Summary of Lindon's 5th Safari
Operator - Mbalabala Safaris/ MJK Safaris PH's -Lin Stanton/Pierre Hundermark/Mike Blignaut
Hunters-Neil,Greg and Ramie
Observers-Anthony and Ray Hunt- Non Trophy Elephant ,Crocodile and Hippo Area - Hwange Communal All three hunters had hunted with Mbalabala Safaris before ,for most of them it was there third trip. After all arrived at the beautiful Victoria falls we headed an hour south of the falls to our hunting camp in the Deka Tail safari area. After a lovely meal and watching both buffalo and elephant drinking at the waterhole in front of camp a good nights sleep was had by all.
The first morning we all got up early had breakfast and headed down to a river close to camp where we had seen sign of several Elephant Bulls crossing and feeding down the river. We did see some tracks of bulls but looks like they were heading towards the boundary so we left them. Mike called me on the radio and said he had seen what looked like a bull walking on the side of a hill,it was not far from where we were so we headed to meet him as we got there we saw what looked like an old bull with short thick ivory. We decided to go have a closer look.after following for an hour we caught up to him feeding away from us as we started to get close to him he walked off,we followed for another twenty mins just behind him until he eventually stopped. We could see him standing looking and listening he knew something was up we walked quietly up to about thirty yards and stopped as we did so he walked straight towards us, Greg made a perfect frontal brain shot and the giant beast collapsed in front of us. After photos and cutting a road to recover the elephant. The rest of the day was spent following various tracks and recovering.
The next day we moved down to our camp on the Zambezi river where we had lots of activity of elephant. We set off down to the Matetsi River to look for tracks, we did pass some young bull tracks on the way down but decided to look for better tracks. Once we got to the river it was evident that there was lots of bulls feeding along the river. It didn't take us long to find big tracks of two elephant bulls. After following them for about three hours from the night before they moved off the river and started up into the hills. It was starting to get very hot, (well into the forties) It wasn't long and the trackers spotted them standing in the shade they had now joined another five or six younger bulls. We could see that one bull had a much bigger body than all of them and had about twenty pounds of ivory. We waited for a few seconds until he presented us with a frontal brain shot Ramie shot a little high but enough to slow the bull down He put another shot in the side brain as it turned and then another behind the shoulder. Lots of photos were taken and several bottles of water was drank . The recovery took hours as there was no way to make a road. After a long hard day, it was good to get into camp and have an ice cold beer in the pool.
Our plan for Day 4 was to head back down to the Matesi River, but above from where we were the day before. As we started heading down the hill towards the Matetsi, the trackers banged on the roof, they had spotted a young elephant bull. We all jumped out to have a look, but deicded that it was to small. As it got our wind, it went crashing through some trees, we could hear other elephant had also run through the trees, After checking the tracks, we could see that there were about 10 - 15 bulls that had joined our original smaller elephant. There were some decent size tracks, so we decided to follow them. After three or four hours of tracking them, it looked like they were not going to let up, we called the vehicle in and tried to cut the tracks. Before the vehicle had arrived, we bumped into the bulls we were following, these bulls had now joined up with another 20 or so bulls. As we got close to them, they moved through a huge open clearing, we could see that there were some huge tuskers in this herd. We left all the trophy bulls and found a nice sized 25 pounder, big body, thick tusks. Neil made a perfect heart/lung shot. After the shot, it went 20 yards and collapsed, we put a final shot into him. Fortunately we were able to bring the vehicle in close which made recovery alot easier in the heat. Villagers from the surrounding communities collected their meat and we went back to the cool comfort of our lodge.
The following day, we went in search of crocodiles. Both Greg and Ramie were fortunate enough to take a crocodile each on the same day, one was 14foot 3 inches and the other was 14 foot 9 inches both Greg and Ramie were very happy with the crocs. Next day was spent looking for hippo, where again Greg and Ramie shot a bull each on the same day. The local villagers were so happy to have some much needed meat in their diet as the hippo and crocodile meat were distributed.We spent the next two days looking for a klipspringer,hyena and catching a few tiger fish,with an extra day we all headed to Victoria Falls. We stayed at the beautiful Bayete Guest Lodge (www.bayeteguestlodge.com). Over sun downers which overlooked the watering hole in fromt of Victoria Falls Safari lodge, we chatted about our safari and it was unanimously decided that a good time was had by all. I look forward to seeing everyone again in Las Vegas next year.