a nice zebra stallion and it was back to bushbuck. Day seven, no luck. And then on the next to last day of my hunt, we spotted a bushbuck in a field. It ran for cover, disappeared and then reappeared. I rushed my shot and missed completely. I was really depressed at this point. I had a perfect opportunity to take the animal that I wanted and I blew it. As a consolation, Pieter told me that he had a few White Blesboks, if I wanted to try. I told him absolutely. On the last day of the hunt we went back to where I missed the bushbuck the day before. As luck would have it, we spotted the same bushbuck in the field near some cover. I took a 120+ yard shot at the animal in the long grass. When I recovered from the recoil of the 375, Craig said that he heard a thump. We ran to where the animal was running and found it in the grass not far from where it was last seen. I had my bushbuck. All before 7:00 a.m. It was a hard hunt and I guess I got really lucky. We took it back to camp and then went to Rose Valley to finish my safari with a White blesbok. I ended with seven new heads for the walls of my trophy room.Read More
LARRY RENON – California
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, Warthog, 2 – Impala*, Waterbuck, Kudu* (51 ½) Blesbok*
JAN RENON – California
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Blue Wildebeest, Blesbok*
This was our very first trip to Africa. Larry had dreamed of coming to Africa since he was 9 years old. This was also our Honeymoon. We were engaged 47 years ago, but events took place in both our lives which separated us completely from each other for 42 years. We were reunited in 2005 and got married several months later. We never had a chance for a honeymoon until this trip and I was fortunate to also share my husband's life-long dream.
From the moment we were met at the airport, we were made to feel like family. Cruiser Safaris was the best decision we could have possibly made. Our Professional Hunter was Johan, and we just can't say enough good about this man. Larry and I had chosen to do our hunting 2 on 1.
Our first day of hunting we woke up to rain. It was about 6:30 a.m. when we got out to the parcel where we would be hunting. We had to sit there in the truck for almost an hour waiting for the gully-washer to let up. Once it did, Johan spotted a Gemsbok for me and we were off on the stalk. The Gemsbok started coming toward us, so Johan had us retreat and set me up where I could get a shot when the animal went by. All during the stalking, my heart was really pounding and my adrenaline level was absolutely off the scale. This was my very first African animal, and the Gemsbok was at the top of my priority list. This was a fabulous trophy with really long, beautiful horns.
The Gemsbok in the meantime decided to turn around, so we were off again. When it then turned again and started back toward us, Johan found a place for me to sit down and wait till I could take the shot. I was so excited that my hands were actually shaking. It got about 135 yards away from us and kindly turned broadside to me so I could take the shot. In my excitement, pumping adrenaline, and shaking hands, my shot placement was just an inch too far back from the shoulder to bring it down immediately and we spent the next hour tracking it through the brush. The Gemsbok finally went down and stayed down. We got our pictures of her. What a beauty! According to Johan, it was the best Gemsbok of the year so far. I was one happy hunter!
My Wildebeest hunt was sort of "spur of the moment"! In my hunting package I had initially opted to substitute a Red Hartebeest for a Blue Wildebeest. The day I got my Wildebeest, we had set up a blind at a waterhole. First to arrive after we had settled in were 2 young Kudu males - - my but they are beautiful and impressive animals! Next we had 4 Gemsbok show up. Two of them had horns as big as the one I shot. When they got to our side of the waterhole, the 2 males butted heads almost right next to our blind! Next we watched 2 young Warthogs enjoying the heck out of scratching themselves on a tree. About 4 p.m., an old Brindled Wildebeest made his way very slowly around the waterhole. I grabbed my cam-corder and recorded his progress. He had big heavy bosses on his horns and a scarred face from many fights....a real scrapper! He left our view for awhile and then turned around and came back.; When he walked across in front of the blind, Johan asked, "You sure you want that Red Hartebeest instead of a Wildebeest? That's a really nice old one!" Well, I thought about it for about three strides and lined him up in my sites. Larry is behind me whispering, "Make up your mind in a hurry!" and I let him take one more step and then took the shot. The way he bolted out of there, I thought for sure I'd missed the vital entry point again, but he went off into the heavy brush about 75 yards and went down. Finally! My confidence had been shaken, but this old boy made up for it. He wasn't a really huge animal, but Johan estimated him to be about 500 pounds and because of his heavy bosses, he will put me in the SCI record book with a measurement of 73. I sure can't complain about that!
The day we hunted Blesbok we went back to the same hunting area where we were on days one and two. Larry, Johan and I were in the back of the truck. It was bitterly cold and the wind was really blowing hard. Johan spotted a group of Blesbok, so we got off the truck and began our stalk. We crept up to about 100 yards from them. They were all bedded down so we had to wait for awhile until they started getting up. Johan had the shooting stick set up and put me onto a big, beautiful buck that was perfectly framed between 2 trees. I took aim and fired. He didn't go very far at all before he went down. A one shot kill! Johan later measured his horns and said this one would make the record book. What a morning!
Unfortunately for me, I suffered a major knee injury on my very first day of hunting. I found it very frustrating that I was unable to do any long stalks. I requested that Larry take my remaining animals if the opportunity presented itself on his stalks with Johan.
Larry's Blue Wildebeest
The first day of our hunt it rained for the entire day. Jan got her Gemsbok in the morning and I now had an opportunity after lunch for a really nice Blue Wildebeest. Johan and I discussed going on stalk in the rain. I told him I would melt, but he insisted! The Wildebeest had been lying near the road, so we made the stalk. I was about 200-350 yards away from him. He got scent of us when we were about 40 yards away. We moved to get into position and the bull trotted away and then turned and faced us. I fired and he went down. Unfortunately, as we had been forewarned, he jumped up and headed into the scrub. We followed for about 400 yards before I put a final bullet into him. My shot to the neck was just one inch to the left of the spot that would have stopped him. I am very frustrated about that!
But my Blue Wildebeest scored an 86, putting it into the SCI record book by a good margin. What a first day! I was finally living my life-long dream.
In hunting my Gemsbok on day 2, I was mortified when I had a clear miss at 100 yards. Johan saved the day. He asked to see my rifle and discovered that the scope mountings had vibrated loose during the long plane ride to Africa. He also checked Jan's scope and found the same problem. We had no more misses after Johan fixed our scopes.
After sighting in our rifles again the next morning, we went hunting. Johan and I went on several unsuccessful stalks in the morning. We set up a blind on a watering hole and then we had lunch. When we got to the lunch area, we spotted a Kudu bull, so another stalk was made. Finally we got close enough to find out that it wasn't a shooter. After lunch, we went into the blind. One half hour of extreme heat in the blind and a shooter Warthog came in for a drink. One shot kill! The Warthog didn't travel more than 30 feet after being hit.
It seemed like several days we would stalk animals right around sunset. The day I got my Impala it was 5:00 p.m. when Johan spotted 2 of them. We started a stalk. We saw about 20 Blesbok and finally Johan got a good look at the Impala and said they were not big enough. So we walked out to the road to meet our truck. Just as we came out on the road, an Impala came out of the bush and stopped by the road. We had another scramble to get the shooting sticks up for the shot. One shot and down he went. What a day!& Fantastic! A truly successful spot and stalk. An added bonus was that my Impala made the record book.
The day for me to hunt my Kudu finally arrived. This was the number one animal on my priority list. Johan and I started out in a box blind at a waterhole where several Kudu had been spotted. We stayed in the blind until about 2:00 p.m. without ever seeing the Grey Ghost appear so we started driving around. We spotted a shooter Kudu in a field. The wind was really blowing and the Kudu didn't hear us on our stalk. When Johan set up the shooting sticks, the Kudu was eating. One shot and he dropped! My shot broke his spine. Johan and I hugged like 2 little kids we were so happy! The green measurement on my Kudu was 51+ inches, so happily it should make the record book too!
After Jan's successful hunt on her Blesbok, we started driving around to find one for me and after seeing one, I decided maybe I should try for a White Blesbok. We finally put a stalk on one and Johan had me sit down on the ground to shoot. The shot was 230 yards and I missed. They all ran into the brush and we drove around until 12:30 and then went back to the lodge and had a good lunch. We relaxed for about an hour and went back at 2:30. We drove and drove and drove and didn't see the White Blesbok again. Finally we saw a regular Blesbok that looked good, so I took a shot at him. Missed again (or so I thought). He took off and we did another stalk on him. We walked over 1200 paces and finally saw him again and we followed him and then he disappeared. After walking around for about another hour, getting near dark, Johan called for Richard to bring the truck. Just as he was talking to Richard, the same Blesbok came into view again. He saw the truck so he started to come straight at us, then he caught wind of us and started to move away from the truck and us. He stopped, and I shot and hit him. He went about 30 yards and dropped. When we got a close look at his back, my first shot had cut the skin on his back but didn't even draw blood. We had to take flash pictures in the dark. WHAT A DAY!
This has been absolutely the trip of a lifetime for us! We wound up with 11 animals: 2 Gemsbok, 2 Wildebeest, 2 Impala, 2 Blesbok, 1 Waterbuck, 1 Kudu, and 1 Warthog. We experienced the thrill of being really close to some amazing animals. We agonized over missed opportunities, misplaced shots, and thought about a lot of "if only I had done this or that". But we were also able to share in the shear joy of a well-placed shot, or experience adrenaline rushes with major intensity that invariably happen when stalking a superb animal. Johan was wonderful! The quality of the game he found for us was unbelievable! We had some real "highs" and some real "lows". Johan saw us through both extremes and never gave up on us. Would we do it all again? In a heartbeat!! Cruiser Safaris, you rock!!
RICK LIBKE & his 2 daughters (Kara & Kelsey) – Saskatoon, Canada
Animals taken – White Blesbok*, Warthog*, Gemsbok, Impala, 2 - Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (51 1/8”)
SHAWN & DARLA WALSH – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken – Blesbok*, 2 – Warthogs, Gemsbok, Kudu* (56”), Impala*, 2 – Blue Wildebeest*
JAMES DAVIS & his son KRIS – Louisiana
James – 2 – Warthog*, Impala*, Zebra, Red Hartebeest*, Kudu* (54 3/8”), 2 – blue Wildebeest*, White Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Eland*
Kris – Warthog*, 2 – Blesbok*, Impala*, Gemsbok
MARC DEROUEN – Louisiana
Animals taken – 2 – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Nyala, Red Hartebeest*, Kudu* (57”)
“I always dreamed of going to Africa and never believed it would come true. It did. Thanks to the confidence I had with Bob it had my expectations really up and I had hoped I didn't expect too much. As I told Peter and my trusty guide, I could have never written the script more perfectly. I had the time of my life and to experience it with my son was unbelievable. I already want to try and come back year or the year after next for a few other animals. Thanks again for all you did and you have the best staff that anybody could put together.”
MAHANA FISHER – Utah
Animals taken – Waterbuck*, Red Hartebeest*, Nyala*, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Bushbuck*
JEFF NIELSON – Utah
Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu* (57 ¼”), Gemsbok, Warthog, Blesbok*
DOUG DAVIS – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken – White Blesbok*, Waterbuck*, Red Hartebeest, Bushbuck*, 2 – Warthogs*, Kudu* (51 ¾”), Impala, Eland*, Gemsbok, Nyala
GAYLENE HEGGE (Doug’s daughter) – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Gemsbok, Impala, Waterbuck*, Warthog*, Kudu
Gaylene’s favorite hunt was for her Kudu and this is her story: “Craig and I went to the mountains. Seen a big Kudu slinking up the mountain. I grabbed my gun. Binoculars and camera fanny pack and we started hiking. The Kudu slipped away as ghosts do and Craig and I walked six km. up and down in about 30 deg. heat. Joseph our driver came to pick us up and we were going to go and sit in a blind near a water hole but when we got there a pump was running. Craig thought it was right to go and ask the caretaker if we could shut it off and the turn it on when we were finished. So we drove a couple miles they exchanged words and then Craig said he told him every night just before dark. He then sees a big Kudu walking down the fence line. It was only 2pm but I agreed we should drive down and then switch over to the water hole on route. There were some natives doing fencing for the neighbor and we waived as we drove on by. We drove about a mile and Craig tapped on the jeep. I had seen something a way down so we got out where we could put my gun up and I looked through the scope. I could see it was a Kudu. Craig said he's a nice one and I put the cross hairs about a foot below his back in line with the shoulder and fired. The Kudu spun around into the brush and we headed towards that spot. Craig and Joseph took my gun and started down and then headed into the bush to see if they could find blood.
After a few minutes they came out and walked towards me. Craig said no blood...where did you aim? I told him. He never said anything and got into the back of the jeep and we drove ahead. When we got to where the Kudu went into the bush Craig said to stop and that maybe we should go in deeper and make sure there is no blood. I agreed. So we started in and I went to go behind Joseph so he could track. Craig said come this way as this is where they had seen the best tracks. I went under the limb and when I stood up, Craig turns to me with that awesome smile of his and says Congratulations, there he is dead. At that point I started to shake. I told Craig that was a "10". One shot again......
Since we got home there hasn’t been more than a couple hours that go by that Dad wasn't wondering what Craig might be up to. ‘Well Craig will be getting up now. Well Craig is sawing logs as we speak”. He sure liked him. Also watching the excitement on my fathers face when he saw and then bagged his animals. Him getting the South Africa Spiral Horned Grand Slam was his highlight at 83 years of age. Craig was so patient with Dad and for that we say thanks again”.
MARSHAL AMBROSE and his wife MARGARET – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken – Kudu* (52”), Gemsbok, Zebra, Warthog, 2 – Impala*, Waterbuck*, Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Blesbok*
On my last day of the hunt I wanted my last shot to be a little more challenging. Passing up on several shots during the day we walked up on a very nice Blesbok bedded in a field. Hans lasered him at 200 yards and with a smirk he suggested that's too close. So after checking the wind we doubled back and circled the clearing till we came up with a 300 yard shot. Off the shooting sticks, that's not bad. My first shot went high. The Blesbok had no idea we were there and my second shot was on the money, a perfect heart shot. An excellent way to end a most memorable hunt.
A.J. FRANKE – Washington
Animals taken – Impala*, Warthog*, Zebra, Gemsbok, Kudu
RICHARAD FRANKE – Montana
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala, Kudu, Warthog
A. J. says his Impala hunt was his favorite. “He was the dominant male with 30-40 females during the rut. The PH (Pieter) and I crawled in as close as we could get, 160 yards. I got set up sitting with the sticks and watched him chase the girls in and out of the area for about 25 minutes. He would not stop clear. There were always females in front or back of him. I got a little impatient several times and was whispering some choice words the direction of the impala. My PH found this extremely amusing but didn't let on until after the shot. First animal I took in Africa and made a friend doing IT!!!!
My PH (Pieter) spotted a large warthog down the road when we were on foot. We circled closer to the hog through the brush. During this I asked Pieter How I would know which pig to shoot. He faced me holding his hands like tusks saying "you'll know, He's the one that looks like an elephant!" We stepped out in the road and shot the biggest hog of the week. There was no mistaking which one to shoot at. It is pretty cool when your PH gets as excited as you do during a hunt. We laughed about the Elephant comment the rest of the week.”
