SO AFRICA – FREE RANGE PLAINS GAME Hunt #256
BOW OR GUN!
This writeup is about an outfit that hunts 1.2 million acres of free range. Unfenced. And as you know, Unfenced operations are very rare in South Africa, so we are delighted to have these guys on board with us! We test hunted with them along with 3 of our clients in June of 2013.
Some people going to South Africa for the first time may not realize that 90% or more of the hunting in South Africa is “estate” hunting, meaning high fence on carefully managed game ranches. The reason for the fencing is because without those fences, the game would be extinguished in a very short time by the local people who need protein. Only by high fencing can quality, quantity and a good experience be achieved and maintained consistently. Otherwise game would be scarce, perhaps gone and you would need to take several weeks or a month for your hunt, and likely would get only inferior animals. And since most of these fenced areas are 15 to 80 square miles in size, it is sporting. And honestly, so long as an area is 10,000 acres or more (about 15 square miles) – we feel that such high fence hunts are ethical, fun and offer a huge variety of game. Believe us, the game has grown up wild, and knows very well what the sight or smell of a human means! But some clients prefer free range, and if you relish a challenge, and are willing to work a bit harder for your animals, then a free range hunt offers many rewards in terms of the over all experience.
And that is exactly what this outfit has- it is the truly rare exception, totally unfenced- all 1,200,000 acres!! That is over 1800 square miles in 3 major parcels!! Because it is so vast and wild, and because they patrol it, poaching is not a big factor. Some areas seldom if ever get hunted due to its vastness. It is common to see animals they have never seen before, and that means the game has room and time to grow to big trophy sizes. It is a treasure, in our opinion. It is truly vast and is all privately owned. You will feel that you have earned your animals here, and you will be hunting in very varied terrain from savannahs to mountains to valley pans and in between. Some awesome scenery and magnificent vistas to enjoy; and very untouched and under-hunted. We know, we hunted it ourselves in June of 2013. What we learned is that this operation carefully sets all its own quotas and has a longer season then most RSA operations, due to being set up as large “conservancies” (meaning a bunch of ranches that consolidate to better manage game). Because of that consolidation, they can hunt from about March on into November!
The duration of the hunt and the priority animals will help determine the areas hunted. On an 8 day safari you typically hunt 2 areas. To logistically hunt all of their 3 areas– you would need 10 to 12 days. One area is about 7 hours drive from the southernmost area; or you can fly to Durban. Most of the terrain is undulating, water is plentiful and the bush can be thick in areas. Hillsides can be steep and rocky, with footing that is challenging; while other areas are relatively flat, with easy walking. Because each species has its own habitat preferences, you likely will experience all these types of terrain on your hunt. The scenery is awesome- much more mountainous then you would expect, although the mountains are not very tall.
The most successful and enjoyable means of hunting is spot and stalk. A good network of roads enables you to get to a vantage point on the typical African 4 x4 trucks. You amy walk to locate game, or you may spot it form the road, and then do a stalk. For example, Joan’s Zebra was spotted from the road, but took 2.5 hours to stalk, and another 3 hours to walk out of the canyon! My Red Lechwe required a 100 yard crawl and that was all it took! So be prepared either way. Once worthy game has been spotted the stalk begins and as much hunting as possible will be done on foot. But you will still spend plenty of time looking from the vehicles as the area is so vast. Some areas we hunted were probably 35 miles from the main camp- all of it part of the hunt area!
Their Main area is in the Eastern Cape and is a 450,000 acre River conservancy (700 square miles!)- with a huge variety and number of game animals. The accommodations are a series of comfortable chalets, usually with 1 or 2 per chalet. Max is 8 to 10, but normally half of that. The Main lodge is less then 3 hours drive from Port Elizabeth but is in a remote mountain area. (No cell service but the outfitter does have a Wi Fi setup he set up, so there is now 24 hour internet all over the lodge. Also he can receive emails at his home and give them to you.). The chalets are overlooking a valley and game is often seen nearby. The chalets have generators for electricity, plus wood and propane heat. Full showers and baths. Basic but more then adequate and we loved the “feel” of the place. It felt like a true hunting lodge, and not a fancy hotel. We liked it. The main lodge has beautiful views, an outside eating area and trophy room where you will sample game shot on safari and which is prepared on open fires in the African tradition. This main camp has all the conveniences that are appreciated after a long day out hunting. Hot water, generator furnished electricity, a fully stocked bar and excellent food are all provided. Some areas of the Eastern Cape remind us more of large farming communities, but this area is more remote and has more of true “Africa” feel. If you like a challenge, you will love this place. Terrain varies from mountainous to plains, and in-between.
