With apologies for how long its taken to finish, and for how long it is!! This is a day by day account of my hunt, with Saeed and Crew in Tanzania. It is essentially the bulk of my diary from the trip, with companion pics. Hopefully you don't find it excessive or boring!!
2009 Tanzania Hunt Report
Dates: Sept 27 to Oct 22, 2009
Location: Tanzani - Kizigo and Ugalla Concessions
Outfitter: Tazania Game Tracker Safaris
PH: Paul Olivier
Cameraman: Wayne James
Travel route/airlines: Delta from Kalispell MT to SLC, then Delta to JFK, then Emirates to Dubai, and finally Emirates to Dar Es Salaam. Charter flight to Kizigo concession.
Travel Agent: Kathi Klimes, Wild Travel
Game Hunted: Buffalo (x2), Zebra, Hartebeeste, Warthog, Impala (lost), Topi (not successful)
Game Observed: You name it!
Rifle used: Saeed's .375/404
Ammunition: Saeed's handloaded 300gr Walterhogs
In February of 2009 I was elated (and then some!) to recieve an invitation from Saeed to join him on his annual trip to Tanzania. At the time, the company that I work for had just shut down three mills and laid off all of our staff. Things were not looking good, and I was lucky to be one of the last few people still working (my wife was one of the many unlucky ones)....but I knew that this opportunity was not something that I could possibly turn down. I had hunted with Saeed and the Vincents in 2006 (6 days in Saeed's camp, followed by a 10 day buffalo hunt with Alan Vincent as PH) and it was the greatest experience of my life to that date. The atmosphere and comraderie in Saeed's camps are unparalleled. The hunting is as relaxing as it comes and the people truly are the salt of earth.
My wife agreed that this was something I could not miss. That was half of the battle down! Getting approval for more than two consecutive weeks vacation is extremely difficult to come by in our company, and in light of the circumstances I figured it would be nearly impossible. Fortunately, after begging to my boss and every executive that might concievably have some influence, I got written permission to take the 4 weeks necessary, signed by three of them.
Having to work extremely long hours to try and help get mills up and running and people back to work didn't leave me much time to prepare. I took advantage of Saeed's very generous offer to borrow one of his 375/404's so that I wouldn't have to get export and import permits, etc. It made travelling much easier. It also allowed me to travel through the US with no risk, and that made finding connections and short layovers much better.
On Sept 27, my wife drove me 2 hours south to Kalispell MT, and I boarded my first flight on the long journey to Dubai and then DAR, a very very excited man!
The area hunted:
We hunted for 15 days in the Muhesi-Kizigo concession (3 blocks), then transferred to the Ugalla concession (2 blocks) for the last 6 days.
The Kizigo area was quite high elevation and fairly dry. The forest is mainly miombo. It was also very diverse in topography and very scenic. Lots of interesting kopjes, and valleys with dry korongos and big mbugas. Game was quite plentiful with lots of buffalo, giraffe, elephant, zebra, eland, sable, roan, kongoni, warthog, oribi, duiker, reedbuck, klipspringer, bushbuck, baboon, etc. We saw lion and leopard on multiple occassions. To hunt impala, you had to travel about 100 km south-east of the Kilumbi camp into the Nkoname camp area along the Nyakomono river.
The Ugalla area was much lower elevation and had lots of water. The rivers were not flowing but there was a considerable amount of standing water. The topography was very flat, save for one hill, and the vegetation was very lush. The eastern portion of the concession had large areas with big groves of Borassus Palms and was incredibly beautiful. The tetses were definitely more aggressive in this concession. Game was also plentiful here, with lots of buffalo, elephant, topi, impala, kongoni, waterbuck, warthog, bushbuck, reedbuck, duiker and steenbok. There were a small number of giraffe and a couple small herds of zebra. I did not see any lions or leopards but there was lots of sign. We did see African Wild Hunting dogs. Of course, in the rivers there were tonnes of crocs and hippos. There were a couple of fish camps along the river.
Both concessions were quite large. It was not uncommon to put on 150 to 200 km in a day. In Kizigo we had a day were we clocked 267 kms! It was 110 km one way to get to where the impala were....a very long day...and not a fence or main road or improvement of any kind along the way.
In Kizigo, we stayed at Kilumbi camp and in Ugalla we stayed at Muhuba camp. Both camps were very, very comfortable.
Here are a few pictures from Kilumbi...
Hot water tank!
Kitchen and stores
View from Dining Tent
Travel to Tanzania:
Travel was arranged by Kathi at Wild Travel. She did a great job as seems is always the case (based on the countless good references here), despite a couple small hiccups that required some last minute shuffling.
As mentioned above, I flew from Kalispell MT on Delta to SLC. After a little layover there, I boarded the red-eye to JFK. Everything went smoothly, and the airline (my first time on Delta) was about what I was accustomed to in Canada. Things got markedly better from JFK on, when I boarded an Emirates flight to Dubai. I travel a lot for work (regionally within Canada, and cross Canada) and I have never been as pleased with an airline as I am with Emirates. The service, cleanliness, food, etc were all top of the line.
After a 14 hour flight from JFK to Dubai, I arrived at 8 am and met up with Saeed, Walter and Nelson in the First Class Lounge. It was great to see Saeed and Walter again, and to meet Nelson for the first time. I was to spend a lot of time with Nelson over the next three weeks and you know, my first impression was that he is a really nice guy and if anything I think I underestimated how nice.
Anyway, right from the start we were laughing. If laughter is the best medicine, I swear Saeed and Walter with both live forever. I laughed so much on this trip that I am sure it added years to my lifespan!
The next flight was just a short 5 hour flight from Dubai to DAR. Everything went smoothly with our VISAs, luggage and Saeed's rifles, and we were soon getting taxied over to the Tanzair terminal for the shuttle to Kilumbi.
Nelson (ps: take note of his tan and compare to later pictures!)
The flight to Kilumbi was uneventful as well, and after about 1.5 hours we were landing at the Kilumbi airstrip.
We were greeted by the Vincents, Leoni, Paul, Wayne and our trackers. It was only a short ride to camp (about 20 minutes) and we arrived just before dark. After taking our things to our tents we met back at the dining tent for dinner and a few sundowners. Everyone was very excited about what our first full day in Kizigo would bring.
Nelson and I each had 10 day licences and would be hunting/observing together. Nelson would hunt the first 10 days, and I would hunt the next 10 days.
Day 1 - The wake-up "call" came at 5:30 AM. We met at the dining tent at 6:00 AM and enjoyed a delicious breakfast. We were then loaded up in our respective trucks and on the road by 6:30 AM as it was just getting light enough to spot game. This would be our routine pretty much every day.
On this day our first task was to ensure that the rifles were still shooting to the right place. About 1 km from camp we stopped near a convenient termite mound, and Saeed, Nelson and Roy each shot a round or two.
With that out of the way, we went off in search of buffalo for Nelson. With a 10 day licence, 2 buffalo, a zebra, a kongoni, a warthog and an impala were on the menu. On the side, we'd also be placing and checking on baits for Saeed's lion and leopard. This proved to be extremely interesting, as I'd never done that before, and had not been exposed to many cats on my previous trip to Tanz in '06.
We happened to bump into a small group of about 5 dugga boys almost right out of the starting gates. We jumped out and tried to stalk them but they were aware of our presence and the wind was bad. Since it was so early in the hunt, we abandoned the chase and moved on.
