First ever guided hunt - South Africa

Rainer

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When it comes to flying outside of North America I refuse to fly on any of the airlines here now. Air Canada, United, American etc. the service is s**t and the flights suck. Emirates, Lufthansa, Singapore airlines and Turkish airlines i've never had any issues with them. When I was upgraded their lounges were some of the best. The seats to were nice too.
 

wllm

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When it comes to flying outside of North America I refuse to fly on any of the airlines here now. Air Canada, United, American etc. the service is s**t and the flights suck. Emirates, Lufthansa, Singapore airlines and Turkish airlines i've never had any issues with them. When I was upgraded their lounges were some of the best. The seats to were nice too.
Air Canada... 🤮 giving Spirit a run for their money as crappiest experiences in the skies.

I have had great experiences with Cathay Pacific.
 

npaden

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I haven’t had a chance to go back and read anything yet but did figure out how to put a vpn app on my phone and I was able to login to HuntTalk and check my email.

Our luggage got here Tuesday evening so right at a week after we left the house.

Everything has been great so far, we are hunting from 6:15 am to 6:15 pm (pretty much dawn to dark).

I’ve been trying to keep notes and will start this back up with a day by day with pictures when I get a chance.
 

OntarioHunter

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I gotta figure out this VPN thing. I see a switch for it in my phone's functions but it's blank. Must require setting up. Time to Google.
 

npaden

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Okay, I'm back home and had a wonderful time. I have a lot of catching up to do at work, at home and am not sure how quickly I will be able to get this updated but I will try to do it as quickly as possible. I plan on going backwards and treating it like a live day by day hunt as much as possible. I took notes and will try to follow everything in order as it happened. I don't intend to drag it out and hopefully can get several days posted back to back but I might hit some life snags and there maybe some stalls in getting it posted. I'm leaving again on another trip Friday morning so I will do my best to get it all posted by then. I tend to post a lot of detail and so we will see how it goes.
 

npaden

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From the live hunt posts, my last update was post 31 where we were on the plane headed to Johannesburg. That part of the flight actually went very well. It is a scheduled 15 hours and 50 minute flight and according to the flight tracker it was just over 8,000 miles. Everyone kept telling me I should book business class but the price to upgrade to business class was going to cost more than the price of the safari so I just couldn't pay that much. I did pay the extra $500ish each way to upgrade our long flights to premium economy and that was worth every penny. The extra 5" of legroom made a world of difference on a 15+ hour flight. Nothing else to really say about the flight, it was long. Watched some movies, slept, they served food that was edible and all that jazz.

It was interesting to watch the stats as sometimes we had a tailwind as fast as 100mph and sometimes we had a headwind close to that. We kind of flew an S pattern I'm assuming to try to use the winds to help as much as possible. Altitude ranged from 34,000' to 40,000' depending on the wind trying to use it as much to their advantage as they could. We ended up with more headwinds off the coast of Africa and were a little late arriving into Johannesburg, maybe 20 minutes or so.
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Landed close to 6 pm local time. We went through passport control and got our passports stamped which was pretty cool. I have travel to a few other countries and they didn't stamp the passport, just scanned it. They physically stamped it in South Africa.

I had my AirTags in my luggage but wasn't able to check them although I knew they were not on our flight for sure because they were still in Las Vegas when we took off so I went straight to the "baggage enquires" desk. I was 3rd in line. Things didn't look very organized and sure enough when I went to file my claim they wanted all kinds of stuff that should have been automated like paper boarding passes and we scrambled around and eventually got everything they wanted. There was 1 guy working the desk and the line was really starting to pile up behind me. I needed to fill out a form to let them know where I was staying and there was only one pen so we had to share. I finally got everything filled out although they didn't like the address that I used for where I was staying and kept telling me it was an incomplete address but it was all I had. I gave them 4 different contact numbers that they had given me and hoped it would be enough for them to get it figured out. As I left I noticed the line for "baggage enquires" had now grown to about 30 people. I was very happy I had gone straight there.