Our June 2013 group consisted of my son, Ed (who is joining our company and will be setting up a Florida office); two other clients, plus Joan and I. When the 6 day hunt ended, we had taken a big zebra, 3 kudu (another was wounded lightly and lost); a red lechwe, several big gemsbok, 5 springbok, 4 blesbok, one bontebuck, a duiker, 4 impala, a number of baboons, a number of warthog including a giant by my son, Ed; several mountain reedbuck, and various other species as well. Many Vaal Rhebok were spotted along with a wide variety of other species including waterbuck. Every client was ecstatic!
A little north of the Main Camp is their Second area- the Mountain area- At 5000 feet above sea level the Stormberg mountains have the best Vaal Rhebuck in all of Africa. The Vaal Rhebuck has become a speciality animal for this outfit and they have taken numerous record book animals over the years. This Mountain area is mainly wide open grasslands and supports very good numbers and quality of Black Wildebeest, Blesbuck, Red Hartebeest and Springbuck. Due to the wide open nature of the country shots of 200 to 250 yards are not uncommon.
The animals making these mountains home are all herd animals and can be hunted all day as they do not restrict their movement to the early mornings and evenings. With the visibility being good and the country open, a flat long shooting rifle is a good choice. Hunting in this mountain area is best from March in their fall months through their winter months (June, July and August and on through to October.
The Stormbergs have some really good bird hunting in their winter months. From the end of May to the end of August hunting for Greywing Partridge and a variety of Ducks and Geese is always popular. An afternoon or morning shoot as part of a big game hunt or a few days dedicated to chasing the different species of bird and challenges can be organized on request.
The Stormberg lodge is a comfortable home, built in the 1800’s and it has all the luxuries appreciated after a long day hunting the rugged mounytains. Situated high up in the Stormberg at 6000ft this area occasionally gets snow falls in winter. Permanent heaters, log fires and quality service ensure a comfortable stay while hunting Vaal Rhebuck and the other plains species.
The Mountain Lodge:
Electricity is 220v and there is telephone service and internet available. The Lodge is an easy 2 hours drive from the Main Camp
Their Third area (Valley Camp) is a more rugged area that is located about 6 hours north of the first two areas, and can be reached easily by a 2 hour drive from Durban. This is also 150,000 acres (312 sq. miles) and it has great spiral horned animals. We recommend this area for adventurous hunters and for those who have been to Africa before — and are looking for really big Kudu, Nyala and Bushbuck. Be prepared to hunt hard and sometimes not see as much game as you will see in the other areas. But very large trophies are found here, including southern greater kudu.
This camp located in the Natal region, is the classic African tented camp on the banks of a pretty African river valley. A true African feel. Although a tented camp, it is fully serviced and very comfortable. It is perfectly suitable for ladies and family. Good food, electricity, in-suite showers, hot water and heated tents! This third area is an excellent location for big Southern Kudu, large Nyala and excellent Cape Bushbuck. And it has most of the normal plains game too. A great experience and it gives you the feel of “real Africa”. Few things compare to listening to the night time serenade of wild Africa – while sleeping in a big warm comfortable tent.
It is unique in that you can hunt Southern Kudu, Nyala and Cape Bushbuck in their indigenous environment and while unfenced. This Valley concession is in the Natal midlands. It offers very good and challenging hunting in thick bush for all the spiral horned species as well as a number of the more common plains game species. Low hunting pressure, good genes, good feed and excellent age class all contribute to making this area famous for giant Kudu, Nyala and Bushbuck. Common Reedbuck, Impala, Eland, Waterbuck, Oribi and Wildebeest also offer variety to the hunting.