The concession was quite visually impressive. The scenery is much like I saw in LU 5 in the Selous, but no river, and many more little valley's etc. The amount of game we saw was also impressive.
Timber poaching is quite extensive in the Kizigo concession. The poachers are after "Minga", which grows throughout the area, in relatively small quantities. Being from the forest industry I was quite impressed with the little "saw mills" that they would construct, and the sheer distance that they would have to transport the boards they cut (up to 80 km one way from what the Anti-Poaching Patrol told us, with 3 or 4 boards carried on a bycicle while the owner pushed it to town). Here are some typical "mills"...
Here is stump that Saeed and the Vincent's found. Apparently it is a note from the poachers. Loosely translated I was told it says "We are here. Sorry for taking your wood. We need the money and will keep doing it."...or something like that (anyone able to give a more official translation?).
We had a nice lunch and carried on our search for buffalo. About mid-afternoon we were driving up to a spring and discovered a herd of buffalo that had just drank. When they saw the truck they got up and started moving off. We fell in behind and started tracking. It didn't take long to catch up (about 2 km). You can see them moving to the right a couple hundred yards in front of us in the grass...
After about an hour of trying to get in close and sort out a good bull as the herd moved along and fed, Nelson finally got a good chance and drew first blood on the hunt with this nice buff...
It took us till near dark to get the truck to the bull and get it loaded up. We were about 50 km from camp, so it was a pretty long drive back in the dark.
Dinner back at camp was smoked ham, pan fries and 3 bean salad. It was very good washed down with a cold Tusker, and a cognac by the fire ended a great first day.
Day 2 - We were off at the usual time, with 2 buffalo halves in the truck to set up as bait sometime during the day.
We covered a fair bit of ground again. We saw a number of roan and kongoni. Nelson and Paul made a couple attempts at kongoni but they didn't work out.
About 11:00 AM we were descending into a little valley when we spotted some zebra out in an open area not far from water. Nelson, Paul, Wayne and Emmanual took off on a stalk. After about a 1/2 hour they managed to get in on the herd and got a good shot on the stallion. Nelson hit it well and it was down very quickly.
Once the boys had the zebra skinned out and loaded in the truck (more bait!), we had a nice lunch under a shade tree.
That afternoon we set up two baits. A buffalo hind for lion and the zebra front for leopard.
On the way back to camp we disovered an interesting kopje (really, just a huge chunk of granite) and walked up on it to watch the sunset. We decided we'd come back another evening when the moon would be full so we could watch the sun set and the moon rise properly (with sundowners!).
At camp the usual cold beverage awaited us on our arrival, and we had cape buffalo oysters for a starter. Surprisingly good! Dinner was fresh kongoni filet, beef, rice, okra in a red sauce and salad. We were eating like kings and it continued like that daily. I can say unequivocally that the food on this hunt was 10x better than I'd experienced in Tanzania before. That the staff tried so hard to use wild meat every meal was very much appreciated by me.
Day 3 - I will note breakfast because it was the first that offered buffalo liver and onions. Along with eggs, bacon and sausage, I probably ate enough for the whole day!!
I'll also take this moment to say a few words about the weather. The daytime highs while we were there ranged from around 30 deg C up to 38 deg C. The average would probably have been 33/34 or so. For a guy from the mountains in Canada, that's really friggen hot!! We only get a few days of that temperature here each year, and our nights are much cooler, so the daytime highs don't last very long.
At night it would get down to about 15 deg C. Apparently to some folks thats cold! I found that I needed nothing more than a sheet to sleep under, and having morning coffee before heading out for the day was by far the most comfortable part of the day. Can you tell who's from Canada, and who's from Dubai in the pictures below?
Today was mostly spent looking for and stalking hartebeeste and checking baits. We had a couple of unsuccessful stalks on the kongonis, and found only hyena tracks at bait #1.
We set up another bait that afternoon at a likely looking waterhole where lion tracks had been spotted previously. We saw a couple big kudu bulls on the way in to the waterhole and moved a nice lone ele bull off of it when we arrived.
This nice baobab is from the little valley where we set up the bait that afternoon...
Day 4 - Today Paul decided would be an impala day. We took off early knowing that it would be a long day. We had a 100 km drive one-way to get to the river where the impala live.
There are very few baobabs in the high part of the concession. Once you get down to the bottom near the river there are quite a few more. On the way however, we stopped to take a few pictures of this big old baobab...
Here's one of our trackers, John, with a few fruits from the tree...
Shortly after stopping for the photo-op with the baobab, we had to stop to let this little guy cross the road...
We saw quite a few impala but did not find a good ram for Nelson. We covered a lot of territory though and saw some really interesting country, and lots of game. This lion kill was only about 50m from the road...
On the way back towards camp we got word that a lion had been spotted at the bait we hung the day before. Paul decided if we put pedal to metal that we would be able to get there before dark and hopefully get a look at that cat and see if it was worth getting Saeed and Alan excited about. We ran the "Kizigo 500" and made good time. Sure enough when we got there, the lion was still there! We got a pretty good look at him, and unfortunately he was still a little too young. Paul estimated him at 4 yo. Here's a pic of him through the foliage...
We got back well after dark, but made it in time to enjoy Walter's first BBQ of the trip. We had BBQ Kongoni, french fries, and a tomato salad. Mmmm.
It had been a long day, and was testament to the sheer size of the concession...
Day 5 - We were on a mission to find buffalo today. We got started at the usual time and we only got about a half hour out of camp when we found fresh buffalo tracks. It looked like a small herd of about 7 or 8 daggaboys. It didn't take long to decide to go after them.
We were only on the tracks for about 20 minutes when we bumped them. The circled through some thick cover and long grass in front of us, so we didn't get a great look at them - but it looked like there were a couple mature bulls in the group, so we carried on tracking.
We caught up to them in about another km. This time they were wanting to bed down in some tall grass. We were hidden behind a termite mound, while Paul surveyed the situation and tried to come up with a plan to close in. The wind swirled and another small group of buffalo we had not seen got our sent and stampeded past towards the buffalo in front of us, taking them with...
We kept on the track for another few kms, and bumped a giraffe and later some zebra that both spooked the buffalo. After a total of about 5 kms and about 4 hours, we caught up the buffalo contemplating bedding under a few trees in some grass. Paul, Nelson, Emmanual and Wayne had to "butt scootch" close to 125m in order to close the distance across some open ground, and then crawled there way into position for a shot. Nelson creeped up on to the sticks when a good mature bull showed his vitals, and made a great shot. The bull only went about 100 m before dropping and breathing his last.
It did not take long for the vehicle to show up and for the buffalo to be cut up and loaded in the truck. We headed back to camp for a late lunch and an afternoon rest.
Tonite would be the full moon, so after a brief rest we headed out with a well stocked cool-box to go for a "chicken hunt" that would end up at dusk where we had found the nice rock outcrop from a couple days earlier. Rene joined us for our relaxing evening hunt.
Nelson got a couple of francolin on our drive, and then we went to "the rock" about 1/2 hour before sundown.
(If you look in the background, you will see the game scout. He is talking with his wife in Rungwa on his cell phone!!)
We were rewarded with this beautiful sunset!
We got back to camp shortly after dark. Saeed and the Vincents had a big day...Roy got a buffalo, and Saeed got a buffalo, a Roan and a Reedbuck!!
Dinner that night started with buffalo-tail soup and the main course was kongoni filet.
