After an early start to the season, with hunts during January and February, March saw the traditional start of our season in the East Cape. The bar had been set high during those first two months of the year, with record-breaking trophies dominating a number of fabulous experiences.


As March rolled by we were caught in the grips of a heat wave to be followed by a couple of wet weeks as the last summer rains affected a number of our hunts. Our hunters were however not complaining as daily showers gave some rest bite from the hot summer days.

As is the norm during the early season when the days are longer and hotter, and the nights shorter, one has to wake much earlier each day, as to reach the desired areas to make the most of the cool early mornings and late afternoons. By 9am each morning most of your bush-dwellers would disappear until late afternoon, with only plains dwelling game being an option during the hot hours of the day.

It may have been the heat, combined with timely showers of cool rain that saw our hunters excel out in the field, or simply the fact that most of the areas had not been hunted since September/October last year, but whatever the variants, the results speak for themselves.


Not only were exceptional trophies hunted, but more so was the pleasing sight of smiles around the bar in the evening with the story of the hunt far outweighing any trophy taken on a particular day. It has been our goal at John X Safaris over the course of the past five years to maintain an above average trophy quality, but as importantly to create the experience that sees our hunters relaying stories of their adventures for many years to come. It is after all in the experience where memories are made.

Eric, Kristie, Hunter, and Kasey Arnette, were the first arrivals of March. They joined Professional Hunters, Carl van Zyl and Greg Hayes, as they returned on their third trip back at John X Safaris. Eric had hunted a number of species in the East Cape on previous hunts, but had started a new-found addiction for the Tiny 10.

For Hunter, as per usual with this remarkable young man, the choices are never straight forward when it comes to his specie selections, and the strangest game always interests him. For Kristie it was to be a special trip, she had for long expressed an interest in hunting an old Giraffe bull, and for the most we were focused on achieving just that. Kasey came along for the adventure, always proving to be a bundle of fun with a smile never far below the surface.

As is the case with many of our returning hunters, the safari deviated from the beaten track and followed an interesting course of its own into new and unchartered territory along the Wild Coast. Greg had headed up the scouting in the off-season, to be joined by Carl and Trish a couple of days prior to the hunt.

The area proved to be breath-taking, the game we hunted and spotted was of exceptional quality, but more than anything – the characters we met have been etched into our memories forever! Thanks Cecil for all the great laughs each day!

From the Wild Coast we once again returned to the Karoo – a family favorite from past safaris. It was here that Hunter got the opportunity on his long-awaited Kudu, and Eric impressed with some impressive mountain scrambling for his Klipspringer. It’s not often that one attempts a Klipspringer after five in the afternoon – if ever someone could do it, it would be Eric. A great ram and even better hunt!

Leaving the Karoo with what we came for we headed back south to Lalibela. The remainder of our trip would be split in two with a couple of days hunting, combined with a final weekend down on the beach at Kenton-on-Sea. Hunter finally got his number one priority – an Ostrich, while Eric continued on his quest for the Tiny 10 with a super Blue Duiker.



While the boys might have been dominating in numbers, it was Kristie who came in with quantity. A Giraffe had been our priority – and what a beauty it turned out to be!

Our last few days with the Arnette’s was spent at the beach enjoying a relaxing end to our hunt. It had once again been a great adventure with close friends enjoying the privilege of having our kids spend time together on vacation.

Mid-March saw the Arnette’s heading back to Texas, and the rest of us starting off on safari down in the Cape with the arrival of the Skelly’s, Matson’s, and Kruvant’s. The group arrived in Cape Town, where they were met by Freewalker Luxury Tours, guided by owner/operator, Murray Luscombe.

From the slopes of Table Mountain, to the heart of the wine country, and along the Garden Route to Port Elizabeth – All this and more made for one fun tour. No stone was left unturned or pit-stop missed as the group meandered along down the coast. The food was superb, the scenery a treat and the wine plentiful – what more could one ask for on vacation?


With a week of touring and R&R behind them the group settled into the next leg of their safari – hunting started in earnest, and the photographers made the best of some great photographic opportunities.

For Paul and Melissa Matson, and Professional Hunter, Greg Hayes, the safari that had started out so well only kept getting better. A number of great trophies, including Blesbuck, Impala, Springbuck, Bushbuck, and Gemsbuck, were taken, but nothing could prepare them for their spiral festival. The quality of both their East Cape Kudu, and Nyala, was some of the best to date this season – with our personal favorite being Paul’s massive Kudu.