MIKE HAWORTH – Nevada
Animals taken – 2- Impala (1*), 2 – Warthogs (1*), Gemsbok*, Kudu, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest* (plus a female) Bushbuck*, Steenbok*, Duiker*
12 animals in 7 days. “I have dreamed about Africa since I was a small boy. Reading and watching any thing I could get my hands on. I had no idea it would be so good. You truly made my dreams come true. Thank you.”
KEVIN LEIBOLD – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*,Waterbuck*, Warthog, Bushbuck*, Kudu, Red hartebeest*, Blesbok*, Eland*
JEFF COEN – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – 3 – Impala (1*), Zebra, Steenbok*, Kudu, Warthog, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*
After many months of anticipation my third (2003 Zimbabwe-Zambezi valley, 2004 Namibia-Khomas highlands and Kalahari) African safari I was ready to begin. My hunting partner, Jeff Coen and I left New Cumberland, PA. for Dulles Airport on May 13. After an easy 2 hour drive we checked into the South African airlines with our rifles, paperwork and a lot of excitement. Checking in with our rifles was very easy, no problems and we ready to go. We boarded the plane for the 15 hour flight with a lot of reading material. Surprisingly the flight went reasonable fast. Jeff was very lucky, he travels frequently for his company (Hershey foods – they make chocolate bars by the way and that might be why Jeff took 14 pounds of chocolate with him) and used his accumulated miles to get a business class upgrade.
Arrival in Jo-burg was no big deal and we went through all the formalities in short order – everything went like clockwork – Cruiser Bob did a fantastic job with the instructions as did Dawn at Custom Travel. We were met by representatives from the Afton Guest house and within a few minutes we arrived at the Guest house, shown to our rooms and rapidly found the refrigerator and gravitated to the fire in the outdoor fireplace. The steak dinner was delicious and then it was off to bed to try and get our tired bodies accustomed to African time. The next morning we had an excellent breakfast and we were picked up by Cruiser Safaris for the ride to camp.
We met other people coming and going to Cruisers – talk about excitement, anticipation and eagerness to get the hunting underway – I was bursting to get started. This was the first time I stayed at the Afton Guest house and I will definitely use them again.
I love to dream about Africa hunting and spend a lot of time reading literature related to all forms of big game hunting in Africa. I come from a large family of whitetail hunters in Pennsylvania and so far I’m the only one of all my relatives to catch the African hunting bug – Craig Boddington has really “hooked” me – I read everything I can, not to mention visiting some of the web sites on the Internet.
I enjoy rifles and hand-loading and have only hunted one time in my life with factory ammo – that was 40 years ago for my first whitetail at the age of 12 using a Model 94 Winchester in 32 special. For this hunt I wanted something special, different, and effective and without a lot of recoil so I had a 338-06 built on a Model 70 Winchester CRF action using a PacNor Super Match grade barrel, McMillan “super grade” stock and topped with a Swarovski 3x10 scope. I spent months perfecting the loads I wanted to use for this hunt and ultimately decided on a 210 gr Nosler Partition bullet using IMR 4064 powder with a measured velocity of 2750 fps. My “Kudu rifle” was a custom Ed Brown Savannah in 300 Win mag equipped with a Swarovski 4x12 scope with the new BH reticule. My loads were 168 gr Barnes Tipped Triple Shock bullets loaded with IMR4350 to a measured velocity of 3180 fps-I knew this rifle would handle any long range chances I might get at a Kudu.
The ride from Jo-Burg went by fast and we soon arrived at Cruiser Safaris camp – I was immediately impressed. We got our rooms, met our PH’s, had a tour of all the facilities and then went off to the rifle range. The rifles checked fine and now it was time to get some sleep in anticipation for the first day of the hunt. I was interested in hunting Blue Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Waterbuck, Warthog, Blesbok, Limpopo Bushbuck, Kudu and Eland.
I actually slept very well considering how excited I was-I woke up around 4:30 AM and started looking for coffee. The morning was exactly as I expected – chilly and crisp air and clear skies. Hans, my PH, picked me up at 6AM and off we went in my “dream vehicle” – the Toyota Land Cruiser, diesel power and all decked out for hunting including the winch-I enjoy just driving around in these vehicle and if Toyota ever sells these in the USA I will trade in my 4x4 Tacoma and have one. Hans told me would be hunting an area with good Waterbuck and Wildebeest. The hunt was really about to start. We drove for about 30 minutes to the concession we were going to hunt.
About 9AM, Hans spotted a Blue Wildebeest about ½ mile away. He thought it was a good one so we started a stalk and got to where we last saw the bull, but he was not there. After about 20 more steps Hans motioned to me to stop and listen – to our left stood the bull, partially hidden with his head down-about 70 yards. Hans set up my “Bog Pod” shooting sticks (I practiced at home with these and I was confident with them so I decided to bring them along – they are the best shooting sticks on the market in my opinion) and I got the rifle on them and it didn’t take long for me to take my first shot in South Africa – at the crack of the 338-06 the bull folded. We went up to the bull and I shot him again since I broke his back with the first shot. My first South African trophy was down – he was a beautiful, mature bull with a 28 ½ inch spread. Both shots were complete penetration. After a lot of photos we loaded the bull onto the Toyota and off we went to continue the first day of my hunt.
We drove about 45 minutes when Hans saw a few Impala including a large ram – Hans said I should try to take him since he was a very good trophy. After a short stalk I took the Impala with one shot from the 338-06 at about 45 yards. The ram was quarterly toward me when the bullet entered the right shoulder, angled through the animal and was almost through on the opposite side just in front of the left rear leg. The ram was 24 ½ inches, just a beauty. We recovered the 210 gr Partition and the bullet could have been used for a magazine advertisement – it performed perfectly. Wow, day 1, before noon, and I already had two trophy quality animals – I loved every minute of this. Hans decided we should take the two animals back to camp so the meat could be taken care of. When we got back, I asked the camp chef if she would mind frying some Impala liver for breakfast the next day, cut thin and fried crisp – she promised she would. Hans suggested we go out for the evening hunt around 3 – I told him I would be ready. After a very good lunch that included lamb chops, I decided it was time for a nap. I slept until 2:45 or so, got up and was ready when Hans came looking for me.
After a short ride we turned into the concession we were going to hunt. Hans told me he knew of some excellent waterbuck on this property – a waterbuck was my priority number one animal for this trip to Africa. We drove a few miles when Hans spotted 4 female waterbuck. We stopped about 200 yards past the waterbuck, stalked to within 100 yards and waited. About 45 minutes later we noticed the 4 females all started to look in the same direction - Hans set up the Bog Pods and told me to get ready. At first I saw the baseball bat size horns above the brush, then the shoulder, then the entire animal and the rifle barked-good hit I told myself since I saw the animal react by kicking up his rear legs. We got to the location the animal was when I shot and could not find any significant blood – about 5 minutes later we found a very tiny speck of blood so at least we had a trail. About 15 yards into the very thick brush lay my trophy Waterbuck, 28 ½ inch horns with huge 11 inch bases. A high lung shot did the job, a complete pass through at about 95 yards. Lots of photos followed and now I told Hans, I didn’t want to shoot anything else today since we started off so good and I might run out of things to hunt, or worse, run out of money for trophy fees. Hans laughed and gave me a big smile and told me I was very lucky today. We loaded up the waterbuck and drove about 500 yards when Hans saw a very nice warthog and strongly suggested I shoot him – which I promptly did – 12 inch tusks – what a day, I unloaded my rifle and was ready for a beer and a cigar. The start of my hunt could not have been better. That evening, we had oxtail for dinner – just a fabulous way to end the first day of my safari – boy did I sleep good that night.
The next morning at breakfast, I enjoyed Impala liver just like I like whitetail liver – sliced thin and fried crisp. Hans and I decided the day would be spent hunting bushbuck. It didn’t take long, the first bushbuck that we observed was not very big so Hans suggested that I be patient. I think it was 20 minutes latter we saw another very nice bushbuck with uncharacteristically wide horns – I knew he was a shooter. I had a good rest and the 338-06 did the job on a 14 inch Limpopo bushbuck, my number two in priority animal. One day and one morning and I took 5 animals – wow. I told Hans if it was possible I would like to be an observer in the afternoon and hunt with Jeff. After lunch I hunted with Jeff and his PH for Zebra-we made a few unsuccessful stalks. Late in the afternoon we caught up with 5 zebra and Jeff made a perfect snap shot with his Winchester Model 70, 30-06 using 180 gr. Nosler partition Federal Premium ammo – complete pass through and just a fantastic “bang-flop”. My second day was as much fun as the first – I realized that being with a friend and watching is almost as fun as squeezing the trigger myself. We had excellent chocolate mouse for dessert that evening – I guess that is what happens when you take 14 pound so of Hershey chocolate with you on safari.
The next day Hans and I hunted all day for Kudu and we didn’t score but we sure did get close a couple of times. Pieter told me that evening that I would be heading to the mountain concession the next day to try for Kudu and Red Hartebeest. That evening I exchanged the 338-06 ammo for the Brown 300 Win mag and get ready to try out this new rifle.
The next morning, Hans picked me up early and we drove for about 45 minutes to an area with very steep and rocky mountains. After a few walks we decided to drive a short distance to a valley with mountains on both sides. Almost immediately we saw Kudu working their way up through the steep rocks and thick brush. Many cows and two bulls were observed, one with wide flaring horns and one very large bodied animal with horns almost vertical with large spirals, he was the one I was interested in but he was far and getting farther. Hans laid down his backpack for me to use as a rest and then used his range finder and told me the bull was 297 yards and climbing-was I comfortable with that distance Hans asked? I said I would try and when the rifle settled on the bull, I squeezed the trigger and almost immediately I saw the bull react with the rear legs bucking. The bull took the shot hard and was down in 15 yards but started to get back up, I fired a second time – this time he was down for good. This was the only time during my entire safari that I started to shake – just an awesome experience on a trophy animal – perhaps my very favorite animal to hunt in Africa. Due to the location of the animal, high in the rocks, Hans decided to call for assistance so that we could get the Kudu off the rocks. We climbed up to my trophy and after about 20 minutes found him – he was a huge bodied bull, old, scared, with deeply curled horns in an almost vertical orientation – however – his one horn was broke off and about 15 inches shorter than the other one. Hans was deeply concerned about the one horn being broke, apologized numerous times and told me I could hunt another Kudu – I would have nothing of this – this animal was my trophy, I made what I thought was a great shot and he was a magnificent mature animal – I was and still am very happy with the way this part of my hunt unfolded. Help from the main camp arrived and my kudu bull was taken back to Cruiser’s. While we were working on getting my kudu off the mountain the land owner talked to Hans and I, he mentioned that he had seen about 5 hartebeest down the road about 2 miles not too long ago. Off we went hunting hartebeest. About an hour latter we were stalking a nice bull hartebeest with 4 cows. Hans conducted an excellent stalk and we were within 65 yards of the bull but he was lying down and totally unaware of the two of us. Finally the bull stood, facing us, the cross hairs of my 300 mag settled between his two front legs, the gun went off and the bull collapsed. The 168 gr Barnes TTSX penetrated the entire length of the animal, exiting his left rear quarter. I told Hans, we were done for the day – let’s go back to camp. We arrived just after noon and in time for another excellent lunch. Four days hunting and I’ve taken 7 trophy animals – it was time to be an observer for awhile.
The next day I hunted with Jeff and watched him take a beautiful 50 inch Kudu with his 30-06 – perfect heart/lung shot. That evening we went for gemsbok but did not connect.
Every evening at Cruiser was special, PH’s told stories, the Hunters recounted the days events, we watched the flames dance in the African TV set and we all observed a beautiful night sky – full of stars with the Southern Cross very prominent in the clear sky. One evening I even had a slight mishap and ended up sampling the medical care that can be arranged by Pieter – 6 stitches in my chin allowed me to continue with my safari without missing anything significant. I even acquired the nickname of “stitch”.
Hans and I discussed the animals I wanted to hunt. I told him that I would like a decent blesbok and possibly an eland. We decided that blesbok would be next. Hans knows the areas so well, it didn’t take him long to show me some trophy class blesbok but I just could not get a shot. Finally after a few stalks we came up to a waterhole and I got a decent shot at a blesbok - the 300 mag and Barnes TTSX’s worked perfectly.
I accompanied Jeff on a few Bushbuck hunts but we could not get a decent shot at any. I was till trying to decide if I wanted to hunt Eland when Hans suggested we give it a try and let’s see how close we can get to them just to look them over. I told Hans that would be fine but I wanted to go with Jeff one more time for gemsbok. That evening while hunting gemsbok with Jeff, I saw the Eland that I wanted to hunt –actually I saw a bunch of eland I wanted to hunt.
The next day, Hans and I hunted eland in the evening but could not get close to the big bull. Hans decided the next morning we would look for spore and try to get a shot at the biggest eland bull – a dark and large bodied animal. The next day was just like all the rest – crisp, clear and bright African mornings – just spectacular in all ways. We left the camp around 7 AM, not really in any rush. We drove around looking for spore (tracks) – Hans is an expert in doing this – almost like a 6th sense – we found them and it was not too long when Hans told me he was 250 yards away, broadside-he suggested I take him. That was longer than I hoped to shoot the 338-06 but I had a good rest on Hans’s backpack so I tried. When the rifle went off, I saw the rear legs lift and he started to run towards us but slightly quarterly to our right. Hans immediately told me to shoot again when he stopped – which he did and I shot again. The eland turned and ran about 50 yards and went out of sight. 15 minutes latter we found my eland – a few yards from where we last saw him. The first shot was a bit far back but the second shot entered just behind the shoulder, angled back and the bullet was bulging the skin just in front of the left hind leg – the 210 gr Nosler partition penetrated 40 measured inches through lungs and liver of the eland, and looked like a magazine advertisement. I am sold on the effectiveness of the 338-06 “unbelted magnum” for African non-dangerous game.
My safari was over - everything was wonderful, the experience greatly exceeded my expectations in all ways. The trip back to Jo-burg included a stop at Highveld taxidermy. 12 months from now I can expect my Cruiser Safari trophies to be in my trophy room-I can’t wait.
Thanks very much too all the people at Cruiser Safaris-this experience was wonderful.
I’ve already started to think about the next trip to Africa and have the same anticipation as before-I doubt I will ever get over this.
I wanted to tell you how pleased I was with the entire experience of Cruiser Safaris. The game is very abundant and taking mature animals is the norm. With respect to the rest of the experience, I was blown away. The accommodations were great, the food was outstanding, the staff was attentive, capable and very personable. The hunting experience was always very organized and the equipment was all first rate. It was very obvious for the entire time we were there, that this was an extremely well run operation. My hat is off to the entire Cruiser family.
After a slow start on day one (had to pass on a pair of warthogs because they were enjoying an "intimate moment")and a nice impala on the morning of day two, we were searching for gemsbok and zebra. Because my friend Kevin had notched five animals at that point, he decided to let his gun cool and ride with me for my afternoon hunt. We ate lunch at camp and headed out as the noonday heat began to pass. We made a few stalks for gemsbok but found animals that weren’t quite mature or winds gave us up. We hopped in the truck to take a look around. We went about 200yards and rounded a corner to find 3 zebras about 50 yards in front of us. I flipped the safe off and just heard my PH say "take the last one". As the zebras headed for the bush, I found the spot and dropped the hammer. I think the zebra fell in his own shadow! It all happened so fast that we were all a little dumbfounded! Talk about exciting! Wow. It was even more enjoyable to be able to have my friend along to enjoy the excitement with me. What an experience!