Day 6 - Today the "A-team" (Paul, Nelson and Wayne) were going to look for a warthog, some more guinea fowl and set up a trail cam at one of the lion baits that were getting hit.
Saeed asked if I'd like to join him, Roy and Alan that day because they had an opening. Apparently Walter had been voted off the truck the previous day! Of course I jumped at the opportunity and away we went.
We were only about 10 mins from camp when one of the trackers spotted a leopard sitting on a large limb near where a bait had been hung, about 350 m from the main road. It was a nice looking tom, but we couldn't judge well how large it was. It was my first time seeing an adult tom leopard in a tree and it was fascinating. He sat there for a few minutes watching us before he casually got up and walked away. The light was still low, so the pics didn't turn out well, but if you look close you can make him out clearly...
Alan decided he'd go back in the early afternoon and set up a blind, and he and Saeed would sit in it that evening.
In the meantime, we went looking for a buffalo or something. We took the same road that Nelson had got his buffalo from the day before and did not go much further before zebra were spotted in an mbuga, and Alan, Saeed and Roy were quickly out of the truck making a stalk. About 20 minutes passed while they worked their way into position, sneaking through some whistle thorn and other brush to get to the edge of the opening.
While the were sneaking in, I was able to keep an eye on the stallion with a pair of very good binoculars. I was not able to see the guys anymore, but the anticipation built as I knew they must be getting near where they could take a shot. After what seemed like forever, while I was watching the stallion, I saw the impact of the bullet and its exit, followed by a "boom"! First time I've ever witnessed that so clearly! The zebra ran off but you could see he was hit hard. It only went a couple hundred metres before piling up in some trees.
We spent the rest of the morning looking for buffalo and went back to camp for lunch. I spent the afternoon catching up on notes, organizing photos and writing a short report for AR.
Alan and Saeed went to sit in the blind at 4:15pm. Unfortuntely they did not get a look at him that evening, but they heard him just as they were leaving the blind. They would go back the next morning.
That night we had Eland Filet Steak with corn fritters and biltong appies.
NB: Saeed and Alan had spent the morning in the blind again, and got a very good look at the leopard. Alan said it looked big enough in the tree but not as big when it was on the ground approaching the tree, so they decided to pass on it.
Day 7 - Today I was hunting with the "A Team" again . Breakfast was hi-lighted by kongoni liver and onions.
We headed south towards Atwell Fly Camp...very beautiful country. The road takes you around some very scenic rocky ridges and green valleys, and through a cool low pass. We were looking for warthogs but did not find any shooters. We did see a lot of game, including a herd of eland with more than 80 animals, and a herd of buffalo that had a bull in it that Paul was convinced would go 44 to 45"!!!!
After a delicious lunch (empinadas and buffalo soft tacos) and a short nap, we went to check a few baits. While we were checking a bait near a main road not far from the Kilumbi air strip, Alan, Saeed and Roy happened to show up with the same idea. They pulled in and we walked over to see how their day had been going so far. After a couple minutes I saw Saeed say to Alan, "Get your camera going", and then jump out of the truck. He walked over a little ways and started looking under a tree at the litter on the ground. I saw him take a handful of something out of his pocket and sprinkle them on the ground. Then he picked one of them up and called the Game Scout over and showed him what he "found" then asked if it was OK to eat it? The Game Scout looked totally confused, so Saeed popped it in his mouth and chewed it up and made a show of how good it tasted. Then he looked around on the ground again, found another one and offered it to the Scout...who ate it and liked it too! Pretty soon all the trackers were over there looking for nuts that supposedly had fallen out of the tree.
Some of the guys were looking up into the tree with binoculars trying to see if there were more nuts. I was laughing so hard that tears were running down my cheeks. The nuts were pistachios, and one of the guys ate one including the shell. They were convinced that the nuts had come from that tree, so I am sure Saeed has probably caused these guys to stop at every one of those trees in the future. I don't recall laughing as hard on any hunt before...Saeed and Walter had me in stitches most of the time.
Afterward, we're back on the road looking for warties. We did not have any luck, but we did find a petrified Barney! Check it out....
Dinner that night was buffalo oyster hors d'ouvres and buffalo-tail stew for the main course. As my Zimbabwean friend would say, I was "properly chuffed" with all of the wild game on the menu.
Day 8 - Today was a camp day. My back was giving me some trouble from bouncing around in the safari truck and I thought it would be a good chance to rest it a little before it was my turn to hunt. Paul, Nelson and Wayne would be going down to where the impala are again, so they'd be having a long day. And besides, today Walter was staying in camp to do another one of his famous BBQ's...how often do you get a chance to help out with something like that?!
It was a very relaxing day...gotcaught up on my notes and organizing pictures etc. Learned some Kiswahilli from the camp staff. And one of the hilights of the day was discovering "Pink Gin"...they are darn good!!
About mid afternoon Walter and Rene got the oribi nicely timmed up and rubbed in Rene's homemade conconction.
Then the boys got it on the spit
and cooking over the fire. This really is the life!!....
Basting with Tusker...
When Saeed and crew got back we found out they had gotten a beautiful sable and a nice kudu bull.
Nelson, Paul and Wayne cruised in to camp very late, with a nice impala ram in the back of the truck! Here's a picture from earlier in the day...
An excellent day all around!
Day 9 - Saeed invited me to hunt with him, Roy and Alan again and I gladly accepted. We were after buffalo and found tracks in the Atwell Fly Camp area a long ways south of camp. We tried to sort out the tracks for most of the morning, but couldn't freshen them up enough. We went around a large kopje toward the area where we had seen the 44+" bull two days before. Just as we were getting close to a spring, we cut another set of buffalo tracks...much fresher this time.
Roy, Saeed and I hung out at the truck while Alan and the two trackers tried to sort the tracks out and figure out where they were going.
I recall two things very clearly...it was bloody hot, and Saeed gets bored pretty quickly. Its no wonder he and Walter get into so many antics!
After an hour passed it was approaching noon and our stomachs were growling, so we decided to move the truck closer to the korongo under a shady tree and break out the lunch box. Alan showed up just as we were set up so we had a relaxing lunch.
Alan and the trackers had run into tracks crossing every which way and were not able to sort out what direction the buffalo had gone. So while we were enjoying lunch, the two Vincents were discussing strategy. It was very interesting and entertaining to watch. Alan really wanted to climb up the rocky ridge on the far side of the valley to look down into some of the mbugas along the dry river. Roy didn't think it would work and ended up talking Alan out of it. It was really hot, so it would have been a tough climb up there anyway.
After lunch, we jumped back in the truck and followed the road up the valley. It actually crossed the korongo just up from where we had lunch and then climbed a ways before crossing over the end of the ridge that Alan wanted to climb. Since we had gained some of the elevation anyway, there was no stopping Alan now. He got out of the truck and started climbing the ridge. We all had that look like, "well, if you can't beat him, might as well join him" and we got out and followed him up the hill.
After about a half hour of climbing we were only a little ways shy of the highest part of the ridge, but we got a good view of the valley below. Sure enough, there were about a half dozen buffalo grazing in one of the openings about a km away!!
The buffalo are in the narrow opening you can see in the middle of the picture...
Alan had a big smirk on his face....I am sure he wanted to say "I told ya so!". You can see the smile in this picture..
So we sent one of the trackers back to the truck, and the rest of us bailed off of the ridge down in to the valley bottom. Once we got down, we met the truck where we had lunch and grabbed some water, then took off in the direction of the buffalo.
