Welcome to the 2019 newsletter. With our 25th anniversary fast approaching I want to take this opportunity to give a shout out to everyone that has visited us. You may have come on a trip of a lifetime; however, you made a lifetime of memories for all of us. On arrival there are always a lot of questions followed by the awe in seeing all of the animals. Then the thrill of your first stalk followed by the exuberance of taking your African trophy. Everyday there is the excited conversations of what happened and then relaxing in the evening with an outstanding meal and the dreams of what tomorrow will bring. These are the memories that you shared with us and we consider each and every one of you to be our friends. It would be a blessing for us to be able to see all of you again someday.
Be sure to like us on our Facebook and Instagram pages. We are now making new posts every day with the intent on showing all of your trophies. This takes some time but everyone will be there during the year. You are able to see on our Social Media what is going on right now with Cruiser’s and be able to enjoy our 2019 hunters’ trophies. We are currently looking for more videos for Cruiser’s YouTube site. If you have a video that you would like to share, send it to us.
As always in this newsletter, we are including all of the hunters that have come to Cruiser’s along with every trophy that they took. Also included are their safari stories that they have sent. Sometime we don’t receive these stories right away, however when we do receive them, we will add them to this newsletter. In following my tradition of trying to give the reader of the newsletter the feeling of actually being on their safari with them, all of the stories that are included here are those actually written by our clients. If you have a story be sure to send it to us so all can enjoy the highlights of your safari. We have now made sure that there are pictures included here on everyone that has hunted with us this year.
And as we do every year there are improvements made at Cruiser’s. A lot of these improvements are subtle and you may not even notice them such as landscaping, décor and linens. New end tables are a little more noticeable along with air conditioning being added to the chalets. Now that is cool. Nothing is nicer then coming back to camp after a hard day of hunting and relaxing in an elegant setting.
Included in this newsletter are all of the clients’ trophies and those trophies that qualify for the record book are indicated by a * and in the case of Kudu’s, their size is also listed. All trophy pictures that are sent to me are included as well. Thank you to those that have contributed their safari stories and I hope everyone enjoys this 2019 edition of Cruiser Safaris newsletter.
NOTE: The * behind the animal indicates that it qualified for the record book.
APRIL – MAY - JUNE 2019
ELLIS & MARTHA MARKHAM – Virginia
Animals taken: Sable*, Waterbuck*
Left home at 9:50 AM on April 15th for our fourth safari with Cruiser Safaris and our fifth safari in South Africa. The two-and-a-half-hour drive to Dulles International Airport was longer than usual due to back-up caused by road construction. The check-in with South African Airways, Border Patrol (for firearms) and Security took only one and a half hours. Thus, we were sitting at SAA’s boarding terminal by 2:15 PM. We began boarding the plane at 4:40 PM, but the departure from the terminal was delayed until 6:15 PM.
The flight had one stop in Accra for fuel and departing and boarding passengers. Even in the “off” season the plane was full for the entire trip. Arrived in Johannesburg International Airport (Tambo) on April 16th at about 5:00 PM. Check-in with Customs and SAPS only took one and a half hours. The preregistering of the firearms through Afton Safari Lodge helped a lot. We had a very good steak dinner at Afton Safari Lodge. Meet five other hunters during dinner, two of whom (Rusty and Jim) will be hunting with us at Cruiser Safaris.
Had a wonderful breakfast at Afton Safari Lodge the morning of April 17th. Craig, our PH on the 2007 safari, picked the four of us up at about 9:00 AM. The drive to Cruiser Safaris was long as Craig must have made six stops, mainly for food, before arriving at the lodge at 2:15 PM. Upon arriving at Cruiser Safaris had a wonderful fruit punch drink, and meet my PH, Rudolph. After lunch the three hunters went to the shooting range to “sight-In” their rifles. Rusty and Jim went for an evening hunt. Martha and I unpacked and sat outside to relax before dinner. Ate dinner with the PH’s (Pieter was away that evening), and socialized a bit. During dinner we learned that we were the first hunters this year. That can be good. However, we learned that the bush was very green and the grass was tall. That is not as good as one cannot see nearly as far. Everyone went to bed by 9:00 PM.
