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Living Legends

Interviews with battle-proven professional hunters in Africa

Curse of the Guinea Fowl

Wingshooting the elusive spotted fowl of Africa

The Ultimate Dangerous Game Rifle Designing for the 21st Century Part 1

Africa’s Cunning Killer

Hunting the Cape Buffalo

The Ivory Trail

The life of the legendary Bvekenya

Die Another Day

Survival in the African Bushveld Part 1

POISON in PARADISE

Dealing with snakebite on safari

Bowhunting Namibia

With people you don’t like

DIVING with DEATH

Share the ocean with a Great White

Ecstasy and Luxury

WIN

Combining great hunting and luxury travel

a luxury hunt page 49 a dive with a Great White Shark

www.africanxmag.com


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Editorial It is a radical approach, we know. Offering the first 3 issues of an African hunting magazine free - absurd. And digital issues? Crazy. But the world is changing. We all have email, cell phones and fax machines. We use Google to find the information we need. We browse web sites, network with other hunters and post our opinions and experiences on blogs. Easy. The great hunters of the old days would have known we are smoking something if we told them this. They knew about a cleft stick and a runner, and messages took months to be delivered, messengers often eaten by lions or convinced by a young maiden to lose interest along the way. Selous would be way out of his depth. This first issue of The African Hunting Magazine is an unprecedented (and bold) step in African hunting publication. Not only is this a normal paper magazine, but we will deliver the magazine to you on the internet, PCs, laptops, Apple Macs, PocketPCs, PalmPilots and who knows what else. And that is not all. You will be able to get the magazine (in a slightly toned-down version) on your cell phone. Many people told us that us hunters are “not sufficiently technologically aware” (greenspeak for stupid) and that it will never work. A normal and electronic hunting magazine? No way. Hunters and adventurers are far too dense, they imply.

Publisher Safari Media Africa Financial Thea Mitchell Editors Africa: Mitch Mitchell editorafrica@africanxmag.com USA: Alan Bunn editorusa@africanxmag.com Layout & Design Xtasis Media and Digital Wind Contributors & Photographers K. Botha, C. Cheney, A. Bunn, D. Edgcumbe, G. Geer, Dr. K. Hugo (Medical), C. Hugo, C. Mitchell, T. Mitchell, Dr. G. Swart (Medical) Advertising and Marketing South Africa: T. Mitchell adssa@africanxmag.com Phone +27 13-7125246 Fax 0866104466 USA: Alan Bunn adsusa@africanxmag.com (706)2762608 African Expedition Magazine is an independent bimonthly publication promoting sustainable hunting, a protected environment, adventure sports and fair hunting practices. The African Expedition Magazine is published by Safari Media Africa

We do not believe that. Anyone who can grasp the intricacies of ballistics, appreciate the beauty and balance of rifle design and understand the workings of a compound bow or arrow trajectory is alright by us. You are not stupid - why should you be treated as idiots? And then, to cap it all, we are giving you a choice - you can have a traditional paper magazine or an electronic one - or both. This means that you get the magazine in digital format but that you can have the print magazine as well if you prefer. Here it is - the best of both worlds. Real African hunting in a printed magazine and in digital format. Seems like hunters are not so stupid after all.

Mitch Mitchell

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Disclaimer While all precautions have been taken to ensure the accuracy of advice and information provided, the Proprietor. Publisher, Editor or Writers cannot accept responsibility for any damages, inconvenience or injury whatsoever that may result from incorrect information. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher or its agents. African Expedition Magazine assumes no responsibility to return graphics unsolicited editorial, or other material. All rights in unsolicited editorial, letters, emails, graphics and other material will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and material will be subject to African Expedition Magazine’s unrestricted right to edit and editorial comment. All material and/or editorial in African Expedition is the property of African Expedition and/or the various contributors. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the Publisher.

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CONTENTS

2 6 8

Editorial Drumbeat Living Legends

Interviews with battle-proven professional hunters in Africa

13 Curse of the Guinea Fowl

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Wingshooting the elusive spotted fowl of Africa

19 The Ultimate Dangerous Game Rifle

Designing for the 21st Century Part 1

25 Africa’s Cunning Killer Hunting the Cape Buffalo


36 The Ivory Trail

The life of the legendary Bvekenya

43 Die Another Day

Survival in the African Bushveld Part 1

51 POISON in PARADISE Dealing with snakebite on safari

57 Bowhunting Namibia With people you don’t like

63 Outfitter Review Chacma Safaris

68 Trophy Gallery 71 DIVING with DEATH

Share the ocean with a Great White

75 Ecstasy and Luxury

Combining great hunting and luxury travel

81 The Hunter’s Pot African Bushveld Cuisine

83 True North The Clue

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Magazine Reading Tips

About this magazine Read the document like a normal magazine 1) In Adobe Acrobat, choose View>Page Display>Two-up continuous

Page during Two-up for best results.

2) Then choose View>Page Display>Show Cover

Hear the magazine!

1) In Adobe Acrobat, choose View>Read out Loud>Activate Read out Loud. 2) Choose View>Read out Loud and the option you want: Read This Page Only/ Read To End of Document/Pause or Stop. 3) Choose View>Deactivate Read out Loud to deactivate the read out loud function This option is great for visually impaired outdoors enthusiasts

Jump directly to articles On the cover page, just click on the article to jump straight there. To jump to pages or articles, click on one of the icons on the right in Acrobat Reader. The green circle gives step-by-step instructions for common features.

This magazine is fully web-enabled. You will see your cursor change to a hand over a link in many places in the magazine.

This magazine is a radical departure from normal magazines. Of course, you can get a superb-quality printed magazine. But you can also get it on: •

PC

Laptop

PocketPC

• PalmPilot and many others All you need to do is to copy the .pdf file to your PDA using the synchronisation software provided with the device. For more assistance, contact your supplier. You also get a scaleddown version on your mobile phone. Just point your internetenabled mobile phone to http://mobile.africanxmag.com/ and select the issue you want to read. You can also order a printed copy of any past or present issue. Read your way. Easy.

Please do not forward this issue to friends - let them subscribe as you have done

You can click on: •

author’s names to email them

• articles to comment about them on our blog • The video icon to watch interviews with outfitters, hunting lodge reviews and other interesting videos •

Print your magazine any time you want. Go to http://stores.lulu.com/africanhunting/

advertisements to go to the advertisers

Note: Make sure you have the latest version of Acrobat Reader installed. To update, choose Help>Check for Updates in Adobe Reader

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Drumbeat Reader comments

I think sending out electronic magazines is a good idea – but I want a magazine that I can read in bed. I am sure there are others like me who feel the same. K. Hugo We understand – what’s better than going through the latest Cabelas catalogue wile sitting on ...um … in the bathroom? We made provision for you and our first paper issue will be available in January ’09. Until then, use your PDA. -Ed. Why did you decide on traditional and electronic publishing? Alan G. The advantages of electronic publishing are obvious: fewer trees cut down, we slow global warming, lower costs translate to lower magazine prices and publishing cycles are shorter. This means that more people can read real African hunting articles at a fraction of the price. Most African hunting magazines cost $10-12 each – and they take 6-10 weeks to be delivered. They typically have readerships of only 2000-3500. A low-cost, quality electronic magazine pushes those small subscriber numbers up by a factor of ten – and then our readers can choose whether to get a printed magazine or not. Our Africa is hunting paradise, and for us it is important to share our amazing continent with the rest of the world. Electronic publishing is a great tool to do the job. –Ed I think I can write good hunting articles, but no one wants to take a chance

to publish them. Will you consider publishing my stuff? R. Mann Send us your articles with photos to submissions@africanhunting.com If we think your articles are any good, we will contact you and publish them. We won’t pay you (yet), but you can make a start. Just make sure the photos and articles are your own – we are serious on copyright issues. - Ed I have some great trophy photos. Can I send them to you? Graeme W. If they are African animals and they were hunted in Africa, send ‘em on. Make sure you include your name, weapon used, the date of the hunt as well as location and any other relevant information. Images should be in .jpg format and 300DPI. We can not promise to publish all trophy pictures we receive, but some we will. eMail them to us at trophypics@africanxmag.com. -Ed. My husband visits Africa once a year to hunt. We never know where to go and what to do before and after the hunt. Will you have any such articles for ladies? Tracy I. We are making provision for those ladies who say: “You can go hunt, but what about me?” So we pledge to send our lady correspondents to bite the bullet and check out luxury lodges, spas, restaurants and other places ladies would like to visit. We will include those articles in our magazine. See the Ecstasy and Luxury article in this issue. This way it makes it easier for us men who just do not know what do for you ladies anymore! - Ed.

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Living Legends

Interviews with battle-proven professional hunters in Africa The Living Legends series presents profiles of professional hunters who have excelled in reputation and are recognized for their contribution to the hunting industry. Their professionalism is endorsed by consistently high standards of ethics and service, and their role as ambassadors both locally and internationally is critical to perceptions within the industry and the public at large.

If you were fortunate enough to travel between Nelspruit and Malelane, Mpumalanga Province, RSA, along the southern boundary of the Kruger National Park, and if you would say to any Black person that you were looking for “Dhlamini”, a princely name among the Swazis’, you would most likely be greeted with a smile and directed to the home of Daniel van Graan – Danie to all who know him. This is Danie’s world - a little corner of the Lowveld that has witnessed over decades the activities and exploits of a man whose passion and enthusiasm for the bush and outdoor things is never concealed.

THE EARLY YEARS Danie was born on 20 December, 1953, on the farm Thornhill near Hectorspruit, reputed to have been owned by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick, author of “Jock of the Bushveld”. In 1960, his father Dirk van Graan bought the farm Stentor between Kaapmuiden and Malelane, and the family moved into the very isolated farmhouse up in the mountains. When not at school or helping their father, Danie and his two younger brothers spent much of their youth roaming a vast area of bushveld, camping, riding,

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shooting and hunting. Not averse to loneliness, Danie and his black friends would disappear into the bush for days on end and it was during these times that Danie forged a lifelong friendship with a boy called Elmon Nkosi who, in years to come, would have an influence on his career. Danie completed his high school education in Nelspruit, matriculating as head boy of Nelspruit High. He then enrolled at Pretoria University for a B.A.(Law) degree. He also studied Zulu as a subject, becoming proficient in reading and writing the language. As a fluent Swazi speaker, Danie from a young age had begun assimilating the Swazi culture and customs. Unfortunately Swazi as a subject was not offered at the tertiary level in those days hence his choice of Zulu as a related language. Danie’s university career was studded with numerous student pranks, but a more serious and permanent consequence of his stay in Pretoria was meeting his future wife Karin Wolmarans. Being a passionate man with a good voice and a cranky guitar, Danie is said to have serenaded Karin outside the university’s women’s residence, much to her embarrassment. His persistence paid off however and they were married on 29 April, 1978.

ENGONYAMENI After completing his studies Danie went back to the Lowveld and worked for his father. In his own words he was not cut out to be a court-room lawyer. His career in agriculture was not to last either, and after some years Danie and Karen, at Elmon’s suggestion, decided to formalize a hunting business. The name chosen for this enterprise was Engonyameni Safaris (“the place of the lion”) and Danie had at his disposal the huge family farm of Stentor on which to operate. The area used to be the migration route for animals moving south from the now Kruger Park, but that was disrupted a long time ago. Much work went into the development of the game farm which over a period of time saw the provisioning of water, erection of hides around water holes, vegetation management, stocking of game, road building and the planning and construction of Engonyameni Lodge and associated facilities. Danie’s ability to design something special was immediately apparent on driving through the massive lodge gates. Cascading water features, leadwood trees and a sparkling pool were a prelude to catwalks and tree bars, chalets each based on a theme, and the living area of the lodge with animal mounts and many things African. Needless to say, Danie built it all.

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The game component of Stentor which I will rather refer to as Engonyameni was represented by kudu, impala, bushbuck, common and red duiker, warthog, baboon and leopard, whilst wildebeest, giraffe and zebra were restocked. Transient animals from the Kruger Park such as lion, buffalo and very occasionally elephant, found their way onto the farm particularly in the winter months, making for an unpredictable presence.

THE VAN GRAAN MODUS OPERANDI Both Danie and Karen qualified as professional hunters, Karen being the second woman in South Africa to receive this qualification. Ably assisted by Elmon and his team of trackers and skinners they began offering hunts and in 1986, Karen’s ability to speak French enabled her to successfully represent Engonyameni at the French Convention in Bordeaux. In 1987 the business was marketed in America for the first time and so began an annual pilgrimage to hunting shows and conventions. They made a formidable team, each using their attributes to full advantage. The development of their client base, much of which came from referrals and the forging of lifelong friendships is testimony to their success. The relationship between the professional hunter and his client is generally a personal one, and Danie’s ability to determine in advance his clients strengths and weaknesses allowed him to shape the safari to best advantage. From the beginning he viewed each safari as “an African experience”, all encompassing, measured not in trophy terms alone, but a journey of many parts, however brief. He began to record each safari photographically, and long after clients had retired for the night, often after a tiring day’s hunt, he would assemble an album which would be bound and presented at the end of the visit. A hunter is not a hunter without his weapon, and no hunter passing through Engonyameni could forget Danie’s pistol and rifle ranges or his skills as a shooter. His weapons knowledge and handling are superb, honed over years of bush shooting, and his determined instruction particularly to those lacking in confidence has turned potentially disappointing situations into successes. Whilst gifted with a handgun or rifle, one is just as likely to find him throwing a knife or spear with absolute precision. Although Engonyameni provided Danie with a convenient base for the hunting of most game, he did not limit himself to this part of the Lowveld. He has conducted big 5 hunts in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique and


in many parts of South Africa. Each hunt, whether at Engonyameni or elsewhere, has always been carefully planned with military precision. It says much for the man that he will go to extraordinary lengths to achieve success for his clients irrespective of the pressure placed on himself and his staff. The staff understand this, and their understanding underlines the rapport that exists between Danie’s team. Elmon Nkosi, the head tracker and man who mooted professional hunting in the first place, recently retired after a 44 year association with Danie. His other trackers Robert Mkatshwa and Gugwane Ntuli also retired, having served Danie and clients with distinction. His new staff such as Mageka Ntuli, a young man with potential and ability who is rapidly becoming Danie’s right hand, will leave their own footprints in the sands of Engonyameni.

HUNTERS The often asked question of professional hunters is “what was your most memorable hunt in terms of famous personalities?” Danie skirts this, preferring to remember each hunt and hunter for the experience gained. He does not seem too impressed by reputation, rather choosing to develop his own opinion. If pressed however and if one has time he will tell stories of clients and events, always with humour and couched in his quaint English.

Others are remembered for their physical toughness and endurance. Mark Feifarek, an ex-navy seal hunted buffalo with Danie in the swamps east of Marromeu in Mozambique, just south of the Zambezi River. Fly camps in the swamps, elusive buffalo, plagues of mosquitoes, reeds and water for days took their toll and would have defeated lesser men. Perseverance won in the end, and Mark Feifarek became the definitive hunter. He returned 7 years later to hunt with Danie in Northern Zululand, a much less demanding hunt for a man who somewhat older still shows the resolve and strength of a special force soldier. And then there is the client who wanted to shoot a warthog but shot a lion instead! Danie and this lion-shooting pig hunter sat in the Landau blind ( named after the late Al Landau ) at Engonyameni one day, with Danie dozing behind the shooting seat. The aspiring pig hunter Alex Fagan suddenly said “there it is” and Danie through his sleep haze said “take him, take him”. After the rifle shot Danie, whose vision had been obscured by the shooting seat asked “did you get it?” to which the hunter replied “yes Danie, but its a lion not a pig!”. Danie was not amused, immediately visualizing the difficulty in procuring a lion permit from a disbelieving official. It all got sorted out in the end, and the hunter went home with a lion but minus his pig.

