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By Professional Hunter, Ross Hoole

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Mid winter in John X Safaris’ Great Karoo northern areas are characterized by frosty mornings, windless days, and dry rugged conditions. The crisp mornings and dry vegetation are synonymous with exciting days high above the world at 6000 feet, where the cold forces even the shy to venture out catching the first morning rays, making the early morning climb well worth the effort getting into a high position to view game basking below.

Bo Tripp

On this particular hunt was, Bo Tripp, a seasoned North American Sheep Hunter who shared the same passion as I, always looking to hunt the higher undisturbed areas in search of that exceptional trophy that may be hiding up there. We were on our last hunting day of the safari and had taken many exceptional trophies, including a brute of a 55″ East Cape Kudu, but both decided on taking one last hike to look for a Klipspringer in the mountains.

The Klipspringer forms part of the Tiny Ten and is a big trophy in any hunters collection.

The Klipspringer forms part of the Tiny Ten and is a big trophy in any hunters collection.

We left camp at dawn and by first light we were more than half way up Spitzkop, a mountain which had gained an infamous reputation during the Anglo Boer War. In the early 19th century it was used by the Boers as a lookout in spotting the platoons of English soldiers in their red coats as they crossed the Karoo plains in search of these “guerilla fighters” who had made a living as farmers in the region prior to the English and the arrival of their taxes.

There was local talk of a big Klipspringer up there, however, it had not been seen in at least a year…

We got to the top of the sharp peak and immediately saw reasonably fresh tracks. Bo and I left the trackers Rudi and Thanduxolo on one side to spot, while Bo and I walked over to the other side. There was continued alarm barking from distant baboons with a few fairly close by. I had joked with Bo about them being potentially aggressive and that a big male was fairly close above us on the cliff, no sooner were my words out of my mouth when a baboon hopped up on a boulder right behind us! A few more were not even 10 feet below too!

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Wild troops like these living in the mountain ranges are very wary of humans and usually spots you a mile off – making it quite special to see them so close.

To our benefit they flushed a female Klipspringer which came hopping below us and stood at 150 yards. Klipspringer are almost always in pairs so I was very optimistic about a ram coming along the same path. We ranged a few distances to be prepared, and continued waiting motionless. Bo was shooting a .300 ultra mag, the ultra mag is too much gun for this little antelope, but it was his sheep gun so he was confident shooting it out at longer ranges.

On the other side, one of the trackers was changing position, moving further around the peak to a blind spot we couldn’t quite see. He hadn’t even had a chance to sit down and spot when that unmistakable Klipspringer alarm call sounded. Within minutes the ram came hopping rock to rock below us.

Now at 250 yards, a target not much bigger than a jack rabbit, standing just briefly after being spooked is for one, impossible to judge horn size, and two, impossible to get into your scope quick enough for a shot. Luckily the hunting gods smiled on us that day, for by chance my spotting scope just landed on the ram the first time at 60x zoom and Bo was on it at the same time without assistance. It took 3 seconds from the moment it hopped up on a rock to judge it and for Bo to make a seriously tough shot from the top of the cliff!

Bo Tripp

Bo’s little Klipspringer was massive.

Physically one of the biggest I’d ever seen which measured deep into the tail end of 4 3/4 inches. A lucky man indeed!

As we look towards the start of the new season with excitement, envisaging the many days out in the field, we are reminded all to often of the beauty and wonders around us and how we at times take it all for granted. Be it a noisy baboon at 10 feet, or watching the sunrise at 6000 ft on a frosty morning, or taking that exceptional trophy after working hard for it. It’s a privilege to be a part of the safari life – and one I can’t wait to experience for yet another season.

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Cheers – Hunting season has begun, I’ll see you on safari…

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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For the past 32 years John X Safaris has been a part of the show circuit in North America each January / February. During those early years it was Rick and Sue, together with their crew, crisscrossing the United States on those original infamous Delta passes. Who would have thought an overnight connection was the only affordable option compared to a hotel room on cold winter nights? Things were a lot different back then.