I had memorable experiences with the rest of the game as well. I was within 10 yards of my gemsbok! I was on pins and needles for hours as we stalked bushbuck in extremely thick cover. And the list goes on. I could write a book!
JIM & SUE ROBINSON – Oregon
Animals taken – Waterbuck*, White Blesbok*, Impala*, 2 – Warthogs*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Kudu
Once upon a time in land far, far away my wife and I visited a magical kingdom filled with amazing animals and beautiful scenery. The king and queen (Pieter & Lizelle) showed us to our quarters upon arrival and later that evening met us in the dining hall with the rest of their court for a wonderful feast. It didn’t take long to figure out that the king was also the court jester, as he was always looking to play a prank on some unsuspecting soul. Each morning our gallant knight Craig (PH) would join us for breakfast before he would whisk us away for a new adventure on his trusty stead (Toyota Land Cruiser). Joseph (driver/tracker), the fourth valuable member of our troop, would join us along the way as we headed to the bush to slay mighty dragons.
Each trek outside of the castle walls was a unique and wonderful experience regardless of the size or type of dragon we pursued - from stumbling across a trophy ringed-rear dragon (Waterbuck) in the light of early dawn, to the amazing ability of our knight to find the same white dragon (White Blesbok) five different times in the same day. After numerous attempts, Craig was able to get me close enough to the HUGE white dragon so that I could slay the beast.
One morning our brave knight led us into the bush where we experienced something awesome that I will never forget. A herd of speedy dragons (Impalas) surrounded us on all sides, and the rutting rams barked, snorted and grunted. We rarely saw more than one or two of these beasts at a time, but their sounds constantly filled the air until a trophy book ram made the fatal mistake of walking toward the strange creatures he spotted crouched in the brush. At the firing of my weapon, the barking and snorting ceased and even with the beautiful trophy that lay at our feet I was disappointed that the sounds were gone.
The quest for the curly-horned dragon (Kudu) was a long one that took us to many neighboring lands over the course of six days before we were able to slay the beast. A big blue dragon (Blue Wildebeest) led us on an extended chase before he was finally vanquished. An afternoon spent at a watering hole revealed to us that tuskers (Warthogs) DO know how to swim, even after being wounded. However, my most memorable experience was the quest for the long-horned dragon (Gemsbok)…
It was our fifth morning in the wonderful kingdom when the gallant knight spotted some of the long-horned dragons and we started the chase, only to have a hundred Guinea fowl flush, warning the dragons. After a very short ride on Craig’s stead, he climbed a tree and spotted a lone long-horn, so off we went in pursuit. We spotted the beast a couple of times during the stalk and everything was working just perfect, when a tusker decided he needed to investigate the two intruders. The few minutes that we spent waiting for the tusker to move off was just enough time for the long-horned dragon to disappear, so once again it was back to our ride. We circled around to the other side of the area where we’d last seen the dragon, and set out on foot to find the elusive long-horned beast. A while into our trek we had a standoff with six or eight big blue dragons. Not long into the standoff, one of the beasts started to snort and moved off to our left while some of the others trotted off to our right, only to turn around and come back. After what seemed like an eternity, the band of big blue dragons moved out of our way so we continued on and ran across a small group of speedy dragons, which made a hasty exit. Now the gallant knight was getting frustrated and stomped the ground, causing three long-horned dragons to run. Craig and I worked our way to a small clearing where he spotted the largest of the long-horned dragons standing in the brush. After my shot, I found I had harvested one more record book trophy.
My fair wife accompanied me on all my adventures and alas, we did not have time to venture to any of the nearby parks to observe the flora and fauna. So as we bid farewell to the king and queen, it was with a hint that we would return some day, to experience more amazing sights and sounds and slay a few more South African dragons.
JAKE & ANNA ROSENBERRY – Montana
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Zebra, Warthog*, Impala, Blesbok*, Kudu*(57 ½”) – Anna – Impala
My favorite hunt was for my Kudu. We looked for quite a few days on a number of properties. We stalked and sat at water holes looking for kudu. One day we headed to the mountains. Right off the bat that morning, we came across a kudu skull that measured 58 inches... I ended up shooting a large kudu that afternoon. The only shot I had was with the Kudu walking straight away from us - I tried to shoot him through the butt. My shot was off to the right about two inches and the bullet just broke the hind leg instead of hitting any vitals. With the light running out, we weren't able to recover the animal that night (he was wounded, but not down.) Pieter and another tracker came out with Johan and I the next morning. We found the blood trail where we left off the previous evening, and were able to trail the animal. Pieter jumped him in the bush and I shot him and put him down. I knew it was a good Kudu when I shot him but had no idea that it was over 57 inches. I was so happy just to recover him the size didn’t matter. I can’t say enough about the PH`s and the trackers abilities. It was a great ending after a long sleepless night.
STEVE BOWDEN – Florida
Animals taken – Zebra, Impala, Gemsbok, 2 –Warthogs*, Kudu* (61”), Blesbok*
TYLER BOWDEN – Florida
Animals taken – Gemsbok, 2 - Warthogs*, Kudu*, Impala, Blue Wildebeest*
WESLEY BOWDEN – Florida
Animals taken – Kudu, Black Backed Jackal, Gemsbok, Impala*, Blesbok*
ROBBIN SCHINDELE – Idaho
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Impala, Gemsbok*, Kudu, Warthog*
BOB SCHINDELE – Wisconsin
Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Kudu*, Gemsbok
(Bob’s Kudu story)
After spending three days in the mountains we closed the deal on a different property. The stalk was also very intense as we had to crawl quite a way to get close. Once we spotted the animal he had heard something and we had to remain motionless for 25 min waiting for him to make a move. After we resumed the stalk there were times when we were no more than 10 yards away from him. We finally dispatched him when he exposed his body from about 30 yard away.
JORGE ANDRADE & his wife Sandra, daughter Ana & son Alejandro – California
Animals taken – 2 – Impalas*, Zebra, Waterbuck, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest* (taken by Alejandro) Nyala, Steenbok*, Eland*, Red Hartebeest*, 2 – Warthogs*, Gemsbok*
My name is Dr Jorge Anrade from California and I had the fortune to travel this past June 2008 with my wife, daughter (14) and son (9) to South Africa with Cruiser Safari's. We were met and greeted at the airport and stayed at the Afton Guest House 1 day prior to our safari and when we arrived to camp we were met by Pieter, his beautiful wife, his family and staff and immediately made us feel like we were at home. Upon entering the lodge we had the opportunity to see, on the walls mounts of animals, many of which would be in the area we would be hunting, which were great to admire at the dinner table and dream of at bed time (not that I got much sleep). Even before unpacking, after our arrival, Pieter immediately made arrangements to make my family and myself feel as comfortable as possible. There were 3 other hunters at camp Bob, Robin and Carl, whom I now consider my friends. We ended up taking 13 trophies during our 7 day Safari: 2 impalas, 2 Warthogs, 1 waterbuck, 1 zebra, 1 red heartabeast,1 Steenbok, 1 Gemsbok and Partial Spiral Quest: Eland, Kudu and Nyala and my son Alex's Blue Wildebeest. Yes, I was truly in a "Hunters Paradise".
I recall one of the first trackings that I did with Craig, on the first day of the safari. We must have walked 350 to 400 yds, twisting and turning thru the brush, walking as slow and quietly as possible downwind deep in the brush, and we got to a point where the trail split, he walked towards the left took a few steps returned and took the right trail, I recall thinking to myself, "this has to be some part of the show, all I'm gonna get out of this is a good workout". Well about 20 yards later, low and behold, downwind about 40 yards in front of us stood a herd of Eland cows and a couple of young bulls; my jaws dropped and I thought to myself: "Yes, this is awesome!" well that "enjoyable workout" repeated itself many many times during my week there, with a few blown stocks either by broken twigs, go away birds or a nosey Impala"
Speaking of Impala's I remember on the 2nd day of my quest for an Eland, that we had been stalking for about 45 minutes one morning finally had the shooting sticks up and was bringing up my rifle to take a nice Bull Eland when all of a sudden: "Poof" an Impala blew our cover and as an added slap in the face, it had the audacity to repeat it's warning 2 more times in the following 5 minutes, scaring everything away within our area. Funny enough we were able to stalk that same herd of Eland that afternoon, and I remember Craig watching the herd thru the brush to our left and out of the corner of my eye I saw that same, loner Impala that blew our cover the first time to the right of us. I advised Craig about him, and in what felt like sweet revenge, we were able to sneak around that Impala , ha ha, got 'em back! Unfortunately the herd of Eland slowly moved away from us thru the thick brush all we could see were their heads, so no shot was possible, but curiously enough I truly enjoyed having outwitted that Impala feeling we ended that stalk with a Victory! (at least in my mind)
Occasionally Pieter also joined us or led a stalk as was the case with the Zebra and Gemsbok, Oh the Gemsbok!
Last day of the hunt, Craig and I spent all morning tracking and chasing Gemsbok, on one occasion the shooting sticks went up,(together with my heart rate) I was setting the crosshairs on a magnificent female Gemsbok, when all of a sudden I here the words: "don't shoot" just beneath her lay a newborn calf. Close call. But was rewarding, in the sense I got to see the calf up close a few yards in front of us truly and experience few have ever witnessed. Well we worked hard that morning but no Gemsbok. We went back for lunch and were invited to accompany Pieter to ride with him and do a maintenance check around the property. I jumped on the vehicle and was told to bring my gun, "Kewl", I thought to myself. Soon after entering the property we saw a herd of about 16 Gemsbok that Craig and I had chased after the later part of the morning, Pieter yelled something to the driver and off we went! Pieter looked and told me:" we are going to get you a Gemsbok". About 10 minutes later approximately 100 yards in front of us the herd slowed to a walk and finally to a stop, Pieter whispered:" It's the second one from the left with it's back turned to us, wait till he turns". I waited and waited and finally the bull took 2 steps to the right quartering away. Pieter said: "Shoot" I aimed carefully and ..."click " nothing, in the casual ride along the property we were taking I forgot to chamber a shell. Quickly I loaded one up, but too late, the bull had moved and no shot was possible. Pieter immediately yelled something to the driver, we drove up the road, than the herd began to move, all of a sudden the vehicle stopped and we got off and began walking. With my heart pouncing and feeling bad about having missed that opportunity I felt I needed to redeem myself. We stalked after them, until we came to a crawl and finally were chest to the floor and easing towards them; 10, 15, 20 minutes went by, finally they began to move, they snuck past us and had crossed the road, "let's go" Pieter said. Off we went and stopped as we saw them observing us at a distance, hiding in the brush, they began to walk off to the right, sometimes pausing as they passed a small opening, "No, no, not that one" Pieter would say while looking thru his binoculars. "The next one to cross, if he stops take the shot!" I had the crosshairs on that opening, finger on the trigger and praying the next one would stop but mostly that I would be able to redeem myself if he did. Thru the scope I began to observe and can remember the words in my mind as it approached the opening :"There’s the nose, front leg, Horns, front shoulder, cross hair on him, still moving, back leg, he stopped" Boom! off went the 338 piercing his right shoulder and exiting the opposite side. At a distance Craig was entering the property and commented later he thought to himself: "Yes he got'em" by the sound of the shot he knew I had hit something, hopefully the Gemsbok. He arrived a minute after the shot as we were walking towards the area we had last seen the animal. About 200 yds away lay truly a trophy of a lifetime. He was a mature male with not only massive horns for which the males are known for, but also tremendous height for which the females are known for, all in all the biggest Gemsbok taken so far for the 2008 season. Truly the result of a joined effort between Craig and Pieter ending in not only an outstanding trophy, but also a most memorable hunt.
Well I could go on and describe each of the individual hunts, but it should suffice to say that my guide Craig, Pieter, Lizelle and the staff all worked very hard to make this an experience of a lifetime that I won't ever forget, and I was fortunate to have the my family present on some of the hunts (Trophy #1). I also had a family member video some of my hunts, although not always possible, and am able to re-live moments such as sunsets, the land, the tracking, the stalking, all the beautiful wildlife and when lucky "the shot" (Trophy #2) as well as those true moments shared with my guide and tracker on tape after finding my "downed game" (Trophy #3), well I can truly say that it is more like a double or triple trophy that I was able to bring back home from Cruiser Safari's in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.
CARL PERNEY – Kansas
Animals taken – Impala, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu*, Gemsbok, Warthog, Waterbuck
The Kudu was my favorite hunt simply because of its long history and legends. They say that “you never take a Kudu, you are given one” and in my case that is exactly what happened. We had driven through the mountains all morning seeing only cows and calves occasionally in the valleys. We parked near a field for our lunch. After approximately 15 minutes of preparing and eating Frickie, our driver, started pointing to my PH Hans. We turned around to see 3 Kudu bulls walking across the field straight towards us following some cows. After another 10 or 15 minutes I took a 100 yard shot, dropping the largest one where he stood.
CHAD LENZ – Alberta, Canada
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Waterbuck*, Zebra, Impala*, Warthog*, Kudu* (53” w/bow), Warthog* (w/bow), Bushbuck*, Eland*, African Wild Cat
REBECCA LENZ – Alberta, Canada
Animals taken – 2 – Warthogs*, Impala*, Kudu* (55 ¾”), Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, Steenbok*, Female Steenbok
LORNE & HEATHER RUSSELL – Alberta, Canada
Animals taken – 2 – Impalas*, Waterbuck*, Kudu, Zebra, 2 – Warthogs*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Female Blue Wildebeest, African Wild Cat, Genet
JORDAN & MARIA DOROZIO – Alberta, Canada
Animals taken – 2 – Warthogs, Red Hartebeest*, Impala*, Gemsbok*, Kudu, Female Blue Wildebeest, Bushbuck*, Blesbok, Steenbok*, Genet
DEAN WILLIAMS – Australia
Animals taken – Kudu* (53”), Impala*, Red Hartebeest, Waterbuck*,Warthog*, Zebra, Gemsbok
MEL WILLIAMS – Australia
Animals taken – Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Nyala, Blesbok*, Warthog*, Steenbok*, Eland*
Memorable moments: “Watching my wife have the time of her life and out shooting me!!! Also having a great time with our group”.
Johan was fantastic, very knowledgeable, he knows his stuff well, personality was great, got along very well with him, had much fun teasing him, can't say enough good things about him. I felt very comfortable around him and wasn't as nervous and anxious when it came to shooting (like at home). Would definitely ask to have him as my PH again and would recommend him to anyone. He told me right at the beginning of our hunt what he needed me to do/not to do and I appreciated that. Favorite hunt -The two steenboks, male and female because of their size and quickness. When hunting for the male, we saw several shooters, but I was too slow! When hunting for a female, it was if they disappeared, even Johan was shocked at the fact that we just didn't see any! It was rather amusing--we were both of the opinion that she would be rather non challenging to harvest, however, she proved us wrong! She was in fact the last animal I took, and I was somewhat sad that my hunting was over, in a split second!
I hunted a Warthog - My favorite. I felt really comfortable, relaxed and safe.
