Posts Tagged ‘African Plains Game Hunting Specialist’

Having started our season up in Cameroon during mid-February, we finally got going down south in the latter half of April. While it was somewhat later than usual, the building and renovating of our new camp at Woodlands had been our focus and priority up until that point.

The original colonial homestead on the property was first completed in 1898 with various building additions taking place over the past 119 years. We started by stripping most of the original buildings additions and then added an additional seven suites of our own in the same style as to keep with tradition of the era and of a colonial grandeur of yesteryear. Meticulous care and focus was dedicated to the original homestead as to restore and preserve every room to its original form. Where windows or fixtures were replaced with more modern materials and styles over the past century, we went back and replaced each of those with fittings from the original era, ensuring the manor rose from its neglected state, restored to its once grand past.

We present The Manor at Woodlands Safari Estate….

Further additions are taking place at the moment with a trophy room and bar being the main focus at present. Out buildings such as a skinning shed, butcher shop, salt shed, workshop and tool room have been completed too, ensuring our safaris are running at optimum levels.

With The Manors completion we were ready to start our season, and it was fitting that our old friend Brett Kettelhut would be our first ever hunter to Woodlands. Brett teamed up with Professional Hunter, Greg Hayes, and tracker, Bless, for a second time. This time the safari started in the north.

Brett harvested some fantastic trophies up in the Great Karoo before heading down south to Woodlands. With a Sable and Lechwe being his priorities, the guys put in some serious effort to see Woodlands off to a flying start. The results of both the Lechwe and Sable were pretty mind-blowing.

First a Lechwe in the 28″ + class..

And then a Sable that will rank as one of Brett’s best trophies to date.

A monstrous bull in the 44″ class – Not your everyday kind of bull.

At the same time as Brett we welcomed first timers, Steve and Kathy Winkleman, who hunted with Professional Hunter, Ross “Stix” Hoole, and Thandu Xolo. Neither Steve or Kathy had ever been to Africa, with each having their personal priorities on this maiden African safari.

For Steve it would be a Kudu and the desire to see as much country side as possible. To take in the sights and sounds that make Africa the place it is. Luckily for them the rains had just started and Africa came out to bloom…

As for Kathy, she came hunting for the perfect tree, as to capture that perfect African sunset.

One could say she found the best trophy of all…

As for Professional Hunter, Carl van Zyl, the dream of Woodlands and the prospect of guiding a first ever hunter on the Estate was an exciting one to say the least. It would be fitting that he should host, South African Cricket legend, Quinton De Kock, on what would be the first of many to come.

Quinton brought along his bow going after any opportunity that may present itself. Our plan was to walk and stalk each morning, and then head into the blinds from midday. We got lucky on a great Blue Wildebeest stalked to within 31 yards and a sneaky Mountain Reedbuck at 46 yards. It was intense and exciting getting in that close to numerous species. From the hides Quinton took a Waterbuck and Warthog too, making for a succesful five days of bow hunting.

A Bushpig was a high priority on his hunt, but unfortunately the pigs only started feeding some days after he left.

We’ll have to plan a return hunt for a big old boar with the bow in the future.

During the course of the hunt Carl had shared his passion for his Gunwerks 7 mm LRM, and then right at the end of the hunt they headed out on the last afternoon to give Quiny a taste of some epic long-range shooting. It took a mere twenty minutes on the range for Quinton to get up to speed with the system, proving to be a natural not only with the bow, but behind a rifle too.

We headed up to the plains at Woodlands to enjoy a last bit of fun…

At 578 Yards Quiny put the hammer down on this beauty. His first shot with the Gunwerks system – his first long-range kill.

The start to our season has been another succesful one. The Karoo keeps on producing the goods year in and year out, with the rewards of a strict management policy coming through in trophy quality. Woodlands still remains an unknown, it’s a mystical 30 000 acres with numerous new hunting concessions in the area too. If I were a betting man I’d be confident in saying prepare to be amazed. The valleys and draws along the Great Fish River play home to an abundance of wildlife. From what we’ve been spotting while out on safari, tells us that if you’re hunting with John X Safaris during 2017, you’re going to be in for opportunities on some monsters. They’re out there!

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube Channel and visit our Website.

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Over the years we’ve tried to develop John X Safaris into more than just a first timers hunting destination. By not only placing the emphasis on hunting, but by looking at the entire safari experience, we hope to achieve the above average South African safari. It thus goes without saying that this has allowed our second and third time hunters a chance at our abundant hunting variety, but has opened up a world of opportunity for the first time hunter to John X Safaris.

Late March saw just the kind of safari we’ve been wanting to achieve. Josh Wilde, and his mom, Anne Wilde, joined Professional Hunter, Schalk De Villiers, on their first hunt to South Africa. Neither Josh nor Anne were your regular first timers to South Africa. Josh for one was a bow hunter, a great guy and brilliant shot, while Anne was an adventure junkie of note!

Josh was after a variety of Plains Game species with the bow, and Anne was set on doing a few days of hunting with Josh. She would then travel down to Cape Town with Free Walker Adventure Tours for a trip filled with fun and adventure.