The late Col. Jeff Cooper, veteran of the Pacific theatre in WW 2, author, president of the N.R.A. and doyen of combat The hunting bar Kicking and dragging his heels, Danie is being forced into the shooting made a huge at Engonyameni, 21st century. This is his mobile phone with it’s handy, easy-toimpression on Danie. The more than anything read contact list. deposit for Col. Cooelse portrays the per’s first lion hunt was history of hunters, a knife of great personal hunts and Danie’s value which he offered to Danie. Danie’s acceptance of a life. A quiet drink will give a visitor time to mull over a rich non-monetary deposit – a seemingly bad business deal – kaleidoscope of photographs, trophies, quotes ( for Danie sealed a relationship of trust and a friendship which lasted is a philosophical man ) and mementoes of family, friends until Col. Cooper’s death, to say nothing of a plethora of and experiences. future clients, all referred by Col. Cooper. There is much to see here. Danie remembers nostalgically clients who have passed on. Men like Al Landau, who although a very sick man, THE FUTURE was determined to hunt in Africa. He suffered a heart attack while on a lion hunt, and after being refreshed by A few years ago Danie took the decision to sell the lodge Danie squeezing orange juice into his mouth, bravely went and his portion of the game farm to a trust of local Black on to shoot his lion at close quarters. people. He retained the game and hunting rights and built AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2008

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a new home on a knoll not far from the original lodge. Engonyameni emoyeni as it is now called still retains the spirit and ethos of the old Engonyameni , still exudes the van Graan charm and hospitality. What of the way forward? At 55 Danie will carry on hunting for a while, at Engonyameni and elsewhere. There are clients out there who

want the African experience and a life he loves and I cannot imag about the industry as a whole bu adherence to standards and ethi concern.

When I asked him what exemplifi he would look for in a young man a quote from Don Lindsay:

A professional hunter is first and and knowledge of the wilderness He is the catalyst who enables th which is enjoyable and fulfilling, a

His profound respect and love fo important to his client at all times of the whole experience. The ach sees the understanding and appr of the person you are guiding, wh

Watch the video at http:www. africanhunting.com/magazines/ danie_van_graan_video.htm

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who better than Danie to give it to them. Its gine him doing anything else. He is positive ut stresses that it needs professionalism, an ics and a sensitivity in dealing with issues of

Friendships are forged in the furnace of nature, and cut across social, financial and cultural barriers to the very heart of things. I think this encapsulates Danie van Graan. Contact him on vgraan@mweb.co.za

fies a successful professional hunter and what n wishing to enter the industry, he replied with

foremost a people person who uses his skill s in such a way that others may benefit from it. he client to obtain his trophy in such a manner and within the physical prowess of the hunter.

or the wilderness and the game it produces are s. The hunt and the actual kill are just a facet hievement of this is most rewarding when one reciation of nature begin to register in the eyes hether young or old.

Dave Edgcumbe holds an advanced biological sciences degree and is a dedicated hunter, conservationist and outdoorsman.

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Curse of the Guinea Fowl Wingshooting the elusive spotted fowl of Africa Galen L. Geer

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The farmer went by the name “Boats.” I never learned his family name and his Christian name kept me baffled, but that wasn’t important. What was important to me was getting to the farming community of Kopjes and then on to the bird hunting in the farmland of the South African countryside south of Johannesburg. My hunting partner on the South African bird hunting safari was Lynn “Doc” Greenlee and our trip was organized by Chris Styen (then) manager of Rocco Gioia’s Landela Lodge on his Casketts Ranch (www.rocsafaris. co.za), where our safari began and would end after another five days of bird hunting. Chris had booked Boats and his farm for a full day of bird hunting and the primary species was going to be guinea fowl, which, for me, was both good and bad. Good, because there would be ample opportunity to hunt the large birds and bad because I was on a losing streak when it came to killing one of the big birds. In the first few days of our two week safari I had failed to hit a single guinea fowl although I’d bagged my share of all the other game birds that we’d hunted. I knew the reason I was missing the big birds—I was underestimating both the speed and distance. Later I learned my mistakes are actually fairly common among Americans hunting African birds. The problem had been hammered home to me the day before when we were hunting the lands around the newly opened Sondela Lodge. At the time the lodge had been gaining a reputation for the variety of bird hunting opportunities but since then it has morphed into a nature reserve and no longer offers hunting, which is a loss for sportsmen and sportswomen. On the other hand, another operation, by the same name, Sondela Adventures, (www.sondelaadventures.com/home. html), is offering tailor made bird hunting in the same region of South Africa. Joyce Viljoen, who was then the manager of the lodge, had arranged for a local PH, Rob James, to serve as our guide. The evening before Rob arrived Joyce assured us that we would have a good hunt, not just because of abundant game bird population but because Rob was an excellent guide, hunter, and had a brace of well trained hunting dogs. “Every year a few more international hunters return to hunt with Rob because he is so good at what he does,” she said. In the mid-1990s bird hunting in Africa, for many hunters, was still a sideline event to big game hunting. At the time few American hunters were actually booking bird hunting safaris, but since then growing numbers of American and European hunters have discovered Southern Africa’s wealth of birds. Ironically, Robert Ruark and Peter Capstick, both icons of American outdoor writing, had covered bird hunting in their books.

For Doc and me our bird hunting safari was the culmination of a year of discussion and planning that began on an earlier hunt on Casketts Ranch.

The First Miss and Spooked The plans for our hunt were simple; we wanted to visit different parts of RSA, never spending more than a few hours on the road between hunts. We wanted to hunt as many species of game birds as possible in ten days of actual hunting. We started our hunting on a small farm near Johannesburg, roamed southward and then back toward Landela Lodge, Rocco Gioia’s well known game ranch bordering Kruger Park, and then we returned to Johannesburg and turned north. The Sondela hunt was the northern phase of the trip and was the mid point of our hunt. The problem was that on the first day of our hunt I’d blown an easy shot a guinea fowl that flushed about ten yards in front of me. It was a classic rising pheasant shot in the states, one that every bird hunter is expected to make with ease. I missed. Ten minutes later I missed again, this time a crossing, left to right, shot. Between those misses I’d put two francolins in my game bag. But the guinea fowl had spooked me. That is the problem with missing a bird that should have been an easy hit—you can spook yourself. One of the stories in my collection of short stories about Americans in South Africa (Last Supper in Paradise) is simply titled “Dennis” and it is the story of a hunter who becomes spooked when he is unable to hit a game animal. The big game aspect of the story is loosely based upon a real incident that took place on Rocco’s Casketts Ranch but the meat of the story is taken from my failure to kill a specific game bird—the guinea fowl. By the end of the first day of hunting, with Doc having put several guinea fowl in the game bag and I having missed twice as many, I was frustrated and angry with myself. After all, I was an avid bird hunter and I remain so today and missing a bird that size just wasn’t acceptable in my hunting experience. The problem was that no matter how hard I tried and how much I forced myself to calm down the guinea fowl were all escaping my shots while Doc was knocking them down. I was badly spooked and I knew it.

Sondela Morning The morning of our Sondela hunt Rob was knocking on our chalet door before dawn. Our plan was to meet him, have breakfast in the chalet and then go hunting. We hadn’t planned on dragging our sorry butts out of bed before dawn. “Hasn’t anyone told you that bird hunting is a gentlemanly thing,” Doc said as he stumbled out of his bedroom. “I’ve heard that but the birds haven’t,” James answered. “Then tell them,” Doc quipped. I felt like rolling over and going back to sleep. I knew AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2008

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what was coming, more misses. I was cursed. Instead, I pushed myself out of bed. I had a slight headache from too many sundowners and I went into the kitchen for coffee. Chris was up, cooking and disgustedly cheerful. I walked past him and told him to take a short cut to the theological place of eternal punishment, which he, of course, refused.

I mumbled and picked up my two empties.

Breakfast downed and the sound of dogs outside was enough to get us moving and in short order we were piled into Rob’s pickup with the dogs and guns and we were off for the birds. The first stop was a field where Rob assured us we would get into at least two species of francolin and probably some guinea fowl. Of course he was right and a few minutes after starting our walk behind the coursing dogs one dog locked onto a perfect point with the other dog backing.

“Shoot,” Rob shouted, “they’re in your range.”

“Francolin,” Rob said, “tell by the way she’s pointing. Doc, she’s on your gun side, you take the bird.” Doc did as he was told and walked toward the frozen pointer, calmly talking to the dog as he walked. He was only a few yards away when three birds exploded from the bush and Doc calmly dropped two—a feat that pleased Rob. The next birds were mine and I managed to drop one of two that flushed and then Chris took a turn, using his fine Spanish double to drop one bird out of a pair. The morning didn’t slow down and we were usually alternating our shooting although a few birds flushed directly in front of us as we walked, having been missed by the dogs. By mid morning our bag of birds was bulging when Rob stopped us and signaled for us to join up on him. “Guinea fowl,” he whispered when we were close. He directed us to take up different positions, about ten yards apart, and to walk toward the birds. He’d called the dogs back and clipped them to leads. At first I thought he was nuts but when Chris had two birds flush from practically under his feet I started paying attention to the clumps of grass and small islands of thorn thickets in the dry grass. My first chance came with a single that exploded from under my foot and I thought I had it nailed when I saw feathers fly from its tail. When the bird kept on going Rob walked over to me, laughing and holding the dogs. “You just met the armor plating of the guinea fowl,” he said. “Sometimes you can clean all but the feathers from their wings and they keep going. Strange birds, they are.”

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Doc made a shot that was the most remarkable of the day. Two birds had let us walk right past them, flushing only when Rob and the dogs got too close. They climbed nearly straight up and then flew on a level flight path over Doc’s head; a high path that Doc said was out of range.

Doc shot at one bird, unloading both barrels of his Beretta on the same bird. It wobbled but kept on flying. “Missed,” Doc said. “No you didn’t, Doc,” Rob said. “Just watch the bird.” We did as we were told. The bird was flying unimpaired when it suddenly folded its wings and dropped straight to the ground, falling out of the sky like ripe fruit. “I’ve seen it many times when hunting these birds. High flying bird takes a single pellet through the heart, flies on for twenty, fifty yards because it doesn’t know it’s dead, and then it just stops flying.” We ate lunch in the field, brought to us by Joyce, and after a short rest we returned to the hunt. Rob tried everything he could think of to get me a guinea fowl, and it was all to no avail. I missed a full box of shots at guinea fowl and by the end of the day, when we said goodbye to Rob and Joyce, to head for our next hunt, my general feeling was that I was losing my touch as a shotgunner.

Hunting with Boats When we met Boats, at his farm house, we spent a little time talking about the pleasantries of life then got right to the point. We were there to go bird hunting. Chris and Boats planned the day’s hunt and the morning was to be spent walking along the river bottom, with Boats on the high banks above us. He didn’t have dogs so he would spook the birds to us so we would have the opportunities for pass shots at whatever he flushed. It worked very well. Doc and I both killed francolins and Doc killed a guinea fowl that Boats flushed over us. I didn’t take a shot at one of my curse birds. After we’d walked the planned distance along the river we waited for Boats to work his way down from the high banks. We’d been unable to retrieve two of the birds we killed—Doc’s guinea fowl and a francolin. We returned to where the birds had fallen then watched Boats find a


route across the river, pick up the guinea fowl and bring it back. We then went to where the francolin had fallen into the water. Boats looked at the bird, floating ten feet away. After thinking about it he figured out how to retrieve the bird by using a long stick. After dropping the soggy bird in Doc’s outstretched hands he said something in Afrikaans and Doc looked at Chris for a translation. “He said he either has to get a dog or stop taking Americans hunting.”

The Great Guinea Fowl Flush The mid morning break turned into a long mid morning dove shoot. Boats drove us to an intersection of several planted fields and after we’d drunk some coffee, eaten rusks and rested up Doc and I decided to take a few shots at dove. The few shots turned into the rest of the morning. The birds were flying from every direction, and of several species. When Boats asked us if we wanted to hunt more francolin we told him that we’d rather stay in one place and shoot at dove until lunch. We did. We lost track of the number of dove we killed and while we shot at birds Boats and Chris built a fire and prepared sausages for lunch. Boats’ mother brought out a hot guinea fowl pie and cold beer for us. “You know what will make this even better?” I asked after lunch. “What?” Doc said. “Me breaking my curse and killing a guinea fowl.” Neither Doc nor Chris answered. We rested for another half hour before Boats asked us if we were ready for a most unusual experience. Of course we were but what he proposed was startling. He explained that the guinea fowl flocks were in fields on the far side of his farm; about a mile from where he wanted to station us behind a line of thorn brush. He planned to walk around the flocks, get behind them and then, as he explained it, “attack the birds and send them flying toward you. You’ll get lots of shooting.” We were game for it and after picking up all the chairs, boxes of empties and bags of dove we started for the next

phase of the hunt. Boats directed us to a series of thorn brush islands in the grass. He gave explicit instructions not to shoot at the first forty or fifty birds. “You’ll frighten the other others and they will land. If you let some get past you then the others will keep flying, even after they see you because they will follow the other birds.” It sounded okay to us. Chris, Doc and I got in position and waited. The afternoon seemed to be getting hotter but finally Chris shouted that he could see Boats. I looked with my binoculars and sure enough, there was a mad man charging what was becoming a rising cloud of guinea fowl. Some people say the birds will gather into flocks of a couple of hundred birds, this was a series of flocks of several hundred birds in each flock. As Boats ran toward the birds he was waving his shirt and arms and jumping up and down like a mad man who just escaped the cuckoo nest. It was also working. The birds were in the air and headed our direction, away from the nut case attacking them. “Here they come,” I shouted and then put the binoculars away. “Remember, let the first group past,” Chris said. No one answered; we just nodded and crouched behind the brush. We could hear the wings even before the birds passed overhead, and then the sky seemed full of birds. I kept reminding myself to pick out one bird and concentrate on it. I looked toward Boats, there were hundreds of birds still flying our way and we’d let at least a hundred past without firing a shot. “Let’s shoot,” Doc shouted as he stood up and began tracking his first bird. I watched him bring his gun up, follow the bird and then shoot, the shot connecting and the bird tumbling to the ground. There was no doubt about that shot and he was already on another bird. I looked up, picked out a bird and locked onto it like a heat seeking missile. I followed through and fired and I saw the bird rock. I’d hit it but I didn’t want a heart shot! I tracked it for the second shot and fired and the bird folded its wings. It was, I realized, anti-climatic. I’d just broken the curse and it seemed too easy. I marked where the bird fell, reloaded and shot at another bird, missing it cleanly but the AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2008

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panic was gone and I reloaded. By this time the birds were starting to thin out but I picked a single bird out, tracked it and again locked onto the bird and brought it down. A few minutes later Boats walked up to us. He was breathing

hard and grinning. “ Got some birds that time didn’t we!” he said. All of us were smiling. We had each killed at least two birds. “And you,” he said, pointing to me, “you can kill a guinea

fowl.” There was little else to say. We walked to the Land Cruiser and while Chris drove, Doc and I rode in the back, standing up and holding on to our shotguns. Occasionally Chris would stop and we’d run a hundred yards one direction or the other to get under some flying guinea fowl for some fast pass shooting. Today I don’t even remember if I hit a bird on the evening shooting because my mind focused then, and focuses now, on the bird that broke my curse. That and what Doc said as we rode in the back of the truck toward Boats’ farmhouse. “This has been angood day in

other Africa.” “Yeah, it has a damned good day I said.

been Doc, in Africa,”

Galen L. Geer is a former United States Marine Drill Instructor and Vietnam veteran. A professional outdoor hunting, shooting and gun writer, he published 2000 magazine articles. He has been a contributing editor to Soldier of Fortune magazine for thirty years and is the author of seven books.