Today Carl and Trish, together with their much younger crew, follow those very same footsteps from humble beginnings. SCI has grown to become the biggest hunting convention on earth, while the Dallas Safari Club keeps producing world-class shows year in and year out.

A lot has changed since those early years – the Delta passes no longer exist, neither do the evening cocktails at the Long Bar in Vegas. Long forgotten are the 28 day safaris from yesteryear, let alone the traditional 14/21 day hunts. No, it has all become a race against time. To say that our industry has changed would be an understatement, but one aspect that has remained the same and stood the test of time, is the renowned American hospitality that welcomes us to that great continent each year. It’s something to be commended on, and something we’re extremely grateful for – Thank you.

Arriving home to Africa after a five-week stay in the U.S. is always an exciting prospect. Catching up with family and friends, and sharing our experiences makes for memorable occasions. And then it’s time to get out – there’s only so much city life and airplanes a PH can take.

Having received the news from home of good rains during the month of January, nothing could have prepared us for what she has turned into. Africa has always been beautiful, but you have got to see her now, it’s breath-taking….

The game has flourished and the country side has bloomed into a summer wonderland of prosperity.

Our first hunters will be setting out on safari in two weeks time, with past experience telling us current conditions will see our season to be a great one for hunting. Until then be sure to let us know if you’d be interested in our limited remaining dates available for 2015.

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For now its all systems go for the next two weeks, it’s time to get cracking for what will be another memorable season……

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

Having enjoyed a fun-filled January crisscrossing across the United States, and meeting so many new folks booking numerous hunts, we’ve finally arrived in Las Vegas, for SCI’s annual convention.

The views are spectacular...

We’d like to thank our hosts who opened their homes and welcomed us into their families and communities over the past month – your hospitality was much appreciated. To the old and new faces who booked their next African hunt with John X Safaris – Thank you for your support and welcome on board folks – Prepare yourselves for the adventure of a lifetime!

Those whom have not made up your minds about your next African hunt, why don’t you take a few minutes viewing what we’re about, and feel free to drop us a line if you may be interested in joining us on your next African hunt or visit us at SCI.

This year sees a change from previous conventions at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, with all exhibitors showing on one floor. You will find John X Safaris in the main area at booths # 2433 & 2435.

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Come along down to the show and just look for the Zebra.

Furthermore we’d like to remind all of a number of hunts and opportunities that are still available for 2015. May it be a trip to the East Cape of South Africa to enjoy our renowned camps and areas, or a return safari to either Namibia or Mozambique – we have the areas, expertise, abundance of game, and world-class field crews to turn your dream safari into a reality.

PLAINS GAME HUNTS, EAST CAPE, SA

Be the first to catch the bulls in the rut…

Be the first to catch the bulls in the rut…

  • Prime 2015 rut date has come available – While most of the rut period, April – July, has been sold out, we have had a group postpone their 2015 hunt to 2016, opening up a prime rut slot from 28 April – 9 May 2015. If you or some of your friends may be interested in that particular period, be sure to drop Carl a line, we’d be willing to offer you/group a special rate to fill that particular slot at such a late stage of the booking season.

Karoo days...

  • Group leader hunts free – Bring the family/your very own group hunting. If you’d like to bring your very own group and book the lodge for your exclusive hunt, feel free to do so by bringing along another 5 hunters all hunting 1×1 for 10 days, excluding yourself. You as group leader hunts for free – only pay for trophy fees. Observers are welcome to join.

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  • Cull Hunt/s – For the first time in many years we have the pleasure of offering more than 100 head of game to cull. Come and enjoy a cull hunt, not a shoot/driven shoot, in one of our northern Karoo concessions. This hunt will be conducted as a management hunt with old/poor genes being culled out at a selective basis. Hunters can look forward to great stalks in a beautiful setting of valleys, mountains, and flats. Species available include, 25 Kudu Bulls, 15 Cape Hartebeest Females, 15 Blue Wildebeest Females, 10 Blesbuck Rams/Ewes, 10 Waterbuck Females, 5 Impala Rams, 20 Springbuck Rams/Ewes. This quota can be booked up as a group hunt or part thereof. Contact us for rates and dates.

