Posts Tagged ‘Cape Town’

Johnny Posey, Eason Maykus, Todd Allen, Darren Vohs and Bruce Heikkinen joined us on safari during late June, right at the peak of the rut. It was great having Johnny back. He has become such a good friend and big supporter over the years, that hosting him with his friends at Woodlands during our opening season was a must for all of us at John X Safaris.

Our hunt would incorporate both our coastal region, hunting in and around Woodlands Safari Estate, as well as a trip to the Great Karoo, before joining the ladies down in Cape Town. Heather, Simone and Elise Allen, together with Sydney Posey, spent a few days with us on safari before heading down the Garden Route to Cape Town.

For first timer Darren Vohs, it would literally be a life-changing experience.

Darren teamed up with Professional Hunter, Lourens Lombard, and tracker Spinach, making for a formidable team. For a first timer Darren had set his sights on a number of “not so first timer” species, but we weren’t complaining. The rut was on and who doesn’t love a challenge when it comes to hunting?

A Kudu is always a top priority for any hunter to Africa, but apart from the elusive grey ghost the guys hunted hard for Gemsbuck, Impala, Nyala, Springbuck, Black Wildebeest, Mountain Reedbuck, Bushpig and Cape Bushbuck.

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The broad smiles and images pays tribute to what turned out to be an amazing first trip for Darren, very similar to that of Bruce Heikkinen.

Bruce was a late joiner to our hunt after overhearing Johnny tell a fellow hunting buddy about his upcoming safari to Africa. It kind of summed up Bruce in the way he did things. He goes big or goes home…. When he says he’s here for a good time and not a long time, you better know he means it!

Bruce joined PH, Ross “Stix” Hoole, and tracker, Thando Xolo, for the first half of his hunt before teaming up with Ed Wilson for his last leg of his safari up in the Great Karoo.

A Cape Buffalo, Sable, Eland, Lechwe, Nyala, Waterbuck, Blue and Black Wildebeest, Zebra, Gemsbuck, Kudu, Impala and Bushpig made for a massive hunt. Not knowing much about Bruce up until meeting him on the first day of the safari we all soon learned the man could shoot.

Bruce proved to be not only a great shot, but a lucky hunter too. He however was not the luckiest hunter of all. That tag belonged to none other than Johnny Posey.

If you’ve done your time in Africa, it is said that the rub of the green starts leaning your way more often than not, but on this particular hunt it was more evident than ever before.

If our Sable and Lechwe were the starts PH, Carl van Zyl, and tracker Oluwhethu, were hoping for, then hold your breath for our Tiny 10 quest.

We headed out early one morning from Woodlands, striking a bearing south-east towards the ocean and the coastal forests Blue Duiker inhabit in large numbers along our rugged coastline.

We typically hunt Blue Duiker over Jack Russel Terriers, or make use of blinds over waterholes in the forest. On this particular occasion we opted for the blind option as conditions were dry and the Duiker were drinking regularly.

At times blind hunting can be something of a boring affair, but one thing you can be assured of when it comes to forest blind hunts, is that the bird life is jaw-dropping. The Turacos are particularly striking in both sound and colour.

While peering out of our blind, day dreaming about the various hunts we had shared over the course of the first few days, we noticed through the only hole in the forest, a red coloured animal feeding on the opposite ridge. At first we brushed it aside as a young Bushbuck female, but then our boredom got the better of us and we turned the spotting scope in its direction. And to our amazement we saw it was a Cape Grysbuck feeding in the morning sun. A rare sighting to say the least.

It was too far to tell if it were a male or female, but the opportunity required a closer look. We gathered our gear and made a dash for it. Knowing the Grysbuck would not be feeding out for too much longer we pushed hard, making up the distance between it and us as fast as our legs would carry us. Reaching the pre-determined ridge, we had plotted out previously as a good place to get a shot from, we crested too fast, spooking the Grysbuck in the process. Carl was mad for his silly error, but he had luckily seen it was a fantastic ram before the sly old guy disappeared into the undergrowth. Feeling despondent and ready to give up, knowing our chances were no more than 1/100, Johnny urged us to go on and circle back around.