Paul’s magnificent Nyala hunted in pristine habitat along the coast.


The Kudu that had heads turning - what a beauty!

The Kudu that had heads turning – what a beauty!

Robert Kruvant, together with Professional Hunter, Ross “Stix” Hoole, had set their sights on an East Cape Kudu, with anything extra being an unexpected bonus. They worked hard for their bull, coming up close on two prior occasions, finally getting the right opportunity to make a telling shot. An Impala too crossed their path before the end of their hunt, but not before Robert’s wife, Melinda, had joined the men for a day out in the field – the scenery proved to be spectacular.

For Tom and Dianne Skelly, their safari turned out to be harder than most. Having arrived in Cape Town and enjoyed two days of touring, they received the sad news of the passing of Tom’s mother. They dully returned to the US to be with family and friends, only to return the following week to join the rest of their friends in Africa. They were lucky enough to reschedule their flights and make it back prior to the entire group completing their safari, thereby spending time together on their long-awaited African hunt.

Our condolences once again goes out to the entire Skelly family – To Tom and Dianne, we hope we turned a period of mourning into a comfortable one through the experiences created at John X Safaris. We enjoyed having you and hope you enjoyed your hunt – from what we could gather you sure did enjoy your stay.

To Robert, Tom, and Paul – Congratulations on a fine selection of trophies. You all worked hard and deserved every inch of success you achieved. Melissa, Melinda, and Dianne, the adventurous traveling spirits – It’s not often that three ladies take on Cape Town, Lalibela, and Victoria Falls on the same safari. We bet you had a blast! It was great having you, we can’t wait for 2016!

Currently we’re on the back-end of a number of safaris, enjoying a memorable “Reunion Hunt” with some old friends from 2001, as well as having the Stark’s and Penney’s out on their first hunt with John X Safaris. Later in the week sees the arrival of the Nelsen brother’s and Schneider’s, as they too join us for their first African experience.

Until next time – Keep hunting, and we’ll keep doing what we do best…

Creating world-class experiences with a lot of fun along the way!

Creating world-class experiences with a lot of fun along the way!

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our Website!




Contributed by Chris Petersen, A confessed safari and photography addict.

Be forewarned, this is NOT a short story.  It has become almost an epic tale of an unbelievable safari adventure that is told to all who will listen.  It is about a magnificent trophy hunt … but it is more about all the incredible experiences that collectively make up what is simply called a “safari”.  It is also about a John X Safaris PH, who turned into one of my closest friends on this planet.   I hope that my story can begin to capture the experience for those of you who have been on safari … and to create a burning desire for those planning your first safari adventure.

I’ve never met anyone going on their first safari saying:  “I’m going after the small stuff”.  Like most first timers, visions of Kudu and Gemsbok filled my first safari dreams.  I had the good fortune of having Carl van Zyl from John X Safaris as my PH to help me earn my Kudu and Gemsbok.

On that first hunt, he also introduced me to the challenges of hunting South Africa’s national animal.  After chasing black, white and common Springbok on the open plains of the Karoo, that was about as small a target as I ever wanted to hunt in that big open country.  Some humbling misses made me appreciate the Karoo and Springbok!

Like many, both my wife and I were bitten by the safari bug and literally had to return the next year to celebrate our 35th Anniversary.  After her Zebra and Black Wildebeest the first year, my wife added a fine Hartebeest, Blue wildebeest and an Ostrich. I then decided to go even bigger with an amazing Giraffe hunt, followed by a beautiful Nyala.  Our second, supposedly “last” safari ended with an unexpected Bushbuck, which looked very small at 300 yards in the scope.

I ended up returning to Africa two years later with my brother and a close friend on a special photo safari.  But when you have 3 Eastern Cape Spiral horns, you discover that you need to complete the “spiral grand slam” of the Eastern Cape.  Again, John X Safaris and Carl provided an amazing hunt for a magnificent old “blue” Eland bull.  When you realize how big an Eland actually is, and you already have a Giraffe and many plains game filling your trophy room, it’s about the time that a sane hunter starts to ask questions … what else is there to hunt?  More importantly, where will I put the trophies?