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Welcome to the Adrenaline Centre where we’ll give you the time of your life. Do it for the Fun ! Do it for the Spectacular View ! Do it for the World’s Greatest Rush ! As seen on the Amazing Race and the BBC Holiday Programme

Contact us at +260 3 321188 or email us at theswing@zamnet.zm Livingstone, Zambia AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2008

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The Ultimate Dangerous Game Rifle Designing for the 21st Century Part 1 Alan Bunn

The basic design for a Dangerous Game Rifle (DGR) was finalized by English gun makers such as Holland and Holland, Rigby, Jeffrey, et al. before the start of WWI. Drawing on the experiences of big game hunters in their African colonies and using the new smokeless propellant, Cordite, these custom gun smiths could now build relatively light weight rifles that surpassed the stopping power of the earlier 4 to 10 gauge black powder rifles. In the last 100 years, metallurgy, gun powder, bullet design and sighting systems have improved exponentially, but in all that time the form of the DGR has changed little. Many experts feel that there is no need to fix something that “ain’t broke”. I agree that all of the good ideas need to be retained, but I also think that new technologies must be implemented into the basic design to enhance its effectiveness. After all, we don’t drive the same cars or fly the same airplanes that our fathers and grandfathers did. Rifles are no different, and there needs to be some thought put into what changes needs to be incorporated to serve the needs of the modern big game hunter.

Perhaps my 21st Century DGR is a quest for the Holy Grail of hunting rifles or I’m tilting at windmills, but I believe that if I could get every one of the following features incorporated into one bolt-action rifle, I would not only have the latest high tech all-around hunting weapon, but, perhaps, the legendary “perfect rifle”. A hunting weapon consists of three main components: the lock, the stock and the barrel. While all are crucial to accuracy, as hunters we know if your barrel is flawed, perfection in all else matters naught. With all this in mind, here is my personal wish list of desirable features I want in a 21st Century DGR. There are many elements to consider in a DGR barrel. These are the ones I consider the most crucial.

The first decision is whether to use a barrel made of stainless or chrome-moly steel. Yes, I know to a traditionalist this is a travesty to even think, much Earth first. less say ...... but in Alaska, despite the best modern lubricants, the weather is renowned for We can rusting new rifles in a few days because the Pahunt the cific Ocean’s salt air exacerbates the oxidation other process. The fierce winds blow salt spray miles into the interior and lift it into the atmosphere to planets be deposited with the rain on the sides of the later. coastal range. Many hunters buy stainless steel guns to avoid their rifles rusting, however, that could be a serious mistake.

Here are all the design features I would like to see incorporated into a modern, bolt-action, Dangerous Game Rifle. A proper DGR should be designed to operate anywhere on this planet from the arctic to the tropics, especially for the dangerous game hunter who hunts species ranging from polar bears to elephants. Furthermore, I prefer my plains game caliber rifles generally be built with these same reliable design features to aid familiarization of function while under stress and to enhance muscle memory. Many American big game hunters need a rifle that is as rugged and reliable in the arctic as in the tropics. More American hunters will go to Alaska and Canada than will ever hunt the Dark Continent but they still need a rifle that will work in either environment or terrain. I’m sure that someday we’ll hunt the big game of other oxy-nitrogen atmosphere planets, but today my motto is: EARTH FIRST, we can hunt the other planets later, so let’s think about our needs on our own terra firma. Military weapon designers understand this need for wide climatic adaptability and it should be in the minds of manufacturers when thinking about building hunting weapons

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for the US market. Even if a hunter seldom ventures out of his home state, the occasional Rocky Mountain elk hunt can become a life threatening adventure for the Florida or California hunter not prepared for blizzard conditions and the accompanying bitter sub-zero temperatures.

An interesting comment on the Krieger Barrel’s website warns, “It is inadvisable to use stainless steel in very cold temperatures; i.e. below 0 degrees Fahrenheit”. In temperatures below 0 degrees, stainless steel begins to lose its fatigue resistance, increasing the risk of the steel failing from the combination of high pressure cartridges and minimum contour barrels. Lower cartridge pressure and thicker barrels tend to reduce this problem, but at the end of the day each hunter must evaluate his cartridge choice, possible hunting destinations, and make his own decision. Once you decide which material is best for your particular use, the next decision is whether to go with button, hammer forged or cut rifling. The German gunsmith Harald Wolf, a veteran safari hunter and well known publisher of Hatari Times, explained to me why the advantages of cut rifling are worth the extra expense. I always had a hunch that cut rifling was the way to go, but other than my gut feelings, I had no reliable data to back up my position. As someone who owns Douglas, Hart and Lilja custom barrels, I have no complaints about their accuracy, but the concept of button or hammer forged rifling always made me worry about the potential stresses being created in the metal. Button rifling is made by forcing the rifling


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Manufacturers Krieger Barrels 2024 Mayfield Road Richfield, WI 53076 (262) 628-8558 http://www.kriegerbarrels.com/ Meprolight 58 Hazait Street P.O. Box 26 Or-Akiva, 30600 Israel (972) 4 6244111 http://www.meprolight.com/ Ameriglow 5579B Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite 214 Atlanta, Georgia 30338 (770)390-0554 http://www.ameriglow.com/ Trijicon 49385 Shafer Avenue P.O. Box 930059 Wixom, MI 48393 USA 1-800-338-0563 (248) 960-7700 http://www.trijicon.com/ Serengeti Stockworks 2860 Farm to Market Rd Kalispell, Montana 59901 (406)756-0783 http://www.serengetistockworks.com/ Talley 9183 Old Number Six Hwy. P.O. Box 369 Santee, SC 29142 (803) 854-5700 http://www.talleyrings.com/

from the inside out by a button in the shape of the rifling through a bore-sized hole, and the button forms the lands and groves from the inside. Hammer forging is a process where barrels to shaped from the outside in using a mandrel that has a reverse image of the rifling formed on its surface. Like most of these overly technical nit-picking arguments, I just dismissed it as a theoretical issue with no practical negative effects - until I read Harald’s experiences: One of my old Ferlach teachers stated that the very best stressfree barrels are cut-rifled. Back then, I did not believe it, as we were all brain-washed by the barrel makers and larger gun factories promoting the superiority of hammer-forged or buttonpressed rifling since WW 2. It was nothing but a marketing gig because manufacturing the latter only costs a fraction of labor time-consuming cut-rifling.

Warne 9500 SW Tualatin Road Tualatin, OR 97062 1-800-683-5590 (503) 657-5590 http://www.warnescopemounts.com/ Robar 21438 North 7th Ave, Suite B Phoenix, Arizona 85027 (623) 581-2648 http://www.robarguns.com/np3.htm Granite Mountain Arms P.O. Box 72736 Phoenix, AZ 85050 (602) 996-9009 http://www.granitemountainarms.com/ Gottfried Prechtl Auf der Aue 3 D-69488 Birkenau Germany +49 6201 167 88 http://www.golmatic.de/Waffen_EN/buechsenmacherbedarf_en/system_en.htm New England Custom Guns 438 Willow Brook Road Plainfield, NH 03781 (603) 469-3450 http://www.newenglandcustomgun.com/

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Good quality hammerforged or buttonpressed barrels are O.K. if you don’t mount tinsoldered banded swivel and sight ramps to it. As soon as you apply heat (for soldering) the hammer-forged will expand and the button-pressed shrink at this point. The amount would be hardly measurable even by the most sophisticated micing devices, but if you push a soft lead plug down the bore you will notice uneven friction at the points of soldering - and you will never manage to solve the problem by bore polishing. You can only stress-relieve barrels before soldering barrel bands as the temperature involved is higher than soldering temperature. Such a barrel might print a superb target with 3 rounds, but if you shoot a 5 to 10 round target you will experience the occasional flyer, up to 4” out of target center. What the gun makers do is simply throw away that spoiled target and shoot another 3


rounds. If the client is shooting and produces a flyer the salesman says “You flinched - take another 3 rounds”! Me and a couple of colleagues re-proved this time and again. The foreman of barrel making at Denel/RSA confirmed the same verbally to me, when his boss was not around.” My original DGR was a .416 Remington KS Custom that was stock from the factory except for the tritium inserts I installed on the sight bases. It had a Kevlar stock, stainless steel receiver, and a stainless steel barrel which featured button rifling. I have discussed these barrel materials and rifling techniques with other shooters and gun smiths, and have finally decided to use a chromemoly Kreiger in .416 Remington in my new DGR project. It is not only cut rifled but also cryogenically treated. Kreiger takes the raw bar stock down to -3200 Fahrenheit before machining. Cryogenics, as well as moly-coated bullets, have become a major source of argument in recent years among barrel makers, competitive shooters, varmint hunters, and everybody else in the proverbial “Hot Stove League”.

Both sides of the cryo issue have trotted out vari-

ous expert scientists with exhaustive studies to prove their cases. In the end they have all agreed to disagree and it has now become a matter of faith. However, one thing is certain about “cryo”-- it virtually eliminates stress in metal, thus enabling it to be machined more easily. This saves wear and tear on equipment, makes tool bits last longer between sharpening and minimizes equipment downtime. Another thing not many hunters think about is rust-proof bores, although it has been a burning topic in military circles. Many military weapons have chromium coated bores or Stellite chambers to prevent wear and corrosion from fully automatic fire and inclement weather. As far as I know, it was the Japanese who pioneered chrome plating their rifle bores to keep them from rusting in the South Pacific. Again, problems with a sea salt atmosphere, but this time combined with the high temperatures and humidity of the rain forest similar to many African hunting destinations. There have been other bore enhancement technologies over the years, such as Black

Star. Most of these were claims of accuracy enhancement with rust prevention as a happy bonus. The pros and cons are still being debated among the brotherhood of benchrest shooters. A stainless steel barrel in sub-arctic climates provides all

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the rust prevention any hunter ever needs. But, in extremely cold conditions, there is nothing that has proven better than running an oily patch down the bore of a molychrome steel barrel when you return to camp after each day’s hunting then following that with a dry patch swab first thing in the morning.

innovators here are pistol sight manufacturers who have made them with different colors to differentiate front from rear, and with differently shaped inserts to enhance sight picture and alignment. I am sure there is a custom pistol smith in the States who could install tritium inserts into a rifle’s rear sights, but I have not yet located one.

Hunters seldom see rifles with tritium night sights. Most of the rifles I have seen at the Custom Gun Guild show in Reno, Nevada rarely feature these innovations, although I’ve found only a few with a tritium front sight. This is a serious omission in my experience.

You can get tritium front sights ready to install on a rifle from Paul Jaeger’s old company, New England Custom Guns, which is now run by his nephew Dietrich Apel. Dietrich apprenticed over 50 years ago under his grandfather, Franz Jaeger, in the house and factory where he grew up before he escaped from East Germany.

On my first big bore rifle the first thing I did was to order some night sights that were marketed for Remington combat shotguns. They are imported from Israel and are sold in the States as Meprolight for about $100. These have the usual front sight insert as well as a two dot insert on the rear sight island. I ordered this setup in the days before everyone had the Internet, and there weren’t any forums and few dedicated safari magazines, so you were pretty much on your own as to what you thought was needed on a DGR. These Meprolight sights were exactly like the regular iron sights that came standard on the rifle and I installed them in 5 minutes or less. With detachable Warne or Talley rings, I could remove the scope and have an excellent weapon for around the camp at night. When professional hunters either from Australia to Africa would shoot my rifle at night, they would comment about how much they loved those sights and how every rifle should have tritium iron sights installed out of the box. They are so unobtrusive that even most diehard traditionalist would not object. They are hardly noticeable during the day and are priceless when there are lions and hyenas sulking around outside your tent or you find yourself walking up a wounded leopard. The only drawback is that they burn out after 8 or 10 years and must be replaced. Other than Meprolight, Trijicon, and Ameriglo, I don’t know of anyone who makes a proper tritium rear sight. The only peep sights with tritium inserts, that I am aware of, are those made for the Ameriglo AR15/M-16 sight. The real

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24 | AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2008

Rumor is that one of their “Universal” series sights has a tritium insert, but there was no mention of it on their website. Perhaps a closer study of Brownell’s catalogue will turn up the sight. In the sidebar is a link to Ameriglo tritium sights similar to the ones I have on my .416 Remington KS Safari. The great part about the Remington design is that you can get tritium REAR sights for their island bases. This fact alone was the deal closer for me. It is great to have a tritium front sight, but having tritium rears with it for proper sight alignment has proven itself for me where it counts—in the bush—after dark. My next mission is to find a pistol smith who will install some tritium inserts into a set of Talley peep sights. If not, then I will have to order Remington rear sight Alan Bunn island bases for my is a hunting rifle, despite the fact publication that my eyes are getveteran and ting older with the rest has a degree in journalof me and peeps would ism from work better. This is a the Atlanta common problem and University. something to always He is a rifle expert and hunts consider when recomregularly in Africa. mending sight options.


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Africa’s Cunning Killer

Hunting the Cape Buffalo Cleve Cheney

Species: Syncerus caffer (Sparrman, 1779) English: Buffalo (African or Cape buffalo), Afrikaans: Buffel, Shangaan: Nyari, Zulu: Nyati, Tswana: Nyari, Shona: Nyati, Ndebele: Inyathi The decision to hunt the African buffalo should not be taken lightly. Its reputation as a “killer” is not hearsay. It is true. If you are going to hunt buffalo the more you know about it the better your chances will be of emerging unscathed. An aura of apprehension and respect is aroused when the words “African buffalo” are spoken. Referred to by some as “black death” and to others as the most dangerous animal on the dark continent, it poses challenge enough to hunt this animal with a high powered rifle. To hunt it with bow and arrow however must surely rank as one of the greatest challenges life can offer - and it can be done – with the right equipment, using the right technique, and with a liberal measure of courage and a cool head thrown in for good effect. An additional recommendation is an experienced PH armed with a heavy calibre rifle who can hopefully shoot straight. Are all the stories true? Buffalo bulls circling back on the hunter and waiting in ambush? Their toughness – able to absorb tens of thousands of foot pounds of energy and still keep coming? Their aggressive nature – the murderous gleam in the eye, foam flecked muzzle – and the intent to kill, dismember and destroy any man that dares cross their path? Is it true or has the disposition of this great African beast become exagger-

ated? The answer to this question is yes……and - no. Let’s take a look.

Description Belonging to the bovid family, buffalo are heavy animals and have cattle – like features: massive bodies and stout limbs. They have a shoulder height of about 120 -140cm (47-55 inches). Adult bulls weigh in at about 800kg (1,763 pounds) and cows at about 750kg (1,653 pounds). Cows are dark brown and old bulls black in colour. Young animals are reddish brown, darkening with age. Hair covering also thins as animals grow older. The neck is relatively short and thick. Horns are heavy with a massive base, carried by both sexes, but less well developed in females. Size, general coloration, and shape of horns are variable. Bulls usually have heavier horn structure with a large boss. Cows horns are generally more slender but can grow to exceptional lengths (see below). The horns of older animals are often worn and smooth and often break off. Tails are long with a terminal tuft. The muzzle is large, broad, bare and moist. The eyes of buffalo can be intimidating. When the head is lifted to stare at an intruder the whites of the eyes show and the eyes are often red rimmed. The bulk of a buffalo’s mass is carried in the forequarters. This is reflected in the much larger front hooves.

Habitat Buffalo show a wide range of ecological adaptation, ranging from dense forest (preferring secondary growth and clearings) to open woodland. Habitat preference includes an abundance of grazing, shade and water. Suitable grass species occur in Brachystegia, Mopane, Acacia and Baikiaea woodland and in open, vlei (marsh) areas associated with these veld types.

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Although buffalo will utilize open grass plains during the cooler hours of the day or during the night, they prefer moving to wooded areas during the heat of the day to rest in the shade. Buffalo are water dependent and will generally drink twice a day. They are also partial to resting and feeding in reed beds associated with bodies of water. They enjoy wallowing in mud which helps them to regulate body temperature and to rid themselves of external parasites. Small bull herds and lone bulls are often found in the sodic areas (“brak kolle”) adjacent to perennial and seasonal streams. In these areas one often finds seasonal pans and pools of water to which buffalo gravitate to wallow in.