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  • #Getting the Youth Hunting at John X Safaris - As with previous years, we’d like to once again challenge parents/guardians of youths under the age of 18 to get them off the couch and into the field. John X Safaris will once again be sponsoring the day fees of any minor joining his/her parent/guardian on any of our 7/10 day safaris. Come on folks – let them work for their airfare and you spoil them with a couple of trophies/visa versa. In today’s world you need to get away to reconnect – no better place than a hunting trip to Africa.

BIG 5 HUNTS, EAST CAPE, SA

White Rhino

  • White Rhino Hunt – With the current state of Elephant hunting and the political pressure surrounding Elephant hunting cropping up more often each month, it would be fair to say that Rhino hunting will be the next pressured species. As of this stage John X Safaris has secured a magnificent White Rhino Bull on one of our East Cape concessions. The bull is estimated at close to 31” with a total score of 101’’ – making it a SCI Gold. This hunt is available at a 10 Day Safari for 1 Hunter and 1 Observer, including Rhino – $120 000.00 (All Incl). Contact us for limited open dates and further details.

A Dagga Boy nestled in the coastal forest....

  • Cape Buffalo Hunts – Want to combine a great Cape Buffalo hunt with a variety of plains game in breath-taking lodges? Then this is the hunt for you. We have secured a quota of 10 Cape Buffalo in the East Cape ranging from Big 5 Game Reserves to large game ranches. Expect to hunt on areas of 15 000-30 000 acres, with opportunities on numerous hard boss bulls. Rate: 7 Day hunt for 1 Hunter + 1 Cape Buffalo bull up to 39 7/8’’ – $ 18 000 (All Incl) OR 7 Day hunt for 1 Hunter + 1 Cape Buffalo bull over 40’’ – $ 20 500 (All Incl). Plains game can be added onto these hunts.

LEOPARD & PLAINS GAME HUNT – NAMIBIA

Enjoy the challenge of the patience game...

  • Leopard Hunt – Join us on a 14 day Baited Leopard Hunt in the Erongo Mountains, Namibia. This area boasts a large number of Leopard, together with Hartmann’s Zebra, Greater Kudu, Kalahari Springbuck, and Steenbuck. Leopard are pre-baited to ensure optimum success. This hunt includes 14 days for 1 Hunter + the following game: 1 Leopard, 1 Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra,1 Kalahari Springbuck, 1 Steenbuck – Cost of hunt – $30 000 (All Incl). Contact us for further details and best dates.

CAPE BUFFALO & SABLE – MOZAMBIQUE

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  • Cape Buffalo/Sable Combo – Are you looking for a concession hunt in darkest Africa, but would like to know that you have a near 100% chance of success on both Cape Buffalo and Sable. Join us in the Zambezi Delta during the late season – August thru November, and experience a game rich paradise like few other government-owned concessions in Africa. Join us on a 10 Day 1×1 Cape Buffalo + Sable Combo, including charter, community fee, gun license, taxes & export admin / trophy fee @ $28 000 (All Incl).

Feel free to contact me on hunting@johnxsafaris.co.za if you are interested in any of the above listed offers. I can also be reached on US cell #1 682-706-5383 until February 8th.

I look forward to seeing you at SCI and talking more about your next hunt with John X Safaris.

I look forward to seeing you at SCI and talking more about your next hunt with John X Safaris.

Yours in hunting,

Carl 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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I have been an avid hunter of North American game for 50 years and had some trepidation about this experience being a “real hunt”. Then to further add to my trepidation upon arrival, entering the game reserve viewing vast herds indifferent to us did not alleviate my uneasiness at first. Once the hunting got underway I could see this was real hunting with a PH and tracker that knew exactly what they were doing.