After about 800m, we could see a couple of the buffalo in some grass in an opening. Roy was the hunter, so he, Alan and Saeed stalked them while the tracker, Scout and I hung back. They were only gone about 10 minutes, when we could here a bunch of buffalo coming through the bush towards us. It sounded like they were feeding and we were between them and a spring behind us. So we retreated again. It turned out that the buffalo messed up the stalk for Roy and crew, and the buffalo got spooked and ran off a ways going away from us.
So, we got on the track and followed them. We were on the track for about a km when we caught up to them again. They were milling around in some shade, getting ready to bed down. Alan and Roy snuck in as close as they could get, and Roy got a shot at the nicest one just as it was about to lay down.
It took off at the shot, and everyone took off running after it. After about 200 m, Roy, Alan and Saeed caught up to it and Roy took another couple shots at it as it ran off. And the chase started again.
Another 100m further, they caught up to it again...it was down in a little depression, looking sick. Roy took another shot at it, and it ran off into a little waterhole where it got mired in the mud. Roy gave it another couple shots and finished it off. It was a heckuva fun hunt to be part of!!
So, now we've got a dead buffalo, stuck in the mud in a little waterhole/stream bed. Saeed had a lot of fun giving it back to Roy after years of recieving it. It was too funny. Roy handled it very well too. I nearly tore a muscle from all the laughing. Right then, I honestly could not think of another place in this whole universe that I would have rather been!
Here's Roy's buffalo...
It took quite a while to get the truck in, and then when it arrived we had to winch the buffalo out of the little ravine that it was in. And sure enough, a tire went flat while we were at it!
After we got the buffalo loaded in the truck, we drove back to camp 50 km in the dark.
Supper that night was Impalla Carpaccio, followed by buffalo lasagne and avacado salad. I think I gained 3 or 4 lbs.
Day 10 - Nelson's last hunting day.
We were on the hunt for chickens and warthog. First order of business, however, was to check on baits. We headed out to one that was near to the "sunset rock" that lions had been hitting and where they had set up a trail cam the day before. When we got there lions had been on it again, and had almost pulled the bait completely out of the tree. We wanted to get a look at the pictures on the camera, so we decided to quickly run back to camp and download them onto a laptop.
The pictures on the camera were great. A nice lion with one lioness and two cubs. The lion was a little young unfortunately.
After that, we hit the dusty trail again. We saw lots of game and quite a few warties, but no shooters. Nelson did fill up his quota of guinea fowl though...
Later in the morning we found a troop of baboons. Nelson had never taken one before and had been toying with the idea of taking one on this trip. Since it was his last day he decided to go for it and take his first. Paul and Nelson made a short stalk and got a shot at the biggest male in the troop.
We covered a fair bit of country but just couldn't turn up that nice warthog that we were looking for.
We did see what may have been the last oestrich in the concession and this nice kudu, just before dark....
This was a common scene just before dinner, or first thing in the morning...Saeed at his "office"!
You would not believe how much effort Saeed put in to getting and collating everyone's pictures, and keeping everyone at AR updated on our daily adventures. Saeed would take advantage of every spare moment, and stay up late in his tent, to type up notes from the day, and then log on to the site with the sattelite modem. He has more energy than anyone I know!
Dinner that night was more Impala Carpaccio followed by delicious Sable Meatloaf.
Day 11 - My first hunting day. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little excited.
First order of business was to check the zero on the rifle, and let me try out Saeed's rifle since I had never shot it before. All was good, so we carried on hunting.
Sidebar: There was only 1 buffalo left on quota for the Kizigo blocks we were in, and since Saeed had quite a few left to get, we were leaving it for him. The next concession would be mostly about the hippo and croc for Saeed, but we would have lots of time to find our two buffalo there. Of course, you know that meant that we saw A LOT of buffalo over the next few days!
About 5 minutes from camp, we bumped into a herd of daggaboys. It was nice to see, and we got some pictures, although it was fairly thick so they didn't turn out great.
We carried on, mainly in search of zebra. I had tried to get a zebra in RSA in 2005 and came home empty handed, and then again in the Selous in 2006 with the same result. I really wanted one this time, and since they don't hunt them in Ugalla, that would be our focus while we were still in Kizigo.
Now, poor Nelson had just been looking for a warthog for the previous 10 days, and they never found a shooter, or if they did, the stalk did not work out. Wouldn't you know that 20 minutes further down the road, a decent boar runs off in front of us! We jumped out of the truck and pulled a sneak on it. It kept moving off just ahead of us, but eventually it stopped in range long enough for me to get a shot. After a short track job, we found my piggie. Not huge, but after 10 days of trying with Nelson, Paul was VERY happy to get this one out of the way early. I felt bad for my buddy Nelson, but I guess that's hunting.
After that brief interlude with the warthog, we continued on our quest for striped donkeys. We saw a tonne of game as usual. Roan, zebra, eland, elephant, etc.
About mid morning we spotted a group of zebra high-tailing it into the bush. Since the wind was in our favour, we thought we'd track them for a while and see if we could get a good look at them.
It took about 3 km (1.5 hours) before they slowed down and started looking for a place to lay in the shade. We stalked them, mostly by scootching on our butts for close to an hour. We ended up getting 40 yards from them, but the stallion in the herd was too young. So we hiked back to the truck. On the way back, we got within 50 yards of a group of elephants. That was cool.
I learned one thing on that zebra stalk...Tanzanian sand gets real hot. While we were butt scootching I burned both palms of my hands and one of them actually blistered up. Us Canucks aren't built for than kinda heat.
After lunch, we looked for zebra again, and found another herd. It was quite windy that afternoon and the zebra were real spooky. We stalked then tracked them all afternoon...and never did catch up to them.
Back at camp, supper again was fantastic...eland casserole with fasilli noodles.
Day 12 - Another day started off with kongoni liver and onions.
We didn't have much luck with the zebra for the first part of the morning, but boy did we see buffalo. We encountered one herd of buffalo that must have numbered more than 150 animals. Got some great video.
Then, as we were slowly cruising along on zebra watch, we saw this sable bull and his harem of cows...
We jumped some zebra about mid-morning again, and decided to follow them. They were in a forested area, but it was quite open. We tracked them for about 2.5 kms and they were still going hard (presumably trying to find some shade) so we aborted and walked back to the truck.
Just as we were looking for a good shade tree for lunch, we spotted a spur winged goose. There is not too many geese in these parts due to the lack of water and Paul has a thing for spur wing goose breast...so we chased it around for a half hour or so trying to get a shot at it. I was amazed at how colorful they are.
After lunch we went out looking for zebra again. Late in the afternoon we found another herd...there a fair number of zebra in this country! We put a stalk on them and after about an hour of butt scootching, we were about 100 yards from them. It took a while longer before the stallion came out where Paul could get a good look at it. He decided it was a gooder and asked me to take the shot when I was comfortable. It was a head-on shot, which I really don't like much, but after wanting this opportunity for so long I wasn't about to turn it down. I took the shot.
Unfortunately, I shot a few inches to the right of where I should have and we had a long track job on our hands. On the up side, there was a fair bit of blood and bone from the shoulder joint. According to the GPS, we tracked him for 900m before we caught up to it. I took a quick shot through some thick stuff as it was going straight away, and made a marginal hit (it was deflected for sure, and keyholed on entry). It slowed it down enough that I got another broadside shot off the sticks shortly thereafter and made a good hit. It went down for good. I was a pretty happy dude.
