SOUTH AFRICA FREE-RANGE HUNTING

Red HartebeestFor those of you who would love to hunt in South Africa but may be leaning more towards a free-range hunt, Safari Outfitters has just what you are looking for. Our own CEO & President of Safari Outfitters Deron Millman, recently hunted with this exceptionally fine operation in the Eastern Cape and we would like for you to take a few minutes to read what Deron has to say about his hunt there…..

“I have done more than a fair amount of hunting abroad. Many areas….many outfitters however, they broke the mold with this outfitter. Their areas, game populations, age of the animals, food, accommodations, PH’s, ability to manage on the fly, etc…I could go on and on and all are truly exceptional. So, I will break it down for you as best I can. Before I do though, you must know that this was what I believe to be my single best hunting experience of all time. I have had others come close but I doubt I will ever top this one. I’m glad I did. I took 27 different species in 15 days of hunting. Two of those 15 days were travel days and 2 were just me getting to know the areas at my request.”

Umkomaas

This was the first leg of our hunt. It was approximately a 2 to 3 hour drive from our of arrival point in Durban. The geography is quite similar to what we might see in Appalachia or foothills of the Rockies. Not too big of mountains but steep rolling hills with mixed vegetation. Much of it resembles overgrown farm land since neither the outfitter nor his leases overgraze the livestock. Game populations are rich, un-pressured and they do not over shoot their areas. Plenty of game and good age structure.

 

Game here includes Greater Kudu, Zebra, Blue Wildebeest, Common Nyala, Bushbuck, Bush Pig, Blesbok, Impala, Warthog and more. The number one animal that stands out to me here would be the Nyala. There are many, and many old bulls at that. Certainly one of the most beautiful trophies in the world and the outfitter’s property and neighboring leases in the Umkomaas is where you find them. In fact, all of the species available here should pose little problem for a hunter to harvest with 7 or 8 hunting days.

The accommodations are a tented/walled combination with indoor and outdoor hot shower, in-suite flush toilet and vanity. Beds are large and spacious as are the rooms if our customers were to bring their spouses along. Food was excellent. It wasn’t like most African camps where they push wild meat close to 100% of the time. We had a mix of meats, beef, chicken, wild game, pork etc.. Nothing ever got old or tiring. It was very good! Excellent in most cases. Personnel and staff were gracious, kind and provided top notch service. There is only praise for these people and their work performance.

Stormberg

The second leg of our hunt was Stormberg which is about a 6 hour drive from the Umkomaas and provided no road construction underway. The infrastructure is good to excellent the entire trip. Roads and highways between the hunting areas are better than the roads and highways here in the states, in most cases. The outfitter has access and leases on thousands of acres in the Stormberg. The geography here could be compared to the vast openness of parts of Wyoming along with the dry nature and windblown steppe.

Game here includes Eland, Steenbok, Vaal Rhebok, Mountain Reedbuck, Blesbok (White and Common), Caracal, Red Hartebeest, Black Wildebeest and more. Most of what sticks out to me here would be the Eland, Vaal Rhebok, Mountain Reedbuck and Steenbok. Out of those, the top two would likely be the Vaal Rhebok and Eland. This is likely the better area for these two particular species. Game populations were excellent as was age structure. This area rarely gets hunted and if it does, it’s by the occasional semi-local for meat hunting purposes. It doesn’t appear these animals are pressured much but the wind does play a part. Careful stalks are in order to close the gap which helps immensely so as not to have to compensate for wind drift however, PH’s can handle that. In fact, I saw nothing they couldn’t handle.

The accommodation was a historical and refurbished farm house with lots of character, nice fireplace, big dining and gathering area, two bathrooms (one bath\shower), hot water and potable water you could drink from the tap! It was sort of like a step back in time with all the turn of the late century amenities. Personnel and staff are the farm staff themselves, cooks, cleaners, etc…delightful and smiling people just wanting to please.

 

Baviaans River Valley

Our third and final leg of our hunt was a short two or three hour drive from the Stormberg to the Baviaans. Hold on to your hat! This place was nothing short of incredible. Nearly everything lives here and in large numbers. Just about all the game on the outfitter’s species list with the exception of the Southern Greater Kudu, Nyala and a few of the tiny ten can be found here or close by. This is the outfitters own ranch residence. I would imagine that there is close to 100,000 contiguous acres that can be hunting here by combining his farm, neighboring leases and neighbor relations. The geography is a bit of a mix between that of the Umkomaas and the Stormberg depending on elevation. Dense to wide open. A lot of diversity in the geography, game, hunting methods, etc.

Game here includes Kudu (Cape variety), Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest, Springbok, (all color phases), Blesbok (both color phases) Eland, Zebra, Impala, Warthog, Vaal Rhebok, Mountain Reedbuck, Fallow Deer, Baboon, Caracal, Bontebok, Red Lechwe, Common Duiker, Bushbuck, Bushpig, Common Waterbuck and likely more. This is where we really capitalized on the overall number of species taken. SCI recognizes all four color phases of Springbok as well as both color phases of Blesbok. We harvested all four springbok in less than 4 hours. Large populations of Game. Not harassed. Great age structure. Here is the place for Cape Kudu, no doubt. This would be a good one-stop safari destination for those wanting multiple species with not much available time. A lot can be accomplished here in 7 to 8 days. A lot!

The accommodations were first class. Hard walled large chalets with all in-suite immensities, a beautiful lodge for dining and gathering. Just a remarkable comfortable place to relax after a long day in the field. Personnel consisted of the outfitter’s fully trained personal staff. Food was beyond excellent as was the hospitality.

There you have it! It’s so hard to sum it up in just a short brief. I can say with 100% certainty that I endorse this operation.. I am that certain of him and his operation. Further, all of his PH’s are excellent hunters and great people to be around. I met and hunted with three and all proved to possess extraordinary skills. Typically, only one PH would be assigned on a one on one hunt but in my case I was after nearly everything he had to offer. Some guys specialize in certain species. For instance, one PH might have more predator calling skills than another or one may be more of a specialist on Bush Pigs. So the outfitter switched it up a bit to provide me with the best opportunity. Essentially, he set me up for success. I did spend most time of during my days with one of his PH’s and he proved to be an absolute pleasure to be around. He was 20 years younger and still showed me a trick or two. This superb operation does a good job at pairing his clients up with his PH’s. I noticed that not only with me but also with the other hunters in camp.”

Cameroon Savannah & Forest Hunts

Amazingly enough…we still have a few 2019 openings for Lord Derby Eland and Bongo in the great hunting country of Cameroon with the best outfitter in the country. Interest in booking hunts always picks up about this time of year so if you are considering one or both of those hunts, please contact Safari Outfitters and let’s get the ball rolling while options are still available.

So, what do you say folks…how about giving this outstanding outfitter a try? Safari Outfitters would love to set you up with a great hunt in the Eastern Cape for free-range only hunting. As you know there has been some unrest in some areas of South Africa however this outfitter has assured us that he has absolutely no such issues in his areas whatsoever and if you like, we can forward that letter to you. As always, Safari Outfitters’ main concern is our client’s safety and ultimate satisfaction.

 

Contact Safari Outfitters and we will forward all necessary details, pricing, species available, open dates, etc and if desired, additional photos.