Over the camp fire while toasting success on the Eland, I posed the “I have no more trophy space” dilemma to Carl.  He immediately said, “my friend I need to introduce you to the Tiny 10”.  By my third safari I was reading the John X Safari blog and I remember Carl’s article about the Tiny 10.  I knew that these species were the “small stuff” … literally the smallest members of the 27+ species of antelope in Africa.

Maybe it was by the 3rd (or was it the 4th?) glass of wine, or maybe it was the late night, but when Carl started rattling off the names of the Tiny Ten, they all sounded exotic.  But one specie in particular stood out from the crowd … the Blue Duiker.  It is the smallest of the South African antelope weighing in at a whopping 4 kgs … that’s just over 8 pounds for a monster!  After shooting an Eland weighing in at almost a ton, I decided then and there I wanted to hunt the smallest of the Tiny Ten and capture a “Monster Blue”.

There is a very good reason that you hunt with a top quality outfit like John X Safaris.  You quickly learn that trophy Blue Duiker are not found just anywhere.  John X Safaris has millions of acres of hunting concessions, but you also need at top outfitter that knows where the trophies are.  You need an outfit like John X Safaris and a PH like Carl who has the relationships with well managed land, with strict quotas for quality trophies.  Well that meant some serious planning, which meant another safari … perfect!

What started as a lively discussion and education on the Tiny Ten around the Eland campfire, turned out to be a safari that was 3 years in the making.  I came to learn Blue Duikers are not only very small, they inhabit the really dense stuff … I mean thickets so thick that a big guy like me could never get through.  One of the reasons hunters don’t think about Blue Duikers is that you rarely ever see them!   So how in the world do you hunt them?

If you watch the hunting shows on the American sports channels, you might possibly have seen a Duiker hunt.  In fact Mike Rogers from SCI was filmed on a Blue Duiker hunt with John X Safaris.  Like most Duiker hunts, Mike and his PH stood by a trail in dense cover waiting for the Jack Russel Terriers and trackers to “push” the Blue Duikers past their position.  Rogers made an amazing “wing shot” with his shotgun on a streak of blue to get his Duiker.  And as I recall, it was a top trophy with horns exceeding 1 inch!  With Blue Duikers you have a whole new appreciation for the specie, and what constitutes a real trophy.

I have absolutely nothing against hunting with dogs in any way.  I have hunted with dogs for other species.  Dogs have been hunting with man since they joined at the campfire.  It is not an ethical issue for me at all.  For me it was a question of the quality of the hunting experience I was looking for.

I grew up as a North American whitetail hunter.  One of the absolute joys of the hunt for me is being able to see the animal in their habitat, study their moves, and have the time to determine if you will take the trophy.  I tried to explain this to Carl, and as a true sportsman, I thought he understood.

My quest for a “Monster Blue” was interrupted by another safari.  We were hosting Randy and Cherie DeFreece on their first John X Safaris hunt.  Of course we had to make a trip to the magnificent Karoo where they had their dream hunts for Kudu and Gemsbok.  I would refer you to the John X blog posts on “Catching a Ghost” and “She Safari” to get a feel for amazing Kudu and Gemsbok hunts.

During this Karoo safari I developed some severe back issues, and it was clear that I would not be doing any climbing, or even much walking.  Since Carl and John X Safaris practically live in the Karoo during hunting season, he was crafty enough to put me in a valley to take a wonderful Klipspringer without a painful walk.  He then guided my wife to a wonderful Steenbok.   Now that we had two of the Tiny Ten … we were definitely hooked.

The discussion about Blue Duikers continued over the course of the next two years.  Carl is a master PH … and it turns out that he listens extremely well.  He finally said, “Come back on safari for your “Blue”.  I’ve been scouting for three years and I have finally found a concession where we can hunt Blue Duiker from a ground blind.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it … both you and I will absolutely enjoy it.  In fact, we should be able to film the whole thing.”

As it turned out, the concession was literally by the ocean near Kenton-on-Sea where Carl’s parents live.  The concession is carefully managed and imposes strict quotas and hunting standards.  One first scouts for “middens” … small mounds of dung that the males use to mark their territories.  You then know where to set up in prime Duiker habitat.  Like Whitetail Deer, they actually use trail cameras to study Duiker movements and patterns.

A typical Blue Duiker midden.

A typical Blue Duiker midden.