Habits In open habitat this gregarious animal may occur in herds numbering in the hundreds and at times in the thousands (Savuti in Botswana). These are generally breeding herds made of both sexes of all age groups. These large herds often split up into smaller groups for awhile and then join the large herd again. Adult and older bulls often leave the breeding herds to form small bachelor groups of 4 to 10 animals – these and old, lone bulls are often referred to as “dagga boys”. The word “dagga” refers to the mud that often encrusts these old warriors, which they pick up whilst partaking in one of their favorite pastimes - wallowing. There is a well defined hierarchy within these bachelor herds. Lone bulls will sometimes rejoin breeding herds to mate with cows in heat. The larger herds may migrate seasonally in search of water and grazing and might split up into smaller groups to reduce competition for scarce resources.


Buffalo herds have fairly well defined home ranges which can overlap with neighboring herds. The size of home range can vary according to available resources and will also change to adapt to the different seasons. Buffalo generally drink early morning and at sunset. They rest in available shade or in reed beds during the heat of the day. They rest in available shade or in reed beds during the heat of the day. Bulls will often wallow at this time as well.

Reputation Is the bad reputation of the buffalo justified? In some respects no. Buffalo are generally placid and peace loving animals – in many respects like cattle. The author of this article has had hundreds of encounters with buffalo whilst leading wilderness

trails on foot in the Kruger National Park. Many of these encounters were at close range, walking trail groups within 15 – 20m of herds of up to 400 animals. What was remarkable was the curiosity of these animals. When approached at a tangent (see hunting techniques) a protective phalanx would be formed by the bulls with the cows and younger animals safely ensconced within the lager. The bulls would stare intently at the intruders, and, with noses raised to test the air and eyes rolled back, would determine for themselves if the intrusion was perceived as a threat or not. If the intruders were regarded as a danger the bulls would stamp their feet, sweep their horns, and emit loud snorts. This behavior would then initiate a flight response from the herd who would run away from the perceived danger. Frequently herds would not feel in imminent danger and

cows and young animals would then begin to poke their inquisitive noses through the protective ring of bulls. Bulls themselves would often also approach closer for a better “look see”. If we ourselves started to feel uncomfortable because of the close proximity and closer approach of the herd it was easily turned by clapping hands and walking towards the herd. It was also important to be able to read the “mood” of the herd. Buffalo herds appear to be more nervous and skittish early morning but are far more content and “approachable” late afternoon. The small bachelor herds and lone bulls are definitely more nervous and less predictable, and caution is advocated when approaching them. They are definitely more aggressive often without any provocation. During culling operations and when shooting buffalo for bait during lion capture operations I have been

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amazed to see the type of punishment a buffalo can absorb before dying. Well placed heart / lung shots with .375 or .458 calibre rifles would not cause an animal to flinch. Only a well placed brain or neck / spinal shot would have the desired effect and drop the animal in its tracks. There is enough well documented evidence to support the fact that a wounded buffalo is worth its reputation – and then some. Take a look at some of the commercially available videos for an eye opener. Six or seven shots with 500 Nitro’s in the engine room and the beast still charges – after absorbing in excess of 30 000 foot pounds of energy! Without doubt a wounded buffalo is definitely one of the greatest hazards one can encounter in Africa. These animals will usually head for cover when hurt and if followed up will, in most instances, charge the intruder. A charge from a wounded buffalo can only be successfully thwarted with a brain or spinal shot with a large calibre rifle. Once initiated, a buffalo charge will not stop until either the buffalo itself or the pursuer has been terminated. A charge invariably begins with a snort. The head is held high with the buffalo peering down its nose at the intended victim. The head is dropped at the last moment to either use the boss as a battering ram or to scoop the victim with the horns. Repeated ramming and goring with the horns will follow accompanied by trampling with the massive hooves. The final conclusion to the question “are buffalo as dangerous as they are made out to be?” is yes, if you underestimate them and do not afford them the respect they are worthy of…..and no, if you understand them, are cautious and remain aware of their lethal potential. Buffalo have fairly poor hearing. Their eyesight is reasonable but not good. The sense of smell is highly developed and it is important therefore to approach buffalo from down wind.

Feeding Buffalo are primarily grazers but will take in a small percentage of browse. Although they will be attracted to the

short green flush of burnt areas they are not as partial to this as other species. They feed readily on old grass but will avoid areas where it has been overgrazed or trampled. They are selective grazers with a preference for assegai grass (Heteropogon contortus), white buffalo grass (Panicum coloratum), Guinea grass (Panicum maximum), red grass (Themeda triandra), and finger grasses (Digitaria spp.). Plants on which they will occasionally browse include sickle bush (Dichrostachys cinerea), snow berry (Securinega virosa), mopane (Colophospermum mopane), and raisin bush (Grewia spp.). Buffalo are dark skinned and their body temperature rises quickly in direct sun. When it gets too hot they will stop feeding and seek out the nearest shade where they will rest and ruminate until it cools down. About 85% of the 24 hour cycle is spent on feeding and ruminating. Feeding takes place mostly at night.

Reproduction Cows reach reproductive status at about 3 years and some drop their first calves at 4 years although the majority calve for the first time in their 5th year. Although bulls are sexually mature by 3 years, group dynamics and dominance of older bulls seldom allow them to breed until they are in their 7th or 8th year. Cows calve every alternate year. The gestation period is 330 – 346 days. Calves weigh in at about 40kg at birth and are weaned at about 15 months. Calving can occur throughout the year but most young are born between October to April with a peak in January to February.

HUNTING THE BUFFALO Hunting buffalo has become a very expensive undertaking. Free ranging (not fenced in) buffalo are not available for hunting in South Africa. All are confined to game ranches (some very large in extent but nevertheless confined). To hunt free ranging buffalo one has to set your sights on Mo-

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cambique, Zimbabwe or further north. Hunting free ranging buffalo requires a lot more physical effort in terms of locating and tracking the animals. Unfortunately with the unrelenting march of “progress” the privilege of hunting buffalo in their wild, free ranging state, will eventually be accessible to very few and if people in Africa don’t soon begin to realize that the long term value of this continent is vested in its last few remaining wild places it is a privilege which will sadly, in the not too distant future, disappear forever.

The Trophy Whether a full mount, shoulder mount or just the horns mounted onto a shield buffalo make impressive trophies. The massive bosses of the males are eye catching, formidable and imposing. But don’t write off the cows with their more slender horns as they can produce some stunning trophies in terms of shape and length. See Figure2. To qualify for the record books the minimum criteria are as follows: Safari Club International (SCI): To qualify for inclusion into the SCI record books the total score must exceed 100. The record is 1402/8.The method of measurement is illustrated in Figure 3. Rowland Ward (RW): To qualify for inclusion into the RW record books the total length must exceed 45” (114.5 cm). The record is 64” (a cow).

Signs to look for when hunting buffalo It helps when looking for buffalo to know what signs to look for to indicate their presence.

Tracks The typical large tracks of buffalo cannot be easily confused with other species. The front hooves are larger than the rear. On hard ground the dew claws will not show up in the tracks but in soft sand or mud will be clearly visible. Large herds of buffalo


rubbing posts.

Resting areas Buffalo lie up in shady areas during the heat of the day and whilst resting at night. They leave clear sign. Grass will be flattened around the base of trees and bushes. The positions of where they have been lying, relative to that of the sun and shade at a particular time of day can also sometimes give you a clue as to when they have been there. The smell of their droppings and bodies is also very evident.

Figure 2: Buffalo cows can also produce impressive horns.

Sound

trample grass to a significant degree. It is easier when following a herd of buffalo in grassy areas where tracks do not show up well by following the swathes left behind in the grass as the animals move along in file.

Dung Flat pancake shape typical of cattle. Dimensions: Length 100mm. Breadth: 100mm. Olive green when fresh darkening with age to very dark brown. Buffalo dung fresh (left) and darkening with age (right).

Rubs and horning Buffalo will often leave “horning” sign on trees. They choose some convenient tree as an opponent and give it a good “horning” leaving it often in shreds. Sometimes old tree stumps or rocks are selected as rubbing posts to rub mud off or relieve an itch, as is sometimes the case with rhino and warthog buffalo will return to favorite

Buffalo tend, at times, to be quite vocal. As they jostle one another and sort out levels of dominance they can bellow, grunt, snort, and bash horns together. All these sounds plus the calling of calves can be heard distinctly from a long way off and serve warning to the hunter that buffalo are in the vicinity.

Hunting techniques If the wind is taken into consideration and kept in the hunters favour, buffalo are one of the easier animals to hunt using walk and stalk and spot and stalk methods. A properly camouflaged hunter using wind and terrain to advantage should be able to approach to within bow range and especially rifle range with relative ease. By determining the direction in which a grazing herd is moving it is also possible to move ahead of them and wait in ambush. If you are spotted approaching and the herd becomes inquisitive or restless, walk away allowing the animals to see you departing. They will quickly settle down and allow you, within ten to fifteen minutes, to resume your stalk. Unlike other animals who will run off and put considerable distance between themselves and the perceived threat, buffalo will soon calm down and resume their activities. Shot placement is critically important with buffalo especially with a bow as the hunter has only one option and that is a heart / lung shot. The rifle hunter has basically three options – a

The sight and sound of red billed oxpeckers descending into or rising from a herd are also very useful indicators. Breeding herds are far noisier than bachelor herds and lone bulls that are generally very quiet. It is easy to stumble unexpectedly upon them.

Wallows Buffalo enjoy wallowing. They often leave clear sign when walking away from (photo Alex Brackskowski) a wallow by dropping mud and depositing it onto vegetation which they brush up against. This is easy to follow and a useful aid in determining whether the sign is fresh or not. They also leave clear sign in mud wallows AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2008

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with the term T.P.I. which stands for Tissue Penetration Index). It must be understood that the I.P.I and the actual aiming point on the surface of an animal’s body are not necessarily, and are often not one and the same thing. That is because the aiming point shifts according to a number of criteria. These criteria include the following: • In a nervous or highly strung animal or of a species that is a notorious “string jumper” when hunted with a bow the aiming point can move forward by two or three inches and down by an inch or so.

heart / lung shot, a neck shot and a brain shot.

Note that the yellow dots indicate what I like to refer to as the Intended Point of Impact or I.P.I. (not to be confused

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• This is done in anticipation of the animal lowering itself, bunching up its muscles and preparing to explode away – usually (but not always) in a forwards direction. Look at some video footage of “string jumpers” and slow the playback speed. Note how the animal lowers itself and then leaps forward at the sound of the bowstring. Here the bowhunter has to compensate for the expected reaction of the animal by shifting the


Angling shots

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aiming point. The I.P.I remains the same (the bowhunter still intends for the arrow to end up in the heart) but the aiming point shifts. • Then there is the wind factor. Now if most bowhunters stuck to shooting at 20m or less, wind deflection would be small enough, in most cases, for an arrow to still hit the vital area. If however there are bowhunters who have enough (self) confidence to attempt shots at 30, 40m or even longer distances then wind, especially crosswinds become a critical factor and the aiming point will have to be shifted to allow for wind drift. The bowhunter would have had to have spent a considerable time practicing at these sort of ranges, under similar windy conditions to know how much the arrow will drift and to know how much to “aim off”. Again the I.P.I will still be the same but the actual aiming point will have to take the wind into consideration. • The aiming point will also have to be adjusted if an animal is moving. Now ideally we should not attempt shots at moving animals but it is a fact that many bowhunters do attempt shots at non-stationary targets. As the speed of an animal increases from a slow walk through all the transitional stages up to a full run the aiming point has to be adjusted although the I.P.I. remains constant. I have a video at home where a “Pro” working for Precision Shooting Equipment (P.S.E) took a shot at a red hartebeest running at full

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speed past him! Fortunately the arrow passed through the hindquarters slicing through a femoral artery which left a very distinct blood trail and the animal died fairly quickly from blood loss. • Another instance in which the aiming point does not coincide with the I.P.I is where the shot is steeply uphill or downhill. The only time where the I.P.I and aiming point would more or less coincide is under the following conditions: •

1. When the animal is standing absolutely still.

2. When the shot is taken on level ground.

• 3. When there is little or no wind to influence arrow flight. • 4. When the animal is very calm, has relatively slow reflexes and does not “string jump”. When hunting buffalo with a bow keep the following in mind: these animals are heavy boned, have a lot of muscle mass, and a relatively thick skin. Another important consideration is that their ribs which are 10 – 15mm thick overlap one another to a large degree, presenting a significant barrier which can limit or reduce arrow penetration. The generally advocated, behind the shoulder heart / lung shot for most species, can be used in buffalo but can result in unsatisfactory penetration on occasion as the arrow must punch through the rib cage.


been successful with frontal shots but many have not been. Insufficient arrow penetration on hitting heavy bones of the foreleg, shoulder or brisket (sternum), being the usual problem. Shot placement in buffalo – side on and frontal is shown by the yellow dots indicate the Intended Point of Impact. Only the heart / lung area should be aimed for when using bow and arrow. Neck and frontal brain shots are additional options for rifle hunters. The rifle hunter using the appropriate calibre and bullet should be able to reach the vitals from a variety of angles. Remember that a heart / lung shot will not drop a buffalo in its tracks. It will run off and usually take a few minutes to expire. If it charges it will have to be dropped with a brain shot and this dictates the use of a monolithic solid to penetrate the boss and thick skull. For heart lung and neck shots soft points of suitably strong construction will work.

Follow up A wounded buffalo is extremely dangerous. Don’t ever underestimate this animal. Even with a good heart / lung shot it can cover considerable ground before expiring. In the case of a bowhunter and assuming your shot has been a good one, wait 30 to 40 minutes before following up. If it has been a poor shot wait 4 - 5 hours. Whatever the case proceed with caution! When injured or wounded, buffalo will rest up in heavy cover. They will be very silent. If you are following, and it is not dead, it will wait for you and when you get close enough will charge you with the intention of annihilating you. A better shot for buffalo is quartering away where the arrow is slipped in behind the rib cage. In this shot the arrow can penetrate deeply into the vitals without first having to pass through the ribs. For a good quartering away shot you should get within 20m or less of the animal. Aim for the opposite leg at the appropriate height. Be prepared for the unexpected when your arrow hits. Buffalo will generally run away from the cause of their initial disturbance – but not always. Sometimes their response might be to investigate or seek out the cause of their disturbance or injury. If possible, immediately after the shot, drop out of sight or move into thick cover so that the animal does not spot you. Hunch or sit down and keep still and quiet. If the buffalo has swung to face its attacker and cannot locate the source straight away, the chances are good that it will move away, into the wind, and away from you. If it comes for you I hope, for your sake, that you have a suitable tree nearby, and an experienced PH at hand, to cover your behind whilst you climb it. Rear end, head, neck and frontal shots should not be attempted with buffalo when using archery equipment. Some hunters have

Make sure your PH or backup is always close at hand. As you are following sign (blood, tracks or whatever) keep your eyes and ears open for oxpeckers or cattle egrets who might warn you of the animal’s whereabouts. If the animal is not dead it will in all likelihood have to be dispatched with a heavy rifle of .375 calibre or greater. If a buffalo charges it will not deviate but will follow through to its ultimate conclusion. It can only be stopped by a brain shot.

