19 October 2021

2021 Hunting Season

No one could have predicted what 2020 would have in store for any of us - especially for us in the tourism and safari industry. COVID-19 surely did things upside down for us.

But fortunately, 2020 passed and whilst we were still not able to operate to full capacity in 2021, we still had a marvelous season.

Our season kicked off in early April when our good friends from Utah came over for their second African hunt with CT Safaris. Alan and Wade visited with us for the first time in 2018 and we must have done something right that time, because when I visited them in their hometown of Duchesne UT during my marketing trip to the States in early 2019, their second trip was booked without hesitation. Not only did Alan book for him and his brother, they also brought more of their friends with.

Below is a rundown of our 2021 hunting season:

Utah hunters in africa - Alan's lion

9 April 2021

With limited flights available from the USA to South Africa at the time, the group ended up using Qatar Airways for their international flights to South Africa and back. Whilst the flights were long and required a stopover in Doha, the general consensus was that Qatar is a great airline and in spite of the inconvenience of extra travel time, the service and comfort made up for it.

Shortly after their arrival in South Africa, four of our hunters (including Alan and Wade), headed off to our lion hunting area in the North-West Province where Alan connected with the beautiful black-maned Lion in the picture above. This would only be the beginning of a very successful hunt...

Meanwhile, I brought Paul and Kristin to Sabrisa Ranch for Paul's initiation into African hunting.

utah hunters in Africa - Paul's gemsbok

9 April 2021

Paul turned out to be a very lucky first-time African hunter, as on his first day out in the mountains of Sabrisa, we spotted an old Gemsbok bull way on the other side of a valley. Paul's .338 did the trick and his first African animal was ready for the salt.

Meanwhile, our hunters in the North-West Province had some luck of their own...

utah hunters in Africa - alan's black wildebeest

10 April 2021

During Alan's first African trip in 2018, he hunted quite a few species - indigenous to Limpopo Province - with us. Seeing he was in an area known for good Black Wildebeest, I suggested he takes the opportunity if it were to arise.

Alan did, and connected with this exceptional Black Wildebeest trophy.

Not only Alan had some good fortune though...

utah hunters in Africa - wade's lion

10 April 2021

For this particular hunt, Wade had brought a classic rifle - a .72 cal Pedersoli Kodiak blackpowder / percussion rifle and this is what we would use for his lion and buffalo hunt.

Wade was first to see the black-maned lion they had been tracking the whole day long where it was crouching done, ready to charge. His double spoke twice in rapid succession and the result can be seen above. What a beautiful lion!

utah hunters in Africa - paul's kudu

10 April 2021

When we fist went up the mountain with Paul, we were hoping to find a nice Kudu bull but the hunting gods gave us a Gemsbok instead. We hadn't given up on a Kudu yet though...

And the next morning this beautiful Kudu bull showed itself. Paul's .338 did it again and another fantastic trophy was harvested. Whilst it is always great to get a good trophy, working hard for one makes it even greater and this was one of those events.

utah hunters in Africa - paul's impala

11 April 2021

Impala are plentiful in Africa, good trophy quality Impala are not so plentiful and great Impala are scarcer. Many clients connect with good quality Impala during their hunts - not so many with great quality...

Paul's Impala qualifies as "better than just good" - at 24.5".

utah hunters in Africa - ty's Gemsbok

11 April 2021

Meanwhile, back in North-West, the hunt was going on and it was Ty's turn to connect with an extraordinary trophy (his first African animal) - a Gemsbok bull.

Ty, who was a member of the Utah group made a perfect shot on his Gemsbok bull and it was a good one!

utah hunters in Africa - Wade's genet

11 April 2021

In pursuit of small cats and other night critters, Wade connected with this Genet on one of his nights out.

Unfortunately, his shot took the left front leg of the Genet right off, but the folks at Something Africa Taxidermy did excellent work when they full mounted the cat - so much so - that the damage is invisible.

utah hunters in Africa - alan's lioness

12 April 2021

In addition to a black-maned Lion, Alan also wanted to hunt a mature lioness and our hunting area again did not disappoint.

After many miles on foot, some scary moments and a tense follow-up on a wounded Lioness, Alan got another trophy of a lifetime. He commented afterwards was that this was the most intense hunt he had ever had and he definitely wants to do it again.

utah hunters in Africa - Wade's Kalahari springbok

12 April 2021

The Kalahari Region of the North-West Province is known for exceptional Springbok and as this was one of the species that neither Wade or Alan had hunted before, it was suggested that they take the opportunity.