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Every stalk was a long and memorable experience which I have indelibly sketched into my memory. No animals peacefully grazing in easy range for sure! I was excited on every stalk, but Greg and Bless where just as excited as I was and the planning and thought that went into every stalk illustrated clearly their experience and natural instincts. They were not afraid to work hard on every hunt and not afraid to push me. Doing what we needed to do to be successful.

In many cases decisions needed to be made quickly and most shots were long and many in windy conditions off sticks. Two memorable shots were a Kudu stalk of a couple of hours and, even then, he was still 355 yards when we peeked over a bluff and there was no getting closer. The tracker was keeping tabs on the big boy from 1200 yards out – where Greg’s keen eyes had spotted him in some brush. Ultimately it was matter of fact “take your time and make the shot”. I really appreciated the confidence and the permission which was pervasive throughout the trip. The permission was only withheld by “we can do better” or that shot is just too risky.

The second memorable shot was a Red Hartebeest at 275 yards in a 20 mph wind off the sticks. My thought was frankly "are you crazy to think I can do this?" But I did!

The second memorable shot was a Red Hartebeest at 275 yards in a 20 mph wind off the sticks. My thought was frankly “are you crazy to think I can do this?” But I did!

All in all I killed 8 animals of trophy plus quality.  It is hard to compare sitting in a tree stand for two months trying to kill a trophy whitetail to Africa, but I would say to sum it up “I will be back” and my trepidation about barn yard animals are replaced by dreams of wonderful challenging experiences.

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Having hunted the northern areas and returning to the coast it was just as challenging, if not more so for the Nyala and the Waterbuck. I kept feeling we were lucky given the wind and general conditions, but I think the guys turned the odds in our favor more than a little making the seemingly impossible happen through perseverance and experience.

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Having arrived back home, we have now, as a group, compared our trophies to others who have been to Africa. I am very proud to say John X Safaris sets itself apart and should be very proud of the quality of their animals and staff.

A bit about John X Safaris – Everything was great. From the accommodations, first class service, right to the friendly staff. The PH’s were all very much into it and worked very hard, as did the trackers, skinners, extraction teams, and camp staff. The food was wonderful and best of all was the camaraderie.

Starry nights around the campfire in the Karoo

I could not believe the PH’s and staff hung with us in the evenings and added a lot to the trip with their stories and experiences. It is a long season and the stamina that it takes to stick with hunters from 7:00am until very late is beyond the call of duty. I thought having a PH and tracker exclusively assigned to each of us for the trip was extraordinary and enabled us to really build each day on our teamwork and effectiveness.

My good friend, Paul Latchford, and I stayed a couple of extra days to fish, but 8 meter seas precluded that. The hospitality extended to us by John X Safaris in lieu of the fishing trip was extraordinary and we really appreciated Louwrens delaying a long anticipated visit home to show us the beaches, restaurants, and surroundings. An added bonus during this time was our participation in a Zebra and Warthog hunt that added to the memories… I am still on overload a few weeks back!

Thanks so much for beyond a bucket list experience.

George Conniff

To view more photos from The Conniff Safari click here.
For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our Website!

Now that Charlene and I have gotten home and have had time to get back to reality, I wanted to drop you a note letting you know what we thought of our hunt with John X Safaris.

Enjoy the option of various wild game on a daily basis..

We couldn’t have asked for a better trip. The accommodations were top-notch, the food was – unfortunately for my diet – outstanding, the staff was friendly and quickly became part of our daily group. The hunting was VERY good and Stix, our guide, was a pleasure to hunt with. He is not only a very good PH, but also a valuable asset as far as the business side of the hunting is concerned. We were very impressed not only with Stix’s knowledge and understanding of the animals we hunted, but also his insights into the politics, culture and history of Africa. His maturity and experience went well beyond his tender 24 years of age.

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The hunting was truly hunting. We didn’t just ride around, see something, walk a few yards and shoot it. Each day, we started out walking and hunting one particular animal we had spotted the day before, or that morning, and often spent the rest of the day stalking, trying to get into position for a shot. The game we hunted ranged from good to once in a lifetime trophies.

