Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Wonderful Oct safari in Zimbabwe.

Recommended Posts

DATES: Oct 10-19


AGENT: Terry Wagner Worldwide Hunting


OUTFITTER: Touch Africa Safaris, Jonathon Collett


TRAVEL: Frosch Travel


RIFLES/AMMO: Chapuis .470NE with 500gr Woodleigh softs & 500gr Federal Trophy Bonded Sledgehammer solids. Winchester M70 lefty Safari Express in .375H&H with 300gr Swift A-frames & 300 Fed. TBSH solids.


HUNTING LOCATION: Mjingwe, Bubiana Conservancy (“nextdoor“ to Lemco), West Nicholson, Zimbabwe.


GAME/SPECIES HUNTED: Cape Buffalo, spotted hyena, klipspringer, Sharp’s grysbok.


GAME/SPECIES SEEN: Cape buffalo, Livingston eland, kudu, impala, zebra, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, Limpopo bushbuck, steenbok, duiker, grysbok, giraffe, warthog, leopard, brown hyena, spotted hyena, klipspringer, baboon, civet, sable.



Just returned from my 7th African safari, and this one was one of the best ones yet. It went was smoothly as any I’ve ever been on, not to mention the amount of non-stop fun we had while there. It was a blast! One of my best buds accompanied me on his very 1st African hunt. His plans were to hunt plains game and go along with me while we chased buffalo. Another buddy also came on the trip to hunt buffalo along with his 74yr old dad coming along as his observer. They were both African 1st timers as well.


As a forerunner to the story, I’ll start with this.. I spent all summer in preparation for this hunt spending a great deal of time at the range getting intimately familiar with my Chapuis.. I ran A LOT of cash through the barrels of my double getting her figured out. Also thanks to my buddy Andy for loading all those Woodleighs for me and getting the regulation dialed in on the gun..

I had ordered one of Moja’s lifesize buffal targets in late spring.. By the time the trip came around, it was pretty well shot up. I will say that it helped tremendously though with the visual aspects of hunting buff with open sights. Time and money well spent. Good product, Marc.


In the AZ desert practicing..




We began the trip with the flights getting us to Jo-burg.. SAPS went without a hitch and I got everyone through in no time. Once we cleared, Africa Sky guesthouse was there waiting for us. After reading the numerous positive reports on the place, I decided to try them out. All the reports were spot on. First class in everyway.. The food was superb with one of the best steaks I’ve had anywhere, Africa or otherwise.

We had initially booked a single room with double beds, but when we arrived they had a spare room available and gave it to me for absolutely no extra charge instead of having us double up. Unheard of in this day and age.. Breakfast the next morning was a full spread of fresh fruit, a full menu,awesome coffe (NOT instant!) etc. After this stay, they will be my 1st choice anytime I have to stay over in SA. I highly recommend them.


The main entrance..



After the rush through Tembo and then the last quick flight to Bulawayo, we quickly cleared Zim customs and were then on the way to the Bulawayo Club downtown to meet up with John Greeff for a lunch and a few cold ones. As most everyone now knows, John was chewed up pretty badly by a wounded leopard in Tanzania a few months back. Well, I’m glad to report that he’s getting along just fine. He still has a way’s to go (learning how to shoot lefty, etc.) but he’s a tough cuss and is getting by just fine! We had a few beers and sat down with John to hear the story firsthand of how that dreadful hunt played out. Hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, puts a whole new perspective on the hunt. It could happen to any of us who enjoy hunting dangerous game. It’s part of the game. John, glad to see that you are getting along well. It was a pleasure.





We then had the grand tour of the Club grounds, from top to bottom. We even got to go down in the cellar where there were rows upon rows of vintage bottles in their racks. Very cool to be able to go down there. You could smell the history of the place. If you are ever in Bulawayo and have a few hours to kill, go there. You won’t regret it.










the top of the club over looking downtown Bulawayo with the blooming Jackaranda trees..




Once we finished, it was a 4 hour ride into camp. We arrived tired, dusty and ready to hit the sack.. A cool shower and a bed was nice after all the travel.. The next day, the hunt began in earnest as we formulated our plans over a good breakfast and got our fisrt good looks of the place.. What a sight!


Our room.



The grounds around the lodge..









And the view from the chalet..






We looked over a few herds of buffalo and got into them thick but we weren’t really hunting them too hard, just warming up and stretching the legs. Rich was also able to take his very 1st African trophy, a good 22” impala ram. He took him from about 120 yards with his .300WBY with 180gr. Barnes. DRT.



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I won’t go into a day to day detail of the next ten days.. Rather, I will just give a good overview of how the hunting played out and how the days were filled..


We chased buffalo in the heat on foot looking for the right bull. I told Jonathon that I wanted an OLD buffalo.. Spread means little to me.. What I wanted was to get in close and have a good hunt and try to find an OLD buffalo. I’m not an inches counter. He liked that. We got into numerous herds bumping and playing with them seeing if the “right” bull was amongst the cows, calves, and green bulls.. He wasn’t.


