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For six weeks long we have spent numerous days and countless hours trying to share the wonder and beauty of Africa. Trying to relay the feeling that stirs within when the dark continent creeps under your skin and into your soul. The onslaught on ones senses is like nowhere else on earth.

Even after all these years it seems the traveling abroad only gets longer and the longing for Africa greater. This year, like the many before, saw us once again embarked on our journey to secure the future and prosperity of Africa and her wildlife. The commitment from the American hunter is something that is spoken about often, but needs mentioning again. Without you and your support our wildlife would not enjoy the growth and security it has become accustomed to today. For that we are forever grateful. Thank you.

Record numbers were reached on the booking front this year. From Dallas to Las Vegas and the many stops in between – So many people to thank. So many to welcome on board as they look to embark on their first safari to Africa with John X Safaris. And of course, so many to be indebted to as they once again chose John X Safaris as their choice destination for 2017/18/19. The support, referrals, and recommendations from our returning hunters has left us astounded once again. It only drives us on to keep doing what we’ve been doing – ensuring our safaris are so much more than a hunt, but the complete African experience.

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The acceptance and excitement around Woodlands Game Reserve, our new base and home, combined with our renowned Karoo concessions, has seen us return home even more invigorated than before. The experience of 34 years in the safari industry and knowing the commitment it takes to ensure you as individual will enjoy a world-class safari, is not merely a given, but our word. The success and enjoyment derived from being a part of your safari is something we as a team gain much enjoyment from. It’s something we’re proud of and something that goes far further than the hunt.

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Our traditional season in South Africa will kick off in mid-April, at the completion of our new Colonial Safari Manor at Woodlands. This year will see hunters enjoy safari camps like no other, with our northern Karoo camp having enjoyed an upgrade too. While it had been dry for the most part of 2016, late summer rains have fallen across the majority of our areas, with the promise of more on the horizon each evening. The retention of our renowned coastal and Karoo plains game concessions, combined with Woodlands and the Big 5 dynamic that has added, will ensure our hunters enjoy arguably the finest hunting Southern Africa has to offer.

Between now and April we will be gearing up for the season ahead with scouting, building and planning being the focus in and around John X Safaris. There’s a lot to be done, but so much to look forward to.

Here’s hoping my team at home can get it done – As for me, I’m off to Cameroon to get our season off to a big start, and at the same time tick another adventure from my “half full” bucket list. It doesn’t get much bigger than a Lord Derby Eland for a hunter or for that matter, his Professional Hunter.

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In closing I’d like to thank you once again for your American hospitality, your continued support, and your unrelenting trust in John X Safaris is something we’re extremely proud of as a team. Our appreciation is something that goes beyond words.

Thank you!

Catch you in Africa – Carl & Team

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

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Over the years I have been blessed to meet and hunt with some of the greatest outdoor enthusiasts of our day. May it have been a specialized safari in the mountains of the north for Vaal Rhebuck or a Blue Duiker in the forests of our coastal belt, or even a first timer safari with their children. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of sharing many a day out in the field with men and women who have represented our hunting ways and industry for numerous decades.

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Some have joined on one hunt, while there have been others who came back a second time – Then there was Craig Boddington.

When Craig and I first met we were no more than strangers at a cocktail party in Dallas. A couple of months passed and soon we were exchanging emails and a couple of phone calls. Before we knew it Craig and his family were on safari with me and we found ourselves crouching down below a pile of rocks while glassing for a particular Kudu bull I’d scouted some weeks before.

There was a great bull feeding no more than 180 yards below our position, oblivious to our presence, but it was not the bull I was after. Craig gave me some time and when he saw I was ready to move on to continue my search for “the” bull he shuffled over to where I was positioned with my spotting scope. “Look Carl I know you’d like to get us this particular monster you’ve been seeing, but why don’t you keep it for one of your future clients, this bull right here is plenty good for us – lets take him.” And that’s where I realized there’s more to Craig Boddington than just a great writer, adventurer, hunter and explorer.

Since then we have shared many a camp fire in Africa and now for the first time, Craig and I would like to invite you to join us around our campfire this June. Craig will be hosting a group at John X Safaris in the East Cape, South Africa, from 16-24 June 2017.

Hunters interested in joining this group will enjoy both our coastal base, Woodlands Game reserve, as well as our northern areas in the Great Karoo. By combining the two areas, you as the hunter, will ultimately get to hunt three safaris in one, covering the forests and valley bushveld of the coastal belt, the plains of the Great Karoo, and the mountains of the north. In doing so you will enjoy the opportunity to hunt more than thirty species in their natural environment where they are naturally of better quality. The two areas camps are 3 hours apart, an easy transition on any particular hunting day, ensuring no hunting days are lost.

The all-inclusive 1×1 base cost, covering all day, service and trophy handling fees + taxes, for this hunt will be $3600.00. Over and above this fee only pay for trophies harvested/wounded. Feel free to hunt 2×1 or invite observers along. Why not make the most of our John X Safaris getting the youth hunting initiative – You buy the flight and we’ll comp the Jr hunters day fee, only pay for trophies harvested/wounded. Start them young and get them hunting!

If you would like to join Craig and myself in the East Cape between 16 – 24 June 2017 – Then drop us a line on hunting@johnxsafaris.co.za . We have 4-5 spots remaining. For further details on John X Safaris feel free to visit our website on http://www.johnxsafaris.co.za

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We look forward to sharing a camp fire with you in Africa.

Yours in hunting,

Carl van Zyl & Craig Boddington

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and visit our Website.