I enjoyed a Tusker on the way home after we got the zebra loaded up.
Supper that night was spaghetti with some kind of wild meat sauce...it was deelish.
Day 13 - Today we were looking for kongoni. We covered a lot of ground, and saw a tonne of game, but never saw a good kongoni. Of course we saw a bunch of zebra that just stood and watched us go by.
We did have the 17 HMR with us, so we took some chickens for the pot...
Supper that night was zebra cutlets with ugalli, potato salad and chutney. Zebra is real good!
As usual we had a good time sharing stories from the day, and telling jokes...I think I looked like this for most of the 21 days...
Day 14 - We were looking for kongoni again today. Of course, zebra were now behind every bush, and the kongoni had apparently headed for the hills.
We covered a lot of country today, and it was exceptionally hot (38 C, according to my little weather station). We did not see as much game today, but we did see some very good game. We saw 3 different groups of daggaboys with a few nice bulls. We also saw a tonne of elephant and 3 nice eland bulls.
Our total mileage for the day was 184 kms! It still amazes me how vast these concessions are.
My back was really giving me grief in the afternoon. At one point we were rattling along a little two track road and I was holding my breath my back hurt so bad, and wouldn't you know it....that's when we finally spot a group of kongoni with a nice bull in it!! Paul and I got out of the truck with Wayne right behind. It was all I could do to try and keep up with Paul...every step hurt like hell. We get within about a 100 yards of them, and they are moving off single file, with the bull in the back. Paul gets the sticks up and I get on them just as the bull moves into a lane. I jerked off a shot, and missed it clean. Of course Wayne managed to get some high quality video too. I was not too happy with myself for rushing the shot, or for losing focus because of my back.
So, we walked back to the truck and I decided it was time to go on a "coke and bun safari"...I rode in the front seat. It did feel a LOT better.
About 5 kms from missing the kongoni, we came up on a group of elephant not far off the road. We stopped and the guys in the back were taking some video and pictures.
I had left my pack in the back, so I quietly opened the door (the ele were on the drivers side) and stepped out to get it. I guess I made a little too much noise getting out and the ele got agitated, trumpeted and the matriarch started to come for the truck. If you've seen the video you'll recognize this as the scene where can hear Wayne shout for me to get back in the truck. Fun with elephants, eh! You sure don't get this kind of fun in Canada!
A little while later we came up on another group of kongoni. We couldn't tell if it had a good bull or not, so we trailed them for a little while trying to get a look. The wind didn't cooperate though, so we called it off and went back to the truck.
We headed back to camp and witnessed this sunset along the way...
As we arrived back at camp something very cool happened. None of my three previous trips to Africa included cats, so a lot of this 21 day safari stuff was very new to me. By complete coincidence, we happened to show up at camp, just after dark, at EXACTLY the same time that Saeed and the Vincents were driving in. The cool part was that Saeed had just shot a leopard, and they were coming into camp with lights flashing, horn honking and the boys chanting the kabubi kabubi song. For someone that had never seen this before, it was unbelievable. Surreal even....
It was electric. I am sure I had a huge stupid grin on my face and looked all the newb that I was.
Saeed got a real nice tom....
The atmosphere at camp that evening was very festive.
Dinner (when we got to it!) was Guinea Fowl Stew that Rene made with the Guinea's that Nelson and I had brought in. It was fantastic.
Day 15 - Today was our last day in Kizigo, as we'd be transferring to Ugalla early the next morning. Since the camp staff would not be transferring with us, Saeed decided to have a shooting competition in each camp. We would have this one in the afternoon, so Paul, Wayne and I headed out early to try for a quick kongoni before lunch. It seemed like good luck that kongoni liver was served for breakfast again.
We only got about 20 minutes from camp when, of course, we ran into another huge herd of buffalo.
We kept on heading to an area that we hadn't been in a few days, but where we had seen lots of kongoni before. We got about 35 km from camp when we spotted a couple of bull kongoni on their own. Paul thought one might be good so we went after them. After stalking and then following them for a little ways we abandoned them, knowing we didn't have much time. We kept on looking, and about 10:30 am we found a herd of kongoni hanging out with a bunch of zebra!
So we put a stalk on them. It took about 500 m to close to within shooting distance. Unfortunately, something spooked them and they took off. We followed. It only took another 500 m or so to catch up to them, milling around in some thick stuff about 100m beyond the termite mound we were using for cover. Paul was able to point out the bull to me, and his vitals were exposed in a little window in the brush. I took the shot and hit him with a perfect "high heart shot". It was especially satisfying to make a good shot after the miss from the day before.
We got the picture taking done and the kongoni in the truck, and then did the "Kizigo 500" one last time. We got to camp in time for lunch, and enjoyed roan filet steaks and my favorite 3 bean salad.
That afternoon we had the shoot with the staff, and they had a great time. Here is the camp manager taking a shot with the 375 H&H camp rifle...
Afterward, back at camp we enjoyed another beautiful Tanzanian Sunset while having a Kilimanjaro sundowner. Life really doesn't get much better.
Dinner that night was fantastic...chicken curry on Tanzanian rice. It was also another festive occassion....Nelson's birthday! After dinner was over, the camp staff brought out a cake and sung "Happy Birthday" and "Cut the Cake" and "Jambo Bwana" for Nelson. It was a very special evening!
Day 16 - Transfer day. We were up extra early to pack our bags and have beakfast. We drove out to the Kilumbi Strip for 7:30 am, where two Grand Caravans were waiting.
We loaded up and were in the air at 7:40 am, and landed at Muhuba airstrip an hour later. It was a great flight and very scenic. The area around Ugalla has a number of big rivers that come together, and it was much greener than Kizigo. Here's a picture of camp from the air...
The camp is only about 1 km from the airstrip, so we where there very quickly and put our stuff in our tents so we could get out hunting as quick as possible.
We were on the road by 10 am. We headed across the concession to some good buffalo country while Saeed and the Vincents hunted for croc and hippo along the Ugalla River.
I was amazed at how lush this concession was, and how park-like it appeared. Grass was just coming back and was only about 6 inches high throughout most of the concession, which made it appear as if it had been mowed. I am not sure if we were enjoying ourselves....
We saw a tonne of game...topi, warthog, hippo, croc, impala, oribi, reedbuck, giraffe, kongoni, elephant, kudu, sable, mongoose, geese, guinea fowl, francolin...etc...etc..
We got about 50 km from camp by 1:00 pm and decided it was time to take a short break for lunch.
After a great lunch and short nap under a nice shade tree, we went out for another look for buffalo. In short order we found a set of buffalo tracks heading up a korongo. We weren't sure how fresh they were, but they looked good, so Paul decided to follow them in the truck as long as we could, then get out and track on foot. We only followed them for less than a km when we came around a corner and they were right there!!!
Paul and I quickly got out of the truck and utilized a big termite mound to quickly close the distance. We could only get to within about 80 m of the 5 bulls we could see. Paul set up the sticks and told me to take the one on the far right. I got him in my scope and took the quartering shot. You could see he was hit hard, and for a minute, Paul and I contemplated the possibility of getting a double. As we followed up on the buff however, they joined up with the rest of the herd and took off. The buff I shot went down in the open and we walked up on him to about 60 m. Since his head was still up, I gave him another. Paul grabbed the sticks and we walked closer. As we did, the buffalo decided to get up, and managed to!! Fortunately he was facing the other way, but Paul dropped the sticks and brought his Heym 500N double to arms very quickly...meanwhile I grabbed the sticks and propped them up myself. Before I could get ready, Paul took a hasty shot with his 500, and the buff kept moving. I got a bead on his hip joint with Saeed's 375/404 and let loose and the buff dropped in his tracks. That shot works like a hot damn! We walked up on him a little further and I took another shot. His head was still up, so I took another! Finally he went over on his side. When we got 20 m away, I gave him one last round in the chest. Whew!! Saeed's rifle barrel was pretty hot!