And 1/100 is the only 1 we needed. This one belonged to Johnny. Through sheer determination we harvested the first ever Cape Grysbuck in daylight. An unheard of feat in the hunting world where Grysbuck are usually totally nocturnal.

With our Grysbuck in the salt and our attitudes in a festive mood we headed back to our Blue Duiker blind. The day was still young and we weren’t about to give up on our original mission.

We had barely sat down for twenty minutes when in wondered this monster from the undergrowth. The hunting gods were smiling on us as much as one could have ever hoped for.

By noon we were heading back to camp to celebrate two of the most difficult critters of the Tiny 10. It turned out to be one of the greatest days we’ve ever experienced in guiding the Tiny 10, and not to mention doing it with Johnny, a more deserving friend than him would be hard to find.

With Johnny smashing records left, right, and centre, Todd was turning his very first African safari into a huge success with PH, Martin Neuper, and tracker Oluwhethu.

Starting off his hunt with a 31’’ Waterbuck set the benchmark high for what was to come.

Todd’s Kudu was the pick of the bulls on the safari, a beautiful animal, hunted for over the course of four days. His Nyala, Cape Eland and Cape Bushbuck wrapped up a spiral slam reeking of quality, while his Sable gave you the feeling of an old warrior.

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Todd’s pigs were however the pick for all of us guides. While we all know PH, Martin Neuper, is one of the best guides around, he sure has a knack of pulling the rabbit out of the hat from time to time.

Finding a Bushpig in broad daylight takes luck, actually hunting it successfully takes skill. Then top that off with a boss Warthog in trying drought stricken circumstances, and you’ve got yourself a hunt like few have experienced.

Todd came out tops when it came to pigs on this particular safari!

For Eason Maykus, a fellow first timer from Dallas, Africa provided an experience like he could not have imagined.

The mountains of the north in particular captured his imagination and set the spirit of Africa alive with in him…

Sharing his hunt with Johnny and PH, Carl van Zyl, he thrived in the tough conditions. Loving every step of the way to the top of the mountains. We harvested Waterbuck, Hartebeest, Black Wildebeest and Springbuck. Coming away with bag to be proud of.

Eason’s Gemsbuck took more than your average Gemsbuck, giving us the run around up in the high country. We had spotted the group early on during the course of the morning and we decided to concentrate on two or three individuals that had stood out in the spotting scope at 1500 yards +.

We climbed higher and higher as the day grew on, hoping to surprise the feeding group by coming over at them from above.At one point we had found a second group we had not spotted originally, making for a tricky situation on an already bare mountain. We decided to back off and allow the lay of the land and the feeding Gemsbuck to give us the opportunity we were after.

With patience our opportunity came, and with that an opportunity at a Gemsbuck to remember. Hunted for the hard way, up where the air is thin and the eagles soar, where memories and friendships were made for life. It was an epic hunt.

From the Karoo we headed back south for one last evening of fun at Woodlands, before saying goodbye to Bruce and Darren, while the rest of us, including Trish, joined the girls down in the wine country of the Cape.

We started off our visit to the Cape in Franschoek, a beautiful little town right in the heart of the wine country.

The setting was spectacular…

We spent the next few days exploring some of the well-known wineries, but mostly concentrating on the boutique style smaller vineyards. Both Johnny and Todd enjoy their wine tremendously, which allowed us all to learn a great deal about the various wines with their aging and flavouring processes.

Before we knew it, two days were up and it was time to make the short journey over the Helderberg Mountains to Cape Town. We most certainly weren’t ready to leave the wine country, but the mother city was waiting in all her glory.

By the time our ten days were up we had hunted in some of the most breath-taking areas the East Cape has to offer, the girls had seen the Big 5 and travelled down the picturesque Garden Route, before we all wrapped up a memorable safari in the Cape of Good Hope. It was one of our many highlights from 2017, shared with friends old and new in beautiful sunny South Africa.

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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