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#5636011 - 03/05/15 12:21 PM South African Plains Game Safari
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
I'm home sick today and thought it might be fun to post some pics and comments about our trip to South Africa back in August 2014 with Lategan Safaris. We met Bennie Lategan and his family at the DSC show the previous January. My wife has never been to Africa and said that if she could go anywhere in the world, that's where she wanted to go. At first I thought about a photo safari just to take pictures, but when looking into that, I realized we could hunt there for less!!!

In order to arrive in Johannesburg in the morning so we could catch a connecting flight to Bloemfontein, we went from Dallas to London, with an 11 hour layover in London. We took the Underground into the city center and saw the sights, then back to the airport with plenty of time to wait around for our flight.











Eddie

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#5636033 - 03/05/15 12:32 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
From Bloemfontein, we where picked up by our PH, Brent Pagel, and he drove us to the ranch just outside Aliwal North on the Oranje River. The drive was nice, and we thought the countryside looked a lot like West Texas.

The ranch is about 3,000 acres high fenced and our chalet was at the edge of a ridge overlooking the valley below with the Orange River running through it. From our room, we would glass and look for animals.






















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#5636045 - 03/05/15 12:39 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
On my fist safari, I went to Namibia and took ten animals. On this trip, I wanted the animals I didn't get there, and those that are only in South Africa. My wife is fairly new to hunting and has only shot a few wild hogs on our land where we live. She has been deer hunting with me, be we haven't seen anything legal yet. We booked the hunt 1x1 for hunting with her as a non hunter, but Bennie said she could shoot a springbok for free just to get the experience. We shot two animals on his ranch. I shot the black wildebeest and Karen got her springbok there





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#5636063 - 03/05/15 12:48 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
I had mentioned to Bennie that I wanted a Red Lechwe, but that I didn't have the extra cash for one. It was a conversation around the table while eating dinner and something I didn't put a lot of thought into. Just talking about the animals I was looking for and what I wanted in the future. The next day I we drove to a sheep farm to hunt steenbok. They are very common there and we saw dozens of them before I shot mine. It was one of those really fun days of seeing lots of game and being able to be picky. This was a low fence neighbor about half an hours drive from where we where staying.

The next day while getting ready to head out for eland, Bennie got a call from another ranch that asked him if he had a client wanting a red Lechwe. They where speaking in Africans and my PH was translating as fast as he could while they where talking on the phone, telling me that the owner of the high fenced ranch had one that had escaped and it was still on his land, but outside the fence. He and Bennie where discussing how much to take off the price of the animal and how quickly I could get there. The concern was that it would wonder off and he wouldn't get anything for it. Bennie then asked me if I was interested in it for almost half price, and if I was OK hunting eland the the next day. It was one of those opportunities that I didn't expect and seemed almost surreal in the timing of it.





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#5636074 - 03/05/15 12:54 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
While Bennie had quite a few eland on his place, he didn't have any good trophies. We drove an hour to a 10,000 acre high fenced ranch that they where friends with the owner and manager. The manager had all his guys out looking for eland at first light, and when we got there an hour or so after the sun had come up, they had a good bull located. He was bedding below a steep ridge across a valley. After getting us up to see where he was bedded, and working out a plan on getting to him from up above, we spent the next three hours sneaking into position. He was still there when we got into position and I made a lucky shot. It was almost straight down, about 100 yards, and I was aiming for his heart. I missed and broke his neck. He never moved!!!


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#5636100 - 03/05/15 01:03 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
Next on my list for South Africa was the Vaal Rhebok. I've read all sorts of stories about hunting them and how they like to be in the rocks and on top of the ridges. It was close to a 2 hour drive to the sheep farm where they where located. The owner of the land had 7,000 acres and his brother has 7,000 acres and their neighbor had another 7,000 acres that we hunted on. It was all low fence with lots of gates and barbwire to cross. The land is wide open with only a few trees with a lot of hills, peaks and ridges. My PH and the owner of the land where amazing at spotting them way off in the distance. It was 40 degrees that day with a very strong wind. Up high, it would blow so hard that you couldn't stand up straight!!! That wind made it miserable, but probably a big part of what made it such an amazing hunt. We made half a dozen stalks to get into range. A few times the horns where just too small or one was broken off. A few other times they gave us the slip and disappeared when we got to where we thought we should have seen them. Mountain Reedbuck where in the area too, and we had to deal with them spooking and scaring off the Vaal Rhebock. When it all worked out, it was really something!!!!!