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Ever considered the possibility of an African hunt? If you’ve never looked into a safari to the dark continent you may be surprised at how affordable it actually is. The reality of an African hunt might be much closer than you may realize.

Are you after…

  • An outfit that welcomes all hunters, no matter what your age, physical condition or hunting capabilities.
  • Over 30 Species of World-Class Plains Game in abundance across large concessions in the game rich East Cape.
  • Fair Chase Big 5 on our private 30 000 acre concession, Woodlands Game Reserve.
  • Lodging second to none. Where you can choose 1 of 3 different lodges throughout the East Cape. Hunt the game in their natural environment where they are naturally of better quality.
  • Unlimited Tiny 10.
  • Mountain hunting like nowhere else in Southern Africa.
  • Both large high-fenced concessions or free-range areas. We have access to over 3 million acres in the East Cape alone.
  • A hunt that caters to you the hunter – serious about achieving your desired results without “package deals” standing in the way of your goals.
  • A family friendly atmosphere where youngsters are welcomed free of charge. Take us up on our initiative of #Gettingtheyouthhuntingatjxs
  • A destination that welcomes lady hunters and has been doing so for many years.
  • A destination that welcomes observers and prioritize their experience/s as much as that of the hunter.
  • A destination that welcomes groups, and can cater to groups by having large enough areas and a big enough team ensuring every member of the group leaves us satisfied.
  • Professional Hunters who take your safari seriously, ensuring your priorities are not only met, but your expectations exceeded.
  • An outfit who hunts for a living – You – Our Hunter, is our priority, not the ranch or any sideshows. Our business is hunting, and hunting only. We dedicate 24 hours a day to you ensuring your safari is everything you’d hoped for.
  • Hunting with an outfit that not only “talks” about the good work it does, but actually get’s it hands dirty making a true difference via our John X Foundation.
  • An outfit who believes in hunting for conservation – after all, if we didn’t practice what we preached, how could we still be the leaders after 33 years in the safari industry.

IF the above is what you’re after then why not join John X Safaris in Africa – It’s your ultimate safari destination…

Below are some of our most popular safari/hunt options on offer – There’s something for everyone.

  • Single or Multi Area Hunt – Make the most of our traditional 7/10 Day Hunt in the East Cape. Limited dates remain for 2017.
  • Get the Youth Hunting – Bring your son/daughter/any minor along on their spring/summer break and we’ll comp his/her day fee. Only pay for trophies.
  • 2017 Cape Buffalo Special – Opening Season Woodlands Cape Buffalo Hunt $15000 (7 Days All Incl) This will be real hunting in a large extensive concession with amazing quality Cape Buffalo. Numbers are high and quotas are conservative  – Expect to be amazed!
  • Tiny 10 Hunts – We’re the team hunters turn to when it comes to their Tiny 10 collections. From Vaal Rhebuck to the Livingstone Suni and everything in between.
  • Mountain Hunts in Africa – You’re an altitude hunting enthusiast? Then we’ve got the hunt for you in Africa. Vaal Rhebuck, Klipspringer and Mnt Reedbuck – There’s no one with more experience and larger/better areas when it comes to hunting the high country in Africa. Our track record and the amount of 10″ Vaal Rhebuck hitting the salt on an annual basis speaks for itself.
  • Hunt the Spiral Slam – East Cape Kudu, Cape Bushbuck, Nyala & Cape Eland. Could there be a more beautiful slam with such challenging hunting.

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Below is a quick reminder of our 2017 show and travel schedule. If you or any of your friends may be interested in meeting with us, please drop us a line, we’d be glad to fit you or them into our schedule.

  • Dallas Safari Club Show – Dallas, Texas: 5 – 8 January 2017. Booth # 4360
  • Houston, TX, Cocktail Party: 11 January 2017 – Any interested hunters can join us for an evening BBQ Reception at the Travis residence.
  • College Station, TX, Cocktail Party: 13 January 2017 – Any interested hunters can join us for Africa Info Night with Horizon Firearms at their amazing factory.
  • Amarillo, TX, Visit: 16 – 20 January 2017 – Any folks interested in meeting up with Stix can schedule a preferred time during the week.
  • Omaha, NE,  Cocktail Party/Visit: 20 – 25 January 2017 – Carl will be hosting a cocktail evening with Steve & Jill Evers from Wildlife Creations Taxidermy on Saturday, 21 January 2017.
  • Jackson, MS: 20 – 25 January 2017 – Stix will be visiting with our good friends Alex Good & Mike Jarvis. Feel free to meet up with Stix while he’s in Mississippi.
  • Salt Lake City / Eagle Mountain / Pleasant View, UT: 25 – 29 January 2017 – Feel free to meet up with Carl/Stix while they’re in Utah.
  • Safari Club International – Las Vegas, Nevada: 1 – 4 February 2017.Booth # 3052 & 3054

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Hunting with John X Safaris is more than just a hunt – It’s the total safari experience. It is a journey of discovery, a wakening of the senses, and ultimately the realization of the dream of hunting Africa.

Whether it is your first trip to Africa, a hunt for the big five, or the choice of forty different plains game species, we are here to cater to your every need.

Contact us for your next hunt on hunting@johnxsafaris.co.za or alternatively call Carl Van Zyl on US Cell 6824108377 or PH Ross ‘Stix’ Hoole on 6824108373– We’d gladly assist by dropping you a mail, giving you a call or visiting you in your home state.