I had taken 6 shots in total, and Paul one. As you can see from his shoulder, considering the angles the shots were taken from, the 4 shots into his shoulder were actually not a bad group. You can also see the shot I put on his hip joint....
This buff had a lot of cool colored ticks on him...
Here is a Walterhog recovered from this buffalo...
We got the buff loaded up and noticed that there were a quite a few vultures circling, so Wayne got an idea to hide in some bushes on a termite mound nearby to video the vultures coming down the gut pile while the truck pulled away. It worked like a charm...its on Saeed's video for those that have it.
We went hunting again for the afternoon, with an impala in mind, but didn't have any more luck.
Dinner that night was lamb curry with Tanzanian rice, chipates, naan bread and what became my favorite desert....chocolate simosas!!
And we had a sundowner or two around the fire...
Day 17 - We ate breakfast while watching a beautiful sunrise...
We went out looking for buffalo again. Shortly after leaving camp we saw a HUGE impala, near the airstrip. He was too close to the airstrip though, so we let him go. We hoped to be able to find him again, further away from the camp and the airstrip.
We covered a lot of ground and about mid-morning, we bumped into a herd of buffalo at a water hole. We tried to sneak in on them, but they were spooky and took off. We followed on their tracks. We spent quite a while very close to these buff, trying to make out a good bull. Everytime they'd move off a little ways, we'd sneak forward and get behind another termite mound to get close again. Unfortunately after more than an hour of this, we decided to let them be. It was a lot of fun.
We had lunch at the Ugalla camp, which is about 60 km from Muhuba camp. Ugalla camp is also in a scenic location and we ate lunch while watching hippos out feeding, and bushbuck and warthogs coming to water up.
That afternoon, we looked for topi, found a few, and made a few stalks, but it was in very open country and we just couldn't get close enough.
We headed back hoping that we'd be able to take another look for that big impala. As we were getting close though, we got word on the radio that Saeed had shot a big croc nearby. I had never seen a croc up close, so we headed straight over to congratulate Saeed and check it out.
It was very very cool, and I couldn't believe my good fortune for being in the vicinity and getting to see it like that...
After the boys got it loaded up (which was a sight to see in its own right), we headed back to camp.
On the way we saw the Anti-Poaching ultralight flying near camp...
And we witnessed this beautiful sunset...
Dinner that night was buffalo cutlets, with cheesy scalloped potatoes and carrot salad.
Day 18 - Buffalo was the number one priority for the day again. After a quick look for the big impala, we went looking for buffalo.
We got most of the way across the concession before finding a some tracks where buffalo had crossed the road after coming to water over night. We decided to try to follow them, as we hoped that they would bed not far from the river.
After following the tracks a while, we came to a spot where they were repeatedly crossed by other buffalo tracks. Rather than spend a pile of time trying to sort the tracks out, we went back to the truck and try to intercept the tracks again further ahead. Unfortunately, we never figured out where they went.
We covered alot of territory looking for more buffalo tracks or a topi. We did not find any though. Around lunch time, while looking for a good tree to set up under, we found some spur wing goose. We got out the 17 HMR and bagged this one for the pot...
After lunch we covered a lot more country, but it seemed the game wasn't moving much that day. We did see a lot of different species though!! We got some good video of a couple crocs sunning themselves by the river. We saw a number of elephant as well as topi, giraffe, zebra, roan, sable, impala, bushbuck, oribi, dik dik, kongoni, baboon, hippos and the crocs.
Late in the afternoon, as we were getting closer to camp, we came around a bend in the road and saw Saeed's truck a few hundred meters away. They were out of the truck, putting the stalk on a bushbuck in the thick brush along the river bank. We stopped and watched the show. Saeed ended up taking a nice bushbuck for Walter to BBQ the next day!
Dinner than night was Buffalo and Warthog Shepherds Pie (mmm) with avacado salad and Tanzanian rice.
Day 19 - Buffalo was again number one priority for the day. After another quick look for the big impala, we went looking for buffalo. We were north of camp only about 5 kms when we found some fresh buffalo tracks. It took about an hour to sort out the tracks, as there were lots of them milling around and it appeared that they had gone to water and come back.
Once the guys decided which was the freshest track, we headed out. The tracks took us a loooong way down towards the river, way west of camp. The area down by the river was very flat and looked like a palm plantation..
It took us about 2.5 hours to go approximately 8 kms and ended up where they had drank at the river.
The spoor was definitely getting fresher, so we kept on it. We got most of the way back towards where we started and it was pushing mid-day when we got back to a road. By the spoor it looked like we were still a couple hours behind them. Paul decided to call the truck and get him to come get us, so we could try to cut some distance. While the truck was coming to get us, the driver spotted the herd of buffalo! He came and picked us up and took us back to where he'd seen them, and we got back on the track at that point. It didn't take us long to catch up to them this time, and we snuck in on them as they milled around feeding, looking like they wanted to find enough shade to bed. At one point, we "butt scootched" in to within about 35 yards of the herd, but could only see the cows and calves...
We tried to sneak around the herd to look for bulls, but we weren't able to find any. We bumped the herd a couple times and ran after them for another look, but still no luck. We decided to leave these buff be, and headed back to the truck.
We went back to camp for lunch, since it was only about 10 km away. We had buffalo tongue for lunch, which, properly accompanied by mustard and a cold Tusker is a beautiful thing.
That afternoon we headed back west of camp into the area with all the palms to look for more buffalo, or an impala.
We ended up finding impala first. We made stalk on a herd with a nice ram in it. After following along behind them for a few hundred meters, we got a look at the ram. He was mostly broadside about 80 yards away, but he was covered by leafy brush all except for the ver front of his chest. I was on the sticks and Paul said if you think you have a shot, take it. I didn't really like the shot, but I figgered if I shot the front of the chest with a 375 at that distance on something the , it should break the shoulders. Anyway, I took the shot, and I figgered wrong. I definitely hit where I was aiming, or very close to it, but the effect was not as desired. The impala took off and we didn't have much of a blood trail. After about 20 minutes of slowly following the track, we left the trackers on the track while we looked ahead. By great fortune, we actually got another look at the ram, broadside at 150 yards. Unfortunately we could not get a shot on him quick enough.
We started circling around, trying to find him again, and after another hour, we managed to spot him taking off from a thicket where he'd been bedded up. Sadly, that was the last time we saw him. That was the first game animal I have every wounded and lost. I took it pretty hard.
We headed back to camp after it was too dark to see anymore...not feeling to great about things.
Dinner that night was another of Walter's famous BBQ's - a bushbuck this time. It was enough to cheer me up a fair bit.
Day 20 - This is our second last day of hunting. We ate breakfast while witnessing another gorgeous sunrise...
We headed west into the "palm country" again, hoping to find some buffalo tracks heading inland from the river.
Turns out we did even better than that, and found a herd of buffalo heading in to the thick bush. We quickly stopped the truck and got out to follow them. Anticipating that this could be a short track job, we did not do our usual preparations of downing some water, putting on sunblock etc.
