Welcome to the 2021 newsletter. 2020 was our 25th anniversary and everyone knows what happened to that year. Since there were no clients, the time was spent to build several new water holes, new blinds and upgraded some of the roads. The breeding herds expanded and required moving some of them to our other properties. Our chef DelMarie had an operation and has now made a full and complete recovery.
This year there was still a lot of apprehension over international travel, however we hosted several hunters who all had extremely successful safaris with the only new requirement being obtaining negative COVID tests. No one had any problems at all, either arriving or departing, and as you will see from the posted hunters’ pictures, they all were very happy and comfortable during their stay. Other than the tests many new memories were made and the usual exuberance of taking an African trophy every day always ended with the excited conversations of what had happened followed by a relaxing evening with an outstanding meal and the dreams of what the next day will bring. During 2021 we also set 2 new biggest at Cruiser Safaris records, a 49 ½” Sable and a 5 5/8” Steenbok.
Pieter & Lizelle’s son Christiaan graduated from high school and will be studying as a Millwright. Our PH Rudolph and his wife are expecting their second baby. Congratulations! And a special shout out to Pieters' father who turned 96 and is still going strong!
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.
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. Since the “pandemic” hit there has been a huge growth of “Trolls” on social media. In order to protect our clients from these unwanted remarks and views we are now just limiting everyone’s name to just their first name. Also, we will no longer list where they are from. I hope everyone enjoys this 2021 edition of Cruiser Safaris newsletter.
NOTE: The * behind the animal indicates that it qualified for the record book.
APRIL – JULY
Animals taken: 2 – Kudu* (50” & 54”), Warthog*, Sable*, Waterbuck*
NOTE: Rusty was the first hunter we had since the pandemic. He encountered no problems in his travels and was so comfortable with the way everything went he has already booked a return safari for 2022.
John and Lisa
Animals taken: Eland*
Animals taken: Blue Wildebeest*, Eland (f)
Animals taken: Impala*, Gemsbok*, Kudu* (51”), Warthog*
Animals taken: Impala*, Warthog*, Kudu, Gemsbok*
After an extra year of waiting thanks to the pandemic, an extra set of RT tickets to South Africa thanks to a defunct South African Airways, and more than enough paperwork, questionnaires, testing, and airline/CBP escapades, the trip was finally executed. This was trip #5 to Cruiser’s for me and #2 for the whole family. My wife Lisa, and two daughters, Amanda & Sarah (now 22 & 19), had previously experienced Cruiser’s in 2013. We booked with Bob in May of 2019 for this trip and had been anticipating ever since. The girls had hunting packages and I was a “casual” observer. This year’s trip also included a very special person in Amanda’s world – Jack. This was a new experience for him. We arrived later in the day than normal, but Cruiser’s accommodated airport collection and transport. Pieter PH, did the honors. The ride from the airport to the camp was different this time. No lingering and only one pit stop. We were greeted by Tiny & Pieter late in the evening. All good and back home – literally for me! It was great to be back. Tiny had prepared some late-night snacks and had everything ready with our chalets. Jack was noticeably impressed by the accommodations we were to be subject to for the week ahead. The rest of us were familiar.
This trip, I brought a .30-06 and a 6.5x284 Norma (FYI – SAPS doesn’t recognize the caliber, so call it a 6.5mm if you bring one – long story at the SAPS office) for my daughters to use. After a short night’s sleep, I sighted the rifles in quickly in the am with Pieter L. and Pieter F. Then the girls and Jack lobbed a couple shots each into the target from the shooting sticks to gain the confidence of our hosts before setting out into the bush.
Day 1 - Amanda & Jack were guided by Pieter F. for this trip with Munsu driving and tracking. I went out with Sarah and Pieter Lamprecht on the first day of hunting. Johannes was our driver and tracker. This was my first experience hunting with Pieter. It was obvious he enjoyed PH duties. He was a master.
Not sure what we set out for initially. I believe gemsbok. But no matter. In our quest, we of course ran into many other potential objectives that piqued our interest and we obliged by stalking. All seemed to have had help from the wind and other species. After a couple hours of unsuccessful stalks, we came across a small herd of eland cows. I suggested that Sarah break the suspense with a female eland should we get the opportunity. We pursued only to have or mission busted by the swirling winds as Sarah had the rifle across the sticks waiting for a clear shot. No matter, we almost immediately came across a nice warthog who stayed in an opening for a couple seconds too long. One shot with the 6.5x284 and it was picture time and the ice had been broken. We loaded the pig onto the truck and Pieter had us continue on foot heading upwind. It wasn’t long before we had covertly (ducked and crawled) snuck up on a herd of impala. The dominant ram was preoccupied with running off the younger rams and pursuing the females. We watched from our vantage point for nearly 30 minutes before they settled down and a shot presented itself. Sarah was impatiently waiting on the sticks for some time but delivered a good shot when necessary.
Animals taken: Sable*, Bushbuck*, Eland*, Warthog*, Gemsbok*, Impala*
Animals taken: Sable*, White Blesbok*, Golden Wildebeest*, Nyala*, Steenbok*, 2 - Waterbucks*, Black Impala*, Zebra, Impala*, Warthog*, Eland*
Animals taken: Blue Wildebeest*, 2 – Gemsbok*, Impala*,Kudu*, Blesbok*, Sable*, Zebra, 2 – Warthogs*, Black-Backed Jackal
(Duane) OK, so let’s start at the beginning, sometime in 2018 or maybe 2019, three cousins, Craig, Mark & Duane decided they should go to South Africa for a hunt. Duane had twice previously hunted in South Africa at Cruiser Safari’s… Craig had hunted once with a different outfitter and Mark has not previously been to Africa. Plans were initially made for a hunt in July of 2020…. But as you know, the Wohan Black Plaque put dampers on many plans that year and the hunt was pushed to July of 2021.