They also have a Fourth Area- the Karoo. The Karoo in central South Africa is a relatively unknown but beautiful part of the country. Wide open spaces and large numbers of game is what you can expect. This flat sparse area is where you can hunt the various kinds of Springbuck – the Kalahari, Black, White and Copper Springbuck. The Springbuck slam together with Gemsbuck, Red Hartebeest, Eland and many more plains species ensures a good hunt.
Due to the terrain and lack of cover, shots in the Karoo will usually be 150 to 300 yards. Early mornings and evenings can be cold in the desert but the day time temperatures are very pleasant.
Usually you will hunt this area together with one or more of the other areas. It is very under hunted. Trophy quality on the plains animals is top end. As with the Stormberg mountains, these animals will feed all day enabling the hunter to hunt from sunrise to sunset. From the Main Camp it is 4 hours to the Karoo and only 2 hours from the Stormberg mountains. For hunters who want really good Springbuck or something a little different, a few days hunting the Karoo is a good addition to a plains game safari.
ARCHERY: Bow hunts are a mixture of blind and spot and stalk hunting. Generally the mornings will be spent on foot and the evenings in a strategically placed blind on food or water. Expect shots of 15 to 50 yards. Scent lock, dark or black camo in the blinds and normal brown and green camo for stalking will work. Your usual bow hunting accessories are beneficial such as range finders.
The bow hunting season in all 3 areas runs from May through to October. The October hunts, when food and water are hard to come by and the animals are more concentrated are often best. These conditions are required for a successful bow safari. Due to the nature of the areas and the challenge of free range bow hunting 6 animals in 10 days would be considered a success. You can expect 85% success on Kudu and good opportunities on all other species. Here are some Outfitter quotes on a past season:
“We always enjoy having repeat hunters and early June saw Art Stender and his wife Colleen arrive on their second trip. They were accompanied by their buddies from Wisconsin, Rick and Rainey Viner. Art and Colleen hunted with a rifle and Rick with his bow. Once again a successful hunt was had and we look forward to hosting both couples in 2010 on Cape Buffalo in our new area in Mozambique. Well known taxidermist John Albrecht came out in mid June on his 3rd African trip. John an avid bowhunter was after a Giraffe, Nyala and Bushbuck in our Kwazulu Natal camp. He succeeded with all and killed the pending world record Duiker in the Eastern Cape with his trusty Matthews bow.
Along with John we also had Rob Klaas, Dave Beightol and Jeff Jones in camp. All, except Dave were bowhunters and killed great animals. After 4 years of preparation and planning we are at the point where as a bowhunter you can realistically expect to get 6 animals in 10 days. Remembering that this is a fair chase and free ranging hunt, the stats are pretty good. As far as I know we are the only South African outfitters hunting under these conditions with that kind of success.”
They also do a lot of bird hunting as well as game hunting. Usually a day of birds starts with Waterfowl in the cereal fields in the early morning; then followed by Greywing Partridge over English pointers during the day. The Greywing Partridge is the fastest flying upland game bird in Africa and a real challenge to hunt in the mountains. Great fun for the whole family. And a nice add-on too!
Available species abound in these 4 areas, from all the common plains species (such as Springbuck, Cape Kudu, Southern Greater Kudu, Gemsbuck, Impala, etc) – on to Lechwe, Eland, Waterbuck, Vaal Rhebok, Blue duiker, Oribi and more. Over 35 species!
This outfit puts a great deal of emphasis on the idea of ethical fair chase hunting. With the vast areas they hunt, it can take a bit more time to find what you want, but all that acreage guarantees older animals that have been relatively unpressured. Many animals taken may have never been seen before! So they take some wonderful trophies, and clients feel a high degree of satisfaction as well. This is real hunting for wild, free range animals, that are here in good numbers. We rarely went more then 15 minutes without seeing game! We had a ball.
Normally you will use safari trucks, then climb to a vantage point several hundred feet higher then the surrounding area – and start glassing. They can of course tailor the hunt to fit your physical needs, so we will work with you to adjust the hunts to your physical condition. Just tell us! With so much area, we can almost work magic in terms of making a hunt work for you. You can hunt either ala carte, taking what you find that appeals to you (we can still put together a general quotation if you like); or else we can custom craft a package deal of species, if that is your preference. Packages normally contain some discounts on some animals, while ala carte does not. You can also trade out animals in packages, but if they were discounted, then you will receive about a 70% credit toward another animal. Several of our clients did just that.