Mark was going to be picking us up and taking us to the lodge and they had texted me a picture of him back in Newark and it was a good thing because I couldn't get my phone to work at all. There was free WiFi at the airport but it needed to sent a text or email confirmation to login and for some reason my phone wouldn't get a signal. I had called AT&T earlier and they said that it would be a $10 per day charge when using the phone internationally but didn't say anything else about how to get it to work. I tried several different options and never could get it to pull a signal.

We didn't have any baggage but we spent probably 30 or 40 minutes filling out the baggage claim and by the time we are heading out of security we are over an hour later than expected with the flight being a little late as well. I couldn't check email or anything so I was just hoping Mark would still be there waiting on us. He was! That was a relief and a joy.

One other memory from the airport was all the different languages that were being spoken. I think they told me there are 7 official languages in South Africa and a lot more that are spoken as well. Most are very pretty and pleasing to hear. Almost like singing.

One other memory as I'm typing this is that when we went to go through customs we were surprised to see that there wasn't anyone to check anything. We were expecting someone to look through our bags or at least ask us some questions about anything to declare or something, but evidently they had already quit for the day. I guess we missed our opportunity to smuggle something into South Africa.

Even getting out of the parking garage was an event as for some reason the gates weren't working when you paid to leave. There was a backlog of cars that weren't able to leave the parking garage even though they had paid. There was negotiations over the intercom and finally we got out of the parking garage and headed on our way.

With a background as a British Colony they drive on the left side of the road in South Africa which starting out in Johannesburg on a divided highway wasn't that different except for the fast lane being on the right instead of the left, but as we got to smaller roads it became a little more concerning as it appeared that we were about to have a head on collision with every car that was coming straight at us before going by on the right. We stopped at a very nice truckstop with 2 restaurants (a KFC and I think the other was a Gimpy or something like that) but they were both already closed at like 9 pm so we got to sample the convenience store options which were surprisingly good. We got fried meat pies, cokes, candy, chips for 4 people and it came out to 269 rand which with exchange rates was just over $15. Cost of living in South Africa is considerably lower than the US that's for sure.

Back on the road and the roads got narrower and bumpier. Most things were closed and the traffic was very light. We went through the last major town were were going to pass through and filled up with diesel (nearly all the vehicles there are diesel it seemed) and headed on. We saw 2 Civet cats along the road, one walked by just a couple yards away so that was really neat. The last paved road had signs up that said "Potholes" for about the last 30 or 40 miles we were on it and it meant it. We turned off onto a "gravel" road, but it was pretty much just sand for the most part and some really impressive washboards. 15 miles of that sometimes as slow as 15mph so we didn't rattle off the road and we were to the gate of the property. Mark had the code for the gate and then it was another 4 or 5 miles to get to the lodge. Mark had the live tracking on his phone on so they knew we were on the way and Pieter was there to meet us when we pulled up to the lodge.

It was just after 1 am on Friday now and Mark was a contract driver but he was going to go ahead and spend the night at the lodge and then leave the next morning since it was so late. Pieter showed us our room, we discussed the next day and when we wanted to start and decided to sleep in and have breakfast at 6:30. We were here to hunt after all and we could take a nap if we were tired.

We went through the clothes that they had purchased for us based on the sizes I had sent and the underwear, socks and 1 shirt fit me, the pants they had bought for me fit Eli and the shirt that was too small for me fit him as well. The pants and shirt they bought for my wife fit and thankfully the boots they borrowed for sure and the jackets all fit. We were sufficiently outfitted to hunt!

It was after 1:30 am when we all finally crawled into bed.
 
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npaden

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Okay, hopefully I can speed this up a bit and think that I will be able to. Some of the days seemed to merge together and even in real time sometimes it was hard to remember what had happened that morning vs. the day before.