Awoke on April 18th by 5:30 AM for breakfast and off for the hunt by 6:10 AM. This became a routine for each day of hunting. Today I hunted Pieter’s property that is across the main dirt road from the lodge. On the way to the hunt property we picked up our tracker/driver, Chico. During the morning hunt we spotted a number of species of animals, but no Sable or Waterbuck that had horns long enough to be a good trophy. After lunch and a rest period we left the lodge at 2:30 PM. By 3:00 PM had a Sable on the ground. The left horn measured 42 ½”, and the Rudolph estimated the age at 5 years, and weight at 300 pounds. The Sable was caped for a shoulder mount. The remainder of the day was spent cleaning up, up-dating the diary, relaxing and telling stories of the day with hunters and PH’s.
On April 19th we are into the daily routine. Today the hunt was on Pieter’s property across the river that is behind the lodge. Spotted several Waterbuck, but none with horns longer than 25”. Hunted the same property in the afternoon, but no luck. During the hunt I learned that tomorrow is Rudolph’s 24th birthday, and that he is engaged to Danielle with a wedding planned for September 27 2019. Had a wonderful steak dinner with lots of stories being told. Off to bed by 9:00 PM.
Today, April 20th, we hunted the ranch west of Pieter’s. Martha and I have hunted this ranch before, and it is where she harvested a Blue Wildebeest in 2016. The temperature was cool before the sun arose, but warmed up quickly once the sun came out. Jim and I were skunked in the morning, but Rusty was the lucky one harvesting both a Gemsbok and Blesbok. My afternoon hunt was also a zero. After a good dinner, with Pieter playing pranks, we sat by the bar talking about the hunts until heading for bed about 9:00 PM. Pieter had a friend, Pieter Fourie, join us for dinner. It wasn’t until after Pieter Fourie left that we found out that he was one of the PH’s at Cruiser Safaris in 2007 when we first hunted there. Too bad we missed renewing the past.
Off to a new ranch, La?, today, April 21st. Lots of property, but very heavy bush that narrowed the roads and often grew over the road. Probably because of the dense bush we spotted few animals and no Waterbuck. Rudolph did find a Kudu skull with very nice horns that measured 52”. I kept them for a European mount. In the afternoon we hunted this property again. Spotted more animals in the afternoon, but still the bush limited the sightings. Rudolph did see one Waterbuck which we tracked a little way. We heard it call from about 35 yards, but could not spot the animal due to the thick bush. Everyone went to bed early as the lack of sleep was catching up on us.
Back to Pieter’s property across the main dirt road this morning, April 22nd. Spotted a number of different types of animals, but no Waterbuck. During the morning the clouds increased along with the wind and it became cooler. Went back to the lodge for lunch only to find out the current was off. In the afternoon Pieter, for the first time in my hunting at Cruiser Safaris, joined us. He is a very knowledgeable professional hunter and one crazy driver going through the bush. We even tracked some Waterbuck with Pieter and Rudolph. Both did a superb job of following the animals hoof prints.
On April 23rd we went back to Pieter’s property across the main dirt road to hunt Waterbuck. Soon after entering the property we spotted several small groups of Waterbuck. Most of the males were young with small horns. About 7:35 AM Rudolph spotted a good Waterbuck while we road in the bed of the truck. The shot was good as we heard it hit the animal. Rudolph and I quickly walked to where the Waterbuck had been standing. After several minutes of looking for signs of the Waterbuck Rudolph called for me as he had spotted the downed animal. The Waterbuck had run a hundred yards plus before expiring. Afterword, we laser measured the shooting distance at 175 yards. Before shooting I had moved the scope power up to just above seven power. With my hunting over, Rudolph said tomorrow everyone, including Rusty and Jim, would travel to visit the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
The group left the lodge about 6:30 AM for the trip to Pilanesberg Game Reserve. The drive was long, about three hours. The quantity and quality of the animals seen at the park was unbelievable. During the tour of the park we spotted elephant, rhino, lion, giraffe, hippo, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, steenbok, warthog, monkey’s, and jackals. The female lion we spotted was very close the road and roared several times. One of the elephant groups we saw had two males that were fighting each other. Probably there was more animals, but the grass was so tall that it likely hid a lot of them. After dinner Christiaan showed me some bullets that the Cruiser Safari’s skinner had recovered from animals. He thought one of the bullets was from my Sable, but that bullet was a 30 caliber, not my 338 caliber.