In short, if you want a high success, but challenging hunt for free range trophies, this is the best we have found!
Excellent touring is also available on the East Cape- fun for the whole family. Elephant Parks with hundreds of thousands of acres to drive through (elephants mere feet from you); elephant rides; Zip lines; sightseeing; tours; great shopping, cheetah parks, coastal tours along the Indian Ocean; shopping; Big 5 game reserves; some awesome fishing – and more. They will provide transport and a guide for modest cost. That way you waste no time and get solid advice and safe transport.
It is important to bring top notch optics as you will spend time doing glassing. We can help you with suggested equipment lists as well. We can suggest touring destinations and we can design any package of animals to suit your wish list. Just ask for any assistance you might need. We realize many of our clients may be relative novices to Africa, and we want you to be comfortable and knowledgeable in all aspects of your safari. We welcome your questions.
There are two ways to set up your safari. The first is ala Carte (pay a daily rate and then pay for each individual trophy) — or put together a package. Packages normally allow a bit of discount on the trophy fees and can save 10 to 25%. Although most client prefer packages, we are also supplying you with the Ala Carte pricing as a rough guideline. It is helpful if you want to change anything, although do not assume it is an even dollar exchange — as often package animals are more plentiful, hence are discounted. So expect more like a 70 to 80% exchange. Below are some sample packages, but many other combos can be arranged by us to suit your wishes.
TRANSPORT: Fly to Johannesburg. Then depending on your area of hunting, fly on to either Port Elizabeth or Durban for pickup and transport to the camp you will be hunting. There is no current charge for pickup. We assist you with that planning.
GUN IMPORT: You can rent guns – good guns too (270; 30-06 class with quality scopes). If you prefer your own, you will need to process your guns through customs in Johannesburg- quite simple really- we have people who do it for you or try it yourself. Cost is about $90 to $125 p/p. If you want a travel break after the long flight to Johannesburg, we can arrange for an overnight guest house to house you and return you the next day for your final flight. We personally like the break and the nights rest, with a steak bar-b-cue to boot!
RIFLE RENTALS: There is no problem with renting rifles. The borrowed rifle has to be under the supervision of their PH. The rifles are all 300 win mag or 30 06 or 270 types and they have a 338 and 7 x 57. The cost of this is $30 per day plus ammo. The rifles all have good quality optics.
INTERNET: Wireless internet exists in the lodge when the generator is on, usually at lunch time.
DRINKS: As much bottled water and drinks as you need are available at all times. Wine and beer included.
2015 PRICING: Quoted prices are for two hunters per guide (PH).
For 1X1 add $100 per day (a bargain!).
PACKAGES INCLUDE YOUR ANIMALS AND YOUR DAY RATE!
The Daily Hunting Rate and the Packages both Include:
All licenses and permits; a licensed professional hunter; your own Trackers; skinners and camp staff; accommodations and meals; catering and daily laundry; Field preparation of trophies.
Daily Rate Excludes: Airfare to and from South Africa; Gratuities; Dipping, shipping and crating of trophies; Rifles and ammunition and import charges for same; and the 14% Value added tax on daily rate; freight of trophies home.
Gun Rental: $30/day.
Packages: Guiding is 2 hunters per PH. (2X1)
For 1 X 1 guiding add $100 per day to package prices.
We can modify these packages to add or substitute animals- just ask. Also for bow.
SPECIAL: If you book prior to January 1, 2015 you will add two free animals to any package you choose; one black wildebeest cull and one free Blesbok cull!! These are in addition to the animals below.
OPTION 1: EASTERN CAPE BASIC PACKAGE (6 animals, 7 nights)- Main camp area hunt 2X1: The Basic package takes place at the 400,000 acre Main Lodge area.
One each of Trophy Cape Kudu; Impala; Duiker; Blesbok; Springbuck; Baboon
COST: ONLY $4900!! Includes: guiding, meals, lodging and all trophy fees!!