Day 1 of hunting was Friday. We all slept soundly even though the lions were roaring and I was snoring. They have about 20 lions that they keep in smaller fenced enclosures behind the lodge. They are captive raised and the pens are between 100 and 200 acres in size. They can only keep one male in each fenced area or they will kill each other but some of the larger ones have several females in them. The closest is about 200 yards from the lodge but when they are roaring it sounds like they are right outside your window. When you are out on the property you can hear them from several miles away. I didn't ever wear ear plugs and slept fine, but my wife did wear ear plugs as much for my snoring as for the lions roaring.

Breakfast was served at 6:30 and it was plenty light outside. Pretty traditional breakfast with eggs, bacon, fruit, etc. The breakfast sausages some mornings were a little different with cheese and one morning it really just seemed about like hot dogs but overall nothing exceptional one way or the other. After breakfast we loaded up the rifles on the truck and drove over to make sure they were sighted in.

My son is left eye dominant and we have always had him shoot left handed so they had a .270 left handed rifle for him to use. It was a German Blauser topped with a Redfield scope that was 6x-18x and 44mm objective. A little higher powered scope than would be ideal, but not a deal breaker.

They had a bench setup and the target was only 50 yards away and I thought they would want us to shoot off sticks so they could check our marksmanship a little as well as make sure the rifle was sighted in but they had us shoot off the bench. Evidently the rifle my son was shooting was sighted in perfectly as he center punched the bulls eye at 50 yards. Not that it is super impressive but for the first shot from a strange rifle I thought that was pretty cool.

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The rifle they gave me to use was a pre64 model 70 Winchester in .375 H&H Magnum topped with a Swarovski Z8i scope from 2.3x-18x with a 56mm objective. Not too shabby for a rental rifle! I shot a little high and to the left and he had me shoot again and it was still high but not quite as far left and was surprised that on those 2 shots he adjusted the scope down and I shot again and I was dead on vertical but still left about an inch and he adjusted the scope right a little and I asked if I needed to shoot again and he said he didn't think so but if I wanted to I could so I decided we were good. It had surprisingly little recoil and was really easy to shoot, but was a little bit on the heavy side. I asked him how much it weighed and he didn't know. I'm guessing that the rifle scope combo was pushing 11 pounds. I'm sure that the weight of the rifle helped quite a bit with the recoil and a lighter version might not be near as fun to shoot. Another interesting thing was that the magazine held 4 shells. My .300WSM only holds 3 shells so I wouldn't expect a big magnum like that to hold 4 in the magazine but it did.

Anyway, we were done sighting the guns in a little before 8 am and we were off to officially start hunting. My wife had decided that she would go with us each day and just sit in/on the truck and wait for us whenever we left the truck and went into the bush. So off we went driving the land cruiser truck with the bench platform in the bed.

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We drove around a bit and I was surprised we didn't see anything right off. The bush was a bit thick but didn't seem to bad to me. We stopped for a bit and spotted our first animal, a giraffe. This would be a recurring theme. Giraffes are by far and away the easiest animals to spot and they have quite a few of them on the property. Pieter estimated somewhere between 150 and 200 of them but I think there have to be more than that based on how many we saw a few of the days. Anyway we drove around some more and saw some more giraffes and I think he wanted to get us close to them so he drove off in their direction. As we get closer to the giraffes we see some impala. This would be another recurring theme. Seeing impala as he estimates that they have somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 impala on the property, and having other game animals using the giraffes as protective cover. The giraffes are easy to spot, but because they are so tall they can generally see over the brush and smaller trees and they can spot you pretty good too. Some of the other animals (especially zebra and impala it seemed) seem to hang around where the giraffes are and then if the giraffes get spooked and run off the other animals do to.

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Well, another recurring theme was that I found it nearly impossible to judge the impala from a trophy perspective. It seemed to me that they were all just about the same size. Sure there were a few that were obviously young like the 1 1/2 year olds, but by the time they got to 2 1/2 they looked almost the same size as the biggest ones. Pieter was always judging them both from an age perspective and from the horn size. If they had big horns but were young they were off limits. There were some older rams that didn't have big horns and those were culls. Finding a older big impala seemed more difficult that I would have expected when it was all said and done.