We found “Mr. Right” in a group of 6 bulls loafing under some thorny scrub in the HEAT of the day. I’m not sure if this was 100% true, but this day was an all-time heat breaker in Zim. We had a registered thermometer reading of 49 degree C on this day.. It felt like a blow dryer in your face. Luckily, there was 0 humidity, so while hot, it was not unbearable. In fact, it felt like a hotter than normal day right here at home in Tucson. Still hot as heck though and not THAT much fun to be in!


Anyhow, the bachelor herd was pretty content in the sparse shade, paying little mind to little else other than staying in the shade and letting the oxpeckers do their duties. We played the wind right and quickly found ourselves 40 yards from the unsuspecting bulls. In amongst the 6 were a couple of younger bulls not yet in their prime, a “herd” type bull who would stretch the tape over 40” although a bit green in the front still, and a couple of contenders who now had my FULL attention! Jon and I both agreed on the same bull when we saw him. Old, crusty, grey faced with no hair, hard smooth bosses from years of wear, tips wore down to the size of a man’s fist, mangy coat with large missing patches of scraggly hair.. My kind of bull. No record breaker, but he was exactly what I had hoped to find and get a chance to take. He was slowly milling about from shade patch to shade patch and I had picked my spot that was clear of any brush. Once he stepped into the “zone” broadside, I let fly with the Chapuis. The right barrel hit him square. He gave that jump/skip/bellow of a mortally hit buffalo. Once he cleared another bull, I let the left barrel roar. This one hit him a little further back (he was moving in a hard quartering to manner) and blew threw his liver and out the exited his opposite side. I quickly reloaded the double and hit him again with another. This one put him on the dirt, hard. He was now inside 20 yards and was hurt badly. Although he was dead (he still didn’t know it), I gave him two more to speed up the ghost. Death bellow sang from 20 yards away and he was mine. I could not have been happier. Jon smiled and showed that he hadn’t even had to unsling his Lott from his shoulder. It was a day that I’ll replay over in my head for the rest of my days.


just a minute or so after it was over..



A happy hunter.










Of course little Ernie had a front row view of the hunt.




The following days were filled with MUCH cooler temps after a cold front pushed through and hunting in every shape and form. Rich took a big bull giraffe with the double rifle and we used the torso of the carcass to set up a bait for spotted hyena. After the buff, this was the animal I was really hoping to get a crack at. We constructed a couple of good blinds and sat six of ten nights. While in those blinds, we fed numerous Brown hyenas, a couple of leopards, and an army of civets and genets! While we heard the spotted each night, they were always 1 step ahead of us on the bait. I had taken a FoxPro caller with me, and we tried one evening to call in a spotted just before sunset.. While no hyena came in, we did call in 3 African wild dogs into 50 yards. It was a wonderful experience seeing them come in. In the end, I came up empty on the hyena, alothough not from a lack of trying.. In fact, we put in more time for Impisi than any other animal on the entire hunt.. But he won this round.


Rich's giraffe bull taken with the double (which he double tapped!)




In the hyena blind (AKA the 'Ritz")..



shooting hole aimed at the bait..





I ended up taking a nice Klipspringer ram while there. It was one that was high on my list. There were numerous klipies everywhere on the property with the countless kopies and jumbled boulders that cover the place. It was just a matter of getting out and getting a good ram to hold still. This one did. I took him with a .223 with FMJs from about 100yds off the sticks.






Along with Klipspringer and spotted hyena, I had my heart set on trying for a Sharp’s grysbok. I love hunting the pygmy antelope species as much (if not more) as the big stuff. They are what usually gives me my run for my money (I got skunked in the Cape in May by those blue duikers!) and are most always a challange.. Jon made it clear that while the chances of success were low, there are plenty around. Fast forward to day 6 and we are making our way to get in a few hours of fishing and francolin shooting in.. We fly by a big Mahogany tree near the road and one of the trackers gently taps on the hood. “Baas, there was a grysbok bedded at the root of that tree.” “Did it have horns?” “Yes..” Well turn around! Out comes the .22 mag.. Sure enough, there he is! The little 22 cracks and I have one of Zimabawe’s little gems to take home. I’ll take good ol’ luck anyday. Even if it was a 2:30PM and cut into my fishing time!







Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


On the return to the lodge from another one of our fruitless nights in the hyena blind, a few kudu bulls cross the road in front of us as we were headed back to catch a bite and a nap.. The rear bull was a one of those rare heads that instantly make you go a little nuts, knowing that what you just saw was a specimen that defines what a trophy is.. I made sure NOT to tell Rich this! Kudu was his #1 on his wish list and I didn’t want to add to his pressure. The bulls made their way around a small kopie and out of sight. We scrambled up to the top and sure enough, there they were below us still looking back towards the road and not at the danger now above them. A quick shot with the WBY and he was down. When we walked up, Rich knew what he had just taken by the expressions in my, Jon’s, and the tracker’s faces.. A dream kudu for anyone. I’ve seen A LOT of kudu shot, and some even longer than this one, but none prettier. It had those long, elegant splayed out ivory tips that one can look for in a bull for years of hunting. Rich, you got your dream bull! Congrats, amigo.