Having arrived a day early, to allow for a day of R&R, it was soon decided that there was just too much to do and see. An entire day set aside for R&R was way to much for these excited hunters! After a mid morning brunch the hunters set off for the range. Josh checked his bow and Anne came to grips with Schalk’s rifle. A couple of hours later and the hunt was on for the elusive East Cape Kudu.

During the late afternoon on that first day, the hunters spotted a big Kudu bull. The Kudu was feeding in a tough area and the stalk would have to be a good one if a shot was to be presented. The guys leading from the front with Anne close behind got into a great position and Anne made the shot off the sticks. At the crack of the rifle, the bull jumped into the air, kicked out its legs and flashed its tail. A sign of a well placed shot. Russell, the Jack Russel was called into action immediately, the bull had disappeared into the thick Coastal Forest. Minutes later and the action took a frantic turn as Russel started his battle with Anne's bull. Schalk and Anne slowly approached the barking Russel where he had bayed the bull. Anne took her time and squeezed of a great finishing shot, earning her our first 50+" East Cape Kudu for the season!

With a setting sun and the guys having to chop a road to retrieve Anne’s Kudu, it was fitting that the two stars of the show could be found sharing an excited moment together. After all it’s not everyday that one has the luck of hunting a 50″ East Cape Kudu on your first afternoon in Africa!

Trying to get Anne to come down off her Kudu high was completely impossible, let alone worth it. Her smile was spread from ear to ear – ALL DAY LONG! What it did do was place some serious pressure on Schalk to produce a Fallow Deer that would not only rival Anne’s Kudu in trophy quality, but her overall experience of the hunt.

Schalk not being one to shy away from a challenge, came up with the goods once again. A great Fallow Deer to wish Anne farewell on her trip to Cape Town.

It goes without saying that a successful bow hunt takes a lot of luck. Very good hunting areas with above average number of animals, and a bow hunter who can handle his bow better than most. To compliment it all – A like-minded PH who’s willing to go the extra mile will always combine these factors and lead a successful safari.

Right from the start, Schalk and Josh had hit it off extremely well. Both were gung-ho Bow Hunters with a passion to hunt. Josh taking his Kudu at 29 yards, walking and stalking, bonded these two hunters for life!

A couple of hours later, with Josh’s Kudu barely in the salt, the guys were at it again. Having spotted a good Cape Bushbuck ram feeding along the river, a stalk was started. A tick infested leopard crawl with enough thorns and spikes to last a lifetime, and Josh was within range. He came to his knees, drew slowly and let his arrow fly. The Bushbuck literally didn’t move and dropped right there in its tracks. The guys were on a high and on a roll!

An Impala is the one animal that jumps string more than any other African game when it comes to bow hunting. After spotting this extremely “different” looking Impala, with his black face, very similar to the Black Faced Impala, Josh wanted to be sure of his shot. The guys took their time with the stalk and at the right moment, when the Impala dropped his guard, Josh let him have it. Another one shot kill and Josh was a happy man!

In the meantime, while Josh was enjoying unbelievable success with his bow, Anne was having the time of her life with Free Walker Adventures! 

Enjoying fantastic restaurants on the Indian Ocean…

Taking a ride in a hot air balloon to have a better appreciation of the view…

Or taking the road less travelled to witness the breath-taking view at Cape Point…

Admiring Table Mountain across the bay…

Visiting the winelands…

And paraglided with the birds over Cape Town.

Back on the hunt Josh was still at it. Making unbelievable shots with his bow and keeping up the quality. 

Late one afternoon the guys decided to hit a hide over water and salt. A great Black Wildebeest came right in and Josh let an arrow fly. The bull showed no signs of a hit and was off back into the herd. Poor light forced the hunters to call it a day. Bright and early the next morning, the hunters were back in the area to discover Josh’s bull. He had been hit hard with a double lung shot and had died the previous evening, still maintaining Josh’s proud one shot kill record.

Schalk had been eyeing a specific Blesbuck for sometime and knew Josh would be the man who could pull off the required shot with his bow. We all knew the ram was a monster, but exactly how big it was certainly caught us off guard. After the hunt was said and done, we did a “wet score” on Josh’s ram. At present it may be the New World Record with a bow, but we’ll have it officially measured once the drying period has been completed. Only then can we confirm the size of Josh’s ram. For the time being – A massive congratulations from all of us on your unbelievable Common Blesbuck.

Anne returned from her tour and joined Josh for the last two days of their hunt with John X Safaris. The remaining days were spent in search of a Warthog and enjoying fun-filled days reminiscing about their first trip to South Africa.

They had hunted a variety of species, fished the Indian Ocean and enjoyed an extremely successful bow hunt. Anne had harvested our first 50+” East Cape Kudu of the season and Josh may have hunted a possible new World Record Blesbuck with his bow. Anne had travelled the Garden Route, visited the southern most tip of Africa, enjoyed hot air balloon rides, Table Mountain, the winelands, and paraglided over Cape Town.

Their first trip to South Africa was certainly no ordinary first timers trip. Who knows what their next trip will be like? The opportunities, abundance of hunting, and variety of experiences leave so much available to them. We can’t wait to have them back!

For more information and current updates about John X Safaris; follow us on Twitter, connect with us on Facebook and visit our website!

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