We really got fooled on the size of my Kudu I hunted due to its horn configuration. It turned out smaller than what we had originally thought, but the hunt for it was one of the highlights of the trip.

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It took us all day on foot to find it, make the stalk, then to get into position only to watch it lay down in the brush and wait an hour and a half for it to stand up again. We finally made a 373 yard shot. It then took the remainder of the day to get it packed out. The bull’s horns were classic, wide and flared out at the top with ivory tips.

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Along with a very good Springbuck, Black Wildebeest, and Impala, we were fortunate to hunt an excellent Gemsbok bull and an extraordinary Waterbuck.

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The hunt and everything that went along with our safari went well beyond our expectations. If or when I ever have the opportunity to hunt Africa again, there is no question that it will be with John X Safaris.

Thanks Again,
Steve & Charlene Galas

To view more photos from The Galas Safari click here.
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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Carl – I have been home for a few days now and the reality of my last safari to Mozambique still hasn’t sunk in. It feels like a dream. I think back to it many times a day, and fall asleep remembering all the great memories. My last hunt with John X Safaris saw me accomplishing everything I dreamed of and more.

It had not been an easy hunt, the wind wasn’t perfect and the day had been long. Numerous Crocs had been seen, two of them meeting the requirements we were after, but nothing had come from endless patience. We had given up, called it a day, and then no more than a mile from our landing site there he was. Jeff made another telling shot – this time at 70 yards off sticks – and if you’re thinking what’s the big fuss at 70 yards? Go try hitting the centre out of an Oreo cookie at 70 yards without a dead rest. It’s tough!

From the beautiful little antelope in the sand forests, the tremendous amount of game on the vast flood plains, the beauty and culture of the Zambezi River, to the harshness and challenges of the swamps. I loved every minute of it.

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This truly was the greatest adventure of my life. The only word I can think of to describe it is epic! I would like to thank you, Trish, your family and the entire John X team for making this adventure possible. You and your staff are true professionals.

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We may have had some very good luck on this safari with our first night Leopard, but I believe that luck comes much easier when you are well prepared, work hard and book with a professional. You surely were all of that.

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My life truly is richer for having experienced this epic adventure! Thank you very much.

Until our next adventure!

Jeff Edland

To view more photos from the Edland Safari click here.

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

Everything was as spectacular as ever when I once again visited Carl and his crew this year. Our trip was dubbed “The Reunion Tour” and had been in the planning stages for several years.
John X Reunion

On my very first African safari back in 2002 I met three guys from Maryland who were also hunting with John X Safaris. Russell Pelan, Dave Moser, Dwight Moser, and I, soon became buddies on that safari, vouching that someday we needed to relive our original John X adventure.

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This time we did it again! We told stories, we told lies, we drank beer, we did some fishing, we took loads of photos, and of course we did as much hunting as a person can jam into a 10 day safari.

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I was lucky enough to hunt a 34” Waterbuck which will likely be the finest trophy I have ever taken in a lifetime of hunting.

 I also hunted Barbary Sheep and that experience high up in the mountains was truly unique and something I definitely plan to do again.

I also hunted Barbary Sheep and that experience high up in the mountains was truly unique and something I definitely plan to do again.

It was great to spend time with all my African friends and the adventures from this trip will never be forgotten, but sharing the safari experience with my girl friend Gina was hands-down the finest memory of my life.

DSC_0155For the past 3 years I have been asking her to come along on safari and this year she finally had a break in her hectic work schedule and was able to join. She did the majority of hunting for us and took a fantastic Nyala and monster Springbok, along with a very nice Gemsbok and Impala.

It was great to finally get a chance to introduce Gina to Carl, Trish, Ed, and the rest of my African friends, but by far the best part of the trip was sharing the safari experience with someone special, and seeing it all again through the eyes of a first time visitor to Africa. This safari exceeded our wildest dreams and we will definitely be back.

See you all again soon…

Brett Nelson

To view more photos from the Nelson Safari click here.
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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