Wade made his shot count on this fantastic ram.

utah hunters in Africa - alan's Kalahari springbok

12 April 2021

And Alan's ram was a dandy too!

At some 300 yards off the sticks, this was not an easy shot but Alan knew his business.

utah hunters in Africa - wade's lioness

13 April 2021

Wade got an opportunity at a Lioness the following day and harvested another beautiful trophy.

Wade had put in many hours at the range with his black powder double rifle - and this showed when he killed his Lioness with one shot.

utah hunters in Africa - paul's blue wildebeest

13 April 2021

Back at Sabrisa in Limpopo Province, Paul was in search of an old Blue Wildebeest bull.

After a lengthy stalk, Paul found the ancient bull in the picture above laying down in a dirt track. A carefully placed shot culminated in a successful morning hunt.

utah hunters in Africa - paul's zebra

13 April 2021

We spent the rest of the day hunting for Zebra.

And late that afternoon Paul got his Zebra - another perfectly placed shot.

utah hunters in Africa - wade's blesbok

14 April 2021

Our lion hunters returned from the Kalahari and joined us up in Limpopo Province where the hunt continued. Wade was keen to hunt a Buffalo bull with his blackpowder double rifle and that was the first animal on his list during the Limpopo portion of his hunt.

After a hard day's tracking, Wade got a shot at the bull in the picture above and made it count.

utah hunters in Africa - wade's blesbok

15 April 2021

Being plains game animals with a favor for wide open spaces, Blesbok usually aren't easy to get up close to and given the limited ranges associated to using a large bore blackpowder rifle, chances of bagging a Blesbok with a .72 caliber are considered to be slim.

Wade knows how to shoot that big gun of his though and the Blesbok in the picture above serves as proof thereof.

utah hunters in Africa - paul's golden wildebeest

15 April 2021

Golden Wildebeest was not on Paul's original list but once Paul had seen one and after already having bagged a Blue Wildebeest earlier in the hunt, he was hooked on the idea of getting a Golden specimen as well.

It so happened that we have plenty Golden Wildebeest in our areas and I happened to know where to go look for one.

utah hunters in Africa - ty's baboon with a bow

15 April 2021

Ty, who does a lot of varmint hunting back home in Utah, was keen to hunt a Baboon with his bow and arrow.

The baboon didn't know what hit it as the arrow through flew him at 40 yards.

utah hunters in Africa - alan's lechwe

15 April 2021

Red Lechwe is a species that was introduced successfully into primarily the Eastern Cape region of South Africa decades ago - and more recently into Limpopo Province. These beautiful animals with horns not unlike the stately Waterbuck also now roam our hunting areas.

Alan was at first hesitant to shoot the one in the picture above as this was a species that was not on his original list. He admitted afterwards though that his decision to take this bull was one he will never regret.

utah hunters in Africa - vicena's golden wildebeest

16 April 2021

Whilst Golden Wildebeest was not on Paul's original list, this was a species that Vicena was keen to hunt.

Vicena made the perfect shot at 200 yards on her Golden Wildebeest, dropping it in its tracks.

utah hunters in Africa - ty's black-backed jackal

16 April 2021

Being a varmint hunter of note, Ty really wanted a Black-backed Jackal for his trophy room

Ty was therefore very happy to get this jackal late in the afternoon.

utah hunters in Africa - ty's white blesbok

16 April 2021

Varmints weren't the only category of animals on Ty's list though.

So when this White Blesbok presented itself at the bow blind, Ty sent an arrow its way.

utah hunters in Africa - vicena's black impala

16 April 2021

Sticking to the colour variants, Vicena opted to hunt for a Black Impala.

We worked out a strategy to get her close enough for a shot at one and our strategy was successful. Vicena's second African animal was down and what a beautiful specimen at that!

utah hunters in Africa - wade's nyala with bow and arrow

18 April 2021

Wade had only recently started bow hunting and he had brought his bow with him. I suggested that he attempts to walk and stalk a Nyala with his bow.

Wade's arrow flew straight and his first African animal with his bow was down.

Another perfect ending to a great and successful hunt with CT Safaris!

father and son hunt - mike and austin

05 July, 2021

Mike, our friend from Georgia, hunted with us the first time back in 2013 when he brought his Dad with for a hunt in Kwa Zulu Natal. This was their 2nd African hunt but the first one with CT Safaris. Somehow we must have done something right during that hunt as in 2016 Mike was back (this time on his own) and we did a road trip, starting in the Northern Cape and making our way all the way down to the coast in the Eastern Cape, hunting Vaal Rhebok, the Springbok Slam, Barbary Sheep, Cape Bushbuck and many other species along the way.