Anyways, back to our Day 1 hunt. We drove over near some giraffes and saw some impalas. We didn't see him or if we did see him we didn't realize it, but Pieter says "That one is a Monster". Over the course of the hunt we were able to sort through his definitions a little better, but even on the first day we figured a monster was a monster. We drive past the giraffes and down a road and probably go a good 1/2 mile before stopping. This highlights another aspect of our time hunting that was a bit trickier than I would have expected. The wind. Out of the 9.5 days we hunted we only had good consistent wind 3 of those days. Most of the other days I would consider the wind to have been "light and variable". These animals all have exceptional noses and we were constantly working to get the wind in our favor. That's why we drove 1/2 mile before we got out of the truck to begin the stalk. Eli and I got off with Pieter and Jewel our tracker drove the truck off with my wife Cathy riding in the back.
 
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npaden

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As we headed off into the bush somethings became quickly evident to me. Number 1, everything looked the same. Once you got into it 50 yards or so it just all looked the same. By this time the sun was up high enough that you couldn't use it to really tell east vs west and I hadn't really thought to get my bearings as we headed away from the truck anyway. The brush and small trees were high enough that you couldn't see over them to get your bearings on anything else if there was something you could focus on. Number 2 was that the brush was thicker than it looked from the road. Once back in there you really couldn't see much past 30 or 40 yards. There weren't really any clear lanes or anything. Every once in a while you would get to a huge opening where you might be able to see 75 yards but I'm not sure there were many times we could ever see even 100 yards.

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It became obvious that our job was simply to follow Pieter and do what he wanted us to do. We didn't have a primer course on hand gestures, but for the most part they were pretty obvious. A lowered hand facing back at us told us to stop, waved hand toward him told us to follow him, etc. There was a gesture to signify if the animals we were following were feeding, if they were walking in a certain direction, if they had run off, if they had laid down, and I'm sure some more I'm not thinking of right now, but it was our job to watch him and do what he indicated and to walk softly and quietly. Any noise would quickly result in the stink eye. One other thing that took me a few times to figure out was that when he was ducking down was about half the time to be hiding from something he was seeing ahead and he wanted to be lower, but a lot of the time it was easier to see through the brush if you were lower because the lower branches didn't have as many leaves so often he would be walking in front of us and ducking down not to hide, but to attempt to look through the brush from a different angle. The angle you were looking through the brush was critical. Many times you could be looking for an animal that he was pointing out and not be able to see if but if you stepped even 5 or 6 inches to the side you would get a better angle through the brush and be able to see it.

We continued on after Pieter and got to where the monster impala had been (according to him, I had no clue by then where we were) but they weren't there anymore. We went to where the giraffes had been and some of them were still around but they ran off since we were walking around on foot and not in the truck. We moved around and Pieter got on the track of the impalas but the wind was wrong and we tried to skirt around and get in front of them but didn't seem to have any luck. We walked around a bit more following him and feeling a little lost and then came out to a road and he called Jewel to come pick us up. They were there in no time and Cathy reported that they had seen giraffes, zebra and some gemsbok. After they dropped us off Jewel took the truck to a crossroads where they could see in 4 directions at once so that was perfect for Cathy to watch for animals. One thing we should have done in retrospect is brought a 3rd pair of binoculars so she could have had a pair to use while she was sitting in the truck.

