Africa Hunting Safaris Houston TX
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Planning an African Safari - Part 1
The undulating hills and rugged rock koppies made for a beautiful setting under the warm South African sun. Feathery umbrella-shaped acacia trees and thorn bushes dotted the landscape, relieving the vast grassy plain. We enjoyed perfect weather, while scoping the herds of long-faced, red hartebeest. Since both males and females of the species have tall horns, it takes a practiced eye to tell the difference from two hundred yards. A hundred or more of the brush-tailed beasts ranged across the dry African bushveld, but we had yet to see the really impressive bull. After two days combing the bushveld for the perfect trophy, Piet and I spotted a bachelor herd of about 20 bulls spread out against the base of a rocky hill.
In the middle of the group, stood a magnificent bull with magnificent “S” curved horns perched atop his elongated head. We pulled around to the far side of the hill and began our stalk. Slowly working our way up through the thick, bushy undergrowth, we caught short glimpses of lute-shaped horns and deep russet hides glinting in the sun. Traveling through sandy soil littered with crisp, dry leaves, in the company of a Professional Hunter (PH) and two trackers is no quiet task. A few too many crackles, and the herd was onto us, moving smoothly away into deeper cover.
We hunkered down for a long wait, while the bulls settled back into the calm of the afternoon. Finally, we were able to ease our way quietly out onto a rock promontory, to gain a better view. Imagine our surprise to find the herd bedded down immediately below us in a densely wooded copse. Watching closely through the binoculars, we tried in vain to find the bull we had spotted earlier, the one with recurved horns. The bulls began to meander through small openings in the brush, making the sighting easier but identification even more difficult.
Finally, I spotted the graceful “S” horns moving toward the next clearing. It was the pride of the herd. He moved into the open, and I took careful aim, placing my crosshairs right on the crease of his shoulder. At the retort of the .06 the brush exploded with scattering red bulls. I held my breath, trying to track my trophy through the scope, as he kicked up his heels and bolted into the bush. Four pairs of eyes watched, and no one saw him emerge from the thicket. Uncertain of the kill, we made our way down the rocky hillside into the copse. The bull lay a mere 15 feet from where I had hit him. Here was a beautiful trophy, adding a true sense of accomplishment to the thrill of hunting the bush in Africa.
Planning an African safari can be a very exciting and rewarding process in its own right. It is often necessary to book a hunt a year or two in advance. Learning about Africa, its animals and its people, can build a pleasing sense of anticipation, helping to maintain the excitement over this extended time. Since much of Africa lies in the Southern hemisphere, the seasons are opposite North America. In most Southern countries...