Mike used my .375 Ruger with 200 grain GS Custom ammunition.
The first couple of days was tough hunting. We saw a number of kudu bulls but not the shooter we were looking for. With time on our side we passed on a number of animals including some mountain reedbuck.
On the third day we travelled north to a concession in the Swartberg Mountains to look for Vaal Rhebuck. Vaal Rhebuck are very habitat specific and are only found in a few mountain corners of South Africa. We were soon onto a herd of rhebuck with one nice ram as their dominant male. We stalked unsuccessfully a few times before Mike had a long shot at the ram. The shot hit and the ram hurtled downhill to expire next to a mountain creek. Mike had made a great shot to down a Vaal Rhebuck ram. We spent the afternoon looking for eland but were unsuccessful.
Early the next morning we were soon onto a large bachelor herd of eland. We spotted them from a few hundred yards away and stalked within a stones' throw from them. We hid next to a pathway and waited patiently as the eland grazed past us. The first four were younger bulls and we let them pass. They each had a long stare at us but by staying motionless we remained undetected. The fifth bull was a shooter and Mike readied himself as he approached. He walked into the clearing 80 yards in front of us and Mike's rifle roared as he took the brief opportunity afforded to him. The bull ran 20 yards and collapsed. A fantastic Cape Eland bull!
Later that morning we were stalking a kudu bull when he spotted us and ran uphill. I ranged him at 285 Yards. Combining Mike's hunting experience and the raw power of a .375 shooting a 200 grain bullet on a flat trajectory, we felt confident Mike would make the shot. Mike allowed a little too high and the first bullet flew over the kudu's back. He aimed dead on and the second bullet broke the kudu's shoulder to drop him right there. What a shot! We took photos and retrieved the kudu. Before heading back to the lodge we stopped at Spur for a steak lunch to celebrate.
The next day we wasted no time in finding a big mountain reedbuck ram. They were grazing on an open mountain slope above us and we stalked to 220 yards below them. Mike and I were patient and waited for the ram to come even closer and turn broadside before he squeezed off a round to take a magnificent mountain reedbuck. That afternoon the wind picked up and ruined our chance of finding a steenbuck.
After an early breakfast the next morning, Mike and I set off for our Addo Elephant Park and shark cage diving trip. We saw several hundred elephant and a few buffalo herds in the Carol's Rest section of the park. We visited Jeffreys Bay and did some shopping for the family before we headed down the coast to our apartment at Plettenberg Bay.
On Saturday, we drove to Mossel Bay for our shark cage dive. After the safety briefing we boarded the boat for the 10 minute ride to Seal Island. Soon there were four great white sharks around the boat and the six divers at a time took turns getting into the cage. The shark sightings were amazing and Mike had a close encounter with a white shark bumping the cage inches from his face. After our forty minute dive with sharks we returned to shore and watched a DVD of our experience. We returned to the lodge via the Klein Karoo. That evening we went in search of steenbuck and Mike shot a long-horned steenbuck ram.
The next day was a bushbuck day and we wasted no time at all in finding a good ram. We may even have set the record for the least amount of time taken to shoot a bushbuck ram. We drove into the hunting area, glassed the first valley, saw nothing, drove a short distance to the next valley, saw a big ram browsing in the sun and hiked the distance to get within 180 yards from him. Mike set himself on the shooting sticks and hit the ram in the neck to down a Cape Bushbuck to go along with his Chobe Bushbuck. Mike had taken an big, old bushbuck ram.
The remainder of the afternoon was spent relaxing at the lodge. We enjoyed Mike's company immensely and hope to welcome him back to the Eastern Cape soon.
Guest Comments -
This was my twentieth safari to Africa, but my first time to the Eastern Cape. I was surprised by the ruggedness of the area and soon realized that this wasn’t one of those “easy” game ranch hunts some areas of the RSA are known for. The quality and numbers of game are impressive, but you will have to work for your trophies. The rocky hills and thick bush make stalking difficult and the animals, especially the Kudu are well educated. You should be prepared to take longer shots as the average distance for my kudu; mountain reedbuck, Vaal reedbuck, and bushbuck were about 260 yards. The Chalets are some of the most elegant and comfortable I have ever stayed in. The surrounding bush was quiet, isolated and tranquil. It is an excellent location for hunting and also makes for a nice romantic get a way. Victor’s better half, Lindsey is a superb chef as the meals and wines were all delicious and presented with five star quality. The Lapa was simple, comfortable and beautiful.
Victor and I also took a side trip to Mossel Bay for great white shark cage diving. I was shocked on how easy it was as it was only a ten minute boat ride in a calm bay to where we put the anchor down. The crew had the cage in the water secured to the side of the boat in a few minutes and then we were ready to jump in. No scuba tanks are necessary as you just sit in the cage as the crew entices the sharks to come to you with chum and a fish head on a line thrown out in the front of you. The Great Whites cooperated and were soon circling about, sticking their snouts up against us, baring their teeth while chomping at the bait and thrashing their huge bodies up against our hopefully secure cage. It is a thrilling experience not to be missed.
I heartily recommend the whole Wild Karoo Safaris experience.