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

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As I started my final forward from Lalibela during late September, I found myself gazing out over the game rich plains deep in thought… the moment had finally come for us to say goodbye and close a chapter on twenty memorable years. I would be lying if I were to try to convince you that at that moment I was not feeling overly sentimental or emotional. Twenty years of dreaming, sacrifice, hard work, and achievement. It had been a journey like few.

If we were to rewind the clock by twenty years, to be more precise, October 1996, and I were to tell you about that first sunny afternoon on Hillside Farm, Sidbury, East Cape, South Africa, you would have been excused for being a pessimist like the many others. Rick and Sue van Zyl had just acquired the first property in what would become today’s world-renowned Lalibela Game Reserve, and the home of John X Safaris.

At first it was a meager colonial homestead turned into a “rustic camp” for the few loyal hunters, who unbeknownst to them were playing a major role in getting the dream of a wildlife reserve off to a slow, but gradual start. Soon the first lodge, Lentaba, was completed, giving our hunters a taste of what was to come. With the acquisition of more land and the re-introduction of 22 game species and the first White Rhino, things started coming together nicely.

With 20 000 acres, a lodge, one of the Big 5, over 3000 head of game, and an eager team we set off to launch Lalibela to tourists in the summer of 2002. The concept was a brilliant one; our hunters would occupy and utilize the winter hunting months, while the tourists would take up the summer months, when hunters preferred to stay home for their traditional northern hemisphere hunting season.

By 2003 a second lodge, Mark’s Camp, was completed, the very year both Elephant and Cape Buffalo, joined the White Rhino as members of the Big 5, once again roaming free where they had not set foot for over a hundred years. A masterstroke in developments it turned out to be, with the reserve taking an even bigger step with the introduction of free roaming Lion, Leopard, and Cheetah in the early part of 2004. With the addition of a further 10 000 acres and completion of our flagship lodge, Treetops Luxurious Tented Camp, a first of its kind, during September that same year, Lalibela had established itself and was now a successful brand in both the hunting and tourist industries respectively.

Throughout the years and the numerous developments we have been privileged to have grown as a family, calling a place such as Lalibela, home. It is something that we have not taken lightly in our responsibility to the land, wildlife, our people, hospitality, and business. Your support and safari contributions have allowed us to build and live an extraordinary life – one we could not have been a part of without each and every one of you – after all, Lalibela only became a reality because of you and your commitment to conservation through hunting. It has been a journey we are immensely proud of and an achievement of a goal reached through untold sacrifice and hard work.

With that said we had reached for the stars and fallen amongst them, but something was lacking, it was time to move on… time to let go of the familiarity. It was time to go back to the beginning, to our people, to John X Safaris and the most enjoyable years of our lives.

New Beginnings – Woodlands Game Reserve

“And suddenly you just know… it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings…”

Woodlands Game Reserve – 30 000 Acres, big 5, plains game, over 2500 head of game, 20 + species, rifle, archery, wing shooting, and a brand new colonial safari lodge opening in March 2017 + the very same trusted team – Dedicated to hunters and hunting only. 

We will still be offering our multi-area option safaris in both the coastal and northern Karoo regions, like we’ve been doing for the past 33 years, with Woodlands becoming our coastal base. Those hunters who have booked safaris can rest assured that Woodlands will be everything and more of what Lalibela could have ever offered as a destination.

We have found our new home. It’s a hidden gem like no other, and you’re invited to join us on your next safari as we turn the industry on its head and launch the greatest hunting destination the East Cape has ever seen.

Until your next safari – We thank you for being a part of the Safari World of John X Safaris during the past year and the many before. It has been a privilege hosting and having you on safari. Your support and friendship means the world to us. A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Carl & Family

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

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It’s Friday morning in South Africa – I’m home for a change – a rare privilege at this time of year. The last group of hunters left a couple of days ago and we won’t be heading off on safari for a couple more weeks.

With a steaming cup of coffee I see Kelly in her trusty Land Cruiser crossing the plain in front of my home. She’s been at it again; another all nighter – her commitment to these last four remaining Rhino is unwavering. The Cruisers headlights are dimmed by a layer of dust, similar to her weary eyes, she looks tired and worn out, but she’s smiling. Another night, another battle won, they’ve made it yet again – She sits and watches them with the enjoyment of a parent. She’s not alone, all over South Africa the same scene is playing out.

I slowly turn my attention to the day ahead, business will not stand still, I’d love to spend the rest of my morning observing these prehistoric looking creatures feeding a mere 60 yards from my office, but that privilege is not reserved for me – I have a job at hand. I form part of an important machine that allows those four Rhino and the rest of the game the opportunity to thrive in a rehabilitated ecosystem.

How that ecosystem and the wildlife that calls it home makes it each month is what drives us to rise before dawn each morning. It’s a privilege living in a place like this, but it’s a commitment few are willing to accept. This is not the “living happily ever after fairy tale” the armchair conservationist critic would believe it to be  – this is about accepting the challenge at hand.

As my phone rings, I realize it’s not even 6am, there’s only one person in the world that calls before six and that’s Dad. “Have you read the news?” A voice booms out over the line. You can bet he’s wanted to call since 4am, how he has managed to wait this long boggles my mind – patience is not his strong point. Or maybe it is? Maybe his lack of patience makes him who he is – a survivor. An entrepreneur with a passion for his family and wildlife. “Our government has decided to drop its international Rhino horn trade application to CITES 2016”, he continues. The line goes silent. What else can we say? We’re both at a loss for words. Where to now? What will happen to our Rhino? To the rest in Southern Africa?

For the record…

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There are +~ 20 000 White Rhino and 4000 Black Rhino left in the world today. Since 2008 illegal poaching has killed at least 5,940 Rhinos in Southern Africa. Let that sink in for a couple of minutes. 

