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


Wednesday, May 19th - Fourth day of hunting safari

Gene's Day - Today is Lee and my 37th wedding anniversary and what a great place to be celebrating it. It was up at 5 for a 5:45 start as Hans and I were heading for the hills and kudu. Lee got up with me, had a coffee then back to bed. The Clark's, Lee, Wendy and Bwana Pieter were planning on a field trip for some sightseeing and shopping a little later in the morning.

Leaving camp Hans, Freckie and I drove for 45 minutes to Lepalale, which is the home of the largest power generating station in South Africa. A few miles more and we turned off into the property we were going to hunt for the day. We stopped at the farmhouse and announced our presence before proceeding to hunt. A bit of an observation on farmstead dogs in Limpopo province , South Africa. Every farm has a compliment of at least 2 or 3 Jack Russell's. Feisty little buggers.

We spotted a kudu bull right off after entering the property, but he disappeared before we could properly react. We travelled on a little further and came across another bull, this one was with a few cows. We did a thirty minute stalk up into the hills on this bull but because Hans forgot his ear plugs, the bull heard me and gave us the slip. We called in the truck, jumped aboard and continued on.

Just before 10:00, two cow kudu and a bull crossed the trail in front of us. As we drove forward they crossed back at a run. Hans told me he had a plan. He had Freckie drive us a few hundred yards up the trail and around the top of the bush they ran into. Freckie then dropped us in a twenty acre clearing between that bush and a far one. Then Freckie took the truck back to where we had first seen them to keep the kudu from doubling back.

On foot, Hans and I started to move into the clearing. We hadn't gone 20 yards when the two cows broke into the opening 100 yards ahead of us on the dead run for the other side. The bull busted out right behind them. Hans just had time to set up the shooting tripod before the cows disappeared into cover on the far side. I got my rifle settled on the rest and led the bull with the crosshairs just past his nose. I quickly asked Hans if he thought the bull might stop and when I didn't get an immediate answer, I touched off my shot. Still on the run the bull disappeared into the bush. No time for a second shot.

Hans asked me if I thought I hit him. I said I didn't think so because the bull didn't react at all when I shot. Hans never saw a reaction either. Regardless, we walked up to where they had disappeared into the bush and Hans immediately found their tracks, and a spot of blood. His eyes lit up with that discovery and he got a big grin on his face when he found a big spray of blood just inside the trees. We started through the bush and hadn't gone ten yards when I looked to my right and there was the bull piled up 20 yards away.

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Now there were two very, very happy guys. Hans was sure I had missed or at best wounded him because of my miss on the waterbuck the day before. I was thinking the same. How's that for confidence? Hans just shook his head during the 20 minutes of high-fives and pictures. I had hit the bull 2 inches behind the shoulder halfway up the body, a perfect shot on a running kudu at 100 yards. Best part was that the horns measured out at 56" with heavy bases, another record book trophy!

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Freckie drove the truck right in. As he was getting out to join us, Hans said he was going to ask him how long he thought the horns were. Freckie walked up, took a cursory look and without hesitation said,"56 inches". I've gotta say, these guys are good … every one of them.

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After we got the kudu loaded into the back, we started back and arrived at camp at about 11:30. Harold had just gotten back from a morning hunting waterbuck in the concession I had been hunting yesterday. No waterbucks. Quentin pulled up 15 minutes later with another 56" kudu bull he had dropped in a mountain concession which was fairly close to where I was. We were just missing Rod, who had also headed for the mountains to chase kudu.

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Had lunch and some quiet time before going out again at 2:30. The girls still weren't back from their field trip. For the afternoon we went back to the railroad track concession to have another go at waterbuck. At 3:00 we spotted a bachelor herd of four with one big one. We chased them around on foot through the tangles for 45 minutes before they finally heard us (me) and bolted for parts unknown. We jumped back on the truck but after 15 minutes driving down the trail, Hans decided we should go after the bachelor herd again. After an hour of no sightings Hans called in Freckie and we decided to call it a day. Harold pulled in just after 5:30 having had no luck during the afternoon hunt.

Harold's Day - Nothing to report today.

Lee's Day - I had breakfast with Bob, Leesa, Brian, Wendy and Bwana Pieter at 9:30. At about 10:30 we all got into the van to go shopping and visit a rhino sanctuary in the town of Vaalwater, about an hour away. On the way a large group of baboons ran across the road and there were baboons everywhere.

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When we arrived in Vaalwater we stopped at a small shopping centre to ask directions to the rhino sanctuary. Bwana Pieter was told the sanctuary was closed and all the baby rhinos had been killed. He was very upset. Therefore it was shopping for the rest of the day.

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The first store we stopped at in the shopping centre was full of camo clothes and a small selection of camping equipment. I found some very nice knives and when I told Wendy she replied that Harold would have to be there to select one. So, no knives. Next store had mostly kids clothes so it was in and out.

Then we found a store with a large selection of souvenirs and I found a ceramic bowl with flakes of rhino horn embedded in the pattern which I really liked. I showed it to Leesa and Bob converted the asking price to about $3,000.00 USD. That was a little too rich for my liking. Nothing else in the store got my attention. There also was a grocery store and Bwana Pieter bought some supplies.

We left that store and the next place we stopped was a souvenir store called Curios. There were a lot of nice things in that store. They had a lot of masks but not as nice as the ones we saw at Out of Africa at the airport. I bought a ceramic dish with a zebra drinking out of it and a straw woven basket in the shape of a vase. There were also some nice canes but the one I thought Gene might like was a little too short.

When I was done I waited outside for the others to finish shopping. Wendy ended up buying some paper napkins, Brian bought stuffed animals for his kids and Bob bought Leesa a beautiful cream color vase with giraffes on it in a background of green. It was quite a large vase and was going to take up about half a regular suitcase.

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While waiting outside I got to talking to Bwana Pieter who is quite the prankster. He suggested that we tell the others that I had bought this huge wooden hippo for Gene as an anniversary gift and that everyone would have to help him get it into the van. However, he got a phone call and the prank was forgotten.

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Next we stopped for lunch which was Cruiser Bob's treat. As we were having lunch along came some free roaming donkeys. They would look both ways before crossing the street. It was amazing. Next we stopped at a pharmacy so Wendy could get some allergy medication. Then Bwana Pieter had to stop at the bank where we saw a herd of cattle roaming the town.

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We then headed for home and everyone dozed on and off on the way. We got home at 3:45.

Back At The Ranch - We were the first ones back at just after 5:30. Harold pulled in a few minutes later having had no luck during the afternoon hunt either. Quentin & Arlene weren't far behind with an empty truck as well. The only one missing was Rod who had been in the mountains looking for kudu.

But just after 7, Rod and Johan arrived with a 50" kudu. The reason they were so late was Rod waited till 5:30 to pop him. No matter, three for three today for the kudu hunters. Better yet, all four kudu hunters in camp had scored a minimum 50" kudu. Awesome to say the least.

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Supper was fabulous again, pork spare ribs, fries and onion rings. Lot's of anniversary good wishes from everyone and even champagne and a fruit platter in our room when we retired for the night. What a great bunch of people!

Caught up on my notes until 10, then off to bed.

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