Okay so we are back on the truck and start driving and we haven't gone more than 1/2 mile and there are the impalas that we had been looking for. We slow down and look as we drive by and this seems to be the same group. They are all rams and there are several big ones but Pieter is pretty sure that is the same group that had the monster in it. I'm pretty sure this picture was as we drove by them. If you look closely you can see some of the impala in the middle of the picture.
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This time we only drive 400 yards or so past them, get out quickly and have Jewel drive away. Sneaky! We move into the bush and start working back the way the impalas were. The wind is good and it seems like this is a slam dunk. We get close to where they were and they aren't there again. But we move a bit further and spot some of them about the time they spot us. The wind has shifted a bit and isn't that great anymore. They start snorting and it seems like the game is up, but they never do run off, just walk off. Now we are able to get on the track and start following them. I'll spend a little bit of time here talking about getting on the track. To me I've always seen "a track", or maybe "some tracks", but they are never looking at individual tracks really. They get on "THE track". It really sometimes almost seemed like magic and early on it seemed like they must be making it up and just tricking me into thinking they were "on the track". I mean sometimes we were "on the track" for miles. But Pieter said we were "on the track" of these impala and we followed them. At one point we were very close and I even caught a glimpse of one but we just couldn't seem to catch up to them and they weren't being very cooperative. After a mile or so of following them we again pop out onto a road out of nowhere (generally when I say road I mean just a 2 track like we would see out hunting in the states, a few of the main roads on the property look like they get graded every few years but most are just 2 tracks). Again a radio call and the truck is there in minutes to pick us up and it is now time for lunch. Surprisingly we are less than a mile from the lodge and are there in no time.

We are at the lodge pretty close to straight up noon. We eat an excellent hot lunch and Pieter says that we will go back out a 2:15. The travel and late night and early morning are catching up to all of us and a break sounds good. Shortly after lunch we have some excitement as word goes around that there is a kudu bull at the waterhole. There is one waterhole about 400 yards from the lodge that you can see from the lodge. We had watched some giraffes and impala come into right after lunch but a kudu bull is much more exciting. We go out and look at him through binoculars and he is a nice mature bull, but either had something wrong with his left horn or had broken part of it off. It is a good 3 or 4 inches shorter than the other side. With it being day 1 of the hunt we discuss if we should go after it right then or not and Pieter said we can wait until 2:15 and follow the track and get a better look at him and then decide. That sounds good to us and and all of us get in a short nap before 2:15 rolls around.

Instead of driving to the waterhole to start the tracking we ended up just leaving directly from the lodge. Instead of going straight after it, we cut around to another road and walk down to where it should have crossed the road. Sure enough we are able to pick up the track. From there it ended up being a pretty uneventful afternoon. We followed the track for several miles and never did catch up to it. We did see a female kudu cross the road in front of us which was neat but not exactly what we were looking for.

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Lots of things in the bush with thorns. I've been through some pretty sticky stuff but some of these things really seem like they are trying to get you.
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This was kind of a depressing afternoon. Really didn't see many animals and it was hard to feel very useful following the track. We followed the track until it got too dark around 6:15 or so and then radioed to get picked up. Total miles walked for the day was 6.2 miles.
 
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npaden

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Okay, I'm hoping that I'll get done explaining stuff and these will get a bit shorter. I exceeded the ol' 10,000 character limit on that last one and had to split it up into 2 posts.

Day 1 ended with T-Bone steaks cooked over the fire and some other good stuff to eat. I mentioned that breakfasts were pretty generic, but lunches and dinners were all fabulous.

Day 2 we started our routine. Alarm at 5:45, breakfast served at 6:00 with a goal to be getting on the truck and heading out around 6:15 or 6:20. We head off to the west this morning and just start driving. A couple miles down the road and we spot some wildebeest. They are on my list so I'm on the clock. We drive past a ways and I get out but Pieter says that Eli should get out too. We work our way over to where the wildebeests were and they know something is up. The wind is not steady at all and turns on us to make matters worse. They blow out. Pieter says there wasn't a good bull in the group anyway. It is amazing that he can tell that to me. I barely saw glimpses of them through the brush as they ran off, there's no way I could tell if there was a good bull in there or any bull for that matter. Pieter's father bought the property when Pieter was 5 and he has been full time on the property for over 20 years now. I guess he can be pretty good at it by now.