Rhino poaching is currently at a crisis point. By the end of 2015, the number of African Rhinos killed by poachers had increased for the sixth year in a row with at least 1,338 Rhinos killed by poachers across Africa. These statistics were compiled by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Species Survival Commission’s African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG).

South Africa has by far the largest population of Rhinos in the world and is an incredibly important country for Rhino conservation. However Rhino poaching levels have dramatically escalated over recent years. The below graph shows the exponential increase in poaching from 2007 – 2015. 

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Above: Graph showing South African Rhino poaching statistics using data published by South African Department of Environmental Affairs (2016)

Although it is encouraging to see South Africa’s poaching levels fell slightly, poaching losses are still extremely high. There were 40 fewer Rhinos killed in 2015 than in 2014, but that in itself is statistically insignificant when you’re talking such large numbers of poaching deaths.

Worryingly, the crisis has spread to neighboring countries in southern Africa, with Namibia and Zimbabwe experiencing an exponential increase in poaching. During 2015, Namibia lost 80 Rhinos to poaching, up from 25 in 2014 and just two in 2012. In Zimbabwe, it is reported that at least 50 Rhinos were poached last year, more than double the previous year. For Africa as a whole, the total number of Rhinos poached during 2015 was the highest in two decades.

The current poaching crisis is attributed to the growing demand for Rhino horn in Asian countries, mainly Vietnam and China. Vietnam has been identified as the largest user country of Rhino horn. Although Rhino horn has no scientific medical benefits, consumers are using it to treat a wide range of conditions, from cancer to hangovers, and due to its high value it is now also used as a status symbol by wealthy individuals. The high price fetched for the horn has attracted the involvement of ruthless criminal syndicates making poaching their primary business. 

How did we get here?

Since Dr. Ian Player started his efforts of bringing the Rhino back from the very brink of extinction with “Operation Rhino” in the early 1950’s, a couple of things have remained constant. 

  1. Private ownership of Rhino has been their saving grace since day one. 
  2. Poaching at some level or another has always been present. 

From day one Dr. Ian Player was of the belief that the South African farmer is one of the hardiest individuals under the sun. Give them a briefing on the process, create an incentive of reward, and you’ll be well on your way to success. Within 30 years the Dr had his wish and before we knew it, we had built an entire industry around the Rhino. May the choice have been hunting, farming, or ecotourism – an industry was born around one man’s vision and the commitment of a large sector of our rural community. 

Laws and protocols were developed and put in place to protect the well-being of the animals as to ensure the industry would be regulated at an acceptable standard going forward. 

In all this time poaching was taking place, not at the levels we’ve been exposed to today, but it was always there. The fact that those poached numbers were so insignificant in comparison to the growth of the industry kept most of that information at bay. No one was willing to rock the boat. The Rhino population was thriving, the National Parks were sitting with excess and the private sector had bought into this new concept of ecotourism and hunting. Foreigners flocked to our shores to view and hunt our Rhino – all of course within the legal parameters set out by our South African Nature Conservation and CITES. 

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The 90’s and early 2000’s were the big years for not only our Rhino, but our businesses too. We all expanded and grew – we took bigger risks than ever before and overextended ourselves even more – we all enjoyed the ride, nobody more so than our Rhino population who now had doubled their habitat from 20 years previously. It was a win/win. 

We had created a mega industry around the Rhino, our farmers had done well, they were good, in fact possibly too good. Numbers grew and even more became involved in Rhino – it became part of our national pride and success, but unfortunately with all the good we drew some unwanted attention too. Soon the poaching world put one and one together – there was a $ to be made. One with limited risk and more rewarding than a bank robbery. The chances of being caught were minimal, and even if you were caught the sentencing proved to be marginal to light. 

With the poachers gaining momentum the farmers started thinking out of the box once again. They had brought the Rhino back from the brink of extinction, and then created a sustainable industry that saw them being rewarded handsomely, why would they quit now? They got creative and started Green Hunting. This allowed a larger part of the industry to get involved as the clash between hunting and ecotourism came together, meeting in the middle.  We could now not merely derive value from our Rhino through hunting, live sales, and ecotourism, we could offer an experience that was acceptable to a larger part of society.

An experience was created, with the benefit of seeing the Rhino walk off to live another day after the enthusiastic foreigner had tracked, darted, and woken his/her Rhino. This was a new twist to our industry – we were once again counterbalancing our losses to the rising poaching issue. 

Then the poachers got serious and 2009 arrived. The world went into a recession and so too did the world of the Rhino and the private Rhino owner. The domestic trade in Rhino horn, much of it derived from the Green Hunting industry was placed under moratorium until further notice. Green Hunting was banned that very next year due to a flaw in our South African law, the Veterinary council had their say, and soon the constant revenue stream was shut down. 

Social media took on a new meaning as the world started to recover from the recession it had endured for five years. No longer was Face Book, Twitter or the likes of many others a means of social communication and sharing, it became a weapon to topple empires, overthrow governments, create awareness for both good and bad, and influence opinion. This now affected the Rhino too. With the Rhino horn trade moratorium in place, an escalating poaching issue at hand, ecotourism battling to recover from a recession hangover and hunting taking center stage for the various anti groups – the world of Rhinos became increasingly expensive and complicated. 