Choice of equipment Buffalo are classified as dangerous game and for good reason. It is strongly advised that you use a bow delivering minimum kinetic energy of 80 ft. lbs. or more and an arrow weight of at least 700 grains. Ideally the arrow for hunting buffalo should be heavy (880 – 900 grains), have a shaft thinner than the ferrule of the broadhead and a strong, well constructed broadhead, with one or two blades which have a high mechanical advantage. Too much emphasis is placed on kinetic energy - this is not always a good indicator of good penetration potential. Kinetic energy is scalar or non directional in nature, and includes all the types of energy of a body in motion. AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2008

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Kinetic energy has no direct bearing on penetration. Momentum, however, is the correct formula to measure the directional (in this case forward) “impulse” of a body in motion. It is the force exerted over a period of time in one specific direction – i.e. a unidirectional force vector. In big, thick skinned game penetration is of vital importance and momentum is what provides it.

these robust animals.

Do not even consider using mechanical broadheads on

A strongly constructed one-piece broadhead with resharpenable blades is recommended. Zwickey broadheads have a good reputation. Magnus broadheads are also a good choice. A two-blade; cut on impact broadhead has better penetration qualities than a three or four blade option. Simmons Landshark with bleeders and Muzzy 220 grain Phantom broadhead with bleeders have good potential as well. When hunting buffalo, use well constructed broadheads of single or two blade construction with a high mechanical advantage.

Rifle For the rifle hunter the calibre of choice should deliver in excess of 3900 foot pounds of energy to be on the safe side and a Taylor KO Index equal to or more than 35.9.

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Choices available would then include calibres such as the .375 H&H Magnum, .404 Rigby, .416 Rigby, .425 Westley Richards, .458 Winchester Magnum, .458 Lott, .460 Weatherby Magnum, .470 Nitro Express, .500 Nitro Express, .500 Jeffrey or 600 Nitro Express. Bullets should weigh a minimum of 270 grains and be of good construction. Soft points can be considered for heart / lung and neck shots but when brain shots are considered a monolithic bullet is imperative. When hunting buffalo make sure you have enough power in hand. Big calibres and well constructed bullets are a wise choice. The sheer size of a buffalo, its strength, guile, and toughness make it a formidable adversary - and the privileged few who are afforded the opportunity to hunt these magnificent animals will be left with unforgettable memories.

Cleve Cheney holds a bachelor of science degree in zoology and a master’s degree in animal physiology. He is a wilderness trail leader, rated field guide instructor and the author of many leading articles on the subjects of tracking, guiding, bowhunting and survival. Cleve has unrivalled experience in wildlife management, game capture and hunting, both with bow and rifle.


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The Ivory Trail

The life of the legendary Bvekenya as told by his son Isak Barnard to Dave Edgcumbe The continent of Africa has for a long time produced its share of bush stories, some carried down generations, others more recent. Out of this great tapestry of experience are people, who because of circumstances, luck, fortitude or determination, have a greater story, not necessarily good or bad, but exhilarating, entertaining and often inspirational. Some preyed upon Africa’s resources without contrition, whilst in others recognition grew that the bounty of Africa was not endless, and a desire was kindled to conserve and to utilize more responsibly that which was left. African stories of the past, made up of adventure, danger and humour are sweet to the ears of the hunter and outdoorsman alike, and if out of experience there is a change for the better, then the story becomes sweeter still. These are snippets from one such

story, probably told and retold many times in the past, but with the etching of time not as well known now. It concerns one Cecil Barnard who rose to notoriety as an elephant poacher and blackbirder, and if during his life his surname meant little, his Shangaan name of Bvekenya (the one who swaggers when he walks) became legendary in South Africa and the then Rhodesia and Portuguese East Africa. Bvekenya’s life and exploits as a poacher, blackbirder, outdoorsman and perhaps surprisingly for some, a conservationist, were described

somewhat romantically by T.V. Bulpin in his book “The Ivory Trail”. Whilst Bulpin’s book is authoritative, we at African Hunting Magazine were indeed fortunate and privileged to talk to one of Bvekenya’s surviving children, Oom Isak Barnard, a grand old man who still lives with his wife on Bvekenya’s original farm in the Western Transvaal. He kindly told us his fathers story and gave us a valuable insight into “the man who swaggers when he walks”. In the far north of the Kruger National Park lies a triangular piece of bush and riverine forest, bordered in the north by the Limpopo River and in the south by the Luvuhu River. Its apex nestles against the international boundaries of South Africa, Mocambique and Zimbabwe. It was to this area, early in the 20th century that Bvekenya and a mix of colourful characters were drawn, some seeking the solitude of the bush to conduct their activities and others to evade

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the law. Their common denominator was to be as far away from civilization as possible, and “Crooks Corner” as it became known offered them a

The Beginning

sanctuary. It was here that Bvekenya rose to fame, and with Crooks Corner as his base, he operated as an illegal hunter of elephant over vast areas of Portuguese East Africa and Rhodesia, successfully smuggling his ivory past the law.

Cecil Rutgert Barnard by his parents of Scots and mixed DutchIrish descent, was born on a farm outside Knysna in 1886. He was there just long enough to be fascinated by tales of elephant hunting in the Knynsa forests before

Bvekenya, christened Stephanus

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the family relocated to a farm in the Schweizer-Reneke district of the Western Transvaal. Barnard’s father was lured by the offer of

cheap land and for a while struggled to make a success of his venture before losing all his cattle to the rinderpest for which there was no cure. The Boer war followed and Barnard Snr. as a resident of the Boer Republic was compelled


to serve with the Boer forces. In his absence the farming load fell on Mrs Barnard and the children. Sickened, she apparently died in a concentration camp. Bvekenya struggled to care for his siblings and on his father’s return left to make his way in the world. After a three year stint with the South African police the lure of the outdoors became too much and remembering boyhood Knynsa elephant stories, Bvekenya resigned, took most of his savings and equipped himself for the bush. In 1910 he set out with a wagon and donkeys along the Great North Road until Soekmekaar where he turned north-east to Klein Letaba. From Klein Letaba the trail led through Punda Maria, Klopperfontein, Baobab Hill and finally across the Luvuvhu River to Crooks Corner. The hub of Crooks Corner was a store named Makhuleke Store, named after the local Shangaan chief, and owned by Alec Thompson. After being given advice on elephant hunting by Thompson and another inhabitant, William Pye, Bvekenya set off across the Limpopo River into Portuguese territory, his destination being the Portuguese administrative post of Massangena on the Save River, 150 miles away. Here he wished to obtain a hunting licence for elephant, but his attempts were fruitless as the Portuguese had a closed hunting season. Before leaving Massangena, he noticed an unpleasant Shangaan policeman named Folage who in a sense became instrumental in changing Bvekenya’s life. Bvekenya travelled up the Save River, thinking to make his way up to Arusha in Tanzania where a cousin, A.A. Pienaar had begun a farming venture. Such a long trip was only prudent once the rains had broken, so Bvekenya established a camp and spent a time learning the ways of the bush. It was in this area according to Bulpin, that Bvekenya met another hunter called Fred Roux who soon went his way after disagreeing about most things. Oom Isak mentioned

Fred Roux as a later member of Bvekenya’s party, and that the two of them tamed and ran a herd of eland for milking on the Portuguese side of Crook’s Corner. Fred Roux was caught by the Portuguese police, and despite Bvekenya’s efforts to rescue him, taken to Inhambane where he disappeared and was never heard of again. Bvekenya’s sojurn on the Save River nearly cost him his life. He was attacked one night by a group of Shangaans led by the policeman Folage, and after a vicious fight succeeded in escaping by blinding the leader in one eye, leaping the thorn stockade and swimming across the crocodile infested river. Nearly naked and all his possessions stolen, Bvekenya set out to walk back to Makhuleke, 150 miles away. Oom Isak in his interview states that his father actually walked to Soekmekaar, considerably further. It was in any event the most amazing display of stamina and courage. Half delirious from sunstroke and fever, possessionless except for a spear that some sympathetic Shangaans had given him, he staggered through the wilderness back to civilization, with a raging desire not only to avenge his misfortune, but to recoup his losses by poaching elephant particularly on the Portuguese side of the border. Gone was the idea to join relatives to the north – that could wait – he

needed money and ivory was a valuable commodity, and if during this time he could track down and punish his attackers on the Save River then so much the better. Bvekenya’s survival and determination to return to the bush after replenishing supplies from his meagre savings in Johannesburg astounded even the most hardened adventurers in Crooks Corner. All predicted his demise or at least capture by the Portuguese police. Bvekenya was unmoved and so began a period of hunting and ivory smuggling which lasted for years.

Ivory and other things Bvekenya knew that to run a successful ivory smuggling operation

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so taken by the multitude of game that had concentrated in an area after rain, that he wrote to the Native Commissioner of Chibi in the Fort Victoria district suggesting the establishment of a transfrontier park. It would take nearly 100 years before officialdom in South Africa, Mocambique and Zimbabwe would even discuss the matter as a concept. As time passed Bvekenya’s thoughts were never far from revenge, and with the aid of loyal Shangaan followers he hunted down members of Folage’s gang mostly north of the Save River. His modus operandi was to walk into a village on his own at first light, tie up the culprit/s and administer a thrashing with a hippo hide whip. News of his activities spread far and wide over the next few months with Rhodesian and Portuguese authorities issuing warrants for his arrest, these apart from warrants for poaching and any other misdemeanour that they could think up.

he would need the aid of Shangaan tribesmen and his first act on returning to the bush was to find the village of men who had shown him kindness after his attack on the Save River. He found the village, a poor place north of the Save, with the villagers in the last stages of starvation. His gun was their reward and he stayed awhile, supplying them with meat until they regained their strength. They in turn gave him the information he needed to hunt elephants, and his return to Makhuleke with the first load of tusks

was something of a celebration. Makhuleke also provided Bvekenya with a degree of security for it was at the beacon where three international boundaries came together that he had a camp. He had prised it loose, and by moving it a few metres could change the country in which the camp was situated. It was in these early days that Bvekenya first felt the stirrings of a conservation ethic during a trip into Rhodesia via the Lundi River. He was

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Shangaan tribesmen on the other hand, from the Limpopo River to north of the Save River viewed him with awe. Was he not a supplier of meat in a land where hunger was a daily reality? His domination became so absolute that no one would testify against his activities. Sometime later at Makhuleke Bvekenya came face to face with Folage’s second in command, Khambanyane, and with his fists sated his desire for revenge. Khambanyane, as soon as he had recovered sufficiently well reported the matter to the Transvaal police who lost no time in issuing a warrant. Bvekenya’s poaching activities contin-


ued unabated, with his ivory and ivory of others figuratively marking the way of the trail that he had followed on his first journey down to Crooks Corner. No one really knows how many elephants Bvekenya shot during his poaching career. Bulpin gives a figure of over 300 while Oom Isak is not sure. He (Oom Isak) maintains that Bvekenya was very particular about his quarry, ascertaining with his Shangaan trackers the age of the elephant from the dung firstly , and then only shooting it if it was past its prime. Nothing was wasted on the carcass which would be stripped within a few hours by rejoicing tribesmen.

at Bagamoyo in Tanzania. He walked all the way back to Crooks Corner! What a display of endurance. If Bvekenya made money from poaching, it was easily surpassed by his illegal recruitment of native labour for mines on the Reef. Blackbirding as it was called attracted the attention of many for there were big profits to be made, often at the expense of the labourers themselves. Blackbirders would recruit from anywhere they could, often enrolling tropical men who had not been acclimatised to the cold conditions on the Highveld.

Many died from pneumonia and other diseases. Bvekenya went to great lengths to prevent sickness – he issued warm clothing to each recruit and ensured a slow rate of travel, allowing acclimatisation along the way. His intimate knowledge of the vast areas in which he operated, his secret paths and camps and his sway over the Shangaan people resulted in him becoming the leading recruiter and opposition from other blackbirders diminished. In 1918 Bvekenya was at Makhuleke visiting William Pye when Rhodesian

In the vast area in which he operated, between the Limpopo and Save rivers, Bvekenya needed a centralised and permanent camp. He chose an area on the Tshefu River, hidden deep in the bush, to which he and his staff would retire for rest and for the working of skins and the manufacture of wagon whips and sjamboks which were very profitable. Bvekenya was tough and self-sufficient. He needed few comforts and drew many of his requirements from the bush. His ability to live off a harsh land, often in drought, full of danger and disease and avoid police raids reflects a stamina which is rarely encountered. Both Bulpin and Oom Isak attest to his fortitude and determination, underpinned by a sense of humour and a likeable personality. Many were his hunting adventures and encounters with wild animals. Many were his attempts to tame animals for human benefit and much thought was given to using the natural resources of Africa rather than the importation and utilisation of alien species. In about 1912 Bvekenya still interested in joining family in East Africa, travelled by Portuguese coaster up the east coast bound for Malindi, Kenya. According to Oom Isak’s recollection the voyage was taking too long for Bvekenya’s peace of mind. Words must have been exchanged with the captain and Bvekenya was put ashore AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2008

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Police jumped the border and arrested him. He was taken to Fort Victoria and thrown in goal until a local bailed him out. It became clear that the police had little to charge him with until he was fined 5 pounds for shooting a hippo on a trumped-up charge. His fine was paid for and he was lent money for re-provisioning. On the way home, in typical Bvekenya style he shot elephant and recruited labour on the Rhodesian side of the border to make up for losses and inconvenience. Bvekenya’s return to Makhuleke confirmed the reason for the Rhodesian Polices’actions. The mines had decided to base a recruiting depot across the Luvuvhu River from Crooks Corner and officialdom were determined to rid the area of illegal recruiters. It was suggested to Bvekenya that he offer his services to the mines as an official recruiter, provided he could clear his name with the South African Police. At this time his sister Trixie Green was dying and Bvekenya travelled to Johannesburg to see her. An unhappy family reunion followed, as she died before his arrival. Her husband Billy Green owned a farm near Geysdorp in the Western Transvaal. Green was desperate to leave the farm so Bvekenya looking to the future bought it. During this period Bvekenya met with mine officials and the police and successfully cleared his name – the police, despite having spent many man-hours trying to arrest him, had no evidence in support of the charges in their files. And so Bvekenya for a while gained respectability, serving the mines as a recruiter until 1923.

Change Bvekenya’s marriage to the mines could not last. This was a life too constricting for an independant man who had lived freely for so long. As Oom Isak succinctly put it, in his environment Bvekenya could be the devil or

he could be God. And so, back to the bush he went and hunted elephants for the next few years.

he wanted to go.

As police activity against poaching increased, Bvekenya was forced to devise ingenious ways to smuggle his ivory to market.

He would walk from his farm to the cooperative in Lichtenburg and back, a distance of 260km. He would walk to visit his sister who lived in Viljoenskroon, even further.

The old ivory trail was closed down and Bvekenya had some narrow escapes. One by one the characters at Makhuleke disappeared. William Pye died of influenza and even Buck Buchanan, the manager of Makhuleke store moved away. Oom Isak met him later. Bvekenya was changing. Whilst he hunted only for profit and derived no pleasure from killing, his thoughts turned more and more to the destruction of Africa’s resources and his part in it. In 1929 he tracked a huge elephant, thought to be the fabled Dhlulamithi, and was on the point of firing when filled with compassion he let it go. This was his turning point – a climactic realisation that he loved Africa and its wildlife which needed to be sustained and used wisely. He had thought about all of this before, but this was the conviction. Bvekenya retired from the bush and at the age of 43 went to his farm near Geysdorp, married Marie Badenhorst and together had 4 sons and a daughter. He only returned twice to Crooks Corner – once with his son Isak to revisit old memories, and the second time taking the author T.V. Bulpin. He never went again and spent his remaining years in the Western Transvaal. Did he miss the old life and how did he feel about the constraints of society? Oom Isak said that he did and that the rigidness of society took some getting used to. He remembers his father saying that he had walked around the world whilst hunting, and maybe that is why Bvekenya eschewed riding whenever possible, choosing to walk wherever

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Maybe this was his way of remembering the months and years that he walked the Lowveld, of adventures, of loneliness, of triumphs and tribulations. Bvekenya died in his bed at the age of 76. He is buried on his old farm near Geysdorp where Oom Isak still lives. On his grave is etched the old ivory trail and next to him lies his wife Maria. The graves are surrounded by lonely thorn trees, and as I stood there contemplating the life of this amazing man, I felt humbled and sad that his final resting place cannot echo the rumble of a distant lion, or moan of a hyena carried on the wind. The Shangaans still wait for Bvekenya. On the Mocambique side of the Save River, it is said that land will not be given for hunting as it is considered Bvekenya’s land. As a final tribute to Bvekenya, some years ago Oom Isak was in the Mocambique coastal town of XaiXai, a considerable distance from his father’s old hunting grounds. To his amazement his presence elicited excitement from a group of young Africans who proclaimed that he was Bvekenya. They saw the father in the son, and these young Africans, generations later, who never knew Bvekenya , could still recognise the likeness – “the man who swaggers when he walks” .