This year, Mike brought his son - Austin - with. On this note, and before I continue with my report, I want to pay tribute to a wonderful young man whom I had the pleasure to meet. Wise beyond his years, Austin was probably the most dedicated and hard working 20 year-old I'd ever have the privilege of meeting. Sadly; Austin was involved in a horrific car crash, only 5 months after returning to the States and didn't survive. Our thoughts go out to his parents - Mike and Tonya, his sister and all the others he had left behind.

Above - one of the last pictures that I took of Mike and Austin at the end of their hunt. RIP Austin.

father and son hunt - mike and austin

06 July, 2021

I had written in my blog on previous occasion about the Blesbok I had introduced to Sabrisa Ranch as breeding animals and which had escaped. Well we got word that some of the young rams had been seen on the property next door to ours and there was only one way of getting my expensive Blesbok back to Sabrisa - that would be on the back of a pickup. Unfortunately, Blesbok don't enjoy riding on the back of trucks and the only way to convince them to get on one is by putting a bullet through their shoulders or brain.

Mike and Austin agreed to assist me in last mentioned endeavors so we took a drive out to see if we could find my Blesbok.

We found the Blesbok very close to where they were last reported to have been seen and Mike and Austin fired away. The result can be seen above.

father and son hunt - mike and austin

06 July, 2021

On the way back to camp, we came across an unusual daytime sighting - a huge Bushpig boar was standing perfectly broadside in the middle of the road - about 200 yards ahead of us!

"It's a Bushpig, shoot it!!!" came the command from Sammy and myself simultaneously. Up to this point, Austin had never seen a Bushpig before and didn't know what the fuss was about. But he didn't ask questions and sent a 6.5 Creedmoor bullet towards the pig.

What a great way to start a hunt as a fist-time hunter to Africa! A Bushpig in broad daylight!

father and son hunt - mike and austin

07 July, 2021

The following morning we went hunting for Zebra but the Zebra weren't cooperating. Instead, we saw plenty Impala and when we saw the one below, it was Austin's turn again to make another perfect shot.

An incredible trophy indeed!

father and son hunt - mike and austin

07 July, 2021

Mike has shot many Impala on his previous hunts with me, but couldn't resist when the fella below showed himself shortly after Austin's Impala was recovered.

Another superb trophy!

father and son hunt - mike and austin

08 July, 2021

Sabrisa has always been known for good Klipspringer. Careful management practices, a good gene pool and very selective hunting has contributed to exceptional trophy quality of this species and all the Klipspringer hunted with clients over the years made the SCI and Rowland Ward record books.

Mike was keen to hunt one of these, so early the next morning we headed up into the mountains.

Sabrisa Ranch again did not disappoint and at almost an inch longer than the minimum requirement for entry into Rowland Ward's Book, Mike's Klippie secured him another place in the books.

father and son hunt - mike and austin

09 July, 2021

Native in South Africa primarily to the open plains of the Free State and Cape Provinces, there are not a lot of Springbok in the Bushveld. Springbok are prone to tick-born diseases such as Heartwater Disease and they generally don't do well here in the Northern part of Limpopo Province.

Success has however been had with introducing this species and breeding Springbok that are indeed resistant against the various tick-born diseases.

Austin found on of these and got himself an old Ram the next morning.

father and son hunt - mike and austin

09 July, 2021

Meanwhile, Mike was in search of a Black Impala Ram and he got lucky as well.

Some years ago, an 18" Black Impala was considered to be a good trophy. At 23", Mike's is exceptional.

father and son hunt - mike and austin

10 July, 2021

We had applied for a TOPS permit to hunt Tsessebe several months prior to Mike's arrival. The permit finally was issued on July 9th so the next morning we headed out to the Limpopo River to hunt for Mike's Tsessebe bull.

We were fortunate to find a group of Tsessebe's with a good bull amongst them and Mike had his Tsessebe.

father and son hunt - mike and austin

11 July, 2021

Some years ago a breeding herd of Sable was introduced to Sabrisa Ranch and over the next years the Sable population increased to the point where it would be sustainable to take some of the older males off.

In the previous days we had been hunting the mountains of Sabrisa Ranch intermittently for a good Sable bull but they managed to stay away from us.