Now it is time to go home. Up by 5:00 AM to shower, have breakfast, and finish packing. Said good-by to the group and left Cruiser Safaris by 7:30 AM. Rudolph along with Danielle, his fiancée, drove us first to Highveld and then to Tambo. At Highveld we spoke with Thomas Ochsenbein, the owner’s son, about preparing the trophies. He gave us some ideas on how the trophies can be mounted and will email us on his thoughts and cost. At Tambo the check-in went smoothly except for a thirty-minute wait for SAA’s ticket counter to open. Even then, we were at SAA’s departure terminal by 2:00 PM. The plane took off a bit late, about 7:00 PM. Dinner was served on the plane, but as usual its quality is about equal to dog biscuits.
No matter how many times we have taken this trip, now five, the 17 to 18 hour flights are never easy. At Dulles International Airport the customs and Border Patrol check throughs went quickly, about one and a half hours. Arrived home about noon after stopping for groceries. The trip was everything we wished it to be. The animals I hoped to harvest were taken, new friends were made, renewed friendships with those met before, and relaxed with good wines and great meals.
RUSTY KOEHLER – Nevada
Animals taken: Nyala*, Red Hartebeest*, Zebra, White Blesbok*, Warthog*, Bushbuck*, Kudu* (52 ½”), Black Impala*, Black Backed Jackal
JIM PETERSON – Nevada
Animals taken: Warthog*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Red Hartebeest*, Nyala*, 2 – Impala*
(Rusty) I’m not much for writing stories, but I would like to sum up a fantastic trip. My friend Jim and I headed to Africa on April 15th. After a very long travel period, it was finally time to hunt. Craig was my PH and I had a great time hunting with him. We chased a lot of animals, had some great stalks and some good shots. I had planned on hunting Kudu for several days. We had an awesome Kudu hunt and I ended up shooting a bomber of a bull at the end of the first day of Kudu hunting. He was a really old, huge bodied bull, with probably 5 inches of horn ground off from age. All the hunts were great, but to me the Kudu has the most fascinating horns and they are so majestic and exciting to hunt. I hunted 10 days and every animal I shot was of excellent quality. It’s definitely worth the long-distance travel. Cruiser Safaris has a great set up, lots of land to hunt, plenty of mature animals, and great staff. Delmarie’s food is excellent. If you are thinking about hunting in South Africa, but just aren’t sure where to go. Start with calling Cruiser Bob.
DAVID & MARY WOHLER – Massachusetts
Animals taken: Blue Wildebeest*, Impala*, Blesbok*, Kudu* (52”), Nyala*, Gemsbok, Warthog, Waterbuck*, Golden Wildebeest*
I highly recommend booking your safari with Cruiser Safari. I booked our safari based on a high recommendation from a friend who hunted with them several years ago. I completely agree with my friend. They were professional, high integrity, welcoming, 1st class lodging, high numbers of quality animals to harvest and work extremely hard to make sure that you have the best safari experience possible. Every day Pieter checked in with every hunter to make sure that they were seeing animals and to confirm that your safari was going as expected. I brought my wife as an observer and she had an equally extremely high on her experience. I can promise you that you will enjoy this vacation like no other.