Dave Edgcumbe holds an advanced biological sciences degree and is a dedicated hunter, conservationist and outdoorsman.


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Die Another Day Survival in the African Bushveld Part 1

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The Okavango delta looks amazing from the sky. Your PH is with you and the plane is flying well. Oil pressure is good and the weather is fine. But things can and do go wrong very quickly. Be prepared - you are hunting in a savage land.

Essentials for Survival Apart from air to breathe, water is an absolute priority. Under hot conditions the survival time without water is very short. To conserve body water walk during the cooler hours of the day, avoid salty foods and smoking. Take frequent rests, try and stay in the shade as much as possible, wear a head covering. Take at least 1-2 liters of water with you when you leave for a day. Hydrate yourself well before leaving camp. You can go for a long time without food. It is not a priority even though the hunger pangs you might feel will be uncomfortable. Keeping warm when it’s cold and cool when it is hot is more important in the short term than finding food. Overheating (hyperthermia) and becoming too cold (hypothermia) can cause death within hours. • AIR (oxygen) - death after 4 minutes • WATER (death within 3 - 4 days) • SHELTER (cool in the heat warm in the cold) • HEALTH - general hygiene, precautions against disease, prompt treatment. • FOOD - death within 60 - 70 days.

What it Takes to Survive It takes a lot more than the knowledge and skills to build a shelter, get food,

make a fire without matches and navigate without a compass to live successfully through a survival situation. Some people with little or no survival training have managed to survive life-threatening circumstances. Some people with survival training have not used their skills and died. A key ingredient in any survival situation is your mental attitude. It is important to have survival skills – but having the will to survive is essential. Without the determination to survive, acquired survival skills won’t help. The person in a survival environment faces many stresses that ultimately impact on his attitude. These stresses can produce thoughts and emotions that, if poorly understood, can transform a confident, well-trained person into an indecisive, ineffective individual with questionable ability to survive. Every person must be aware of and be able to recognize those stresses commonly associated with survival.

wet climate, put on additional clothing to prevent hypothermia.

Size Up Your Equipment Check to see what equipment you have and what condition it is in.

U - Use All Your Senses, Undue Haste Makes Waste Consider all aspects of your situation before you make a decision and a move. If you act in haste, you may forget or lose some of your equipment. In your haste you may also become disoriented so that you don’t know which way to go. Plan your moves. Be ready to move out quickly without endangering yourself. Use all your senses to evaluate the situation. Note sounds and smells. Be sensitive to temperature changes. Be observant.

It is also vital you be aware of your reactions to the wide variety of stresses associated with survival.

R - Remember Where You Are

The following paragraphs expand on the meaning of each letter of the word survival. Study and remember what each letter signifies because you may some day have to make it work for you.

Spot your location on your map and relate it to the surrounding terrain. This is a basic principle that you must always follow. If there are other persons with you, make sure they also know their location.

S - Size Up the Situation Size Up Your Surroundings Determine the pattern of the area. Get a feel for what is going on around you. Every environment has a rhythm or pattern. This rhythm or pattern includes animal and bird noises and movements and insect sounds.

Size Up Your Physical Condition An accident or the trauma of being in a survival situation may have caused you to overlook wounds you received. Check your wounds and give yourself first aid. Take care to prevent further bodily harm. For instance, in any climate, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. If you are in a cold or

Always know who in your group, vehicle, or aircraft has a map and compass. If that person is killed, you will have to get the map and compass from him. Pay close attention to where you are and to where you are going. Do not rely on others in the group to keep track of the route. Constantly orient yourself. Always try to determine the location of local water sources.

V - Vanquish Fear and Panic The greatest enemies in a survival situation are fear and panic. If uncontrolled, they can destroy your ability to make an intelligent decision. They

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may cause you to react to your feelings and imagination rather than to your situation. They can drain your energy and thereby cause other negative emotions. Previous survival and evasion training and self-confidence will enable you to vanquish fear and panic.

I - Improvise Learn to improvise. Take a tool designed for a specific purpose and see how many other uses you can make of it. Learn to use natural objects around you for different needs. An example is using a rock for a hammer. No matter how complete a survival kit you have with you, it will run out or wear out after a while. Your imagination must take over when your kit wears out.

V - Value Living All of us were born kicking and fighting to live, but we have become used to the soft and easy life. We have become creatures of comfort. We dislike inconveniences and discomforts. When you are faced with a survival situation with its stresses, inconveniences, and discomforts the will to survive is vital. The experience and knowledge you have gained through life and training will have a bearing on your will to live. Stubbornness, a refusal to give in to problems and obstacles that face you, will give you the mental and physical strength to endure.

A - Act Like us Natives African people and animals have adapted to the African environment. Watch how the people go about their daily routine. When and what do they eat? When, where, and how do they get their food? When and where do they go for water? What time do they usually go to bed and get up? These actions are important to you when you are trying to survive. Animal life in the area can also give you clues on how to survive. Animals also require food, water, and shelter. By watching them, you can find

sources of water and food.

The Importance of Planning

Animals cannot serve as an absolute guide to what you can eat and drink. Many animals eat plants that are poisonous to humans

Detailed prior planning is essential in potential survival situations. An important aspect of prior planning is preventive medicine: ensure that you have no dental problems and that your immunizations are current. This will help you avoid potential dental or health problems. A dental problem in a survival situation will reduce your ability to cope with other problems that you face. Failure to keep your shots current may mean your body is not immune to diseases that are prevalent in the area. Also make sure you have yellow fever and Hepatitis A and B injections.

By studying the people, you learn to respect them, often make valuable friends, and - most important - you learn how to adapt to their environment and increase your chances of survival.

L - Live by Your Wits, But for Now, Learn Basic Skills Without training in basic skills for surviving your chances of survival are slight. Learn these basic skills now-not when you are headed for Africa. How you decide to equip yourself before your safari will impact on whether or not you survive. You need to know about Africa and you must practice basic skills geared to our continent. Practice basic survival skills during all training programs and exercises. Survival training reduces fear of the unknown and gives you self-confidence. It teaches you to live by your wits. Develop a survival pattern that lets you beat the enemies of survival. This survival pattern must include food, water, shelter, fire, first aid, and signals placed in order of importance. For example, in a cold environment, you would need a fire to get warm; a shelter to protect you from the cold, wind, and rain or snow; traps or snares to get food; a means to signal friendly aircraft; and first aid to maintain health. If injured, first aid has top priority no matter what climate you are in.

Even the smallest survival kit, if properly prepared, is invaluable when faced with a survival problem

Salt Salt is essential. A normal daily diet should include 10mg (½ ounce) of salt. Salt is lost through sweating and urine and needs to be replaced. The symptoms of salt deficiency are cramps, dizziness, nausea and tiredness. Survival planning means preparation. Make sure you have survival items and know how to use them.

Stress Stress is a condition everyone experiences. It can be described as your reaction to pressure as you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually respond to life’s tensions. Stress can show your ability to handle pressure without breaking you; it will test your adaptability and flexibility; and it can stimulate you to do your best. Because we usually do not

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consider unimportant events stressful, stress can also be an excellent indicator of the significance we attach to an event. Excess stress leads to distress. Common signs of distress are difficulty making decisions, angry outbursts, forgetfulness, low energy levels, constant worrying, a tendency to make mistakes, thoughts about death or suicide, trouble getting along with others, withdrawal from others, hiding from responsibilities and carelessness.

Survival Stressors

Fatigue Forcing yourself to continue surviving may be tiring in itself and it is possible to become so fatigued that the act of just staying awake is stressful.

Isolation A significant stressor in survival situations is that often a person or team has to rely solely on its own resources. The object is not to avoid stress, but rather to manage the stressors of survival and make them work for you.

Natural Reactions

Stressors are the obvious cause while stress is the response. Once the body recognizes the presence of a stresAnimals cansor, it then begins to act to not serve as an protect itself.

Injury, Illness, or Death Injury, illness, and death are real possibilities a survivor has to face. Even if illness and injury don’t lead to death, they add to stress through the pain and discomfort they generate.

absolute guide to what you can eat and drink. Many animals eat plants that are toxic to humans.

Uncertainly and the fear of loss of control Some people have difficulties in situations where everything is not as expected or desired. Learn to live with it. In daily life and in a survival situation nothing is guaranteed.

Environment Heat, cold, rain, winds, mountains, swamps, deserts, insects, dangerous reptiles, and other animals are some of the challenges that will have to be faced by a person wanting to survive.

Hunger and Thirst Without food and water you will weaken and eventually die. Obtaining and preserving food and water takes on increasing importance as the duration of time in a survival situation is increases.

Fear Fear is an emotional response to dangerous circumstances that is believed to have the potential to cause death, injury, or illness. Fear can have a positive function if it encourages caution in situations where recklessness could result in injury. Fear can also immobilize you if you do not manage it.

Anxiety Anxiety is uneasy, apprehensive feeling that something serious is going to go wrong. Anxiety is reduced by physically doing the things that will ensure your survival. As you reduce anxiety, you also bring under control the source of that anxiety – your fears. If you are not careful, anxiety can overwhelm you to the point where you become easily confused and have difficulty thinking – with disastrous consequences.

Anger and Frustration Frustration arises when someone is continually thwarted in his attempts to reach a goal. When in a survival situation, your goal is to stay alive until you can reach help or until help can reach you. To achieve this, you must complete some unusual tasks with minimal resources. It is inevitable that something will go wrong – but with

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your life on the line, every mistake is magnified in terms of its importance. It follows that sooner or later in a survival situation you will have to cope with frustration. A result of frustration is anger. Frustration and anger encourage impulsive reactions, irrational behavior and bad-out decisions. In some instances, an “I quit” attitude results. If you quit in a survival situation, you die. It’s as simple as that. If you can harness and properly channel these emotions you do what you have to do.

Depression Depression is closely linked with frustration and anger. A frustrated person becomes angrier as he fails to reach his goals. A destructive cycle between anger and frustration continues until you become worn down-physically, emotionally, and mentally. It is at this point that people give up. The focus shifts from “What can I do” to “There is nothing I can do.”

Loneliness and Boredom Loneliness and boredom is the test that brings your inner qualities to the surface. You may discover some hidden talents and abilities you never knew you had and tap into a reservoir of inner strength you never knew you had. On the other hand, loneliness and boredom can be a great source of depression. Find ways to keep your mind productively occupied and develop a degree of self-sufficiency.

Guilt The circumstances leading to your being in a survival setting are sometimes dramatic and tragic. It may be the result of an accident where there was a loss of life. It is not uncommon for survivors to feel guilty about being spared from death while others were not. Do not let guilt feelings prevent you from living.

Preparation Your goal in a survival situation is to stay alive. That is all.


You are going to experience various thoughts and emotions that can help you or kill you depending on how you manage them. Don’t be afraid of your natural reactions to abnormal situations - prepare yourself to manage them.

Know Yourself Through training, family, and friends take the time to discover who you truly are. Strengthen your stronger qualities and develop the areas that you know are necessary to survive.

Stress Management

Unknown Factors

You often cannot control the survival circumstances but you can control your response to those circumstances. Learning stress management techniques is vital to remain calm and focused as you work to keep yourself and others alive. The will to survive can also be considered to be the refusal to give up.

Many things can go wrong in a survival situation. A rescue team can miss your signal by a small margin, you can unexpectedly share your shoe with a poisonous scorpion or your bed with a mamba.

Anticipate Fears You will have fears. People without fear are people without brains. Think about what would affect you the most if forced to survive alone. Train in those areas. You will not eliminate the fear, but you can build confidence in your ability to function despite fear.

Be Realistic Make an honest assessment of situations. See them as they are, not as you want them to be. When you go into a survival setting with unrealistic expectations, you may be laying the groundwork for disaster.

Adopt a Positive Attitude Learn to see the potential good in everything – in survival situations and in life in general. This is a habit, not a gift.

Remember what is at Stake Failure to be psychologically prepared to cope with survival leads to reactions such as depression, carelessness, inattention, loss of confidence, poor decision-making, and giving up before the body gives in. At stake is your life and your family members who depend on you to return to them.

Training Prepare yourself to cope with the rigors of survival. Try to make survival items like traps, solar stills and weapons. It is fun and doing them and it will give you confidence to use your skills in a survival situation.

Post a comment on our weblog at http://africanhunting.wordpress.com/

Many survivors have discovered that a survival experience is also a spiritual experience in which priorities are examined and reestablished. With death a very real possibility, they realized that they need more than their skills to survive and discovered that God is much more than just some religious idea. Pray and ask for help - you are going to need it! Used with courtesy www.ultimatefieldguide.com AFRICAN EXPEDITION MAGAZINE July 2008

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POISON in PARADISE

Dealing with snakebite on safari Dr. K. Hugo

You are walking with your PH in the bush, stalking a buffalo. You take care to make no sound. As you step carefully over a tuft of grass you hear a load hiss and feel a blow on your lower leg, followed instantly by a sharp pain. You have been bitten by a puff adder.

compared to those of motor vehicle accidents (10 000 per year) it is clear that snakes pose an insignificant health risk in Southern Africa. But snake bites still occur - especially in the bush.

The incidence of snakebites in Southern Africa is around 30-80 per 100,000 population per year in areas where snakes abound.

Types of Venom

Only a very small percentage of these bites are fatal. Reliable snakebite statistics are currently not available on the deaths per year due to snakebites. However, it is estimated that it must be in the vicinity of 50 deaths per year. If the mortality figure of snakebites is

Snake venom is designed to immobilize or kill prey, commence digestion and protect the snake against harmful ingested organisms. Venom can be injected by biting or spat at the eyes of a perceived threat.

Cytotoxic venom Death from an puff adder bite is highly improbable. Cytotoxic venom attacks the skin and tissue and causes necrosis. The initial symptom is a painful swelling commencing at the bite site that is warm, often tender and spreads mainly up the limb or tissue. This may lead to swollen lymph glands within 2 hours after the bite.

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Local complications include blistering, necrosis (dead tissue), localized bleeding, and infection. The swelling may be so severe that it can cause compartment syndrome. This is a syndrome where the venom causes severe swelling of the underlying muscles. The muscles are surrounded by an nonelastic sheath and when the muscle swells it compresses the arteries and nerves that runs through the muscles within the sheath. The oxygen rich blood that flows through the arteries cannot reach the tissue under the occluded arteries and the tissue will then die due to the oxygen shortage. If this condition is not corrected as a matter of urgency within a period of 4 hours. Usually surgery is needed to release the pressure by splitting the inelastic sheath. It may lead to tissue loss or even amputation in severe cases. Compartment syndrome must be seriously suspected when the pain in the tissue below the swelling increas-


Bite by Spitting Cobra at 7 days

es in severity and develops a “pins and needles“ feeling or numbness. An absent pulse below the swelling is usually a late sign and requires urgent surgical intervention. Another frequent regional complication from cytotoxic venom is the development of a deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) in the affected limb. Systemic effects of the venom include low blood pressure, fluid on the lungs, difficulty breathing and a low platelet count which can lead to bleeding. Systemic venom action producing edema and heart conduction defects has only been documented in Gabon adder bites, which are uncommon in South Africa as this snake is only found around St. Lucia. The groups of snakes that has cytotoxic venom include the Gabon adder, Puff adder, Mozambique spitting cobra, Stiletto snake, Night adder and other smaller adders.