Pieter decides we should just go on a walkabout and head off into the bush with him leading the way. Not too far in and we spot a young warthog. Warthog is also on my list but he says this one isn't what we want and we just watch it a while and it finally busts us and runs off. A bit farther in and we run into a large group of impala. We keep catching glimpses through the brush and we probably spend 30 or 40 minutes watching them looking to see if there is a good ram with them. He says that usually with a group that big there is a nice ram with them but it doesn't seem like there is with this group. Eli gets some practice getting on the sticks and looking through the scope at an animal and gains some confidence that this should be doable. We are seeing way more animals than yesterday and things seem to be be looking up. After spending quite a bit of time checking out the impala we ended up walking off and coming out to a road and radioing to get picked up again.

We start driving again and as we drive by a wash area there is a lone zebra standing there maybe 20 yards from the truck. We were by it before I really even realized what it was I just saw a light colored animal but Pieter said it was a zebra and we would try to go after it. We drove on another 400 or 500 yards maybe more and got out and checked the wind and headed off on an intercept course. Checking the wind almost seemed pointless at this point to me, it was barely blowing at all. The problem was that it would suddenly pick up a bit and it always seemed to be on the back of you neck when you had some animals in front of you. We never did seem to catch up to the zebra or really even get on it's track. The wind was now bad again blowing right where we wanted to go. Back to the road and radio to get picked up. Off again to see what we can find.

One of the neat features of this property is that they have quite a few baobab trees. As we are driving I recognize one that I have seen pictures of on their website where other hunters have had their end of the safari trophy pictures taken. It is an amazing tree. Pieter said it is an estimated 3,000 years old. The picture doesn't do it justice but the trunk is at least 15' in diameter. Maybe 20'. It is massive.

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As we drive on we see a big group of impala and for sure there are some big rams in the group. They ran across the road 100 yards or so ahead of us so we back up a ways and turn the truck off. Again we head off into the bush on an intercept course and again the wind turns bad and this time we get property busted and the impalas run off. I'm beginning to think that this is not going to be a slam dunk and that these animals really aren't planning on sticking around to get shot.

Back to the truck and it is getting close to lunch. We start heading back to the lodge and spot a good warthog on the way. Shockingly it is in some thick brush and although we drove by and got the wind in our favor and it actually holds for once, the brush is too thick to see far and too noisy and the warthog busts us at probably 20 yards away and we hear him busting through the brush running away.

I ask Pieter about how many unsuccessful stalks there are on average before they get something and he said the average is probably 1 out of 4 or 5 being successful. Based on that we should be getting about due for a successful one so hopefully our luck is going to turn soon.
 
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npaden

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We get back to the lodge around noon and Pieter says we'll do the same thing and go back out around 2:15 or so to give us some down time. Lunch is some great hamburgers with homemade buns (all the bread is made from scratch) and as we are finishing this time it is zebra at the waterhole. We decide to go straight after them instead of waiting to follow a track like we did the day before so the scramble is on. Zebra is on both of our lists, but it is near the top of Eli's list so I let him have first crack at this one. Eli had been about to take a nap so there is a scramble for shoes and we are off. We make a brisk pace behind some brush to get closer to the waterhole with Pieter popping out occasionally to see what is going on ahead of us. By the time we get close enough, all the zebra except one are gone but Pieter says the one that is left is the stallion.

Pieter sets up the sticks and Eli is on them and having a hard time finding the zebra in the scope. Pieter moves the sticks and Eli over a bit to get a better angle. Everyone is extremely amped up including Pieter. I'm pretty shocked at how excited he seems. The stallion is still there but it is facing directly away from us and there is a tree in the way as well. We watch it swish it's tail back and forth on either side of the tree. Eli is on the sticks and working hard to be steady. We've practiced shooting from the sticks at home at clay pigeons but it is a whole different story when a live animal is in the scope. The zebra starts to turn and walk away. He is not going to stop. We are about 100 yards away maybe a bit more which is easily in Eli's range and Pieter says shoot and the gun goes off. We hear a definite hit and the zebra is gone. Pieter had his video camera going and I videoed with my phone as well. Everyone is stoked and congratulations are given all around. If you look very closely in this picture you can see the zebra on the right side of the picture to just left of the tree closest to us.