JEFF WEED and his son JEREMY – Indiana
Animals taken: Blesbok*, Impala*, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest*, Waterbuck, Red Hartebeest*, Kudu* (51”), Impala* (Jeremy)
(Jeff’s Blesbok hunt) The sun was starting to go down when came across a very large herd of blesbok with a few zebras mixed in, running away from us but parallel to the road. Sampson gunned the engine to cut them off and made a 90 degree turn into the bush to see if we could get a shot. The herd split, a few going back the way they came, the rest continuing on. Sampson slammed the truck into park and Munsu yelled “there thy go” jumping off the truck and trailing the herd on a dead run. It was not hard following them as they left a huge cloud of dust. We ran parallel to them, about 100 yards off. The area was a series of open areas and then a line of bushes and trees. We came through the first brush line and could see the herd just entering the second line of bushes. We kept running to the second line and burst out on the other side. The herd was moving but stopped to look at us just as it entered the next line of bushes. We did not have time to set up so we kept running to the next line to get ahead of them. When we ran through to the next open area the blesbok were just emerging into the open. Munsu hurriedly set up the sticks as the herd swung in a wide arc facing us. Which one, I asked. The dark one on the right by himself, Munsu answered. I lined up trying to slow down my breathing, and touched off the shot off. Good hit Munsu yelled as the bull took off into heavy cover. It was starting to get really dark so we immediately took off after him. We found the bull lying out in a little clearing beyond the bushes. We actually set up for some pictures in the dark. A very satisfying hunt.
EDITORS NOTE: When Jeff left, we had not located his Kudu. Naturally Jeff felt bad about that but we always will do everything to locate a wounded animal. Almost 2 weeks after Jeff had left, we located his Kudu. The cape was not salvageable; however, the horns will make a great mount.
PAT DUPRAS – Georgia
Animals taken: Cape Buffalo*, Bushbuck*, Golden Wildebeest*, Waterbuck*
ELAINE DUPRAS – Georgia
Animals taken: Sable*, Warthog*, White Blesbok*, Ostrich
(Pat) I would like to thank Pieter and Cruiser Safaris for an excellent hunt. This was my second visit and it was even better than the first visit. My PH, Craig, did an excellent job locating not only the animals that I had wished to hunt, but even exceeded the size that I had requested. A beautiful Cape Buffalo at 43" was a wonderful trophy. Cruiser Safaris has not only the quantity of animals to insure a great hunt, but also the quality. I would definitely recommend Cruiser Safaris to anyone seeking a wonderful hunting experience.
(Elaine) I have hunted with numerous other outfitters and been treated well, but "just another client". At Cruiser Safaris I felt that it was important to them that I was there and I felt that I was a "Special Guest" and treated accordingly.
COLE RUPE – Currently stationed in Spain
Animals taken: Warthog*, Blesbok*, Impala*, Blue Wildebeest*, Kudu, Steenbok*
DANNY SANDERS – Colorado
Animals taken: Eland*, Duiker, Steenbok*, Bushbuck*, Kudu, 2 - Springbok*, Black Wildebeest*, Nyala*
RUSS BROOKS – Colorado
Animals taken: Impala*, Gemsbok, Kudu, Warthog*, Blesbok*, Springbok* Black Wildebeest*, 2 – Black Backed Jackals*
GEORGE SOLTIS – Pennsylvania
Animals taken: Blesbok*, Impala*, Zebra, Steenbok*, Blue Wildebeest – F, Klipspringer*, Baboon, 2 – management Impala
(George’s Klipspringer hunt) Rudolf and I hiked about 2 hours up some pretty steep and rocky terrain. It was very thick on top and we tried to work our way through it as quietly as possible, popping out on the cliffs looking for a nice male klipspringer. We did this for an hour and half or so before Rudolf stopped me and was checking on what turned out to be a nice ram. I had to stand on a pointed rock to try and get a shot, but could not. So, I got down and moved slowly to another rock. I climb on it and was thankful the ram had stayed put and had turned broad side. I took an offhand shot at 75 yards and down he went. Then the shakes started and I had to sit for a minute to settle. When we got to him, he was absolutely beautiful. Rudolf then told me it was his first time guiding a client to a klipspringer. We were both so thankful to get this animal and with the fact we didn't have to climb up there again the next day. The hike down was even more treacherous than the hike up. I fell a few times and dropped my gun. Rudolf fell and twisted his ankle, thankfully not too bad. Took us nearly 2 hours to get back down to level ground. Tracker Chico met us with some cold drinks. He laughed at me and said look at your clothes. I was covered in dirt, blood and my pants leg was ripped wide open. I wouldn't trade this hunt for any other, it was phenomenal!!!
