Thursday, 6 April 2017

DESTINATION AFRICA, PART THREE

DESTINATION AFRICA,

PART THREE



My first trip to South Africa, and a subsequent trip to Zimbabwe were booked through ECH Global owned and run by Robert Goss.  Through Bob Goss I got to meet the outfitter at Bob’s home, as he was staying with Bob for a couple of days before he flew back to Africa.  We discussed the animals available and all costs, allowing me to finish my wish list; I now had all the facts.  I chose kudu, zebra, warthog, gemsbok, impala, bushbuck, steenbok and duiker.  A mixture of sizes and prices, to be hunted over ten days in South Africa.  We were to hunt during the middle two weeks of May, in an area in South Africa’s northern province, close to the border with Zimbabwe.  The outfitter Fanie Steyn hunted an area of over 40,000 acres, belonging to his family, so we would be the only hunters on the ground
 
 


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My preparation over the next few months for the hunt included a lot of walking, and as much shooting on the range as I could get.  I already owned a Sauer model 90 in 375 Holland and Holland, I bought it as much for the nostalgia, of owning a rifle capable of taking Africa’s largest game, as I did for the “just in case I ever go” dreams I was having.  Although it packed quite a punch in the recoil department, it shot like a dream, regularly shooting cloverleaf groups at 100 meters.  It came with iron sights fitted, not wanting to loose this facility; I bought Apel swing off mounts, to attach a 1.5-6 x 42 Karl Kahles scope, a decision I have never regretted.  The bullets were to be 300 grain solids and soft points from Hornady, home loaded over a charge of Reloader 19, producing 2500 feet per second of velocity, that’s over 4100 foot pounds of energy.  I did consider taking a smaller calibre rifle as well, but decided that it would only complicate things, so it was to be a one-rifle safari for me.  This is where the .375HH comes into it’s own, using solids, you can shoot animals like duiker and steenbok which are smaller than muntjac, and not blow great holes in them, as you would with a soft point.  The soft point though would be used on larger antelope and zebra, where you need to impart as much shock as possible.  For toughs among you that aspire to some thing a little bigger, the 375HH can also legally be used on buffalo and elephant, so as you can see it really is a very versatile calibre.

 
If on the other hand you were hoping to take your stalking rifle with you, calibres like 270win, 308win, 30-06, and 7mm are all capable of take plains game, by that I mean antelope, zebra and pigs.  I would have to say that 243win and the 6mm calibres are in my opinion to small for most African hunting.  If you were to limit yourself to animals like springbok, impala, steenbok, duiker and klipspringer, then there wouldn’t be any problem, but animals like kudu, zebra, wildebeest and eland really need a bit more gun.  Lets face it; nobody wants to wound anything, nor do you want to be wasting precious time following up wounded game, so if you don’t own a larger calibre ask your outfitter if you can borrow one.  Shots at game in Africa are normally taken off shooting sticks, which you stand behind and rest the rifle on, if your not use to this style of shooting, I suggest you make your own shooting sticks and have a go on a range before you go, as a little practice could make a lot of difference.

 

 
 You will need a pair of binoculars, but because there is very little dawn or dusk in Africa, their light gathering qualities do not have to be great, you will for the most part, be using your binoculars in bright sun light.  This gives you the opportunity to use a smaller pair, like 10 x 25 for example, they are considerably smaller than what we would normally use for stalking in the UK, and much lighter, and after what could turn out to be many hours of walking under a hot sun, you will be glad you down sized.  The same applies to knives, you will not be required to clean out or skin any animals you shoot, this is the job of professional skinners, and will be all in with the price, so leave your buffalo skinning knife at home, a small knife is all you will require.  Other essential items will include a hat, and a camera, for those all-important trophy photos, and don’t forget a warm jacket, as on my last visit to Africa it snowed!

 
I hope this article has for toughs among you, who are thinking of going to Africa, provided you with some useful tips, and for others who thought Africa was beyond their reach, I hope to have shown you that Africa is not exclusively the play ground of rich and famous, it is with in the grasp of every one, it may take a year or two of saving to get there, but it will be worth every penny.  I only wish I could impart in words the way Africa will make you feel, and the experiences you will have, but that’s for you to find out for your selves.                

                                                                               

                  

                     

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