Johan was a gentle man and let me use his gun, as my husbands would have removed my arm! I had one ever shot at a whitetail buck before this trip. Peter (Grassie) was fanomanal! He made sure I was comfortable, ready and ran like a cheetah after anything that was shot! Man, did he ever work his buns off for us! I was not looking for a "big" pig or anything, just ugly! Johan told Peter about this one that had no eye at a water hole they saw yesterday. So off we went and sat at the water hole, for no longer than 10 min, lo and behold, the 1 eye wonder walked in! He took his time there and did not present me a shot -Peter was incredible, he said don’t worry it will happen, just breath! and boom! Really cool! I want to come back and get an ostrich!
The hunt with Cruiser Safaris has been a dream come true for me; ever since I was a boy I have dreamt of seeing exotic places and exotic animals consuming every book and picture available to me but never thinking it would be a possibility specially so early in my life. Circumstances have led me to be able to take part of this trip and I have not regretted it for a second. From the instance we left Johannesburg I was searching for animals and was greatly rewarded with the abundance of animals on the roadside. We saw warthog, baboons, Impala, Kudu, and Vervet monkeys, and this was only on the trip to the lodge. That night we enjoyed a sunset that can only be seen in Africa, and indulged in the unsurpassed service that the staff at Cruiser Safaris offered. Our first day we went out and I was amazed at how many animals we saw, not only big game but also birds of all colors and sizes. I was lucky enough harvest a red hartebeest and great warthog. Even thought I was not thinking of taking my bow, Chad Lenz convinced me on the very last day before our trip and boy was I ever glad. I was given the opportunity to hunt over a waterhole in a concession that only allows bow hunters. This was one of the highlights of my trip being so close to a multitude of species. I got good video footage with my new camera and my guide Jan was also able to get both of my bow kills on film. I shot a female Blue Wildebeest at nine yards and a Blesbok at 22 yards. The entire trip was an unbelievable experience that surely surpassed my expectations. Not only was I able to harvest all of the animals on my package, but I was lucky enough to harvest a huge Bushbuck.
MIKE COCHRAN – Indiana
Animals taken – Impala, Zebra, Blesbok*, Gemsbok, Kudu*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*
DAN COCHRAN – Indiana
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Impala*, Warthog, Zebra, Blesbok*, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest*
CHARLES ANDERSON – Indiana
Animals taken – 2 Warthogs*, Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Zebra, Blesbok*, Kudu, Gemsbok
ADAM ANDERSON – Illinois
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Zebra, Kudu*, Warthog, 2 Impala, Blue Wildebeest*
We left the house at 7 am on Wed. July 2, 2008. Fired up and butterfly’s in my stomach, we drove 6 miles south and met my best friend and his son. We drove the 90 miles south to the airport, in Indianapolis, to catch our flight, to Atlanta, and begin the adventure of a lifetime. We had a 3 hr. layover, and got some lunch. We stepped on the plane at approx. 4 pm. to begin the long journey to the other side of the world. The flight was long, but let me tell you that DELTA didn't miss a trick. We took books, magazines, and CD players, to help pass the time away. Not needed! Each seat had its own entertainment center- 20 plus movies, music, TV shows, even HBO!
We landed in Johannesburg at about 4 pm., after a 17 hr, flight. We beat feet to immigration, and hustled right through. Picked up our luggage, then met a VERY helpful official that showed us the back way to the police dept. to pick up our gun permits[lesson #2, you don't need to spend $100/200 to do your permit papers, you can do it yourself for free]. We were met there by Bruce, a rep from AFTON GUEST HOUSE, who helped us get our permits. We were then off to the guest house for dinner, drinks, and a much needed nights rest.
AFRICA! We are finally there! It feels so surreal, I'm pinching myself to make sure we aren't dreaming. We stand outside having a beer, and watching the steaks cook. I look up and see the Southern Cross. "Toto we aren't in Kansas anymore"!.
Up the next day and off for a 3 1/2 hr. drive north to camp. We see monkeys on the road and baboons. Unbelievable! We arrive at camp, in the middle of nowhere. We are greeted with a drink, and meet the entire staff. They are all young, 21-32 yrs. old. After lunch its off to the range to check the guns. I had a difficult time getting a group with my gun. Stress, excitement, jet lag, and 10 sets of eyes on me had me shooting all over the place. I knew it wasn't the gun, it was me. Finally I asked 1 of the ph's to hit the bull with my gun. He fired 2 shots, touching at 100 yds. I knew the gun was good to go-it was just me.
We decided to get in the "bakkie"[truck for us country boys] and take a drive to look at some animals that we had flown halfway around the world to hunt. Amazing!
We were up at 5:30 am. Colder than hell [temps from 30 to 34 each morning].Quick cup of coffee, and off in the truck. Cruiser Safaris control over 150,000 acres on almost 20 properties.
Before I continue on, let me explain about South Africa, and the Limpopo district specifically. As far as terrain, it is like flying halfway around the world to hunt in south Texas. Sandy soil, very dry, thick bush, and everything has stickers on it. The properties range from 7,000 acres up to 30,000+ acres. Everything is high fenced, in all of South Africa. One of the reasons is eland and kudu can jump an 9 ft. fence from a standstill. Also it keeps the poachers and squatters off the property. I wanted to make all of this clear in the beginning, for those of you that had visions of us hunting in the "deep dark jungles" of Africa. The camp was a full hr. from the nearest town [about 60 miles]. All you see is the bush from the road. Once you are off the main highway, it is rough gravel roads, and dirt roads to camp. The area is extremely remote. Now on to the hunt.
We are in the hunting area riding in the back of the cruiser. My PH is a fellow by the name of Craig Diplock. As the sun rises in the east, I see steenbok run across the road in front of me[small antelope]. Next I see a herd of gemsbok way back in the bush. 2 miles down the track a small herd of zebra run in front of the cruiser and disappear in the thick, thorny brush. To say I'm excited is an understatement. We talk about my rifle, and the .45-70. Craig said it was the first time a lever action OR a .45-70 had been in the camp. He couldn't keep his hands off the gun.
Mid morning, we go to a small waterhole, to set up in a ground blind. Craig tells me that midday is the best at waterholes because the game tends to move in during the heat of the day. We get set up in the blind, and all is quiet. Craig and I discussed trophy size, and I said I wasn't interested in "book scores", and would decide when "It's big enough".
About 1/2 hr. later, an impala ghosts in, and goes directly to the water. I reach for the GG, and grin at Craig, who can't see the animal. The ram drops his head to drink, I line the cross hairs up and squeeze. WHOOM! The impala is DRT, before the gun quits recoiling. My 1st critter, on the 1st. day of a 10 day safari! As they say, into the salt. Craig said he couldn't see the impala till after I shot. I said he was "big enough", and we both grinned.
We took the animal back to camp, so he could be skinned. We ate lunch, and Craig asked me what animal I wanted most, and I said Zebra. We are back at the property, by about 2 pm. We spot a small herd of zebra, and get off the truck. Craig has the shooting sticks, and we are off. We follow them thru the bush. We close the gap, and have the zebra at about 80 yds. Up go the sticks, I'm on it, and whisper "which one", he says the one on the right facing us. BAM! I hit it right in the chest. It breaks from the herd, and I can't get on it for another shot. We go up and start trailing. Small drops of blood. We wander thru the bush for almost 1 1/2 miles on the trail. The zebra had rejoined the herd. Its getting 1 hr. before dark, so Craig calls Joseph, his tracker, on the radio, and he soon joins us. We follow the trail for another mile, on practically nothing. These trackers are amazing! We start around a bush, and Craig spots it bedded down. As I look, up jumps the zebra, and I uncorked the GG on it-5 shots. It's still running! By this time I am completely out of gas, and hand the rifle reloaded, back to Craig, he and Joseph take off running at full speed. Me, I'm limping behind, as best I could. They come back and get me, and the zebra is down. Post mortem. I hit it directly in the chest, but its body was slightly quartering and the 1st. shot only clipped 1 lung. On the firefight shots, 3 hit the zebra, and 2 murdered trees in the bush. Zebra are 1 tough animal. Only 1 shot was a pass through. The rest were recovered. The impala was a complete pass through from stem to stern. Man I'm beat, time to go to camp and get a beer.
We are off and hunting all day. Early afternoon, we spot a group of blesbok, at about 300 yds. Craig and I sneak thru the bush, and get within 60 yds. I put the gun on him and slam, he goes right down. I jack another in the chamber, and he gets up and starts to run, I lead him, pull the trigger, and he cartwheels like a rabbit. We go on hunting. About 5 pm we spot a group of gemsbok, and put on a sneak. We get to about 110 yds., and Craig throws up the sticks. I am having trouble in this terrain judging distance. About 4 pm we got onto another herd of gemsbok, I turned down the first shot, but we got up on him at 75 yds. BOOM! 1 shot to the neck, DRT. Both the males and females have horns, and actually the females have longer horns. She was a beauty, about 400 lbs.
Spent the 3rd day hunting water holes for kudu. Shot this big male at 65 yds. 1 shot to the neck, bang/flop DRT.
Went on over the next 2 days to hunt the rest of my pkg. we went to a water hole 1 morning and set up in a blind. We had a variety of critters come in, including blue wildebeest. A second herd came in with about 20 cows and 1 bull. He was rolling in the dirt, and the cows had him covered. When he stood up, Craig said he was a wally. I waited until he cleared the cows. He was facing me at 90 yds. He dropped his head, the crosshairs hit between his shoulder blades.....BOOM!....He dropped like a sack of wet taters. I shot so quick, that Craig didn't get a chance to plug both ears. His head rang for an hr. Nice bull, he would make the record book....but I don't care, he's "BIG ENOUGH".
On to another day, and another hunt. Looking for warthogs. See hundreds, mostly females and young. I love watching them run. They are very entertaining. They are so ugly, they're purty. We set up on a water hole and the hog comes in for a drink. He sticks his head in the water to drink, exposing his shoulder. 40 yds., 1 shot DRT!
The gun. My .45-70 GG did better than me. When I put the shot where it belonged, it and the nosler were awesome. I used the load reflex turned me on to.
ww cases, 210 fed. Primers, 51 gr. H4198, 300 gr. nosler partion, lee fact crimp, average velocity 1950 fps.
Gun thoughts. Any gun you are comfortable with, can be used, but because of lack of bleeding, and the tendency for them to run with the herd, I would suggest a 30 cal. or larger. Also heavier bullets at moderate speeds seem to do very well. Use a premium bullet. It can make the difference when a $1000 trigger pull is on the line. The calibers we took were .338WM, .30-06,.45-70, and .308MX, with LE ammo. Bullets used were nosler accubonds[250 gr.],nosler partitions[180 and 300 gr.], and the LE 160 gr.
Now about the hornady. It was absolutely great on critters the size of warthog, impala, and blesbok, but the bullet was too darfned soft for the 400+ lb. animals. Charlie will probably have a sever talk with hornady, because they told him they would work great on all plains game. Yeah right. He lost a blue wildebeest, shot right, and had to pay for it. Bullets recovered from the kudu, and zebra were completely fragmented. He wound up shooting the gemsbok with his sons .338.
My son took 7 animals with his NEF handi rifle, .30-06, and 180 gr. nosler partitions. Still he rushed a shot on a gemsbok and lost it. He hunted all 10 days for another, and never got another shot. However he took this unique critter, a red hartebeest.
The trip was perfect in every way. No lost luggage, flights on time, no hassle with the guns. In 10 days, the 4 of us took 30 head of plains game.
Surreal, sensory overload, immediate gratification......yep that about sums it up.
The coolest hunt was the 2 hour spot and stalk for my impala. Spotted the impala early on day three in the bush. We then proceeded to stalk the herd of mostly females with one male. Took about 2 hours of waiting and crawling and looking until I was presented with a shot at the male at about 80 yards as he was walking away from a waterhole. Didn't sit at this waterhole, but ended up there as we stalked and then waited. He was walking and I anticipated the walk a little too much, hit him in the neck and dropped him on the spot.
BILL GRIGGS – Georgia
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Impala, Caracal
BRIAN GRIGGS – Georgia
Animals taken – Duiker*, Zebra, Impala*, 2 – Warthogs*, Steenbok*
MASON PARHAM – Georgia
Animals taken – Red Hartebeest*, Gemsbok*, Kudu, Blesbok*, Impala*, Warthog*, Waterbuck*
CYNTHIA PARHAM – Georgia
Animals taken – Warthog*, Impala*, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (54 ¼”), Blesbok*
DAVID & KRIS KNOTT – Minnesota
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Impala*, Warthog*, Blesbok*(Kris) Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu, Red Hartebeest*
We became interested in Cruiser Safaris in the fall of 2006. My wife Kris and I had hunted South Africa arlier that year and had fallen in love with the country, the people and the hunting. We wanted to return to the Limpopo area near the Waterburg Mountains. The outfitter we had hunted with previously had increased their trophy fees to the point that we could not afford to rebook with them. What to do? Hit the web! I visited a few sites before I found Cruiser’s. We were impressed with the quality of Cruiser’s web site. The newsletters and pictures painted a picture of a quality operation. Could Cruiser Safaris be as advertised? Bob Clark, Cruiser’s booking agent, assured us that what you see is what you will get. We booked with Cruiser’s and I said to Kris “Well, we’ll see” and we did in an awesome experience!!
We flew into Johannesburg, were picked up by the Afton Guest House and spent a relaxing night before driving up to Cruiser’s lodge. Upon our arrival we were met by Big Pieter and his staff. We were introduced to our PH, Young Pieter, and sighted in our guns. After our evening meal we turned in early. “Tomorrow we Hunt!”
1st Day – Our Ph (Pieter Fourie) thought it would be a good day to look for a Gemsbok. Fine, I thought, as long as we also kept our eyes open for a Kudu bull, which was number 1 on my list.
As we drive the roads we did see a few Kudu but we saw a lot of Gemsbok. As the hours passed there were ups and downs and numerous encounters with trophy Gemsbok but all ended with futile stalks in thick brush. The animals were always one step ahead. Our last stalk of the day was no different. Spot and stalk – get busted because of a wind shift. As we watched the 3 animals disappear in the brush Pieter said “I think I know where they are going, Lets go!” Who was I to argue? Trust your PH! We circled wide as fast as the brush and thorns allowed. Finally Pieter stopped and climbed a tree to get above the brush. He whispered down to me “They are about a hundred yards away. Step around the brush, set the sticks and shoot the one on the right if you have an opening.” The opening was there. I took the shot and harvested a beautiful 38” Gemsbok.
2nd Day – What is it about hunting that gives and takes? Some days you work hard and never come close to pulling the trigger. Some days a trophy is dropped in your lap. The morning was spent walking miles in search of a shooter Impala. We saw sign that showed there were plenty of Impala in the area but the brush was just too thick. At midday we went to a water hole, built a brush blind and settled in for a chance at a thirsty Impala. None came to the water hole; a few Warthogs did come but never drank. Swirling winds gave us away.
3rd Day – The morning was spent on a fruitless trek through the bush looking for Impala again. At midday we went back to the same water hole as day 2 and set up a pop up blind. As I was cutting a shooting window I heard Impala barking. I crawled out of the blind and through the thorns only to be told by Pieter that the Impala won’t come in with so much activity. I crawled back into the blind. As I was adjusting the shooting sticks, setting the chairs and making sure I had a good window to the water hole Kris said “Get out here and bring your gun.” I pushed the shooting sticks out to her and crawled out of the blind. Pieter had the sticks set and I saw 2 Impala. I asked him “which one?” He said “not them, over there!” He pointed to the left and I saw a beautiful ram 100 yards away. What is it about hunting? Sometimes a trophy just gets dropped in your lap!