The tracks were pretty easy to follow at first. Unfortunately the buffalo kept up a pretty good pace for while and we were pretty far behind. Then, when they did start to slow down a little, they broke into a few smaller groups and meander around a bit, making the tracks quite confusing to follow.
While we were sorting out the tracks at one point, Wayne and Nelson found this old lion kill...
Eventually we got the tracks sorted out, and the buff started making more of a bee-line into some thicker bush, presumably looking for a good place to lay down. We made some good time and in about another km or so, we caught up to them. Unfortunately, the miombo bush was very thick with lots of new leaves. We would work our way in on them just by sound, and would get quite close (15 to 30 yards) and try and find a bull. After about a half hour of this (which was pretty intense), we thought we had seen all the animals but had not found a mature bull in the bunch. At that point we decided to head back to the truck and try our luck elsewhere.
We covered a lot of neat country along the Ugalla river, but did not find any more buffalo. We ended up doing a big loop and stopped back at camp for a delicious lunch.
Here's Nelson, telling another joke. These guys seriously had me in stitches the whole time. I believe Nelson is talking to "King Lion" on the phone...
I can say with absolute certainty that I will never go on a hunt with Saeed, Walter and Nelson so ill-prepared with jokes ever again!! You need to have a large repertoire of material to keep up with these guys.
In the afternoon we went back to the south side of the Ugalla, and then looped around back to the north side near the end of the day, but saw no buffalo. We did find some fresh tracks but it was too late in the day to follow them. Paul took good note of their location however, as we'd probably come back to the area tomorrow and try to pick them up again.
Here we are in the evening, before dinner. Saeed collects up all the pictures from the day while we have a beverage and hors-d'ouvers. The serious look on my face must be because I still had my 'game face' on knowing that the next morning would be our last chance at getting another buffalo!
That night we had samosas and Paul's famous marinated goose breast for starters, and buffalo cutlets with rice. Desert was vanilla ice cream!!
Day 21 - Last day of hunting. Actually, it was the last half day of hunting, as we would need to be back early in the afternoon in order to have a shooting competition with the Muhuba staff.
We headed out early, hoping to find the tracks of the herd from the afternoon before, hopefully where they had come to water during the night. About 5 minutes from camp, we bumped into a pack of African Wild Hunting Dogs (Ganyanas!)...
After getting a few pics and some video, we high-tailed it across the concession. It gets light at around 6:20 AM and at about 6:50 AM we were 25 km from camp and piling out of the truck to follow some tracks.
We found the tracks right along the river, where they had watered at some point during the night. Wecould tell we were at least a couple of hours behind the herd, so we were walking as fast as we could follow the tracks. To cut to the chase, we followed those tracks for 3.5 hours and about 13 kms before we finally caught up to the herd. It turns out it was a big herd with more than 100 animals in it. Where we caught up to them was fairly open. We used termite mounds to try and get close, and to survey the parts of the herd that we could see (the herd was very spread out). We followed along like this for a little while, but we could not get a good look at the bulls. They were always on the far side, or some of the buffalo would spook and run into the herd taking the bulls with them.
It was getting late to shoot a buffalo, given that we said we'd be back at lunch, so we knew we had to make something happen soon. Paul started to get more brazen, walking at parts of the herd and pushing them off, and then we'd run after them...hoping to be in a better position to see the bulls when the dust settled. We did this a few times, and finally an opportunity presented itself. A small group of bulls was tailing behind the rest of the herd and stopped to look back at us from about 80 yards away. Paul had the sticks up for me and said to take the bull facing us by the tree (those that have the DVD will probably know this spot). It was a quartering-to shot and I took him through the near shoulder and heart. The herd ran off and circled from left to right with the hit bull lagging behind. We ran ahead about 100 m and as the herd cleared from behind the mortally wounded bull, I put another round in his shoulder. He humped over to a small patch of bushes and went down before I could get another one in him. We walked up to him and I shot him one last time in the chest to finish it off (after trying to straighted Saeed's trigger one more time, for those that have the DVD!).
What a hunt that was! Last day, last minute, about 14 kms of tracking/stalking in total, and a decent bull buffalo to top it off. I was tired and pumped!!!
Here is a rare shot of our cameraman Wayne, in front of a camera. I was very happy that he finally conceded to be in a trophy photo...he was an absolutely great guy to hunt with and he worked very hard for the whole hunt...not to mention the fantastic footage that he got!!
The trackers had to walk back most of that 14 km to get back to the truck, so we knew they'd be a little while. After a little more than 3 hours of waiting though, we were starting to get worried that we might have to walk out ourselves! Fortunately, it did not come to that and they arrived at about 2:30 pm. None of us had had anything to drink in quite some time, so we were doubly glad to see them!! We quickly got the bull cut up and loaded in the truck and Paul took the wheel and bushwacked back to a road and then we did the "Ugalla 500" to get back to camp in time for the Shooting Competition! We arrived at camp just after 3:00 PM!
We quickly had a late lunch, and then headed out with the whole crew for the Shooting Competition. These are always a hoot...
The winner, our Game Scout Salamba, actually did pretty damn good!
After the shooting competition, we had about an hour of light left, so Saeed and the Vincents went for a last chance at a croc, and Paul, Wayne and I went for a quick topi hunt.
We actually found a tonne of topi considering the short amount of time we had. It seemed like it was destined to happen. Unfortunately, after a few short stalks that didn't turn out, at very last light I got an opportunity on a nice bull at 250 yards in low light and I blew the shot. Shot right underneath of him...2x!!
Oh well. I HATE missing, but that's hunting I guess. Since it was almost dark and we still had 2 rounds of Saeed's ammo to use up, Wayne and I had a little competition. We set up borrassus palm nuts on a termite mound 50 yards away and each took a shot. I went first and hit mine, but not through the middle. Wayne hit his dead center and blew it to bits...so he has bragging rights!! Next time I have a 250 yard shot at a topi, I will do the filming while Wayne does the shooting!
And that was it for the hunting. We cracked a few wobbly pops, and enjoyed the sunset for a few moments, and had a leisurely drive back to camp.
Walter and Nelson had spent the afternoon BBQ'ing some impala for our last dinner in camp. It looks delicious and it was!
Just before dinner, Wayne brought me his camera to show me something he found in his tent when he went for his shower...
I chuckled because everyone had been giving me a pretty tough time about me being a little "freaked out" about the goings-on in my tent! I was glad I wasn't the only one getting wildlife in their sleeping quarters. On our second night in Muhuba I heared something fall into my sink and got up to find a small scorpion in it. The next evening after returning from our hunt, there was another scorpion at my tent door, and then later that night I had another visitor...a HUGE beetle of some nasty variety scurrying around the floor of my tent, that according to the camp manager can spit acid up to 6'!! Its all part of the charm of Africa I suppose.
Day 22 - The 21 days of hunting seemed to go so fast, and although you look forward to going home, you really dont' want to leave. Kind of bitter sweet.
The fun was not completely over yet though. We had breakfast and packed up our things and got ready for the flights, which were scheduled for 11 AM. We took all the trucks over to the airstrip at about 10:30, and checked in on the skinning shed along the way.
At the airstrip, one plane arrived for transitting the Vincents and Paul to Arusha, and another arrived to take Saeed, Walter, Nelson, Wayne and myself to DAR. We all bid farewell to each other, and took off towards home.
