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Posts Tagged ‘East Cape Hunting’

With our season in full swing I found myself around the camp fire at our new base, Woodlands Safari Estate, in deep conversation with an old friend from the US. He and I have shared many a camp fire across four of Southern Africa’s premiere hunting destinations, having hunted most of the big 5. We were reliving many of those hunts, when he came to the conclusion, that while each of those experiences were amazing in their own right, at times they lacked variety. It was not that they didn’t live up to expectation, but more so the question of “IF” one would return on a second or third hunt to any one of those destinations without having to repeat the same species or the same experiences. Here he was back in the East Cape on his 4th hunt with us, and still he had not experienced everything on offer.

Since then it got me thinking, of course all are familiar with our infamous plains game hunts in the East Cape, not to mention the Cape Buffalo hunting which is gaining a huge reputation as we speak. I thought about how best to share what we were talking about, and came up with a few recent hunts over the past two months at John X Safaris.

The bird hunting in the East Cape is nothing like Argentina or the Dakota’s in the US, but they’re an experience of variety on their own. The Tzavellos family from Greece were after a safari that would entail bird hunting, as well as a Big 5 photographic experience, and a tour down the Garden Route to Cape Town.

They started off their hunt from the coast, staying at Sibuya Game Reserve for the Big 5 up close and personal, giving those who wanted to view game the opportunity to do so on morning or evening game drives, while at the same time giving Apostollos the opportunity at birds on nearby concessions.

From the coast they headed north to the Great Karoo, staying at Samara Private Game Reserve. Samara is a beautiful reserve located on the outskirts of Graaf-Reinett with vistas stretching over the horizon as far as the eye can see. Irini, Elini, and Stelios, joined Appstollos for a day in the mountains above 6000 feet for Grey Wing Partridge over English Pointer.

Tim van Heerden and his hard-working Pointers are a sight to behold.Nothing quite prepares you as one is often caught in mere awe of these amazing dogs.

From the Karoo it was onto Mossel Bay and a meander down to Cape Town along the Garden Route.

Finally saying good-bye to Africa from the slopes of Table Mountain.

From birds, Big 5, and touring we got cracking on one of our most successful concepts to date. We take youth hunting serious. In fact we believe it’s so important for the future of hunting that we’re willing to put our money where our mouths are at. Since 2007 we’ve been promoting #gettingtheyouthhuntingatjxs . Our theory is quite simple, if you’re willing to buy him/her a flight to Africa, we’ll comp the day fee! It has been ten years since that first season of getting more youngsters on safari to Africa and to date it has seen more than 50 youngsters falling in love with Africa and our hunting in the East Cape. It has been a success beyond words.

Arturo Jr on Safari…

Arturo Malo took us up on our offer, flying out from Mexico during May with his son, Arturo Jr. They were after a variety of plains game with either bow or rifle.

Arturo Sr proved that patience and endless perseverance combines well when you can handle a bow like a pro. A Waterbuck, Zebra, and Eland all fell to his bow, with his Eland being a particular favorite. A brute of an old bull, well beyond making it through this winter. The absolute perfect Eland to harvest.

Jr on the other hand was taking in every sight and sound that Africa had to offer.

As a father and son they came away enriched with their experience, with no distractions from the outside world, just one on one – connecting through hunting and the great outdoors.

Then to sum it up best one needs to look no further than two very special people who have become an integral part of our John X family. It’s not often that one has the opportunity to host a couple over a period extending more than a decade. Try adding in four countries plus six return trips to the East Cape, and you get the picture. John and Lynn Nowlin joined us on their 10th safari this season. A privilege and compliment that we pride ourselves on.

By this stage they’ve hunted just about everything on offer, so a Barbary Sheep in the mountains of the north proved to be a big interest on this particular safari.

Hunting these weary sheep are a challenge not taken lightly and one any hunter would revel in.

While the sheep and a number of plains game species would be of interest to Mr. John, it was the quest for a big Kudu that would be the focus.

It has been the Nowlin’s focus for more than ten years to hunt a Kudu of magnitude proportion. They have hunted numerous bulls, with a number reaching that magical 55″ mark, but a bull closer to 60″ has eluded them over the years. After all they’re not called the grey ghosts for nothing…

We had found an area along the Great Kei River that had introduced Southern Greater Kudu more than twenty years ago, and with an extremely strict management plan, offering a mere two trophies a year, had seen monsters coming from this area in the past few years. The area is owned by the Rance family, who kindly offered us one of the two tags for 2017, the other as per tradition was reserved for their family.

The terrain is steep and the vegetation thick, offering both hunter and Kudu an environment to thrive in.