4th Day – Big Pieter encouraged me to get my tooth fixed. A couple of days trying to control the pain with over the counter medications were futile. Little Pieter along with his wife, Magda, drove us to Thabazimbi to see a dentist. We were back on the hunt after the noon meal. Kris took a nice Blesbok that afternoon. One shot off the sticks in the bush! I am so proud of her! Soon after we loaded her Blesbok we found a herd of Wildebeest. Pieter and I got off made the stalk and were in position for the shot. The best bull was in the shadows, head on. I took the shot – wished I hadn’t! Isaac and Pieter found blood but we gave up the trail late in the day. My tooth was fixed; my partner harvested her first animal. I guess two out of three ain’t bad.
Day 5 – We went back to look for the wounded Wildebeest. We walked! We walked the crazy circles that Wildebeest run. Kris and I watched the talents of our tracker Isaac and Pieter. The blood trail ended and at midday we gave up. We all believed it was a non lethal hit but we had to make sure. After lunch we climbed into a tower blind at a water hole. Warthogs, beautiful song birds, a Secretary Bird and a very old Blesbok came to drink. Then I saw a Hartebeest approaching. It was an awesome animal. A Hartebeest was not in my package so we watched him drink. He was at the water for 10 minutes. The longer I looked at it the more I wanted the animal. As the Hartebeest turned to leave Pieter must have read my mind. He called Big Pieter and asked if I could take a Hartebeest. Big Pieter said yes but get back to the lodge as soon as possible as he wanted to hunt Kudu with us in the afternoon for a few hours. By that time the Hartebeest had melted into the brush. Oh well! We soon crawled out of the tower and loaded into the truck anticipating our evening hunt for Kudu. Not 3 minutes later we spotted the trophy Hartebeest again. Like I said before “sometimes things get dropped in your lap.”
Day 6 – A day spent with one goal – a shooter Kudu. We drove an hour into the Waterburg Mountains. We hunted a ranch with rocky roads that snaked up the mountains. The view from the top was spectacular. The more time we spend with Pieter and Isaac, the more we appreciated being with them for our hunt. They both work hard. Pieter educates us about the animals and plants we see. Isaac always has a smile and enjoys a good laugh. It will be hard to say goodbye. We saw many Kudu today but didn’t fulfill my dream of 4 years – a Kudu for the wall. Before we left the ranch we talked to the owner, a big jovial man. As we headed back to camp I hoped we could enjoy his ranch another day before we ended our hunt.
Day 7 – Last night after supper Pieter told Kris and I that we were going back to the mountains. When we arrived at the ranch the owner invited us to another ranch that had not been hunted for 4 years. Kudu were there but the mature bulls offered no shots. At midday we returned to his home ranch. The owner spent the day with us. We talked of cattle, farming and government. We saw many Kudu but no shots were taken. We would not hunt with the owner again but I know if we returned he will welcome us.
Day 8 – An hour’s drive brought us to hilly country with irrigated fields in the low lands. The ranch was thick with brush. Perfect for Kudu but tough to hunt. Our morning stalks were futile. This ranch had numbers of Ostrich. In fact Pieter and I were charged by a male. Pieter told me we had to back away fast. We did but it was a little tense. After our noon rest we built a blind about a hundred yards from a good location. We set chairs for Kris & me. Pieter sat on a tree limb. In time Kudu cows and young bulls filtered in the area. In our position Pieter was the only one of us with a view. Finally Pieter whispered that a shooter had come out of the bush. He sized it a short of 50” but nice and wide at the tips. He whispered “slide up into the shooting window and take a look. If I didn’t like the bull we would wait for another.” I slid my Browning .270 into the opening and found him in the scope. I thought of 2006, hunting with another outfitter, numerous Kudu encounters but too much Kudu Voodoo. I thought of the 3 days spent on Kudu quest this year and decided “A bull in the crosshairs………!” The bull traveled 20 yards into the brush. When I saw it I was so happy. After so many days of searching, my personal case of Kudu Voodoo was broken.
Day 9 – Pieter and Isaac took us back to the ranch where I had wounded a Wildebeest earlier but taken a nice Hartebeest. Kris had also taken a dandy Blesbok at this ranch. There is a large expanse of grassland on the ranch. We were looking for Wildebeest. Within 5 minutes of arriving, Pieter, Kris and I were afoot in pursuit of a small herd. We shadowed the animals and soon came to the edge of the bush. The group was out in the grass flat. Sadly they busted us and took off in their comical gait. We spotted another group further along. We ducked back into the bush, made a quick stalk and glassed the herd. Pieter motioned me to follow him for a clear shot. Africa certainly crabs a hold of a person and it grabbed me tight as I took the final couple of steps to Pieter and the shooting sticks. I had one more bush to skirt. Pieter was whispering “Hurry, Hurry.” I couldn’t move! The cats’ claw thorns had grabbed my arm, my leg and my rifle sling. The more I pulled the tighter the bush held. Luckily Kris was able to free me from the thorny situation. I think Pieter was still laughing as I ended our hunt with a nice bull.
Cruiser Safaris is a first class – top notch outfitter! What Cruiser promises Cruiser delivers. From Bob all the way to Big Pieter and his wife. All were very cordial and professional. A special thanks to little Pieter and Isaac. As you can see by going through the newsletter, the quality of animals taken is awesome. Kris and I are planning a return to Cruiser’s in 2010.
On our first trip to Africa I was an observer, which was more than enough for me. When David and I decided to return to Africa, my husband really wanted me to shoot my first animal. That summer we began my gun training.
The only gun I had ever shot was a BB gun and was never very comfortable around guns. We started with a .22, then went to a 20 gauge, up to the .270 and ended with the .300. David’s .270 became my gun of choice, easy to handle and not as loud.
I was feeling rather confident and doing well with my shots. However when my instructor pulled out the stick, I think I shot a few trees. The funny thing is that off of sticks in the brush is how I shot my first African animal.
Upon our arrival that evening all the hunters went to site in their guns. I didn’t shoot the best as I was a little nervous. But a few tips from Pieter & Pieter and I was ready.
The day of my hunt, of course, just happened. We had been to a neighboring town to fix my hunting partners tooth and that afternoon we were going to look for a Blue Wildebeest or a Blesbok. The Blesbok was my animal to shoot. Pieter told me that we would sit at a water hole and wait for my Blesbok. Suddenly Pieter motioned to Isaac, our driver, to stop. He grabbed the sticks and told me to grab my gun. He had spotted a nice Blesbok in the brush a short distance from the truck. Whoa! What happened to the water hole? I was so nervous. Pieter set up the sticks and I looked through the scope but couldn’t see him clear enough to take a shot. Then my Blesbok got sick of waiting for me to take a shot and was on the move.
After following him around through the brush for 10 minutes I calmed down quite a bit and when he stopped around 75 yards away, I thought it’s now or never. Pieter set up the sticks, I took a deep breath and pulled the trigger. I was sure I had gotten off a good shot. Pieter told me to reload, but as we got closer to him I knew it wasn’t needed. It’s hard to explain how I felt at that moment. Excited, happy and mostly relived that it was a good shot and a quick kill. Thank you Pieter. I’ll never forget my first African hunt. Sorry I forgot and used my index finger on the trigger. Pieter had instructed me to use my middle finger so I wouldn’t anticipate the shot. Oh well, it worked out in the end.
GARY MEREDITH – Wyoming
Animals taken – 2 – Warthogs*, Gemsbok*, Waterbuck*, Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Impala
GREG MEREDITH (Gary’s son) – Wyoming
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra, Blesbok*, Warthog*, Kudu* (52”)
Note: Gary took the largest Waterbuck ever taken at Cruiser’s
RICHARD MOCK – North Carolina
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Nyala*, Bushbuck*, Eland*
SAM TUTTLE – North Carolina
Animals taken – Warthog*, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu* (57”), Gemsbok
TONY PISCOPO, his wife Christine & daughter Jillian – Montana
Animals taken – Waterbuck, Kudu* (51 ½”), Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Zebra, Impala, Blesbok*
HEINZ OBER – Montana
Animals taken – Bushbuck*, Waterbuck*, Warthog*, Zebra, Kudu* (53”), Blesbok*
As far as the hunting WOW. I felt that I lived in some of the best hunting country in the world. Western Montana is loaded with numerous wild game. But I was blown away with the amounts and quality of game on Cruisers’ concessions. My first afternoon I was paired with Johan. In my opinion I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect hunting companion. We spent the afternoon riding around in the truck and he listened very intently to what I was hoping to experience on my first safari. I explained that I was in Africa for the experience, not to pull the trigger on my rifle as many times as I could. I wanted to harvest old mature animals (past their prime was ok) and experience the thrill of the hunt more then the shooting. I have my own record book and didn’t care about SCI minimums or Rowland Ward. I would be looking at these trophies the rest of my life and wanted to remember great memories associated with each one.
The first afternoon the only shots fired by me were on the rifle range. But I did see a monster warthog, Steenbok, some huge impala that were off limits, zebra, kudu, red hartebeest and waterbuck.
The next morning my wife and daughter decided to get up early and come with us for the day. They were treated to the sight of giraffes, and white rhinos before the sun had even fully woken up for the day.
Johan and I made a morning of tracking a lone wildebeest bull. Though we caught up with him a few times it was always in a spot that did not give us a clean shot. We finally stopped in the heat of the day and met up with Warren and Gloria, a great couple from British Columbia, for a bush veldt barbecue. Tanya packed us ribs and impala sausage along with potato salad. Cooked over coals it was probably my favorite meal of the trip.
We split up after lunch still looking for that bull wildebeest. When we found a pair of zebras our game plan quickly changed. They paralleled the road for awhile and finally gave us an opportunity for a shot. My first African trophy was a Beautiful Zebra stallion. I would have been happy to have ended the day on that note, but more was to come. Johan and I decided to go for a quick hunt before dark. We saw gemsbok, eland and kudu. But, with only 5 minutes of shooting light left Johan yelled ”BIG WHARTHOG get off the truck“. We scrambled through the brush and grass and were rewarded with a 30 yard off hand shot a big OLD bruiser. After a short dash I had my second trophy. A 12 ½ inch warthog with huge mass and the rest of his teeth worn below the gum line.
The second day again dawned early. The girls decided to sleep in and Johan and I decided to go for impala and blesbok. WE found a heard of blesbok and after watching them found one bedded between us and the main herd. After glassing him Johan set up the sticks and told me to shoot him when he stands up. It was an animal that had been wounded by one of the other hunters hunting with us on the first afternoon. One shot and he went down. Since Rick, the first hunter to get a bullet into him already had to pay for him it was a freebie shoot for me. Rick was very happy that we had found his blesbok. It was also my birthday so it was my gift of the safari. We met Rick and his wife and transferred over his trophy and went back to hunting. By noon we had snuck through the brush and took an old impala with great mass and worn down tips. The afternoon hunt was my biggest disappointment of the trip. I thought I had a great shot on a wildebeest bull. After blood trailing for 3 hours I found out otherwise. The next day we spent most of the morning looking before finally taking a second bull. I wounded the second bull also. I was really getting down on myself. But the tracking skills of my PH and tracker really saved the day. Johan was able to get another round into him. Finally after another hour we trailed the bull to his bed. Johan and the tracker were on the track when I saw the bull get up from his bed. I tried to mumble something and raised my rifle. Suddenly I saw the tracker running in the other direction and the bull coming towards us. I was waiting for some guidance from Johan and saw him raise his rifle. As soon as he shot I shot also. We dropped the bull 10 paces from us. Definitely the poor mans cape buffalo.
The 4th day was set aside to go shoot a blesbok. After missing a 250 yard shot at daylight we spent the whole day blowing stalks at the last minute till we put it all together late in the afternoon. That left me 6 days to pursue my dream animal, a big Kudu bull. We headed to the Waterburg Mountains to hunt for my bull. After rolling rocks and seeing Reedbuck, Klipspringer and baboons, we rounded a corner in the truck and there was the bull of my dreams. High and wide with a huge body. I had a 40 yard offhand shot and have no idea how I did it but I missed him clean. The miss kicked off the two best days of hunting I have ever had. We searched high a low, saw small bulls, eland, giraffes a record class klipspringer and it all ended with a fabulous stalk and a cross canyon shot at the same bull I had missed the day before.
In 6 days I had taken all the animals in my package. That left me 4 days. I hadn’t thought of taking a waterbuck until after watching this majestic animals almost everyday. I thought, well 4 days left let’s try to find a big old massive bull. Well 2 hours into our search we found an old warrior all scarred up with huge mass and worn down horns. So much for stretching that trophy fee out. I spent the next couple days goofing off with my wife and daughter, checking out the locale and Lesidi cultural village. The last day of our safari came and it just didn’t feel right to not be in the land cruiser with a rifle in the rack. I decided to keep the trophy fee low and just enjoy the day. We had seen two huge steenbok over the trip and I thought would be nice to add one to the trophy room. We weren’t on the hunting property more then 10 minutes when we had a real nice male just off the road in the cross hairs. Johan said he was really good about ear length horns. I think he could tell the day really wasn’t about killing as just enjoying what Africa had in store for us. I took my eye off the scope and he just smiled and said lets go find something else. We did just that. Looking at more warthogs, more steenboks, gemsbok, a really fast jackal, monkeys, zebra, eland, kudu and waterbuck. We stalked another steenbok and decided it just didn’t measure up. We were headed to another part of the property to look for a one tusked warthog that was really large. We hadn’t gone very far when Johan slammed the brakes on and hollered for me to “shoot that warthog“. I put the scope on him and couldn’t believe the size of his tusks. His one tusk was covering the front of his shoulder so I moved the cross hairs back a little and pulled the trigger. The warthog took all 220 grains of bullet and dashed off. It was just about dark and we followed blood for 2 hours. I couldn’t believe I had wounded another animal.
We had to leave the next morning at 5 am for our flights back to the states. While we were at Highveld Taxidermy there was a call there for Johan who was driving us back to Johannesburg. When he got off the phone he asked me how I would like to have my second warthog mounted. I was very happy that the other PH’s spent time on their day off to go look for my pig. He had only gone another 150 yards and they found him dead. Really wide with symmetrical tusk both well over 12 inches. The “ugly” thing will be preserved as a shoulder mount.
I can’t wait to go back. It will take at least a year or so to pay off the taxidermy bill. But there is an eland bull in my future and I know Cruiser’s has a couple that will fit my criteria just perfect.
Thanks to everyone involved for making our safari just perfect.
RICK & NANCY DURFLINGER – Oregon
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Impala, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu*, Warthog* (Nancy), Waterbuck*, Red Hartebeest*, Eland*
This was our first trip to Africa and everywhere you could look there were either incredible animals to see, beautiful and interesting landscapes and those sunsets were like those in the pictures one sees but you figure someone has re-touched them but they didn't. We were actually depressed to leave this beautiful country and the wonderful people we had met.