After finding a prime location, they then build a very small watering hole.  Duiker definitely come to drink.  But, the water and some surrounding feed are prime ways to attract Vervet Monkeys.  Why are monkeys important?  Duikers tend to feed primarily on forage that drops to the forest floor.  Since the monkeys are always dropping left overs from forest canopy above, Duikers tend to follow the Monkeys.


As it turned out on our 2013 safari, we had brought some very close friends.  We had been touring with them, and even went Waterfowl hunting.  We also wanted to be with them as they took their first African trophies.  So we were down to just a couple of days for the Duiker hunt.  To say that I was anxious would be an understatement.  There would no room for error … I only hoped that the setup was as good as my PH described.

The morning of the hunt could best be described as an early fall Whitetail hunt.  We got up well before dawn, and made our way carefully down the trails.  The major difference was you could hear the waves of the Indian Ocean rolling in on the shore in the distance.

I was given explicit instructions about not spreading any scent and keeping noise to an absolute minimum.  In the dark we finally arrived at the blind.  That’s right … a popup ground blind exactly like you would use for deer or turkey hunting!  As the first rays of light began to penetrate the thickets, it began to look exactly like a deer trail and setup … but in miniature … like 1/10 life size.


For any of you who have hunted in blinds, you know that the first light plays tricks on you.  You see things that are not there.  Then you catch of glimpse of movement or what you thought might be a Duiker.  I was told not to make a sound.  So I tapped Carl on the shoulder when I saw a Blue Duiker flash, proud that my old eyes could even make it out.  Carl gave the thumbs up, so the game was on.

As it turns out, my trusted PH was frustrated that I did not shoot.  But the Duiker had gone behind some heavy brush from my view point, and I did not feel comfortable taking the shot.  The Duiker then faded into the bush.  I was told later that at least two other Duikers came and went that I did not see, but they did not present a shot.

As often happens in blind hunting, things went dead.  Well that’s not entirely true.   Some amazing birds came to visit the waterhole as light filtered through the trees. We continued our wait, I was given strict orders to stay alert and keep the gun up on the sticks, because you never know when “it” will happen.

And then it happened.  There they were … the Monkeys!  Climbing and chattering all over the trees above the water hole.  Carl came to full alert as did Jose who was manning the video camera.

About two minutes later there they were … it was like a pair of Duiker just materialized out of thin air.  To say that they were jittery, twitchy little creatures would be an understatement.  They looked like two small, dark Chihuahua dogs in constant motion.

When one finally stopped broadside in front of the miniature watering hole, Carl gave the signal to shoot by tapping my leg.  Somehow out of the corner of my eye, I saw the other one literally jump over the standing trophy and land in front of it.  Somehow I managed not to squeeze the trigger until the intruder had cleared.  It turned out that it was the female of the pair who bounded in front.  She finally drifted off and left the “Monster Blue” standing in front of watering hole just 25 yards from the blind.

I was using a shotgun, as is typical with hunting Duiker due to all the brush.  When the shot went off, the roar was deafening and I think everyone jumped, especially me.  When the dust cleared, no Duiker!  How could anyone possible miss with a shotgun at 25 yards?

To say that Carl was nervous would be an understatement!  He scrambled from the blind to see what had happened.  As it turned out, the momentum of the shot had carried the tiny Duiker into the miniature water hole so that he was out of sight from the ground blind.

Once Carl discovered the trophy, there were shouts and high fives all around. We had an amazing “Monster Blue” with horns measuring 1 7/8 inches, with great solid bases.  Forget all the measurements … it was truly a monster trophy because of the amazing experience.


As you can see from the photo this creature is small.  That is a 12 gauge shotgun shell by the Duiker!  Blue Duikers are truly the tiniest of the Tiny Ten.  But what they lack in size, they make up for in character.  Simply an amazing animal that I had the privilege of observing in its native habitat for an entire morning. In fact, like I said, we were lucky enough to have Jose capture the entire hunt on film!

I don’t know if it is possible to have a bad African safari.  I do know that the quality of the outfitter and your PH can make the experience absolutely incredible.  I simply cannot thank Carl and John X Safaris enough for working for over 3 years to find a way to hunt Blue Duikers from a blind.   Based on my experience, I know that you could actually take a trophy Blue Duiker with a bow from the blind setup I was in with John X Safaris.  You do not have to settle for a Duiker hunt with dogs and drivers.

