African Safari 2010  Header

Gene & Lee's African Safari
South Africa - April 28 to May 24, 2010


Introduction to our African adventure!

April 28 - Edmonton to Calgary

April 29 - Calgary to Frankfurt

April 30 - Frankfurt to Jo'burg

May 01 - Jo'burg

May 02 - Jo'burg to Livingstone

May 03 - Victoria Falls, Zambia

May 04 - Livingstone to Jo'burg

May 05 - Jo'burg to Hazyview

May 06 - Kruger National Park

May 07 - Kruger National Park

May 08 - Kruger to Pongola

May 09 - Pongola to Durban

May 10 - Durban to Cape Town

May 11 - Cape Town to Gordon's Bay

May 12 - Gordon's Bay / Gansbaai

May 13 - Gordon's Bay / Stellenbosch

May 14 - Cape Town to Jo'burg

May 15 - Jo'burg to Lephalale

May 16 - First day of hunting safari

May 17 - Second day of hunting safari

May 18 - Third day of hunting safari

May 19 - Fourth day of hunting safari

May 20 - Fifth day of hunting safari

May 21 - Sixth day of hunting safari

May 22 - Seventh day of hunting safari

May 23 - Jo'burg to Frankfurt

May 24 - Frankfurt to Calgary


Saturday, May 15th - Jo'burg to Lephalale

We were all up at 7 a.m. for breakfast at 8. At about 8:45 everyone went back to their rooms to finish up the final packing. It was a good thing because Pieter kept his word and arrived at 8:55 in Cruiser Safaris Toyota Quantum van to pick us up for the drive up to the hunting camp.

Pieter and Maggie were at the airport at 7:25 to pick up a couple of other hunters fresh in from Frankfurt that will be hunting in camp at the same time as us. Introductions all around, Quentin and Arlene Chmelyk from Fort Nelson, British Columbia and Rob Chmelyk from Grande Prairie, Alberta. Yes, it is a small world and Rob & Quentin are cousins.

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By all accounts it looks like this is going to be a mostly a Canadian hunting camp except for our booking agent Bob Clark and his wife Leesa who hail from Michigan and Bob's son Brian who is from Nebraska. By the way, we were very pleased when we learned Cruiser Bob et al were going to join us because this was the gentleman who made all of our hunting safari arrangements and to whom we've put our faith in to provide us the hunt of a lifetime.

Along the way we stopped at the town of Brits to pick up groceries and stretch our legs. We also stopped at Thabizini for a bathroom break. Finally at two in the afternoon we arrived at the lodge to be met with a cold welcome fruit juice from Delmarie, our cook, who introduced herself as Tiny.

Ushered inside the lodge we were introduced to the Professional Hunters who would be guiding, mentoring, entertaining and babysitting us for the week. There was Johan who would be Rod's PH, Craig would be hunting with Quentin and this is when we found out Pieter would be Harold's PH. My Professional Hunter Hans, would be stopping by later to introduce himself. Lizelle, the owners wife also stopped by to introduce herself.

Now we were given a tour of the lodge and grounds and assigned our rooms. The dining room, lounge area and bar are in one area that is open to the bedrooms and the pool area. Our bedroom was the first door just adjacent to the dining table. Harold and Wendy were next to us. Our luggage was delivered to our room and we unpacked and settled into our rooms.

A short while later Tiny banged the drum which was our call to lunch. Lunch was mashed potatoes, gravy and grilled pork chops. However, before we sat it was join hands around the table and say grace. Lunch was quite good and if this is indicative as to how we are going to be fed for the next week, I'd say nobody was going to leave the table hungry.

After lunch we all dug out our rifles and ammo and walked over to the rifle range to insure our rifles were still zeroed in. The rifle I opted to use on this trip was a Browning Bolt Action A-Bolt Mountain Ti (Titanium) in .300WSM (Winchester Short Magnum) with a MossyOak Breakup Bell & Carlson composite stock topped with a Leupold VX-3 3.5-10x40mm riflescope. For ammunition, I had 60 rounds of .300WSM 180 gr. Winchester Supreme Elite XP3 ammunition.

Sighting in was fine for everyone except me. After my first shot, I started flinching due to my scope being mounted too far back on the receiver. With each shot I'd make, the scope would tap my forehead. We finally got that dealt with, through the efforts of a very patient Pieter. My rifle was shooting fine so it was back to the bar to pour a drink and put our feet up for a couple of hours before dinner.

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One feature of the lodge is that the walls are covered with head mounts of trophy animals taken over the years. Some of these animals are exceptional trophies and gave us a standard of sorts that we could aspire to over the next week.

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After sighting in Rod, Quentin and Arlene jumped into a truck with their PH's and went hunting for a couple of hours before dark. Rob had a shot at a eland bull which he hit, but it managed to run with the herd and disappeared into the bush along with them. They searched till dark with no luck. Rod and Johan were going to take up the track again in the morning. Needless to say, it was a pretty dejected bunch that showed up back at camp.

At around five, Cruiser Bob and his family showed up with our host Pieter who is also the owner of Cruiser Safaris. Uh oh, our first dilemma of the safari. There are two Pieter's in camp, Pieter the owner and Pieter the professional hunter. My solution, for the purposes of this narrative, is to refer to Pieter the owner as Bwana Pieter and Pieter the Professional Hunter as PH Pieter. Problem solved. Anyways, introductions all around, a couple more drinks then the dinner drum again.

Dinner was lamb chops, sweet potato, fried potato, eggplant and a salad. Dessert was homemade lemon meringue pie. After finishing up our second excellent meal of the day and while we were enjoying an after dinner drink, my PH Hans made a brief appearance. After introducing himself, he informed me we'd be pulling out at 6:30 in the morning.

By then it was 9 p.m. and time to retire, so off to our room we went. The bed had been turned down and a hot water bottle had been placed under the covers on each sides. I jotted down some notes for an hour or so, then off to a warm bed after another very long and tiring day.

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