South African Hunting Review – My first African plains game hunting safari couldn’t have happened under better auspices than with Karoo Wild Safaris. My buddy Joe and I–both firearm/outdoor-industry professionals with accordingly high expectations–came away from this kudu, oryx, nyala, waterbuck and impala hunt fully thrilled and looking forward to our next safari with Victor and Lindsay.
From the moment Victor picked us up in Port Elizabeth to our settling in in our luxurious thatched cottages, from Lindsay’s cooking one big hit after another to our collecting trophy-quality animals, everything exceeded our highest hopes. While in camp, we were treated like family by Victor, Lindsay, and their fantastic kids Emma and Harry. We could tell that hospitality was one of their absolute strengths, since we never felt like guests to be entertained, but rather as part of their lives and fellow travelers sharing their passion for Africa, wildlife, and the Karoo.
The hunt takes place in the form of short drives followed by as much walking and stalking as clients are comfortable with. Victor employs one main tracker, the incomparable Mitchell, plus others if and when the hunting and location call for it. Terrain is hilly semi-desertic/savanna, with lots of interesting vegetation to take note of–for those like me interested in more than just the fauna. Victor has access to 40+ thousand acres of huntable land surrounding his main camp (of which he owns 11,000), plus other hundreds of thousand acres in concessions nearby. Shots range from short (my closest was about 60 yards) to long (two of Joe’s animals were taken at about 260 yards). Victor never pressures you to exceed your comfort level, even in this regard.
During our 9-day plains game safari, we also visited another camp a couple hours north of the main lodge. It was a splendid and highly picturesque basin surrounded by the Camdeboo mountains, and we stayed in a 19th-century cottage right out of the movie “Out of Africa.” Between all the areas we hunted, we had the opportunity to see an incredible variety of wild game–ranging from giraffe to elephant, from cape buffalo to rhino, as well as all sorts of plains game. Another of Victor’s strengths is his profound knowledge of conservation, local history, flora and fauna, cartridges, ballistics, handloading and more, making it a delight to converse with while driving from one location to the next.
In the course of this safari, I collected a magnificent nyala, an oryx (gemsbok), a kudu and a blesbok, while Joe harvested an impala, a waterbuck, an oryx and a kudu. We both agreed that we would soon come back to complete our spiral-horn slam and to have another wonderful experience with Victor and Lindsay. Two (actually four, counting Joe’s) big thumbs up and looking forward to next time