A dead Rhino was now worth more than a live Rhino. No longer could horn be harvested to trade or green hunting be used as a form of income. Any form of hunting was placed under a massive spotlight on social media, and ecotourism was feeling the pinch too. South Africa’s honeymoon was over; FIFA Soccer World Cup 2010 had created an artificial economy before and after the tournament. The world had gotten excited by South Africa, it had flocked in its numbers to our shores once again, but by 2013 the recession was very much with us. Africa’s reputation of being two to three years behind the rest of the world was proving to be the case once again. In all this time our Rhino were bleeding on the ground and the men and women on the front line were pouring even more effort and funds into their protection. Something would give sooner or later. 

The hunting of Rhino was becoming more and more expensive, yet this and ecotourism was our only option. Public opinion was finding it harder and harder to understand how the hunting of Rhino could save their numbers. To them the poaching was responsible for enough losses to the greater population as is, how could the hunting of another Rhino possibly save the specie? What they failed to understand and refuse to accept is the fact that this was an industry that could not afford to close shop for a single day. National Parks and Ecotourism destinations had increased their numbers to the point of off-take. Without the hunters and new game ranches/reserves buying excess Rhino, prices for the commodity would tumble and soon poaching escalation would outweigh the net growth per annum. The Rhino industry was in danger of losing the interest of the private sector, the very one that had brought it back from the brink. 

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But then they threw us a bone. The state called on the private sector to assist in the preparation of an application to propose the regulated international trade of Rhino horn at CITES 2016. This gave hope where all else was lost, and yet again the private sector bought into this concept. Renewed spending took place to protect our Rhino even more. Efforts were doubled by the various stakeholders, we looked past the fact that the ongoing poaching was draining us to a point beyond belief and anymore money poured into a bottomless pit was surely insanity – the old principle of Dr Player was back – reward the farmer and he’ll make a success of anything. We all bravely marched on in a glimmer of hope – reward would soon be ours and that of the Rhino. 

In all this time we started believing more and more in the possibility of a regulated International Trade. Back home in South Africa, our very own private game farmers, John Hume and Johan Kruger, had taken the State to court over their constitutional right to trade horn domestically. The lawsuit cost them millions, but in September 2015 the high court ruled in their favor – they had won. We rejoiced in their efforts, sure that it would be the watershed moment that would open further doors to securing the future of our Rhino industry. Our celebrations were short-lived; domestic trade was hardly given the opportunity to prove its worth as a possible future for the industry, when the State appealed the ruling, placing domestic trade of horn once again under moratorium.

We entered 2016 knowing this would have to be the year that would finally see our fortunes change in the Rhino industry. Very few industries to date had been tested to this extend. No domestic rancher would have marched on in the same hope after a sheep, goat, or cow. Yet the Rhino owners continued on, CITES 2016 would be held in South Africa – you couldn’t blame us for thinking the stars were starting to align in our favor. And then 21 April 2016 arrived – mere months prior to the convention.

Where to now with our Rhinos?

As I sit trying to convey my feeling of hopelessness in my words I turn to a letter received from Dr Peter Oberem, a fellow Rhino owner. 

“Thursday 21 April 2016 will go down in history as a sad day for our country and for the world. In fact, it will be remembered as a devastating day for the rhino as a species. This shocking decision will spell the end of this iconic and beloved animal. It is a devastating day, especially for the very people who have, over the past 50 years, already contributed so much to saving the rhino from extinction, as well as its continued growth and protection. It is a decision that is celebrated only by rhino poachers, those that harbor, support and protect them, and those few vociferous, ill-informed and misguided animal rightist who actively fought for this decision.

Those who have contributed their money, sweat, tears, blood and – yes – their lives for the cause feel betrayed by those who have been charged by their positions to protect the species. They will feel their efforts have been ignored and brushed aside for some as yet unfathomable reason. The voice of those who have made such a difference and who cherish, hold and protect between one-third and one half of the rhino in the world has been drowned out by those who are so often armchair conservationists and who in reality contribute little to protecting the species on the ground.

To date, all efforts to stem the tide of death have come to nought. The only people who benefit from this decision – and the decades of selfless effort to build Rhino populations – are the poachers and their protectors. The sole beneficiaries of this illegal trade worth more than R6 billion per annum are the poachers and other involved criminals.

As of today, the price of Rhino will fall and the price of Rhino horn will rise, increasing the differential between a live Rhino and a dead one – worth only a few hundred thousand alive but up to R8 million dead. It is an unsustainable and untenable situation. What incentive is there other than love of the animal for one to spend money, shed tears and blood, and offer up one’s life to protect it? Where do the protectors of the rhino get the ever-increasing resources needed to counter the growing threat against them and the animals they love and guard?

In addition, through this decision, our country, its people and conservation have missed a unique opportunity. Well controlled, legal trade would create and sustain 11 rural jobs for every Rhino in the country at the minimum wage for an agricultural worker in rural communities and  on game ranches (220 000 decent jobs in total). This R6,6 billion would go a long way towards footing the security bill for these operations and ensuring the survival of the rhino as a
species.

Over and above this, the government would earn another R6,6 billion from their share of the income, which could be used to protect Rhino and contribute to other conservation projects in the national and provincial parks – a situation far better than all this possible foreign-exchange income landing solely in the coffers of the criminal and corrupt, as is the situation currently perpetuated by the announced decision.

This decision flies in the face of logic, which tells us that what is needed is simply to increase the risk to the poacher and reduce his benefits. This decision has achieved exactly the opposite effect. Winston Churchill said “those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it” paraphrasing Einstein, who said that making the same mistake over and over again “is insanity”. It seems we have not learnt. Are we insane? “

There is nothing else to be said. Neither I nor Dad can think of another way out as of this stage. We are both hunters and yet the critic will question our feeling of remorse of the current situation. We have bred, we have protected, we have hunted, we have lost, and we have given our everything to our Rhino. We have not done so in order to rise each morning to count the wealth we may have derived through our Rhino, truth be told, we are so far behind on the eight ball, that their monetary value left the building many years ago.