In between our now routine stints in the hyena blind, Rich also managed to take a good blue wildebeest, and one helluva warthog! I had the gun but passed it to Rich when this boar stepped out. He was basically frothing at the mouth when he saw the pig! I hope this move gives me some good hunting karma down the road on some other hunt because once we were taking pics of the downed boar, I told Rich that had I known that he was THIS big, I would have taken the shot!! That being said, I was glad to see Rich having a dream 1st safari. He was having a blast.









With all the wish list pretty much wrapped up (minus the hyena, of course, which we sat for up until the last possible night), we had plenty of time to kill.. Luckily, Mjingwe has a deep 30 acre lake that they stocked with black bass and tilapia. We took the boat down and slayed them day after day! We all caught plenty of 4-6lb.ers and I hooked into the new Zim record but she broke me off. I wish I had landed that one..no telling how big she was! We also tore up the tilapia that hung in the deep water near the dam. We ate like kings on fresh grilled fish with cold Zambezis and Lion Lagers.








In addition to the fishing, we shot our fills of francolin and guineas during those days we had time to kill.. The place was crawling with them in insane numbers. Being a bird hunting fanatic, I was in heaven each and every day! We took Natal, Swainson’s, and Crested along with big covies of guineas to run & gun. I also introduced our Zimbabwean brethren on how we cook dove and quail back home in Texas and AZ.. Breast meat with green pepper (had to substitute for the lack of jalapeños) , and onions wrapped in bacon and cooked over mopane coals. Needless to say, it was an instant hit.


We also gave the dog baboons heck inbetween our blind sitting stints.. Rich made good on a marginal shot and ended up with a big dog to take back to AZ. I fluffed my only chance at a big dog and educated him as to what a 180 grain Barnes sounds like burning the hairs off his back from a .300WBY!!


On the last day, we rounded up all the trackers, skinners, kitchen staff, patrol staff, etc. and had the 1st annual Mjingwe Olympics al-a- Saeed style! We had rifle shooting, dry river sand 100 yard sprints, dizzy relay races (run 50 yrds, go around a stick in the sand with your forehead ten times then run back the 50 yards), ect.. We had the entire staff in stitches with our games. We burned a lot of 300WBY and .223 lead and had more laughs than I’ve had in years.. We gave away binos, cash, knives, etc. to the winners. The staff had an absolute blast.. I suppose I owed them.. I gave them all heck the entire time I was there. I had packed a 4ft. rubber snake with me this trip (thanks Shakari!!) that looked terribly like a black mamba! I scared the living poop out of each and every staff member we had over the couse of the 10 days! Snake in the hamper, snake in the shower, snake in the cooler, snake in the front seat.. You get the idea! I think I had a bounty on my head by the time the hunt was over!







In closing, I’ll say this.. I had one of the most enjoyable hunts I’ve ever been on this trip. It was a combination of having one of my best friends there, the fantastic animals we ended up taking, getting to realize a dream of mine to hunt buff with a double rifle, the wonderful scenery and terrain of southern Zim, the great staff and hunters of Mjingwe, the great attitudes of all there, etc. all added up to make a hunt that will be hard to match. I cannot say enough good things about the way this hunt turned out.

I’ll be back just as soon as I can for safari #8.. I will be back with Jon after a big sable bull, another tuskless elephant, a big eland bull, and of course a try at redemption on those darn spotted hyenas!





On a side note, my other buddy Mark took his buffalo bull as well as a brute of an eland bull with an old Win M70 .375 redone by Griffin & Howe (beaut of a gun) back in the 50s but that is his story to tell! They had a great hunt as well.


Thanks for taking a minute to read, guys and gals. Take care.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful! What an absolute blast! Congratulations on a trip of a lifetime (at least for most of us) and thank you for taking the time to take us along with you with your write up and pictures. I really enjoyed reading it and seeing the sights.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

wow thats some trip


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Absolutely Fantastic! Congrats on amazing animals and a terrific trip! I'm surprised you got away unscathed after all the rubber snake escapades!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


What an awesome adventure thank you for taking th time to share all of this with us.

Excellent photos and great animals harvested.

What a trip.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great pics SB! I'm always fascinated with the smaller critters most people pass by without noticing. I liked the Sharp’s grysbok. Were you able to take any of the genets or civets? Great kudu too!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Outstanding pictures and content!!! I read this yesterday at work and again tonight. I love the diversity of critters and the full blown cultural exchange that you conveyed while spending time over there. Sounds like a hunting adventure most only dream of ...


What no Mount Kilimanjaro side trip? Jk - LOL . I bet you were thinking hmmm, I'm awful close!


Those pesky Hyenas! Next time!


Thanks for sharing!





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this