Neurotoxic venom

sis (about 50% of cases).

The neurotoxic venom interferes with the impulse transfer from nerve endings to skeletal muscles leading to paralysis. The signs and symptoms can escalate rapidly from a feeling of numbness around the mouth, to sweating, drooping eyelids, drop in blood pressure, inability to keep the head upright, difficulty in walking, difficulty in swallowing (saliva running from the mouth) to where the patient stops breathing - and eventually without medical intervention, will lead to death.

 The group of snakes with neurotoxic venom include Black and Green Mambas and the non Spitting Cobras: Cape, Snouted, Forest.

Within a few minutes from a mamba bite there is numbness around the mouth that progress to relentless widespread muscle weakness leading to respiratory failure in 60-70% of cases. Non-spitting cobras (Cape, Snouted and Forest) leads to early swelling around the bite site, a window period where the patient is apparently normal followed by fairly rapid onset of inadequate respiration due to paraly-

Haemotoxic venom The venom interferes with the clotting cascade and by lowering the platelets in the blood. The Boomslang and Vine snakes are the two snakes most commonly responsible for bites to snake handlers. Their venoms are exclusively haemotoxic and acts on the clotting cascade preventing blood clotting which can cause internal and external bleeding. Boomslang-induced clotting dysfunction is of slow onset, with potential death only occurring after several days. This allows time to get the Boom slang specific antivenom from the manufactures (phone: 011-8829940). There is currently no antivenom available for the Vine snake. Although Gaboon and Puff adders

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have cytotoxic venom, it can also cause bleeding by reducing the platelets.

Rinkhals, Berg adder, Garter snake, Shield- nosed snake

Combination venom

Allergic reaction

A syndrome of a mixed picture of cytotoxic and neurotoxic signs and symptoms are found in some snakebites. Among these symptoms are cranial nerves dysfunction (Cranial nerves mainly supplies the organs of the face, throat and neck, heart and intestines), which uncommonly leads to other skeletal muscle weakness and respiratory failure.

Exposure to venom either by skin contact or envenomation through a snakebite can cause an acute allergic reaction to patients that were previously exposed to the venom. The reaction can be compared similarly to an allergic reaction from a bee sting, ranging from a mild reaction to death within minutes after the bite. These type of reactions are usually limited to snake handlers or persons that was previously bitten by a snake.

Venom from a Berg adderbite can cause loss of taste and smell. The group of snakes with combination venom effects includes:

In patients that deteriorate rapidly after a bite an allergic reaction must be seriously considered. There is a

huge difference in treatment between envenomation by a snakebite and an allergic reaction against the venom. Symptomatic snake bites are usually treated by antivenom where as an allergic reaction is treated with adrenaline. The use of an Epipen (adrenaline injector) or other antihistamines is recommended.

Management An analysis of 4 rural snakebite series involving 911 patients by Dr Roger Blaylock, one of the foremost authorities in South Africa on the management of snakebites, showed the following. •

16% had no envenomation

Twig snake Thelotornis capensis

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Bite by Stiletto Snake Atractaspis bibronii

• 77% developed progressive painful swelling •

6% progressive weakness

<1% bleeding

Prevention The greatest cause of snake bite is people trying to kill the snake. When a snake is fighting for its life and it bites, it delivers far more venom than in a chance encounter. Common sense is the gold standard in preventing snakebites: Wear boots that covers the ankle and loose hanging long pants. Most of the snakebites are on the feet, ankle and lower leg. • Don’t step over an obstacle if you cannot see what is on the other side. • Don’t put your hand into a hole when you can’t see what is inside. • Don’t handle snakes if you are not a professional snake handler. • Don’t confront a dangerous snake •

Do not try to kill it

If you encounter a snake back of as fast as possible keeping your eye on the snake. However if you are

so close that you are within striking distance and the snake is already engaged to strike stand dead still until the snake withdraws. Snakes only strike at movement Prevent nocturnal bites by using a light, wearing footwear and sleeping in a snake proof dwelling (zip up tents).

Be careful of handling “ dead “ snakes as some elapids, notably the Rinkhals, may feign death. Medical management The majority of patients can not correctly identify the snake even with the help of pictures. Because of this Dr Blaylock divided the snakebite victims into the following 3 groups according to the clinical picture at presentation. •

Painful Progressive Swelling

Progressive Weakness

Bleeding

The treatment of these patients with antivenom simplifies the treatment of snakebites drastically. Antivenom is given in each of these groups according to set criteria based on signs and symptoms. Patients also receive supportive treatment according to the organ systems affected e.g. ventilation support for patients with respiratory failure and platelets and blood clotting components for patients with active bleeding

General principles to consider: • Remain calm and think before you act • Remember: very few people die from snake bite • Keep the patient calm and reassured. • Immobilize the patient as far as possible and don’t waste time in delaying his transport to the nearest medical facility. • Do not give the patient anything to drink or eat - especially not alcohol. • Incision, suction, cryotherapy (freezing of bite site), electrotherapy, topical or ingested medication is of no value. • Do not waste time by searching for and trying to kill the snake • Pressure immobilization bandaging is not recommended as it may aggravate or precipitate tissue necrosis (death/destruction) or compartment syndrome as the majority of snakebites presents with progressive swelling. • An arterial tourniquet is of value in known non spitting cobra and mamba bites and should be reserved for cases with positive identification of one of the above group of snakes. Tourniquet application can cause severe underlying tissue damage if applied wrongly .It is best to leave it to people with the necessary training on tourniquet application. The tourniquet must be released every 30 min and not be kept on for longer than 2 hours. • Patients who cannot swallow their saliva must be placed in the recovery position and closely observed for respiratory failure. The saliva

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can accumulate in the patient’s throat and prevents air entry in the lungs. If left unattended the patient can “drown” in his own saliva . Try to remove as much as possible of the saliva in the victim’s airways by either sucking or finger sweep. With finger sweep, wrap a gauze swab or a piece of absorbable clothing around your index and middle finger, and sweep your finger through the patients mouth and throat to remove as much as possible of the saliva manually When the patient becomes unresponsive or start having difficulties breathing, immediately start with CPR. Do not inject antivenom, the doctor should do that. Antivenom is very effective and should not be withheld to a patient with signs and symptoms that necessitate the administration of antivenom. However, the antivenom can cause a potentially severe allergic reaction. The incidence of potentially severe acute allergic reactions depends on the clinical indication for its administration ranging from 8% when given to patients with progressive weakness to 20% for patients with painful progressive swelling. Patients with bleeding from Boom slang bites can have an allergic reaction to the antivenom in up to 70% of cases. Antivenom must preferably be given under medical supervision with adrenaline at the bedside.

given to children and adults. The venom from baby snakes is just as lethal as that of the adult snakes. The severity of the signs and symptoms and rate of deterioration of a victim, depends on the amount of venom injected during the bite and bite site. The closer the bites site to the heart the faster the signs and symptoms will appear. If the venom is injected directly into a vessel, rapid deterioration in the victim’s condition may be expected. One antivenom works for almost all the species that will kill you so you don’t have to wonder which antivenom you need. Boomslang have their own antivenom but all Mambas, Cobras, Rinkhals, Puff adders and Gaboon adders use the same antivenom called SAVP polyvalent antivenom.

Venom in the eyes The Rinkhals and Mozambique spitting cobra are responsible for nearly all the cases of eye envenomation in Southern Africa. The Black spitting cobra and the Western barred spiting cobra can also be responsible for spitting in their victims eyes, although reported cases are uncommon. The Rinkhals and Mozambique spitting cobra can spit accurately over a distance of up to 2 meters. The Rinkhals needs to hood its neck to be able to spit whereas the Mozambique spitting cobra can spit from any position.

Symptoms and signs of severe local or systemic poisoning occur sooner in children than in adults due to a higher venom concentration.

The eye is very vascular and venom in the eye can be rapidly absorbed. This can cause severe inflammation and painful spasm of the eyelid. If left untreated it may progress to inflammation of the cornea and ulcer formation, which may cause blindness.

The indications for antivenom administrations occur sooner and more frequently in children than in adults.

If correctly treated the effects are usually benign with full recovery expected within a week.

All snakebite victims should be hospitalized for at least 24 hours.

The same amount of antivenom is

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If hunting in Namibia there is a good likelihood that you will be spat at by a Western barred spitting Cobra. Remember that they are far more prolific venom producers than other spitters in Southern Africa.

General first aid principles for venom in the eyes • if you get spat in the eye you cannot die from it, as the amount of venom absorbed can not make you sick or kill you • Wipe the venom from the face • Wash the eyes with copious amounts of fluid for at least ten minutes • If water is not available any type of fluid can be used which is not harmful to the eyes like cold drinks, milk, beer etc. Urine can be used but only as the very last resort due to the ph levels and the risk of infection. Urine is not better to use than any other fluid • Place an eyepad over the eyes if available and transport the victim to the nearest medical facility • It is advisable to let an ophthalmologist examine the eyes • Antivenom, either on the eyes or injected should not be used

Information courtesy www.ultimatefieldguide.com Photographs of snake bites and technical assistance courtesy A. Naudé, Chairman : Transvaal Herpetological Association www.sareptiles.co.za

Post a comment on our weblog at http://africanhunting.wordpress.com/


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Bowhunting Namibia With people you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t like Mitch Mitchell

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The orange Namibian sun sank over the horizon to find us making a large camel thorn fire. There were four of us on the hunt this time: three very good friends and an arrogant, irritating, red-haired government employee by the name of Cyril van Hoogard. Cyril is one of those civil servants who has few qualifications and little character. But there was one thing that made Cyril’s life worth living: he had the power to sign cheques , delay (or expedite) payments and make life hell for independent contractors who only wanted a good day’s pay for a job well done. Danes is an independent contractor, and he has brought Cyril here in the hope that life would be a little easier for him after this trip. We realized our mistake on the very first evening. Instead of three friends talking around the fire of things that only the best of friends share, there was the constant arrogant loudmouthing by Cyril. It got worse around the time he finished his ninth double Klipdrift and coke. He burped loudly and moved his tongue around to get the taste of it. His piggy eyes sized us up and he started his nonsense. He knew that he was not there because of friendship but because of his position of power over Danes. He talked down on everyone, secure in the knowledge that none of us would dare say anything that would upset him and so damage our friends’ business. He boasted of his bow, his extramarital affairs and his superior hunting and survival knowledge. He argued that his bow is the best, that his camo works better than ours and that he is the best bowhunter in Namibia. “You people do not know about bowhunting man. It is because you shoot those Hoyt bows of yours. You should get a decent bow – then you would

get something bigger than a little Springbuck.” He smiled contentedly at the depth of his own wisdom and licked his fat lips. Cyril was not a handsome man. He was overweight and his camo pants were so tight around the belly they seemed on the verge of exploding. His red hair was thinning and he combed it carefully over the top of his head. He has small, pale eyes and almost no neck.

would be closed down. We both looked up at Danes, expecting him to ask us to please bear with Cyril for these few days. “One more of his wisecracks about his wife and I’m going to pop him myself. She is a decent woman.” He shook his head and frowned. Then he leaned forward, and, to our astonishment, said: “Let’s get him.”

Just then Cyril’s unlovely voice As he spoke, I looked at him. The reached us from the bush toilet. “You thick sausages of his fingers clutched guys don’t know pain until you have his drink. They had curly red hair on had piles. Mine are the size of orangthem. I noticed that Cyril es and they bleed like did not go overboard on you slaughtered a pig!” personal hygiene and I looked at We all stared into the his fingernails carried fire, secretly enjoying Danes on the the dirt of weeks. the thought of Cyril’s other side of Like all arrogant people, suffering. He stumbled he was completely unthe campfire. back to the fire and aware of his own stupidquickly dispatched the He stared quiity and the company he rest of the brandy. etly at his feet, was in. What he obviOne bottle down, one ously did not know is saying nothto go. But Cyril never that Danes and I started ing. I wondered finished the second bowhunting in Namibia bottle. Some time during more than 20 years ago how much the depressed silence – and it was still illegal more of this he around our campfire in those days. Cyril uttered a gentle would take. Danes has shot more sigh, dropped his glass, animals with his old sank even lower into his Hoyt than he can remember – from chair and started snoring loudly. He giraffe to warthog, eland, kudu and was out like a light. gemsbuck. Kobus is a medical doctor. We looked at each other. I looked at Danes on the other side of “He’s your client, Danes”. Kobus had the campfire. He stared quietly at his said his piece and considered the feet, saying nothing. I wondered how expanse of the Namibian night sky. much more of this he would take. I remembered that my knife needs On and on Cyril went. Our annual sharpening. hunting trip was headed for disaster. Danes tried, but it turned out Cyril Cyril let off a loud fart, laughed and proved too much for him. It was like headed for the bush toilet with his trying to carry a bag of sand -very drink in his hand. heavy and no place to hold. This bag was noisy, too. We relented , grabbed “Danes, I’m going to smack this idiot. an arm each and with Danes at the I can’t take any more of his crap” Koboots we got Cyril onto his bed. bus was over six feet tall and skinny as a bullwhip. I knew he was serious. We all saved for a year to come and hunt and now our trip was wasted. But I knew it was just talk. Danes’ business was in danger, and if this red fool left the hunt unhappy it

“You going to undress him and put on his little nighties?” I gave Kobus a conspiratory elbow in the ribs. Danes whipped his head around and fixed me with his hunter’s stare. “Like hell. He can freeze for all I care.”

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“Hold it. I have a plan.” Kobus disappeared with speed, leaving Danes and me staring at the unlovely and openmouthed Cyril. A shiny sliver of drool was already creeping down to the pillow. It blew a little bubble with every snore. Kobus returned, smiling that almostnasty smile of his. He had in his hand a 18-inch length of Springbuck intestine taken from the buck we shot earlier. “Watch this.” With difficulty he turned Cyril on his side. He loosened Cyril’s pants. Danes shot me a nervously look. I pulled up my shoulders and shook my head. He pulled the underpants away from the pudgy buttocks. Using a stick he pushed the Springbuck intestine deep down between the plump, milky white buttocks. I could not help but notice they were covered with frizzy red hair and shuddered. “Now let Mr. Piles sleep”, he said. The rest of the evening was spent sharing hunting stories, talking about politics and our families under the open sky– in peace, this time. When it grew silent and only a lone jackal called in the distance, the cold crept in and we went to bed. In the silent half-dark of pre-dawn I heard it. The sound cut through my half-asleep state and shocked me wide awake.

It was the low, desperate moan of a wild animal in the deepest agony. The eerie sound grew softer and ended in several soft, deep sobs before it started again. I ran outside to see Danes and Kobus as they stumbled bewildered out of their tents. The strange animal sound was coming from Cyril’s tent. Superstitious dread gripped us and we stared wide-eyed at each other. We did not want to go near that tent - but he was Danes’ client and without him the business was going to go under. In a tight, safe group - knives in hand - we approached the tent and opened the flap to face the unknown. Cyril was lying on his back in a birthing position. His face was wet with terrified tears. The veins in his forehead stood out as if ready to pop. A petrified grimace twisted his fat face and his eyes pleaded with us for urgent help. The loud and arrogant misfit had turned into a frightened and crying little schoolboy. It seems that in the early dawn the still half-drunk Cyril woke to find the cold intestines in his pants. He must have concluded that his piles were taking a serious turn for the worse. We were just in time to see Cyril push the last of the cold and slippery Springbuck intestine back into himself. Freely adapted from a story told by the late Tolla van der Merwe. Only the facts were changed.

Mitch Mitchell is a hunter, outdoorsman and the author of several books on African wildlife and survival.