So you may ask why? Why would we continue forth on such a hapless business module? Every person in this world wakes to ensure his job or business reaps rewards at the end of each day, realizing full well not every sector of his business will be as productive as the other. We accept those same principles, BUT …

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We do it for our kids.

If you have ever had the privilege of sitting in the middle of a crash of Rhino, and observed the joy and pleasure those animals bring to your children, then you my friend will understand where we’re coming from.

It was the Rhino industry that allowed us that simple pleasure, and in turn provided the Rhino the opportunity to return from the brink of extinction.

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Surely we cannot ignore history at such a critical point.

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

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As you start planning your next safari, we beg to ask the obvious question; “How do you know you’re choosing the right outfitter for your next African hunt?”

We know how limited your time is and we understand your concerns. You have a predetermined budget for your next safari, and you’re not only after getting your monies worth in hunting, but the entire experience. You want to hunt large areas and have a shot at world-class trophies day in and day out. You’re after an enjoyable hassle free trip from the time of booking until your beautiful trophies are proudly displayed on your wall back home. You’re after the turn-key experience with a professionally guaranteed outfit , and we’re here to ensure that’s exactly what you’ll get.

In fact we’re so confident in our product that we asked Craig Boddington what he thought of John X Safaris after his first experience on safari with us.

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Carl van Zyl and his team at John X Safaris are a real class act! Carl’s “home lodge” at Lalibela is one of the nicest lodges I’ve ever seen…and Carl has other concessions scattered around the Eastern Cape. Depending on the game you’re looking for, you can hunt coastal thorn-bush, high mountains, or the Great Karoo. Carl was my choice when I took my daughter Caroline on her first safari, and a great choice it was!
Craig Boddington

We then went one step further and asked Aaron Davidson, owner of Gunwerks, leaders of the long-range industry, whom have joined us on numerous safaris, to share his views on John X Safaris.

There is one thing I’ve learned from 10 years of international hunting, if you go with the right outfitter to the right place, you will have an excellent experience. If you’ve ever made the mistake of making the selection about the “deal” or package, you know what I’m talking about. 
For a South African safari, John X Safaris is the right place, and Carl Van Zyl is the right outfitter. He knows how to put you on big animals in an environment suited for lifelong memories. Our partnership to develop a “Long Range Safari” experience is in its fourth year, and I can recommend no other hunting trip or shooting event that will give you a better opportunity to test and improve your long-range shooting expertise.
On one trip, you can get a lifetime of not only long-range hunting experiences, but opportunities at big game like nowhere else.

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Carl and his team have a passion for your success, and they know how to find and stalk game the Gunwerks way.
Aaron Davidson

At John X Safaris we pride ourselves on our high percentage of repeat clientele, a direct result of our dedicated team of professional hunters, trackers, skinners, camp staff and office personnel taking care of your every need.

The Eastern Cape of South Africa is our base and home. This Malaria Free area offers a diverse combination of landscapes, vegetation and wildlife, together making it a unique hunting destination for the first time hunter to Africa. We hunt large Big 5 game reserves/ranches offering world-class Plains Game, Cape Buffalo, and White Rhino.

Further north, Mozambique’s Zambezi Delta is our flag-ship in concession hunting, making it one of the few areas where one has the opportunity of a true classical big five safari combined with a variety of plains game. In Cameroon we hunt the Savannah for the magnificent Lord Derby Eland, or enjoy the thrill of a Pygmy led chase on the ever impressive Bongo in the rain forest. Botswana and Namibia’s Kalahari Desert offers some of the best bow areas in Africa, with numerous opportunities on trophy quality plains game. While Zimbabwe and Zambia plays host to some of the best Leopard and Lion hunting in Africa.

SO if you’re after…

  • An outfit that welcomes all hunters, no matter what your age, physical condition or hunting capabilities.
  • Over 30 Species of World-Class Plains Game in abundance across large concessions.
  • Fair Chase Big 5 on large concessions/reserves.
  • Lodging second to none. Where you can choose 1 of 3 different lodges throughout the East Cape, with our base camp located on our Big 5 Game Reserve. Yes – you will hear free-roaming lions at night, and experience Elephants, Giraffe, Cheetah, Hippo, Rhino, Buffalo, and Zebra in the wild. You do not have to be on a Big 5 hunt to experience this at John X Safaris.
  • Unlimited Tiny 10.
  • Mountain hunting like nowhere else in Southern Africa.
  • Both large high-fenced concessions or free-range areas. We have access to over 3 million acres in the East Cape alone.
  • A hunt that caters to you the hunter – serious about achieving your desired results without “package deals” standing in the way of your goals.
  • A family friendly atmosphere where youngsters are welcomed free of charge. Take us up on our initiative of #Gettingtheyouthhunting
  • A destination that welcomes lady hunters and has been doing so for many years.
  • A destination that welcomes observers and prioritize their experience/s as much as that of the hunter.
  • A destination that welcomes groups, and can cater to groups by having large enough areas and a big enough team ensuring every member of the group leaves us satisfied. Feel free to take us up on #Groupdiscount or #Groupleaderdiscount.
  • Professional Hunters who take your safari seriously, ensuring your priorities are not only met, but your expectations exceeded.
  • An outfit who hunts for a living – You – Our Hunter, is our priority, not the ranch or any sideshows. Our business is hunting, and hunting only. We dedicate 24 hours a day to you ensuring your safari is everything you’d hoped for.
  • Hunting with an outfit that not only “talks” about the good work it does, but actually get’s it hands dirty making a true difference via our John X Foundation.
  • An outfit who believes in hunting for conservation – after all, if we didn’t practice what we preached, how could we still be the leaders after 32 years in the safari industry.