The following will be a day-by-day summary of some highlights of the hunt. Most of you probably know who Murphy is…. The guy that believes if anything can go wrong, it will and at the worst possible moment. Murphy did participate in our trip, but overall, it was a great success. Some in our group may have set a new record for the most animals shot on one hunt.
In the week leading up to our hunt, there was some political problems happening in South Africa resulting is some rioting and killings. Although some thought we should again delay the hunt, we ultimately decided to go for the gold.
1. Day 1 (Travel) 13 July 2021: Craig and Mark flew to Chicago and then on to Newark, NJ, arriving late afternoon. Murphy’s initial participation played a role in getting the corona virus test that was required within 72 hours of flying and Mark looking for keys that locked his gun case. Duane flew out of Dulles airport and landed in Newark, NJ a short time after Mark and Craig arrived. Our international flight was scheduled to depart at 8:45PM that evening.
2. Day 2 (Travel). Although we departed on this flight about 30 minutes late, we arrived on time at 5:45 PM 14 July 2021 in Johannesburg, South Africa. We had gained six hours on the clock and the flight was about 15 hours. We stood in line a bit for the passport check, grabbed our suitcases, the customs/agriculture check was not operating so we walked into the lobby and found the PH (Pieter) waiting to pick us up. In the past I had spent the night at the Afton Guest House and was picked up by the outfitter then next morning, but the Afton was full so the outfitter picked us up for the 4 hour drive to the hunting camp….. now of course we needed to stop next at the customs/police to get out gun permit. I think 5 guys were in there when we arrived. The other guys were cleared rather quickly…. The 3 of us then waited about two hours to get cleared… Don’t ask me why, but I hear it happens from time to time. I think we hit the road in a Van about 8PM and arrived in camp just after midnight. They had a light meal for us and we hit the rack.
3. Day 3 (Hunt Day 1). 15 July: As I recall we slept in a bit and had breakfast about 9 AM, then went to the range to test fire the guns. Duane was shooting a .338 Win Mag, Mark a 300 Win Short Mag and Craig was the big gun with a 375 H&H. Mark was assigned Pieter as his PH. Pieter was the guy that picked us up at the airport. Craig was assigned a PH named LJ and Duane was assigned a PH named Munsu (nickname). We each had a Toyota Landcruiser and tracker/driver assigned as well. We were all assigned to properties relatively close to the lodge, so we returned about 12:30 for lunch. Mark was first to score and had a Wildebeest in the truck when he returned for lunch. The afternoon became more exciting for all. We eat wild game for most meals… food was good. Hot water bottles in the beds at night was a nice touch.
Animals taken: Eland*, Sable*, White Blesbok*, Nyala*
Animals taken: Sable*, Golden Wildebeest*, Kudu, White Blesbok*, Black Impala*, Gemsbok*, Steenbok*
AUGUST – OCTOBER
Animals taken: Sable*, Black Impala*, Steenbok*
Animals taken: Eland*, Steenbok*, Blue Wildebeest*, Gemsbok*, Blesbok*, Impala*, Black-Backed Jackal
(Tom) You can’t beat Cruiser’s because of the people, the animals were great, but the people were better.
Animals taken: Waterbuck*, Sable*, Zebra, 5 – Warthogs, Impala*
Animals taken: White Blesbok*, Sable*, Nyala*, Zebra, Waterbuck*, Warthog*
Had the best hunt and travel experience ever. This was my 3rd time to South Africa to hunt and I’ve never had a better experience or made such good friends as I have this trip, Thanx.
Animals taken: Impala*, Gemsbok*, 2 – Kudu* (51” & 56 5/8”), Warthog*
Animals taken: Kudu* (56 5/8”), Warthog*
Animals taken: Impala*, Gemsbok*, Kudu* (53 ½”)
(Chris) The number one animal on my list was to get my dad (John) his Kudu. We hunted for his Kudu for 2 and half days across 3 different properties until we finally caught up with a willing participant in the river bottoms nearby. After Rudolph spotted the Bull about 300 yards away, we made stalk on the animal and when the time came my dad made a perfect shot that resulted in the animal going less than 50 yards before collapsing down a small embankment. After a quick track and recovery my dad laid his hands on the horns for the first time. At that moment a 62 year long, dream became a reality! To have been a part of this with my date who is now 74 years old is a moment I will cherish forever!
(John II) Well since the Kudu was at the top of my list it seemed like I was hunting him for 5 days until the opportunity finally presented itself. On that particular day we were spotting and stalking through the bush that morning when I had the opportunity to take an Impala that we spotted and then stalked through the bush! We then began our hunt for the Kudu and spotted several mature Bulls that we stalked through the bush but the Grey Ghost managed to disappear every time. Then around 16:40 we spotted 2 young Bulls, then as if a magician had said abracadabra a large mature bull stepped out from behind the bush! I had learned from my previous 4 days that time was of the essence and he would only give me a few seconds for the shot. I was already locked onto the Kudu when Munsu asked me if I saw him and I replied yes. As the words came out of his mouth “shoot”, I squeezed off the round and sent the 180gr Nosler bullet down range to its target which made a direct hit to the vitals. The Kudu walked approximately 30 yards before it was down. When we walked up on him, I was completely amazed at his beauty and size!!! I was elated to have finally secured my trophy that I had hunted so hard for the previous days! It was certainly an experience I will never forget as long as I live!!!
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