WARREN & GLORIA WOODCOCK – British Columbia, Canada
Animals taken: Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest, 2 – Warthogs*, Blesbok*, Kudu* (54 ½”), Impala*, Waterbuck*, Zebra
This is going to be long report, as it was my first guided hunt, as well as first trip to Africa.
This all started when two friends from the Natural gas processing plant I work at, started planning their trip to Africa in 2005. I listened with interest and envy, as I had just built and moved into a new house in 2004. They went to Port Elizabeth, RSA in April 2006, with their fathers and another friend from the gas plant, and had the time of their lives. Until I absorbed the details of the planning, execution, and costs of a trip like this, I never thought it was possible.
Once they were back, and I saw the pictures and heard the stories, I was hooked and the desire to go burned stronger. Then, on Dec.09, 2006 (my 41st B-day) my wife surprised me with a birthday card full of images and pictures that said lets make a plan and make it happen. We had been married 12 years at that point; two boys aged 6 and 3, and survived building a house. She never ceases to amaze me, and I am truly a lucky guy to be with her.
After much research, I narrowed it down to a place in RSA or Namibia.
I chose Cruiser Safaris in RSA, due to the positive reviews on forums, and their website answers nearly every question you could have. If not, their USA contact, Bob Clark was quick with an E-mail reply. I contacted Bob and told him I was interested in July /Aug/08, and was put on this list of people to be e-mailed on March 01/07 when the booking for 2008 started.
I waited until March 1/07, when Cruiser takes bookings for the following year, and got a booking for Gloria and I. Once the dates were confirmed and deposits paid, we waited to book flights on points. All the others details slowly came into place, time flew by, and we were heading out to visit our parents in Saskatchewan. We set the boys up for an adventure with their grandparents and cousins.
We promised the boys that Mom and Dad are checking things out, so that when you two are old enough to handle the flights, long days of seeing sights and hunting with Dad, we will take you with us next time. (Funny how I hadn’t even been there yet, and was already talking about next time!)
We said some tearful goodbyes, and we were headed to Calgary!
Dates: July 31-Aug.31/08
Booking Agent: Robert Clark
Company: Cruiser Safaris, near Matlabas, Limpopo Province, RSA
PH: Craig Diplock
Flights: Calgary, Alberta to FRA overnight (Air Canada,) FRA-JBG overnight (SAA)
Same route coming home
Rifle: Remington 700 Sendero in 7mm STW, tweaked to my liking over 12 years.
Scope: Nightforce 5x15x56 with illuminated reticle
Bullets: Federal factory loads of 160 gr. Nosler Accubonds
Pictures: Nikon P5100 and D300 (18-200 mm lens)
Animals seen, but not hunted: Kori Bustard, Bat eared Fox, Mongoose, Steenbok, Giraffe, Aardwolf, Eland, Bushbuck, Rhino, Cape Buffalo, Secretary bird, Water & Rock monitor lizard, Bush babies, Spring hare, Brown Hyena, Nyala, Baboon, Black- backed Jackal and Ostrich.
We were standby for business class and got it for the CGY-FRA overnight leg. I had originally asked for Lufthansa, when booking on points, but didn’t get it. Glad I didn’t as on July 28th, I checked departure times, to find Lufthansa has a service disruption due to labor troubles. There were some travelers freaking out, trying to get on the same flight we were, as AC is a Star Alliance partner with them, and was trying to accommodate as many as possible.
I have never flown Business class; I burned up nearly all the points I had to get my wife the comfy seats, as she gets motion sick quite easily. Points or buying economy ticket and using points to upgrade ahead of time is the way to go on a long flight. I have done long flights to Thailand and Hong Kong in economy years ago, and that sucked when the seats were wider! The service was awesome, as was the food, & wine and full reclining seats!
Stumbled around FRA airport for the day until our FRA-JBG overnight flight left.
I’m not sure which is the busier airport, FRA or Hong Kong, but it was like being in an anthill that was kicked repeatedly. Business class on SAA was just as comfortable as AC.
Arrived in JBG, and cleared Passport control quickly at 0715, and grabbed our luggage. The one hiccup in the whole trip was that I didn’t know, or missed the part where you have to go over to the station beside baggage services and sign for your rifle. I proceeded to the SAPS office, waited 5 minutes for the guys in front of me to finish, and then talked to the officer, who looked and said your rifle is not here sir. I did my best to remain calm; we quickly figured out that I had not signed for the gun to be moved from the station beside Baggage Services to SAPS. An airport employee got me back through the station. I gave him a small tip, for helping sort out my screw-up. Coming back through, we met Arie from Afton Guest House, and he came with us to SAPS, the rest went smoothly and quickly. Total time was about 45 minutes including my screw-up. Went to Afton Guest House and got settled in. Arie is Louis and Annelise’s son-in-law, and has quit his aircraft mechanic job and works full time now at Afton Guest House. Arie and his wife also look after the SAPS import permits associated with AGH. We relaxed for the day, sorted out the final details of half-day trips to Sterkfontein Caves, and Cullinan Diamond mine, and 3D/2N trip to Kruger Park.
A very comfortable and welcoming place to stay, Arie cooks a mean slab of meat on the Braii, and that Castle lager sure tastes good around the fire. As all the other hunters we met at AGH were from the States, we Canadians were quite the novelty.
Sterkfontein caves and Cullinan diamond mine
Drove to KP with our guide Dirk
Overnight at Thanda Nani game lodge, near Malalene gate, both nights
All of 5th and most of the 6th was spent in the park; I’d say we got a good look at the lower sixth or so of the park. A very worthwhile experience to sharpen the eyes for spotting game. Gloria surprised Dirk and I with her ability to spot game, considering she has never went hunting with me. I had to take her to the other side of the planet to make that happen.
Back to AGH on the 6th, late and they were full, so we got moved to Waylynt GH nearby. Not a problem.
Back to AGH to meet the rest of our group, load up and head to Cruiser Safaris.
Heinz from Montana (been to Africa before and has taken the Big Five)
Tony, his wife Chris, and daughter Jill (from Montana, friends with Heinz)
Rick, his wife Nancy (from Oregon) Our driver was one of the PHs, Johan, who was to be paired up with Tony. The three-hour drive went by quickly as we visited, and soaked it all up.Stopped at the city of Thabazimbi for a snack and a stretch.
Next thing you know we are, turned off the tar road onto gravel, then onto a side road, and we are there!
The staff, PHs, and Lizelle the owner’s wife greeted us. Her husband Pieter couldn’t make it in until that night. Chef Tonya gave us fresh squeezed OJ, as we met our PHs and were then shown to our rooms. Very nice accommodations and setup. Lunch and off to the shooting range. Everyone needed to tweak their rifles a bit, as they wanted us zeroed at 100 yards. The dense bush on most of their properties made long shots unlikely. We were given to option of hunting for the rest of the afternoon on our arrival day, if we shot something, we would be charged half day PH rate. If no blood spilled, then you got to see they lay of the land and some game.
The other three hunters were signed up for 10 days of hunting; we were signed up for the same, with an extra hunting day, and an extra day for sightseeing.
We all jumped at the chance for some extra hunting time!
My PH, Craig, got the Toyota Land cruiser ready, we picked up our driver, Tira, and headed out to one of their larger concessions ( 30,000 acres). We had to pick up a local guy, David, part of the agreement for them hunting there.
Craig and I discussed what my priority animals were in the package and what other animals I was interested in. The package animals were Kudu, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Warthog and Blesbok. I hoped to add Waterbuck and Bushbuck, but Bushbuck was not available (other hunters had taken the management limit), so I went to plan B, a Red Hartebeest. I told Craig, I was happy to take things as they come, I wanted mature animals, and if they happened to make record book, then I would consider myself lucky. I also have to mention here, I have NEVER been the lucky hunter who gets a really nice animal in his sights. I have no taxidermy in the house, a few European mounts I have done myself, as I have never shot an animal nice enough to consider getting taxidermy done.
Terrain was fairly flat Bushveld, with few openings in it. As I was to find out, this terrain provides ample cover and opportunity for the animals to elude you.
We went for a long spot and stalk, after being dropped off, and had chances on Red Hartebeest, Blue Wildebeest and Impala. The wind swirled, or I was not fast enough to get on the Bog-Pod sticks before they left. It was a bit overwhelming to have that many chances in the first few hours of hunting. We worked out way to an open field where Blesbok like to hang out, and saw the other group’s truck. We watched for any sign of them, and tried to raise them on the radio. Rick had wounded a Blesbok and they had been trailing it for some time. There was a Blesbok in the field Craig wanted to make a try for, so we crawled up behind a tree on the edge of the field. Craig set up the sticks, behind the fork of the tree, and we agreed we were both looking at the same one. He’s by himself; when you are ready and he is standing still, take him! I settled in behind the shoulder, he moved slowly to my left, feeding and pausing. I waited until he paused and BOOM. He ran off, apparently unscathed. We went and checked for blood and there was none. I had missed clean.
Man, did I feel lower than dirt, missing my first animal in Africa.
As we went back to the lodge, Craig and I discussed what happened. I had a similar thing happen last year Elk hunting. Using a fork in a tree as a rest, tracking on an animal as it moved, I missed a shot I would normally make. We thought the barrel was touching the tree, as I pulled the trigger, altering how the barrel moves. I wanted to double-check the zero on the rifle, before we went out again for my own piece of mind. Craig wanted to put out the spotlight and check it on the range at night, I said at first light in the AM would be fine. Craig and I were to learn that things happen for a reason.
The official first full day of hunting in Africa, little did I know what an action packed day lay ahead. We were the last ones out, after checking my rifle. I was good left to right, and an inch high at 100 yards, so our barrel touching the tree idea seemed to be the problem. First chance at a red hartebeest bull spooked and took off. We stalked into a waterhole, nobody home, so we decided to sit in a blind, to see if the tail end of the dry season would be bringing animals to us. We cleared out the acacia thorns, and chatted as we got settled in. We stopped talking, and sat and listened. Not five minutes later we herd a peculiar grunt (baroo), I looked to Craig, he said Blue Wildebeest bulls made that sound when chasing cows. I’ve seen a good one here before, but no client has got a shot at him. We heard them approach, three cows in the lead, being chased by the aforementioned bull. They circled the waterhole, and a cow came to take a drink in the shooting lane I had. The bull came up behind, Craig said to get ready, getting into the kneeling position I drove the one thorn I missed into my knee. The bull sniffed her and started to chase her around, before he ever got into the shooting lane. He’s running away, darn, wait, no, he’s coming back, said Craig. Get ready, when he pauses, shoot him. He slowly came into the shooting lane, I put the crosshairs on his shoulder, Craig said take him, take him NOW. BOOM, He’s hit hard, he staggered off about 25 yards and stopped, get ready to shoot him again said Craig. The bull wobbled on the shoulder I damaged, coughed up blood, almost went down, wobbled another 25 yards and paused under a tree and went down. I can’t tell you how happy I was, all the planning, hoping, dreaming had come to realization. Gloria asked me if I was OK, as we walked up on the bull, as I was choked up with emotion, and she had played a huge part in making it all happen. Craig looked the bull over, the rascal that had eluded him before was down, and he scored 82 SCI. That means very little to me, as I was so happy that my first African animal was this mature bull, one of the animals that I always think of when I picture Africa.
We met up with Rick and Nancy; Rick had shot a nice Gemsbok. We transferred my Wildebeest to their Land cruiser, as they were headed back to the lodge for lunch after visiting the skinning shed. We drove off and met up with Johan, Tony, Chris and Jill for a bush lunch over the fire.
Out for a cruise after lunch, a bit sleepy and full! We spot a lone Gemsbok, and he’s a shooter. I try to settle in on him, and I step on Craig’s dog, he yelps, but the Gemsbok is still staring us down. He’s going to leave, Take him now! I shoot and his legs go out from under him. We approach and there is no blood from his mouth, I must have shot a bit high and spined him, so I shoot him again in the crease behind the shoulder. A nice representative mature male!
We cruise around, spot and stalk, get busted on that same lone Red Hartebeest, and an Impala, see some Warthogs, but no shooter males and some Eland. We go down along the Matlabas River and see quite the termite mound.
The sun is starting to get low, and Gloria spots a set of shiny horns in the bush. Third time we’ve seen this old Red Hartebeest today, in this 30,000 acre property. The vehicle drives ahead out of site slows, we bail out and start slithering, and leopard crawling. We close the distance on him slowly, as we move in the shadows when his head is down feeding, and freeze when he looks around. The thickness of the bush and this slow approach let us get to within 60 yards but it takes nearly an hour. The sticks are set up, Craig says, he doesn’t know we are here, settle him and take him when you are ready. I make sure I am aiming lower on the shoulder than the Gemsbok, and shoot. He wheels and staggers, but does not go 20 yards. I broke his near shoulder and the bullet passed through just in front of the off shoulder. Third time was the charm, for the third animal of my first full day in Africa. I cannot believe my luck!
The skinning shed was busy that day, with eight animals taken between four clients!
A cold Castle or two sure tasted good before supper!
Stalked into a waterhole, nobody home, so we spruced up the blind and sat for a bit.
We had a group of Kudu cows and calves walk within 10 yards of the blind.
Later a Waterbuck bull waded in for a drink but he was not quite mature enough. As we were watching him, a male Warthog came trotting in. He’s a good one, you’ve got to shoot him when the shot is there, Craig told me. I shot, but could not see the result from the dust cloud. He ran 25 yds and collapsed spinning and kicking up dust. The onside shoulder was broken but no exit wound. Very happy with a very even first Warthog.
Rest of the day was spotting, but no stalking and got close to a group of rhino.
Cruised around, stalked into a waterhole, nobody home. Collected some Gwari bush, and made a blind at a concrete pan. Saw shooter Warthogs, Waterbuck cows and bulls (no shooters), and Kudu cows. One young one came up and nibbled on the blind, and we sat motionless in amazement. The cow came over to check things out, and she looked into my eyes from about 2 yards. She did a double take when I blinked, and slowly walked off.
Gloria stayed behind this morning. Drove and spotted for a few hours, stalked into a waterhole were a good waterbuck bull had been seen recently. Nobody home so we set up a blind, and waited. Warthog families in/out for a drink, some Waterbuck cows walked right by us, they have an odor somewhat similar to elk. We had been in the blind nearly 2 ½ hours when a group of male Warthogs comes in one extreme right side of the waterhole. Both of the one we could see were shooters but smaller than the one I shot. I see some additional movement, there are actually three pigs, but I am on Craig’s left and he can’t see it yet. There’s another pig there, I whisper, and then it moves to give me a good look. I think that’s a really nice one, I should take a picture. I quietly move to grab my camera, and the pig in question slowly walks away from the other two. I look over at Craig, and I wish I could have captured of what happened. The look on his face was extremely intense and focused. Put the camera down, you need to shoot that pig RIGHT NOW! I did have the idea that if I was to shoot extra animals, an extra warthog was fine, so I listened to my PH, settled in as Mr. Pig gave me broadside and motionless, sniffing the air. I shoot and he dropped, both shoulders broken on a pass through. Craig said, you are going to be really happy you did that. That’s the biggest pig I’ve guided, and will likely be the biggest one shot with Cruiser this year. I didn’t really realize it, until we walked up to him. Word traveled back to camp that I shot a big warthog; Gloria said that couldn’t be right, he’d already got one!