Then John X Safaris is the Outfit for YOU.

So if we have ticked your requirements then we’d like to hear more from you. Bookings for 2016/17/18 are coming in at a steady pace and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during our upcoming travels across North America.

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Below is a quick reminder of our 2016 show and travel schedule. If you or any of your friends may be interested in meeting with us, please drop us a line, we’d be glad to fit you or them into our schedule.

USA – January/February 2016

  • Dallas Safari Club Show – Dallas, Texas: 7 – 10 January 2016 – Both Carl and Stix will be at the show.
  • Houston, Texas, Cocktail Party/Visit: 11 – 14 January 2016 – Any interested hunters can join us for an evening BBQ Reception at the Travis residence in Cypress, TX, Wednesday, 13 January.
  • Kearney, Nebraska Cocktail Party/Visit: 14 – 15 January 2016 – Cocktail evening with the Hertner’s in Kearney, Friday evening, 15 January.
  • Omaha, Nebraska Cocktail Party/Visit: 16 – 18 January 2016 – Cocktail evening with Steve & Jill Evers from Wildlife Creation Taxidermy, Sunday 17 January. Any folks interested in visiting or meeting up with us while in the Omaha area can plan to do so from 16:00 on wards at the Evers residence in Omaha.
  • The week of 18-22 January 2016 will see Carl enjoy a bird shoot in Vance, MS, while Stix will be visiting with our good friend Sam Cunningham in Amarillo, TX. Any folks interested in meeting up with Stix can schedule a preferred time during the week.
  • Jackson, Mississippi: 22 – 24 January 2015 – Carl & Stix will be visiting with our good friend Mike Jarvis.
  • Salt Lake City / Eagle Mountain, Utah: 24-27 January 2016 –Fun evening with all our friends from Eagle Mountain, Wednesday evening 27 January – Both Carl & Stix will be in Eagle Mountain.
  • Pleasant View, Utah: 28 – 31 January 2016 – Fun Evening with the Nelsen brothers, Friday 29 January – Both Carl & Stix will be in Pleasant View.
  •  Safari Club International – Las Vegas, Nevada: 3 – 6 February 2016 – The entire crew consisting of Carl, Stix, Dave Harwood, Brett Nelson, and Jose, will be at the show.

Hunting with John X Safaris is more than just a hunt – It’s the total safari experience. It is a journey of discovery, a wakening of the senses, and ultimately the realization of the dream of hunting Africa.

Whether it is your first trip to Africa, a hunt for the big five, or the choice of forty different plains game species, we are here to cater to your every need.

Contact us for your next hunt on hunting@johnxsafaris.co.za – We’d gladly assist by dropping you a mail, giving you a call or visiting you in your home state.

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

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As many of you would know Craig Boddington and John X Safaris have come a long way since that initial safari in the East Cape with Craig and family back in 2013. Over the course of the past two years our relationship has grown with Craig recommending John X Safaris to many a friend and hunter.

Craig, Donna, & Caroline Boddington on safari with John X Safaris during 2013.

So when Craig and his team contacted us a couple of months ago and asked if John X Safaris would like to be one of the chosen endorsed safari outfits in Africa – it didn’t take much guessing what our answer would be! It was not only a great compliment, but honor having Craig recognize John X Safaris amongst the top outfits in the world.

What exactly is a Craig Boddington Endorsed Outfitter?

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The problem with hunting is that it is addictive. You spend time in camp having the time of your life and talking with fellow hunters. By the time you depart one camp, you’re planning your next hunt.

Next comes the research. These hunts aren’t cheap. The bigger the price…the more daunting the research. The Internet overwhelms. Chatting at a show booth is like leaping from holding hands to getting married. Yes, your buddy assured you outfitter X is the best for Species Y, but you know he’s only hunted that species once. The fun of the process diminishes as question marks abound. If only you had Craig Boddington’s satellite phone number. You could call and winnow these options down to the outfitter he would use for the species and region you’re interested in.

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Craig has saved you an expensive satellite call by compiling a list of outfitters he has endorsed. Now you can search by region or species all under one site at Craig Boddington Endorsed Outfitters.

This week saw the launch of the Craig Boddington Endorsed Outfitters. Kevin Paulson of Huntinglife.com caught up with both Craig and John X Safaris for further comment on this new initiative. Below is a copy of the article published on Huntinglife.com.

Craig Boddington & Team Launches CRAIG BODDINGTON ENDORSED OUTFITTERS

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By Kevin Paulson, Founder & CEO of HuntingLife.com

It is no secret that Col. Craig Boddington has had a pretty amazing career hunting across the world. It is also not a secret that Craig has seen a tremendous amount of great outfitters and legendary guides in his day. He has encountered some of the worst as well. You do not go on the kinds of hunts that Craig has experienced in his lifetime without having had some learning experiences along the way.

