Africa is a place that is hard for me to describe. It is such a diverse place there is no quick or complete manner to tell of the Africa experience. It is a land of contrasts that must be experienced to fully grasp. It has been my good fortune to visit this land many times. I have bowhunted most of the plains game species as well as dangerous game. It had been my dream to share the mystic of Africa with younger members of my family so they could have a bank of memories to last them long after I am gone. This was the year that my daughter, Scarlet, and grandsons, Justin and Caleb, comprised the small expedition that would travel halfway around the the globe to witness things they had only seen in books or movies.
Our good friends, the Osmers family, own and operate Dalerwa Ventures for Wildlife near Hodspruit, SA. I have hunted several times with Siegfried and his lovely wife Elize. He visits the US each winter and has generously donated a safari or two to the NWTF auction for many years.
When in Africa I have bowhunted from trees, holes in the earth, pop-up blinds, elevated towers and all sorts of places. However, on this trip we quickly chopped and piled brush for make-shift “hides” in several locations where I was able to take hundreds of photos and wait for an opportune shot with my Hoyt bow. This hide was very close to a waterhole where lots of cape buffalo drank and hung out. My escape plan, if charged, was up the tree at the back of the brush blind.
These guys came close and were definitely interested in the strange new brush pile. I estimated my tree climbing time but never had to see if I was a fast climber.
I am a firm believer of burning dung in the blind for scent control. It allows me to get close to game without spooking it.
This young kudu bull caught movement inside the brush as I adjusted the camera. It got his attention but he wasn’t spooked thanks to the smoky cover scent.
Siegfried gave the boys many lessons in tracking and game identification as well as proper shot placement and safe gun handling. Both boys have several years of hunting and shooting experience. They had hopes of taking a warthog or impala on this trip.
Some days we drove in an open truck through the rugged terrain that is home to so many species of birds and animals both large and small.
The boys from America and the boy from SA quickly made friends and enjoyed exploring the river in search of wart hogs or impala.
Justin got this nice sow. He ate warthog loin in camp and decided they taste better than they look.
Caleb also found a prime warthog the same day and made a perfect shot.
Scarlet chose this very nice impala ram to start her Africa trophy room. Every shred of every animal is utilized in Africa. Meat cannot be transported to the US so wild game is standard table fare for guests as well as locals.
Although I waited diligently in the brush blinds with camera and bow, the huge old wildebeest bull I had hoped for never offered a shot. It was time to move on to discovering other things and letting the kids absorb as much of Africa as possible in a few short days. A sunrise elephant ride was just the thing to start the discovery.
Next stop was a boat trip down the Oliphant River in hopes of seeing hippos and crocs.
We were not disappointed.
There were lots of hippos always keeping a watchful eye on us.
The boys opted out of the shopping trip in favor of another day of hunting.
I love visiting the local markets along the mountain pass.
A late afternoon game drive offered us the opportunity to see lots of exotic critters up close.
A pride of female lions with four kittens were napping in tall grass after a satisfying meal of warthog.
This male black rhino is very rare.
These are not rehabilitated elephants. This bull was staying close to his herd of cows.
Baboons traveled in droves.
I agree that a cape buffalo bull looks at you like you owe him money and he is about to collect.
This is a young waterbuck female peeking through the ever-present thorn bushes.
Some of the most colorful birds are found in Africa.
This female kudu had a calf nearby.
I snapped a photo of this nyala bull as he came to drink.
The afternoon light cast a golden glow on this eland.
And of course we saw lots of zebra.
Campfires are a tradition in Africa to unwind and reflect at the end of the day.
The plants and flowers are remindful of those found in the southwestern US.
Check out this giant aloe plant.
I cannot express what a delightful family the Osmers are and what gracious hosts as well. Eliza is a wonderful cook and sets such an eloquent table. Siegfried comes from a long line of professional hunters. They both have biology and conservation degrees and offer private consulting for many ranches in the Limpopo province. Each has devoted their life to hunting, wildlife and conservation. To see more about Dalerwa Ventures for Wildlife visit their website.
THE END !