As I sit and write this, I’m in my trophy room sitting under my Giraffe, across from my monster Eland.  I’m reliving my whole safari experience by sharing it with you.  The hardest part will be waiting until spring when the Monster Blue mount arrives from Splitting Image Taxidermy in Africa.

What will be the trophy room favorite?  As you can tell by this epic tale, the Monster Blue is at the top of the list.  But you know what, we now only have 30% of the Tiny Ten.

We might not be done just yet with the journey they simply call “safari”!  If you haven’t booked yours yet, what are you waiting for?

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our Website!

January and February found John X Safaris spread right across the world. Carl together with Jose, Brett Nelson, Dave Harwood, and Steve Evers, were crisscrossing the United States/Mexico on our annual marketing trip, while back home in South Africa, Trish was leading from the office.

At the same time we had our first hunts for the year. Traditionally January has not been a popular hunting month, mostly due to the heat, with temperatures often topping 100 degrees fahrenheit. It makes for extremely early mornings, hoping to catch the game out between 4-8am each morning, and then surviving the midday onslaught of heat, to be topped off by a late afternoon hunt ending after 7pm each evening.

???????????????????????????????The few brave souls who dared the heat came warned, but they stuck it out and truly kicked off our season in style.

Each year one hopes for a positive start, a lucky omen to get proceedings underway in the best possible manner. To say that the 2014 season shot off at a running start would be an understatement…..

Our father/son combo of Bob and Kevin Stone, together with PH, Ross Hoole, combined for the Bushbuck of a lifetime – A 16” + ram that will take a lot to beat this season.

Our father/son combo of Bob and Kevin Stone, together with PH, Ross Houlle, combined for the Bushbuck of a lifetime – A 16” + ram that will take a lot to beat this season.

With a start like that we were off to a flying start. From the coast the guys headed north in pursuit of Gemsbuck, Kudu and Zebra. Having arrived in the north and having spent only two days hunting, Bob and Kevin received an urgent call from home.  Back south the hunting party had to head and barely made it in time for the last flight out of Port Elizabeth that day. A few days later we received the sad news of the passing of Bob’s mom – our condolences go out to the Stone family. We wish you well and look forward to seeing you again later this year or early next year to pick up from where we left off.

Soon thereafter saw the arrival of Max and Pam King. It’s been some time now since we’ve hosted Australians, and what a pleasure it was. Professional Hunter, Greg Hayes, picked up from where Ross and the Stones started, bagging a number of world-class trophies.


The hunt started from one of our new mountainous areas – with scenes like this breath-taking one a daily blessing.

Max had hunted Africa on numerous occasions before, coming in pursuit of a couple of our rarer and sought-after East Cape species.

Max had hunted Africa on numerous occasions before, coming in pursuit of a couple of our rarer and sought-after East Cape species.


A Red Lechwe was not at the top of Max’s wish list upon arrival, but after having seen the quality and sure abundance of Lechwe, Max decided a Lechwe would most certainly be making a home for itself in Australia.

A Mountain Reedbuck was one of Max’s priorities – he enjoyed hunting them so much that he took two great rams – this his 8” monster.

A Mountain Reedbuck was one of Max’s priorities – he enjoyed hunting them so much that he took two great rams – this his 8” monster.

Pam joined Max on some of his hunts, but mostly came away with an array of great wildlife shots whilst out on game drive.

Having hunted throughout Africa, it was always going to take a special effort to find the “right” Nyala for Max. The fact that it had to be big was a given, but Max had a certain shape in mind too….

It had to flare… and be long. That’s a tough ask, but not to hard for Professional Hunter, Greg Hayes, and his tracker, Bless. What a bull to bring a close to their safari!

It had to flare… and be long. That’s a tough ask, but not to hard for Professional Hunter, Greg Hayes, and his tracker, Bless. What a bull to bring a close to their safari!

Having arrived back home to a skinning shed full of world-class trophies, even bigger stories of their adventures, and the mere fact that any PH can only take so much from a computer – I mustered up the troops and went on my annual pre-season scout. I usually take a week to get a feel for the areas after the off-season, just to be sure the summer rains had arrived in most our areas and that the game was looking good. You couldn’t call it a scout, it only lasted a week, and we barely covered 200 000 of our 3 000 000 + acres of concessions. In fact we scout all year to ensure we know where to find the best for our hunters, but this sounded like a pretty good excuse after six weeks of winter in the US.