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Col. Craig Boddington has been writing since 1979 while he served in the US Marine Corps. Craig served in the Marine Corps Reserves all the way up until 2005.  Craig has been a regular writer for Guns and Ammo and Petersen’s since 1979 making him one of the longest running writers in the outdoor market. Boddington is nothing if not prolific, having written over 4000 articles in his lifetime and 25 books. It is no question that Craig Boddington inspires me. I have yet to meet Donna, Craig’s wife, but I have had several conversations with Craig, his daughter Brittany and Conrad Evarts, his long time field producer and the CEO of Craig Boddington Endorsed Outfitters. There is no question that I am a tremendous fan of Craig and his work in our industry, as a conservationist and as a writer and hunter.

We had the opportunity to ask Craig a few questions before he took off for the Caprivi to chase elephants across open flood plains.

How did you come up with the idea of Boddington Endorsed Outfitters?

The concept emerged through “campfire discussions.” One of my limitations is I’m a terrible salesman and have absolutely no interest in being a “booking agent” and directly selling hunts…I learned this through a very brief stint in that business in the late 1970s, after I left active duty with the Marines and before I joined Petersen Publishing Company! Over the years, however, I have had extensive experience with outfitters and guides and have many friends in that industry that I trust…as well as innumerable readers and viewers who often ask for recommendations. CBEO developed as a means to put all this together.

What separates a good outfitter from a great outfitter?

A great outfitter must have really good areas and also exceptional organizational skills. With larger outfits, where the guides are hired by the outfitter while the outfitter does little or no actual guiding, the outfitter must also possess strong managerial skills.

What separates a good guide from a great guide?

Hunting skills and knowledge of areas and game to be hunted are essential for a “good” guide. A “great” guide quickly evaluates and takes on board his client’s wishes and expectations…and also his or her capabilities and limitations.

What kind of information should hunters get from outfitters before they depart on international hunts?

Good equipment lists, step-by-step instructions on what to expect through the clearance process for baggage and guns and, before booking, the hunter should understand exactly where he or she will be hunting, and be assured that the outfitter/operator has whatever legal means or documentation needed to ensure that the outfitter has authorization to hunt that area.

How can hunters educate themselves about the laws within a country they are intending to hunt?

The Internet is a great tool that will answer most questions, but when shopping for and booking a hunt one mustn’t be shy. It is perfectly okay to ask the hard questions: Is the operator fully licensed to outfit/guide in the area to be hunted? Does the outfitter have exclusive rights to the area to be hunted? Does the outfitter belong to and support his/her local guide association or the international professional bodies (IPHA, MOGA, APHA, etc.), and the international organizations such as SCI, DSC, etc.

We asked Conrad Evarts, CEO of Craig Boddington Endorsed Outfitters, how can an outfitter become a part of the endorsement program?

If Craig has an exceptional experience with an outfitter, we invite them. Occasionally, we take suggestions from trusted associates and then vet the outfitter. Craig Boddington Endorsed Outfitters simply alerts serious hunters when we discover exceptional outfitters.

I also had the opportunity to check in with Carl van Zyl of John X Safaris, one of the outfitters within CBEO, out of South Africa. Why should hunters use the Craig Boddington website to look up outfitters?

There are 3 simple reasons why hunters should use Craig Boddington website to look up Boddington recommended outfitters:  Craig’s incredible experience, knowledge, integrity.

The biggest challenge in selecting an outfitter is to figure out one you can trust.  Craig has been hunting Africa for 30 years.   He hasn’t just been there, he has personally hunted the areas where he makes recommendations. Craig knows where to hunt, and who are the trustworthy outfitters who will have both quality trophies, and a quality safari experience.

For first time hunters, choosing an outfitter is overwhelming.   There are literally hundreds of outfitters in South Africa.  For many the first safari is a major investment…maybe their trip of a lifetime.  There is incredible comfort knowing that The Expert they see on Boddington Experience TV knows a specific outfitter and can recommend him based upon personal experience.

For the veteran hunter returning on safari, it is often about finding an outfitter that can get you to the premier species you want to hunt.  Safari veterans know Craig from his many articles and his TV shows. If there is anyone up to speed on where to go for specific species, the name to trust is Boddington.  Craig is not only current on hunting areas, but also knows who has quota and quality animals you might want to pursue.

What is the value to outfitters for participating in this program?

Outfitters spend an incredible amount of time marketing their product.   They want to achieve the best fit of what they offer with the types of hunters booking.   If hunters have spent the time researching the Craig Boddington site, an Outfitter knows they are serious about their safari.  Looking for a Boddington endorsed outfitter shows that the hunter is looking for quality in terms of both the trophies and the hunting experience.

John X Safaris is looking for hunters who value the total safari experience.   We customize each safari to the hunter’s trophy quest, as well as each hunter’s abilities and experience.  The value of a hunter participating in the Boddington endorsed outfitter program means that he or she is looking for quality, not just price.

Craig is a strong advocate for involving youth and families in the experience of a safari, which is very consistent with our goals as an outfitter.  So John X Safaris is actively partnering in the Boddington endorsed outfitter program to find more of those hunters who value a safari experience – like those that Craig writes about and illustrates on his TV program.

We know when it is time to book our next hunt abroad, this will absolutely be one of the resources that we use!

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So why John X Safaris; we asked? There are so many other outfits out there. What would the criteria be? Quite simply Craig replied; “I’d feel comfortable recommending John X Safaris to my best friend!”

Enjoy what else Craig had to say about John X Safaris @ Boddington on John X Safaris We sure are proud of being a part of Craig’s Endorsement.

There you have it fellow hunters, the next time you’re sharing stories from your last great adventure at John X Safaris with family and friends, be sure to let them know – It’s not only you recommending John X Safaris for their next African hunt, but Craig Boddington too.

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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