I have roeen longing for the smell of the ironwood campfires, the endless mopane and acacia trees that look as if the countryside has been given a buzz cut. The sight of giraffe roaming among them with neck and head four feet higher than almost all of the trees. The feel of the red sandy soil as it seems to get onto and into everything. The taste of the wild game. blue wildebeast, eland, and impala, like the one I harvested on my last trip . . .
While I may get my share of hunting here at home and in nearby states, the lure of a far away land, where so many different languages are spoken has been occupying my sleeping and waking moments for over a year. Taunting me even more were the emails back and forth arranging the taxidermy and shipments from my last trip to South Africa.
Then the email teasers started, the phone calls taunting me with plans for an upcoming trip by a friend of mine from Del Rio, Texas. Hints of culling an out-of-control Impala herd from a helicopter with a suppressed .30-06. Tagging along to be backup on a Cape Buffalo hunt. Four days of fishing for monster tiger fish and a crocodile hunt in Mozambique.
Then I made the trip to the Safari Club International convention, meeting outfitters from all over the planet. I saw my new, old friends from the Republic of South Africa. The straw that broke the camelflage’s back…
The previous professional hunter, Eli van der Walt, who was our guide has opened up two new concession/hunting areas. One is in the Limpopo area of northern South Africa, and the other is a huge concession in central Mozambique. It has over 20 miles of the Zambezi River running through it. The crocs there haven’t been hunted in years.
After staying with me in between sportsman’s shows he was attending, Eli made me an offer I couldn’t turn down. As he left my house, Eli and I shook hands. I will be seeing him again on April 18th.
I’ve been glued to his web site every since in anticipation.
My mind has been in warp drive. First thoughts are rifle selection. I am dying to take RF’s .500 S&W Big Horn Armory lever gun. Here is my friend Larry, a 7-time African safari veteran, enjoying some recoil therapy with it last week.
I also want to take my trusty .375 H&H if I’m going to be backup on a Cape Buff expedition. Ruark’s admonishment, “use enough gun” rings in my ears. As the double rifle I’m buying won’t get here in time, the Sako will have to do. Besides, Eli carries a .460 Weatherby Mag.
As I write this a hunting buddy, Bill, has opted to come along. He carries a Blaser bolt gun in .416 Remington Mag. He’s hunted every continent but Asia. Now I’m feeling much better in case there is a repeat charge of ‘black death.’
Since I opted for the smaller plains game on the last trip, I’m going a for something a bit larger this time.
Kudu…hopefully over 55 inches horns And Gemsbok…I’d be tickled pink at 36 inch horns
While these plains game animals are on the larger size — 400-500 lbs. or better — the .500 S&W should be perfect. With the Winchester platinum tip 400 grain bullets, I’m holding under two inches with the now lock-tited iron sights. I’m also after baboon and maybe bushbuck. Yeah, the .500 should work fine.
All I need to do is head on up to the customs office at PDX to register them all on the form 4457. This allows the re-importation of the boomsticks. I have downloaded the South African version. It’s called a SAPS 520 form. This allows the temporary importation of allowed firearms into their country and export back out. Forms for rifles going into Mozambique are done upon arrival (no semi-automatic rifles allowed).
Next on the list was a check of immunizations required for Mozambique. According to the State Department and the CDC, nothing needed. They do say that a prophylactic dose of something for malaria is a good idea, though, so I’ve got the appointment scheduled with the doc to get a good supply of Doxycycline.
Next step, airline. I certainly won’t be going through London again. Nope, this time it’s a direct flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg. Ugh. 15 hours. Stay tuned. It’s gonna be epic!