We found all we were looking for and then some…. The rains had arrived, our management principles and foundations seem stronger and better than ever – The quality of the game was astounding, and the views reminded Ross, Greg, and I, how lucky we are to call this our office and hunting our job.

Leaving you with sights like these, we bid you farewell for the next two weeks – we’re heading out on safari this morning – It feels like a vacation already!

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our Website!


As our South African Airways planes’ wheels hit the runway at OR Thambo International airport there was an eruption of African voices, a chorus of native tongue engulfed the entire plane. There was a rhythm to their song that one misses when abroad. There’s something about getting back that excites the spirit and makes one want to express the feeling, there’s certainly something about the colors of the earth as one banks for the final approach to the runway. Then the cabin door opens and Africa flows back into your airways and into your blood. It is then that you know you’re back, you’re back home.

As you enter the colorful international arrivals hall you need to stop. Stop for just a minute, take in the maze of busy travelers and vibrant smiling Africans – then look up, look high above the crowd, and it is there that you will find the spirit of Ubuntu….


Eleven official languages, numerous native tongues, dozens of tribes, and yet not one native word for stranger…..Welcome to South Africa”

It has been great coming home from our most successful marketing tour to date. As mentioned in the past and proven once again this year, the United States can be proud of its renowned American hospitality.

To everyone who visited us at the shows or during the numerous get-togethers’, thanks for stopping by and making the time. We enjoyed your company and camaraderie. A special word of appreciation to our hosts for the many cock tail parties and our various teams at the shows who made it all possible.

To those that have secured their next hunt with John X Safaris – Thank you for your continued support and welcome to the family. Those that are still searching for their next African adventure, look no further. We’ve got the areas, game, and experience, to ensure you experience the hunt of a lifetime.


A reminder to our Mexican friends, Jose Miguel Hernandez will be representing John X Safaris at Safari Club Internationals Monterrey Convention from 14 – 16 February 2014. Stop by and visit with Jose about your next African hunt.

As of this stage there are still a couple of openings available for 2014, but space is limited. We have started taking bookings for 2015/16, so if 2014 is too soon for you or if we could not accommodate your preferred date, then drop us a line on hunting@johnxsafaris.co.za , we’d be glad to assist with any safari related interest.

Mountain hunting at it's best!

Thank you once again – you’ve all been incredible! For now it’s over and out – Our busy season kicks off in two weeks time, there’s a lot to get done.

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our Website!

What a month we’ve enjoyed traveling across the United States. We’ve met so many new hunters, saw tons of our old friends, and at times been astounded and left speechless at the support John X Safaris has enjoyed from so many of you. It’s been an honor to say the least.

Today marks the day that many football fans will be looking back at the season that has been, some disappointed that their team has not made it, others ecstatic at the fact that their team will be taking part in one of the greatest sporting events on the planet.


The MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, will be the place to be this afternoon!

I’m not much of a football expert, you could call me a fan, the game reminds us Africans of our beloved rugby back home, but don’t come expecting an experts opinion on the game. They tell me it’s Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ top-rated, record-setting offence going against Richard Sherman and the Seahawks’ stingy, No. 1-ranked defence. Either way, we”ll be watching and enjoying the show – it only comes around once a year – what’s not to enjoy!

While the football season peaks to a climax this afternoon, so does the final run into the biggest hunting convention in the world. Safari Club International will be hosted at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas, from 5-8 February 2014.


John X Safaris will be there yet again, I believe it’s been more than 25 consecutive years now, and counting…. We will be at booths # 850 & 852.

As of this stage there are still a couple of openings available for 2014, but space is limited. We have started taking bookings for 2015/16, so if 2014 is too soon for you or if we could not accommodate your preferred date, then come and meet with us at the show and hear about our guaranteed rates for current/future safaris.

A reminder to all our current/future clients – GET THE YOUTH HUNTING – Book a hunt with us in Las Vegas and enjoy the privilege of bringing along a junior hunter( age 16 or younger) at a gratis day fee for his/her safari.

Join us for the greatest gathering of hunters from around the world. Talk to us about your next safari and let us plan the adventure of a lifetime.

Join us for the greatest gathering of hunters from around the world. Talk to us about your next safari and let us plan the adventure of a lifetime.

Next stop – Las Vegas - See you there!

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our Website!

It’s the modern Big 5 of Plains Game. In a world where everything is changing and high standards become the norm, so does the urge of our hunters.