Once cleaned up he was 15 5/8” and 10 1/2 “. Pieter the owner told me that in 13 years of running Cruiser Safaris, three other pigs had been taken with at least one tusk over 15”. I had to choose to do a shoulder mount for the Prestigious Mr. Pig.
I’m starting to feel embarrassed at my good fortune!
Gloria came out with us for the afternoon and we drove and spotted. We spotted five shooter Kudu bulls close to sunset, but the quota for that property was already taken for the year.
Went to a different property, where the bush was thicker and the animals were very skittish. Chance at a very nice Impala ram, but I needed a few more seconds to settle on the 200 yd shot he gave me. Spot and stalk here was very difficult.
Stalked into a waterhole, nobody home, built a blind sat, and then the landowner came into pump out the concrete pan for repairs. We came back later, the wind had switched, so we rebuilt the blind in another location. A group of Waterbuck came in, one cow was suspicious, hung around the blind and snorted at us repeatedly from about 5 yds.
We went to the Rose Valley concession for hopefully some Blesbok redemption. A large high voltage tower runs through this property, Craig climbed up to get a view of the fields that the Blesbok like to hang out. He could only see a small group after much looking, so we decided to make a play on them to see if any were shooters. We drove to within a kilometer of the field and stalked in. We had to avoid, blue wildebeest and impala on the way in. We slithered in to within 200 yds, but too much brush for a good view or shot. We belly crawled to within 100 yds and set up the sticks for a kneeling shot behind a small scrubby bush. He was facing me, and I waited for a quartering shot, as he did, Craig said you must take him now!
I shot and he crumpled, got back up went a few steps and flopped back down. Craig said I would be very happy with this one, as he rough judged him at 16”
When we looked him over, Craig we happy he was wrong. He was 17 ½ “ both sides and heavy bases, but what really mattered was that I had the redemption I had hoped for. Many times Craig and I talked about things happen for a reason. My screw up on the arrival day let me have the opportunity for a really nice one!
We were back to the lodge early, got a tour of the owner’s new house nearly completed. Very Nice! Craig and Pieter (owner) are scheming in the corner, and come over to tell me, we are going for Kudu after lunch. Awesome lunch, but it seemed to take a long time. We went to the base of some of the Waterburg Mountains, and arrived at a farm around 2 pm. Craig had arranged with one of the cattle ranch workers, to monitor where he was seeing the larger Kudu bulls most often. He was seeing them high on the hills during the day and down towards the cattle’s watering holes near sunset. After the scouting report, we cruised around to find some Gwari bush. We picked a spot under a shady tree about 175 yds from the pan and built our blind. The cattle were very curious, about what the two-legged pink things were doing; they came over to inspect the blinds very closely for the next two hours, exhausting our supply of rocks to pelt them with. The boss cow finally gave the call to come back to the pen, just as Craig and I were figured what the trophy fee would be on RSA cattle. Two hours of cow butts in your face is not something I want to repeat anytime soon. As they cleared off, it was getting dim as the sun went behind the mountains, and some Kudu cows came in. As it got dimmer some immature bulls came in. Craig asked me to check my sight picture, on one of the immature bulls, lots of light I told him. It got dimmer, he asked me to check again, and no problem I told him. It got dimmer, I checked again, I’m Ok, but not for too much longer, I checked with the reticle on, and that improved things. Nothing was coming in, so Craig made the call to Tira to come pick us up. He stood up to look around, and got very excited, called back Tira and said do not start the truck. Craig said a very good mature bull is coming in from the left, he will cross in front of us at approx. 80 yds, can you still see OK. As he came into view, I could see his shoulders clearly, I told Craig I was good, and he said you must take him now. I shot and the muzzle flash obscured my view. Craig said he’s hit good, but despite his encouragement for him to drop, he staggers out of the field and into the edge of the bush. We move quickly, to follow him up we get to the edge of the bush and listen. We are both worried about losing him to the bush and darkness.
We hear nothing, then ragged breathing and a crashing of sticks. We are upon him and the darkness of the bush swallows us up. The flashlights come out to make sure he is dead as we approach. An old mature bull, tips worn off, and 54 ½ both sides. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have killed such a magnificent animal.
Craig and I were off early and Gloria stayed behind. We went back to the thick property with spooky animals. Chances at really nice Impala, on spot and stalk did not pan out. Went back to the same blind were the waterbuck cow snorted at us, and spruced it up were sitting by 0830. Animals came and went, no shooters it turned out to be the hottest day while hunting, near 30 C, so it got a bit snoozy in the blind. Went for a walk to stretch the legs and then back in by 2 pm. Watched a troop of Vervet monkeys come in, then Warthogs. A group of Impala came in, females and little ones and then the buck ghosted in. I spotted him and asked Craig what he thought. When he gives you a shot, Take It! was the reply. I waited a long time until he was motionless and clear of the other animals, at about 75 yds when I shot. Down he went and didn’t get back up, pass through and both shoulder broken. A nice mature buck with a tipped out horn pattern I really admire. While doing pictures I found out what paper thorns are, even stuff that doesn’t look like thorns, still sticks you in Africa! Went for a night game drive, but the near full moon kept most things hidden. Saw an Impala ewe killed by jackals
Into Thabazimbi, to see a few shops and pickup camp supplies for the morning.
Once back at the lodge, we went out to an adjacent property to look for a Waterbuck that had so far eluded us. This property had not been hunted much this year, so the animals were not a nervous about seeing a Land cruiser. We made it into a watering hole in the heat of the afternoon and found a small group of Waterbuck bulls just leaving and at the edge of the clearing. The farthest one on the right, Craig and Pieter (owner) said. I settled in for a longer shot, approx. 200yds, and fired. The bull ran about 25yds, and collapsed. This would turn out to be the first bullet I would get to recover, found inside the hide offside shoulder. I like the horn pattern, a little different than the other Waterbuck taken by the other hunters.
On the way out we saw Giraffe with a new calf, portions of the umbilical cord visible
Day trip to Lesedi Cultural village, near Hartebeespoort Dam, with Johan, Tony, Chris, Jill, Gloria and I. A different way to spend the day, it was busy, but enjoyable.
Went to mountainous property, near Marong. Climbed up to the top of a Koppie, and promptly spooked a Brown Hyena out of its den. Looks like the offspring of a dog and a bear, seriously. Climbed and looked all morning, then hiked down for lunch as the weather started to change. It got cloudy and very windy.
After lunch, went for a bathroom behind a brush pile and noticed a set of eyes looking back at me. They belonged to a rock monitor lizard, luckily sluggish due to the cooler weather. Drove around, went for walks to see what was hiding in the bush in the cooler weather. Walked up on a Warthog, and several shooter Kudu bulls. Saw a really nice long Gemsbok that would have been tempting, if she didn’t have a reddish calf with her. Chance at a really nice Impala, but gave us the slip.
Back to camp for a last meal together, as the rest of the crew leaves early in the morning. It was a real treat to share camp with such down to earth people, who had worked hard to make this trip a reality.
It was cloudy, windy and cool, so going to the mountains to look for little critters in the rocks would be pointless. What else was I interested in, for your last two days, I was asked. Let’s go look for Warthog, monster Steenbok and Zebra, was my reply. I had been looking at the Zebra taxidermy, (Flat skin rug and shoulder pedestal mount,) in the lodge with Gloria and decided that if I were to get one; the pedestal mount would look nice in the house. We spotted and stalked, belly crawled and leopard crawled several times to get into position within 80 yds undetected. No clear shot, as they were hanging in the thick stuff. At one point we crawled to where they just were, Craig was lying on his belly with a fresh pile of Zebra crap in front of him. He grabbed a stick to flick it away, but each flick removed some crap and shortened the stick, until he had only a nub left. The wind helped us get that close, and it also helped hide my snickering!
Found a dead Kudu bull, approx 45”, under a black oak thorn that was starting to bloom. This is one of the first signs of spring, but this guy had been dead for a few days. Quiet night at camp, but got a really good visit with the PH’s and owners.
Last hunting day, cloudy, windy again but very humid, so no trip to the mountains. Gloria was tired so Craig and I left at 0730, to try and do better than yesterday. Saw a Kudu bull feeding on black oak thorn blossoms; this helps tide the browsers over until leaves come in. So many of the blossoms had popped in the last day that the scent really hung in the humid morning air. Tried the larger herd of Zebra from yesterday, but they had had enough of us. Located another smaller herd and we were in business.1 ½ hours of slithering and crawling got us into position on the presumed stallion, then they slowly fed behind cover again. We paralleled them, moved ahead and waited. The group came within 35yds of us is heavy brush with a few openings. The lead animal, never did step clear enough to show us tackle to confirm stallion status. It did step forward to show us head, neck and the front of the shoulder. One more step, and he looked at us, looked back at the group and slowly swapped ends and went back to feeding. We scratched our heads, when I looked to out right and saw another Zebra standing broadside looking at us. Craig slowly looked it over, nice clean pattern, no scars, likely a younger male or mare. Can you make the shot through the brush? I needed to move, so with the Zebra watching us, we slowly moved the stick and I shifted around. I found the triangle on the shoulder and shot. It did a lip stand, then got back up and tried to run away with both front shoulders broken. It collapsed within 20 yds, but kept rolling trying to get back up. A second shot, just behind the shoulder helped finish things. Things just fell into place over 1 ½ days for this to happen and I couldn’t be happier.
Came back to the lodge, and Gloria and I went with Craig to see the Nyala breeding program.
Arrival day for the next group got to meet them after they had lunch, down at the shooting range. The group consisted of: a Father and son hunting 2x1 from Montana, two old friends from Georgia, and a PhD Nuclear engineer
We went back out for one last drive, Craig said I should bring the rifle in case we get attacked by Jackals or a monster Warthog. We found a really nice eland bull, Craig said, when you are looking for one like that you don’t find them, and if you do, they sure don’t let you look at them this long. I’ll chase him or his offspring next time. We actually did find a really big warthog, but he gave us the slip. It was an excellent way to spend the last hours of hunting and enjoy one more sunset!
It was sad to leave and say our goodbyes, but I think we arrived clients and left more like friends. A delay sorting out some building materials for Pieter and Lizelle meant we had to do some low flying to get back on schedule. We stopped at Highveld Taxidermy on the way to the airport, quite the shop! I could have spent hours walking around looking and taking pictures.
Handshakes and hugs at the airport and we were in the anthill again. All went smoothly, back through FRA and onto CGY. Standby for business class didn’t work for the FRA-CGY leg, I’m not sure we could have got worse seats! The attendants were getting miffed in explaining the same things over and over again, in German and English to a German tour group. It went by quickly, and we were collecting our things and going through customs. The young customs guy must not get too many people traveling with firearms, as he was very curious, and I explained some of the paperwork to him. Collected our truck, coffeed up and drove to Edmonton. Met my folks and sons at the hotel, spent the night getting reacquainted efore passing out.
Their big adventure was as much fun as Mom and Dad’s big adventure. I couldn’t be happier about how the whole experience unfolded. I have no other guided hunting trips to compare this to, but I can recommend Cruiser Safaris wholeheartedly. Professionally managed, lots of game, lots of opportunities on mature quality animals on a variety of properties.
I have to finish paying for this and take the family to California, before another hunting trip unfolds. I plan to take my boys back there, when they have hunted and taken deer around here with me.
RAY & COLTER GUTHRIE – Montana
Animals taken (Ray) – Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Steenbok*
Animals taken (Colter) - Kudu, Impala*, Warthog*, Gemsbok, Steenbok*
PATRICK HIGGINS – Tennessee
Animals taken – Kudu*, 2 – Impala, 2 – Warthogs*, Gemsbok, Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Zebra
GLENN BRINSON – Georgia
Animals taken – 2 – Warthogs*, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Impala*, Kudu
Glenn’s friend PAT SANCOMB – Georgia
Came with him as an observer
Passed up an iffy shot on a very good bull wildebeest early in a.m. -- made several exiting but unsuccessful stalks during day and was beginning to be a little disappointed-- late in day we saw two very nice bulls, made 125 yard shot-- bull hopped several times and walked off-- knew he was hard hit--We followed blood trail about 75 yards and found him dead -- big thrill!
STEVE NASH – Illinois
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Steenbok*, Gemsbok, Kudu* (55 ½”), Impala*, Warthog*
MIKE EASTER – Kentucky
Animals taken – Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, KUDU* (60 5/8”), Red Hartebeest*, Warthog*
Craig was a joy to hunt with. I know he matched our hunting style with what he thought matched the abilities of a 60 year old man. Not that he didn't walk me when it was demanded of the stalk, but he paced me throughout the day enabling me to enjoy the whole experience all day, every day. Watching him not only spot and identify game from long distance, but judging the quality of the animals is something I will never forget. The fact that he obviously enjoys his work, and his ability to keep me loose and relaxed throughout the tense final moments of every encounter, was key to our success. Before the week was done, I felt as if I had known him all my life and will be keeping in touch with him and his family. I would also like to add that having met and socialized with all the PH's, I would hunt with any of them and know my time would have been just as enjoyable. All are outstanding young men dedicated to their work.
My Kudu hunt was my most memorable. We drove to the mountain concession with Mike Easter and his PH and one driver/tracker arriving at about 7:00 AM. Craig and I were dropped off at the base of one of the foothills where he informed me we were going to the top and glass from different vantage points in hopes of spotting a decent animal on which we could make a stalk.
After a 30 minute climb and busting some Kudu cows on the way up, we arrived at the top and utilized our binos to scan the countryside. Could see for what seemed miles. After moving a couple of times to different vantage points, Craig spotted three bulls, one of which he thought was a good one. The only problem was they were at least 3/4 of a mile away on another ridge and already on top. It would have been a monster stalk and the wind would not have been in our favor. He decided to check one other observation point before we made the commitment. As we arrived at the spot to glass, we heard movement in the rocks that sounded as if it was right below us, but could see nothing. After 15 minutes, we had decided we had no option but to try the long stalk on the three that we had seen earlier. Craig was glassing the far ridge when for some reason, I glanced down at a little ridge below us and there he stood. I whispered to Craig that I saw a bull and pointed out the location. Craig lifted his glasses and after only one second informed me we wanted him and threw my pack on a rock saying get ready. My comment was "FROM HERE", for he appeared to my untrained eye to be a quarter mile away. After assuring me I could make the shot and ranging him at 230 yards, we placed my pack on a rock and I attempted to hold steady with no success. Craig then set up his shooting sticks under the butt of my rifle with the barrel resting on the pack saying when you are ready shoot. It was rock steady and he stood perfectly broadside giving me all of the shoulder. He whispered aim 3/4 of the way up the body, for I was using his rifle. I fired, he lurched forward raising his front leg, and as I was chambering another round for another shot, Craig yelled He's down. I literally shook for 15 minutes before I could calm down enough to walk over and see my trophy. We both knew he was big as we approached him. He was an old mature bull with 11 inch bases and 55 and 54 inch horns. For someone who would have been perfectly content with anything approaching 50 inches, I was absolutely thrilled. Craig called Mike and his PH and made arrangements to meet them at the truck along the road. After an hour of cutting and hacking a roadway through the brush and trees, they were able to get within about 70 yards of where the Kudu was laying. After much celebration and picture taking, we halved him. Then it took five of us to carry each portion down to the truck taking two breaks along the way. I will never forget the effort from everyone that went into that recovery and will forever be grateful. I guess because everything happened so fast and there was absolutely no time to think until it was all over made this my most memorable hunt.