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Visit our Store Field Guides Mammal, survival and hunting guides to prepare you for your next hunt

Hunting Books Great collectors items for the serious hunter

Videos Get hunting videos from around the world

Subscriptions Subscriptions to The AFrican Hunting Magazine as well as other great hunting magazines

Safari Gear Great stuff for hunting

Jewelry of Africa Commission your hand-crafted jewelry from Africa

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Outfitter Review Chacma Safaris

Nestled in the spectacular Waterberg mountains lies Chacma Safaris, owned by Wim and Retha van der Merwe. Superb accommodation, great food and excellent hunting are the trademarks of Chacma Safaris near Vaalwater in the Limpopo province.

Wim a

nd Re

tha

The Lodge The lodge was built by Wim himself. Accommodation offered is of excellent quality and is new and spacious. Three private gentleman’s’ rooms with on suite bathroom are available. They are uniquely furnished and provide giving a homely, African atmosphere. Self catering facilities suitable for larger groups are also provided with kitchen and 4 bedrooms. This exceptional and friendly couple exemplifies the South African hunting fraternity: professional, hospitable, friendly and fun to be with.

A swimming pool with lush bush and plants offer an ideal location for a

Within minutes of meeting them we

drink during the hot African days. were completely at ease with them in their well-designed hunting lodge.

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The lounge and bar areas are truly African, decorated with various trophies and African furniture. Attention to detail and design in the décor show Retha’s hand everywhere. The impressive bar area was built with hardwood from the farm.


Retha serves great food in superb African style

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Wim and Retha treated us to an alfresco lunch next to the river

Cuisine Taking us to a shady spot next to the fountain, Wim and Retha treated us to an alfresco lunch in the bushveld. Retha gives attention to each detail and the food is well prepared and presented.

Hunting Specializing in both rifle and bowhunting since 1995, Wim is a professional of the hunting world â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and it shows. He is an excellent outdoorsman, having guided at Sabi Sand before becoming a professional hunter. His clients return regularly which indicates a high level of customer satisfaction. Wim has hunting concessions in South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

Activities Chacma Safaris offer various fun activities such as skeet shooting, elephantback safaris, microlight flights, day spas, game drives and other activities.

Conclusion For the serious hunter with a requirement for successful, relaxed and friendly hunting with luxury accommodation, Chacma Safaris is the outfitter of choice to provide a memorable and succesful hunt. Click here to subscribe and win a hunt with Chacma Safaris!

Watch the video at http:// www.africanhunting. com/magazines/chacma_safari_vodeo.htm

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n

ith a

em

w ebb eW

Gra

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x Ory

n

take


Trophy Gallery

John Minetti w

ith a leopard

taken in Zimba

bwe

ibia

am

N n in

Christer Hanson with a Black Wildebeest taken in South Africa

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Eduard Weis killed his buffalo in CAR on the very spot where the ancient bongobuffalo markings were made by the ancient pygmies

onster ok this m uth Africa to k e r a if So Mark Fe wazulu-Natal, K Nyala in

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DIVING with DEATH

Share the ocean with a Great White

On your visit to Cape Town after your hunt, skip the wine tasting and get an adrenaline overdose. The White Shark Diving Company was born out of a once small fishing village of Kleinbaai, which is a part of Gansbaai on Africa’s eastern coast and 2 hours from the city lights of South Africa’s mother city, Cape Town. It is the experience of the staff that has ensured the WSDC team have remained as the industry leaders since the company’s inception 11 years ago. WSDC has by far the most experienced crew amongst shark diving operators. The skipper Ronnie has 14 years experience in these waters, and the DiveMaster Coenie (coined the Steve Erwin of the Shark diving world!), has 11 years experience of

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handling Great Whites. This all co-ordinated by the “Mayoress” of the Shark Diving fraternity Mariaan, who is the Operations Manageress in Kleinbaai. The starts with either a transfer from Cape Town to Kleinbaai, or an over night stay at The Whale and Shark lodge, Here you will be greeted by our lodge manageress, Vuje, and her assistant Cloe for a leisurely buffet breakfast. This is followed by briefing on the day of the dive from the site guide, translator (four languages), and videographer Lalo Saidy. Lalo has 5 years experience of filming Great Whites, along with his rescue diver qualification and is an integral part of the team while out at sea. He creates DVDs of every shark trip and you will have an opportunity after your dive to get a copy of your very own personal shark encounter on film.

A short stroll down to Kleinbaai harbour, and you will board the ‘White Shark’ which is a 34ft Dive Cat deep-sea cabin cruiser, to experience Africa’s wildest dream. Hold on, you tell yourself: you will survive this. The trip out to sea takes about 20 minutes, where they anchor and start chumming (an approved method of attracting sharks). The White shark diving company adheres to strict environmentally correct chumming practices, and, according to legislation, only uses sea based fish (normally tuna) which is gutted before use. It is the oil of the fish that is used to attract these magnificent creatures.

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The great white is regarded as an apex predator with its only real threats from humans. They are very curious animals and can display a high degree of intelligence and personality when conditions permit. The terror of the seas arrives and your heart misses a beat. The Great White Shark, (Carcharodon carcharias) lives in almost all coastal and offshore waters which have a water temperature of between 12 and 24° C (54° to 75°F). They reach lengths of more than 6m (20 ft) and weigh up to 2,250kg (5,000 lb). When you are told that the great white shark is the world’s largest known predatory fish, you nod and clench your buttocks. The Great White Shark is a surface feeder and most of the activity takes place on or very close to the surface. It

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is one of only a few sharks known to regularly lift its head above the sea surface to gaze at other objects such as prey; this is known as “spy-hopping”. This occurs fairly frequently during a diving trip, especially in our winter months (April- October) when there is a higher concentration of sharks and increased activity of Great Whites. While very little is known about the Great White biology with regards to mating, gestation periods, etc, Marine Biologists in South Africa have tracked a Great White swimming from Gansbaai to the northwestern coast of Australia and back - a round trip of 20,000 km (12,000 miles) in under 9 months!


Once the sharks arrive, the crew gives you an honorable option and they politely ask if you want to do surface viewing from the boat (because by now they know you are petrified) or they invite you don your wetsuit and do a cage dive. This is your opportunity to see the Great White up close and personal while the woosies view these magnificent creatures from the safety of the upper deck. The theme from Jaws start playing in your head and you quickly try to remember if your life insurance covers being eaten by a Great White as a reluctant hors de ovre. Diving time is unlimited, you hear them say. Yeah right, you think. I’m going to be in and out of there so quickly that my suit won’t even get wet. Now the fragile-looking five man cage floats partially above and below the water surface. This is it!. Heart

WIN

pounding and adrenalin pumping, your knuckles turn white as you clutch the inside ring and wait for the shark to approach even closer. “Now!” You pray and jump into the cage. As the cold water closes over you hyperventilate through the hooker system and franticly try to locate the shark. Death seems very near. For a heart-stopping moment your eyes meet. The shark is close. Huge. Menacing. Terrifying. And yet – strangely beautiful. Quite suddenly, fear is dwarfed by wonder as two superpredators meet face to face. The superb design and effortless grace of the Great White hold you spellbound as time flies by unnoticed. You feel fully alive – and truly disappointed when you have to go back to the normal world.

a dive with a Great White Shark

Win a Great White Shark cage dive with full luxury accommodation in the Gansbaai in the fairest Cape, South Africa.

http://www.africanhunting.com/magazines/diving_with_death.htm

White Shark Diving Company Kleinbaai, South Africa Phone: 0027 (0) 21 671 4777 Mobile 00 27 (0) 82 559 6858 info@sharkcagediving.co.za www.sharkcagediving.co.za

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Mazwita and Relax Crew We sent Thea and Charlotte to Mazwita Bush Camp to give us a ladies’ perspective on a superb private lodge. There seems to be a worldwide tendency these days for people to desire a place where food, friends and surroundings are whole-

some, pure and true as opposed to fast, false and cement. There is a longing for the good old days even by people who never had any “good old days”; people who grew up with skyscrapers, morning traffic and coffee from paper cups. For such seekers of the honestly good and even those who are just looking for a “getaway” there is no better place to come home to than Mazwita. This four-star Bush-Camp is located 40 kilometers (23 miles) from the famed Kruger National Park. It rests in the shadow of the Makonjwa mountain range close to Barberton in Mpumalanga, South Africa. Zebra, Kudu and Bushbuck are immediately spotted as they graze along the winding road to the camp. At the open-air foyer the wild sound of a cowhide drum and hardwood fires burning in steel stands create a truly African atmosphere of mystery and adventure. Along a neat wooden pathway one is ushered into the cleverly designed boma area where wilderness and civilized comforts can be enjoyed: A crackling campfire with chairs informally arranged around it invites guests to savour the comfortable warmth of the camp. Dark wooden furniture creates a unique setting for a romantic dinner even in rainy weather. A wooden viewing deck with a pool reaches to a tree-enclosed area with a waterhole where Wildebeest, Impala, Warthogs, Giraffe and many others come to drink and enjoy their leafy meals in very close proximity to guests.

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Ecstasy an Combining great hunting and luxury


nd Luxury travel

Contact Mazwita Bush Lodge at 0826041190 South Africa

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Another wooden pathway leads to the various chalets; each with its own unique ambiance in surrounding bush as well as décor and furnishings. Crisp white designer linen combines with soft African touches in color, texture and wooden furniture in these private and exquisite chalets. The ensuite bathrooms are comfortable and tastefully decorated with many luxurious amenities. On the wooden deck in front of each chalet a marvelous bush breakfast is served, and is also the perfect platform from which to enjoy a private view on nature. The hosts and well-trained staff are ever attentive to the preferences of guests. Special care is taken to arrange the stay of each guest or set of guests according to their ideal getaway experience. Those who are seeking solitude can truly find themselves in the peaceful surroundings abounding with beauty. Guests who came to experience the people and the camp will be drawn into the immense passion and love of nature so evident in the amazing experiences the hosts have to share about all the inhabitants of their home in the bush. They have given lodging to many an injured or abandoned wild animal, so that their present family extends to a Mongoose, a Bushbuck and even a Lourie. Although these are all back in the wild, they sometimes still have unexpected but familiar reunions with these friends and family members. For the adventurous guests, microlight flights can be arranged. Mazwita is also only an hour’s drive from the Kruger National Park and very close to Swaziland. Game drives in an open viewing vehicle are also offered to guests. A little way out in the bush, a giant Wild Fig tree lodges a family of monkeys. With the clusters of fruit ripe for the picking these mischievous long-tailed rascals and many birds enjoy more than their share of dinner, bed and breakfast! Watching these monkeys enjoy the bounty of their treehouse one can not help but realize that there lies the secret of life at Mazwita: enjoy the abundance without reserve. Contact Mazwita at www.mazwita.co.za For guests who want to be pampered in spa-style, the RLXcrew can be arranged. These neatly uniformed ladies bring their portable salon to guests wherever they are! On visiting Mazwita, they set up salon – complete with beds, heated blankets and bubbling foot spas on the viewing deck, so that we received a relaxing pedicure, Indian head- and Hot Stone massages while listening to birdsong and snorting antelope under a canopy of Leopard trees, Wild fig and Acacias. It just doesn’t get better than this! “Pampering clients is our passion!” says Hantie, director of RLX-crew. All beauticians and Masseuses are well trained and striving for excellence in what they do. All beauty treatments except waxing are available on request, as well as a variety of massages. Contact the RLX Crew at www.rlxcrew.co.za

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Contact RLX Crew at loveit@rlxcrew.co.za or 086 689 0746 South Africa

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The Hunter’s Pot African Bushveld Cuisine

Petro Edgcumbe has been a world-class African chef for many years. Petro created her own exclusive African chilli condiment range and provided exclusive cuisine consultation to a number of corporations. She is now writing her own unique African recipe book. We will feature some of her culinary creations in future issues.

Starter CAMEMBERT OR BRIE CHEESE WEDGES •

2 Camemberts

3 eggs lightly beaten

60 ml cake flour, seasoned with a little salt

160 ml cornflake crumbs

Oil for deep frying

• 200 ml cranberry sauce or jelly and fresh fruit for decoration Cut the Camembert into wedges and dip each wedge

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into beaten egg then into the seasoned flour. Dip once again in the beaten egg, and then finely coat with sesame seeds. Refrigerate the wedges for about 40 minutes. Use a large saucepan to heat the oil. When oil is hot, fry the Camembert wedges until golden in colour. Remove and leave on absorbent paper and serve immediately with cranberry sauce and fresh fruits.

Venison in beer Ingredients:

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1 kg Gemsbuck

2 onions chopped,

250g rindless bacon cut into pieces

2 apples peeled, cored and chopped

1 beef stock cube dissolved in 1 cup of hot water

3 tablespoons redcurrant jelly or cranberry jelly

340 ml beer

Salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley


Delicious Sago Pudding • 4 cups milk • 1 cup sago • ¾ cup sugar • 2 tablespoons butter • ¼ cup sultanas • ¼ cup seedless raisins • ¼ cup pitted chopped dates • 4 eggs separated • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence • 5 tablespoons smooth apricot jam • 1 ml salt Boil the milk and butter on gentle heat. Add the sago, sugar and dried fruit. Boil until sago is transparent. Stir regularly. Remove from the stove. Separate the eggs and beat the yolk with vanilla and salt. Mix with the cooled sago mixture. Pour into an oven proof dish. Beat the egg whites with 4 tablespoons sugar till stiff peak. Spread the apricot jam over the sago mixture. Place the beaten egg whites on top and bake in oven of 180 C for 30 minutes until light brown in colour. Serve with vanilla ice cream and custard and decorate with shepherd’s bush or lavender leaves. Stand back to avoid being trampled •

2 cloves garlic crushed

Fry onion till translucent, add the bacon and garlic fry until golden. Remove from stove. Fry the meat in a little oil until the juices are sealed and slightly brown. Place the meat, onion, bacon and garlic in an oven proof dish with a lid. Mix the beer, redcurrant jelly, beef stock, salt, pepper, parsley and apples together. Pour this over the meat and over. Bake in the oven 150 C for about 1 and ½ to 2 hours until tender. Thicken sauce with soup powder or corn flour. Serve with creamy mashed potatoes and a salad.

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True North The Clue

And I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. U2. There is a secret set within each of our hearts. It often goes unnoticed, we rarely can put words to it, and yet it guides us throughout the days of our lives. This secret remains hidden for the most part in our deepest selves. It is simply the desire for life as it was meant to be. Isn’t there is a life you have been searching for all your days? You may not always be aware of your search, and there are times when you seem to have abandoned looking altogether. But again and again it returns to us, this yearning that cries out for the life we prize. It is elusive, to be sure. It seems to come and go at will. Seasons may pass until it surfaces again. And though it seems to taunt us, and may at times cause us great pain, we know when it returns that it is priceless. For if we could recover this desire, unearth it from beneath all other distractions and embrace it as our deepest treasure, we would discover the secret of our existence. We all share the same dilemma - we long for life and we’re not sure where to find it. We wonder if we ever do find it, can we make it last? The longing for life within us seems incongruent with the life we find around us. What is available seems at times close to what we want, but never quite a fit. We must journey to find the life we prize. And the guide we have been given is the desire set deep within, the desire we often overlook, or mistake for something else or even choose to ignore. The greatest human tragedy is simply to give up the search. There is nothing of greater importance than the life of our deep heart. To lose heart is to lose everything. And if we are to bring our hearts along in our life’s journey, we simply must not, we cannot abandon this desire. And so Gerald May writes, There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies. We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake… Our true identity, our reason for being, is to be found in this desire. The clue as to who we really are and why we are here comes to us through our heart’s desire. Post a comment on our weblog at http://africanhunting.wordpress.com/

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From The Sacred Romance. With permission from John Eldredge www.ransomedheart.com


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African Expedition Magazine Volume 1 Issue 1