Numerous bulls were spotted from day one, with many giving the hunters serious headaches on passing or hunting. Decisions.. decisions…

And then after scratching their heads for long and often enough, Ed made the call…

And 10 safaris all came into one for not only the Nowlin’s, but Ed and I too.

It has been their quest for so long, and it has given us sleepless nights trying to achieve the ultimate goal, like we do for every single one of our hunters, to finally achieve what we had hoped for.

59 1/8′” – A Southern Greater Kudu of magnitude proportion.

A hunt for a Kudu like this comes around once in ten safaris. It’s not your everyday kind of opportunity, but it proved what my friend and I were discussing around the camp fire. What the Tzavellos family and the Malo’s experienced were two different safaris on their own, and if the Nowlin’s could hunt the East Cape on six different occasions, and re-booked for a 7th during 2018, then that my friend tells us..The East Cape is no ordinary safari destination.

Will we see you during 2018?

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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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.

Eland

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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The start of a new season, excitement fills the air, my nerves are killing me. Why you may ask? From the trackers to the camp staff, and even the PH’s, all are steering well clear of one another. Everyone waits in anticipation for the first arrivals.

Pretty spectacular scenery...

We’ve been through this a hundred times, to be more exact, since 1983, we have one of the best teams in the business and know what to expect. Surely you’d think after 33 years we’d have got used to it, but no, until the first skin hits the salt and the first smiles are met with satisfaction around a crackling campfire, we will not rest.

We have done the leg work, the hard yards in scouting, our teams have checked, re-checked and just to be certain, checked again. Every detail has been covered – there’s nothing else we can do. It’s time to hunt. Let’s get out there and get our season off to a good start – that’s all one can ask for.

The guys are in the north, Greg and Rusty,together with Bless and Ou John. With them they have second time returnees Paul Matson and Tom Skelly.

The guys are in the north, Greg and Rusty,together with Bless and Ou John. With them they have second time returnees Paul Matson and Tom Skelly.

The rest of the team are only due to start in a couple of weeks time on their first hunts, and already the jealousy of not being out there is killing us. Big summer rains have turned the Great Karoo into a wonderland bursting with life from horizon to horizon.

One can only imagine the familiar sounds and smells that fill the air. The game will be in peak condition.

One can only imagine the familiar sounds and smells that fill the air. The game will be in peak condition.

Paul is after Cape Eland with Greg, I can clearly see the mountains they’ll be climbing in my mind. Greg and I have on numerous occasions discussed those north facing slopes where the old bulls like hiding out. At this time of year they’ll be after the fresh summer growth around the springs, their old teeth to worn out to take on the harder woodier vegetation. The hunters will be working the high ground wary of the numerous groups of Vaal Rhebuck and Mountain Reedbuck who frequent these towering mountains. An Eland bull on the trot is a different beast – don’t let him know you’re after him. As big as he is, he’ll disappear on you for weeks.

The ever enthusiastic Rusty together with an excited Tom will make for one exhilarating safari. They’ll be after Red Hartebeest and a bunch of others. They’re a hard-working team with an impressive success rate.  They’ll master those wary Hartebeest and any opportunistic trophy along the way, just let them be – let them hunt.

Each morning starting at 5am I start checking my phone, still no word from the teams in the north. I wait patiently, continuously preparing for the season ahead. There’s so many great hunts in store – so much to look forward to. I wait. Patiently…

They called this afternoon, finally, both Tom and Paul have been successful.

From all accounts it has been an adventure to remember. It seems Tom and Rusty got off to a flying start with a great Cape Hartebeest, Burchells Zebra, and Impala. Paul on the other hand hunted hard for a Cape Eland, putting in early mornings and long days in the pursuit of these magnificent beasts. His quest for an Eland proved unlucky at first making the most of opportunities on Gemsbuck, Cape Hartebeest and a couple of Impala, with perseverance paying off some days later.

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“It took a village in the end – They sure are big!”; was all we could get out of Paul throughout the excitement.

Tom on the other hand had to dig deep and replay a similar scene from his first hunt with John X Safaris. The guys spotted a Kudu bull feeding on a distant slope, deeming it was a shooter, the hunt was on and the guys set off on foot. Soon they had stalked into position, the bull would hopefully give them the desired opportunity. Tom got prone as he often does and when the bull presented a shot, Tom let him have it with his 300 Win Mag.

A great Kudu bull went crashing down to a well placed shot, but not after yet another “french kiss” from Tom’s rifle on exactly the same specie as last time round. Like the saying goes; “Everything in Africa bites”, even the scopes. A quick minute or two of first aid in the field got the blood flow stopped, but most certainly not the laughter from there on in.

