While enjoying an end of year get-together with the entire John X Team, we took the time to reflect on the year that has been. Gauging from the excitement levels, each tracker or PH wanting to tell his story first, it’s hard to miss the tell-tale signs of a great season.
This year saw us hunting a variety of new areas, while maintaining our established concessions throughout South Africa and Mozambique. A couple new faces joined our team, while we bid farewell to Gary and Lee, who will be embarking on an exciting venture of their own. We wish them all the best!
In South Africa, our northern areas, as well as the coastal region, recorded the highest rainfall in over sixty years. While one would expect the lush coastal areas to be booming with growth, it’s the drier Karoo that has seen the greatest metamorphosis of all. Game have thrived over back to back seasons of prosperity, allowing our hunters to enjoy breath-taking scenery and regular opportunities on world-class trophies.
Mozambique has once again proven why it’s fast becoming the most popular Buffalo destination in Africa. Through the continued support of our hunters, we’ve seen a remarkable growth in game numbers, ensuring sustainability through responsible utilization. This particular term is one often used by us, and most certainly one we live by. But when one considers a Buffalo census done in our Mozambican area in 1994, which delivered a count of +-1400 Buffalo, compared to the census completed a mere 10 days ago, counting just over 18000 Buffalo – we’re extremely proud of that number, and you as hunters, the true conservationists, should be too.
It goes without saying that a season like the last would not have been possible without the people involved.
To the entire John X Team – It’s been a privilege sharing days with you in the field, at the office, in the lodges or on the track of a weary old Dagga boy making his final stand. Thank you for the early mornings, late nights and long days – we’re not only showing the world who we are and what we’re about – we’re living it every day through our passion of making John X Safaris not the biggest, but certainly the best.
Lastly, to our valued hunters, the people who have made it all possible, without you there would be no stories to tell or dreams to follow. You have all toiled away pursuing a particular specie/s, hoping to hunt that dream trophy. After hours of debate, the PH’s have selected a few favorites from the past season. We apologize in advance if we may have missed one or two monsters; at no stage was that our intention.
This is a celebration of you and your safaris, and the lucky ones who found themselves in the right place at the right time.
Where else to start, but with the all time favorite? Over the course of the last 29 years John X Safaris has built up a proud reputation of quality East Cape Kudu – year in and year out. This year saw two main contenders for bull of the season. We leave the decision up to you.
Our Springbuck slam, consisting of Common, Black, White, and Copper Springbuck, continues to be a winner amongst our hunters, with many deciding to pursue all four color variants on the same safari.
Apart from the many friends we meet, the breathtaking areas we’re privileged to hunt, and the trophies that leave lasting memories, there are occasions in our industry where one has to pinch oneself just to realize how lucky we are. One of the greatest highlights from 2012 was the return of Jeff Fester and his entire family, and most importantly, his son Tommy.
Every year there are a number of trophies that come within reach of that “trophy of the season” tag. This year has been a difficult year to make that call, considering the stiff competition already mentioned above. The average was exceptionally high, probably the reason why we have two possibilities for “trophy of the season”.
We’re not sure who outdid the other? We’ll leave that for you decide…..
When we first spotted Eric Arnette’s Eland, we knew it was special. The hunt was hard, all day on the track with a single bottle of water to share between Eric and Professional Hunter, Carl van Zyl, and an average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. When it came time for Eric to make the shot count, he did it with precision, at a time when it mattered most.
Our second recipient is a young man we’ve all got to know well over the course of the past three seasons. First and foremost – he’s a gentleman, a true sportsman, and an addicted hunter – his parents appropriately named him Hunter. Hunter Robinson has come to hold a special place within the John X Family. He’s the luckiest kid you’ve ever met. Our good Mexican friend, Jose, keeps telling us no matter what we do or how we plan it, Hunter will always outdo the rest. We’ve learnt to agree with him!
This year not only saw our teams do an outstanding job in the field by achieving another season of first class results, our marketing and communications team were hard at it too. After the amazing success of John X Safaris’ first Coffee Table Book during 2010, we backed it up with another in 2011. This season we’ve continued on with the popular tradition.
For those who are yet to find that perfect Christmas gift for the hunter in your life, look no further. The Safari World of John X Safaris 2012 is currently on sale at http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3747756
Furthermore, our John X Blog and Face Book Fan page have grown from strength to strength with over 2500 subscribers per month. The new John X Safaris website is the latest edition to the Safari World of John X Safaris. We can proudly say this addition has set us apart from our competitors, ensuring you, the traveling hunter, can find the latest and most comprehensive information at a touch of a button on www.johnxsafaris.co.za In saying this we would like to make special mention of Heather Lantz, Heather has been the heart and soul behind our new site, without her dedication and expertise we would not have been able to be where we are today. Thank you!
Go along and have a look at our new site – it has revolutionized safari updates, trophy pictures and safari videos. It’s most certainly the first of its kind.
The John X Safaris Humanitarian Initiative came on with leaps and bounds during 2012. Through the support of our hunters we were able to take our commitment to our local community to the next level by establishing the John X Foundation.
We would like to thank and commend the following people who’ve been a part of our Humanitarian Program during 2012 – The Barry Family, Arnette Family and all the staff from the Texas Cash store in Texas, Chris, Martie and Autumn Petersen, Dave Kjelstrup, Pete and Elizabeth Stout, and Thom and Ellen Manning.
Without your generosity and support we would not have been able to achieve the programs goals during 2012. Thank you!
Looking towards the future and 2013, we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during our upcoming travels. Below is a quick reminder of our 2013 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 2013
Dallas Safari Club Show – Dallas, Texas: 3-6 January 2013
Salt Lake City/ Eagle Mountain stop over: 7-10 January 2013
Bismarck – North Dakota stop over: 10-13 January 2013
Omaha – Nebraska stop over: 14-19 January 2013 – COCKTAIL EVENING in Omaha with Steve Evers 15 January and Kearney 16 January.
Safari Club International – Reno, Nevada: 23 -26 January 2013
SCI Monterrey Convention – Monterrey, Mexico: 8-10 February 2013
SPAIN – February/March 2013
Venatoria & Subaru Hunting Convention – Madrid, Spain: 28 February-3 March 2013
To each and everyone who joined us on safari this past season, we thank you for choosing John X Safaris as your choice destination in Africa. To those who will be returning, or are embarking on their first hunt with us during 2013, we look forward to the adventure and sharing our John X Safaris experience.
Carl van Zyl
Please note – John X Safaris will be shutting down from 17 December 2012 until 1 January 2013. We will be checking mail on a weekly basis during the festive season.