The flight to DAR from Muhuba took 2 hours. Walter ensured that no-one was bored on the flight!! Saeed asked him what elevation we were at, and Walter pulled out 3 GPS units and a Sattelite Phone that had an internal GPS...and argued about what elevation we were really at. It was absolutely hilarious.
About a half hour before arriving in DAR, Walter turned to me looking very ill and asked if I could get him a barf-bag. I looked for one quickly and came up empty-handed. I turned back to Walter just in time to see him about to heave, right in my direction!!! Of course, he was just pulling my leg, but he sold it well! Saeed says the look on my face was priceless. LOL.
After arriving in DAR and getting checked in for our flights, we spent a couple hours shopping in the duty free, and hanging out in the lounge. Our flight was on time, and everything was uneventful to Dubai. At Dubai, Nelson and I said good-bye to Saeed and Walter, and were escorted to the Business Class Lounge. We killed a couple hours together, then we each boarded separate flights heading west. The 14 hour flight to JFK was great, and I really enjoyed the Business Class seats (they lay out flat!). I arrived at JFK in time to make a tight connection to SLC, but after re-checking my bags, switching terminals and arriving at the Delta check-in, I was informed there was a problem with my ticket. It seems that Delta managed to screw things up when my tickets had been changed prior to original departure. It took them more than the 15 minutes that we had to sort it out, so I missed my flight. On the upside, they did give me access to the Delta lounge for the 8 hours that I was stuck there. I left JFK at 4pm for SLC, and made my new connection there without any problems, and arrived in Kalispell at 11:30 pm. My wife picked me up, and we were back home by 2 AM...a little late since we both had to work in the morning, but after a trip like that, who's complaining?
This was absolutely the best hunt I have ever been on! It was a great time with really great people. The camps were superior and the food even better. Tonnes of game and good hunting every single day. And I have never laughed so much in my life. I cannot thank Saeed enough for the invitation and all he has done for me. I will cherish it forever.
After hunting with Paul Olivier for 19 days, I can say that at 27 yo, he is an extremely competent PH and I would recommend him to anyone. He hunts hard and is very easy to get along with. I can't say enough about him, and would be pleased to hunt with him again, any time, any where.
Likewise, Wayne James is a real pleasure to hunt with and is a real master of his craft. He always gets his shots, and yet you hardly realize he's filming. He is also really imaginitive with his camera and gets some truly unique and quality footage. I cannot reccommend him highly enough either. He goes by "captureyourhunt" on this website if you are looking for a good cameraman.
|one of us|
Wow, great photos and report. Glad I have a fast connection!
Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13
|one of us|
Great report. Keep it coming.
|one of us|
What fine report and great photos. That camp must be a hoot with Saeed and Walter.
Michael Podwika... DRSS bigbores and hunting www.pvt.co.za " MAKE THE SHOT " 450#2 Famars
|one of us|
Wonderful report. Congrats on a great trip.
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Thanks a lot my friend for taking the time to give us this present !!
As good as it gets
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Wonderful report my friend-looking forward to fishing with you this summer.
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Chris, that was just outstanding!!!
I hunt, not to kill, but in order not to have played golf....
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Fantastic report. Between Saeed's reports and now yours, it was an outstanding report and safari.
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Awesome pictures and a great hunt!
Life Member SCI
Life Member NRA
Life Member WSF
Rhyme of the Sheep Hunter
May fordings never be too deep, And alders not too thick; May rock slides never be too steep And ridges not too slick.
And may your bullets shoot as swell As Fred Bear's arrow's flew; And may your nose work just as well As Jack O'Connor's too.
May winds be never at your tail When stalking down the steep; May bears be never on your trail When packing out your sheep.
May the hundred pounds upon you Not make you break or trip; And may the plane in which you flew Await you at the strip.
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Great Report Chris. It filled in perfectly with the DVD's. It was nice to see your second Buffalo. I love the picture with Nelson and his Baboon. The Baboon is giving him the finger which is pretty fitting for a Baboon.
Take good care
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We Band of Brothers!
DRSS, NRA & SCI Life Member
"I am rejoiced at my fate. Do not be uneasy about me, for I am with my friends."
----- David Crockett in his last letter (to his children), January 9th, 1836
"I will never forsake Texas and her cause. I am her son." ----- Jose Antonio Navarro, from Mexican Prison in 1841
"for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." Thomas Jefferson
Declaration of Arbroath April 6, 1320-“. . .It is not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
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Great story and pictures! Thank you for sharing them.
Proud DRSS member
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Great report Chris, Nice pictures too
If you have that much to fight for, then you should be fighting. The sentiment that modern day ordinary Canadians do not need firearms for protection is pleasant but unrealistic. To discourage responsible deserving Canadians from possessing firearms for lawful self-defence and other legitimate purposes is to risk sacrificing them at the altar of political correctness."
- Alberta Provincial Court Judge Demetrick
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Excellent photo essay. I have envy .
I am Spanish
Great report Chris! I felt like I was along for the wonderful ride!
Uncle of 3 Eagle Scouts
NRA Life worth the commitment
SCI and DSC Life
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It looks like you all enjoyed your hunt very much.Thanks for the pics and I wish you more safaris to come.
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FANTASIC all i can say is that looks like the hunt of a life time OUTSTANDING . I dream of the day i can achieve a trip like that my friend.Once again congratulations and thank you for sharing
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Great report! thanks.
SAFARI ARTS TAXIDERMY
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Looks like you had a wonderful trip. Thanks for sharing. I can't help noticing you a still pretty pale even after 21 days in Africa!
VENARI LAVARE LUDERE RIDERE OCCEST VIVERE
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Wow, can I sign up to be a moderator...lol
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Phenomenal report and photos. Thanks for all the time and effort- very enjoyable...
Worldwide Trophy Adventures
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That was an outstanding report, photos and narrative. Felt like I was with you every step of the way and I wish I was!
Now you have really stoked the fire!
I'm headed to Namibia for my first African hunt in June and I don't think you helped to quell my excitement any.
Really, really enjoyed the report, many thanks for sharing it!
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That was a great report and the pictures are outstanding, thanks for taking the time to put this together and share it.
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Thanks for sharing your hunt.
I can only hope I will return to Tanzania.
Jim "Bwana Umfundi"
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Fantastic report. Thanks for sharing.
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WOW! Chris great report and photos.
That helped fuel the fire for my trip in August.
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Thanks for the great report and photos and for sharing them with us all.
You can borrow money but you can not borrow time. Go hunting with your family.
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Absolutely fantastic! Great report and pictures.
The only easy day is yesterday!
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Wonderful report. Thanks.
Will J. Parks, III
Thanks for all the kind words folks. It is appreciated. I didn't realize how much work it would be when I started. I have a lot more respect for the efforts of gents like Bill_C and others that have put up many, much more thorough reports than this.
Dave, our cameraman-extraordinaire, Wayne, set up the baboon's pose. I wasn't sure if folks would notice it, but I am not surprised you noticed it right away.
Cheers, and thanks again everyone,
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Thank you for getting my mind back on track about the good and what is really important!
NRA Lifer; DSC Lifer; SCI member; DRSS; AR member since November 9 2003
STILL waiting for my Taksdale double or a refund
Don't Save the best for last, the smile for later or the "Thanks" for tomorow
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Great report. I think Nelson's baboon is giving us one last hurrah though, check out his right hand... although inverted, isn't he giving us the finger???
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