Our luck changed when we came across this bull on the other side of a valley. and Mike got this 46" beauty!

father and son hunt - mike and austin

12 July, 2021

Austin had opted to exchange the Kudu that he originally planned on hunting for a Nyala bull. We have good Nyala in the area so we went looking for one.

And we connected with a beauty!

father and son hunt - mike and austin

13 July, 2021

Last on the wish list was a Zebra each for Mike and Austin. Mike had hunted Mountain Zebra on his first African hunt in Namibia and wanted to add a Burchell's Zebra to his trophy collection. Austin wanted a rug for his apartment.

After quite the runaround in the morning, we got lucky and two Zebra's were ready for the salt pit.

It was an awesome hunt with awesome people and I'm very happy that I got to share the experience of Mike's second father and son hunt - first him and his dad and then him and his son.

The three j's from New Mexico & Texas - USA

17 July, 2021

Joe Self from NM brought his buddies Jim and John from Texas with for their first African hunt. This was another hunt that was originally scheduled for 2020 that had to roll over to 2021 due to COVID travel restrictions.

They used Qatar Airways and although it was a looooong flight, everyone arrived here without a hitch and ready for their first African Adventure.

Joe was first to open the tab with a beautiful Nyala hunted right here on Sabrisa Ranch.

The three j's from New Mexico & Texas - USA

18 July, 2021

And he followed up with a nice Impala the next morning

After a good stalk in some seriously thick bush, Joe's Impala was ready for the salt.

The three "j's" from New Mexico & Texas - USA

19 July, 2021

On John's list was a Burchell's Zebra

And our hunting areas again did not disappoint...

The three "j's" from New Mexico & Texas - USA

19 July, 2021

Joe was not the only one who wanted an Impala for his wall.

And what a beautiful Impala he got!

The three "j's" from New Mexico & Texas - USA

20 July, 2021

And Jim followed suit with an Impala of his own...

Jim made a perfect shot on this Impala and his account was open.

The three "j's" from New Mexico & Texas - USA

20 July, 2021

One of the primary species on Joe's wish list was Kudu

He got a shot at the Kudu above at 200 yards and made it count.

The three "j's" from New Mexico & Texas - USA

20 July, 2021

Meanwhile, Jim had Warthog on his agenda...

And guided by seasoned Professional Hunter - Attie - he got this one.

The three "j's" from New Mexico & Texas - USA

21 July, 2021

Bushbuck can be a challenging animal to hunt as they're very secretive...

Unless you're hunting for Bushbuck with CT Safaris. We have an excellent success rate on Bushbuck in our areas next to the Mogol River in Limpopo Province.

The three "j's" from New Mexico & Texas - USA

21 July, 2021

And John can attest to this statement as he got his Bushbuck the very same day...

Now it was only up to me to find Joe his Bushbuck...

The three "j's" from New Mexico & Texas - USA

22 July, 2021

Fortunately I had a good idea of where to go look for one - on 6 miles of river frontage where I had spotted some nice ones before...

Joe's Bushbuck was a dandy and we got him within 10 minutes after entering the hunting area!

The three "j's" from New Mexico & Texas - USA

23 July, 2021

Another animal on Joe's list was Blue Wildebeest. Late in the afternoon we came across a small herd and Joe got a shot at a nice bull. It was not an easy shot as the bull was quartering towards us and the sun was just about to set. It was clearly a hit but the bull took off together with the rest of the herd.

In dwindling light we looked for blood but could find none so we had to rely on Sammy's tracking skills to identify which of the tracks belonged to the bull Joe had shot at. We stayed on a track for a mile or so before darkness caught up with us and had to give up as we had still not found any blood.

Back at the truck, Sammy decided to have one last look at where the bull was last seen alive. Suddenly, I heard Sammy whistle and as I looked up I saw him pointing into the bush excitedly - probably not more than 50 yards from where the bull was when he was shot at.

I grabbed my .375 and ran up. There was the bull lying in the bush - still alive but not going anywhere in a hurry. A coup de grace from the .375 put an end to things and Joe had his Wildebeest.

The three "j's" from New Mexico & Texas - USA

24 July, 2021

About six months ago we introduced a breeding herd of Livingstone Eland on Sabrisa Ranch but it had come to our attention that at least one of the Eland cows had managed to escape from Sabrisa and had been seen on Grootvley (the property just South of us).

Fortunately, Grootvley is a property that I have exclusive hunting rights on and I offered Jim the opportunity to hunt this Eland if the opportunity presented itself.

It so happened that, while hunting for Kudu, we came across our Eland cow and Jim made his shot count.