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#5636131 - 03/05/15 01:13 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
When booking the hunt, I wanted plenty of time to hunt. We knew that the animals where going to be in two locations, so having enough time in each area was important. Things went better then I had hoped for, and we found ourselves with a free day. Bennie old Karen about the grand slam of springbok. I already have a Kalahari Springbok from Namibia, and she had already shot a common springbok, so he suggested we hunt for a black springbok. The price was fair, so we took off to his fathers ranch to hunt them. This was a nice area, about an hour away with 3,000 acres high fenced.


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#5636174 - 03/05/15 01:33 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX

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#5636181 - 03/05/15 01:38 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
DrifterAT Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 01/25/15
Posts: 454
Loc: Austin, Texas
Awesome summary and beautiful pictures!

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#5636186 - 03/05/15 01:41 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
Next we drove about 6 hours to Komga. It's a small town fairly close to the coast where it's very lush and more rolling type terrain. We stayed in what they call a primitive camp. Power is from solar cells, and propane to heat water and to cook on, but we also used coals from the fire to cook on. Karen and I stayed in our own chalet, the Ph in his and out tracker in his. There was an open sided cooking building and another one for the bathroom. This was our favorite place to stay.








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#5636187 - 03/05/15 01:41 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
Stub Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 04/27/05
Posts: 12375
Neat pics and at first it did look like west Texas. up
_________________________
This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. ~Elmer Davis






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#5636194 - 03/05/15 01:44 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
GOLDSTEIN Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 01/16/07
Posts: 8486
Loc: Keller, TX
cheers Great recap. Looks like a fantastic trip!
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#5636198 - 03/05/15 01:45 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
Nyala was my number one animal. We where hunting a very large cattle farm. Nobody seemed to know exactly how much land they owned because it was a big operation with their own processing plant. They butchered hundreds of cattle and sheep every day!!! We had access to the entire ranch and where staying in the owners private hunting camp. We hunted hard all morning and then all day long without seeing anything close to a shooter. Lots of females and little guys until almost last light. Then while driving along one of the roads, he stepped out at 20 yards. He was so close that I just shot him off hand without even waiting for my PH to say anything!!!


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#5636232 - 03/05/15 01:57 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
For the other animals on my list, we would drive to the ridges at first light and glass. We saw tons of animals with impala then I thought possible!!! We hunted all day long except for taking a short break to eat lunch. The weather was anywhere from nice, to cold and raining. It never slowed us down. The Reedbuck was probably the one we worked the hardest for there. They would just lay down in the tall grass and disappear. With mine, we spotted him in the morning with a much smaller one. They took off and we chased them to where we lost them. Then we kept looking around until we found them and they took off again. The small one kept giving the bigger one away. Finally we saw him lay down in the tall grass about a mile away. He chased off the small one and was all alone overlooking a big valley. We snuck around, then crawled through the grass several hundred yards. My PH spotted him at a hundred yards, but I just couldn't make him out. We went closer, and I still couldn't see him. We went closer, then closer again. At 30 yards, I finally made out his horns with my binoculars. But I think we where too close and he took off. I made a lucky off hand shot at 50 yards that dropped him.

We saw duiker all over the place. They where very alert and once they took off, we never found them again. Mine was feeding with two females in a small pasture. We crawled along the fence line, that was overgrow to where we found an opening to see through all the brush. The shot was close, but the grass and brush meant I had to have the rifle about 2 feet or so off the ground. My PH laid sideways to them and I climbed on top of my PH with the rifle barrel resting on the barbed wire. Once in position, he stopped breathing and I was able to make the shot. I think that shooting positing is what will make that such a memorable trophy!!!

The bushbuck where fairly common. I was holding out for a big trophy, but at the last hour of the last day, I took a good one.








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#5636244 - 03/05/15 02:06 PM Re: South African Plains Game Safari [Re: EddieWalker]
EddieWalker Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 08/06/14
Posts: 1171
Loc: Tyler, TX
This really was a beautiful area. Totally different then the first area we hunted. Obviously they get more rain there, but the buildings and farms where different too. For us, it was such a huge bonus to see the contrast between the two areas and to be able to spend a week in each area.











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