Hunters from around the world are looking for new opportunities to test their skill and wit against the often forgotten “small” species of Africa. The funny thing about these “small” species and hunting them – they may be small in size but not in CHALLENGE.

Which species belong to the Tiny 10 and where does John X Safaris hunt them?

The Eastern Cape on South Africa’s east coast boasts a wide variety of terrain, habitat and opportunities, giving the hunter the chance at hunting 7 of the Tiny 10.

Our Coastal Area consists of grassland savannah and deep valleys filled with coastal forests running down to the Indian Ocean.

Up on the savannah you will find Oribi, Common Duiker and Cape Grysbuck, while Blue Duiker can be hunted in our Coastal forests.

The Oribi is a magnificent trophy and a collector’s delight. Usually hunted along our coastal belt, but can also be hunted in Mozambique. Solids are recommended to minimize damage to these fragile trophies. The management of Oribi populations is of extreme importance if one were to maintain a sustainable population. Oribi succumb to predators very easily and areas with good Oribi populations are usually very well predator controlled. When hunting these shy animals always search for pairs or groups, as one is bound to find males not too far away from females. When judging the trophy quality always ensure the tip of the horns are in line with the top of the ears or greater. Any hunters wanting to hunt Oribi should indicate this when booking their safari, as Oribi quota is limited and permits have to be applied for well in advance.

The Common or Grey Duiker is seen by many hunters as an opportunistic species. Duikers are usually hunted during the early morning, late afternoon or at night.

The Cape Grysbuck is a magnificent trophy and a personal favourite. Hunting Grysbuck will require many nights of hard hunting. When hunting these shy animals always search for pairs, as one is bound to find males not too far away from females. When judging the trophy quality, take your time, as it will usually be at night in tall grass. Grysbuck do not tend to stand still for very long with the outsides of their ears being black often resembling the shape and color of the horns. Be certain that there is at least 2 ½’’ of horns sticking out before making the call.

Also known as “Puti” in the Xhosa language, the Blue Duiker acts as the main source of prey to Caracal and Eagles alike along our Coastal Forest belts. Both males and females make for a super trophy. This is a real specialized collector’s hunt. Hunts are conducted by finding a suitable path in the forest, while moving the animals around by Jack Russell Terriers. A 12 gauge shotgun is best suited for these fleet-footed masters of the forest.

From the beaches to the mountains, the quest for variety of the Tiny 10 continues.

An amazing world awaits you when you get up and into the clouds….

Klipspringer and Vaal Rhebuck can be hunted on the high ground from our Northern Areas, and the ever-present Steenbuck can be found racing across the plains of the Karoo.

For any hunter who enjoys the mountains and the challenges that come with mountain hunting, they will find this hunt a must. The art in hunting these fleet-footed masters of the rocks is to get into glassing positions without being detected. Once in position, take your time to glass all surrounding rocky ridges and outcrops in the area. Once a good male has been spotted be sure to approach with utmost caution, as any kind of alarm will set the Klipspringer, usually in pairs, off over the next horizon. Hunters can expect shots to be long with steep gradients at times. Klipspringer’s have sensitive skins and hair slip is always a factor. Hunters must ensure they have a good flat shooting caliber with a solid bullet as to damage skins as little as possible.

Vaal Rhebuck are considered by most as the most challenging South African antelope to hunt. This wonderful species occurs on the high ground. Hunters must be prepared to be patient, walk great distances, and at times make the above average long shot. Not all hunters have this species in their collection and many hunters have often expressed their disappointment of not having hunted this species in their younger years, when getting up and down mountains was much easier. The trophy quality of a Vaal Rhebuck is determined by the overall length of the horn. The best indicators are the ears which stand at a height of 6 inches when erected to attention, always look for something an inch or more above the ear. Hunting Vaal Rhebuck is a must to any hunter who wants to experience that much more, who relishes the hardship in the journey, and who enjoys the success of harvesting a good male, while sitting back and enjoying the view while you’re on top of the world.

The Steenbuck is one of the most beautiful of the ten. A hugely underrated trophy. This is mainly due to its size or the fact that so few people notice them. Few have the time to study them before they disappear over the horizon or into the dead of night. The Steenbuck gets its name from the very first Dutch settlers who traveled to Africa. The word “Steen” means brick, as you could well imagine the color of the Steenbuck resembled that of a red building brick, and thereby getting the name Steenbuck.