Wow – So many great stories to look forward to with a group of happy hunters arriving back at base camp this evening. Hearing their personal accounts of their adventures is often the most enjoyable part of any safari. Their anticipation and trust placed in John X Safaris for a second time in three years reiterates our belief in what we’re doing as a team. Receiving word from the guys of plans of a 3rd safari with their boys in a couple of years time on a “Dads and Lads” hunt, is undoubtedly the greatest compliment of all. Hats off to the guys who started us off on the right foot – Here’s to an exciting season ahead!

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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Most of you will recall the stories and daily diary entries of Paul Brisso and Professional Hunter, Carl van Zyl, on their recent hunt to Mozambique during  September this year. A hunt like no other and an adventure that one could only dream about. From close calls with Buffalo in the swamps to Chobe Bushbuck on the pans, countless Red Duiker and Livingstone Suni in the forest, to hundreds of Reedbuck on the floodplain. That was our adventure.

But like most things in life, even in paradise things are not always as rosy as they seem…

“Day 9 – September 18 – A sad day….”

“Yes, today was a sad day. We had hunted so hard for a good Sable. Our efforts had come up short on numerous occasions, but we continued on knowing our luck would turn sooner rather than later. It had to come.

When it came, it came with anger, disappointment, and a sense of loss. It sucked every emotion out of the entire team. Hollowness engulfed us as we watched the magnificence of such a majestic animal ……so helpless.

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He didn’t deserve this. To be caught in a poachers gin trap.  He had given so much more to the world he lived in, his mere existence was more than we could have asked for. Hunters had ensured the sustainability of him and his kind, poachers had robbed both us and him of a fair contest.”

At the time of the hunt serious discussions and planning was taking place from the depths of the Zambezi Delta to the furthermost corners of the world, and by the time we publishing the above story, we had made a commitment to Mark Haldane and his anti-poaching team fighting the daily battle in Coutada 11, Mozambique.

Since then we’ve been extremely busy. An eager team led by Mark Haldane, and the support of many around him, have succeeded in launching arguable the greatest private anti-poaching drive in the history of Mozambique. This fundraiser promises to be something worth following – history is in the making.

Auction items include rifles by Blaser and Craig Boddington’s Ruger Number One .450/.400-3″, taxidermy, shipping, and video donations. Hunts ranging from a 10 Day Buffalo Hunt in the Zambezi Delta, an Australian Javan Rusa Deer hunt, a White Tail hunt guided by Craig Boddington in Kansas, and of course as promised, John X Safaris has come on board, donating a specialized East Cape plains game hunt. Then there’s also a fishing trip to Costa Rica, and of course a couple of fun dinner date donations too.

We urge you to come onboard and join the cause. Stand up as hunters and be counted!

For those who have never experienced the Zambezi Delta, and those that want to be a part of this amazing initiative, watch the below message from Mark…..

And hit the link to support the drive http://antipoaching.zambezedeltasafaris.com/

It’s a cause well worth supporting and one we hold close to the heart.

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

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Bill Satterfield, Dave Kjelstrup, Alex Good and Paul Latchford were still on safari heading north hoping to carry on from where they left off in the south.

Arriving in the north, the guys settled into camp before the afternoon’s hunt was set to begin.

Professional Hunter, Juan MacDonald, together with his hunters, Alex and Paul, were after Gemsbuck and Springbuck. Dave was on the hunt for Cape Hartebeest, Gemsbuck, Eland, Mnt Reedbuck and Springbuck, while Bill would soon be joining the hunt with a day of upland birds over English Pointer.

Alex was the first to strike gold – A superb Gemsbuck.

Paul soon followed with a bull of his own.

Dave was finding the north slow at first, we were spotting game, but weren’t getting those lucky breaks we’d become accustomed to in the south.

We were forced to hit the mountains in search of game.

We finally spotted a heard of Gemsbuck across a small valley, feeding on the next plateau. We left Bill to shelter and made the final ascend. Dave was finding the terrain hard, as loose rocks were making conditions under foot extremely difficult to navigate in.

We finally got into position and Dave added to his tally of one shot kills.

Day 5 was capped off with a great late afternoon Impala.

The following morning was a slow one, the previous evenings party had been good, possibly too good. The mornings hunt saw us coming up empty-handed, so we decided to head back to camp for lunch. On the way back to camp Boy spotted a group of Mnt Reedbuck bedded down in a secluded valley. A closer inspection revealed a ram worth pursuing. We edged our way along a wooded area and came up and over, looking down for the hidden animals. Once we’d spotted them it was a matter of patience.