OPTION 2: EASTERN CAPE PREMIUM PACKAGE (7 animals, 8 nights) Hunt two areas – Main camp & Mountain Camp.
One each of Trophy Cape Kudu; Gemsbok; Duiker; Bushbuck; Impala; Blesbok; Baboon. COST $7200. Again includes guiding, meals, lodging and all trophy fees
OPTION 3: RIVER CAMP KWAZULU/NATAL PACKAGE (6 animals, 8 nights)- a Specialized hunt for truly big Southern kudu and also Nyala, plus the other game shown in package.
One each of Trophy Nyala; Southern Greater Kudu; Bushbuck; Impala; Common Reedbuck; Baboon
COST $9900 Includes same services as above packages do.
OPTION 4: HUNT ALL THREE AREAS –(Main, River and Mountain) (8 animals, 11 nights)
10 days – for the best animals indigenous to each of those areas.
Cape Kudu; Gemsbok; Blesbok; Black Wildebeest; Springbuck; Nyala; Bushbuck; Warthog COST $11,900
Trophy Fees (these are included in all packages- but are not included if you hunt ala carte. These can also be added to packages.)
TROPHY FEES AND DAY RATE 2014-2015
Day rate 1 x 1 $400 per day
Day rate 2x 1 $300 per day
Observer rate $185 per day
TROPHY FEES FOR NON- PACKAGE ANIMALS OR ALA CARTE:
Bushpig (baited) 1200
Duiker Blue 2000
Duiker Grey 400
Hartebeest Red 950
Kudu Cape 1250
Kudu SG 2650
Reedbuck Common 850
Reedbuck Mountain 550
Rhebuck Vaal 1600
Springbuck Black 650
Springbuck White 950
Wildebeest Black 850
Wildebeest Blue 950
South Africa has a great diversity to offer the bird hunter. Bird hunts can be arranged as part of a plains game safari where a morning or evening will be taken to experience the bird hunting. Depending on the amount of time available usually two areas will be hunted, the Stormberg mountains and the Free State province in central South Africa. A typical day would be hunting Geese in the early mornings, Greywing Partridge, Francolin and Guineafowl during the day and Ducks over water in the evening.
Like all bird hunting the hunt is very season specific and the best times are the end of May until early September.
The Greywing is the fastest flying upland game bird in Africa and a real challenge. They live at an altitude of 5000 ft and are plentiful in the Stormberg. Mornings spent high up in the mountains watching the dogs and enjoying the views are a memorable addition to a plains game hunt and adds variety to a bird hunt.
Ducks & Geese
Enjoy hunting the largest goose in the world, the Spurwing and a great variety of ducks and geese endemic to South Africa. The species most commonly targeted are Egyptian Goose, Spurwing Goose, Yellow Billed Duck, Shelduck and Teal. Most hunting is done on the edge of water and in open fields over decoys.
Pigeons & Doves
Offering an exciting variety of flight patterns pigeons and doves make for some good shooting. These birds are hunted on corn and sunflower crops in the Free State province of central South Africa.
Mozambique—ask for our writeup on Mozambique.
|10 Day Buffalo hunt 1×1
(day rate and trophy fee)
|Red Duiker||$ 1650|
|Chobe Bushbuck||$ 1500|
|Livingstone Eland||$ 3500|
Terms and conditions of business
- 50% is required to book a hunt
- Deposits are non refundable but transferable to following year
- Final payment on trophy fees and daily rate is payable at the end of the safari – no exceptions.
- Payment must be made in travelers checks, bank guaranteed checks or cash
Personal checks are only accepted with prior arrangement
BUTCH MANASSE OUTDOOR ADVENTURES –
WE KNOW AFRICA !!!!
PHONE: 1-307-637-5495 firstname.lastname@example.org
OUTFITTER SAYS: “We have a taxidermist, African Wildlife Artistry — an hour from camp en route to Port Elizabeth. Your clients are welcome to visit them, they do a great job. I have been using them for years and have no reservation recommending them.”
BUTCH’S NOTE: another taxidermist to consider is Karoo Taxidermy about 2 hours from his camp.