MITCHELL & COURTNEY GREENWELL – Wyoming
Animals taken: 2 – Impala*, Gemsbok, Kudu* (52”), Warthog, Zebra
GLYN MORGAN – Texas
Animals taken: Red Hartebeest*, Kudu, Waterbuck*, Warthog*, Blue Wildebeest – F, Bushbuck*
GENA MORGAN – Texas
Animals taken: Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Zebra, Impala*
This has been a bucket list trip for us for about 10 years. Last fall after my wife and I watched a movie about an African Safari, we decided it was time and started making plans. I had bookmarked Cruiser Safaris’ website several years ago. After, the Hunters Extravaganza show in Houston and speaking with several outfitters, we decided on Cruiser. With all of the information on their website and talking with Cruiser Bob, we booked it.
When we arrived in Johannesburg, we had the meet & greet and the firearm package with Afton. Simply put, it is well worth the money. We were through customs and had my rifles quicker than I could exchange US dollars into Rands. The next morning, after Craig picked up a hunter from the airport, he picked us up along with another couple and we headed to the lodge. We made a stop at the Farmers’ Market and a stop for cookies along the way. Chef Delmarie (Tiny) was there to greet us with fresh juice upon arrival. Since my wife is gluten and dairy free, Tiny spoke with her to confirm what she could and could not have. Needless to say, all of the food was fantastic, especially the desserts.
On to hunting, our PH was Craig. What can I say; he made this trip - Our trip of a lifetime. We ended up shooting 10 animals over 10 days. One of the best was our first stalk. Not even 30 minutes into our first stalk, he spotted some Gemsbok. He got my wife setup and when some warthogs came in to our right and spotted us, we thought that it was over. Instead it made the Gemsbok stand up and turn towards us and she shot. After tracking it for about 100 yards, it had gone down right beside the road. Later in the week we were sitting at a waterhole and the Waterbuck we were after came in. It stopped to drink, but because Warthogs were behind it, I had no shot. As it started to walk away, Craig stopped it with a call/grunt and I shot. It turned and ran straight into the waterhole. As I racked another round in for a followed-up shot, Craig was telling me to wait until it got out of the water. Once it exited the far side of the waterhole, it dropped. I guess Craig did not want to wade into the water to retrieve it. Each hunt had something unique about it. Lots of good fun memories made.
Let’s not forget all of the practical jokes from Pieter. I feel like we made friends for life. Tiny and Craig - you are the best. Frekkie, our driver and tracker, was also friendly and helpful along with the entire staff. Can’t wait to go back next time and take our Bows.
CODY & CHARLIE DAWN NIEMAN – Oklahoma
Animals taken: Kudu, Impala*, Blesbok* Blue Wildebeest*, Warthog*, Zebra
(Cody’s Zebra hunt as told by his PH Craig) I think Cody’s best hunt was the Zebra. We walked and stalked a few herds and even crawled to get to the skittish Zebra to get a shot. After hours of tracking Zebra, we finally caught up to a herd that had turned and were heading straight into our direction. Cody spotted them and I got Cody ready to shoot. As soon as the Zebra came into the opening and stopped, the shot went off. It was a perfect shot the Zebra went down in its tracks. This was a well-earned, hard Zebra hunt. Congratulations Cody!!
BRET MARCHAND – Louisiana
Animals taken: Sable*, White Blesbok*, Cape Buffalo*, Golden Wildebeest*, Mountain Reedbuck, Steenbok*
CHET MEDLOCK – Louisiana
Animals taken: Nyala*, Sable*, Red Hartebeest*, Cape Buffalo*, Eland*, Bushbuck*, 2 – Warthog*
RONNIE BRYANT – Louisiana
Animals taken: Impala*, 2 – Warthog*, Kudu* (52 ½”), Gemsbok, Zebra, Eland*, Blue Wildebeest*, Red Hartebeest*, Nyala*, Blesbok*
DYLAN BAGWELL – Louisiana
Animals taken: Impala*, Blesbok*, Gemsbok*, Kudu* (53 ¾”), Zebra, Red Hartebeest*,
Steenbok*, Giraffe, 2 – Warthog*