While the East Cape boasts with 7 of the Tiny 10, the journey must continue onto Namibia where we hunt the Damara Dik Dik, and finally onto Mozambique to complete the slam.

The magnificent Damara Dik Dik – The ballerina of the bush. Strangely the Damara Dik Dik is named after an area where it does not even occur, Damaraland, Namibia. Characterized by thin dainty legs and an elongated snout. A trophy one will be required to hunt hard for, but certainly one to savour.

Red Duiker can be found throughout the forests and savannah areas of Mozambique. Often spotted as a glowing ember in the forest, with its rich red colour moving swiftly over the shaded forest floor. The stockier of the 3 Duiker species in the Tiny 10, and surprisingly difficult to judge the difference in sex. Apart from heavier set horns and head, look for an oversized scrotum hanging between the back legs often stretching to below the knee line.

Last but certainly not least, the tiny Livingstone’s Suni. Considered by many the most difficult to hunt of the 10 and will often be the last remaining species outstanding in many Tiny 10 collections. This may have been the feeling in the past. Today we are privileged to hunt the finest Suni area in Africa. Mozambique’s Zambezi Delta with its scattered sand forest boasts unbelievable numbers of Suni. Many a hunter whom we’ve guided to this area has been as dumb founded as what we were the very first time. These tiny animals live in a special place and can be considered a highlight in any hunters hunting career.

The Tiny 10 – What’s the BIG fuss about?

It may be the fact that they’re not always noticed or known. They’re certainly not found everywhere and those who start pursuing them usually become addicted to hunting them. I’m not entirely sure what it is that has got me addicted?

Best you ask the rest of those Tiny 10 addicts out there and join us on the hunt for something different…..

For further details regards hunting the Tiny 10, visit our John X Safaris Website @ www.johnxsafaris.co.za or drop us a mail on hunting@johnxsafaris.co.za . We’ll be glad to assist with your addiction.


For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our web site!

Another year has arrived, and with that the excitement of a new season is upon us. Our areas have enjoyed a wet festive season with constant rain falling throughout the month of December. The game have lambed in abundance and by the look of their shiny coats their condition speaks for itself – 2014 has started in a prosperous fashion!

Photo 2013-11-15, 12 16 01 PM

At present we find ourselves leaving Africa, heading to the US and Mexico, excited to be heading to the shows. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during the months of January and February as we travel across North America and Mexico. Below is a quick reminder of our 2014 Show and Travel Schedule. If you or any of your friends are interested in meeting with us, please drop us a line, we’d be glad to fit you or them into our schedule.

USA / MEXICO – January/February 2014

Dallas Safari Club Show – Dallas, Texas: 9 – 12 January 2014

Athens, Texas stop-over: 16 – 19 January 2014 – COCKTAIL EVENING with the Arnette’s & Spence’s, Saturday 18 January.

Washington, DC stop-over: 20 – 22 January 2014

Salt Lake City/ Eagle Mountain stop-over: 22 – 24 January 2014

Omaha – Nebraska stop-over: 24 – 29 January 2014 – COCKTAIL AFTERNOONS with the Hertner’s & Stout’s in Kearney, NE, 25 January, AND at The Pheasant Bonanza, Omaha, NE with Steve & Jill Evers 26 January.

Fargo, North Dakota/ Bemidji, Minnesota stop-over: 30 January – 2 February 2014 – COCKTAIL EVENING in ND with Brett Nelson & Friends – 31 January in Valley City, ND & 1 February in Bemidji, Minnesota.

Safari Club International – Las Vegas, Nevada: 5 – 8 February 2014

SCI Monterrey Convention – Monterrey, Mexico: 14 – 16 February 2014

As of this stage there are still a couple of openings available for 2014, but space is limited. We have started taking bookings for 2015/16, so if 2014 is too soon for you or if we could not accommodate your preferred date, then come and meet with us and hear about our guaranteed rates for future safaris at one of our stops across the US and Mexico.

A reminder to all our current/future clients – GET THE YOUTH HUNTING – Book a hunt at one of our stops during Jan/Feb 2014 and enjoy the privilege of bringing along a junior hunter( age 16 or younger) at a gratis day fee for his/her safari.

See you soon!

Yours in hunting,

Carl & Trish van Zyl

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our Website!


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