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We move up to where the zebra was at the shot and start looking for blood. We look some more and don't find any. Pieter has the track and we start following the track and about 20 or 30 yards and we find our first blood. The concerning thing is that it is a single drop. We follow the track some more and the blood doesn't get any better. We seem to be able to find a single drop about every 20 or 30 yards but that's it. It is amazing to me that we are even finding blood at all. I learn something new on finding blood in sand where you see the drop of moisture in the sand and then pick it up and rub it in your fingers to see the blood. We follow the rack maybe 400 or 500 yards continuing to find small drops of blood and Pieter decides we should probably stop or we are going to risk pushing him. We review his video footage and the shot seems like it is too far back. We decide to wait for at least an hour before continuing the track.

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Waiting for a while before going back after it.
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Pieter has some dogs that are some mixed up breeds that he told me but I don't remember. One of them is bloodhound and all of them are scent and tracking type dogs. We start out the morning with the dogs in the back of the truck on leashes. They are very well behaved but I wasn't sure why we didn't just go get them right off to help find the zebra. He asked me now if I minded if he used the dogs or not. I told him that's what I thought they were for and I didn't mind. By now things were getting a bit later and it was nearing 4:30 so about an hour and a half maybe a bit longer before dark. They brought out the dogs Baba is the brown one and Samuel is the white and black one. Starting out they kept them on a leash but after they decided they were on the scent from following the track a while they let them loose. They would run ahead sniffling and then circle back and check with Pieter and then go on ahead again. They bayed a few times and I was hopeful that they were onto something. Jewel the tracker was staying on the track but there were several zebras that had been in and out of the area and it was getting tricky to keep up with the correct track. Factor in the limited blood and it wasn't really looking good. The tracks split up with a single zebra going north and the rest staying south. We kept after the group but noted the single track where it crossed a road so that if needed that track could be followed up on.

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This was the weekend so Pieters sons were not at school. This is Lood (pronounced Lo-id) who LOVES to be out in the bush. He started out wearing his shoes but about halfway through decided to quit wearing them and started carrying them instead. Here we are wearing boots and still complaining about all the pokey and scratchy stuff and a 7 year old kid is walking around barefoot!
CA1777F9-8608-4A41-8784-1084974C41E4.jpeg We kept after the track the rest of the day until it got too dark. Right as it was getting dark we heard 2 groups of zebras calling back and forth to each other in front of us. We went to follow and sure enough there was a giraffe right where we wanted to go. We skirted around the giraffe trying not to spook it but by the time we got around it, it was too dark to continue. Pieter had gone back to get the truck and we waited for him. The sunset that evening may have been the prettiest sunset I've ever seen in my life and I've seen some amazing sunsets. There wasn't a cloud in the sky but the entire sky was red and beautiful. As we headed back to the road the giraffe that we had skirted around was still there with the sunset behind it making it even neater.
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It was a bummer that we hadn't found the zebra, but we were still on the track and hopeful. Based on the video footage it looked like it was a dead zebra, it was just going to take a bit for it to realize it.

Total miles walked for the day was 8.5 miles. We covered a lot more miles on the truck than yesterday but ended up with more miles on foot as well.
 
Last edited:

npaden

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Okay, I'm still too wordy and had to split that one up as well. I switched to large size on the photos as the medium is just not going to do the rest of these pictures justice I don't think.

One more thing on Day 2 was that when Pieter went back to the truck he saw a pangolin which is evidently rare and unusual for even him to see. He was close to the truck when he saw it and made my wife go check it out and even pet it.
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Dinner was impala tenderloin and bushbuck. Both were very good. I think I liked the impala better by a very slim margin but I think the impala was tenderloin and the bushbuck was backstrap.
 

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