Mike’s short Kudu story: We never saw him and just began stalking to see what we could find. After stalking for some hour to a hour and a half, we came to within 200' of him eating in some trees. We crawled 50' yards, he moved from the trees to an open field and I took the shot some 50' away on my knees.
STEVE MARCUM – Tennessee
Animals taken – 2 – Impala, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Kudu* (53 ½”)
BRENT MARCUM – Tennessee
Animals taken – Zebra, Impala*, Gemsbok, Warthog*, Kudu* (54 ½”), Eland, Steenbok*
We hunted one of Pieter’s properties for Gemsbok. Hunted all morning without seeing any, took a lunch break which was great. The food prepared for lunches was excellent. We began our afternoon hunt and had walked for about 2 hours when we came upon a large bull and a young bull. My PH was able to get me in position for the shot at about 50 yards. The bull went down with one shot from my 7 Mag. It measured at 35 1/2 inches making the SCI record book. It was great spending time walking and stalking the animals. PH did a great job.
What was my favorite part of my African safari: There were so many unbelievable experiences in my first safari I'm not sure I could ever limit it down to one or even a couple. I thoroughly enjoyed hanging out at camp with all the PH's and Pieter. This is a great group of men and hunters and my father and I were blessed to have had a safari with these guys.
My favorite hunt was probably for my smallest but most coveted trophy, my steenbok! We had seen this little guy 3 or 4 different times but he was so fast and elusive we never could get close. However; on the next to last day of my hunt, Johan and I spotted the little guy about 500 yards away and we made a fantastic stalk which ended with a shot off Johan's shoulder and a fun recovery. My little guy had over 4 1/2 inch horns and was a phenomenal trophy in my book!
I can't say enough about the quality of game and hospitality we received at Cruiser Safaris. Thanks so much!!!!!!!
FRANK HUNNES – South Carolina
Animals taken – Zebra, Kudu* (52 ¼”), Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, 3 – Warthogs*, Impala*
BERNIE VANDERPOL (Franks cousin) – Michigan
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Kudu, Black Backed Jackal, Warthog*, Red Hartebeest*, Blue Wildebeest*
Observers – Frank’s sons Matt – North Carolina & Dave – Florida
It's impossible to describe how much my boys and I enjoyed our stay with Cruiser Safaris. Everything was absolutely magnificent, the staff, the hospitality, the accommodations, the meals and particularly the quantity and quality of game. My original goal was just to have memorable experience hunting in South Africa with my son's David and Matthew and my cousin Bernie VanderPol. My hope was to take mature animals and if I was lucky enough maybe one or two animals that would qualify for the SCI record book. I never expected to make the book with all of my animals! What a thrill. It really pays to listen to you PH because they really can judge the game and they really want you to collect the best trophy they can find. The evening conversations with the fellow hunters in camp were truly memorable. It's a testament to Pieter's staff that every hunter thought that "his" PH was the best, even though my PH "little Pieter" was really the best! My favorite hunt was for my Blesbok. My hunt for the easiest and dumbest of the antelopes was actually my most difficult! Pieter and I spent 2 and 1/2 days trying to get a large male and we were continually challenged by changing winds and other animals that spooked the Blesbok. My longest shot, 185 yards, was actually made on my Blesbok. Of course, the next day, a fellow hunter in camp took all of one hour to get his Blesbok. That's why mine was special!! I have hunted in many of the Western states, the Midwest, Northeast, Southwest and Canada and nothing even came close to comparing with my experience with Cruiser Safaris. They are the BEST!
JACK PARR – Pennsylvania
Animals taken – Impala, 2 – Warthogs*, Red Hartebeest*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Kudu* (52 ½”)
Well I’ve been home a month from my safari and I already miss the fantastic time I had in Africa. The lodge and our accommodations were beyond belief. Compared to the years I have spent in tents and crude cabins in the high Rockies and Northern Canada and Alaska, this was like staying in some luxury hotel.
The care and attention that Pieter & Lizelle and their entire staff give to their hunters is absolutely amazing. The food was equal to that served in a world class restaurant and the quantity was more than we could eat. I thoroughly enjoyed each meal. I particularly enjoyed the practical jokes and banter at dinner, it made it an experience that I looked forward to every night.
Pieter’s staff of PH’s is the best I have seen anywhere. Their skill and dedication to provide the best experience to their hunters is in a league all its own. I really enjoyed hunting with Johan. He is a skillful and knowledgeable hunter who really enjoys what he does as well as being a great people person. He’s a great guy to be with on a hunt and he goes the extra mile to make a hunt an unforgettable experience. While I would have been more than happy with average heads, Johan took great pains to find me exceptional trophies. I am tickled pink with them and they were beyond anything I had anticipated.
My entire experience at Cruiser Safaris was far above my wildest dreams and I look forward to doing it again.
JIM GRIFFIN & PATTY HODGSON – Texas
Animals taken – Warthog*, 2 - Impala*, Zebra, Kudu* (51 ½”), Blesbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok
While it is tempting to describe each of the amazing 8 animals that we harvested, I'll just say that they will generate great conversations while in my trophy room. Each animal was very special. Our hunting group from 4 different states was the best. My best stalk was for my Blesbok. It was about an hour before dark and we were stalking a bachelor heard of wildebeest. The last 100 meters was a belly crawl. Just before we selected the best animal to shoot, Craig spotted this Blesbok that ended up north of 17" on the tape! High Fives all around!!
Jim made history while at Cruiser’s. He had brought along a diamond and during his safari he proposed to Patty! Of course she said yes and even though Africa can be a very romantic location this has to be the most romantic story ever for Cruiser Safaris.
KELLEY PENNINGTON – Alabama
Animals taken – (Note: At the time this was written I did not have a complete list of Kelley’s animals and sizes. I will amend this list when the info is received) Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest, 2 - Warthogs, Kudu, Impala
The kudu is my most coveted trophy, but I actually think I had the most fun hunting the warthogs. I could make a trip out of warthog hunting. On the large warthog, my first shot destroyed his right front leg but he did run off. While tracking him, he jumped out of a hiding spot in a bush about 10 yards in front of me. He ran toward me and around to my left. I don't remember taking the gun off my shoulder or clicking the safety off. All I remember is my PH yelling Shoot! Shoot! After the pig ran past me he got about 20 yards from me and I made the luckiest shot of my life. As he was running away an to my left I shot and my bullet entered his left eye and exited the center of his forehead. He flipped and expired facing the opposite direction, back toward me. Very exciting.
A story about my PH Jaco. We were kudu hunting on the neighbors farm in a hide. The biting flies were pretty bad. I was wearing pants so I was ok but Jaco of course was wearing shorts and the flies were tearing up his legs. We were close to where the kudu were coming in so we were trying to be very still and quiet. At one point I looked over at Jaco and he had picked two long blades of grass and was bent over in his chair looking straight ahead, twirling a blade in each hand trying to shoo the flies off of his legs. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. He got disgusted at me laughing at him and dropped the blades. It still makes me laugh out loud when I think about it.
BILL & PEGGY ROBERTS – Mississippi
Animals taken – Warthog, Impala*, Kudu*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok
CLIFF & CAROLE MAINS – Mississippi
Animals taken – 2 – Warthogs*, Kudu, Gemsbok, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Red Hartebeest, Blesbok*
JOHN SCHULTZ – Illinois
Animals taken – Gemsbok*, Kudu* (51 ½”), Blue Wildebeest*, Red Hartebeest*, Warthog*, Steenbok*, Impala, Blesbok*, Zebra
KARL NEUDORFER – Texas
Animals taken – Impala, Warthog*, Zebra, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest*
The kudu I shot probably holds some of the fondest memories for me. For that one, Craig devised a strategy that came together just before sunset, and involved sitting in a tree for a few hours so that we could get in position for a good shot. Physically, the kudu was the most difficult of the animals I took, but also the most rewarding. The day I shot a kudu had been hot and windy throughout the day. Very little game of any kind was moving. Craig knew that as a result of these conditions, we'd have a tough time locating a large bull. But in speaking with the owner of the property that we were hunting, Craig knew that the kudu typically visited a particular water hole each evening. So he devised a strategy in which we would climb a tree and wait in the branches throughout the late afternoon. We found a good tree that overlooked the water hole, climbed high into it, and waited in the branches for a couple hours. Although sitting in the tree wasn't what I'd call comfortable (and it had to have been a lot worse for Craig than for me, as Craig was several feet higher than I was and thus perched on branches far thinner than the log that made my seat), Craig's strategy worked. Sure enough, a few minutes before sunset, a large kudu bull appeared. Craig had set us up for the perfect broadside shot. Now I'm just waiting to get the trophy home!
NASSOUD YOUSEFI – Alberta, Canada
Animals taken – Kudu* (51 1/8”), Waterbuck*, Nyala*
HENRY & ALICE PERKINS – Alaska
Animals taken – Impala, Kudu* (51 1/8”)
WADE & KERRY PERKINS & their son Wyatt– Alaska
Animals taken – Warthog*, Impala, Gemsbok, Kudu, Blue Wildebeest*
KOBY PERKINS – Alaska
Animals taken – Warthog*, Impala, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu*
JAGADE & SHERIDAN PERKINS – Alaska
Animals taken – Blesbok*, Kudu* (51 ¾”), Zebra
TAMMY BRADLEY (Perkins) – Alaska
Animals taken – Impala, Zebra, Kudu* (52 ¼”)
HENRY PERKINS, Jr. – Alaska
Animals taken – Kudu* (52”), Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*
MATT GOULD – Texas
Animals taken – Gemsbok, Kudu, Warthog, Impala*
This was a family and friends trip set up as a 70th birthday gift for Henry Perkins.
RANDY SMITH – Washington
Animals taken – Zebra, Kudu* (56 ¼”), Blue Wildebeest**, Impala*, Blesbok*, Warthog* (**this may have been the largest Blue Wildebeest ever taken at Cruisers)
BILL SMITH – Washington
Animals taken – Warthog*, Eland*, Waterbuck*, Blesbok*, Zebra
BRIAN NASSET – Washington
Animals taken – Impala*, Kudu*, Blue Wildebeest*, Blesbok*, Warthog, Zebra, Gemsbok
RANDY & RYAN SIFFORD – Arizona
Animals taken – Impala, Kudu* (53 ¾”), Warthog*, Zebra, Blesbok*, Steenbok*, Black Backed Jackal. Ryan – Blue Wildebeest*
After dreaming of going hunting in Africa all of my life, the dream came true and was more than I had dreamed of. I can not give enough praise to the entire Cruiser Safaris organization. This is a top class operation. From Cruiser Bob who promptly answered all of my Emailed questions over the last year to Pieter and Lizelle who made us feel like family to all of the PH’s whose skill and knowledge are astonishing.
It is impossible to pick a most memorable hunt as they all were special. I was quickly baptized in African hunting the first morning. We had just driven through the gate onto the hunting property when we spotted a herd of impala in the road ahead. After glassing them, my PH Craig said “Get your gun ready “. We took off through the brush to try to get ahead of them. One ram passed within 50 yds. of us but Craig said he was not good enough. Finally after sneaking through the brush, Craig put up the shooting sticks and said “Shoot him, he’s looking away “. I quickly spotted the ram, put the gun on the sticks and fired; at the shot it didn’t appear to me that anything had happened other than the impala had run away. Fearful that I had missed, I followed Craig to where the impala had been. After walking a short distance and looking for tracks Craig suddenly turned, smiled, stuck out his hand and said congratulations!
The ram had run only about 25 yds. before dropping. My first African animal around 7:30 AM the first morning.
We hunted for kudu the rest of the day, but did not see any shooters until late in the afternoon. Driving down the road, Joseph the driver/tracker spotted a nice bull in the brush. Driving down the road a short distance, we turned and headed back with Craig and myself walking. When we got to where the kudu was, Craig put up the sticks and said “shoot, quick, quick! “. I never saw the bull until I put the gun on the sticks. When I shot he ran a short ways and we heard him crash into a tree. What an impressive animal and one that had been at the top of my wish list. After loading him up we headed back to camp. What a magnificent first day of hunting. We had seen more varieties and numbers of animal than I could have ever imagined and two fine trophies.
The wildebeest hunt was memorable since my son Ryan who was along with me as an observer was able to take advantage of Cruiser’s generous policy of being able to take one of my animals at no additional cost. After I had shot a warthog and a zebra (the zebra due to Craig’s amazing ability to track them through the bush until we came up on a nice stallion) we decided to get Ryan a blesbok or wildebeest. Crag and Ryan chased a herd of blesbok all afternoon through the brush and could never get a good shot. The next morning we went out again and Craig picked up some wildebeest tracks which we began following. We finally came up on them and Ryan passed up a shot because he could not tell where the bull’s shoulder was in the brush, We came up on them again and since I was bringing up the rear I could not see the wildebeest, but I saw Craig put up the sticks and Ryan shoot. I then saw several wildebeest running off. We went to where they had been and Craig started looking for blood. At first he could not find any so he radioed for Joseph the tracker and told him to come with Craig’s tracking dog “ Blue “. I could tell Ryan was getting real down thinking he had missed or worse, just wounded the bull. When Joseph and Blue arrived, Craig and Joseph started looking for blood. After a while Craig found a drop of blood and calling Blue over, put him on the track. Blue took off like a shot and within around 70 yds. jumped the bull from a patch of brush where it had stopped. One more shot put it down for good. Ryan’s first shot had been good, but the angle had been such that he did not break a shoulder, but just clipped a lung. He sure was happy and I sure was proud. Since this was his first big game animal other than a javelina in Arizona, Craig did the traditional smear of blood on Ryan’s forehead. He wore it as a badge of honor the rest of the day. Also the bull is above the SCI record book minimum.
I also took a record book blesbok after Craig and I had chased a herd all morning long and never got a shot at the skittish animals. After lunch we went out again and I finally shot one at 200 yds. after they stopped in an opening. I rounded out the hunt with a record book steenbok.
A unique experience was when PH’s Johan and Craig invited me along on a night predator calling hunt. We would drive down a road sweeping the spotlight and mostly seeing the eyes of springhares. When we came to a large opening we would shut off the lights and Johan would blow on the predator call. After a while we would switch on the spotlight and look for glowing eyes. After several tries, one time when we switched the spotlight on there was some eyes bouncing toward us. Johan said “shoot that one “and trying to hold on the glowing eyes I shot and dropped a nice black backed jackal.
We did find that Pieter lived up to his image as a practical joker. One night at dinner my son Ryan was having a glass of red wine. When he got up to get some more food Pieter quickly put a large dose of Worcestershire sauce in his wine. Since everybody else at the table had seen this, when Ryan returned, one of the other hunters proposed a toast. When Ryan took a big gulp of his wine, he yelled “yech” and quickly spit it out. The whole table erupted in laughter. Ryan vowed to get Pieter back, but of course he never could. All in all it was a fantastic trip. Everything from the hospitality to the quickly developed friendships to the food to the hunting was excellent. When we left I felt I had known these people for a long time, not just 12 days. I would not hesitate to go back if I get the opportunity.
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