Boy and Dave with Dave’s old Mnt Reedbuck ram.

The bow hunters hadn’t run into any sort of luck during the course of the morning. The area was massive, making it difficult to locate the required game. Whenever we were after Eland, all we could find was Springbuck and tons of Gemsbuck, while the other crew was finding loads of Eland. We decided to join forces and plan our attack for the afternoon. If we could help each other by spotting game the other was after, we could cover double the distance in half the time. We headed out.

Within hours our plan worked! Dave coming away with a monster Cape Hartebeest.

Day seven saw us rising to a windless morning, the perfect start to a day of upland birds. Bill and Alex joined me, while Juan, Dave, and Paul were on the hunt for Cape Springbuck.

The bird hunters travelled 45 mins north to Niel’s place, ready for an enjoyable morning.

The bird hunters were after Grey Wing Partridge, a small covey bird living on the high ground at + – 5000 feet above sea level. These birds are wild and are hunted in their natural terrain, making for exciting shooting over trained English Pointer.

Our English Pointer, Bones, is a camp favorite and a great character to have around, the fact that he’s really good at what he does only adds to the excitement and the hunters’ entire experience.

Bones kept us going for 5 hours without a single break. Now that’s hunting by an old dog.

The terrain often tested us in various ways, Bill soon finding himself head high in brush with Bones on a point.

While our morning was a slow one, extremely strange for that particular area, we enjoyed a great laugh. During midmorning while flushing a covey of Grey Wing, Bill soon knocked down the lead bird, only to see Alex follow-up on the double with an escaping Jack Rabbit! Needless to say we were rolling with laughter after seeing the blank expression on Bones’ face!

On the other side of the mountain things were going pretty well. Dave had hunted a Cape Eland and both hunters had lucked into Springbuck.

A happy Paul with a well-earned Common Springbuck.

Our time in the Karoo had come and gone so quickly, we had spent 3 enjoyable days hunting some of the biggest open country that Africa has to offer.

Before heading south we said our final farewells; it was truly a fantastic place to have hunted….

Day eight would still provide many adventures. The day was young and the Land Cruiser felt strong, eating away at the many miles south.

Arriving back south in time for the afternoon hunt, we got onto a roll like I haven’t seen in years.

Dave first dropped his Black Wildebeest with another well placed shot. A great bull to add to his growing trophy collection.

Having taken a liking to the bow hunters Blesbuck, he was keen on hunting a ram of his own.

And when we had all called it a day and were heading back to the skinning shed, that familiar whistle rang out from the back. Boy had spotted something. We dropped off the rest and headed out again.

Dave’s much wanted Warthog was what Boy had spotted.

Needless to say we were all worn out after such an eventful day.

That evening saw us enjoy a well-earned dinner back at base camp, reliving the stories of what had been thus far.

Day nine saw us rise at 4am, we were going waterfowl shooting.

Hides were in place.

Decoys were set.

The birds were coming.

The guys enjoyed a successful morning, with a personal highlight, seeing Dave use the callers with such skill. We were told he was the North Dakota champion; we now know he really is!

Apart from Dave’s great calling it seemed these guys could shoot just as well.

That afternoon we set out for the last time trying to find Alex a big Kudu bull. We had taken on so much, in the end we simply ran out of time. With the setting sun, Juan and I decided to introduce our new friends to an entire different world. We hooked up the spotlight and brought the night to life. We spotted Jackal, Springhare, Jack Rabbit, Aardwolf, Bushbuck, Kudu, Bat Eared Fox, Porcupine and a host of birds.

Dave bagged this beauty of a Common Duiker to end what had been an amazing hunt.

Our last day of our hunt was put aside for R&R. We headed down towards the coast on a meandering pub crawl, stopping in at the many water holes along the way.

Including the pub with the longest standing liquor license in South Africa.

We then capped it off with a seafood lunch on the ocean.

And finally a Big 5 Game Drive – Spotting Lion, Elephant, Hippo and Giraffe in the same afternoon.

So you cost me a buck and you never even knew it. Value for money, I’ve never had that much fun with any one group before. Both Juan and I still find ourselves laughing at the many crazy things you guys did. If Alex wasn’t inventing a new species on a daily basis, he was practicing trick shooting with his rifle and bow, how else could one explain the mayhem. If Dave wasn’t taking on every hunter and his mother, then Paul was there to edge him along even deeper into another bet. As for Bill, the elderly gentleman who came strolling down the aisle and cost me a buck. I’d gladly pay that buck again!

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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