RANCE SAFARIS,EASTERN CAPE, Brian and Denise Welker Safari EP2

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RANCE SAFARIS,EASTERN CAPE, Brian and Denise Welker Safari EP2

On day two we focused our hunting to the higher altitude areas where the vegetation of acacia thickets and valley bushveld transforms into large pockets of tall forested thickets and open grasslands – as we slowly climbed our way up the mountains away from the Great Kei River the temperature dropped a considerable amount of 5 to 10 degrees Celsius. Again we weren’t too sure of what we’d bump into up there.  We’d stop every so often to glass across the vast valleys where we spotted heaps of kudu, zebra, giraffe, waterbuck and warthog, and a few lone sable bulls which may need a closer inspection.  As we got close to the top of the mountain we found a herd of 8 mountain reedbuck sheltering down from the cold misty weather.  There was a great looking ram in the bunch so we devised a plan and set off on a stalk. It’s always tricky coming up from underneath your quarry, we just managed to keep low enough out of their sight. As we skirted around the hill the Ram was just below the skyline above us, Denise slid onto the sticks and made a great 200 yard shot, a lovely old ram!

While we were taking photos and enjoying some coffee, we spotted a lone Black Wildebeest bull that looked really good from far, so we repositioned, got the wind in our favour and started a very long stalk that would take us through 2 valleys and up some serious terrain.  After much huffing and puffing we finally got up to the bench that we had marked a kilometre away.  As we poked our heads up the bull was still there feeding away from us.  We had to scramble a number of times until we could get within distance.  By this stage the cold breeze had picked up considerably making a steady rest off the sticks extremely difficult for Denise.  As the bull finally stopped and turned broadside the shot rang out and the wildebeest took off over the hill at a rate of knots.  Judging by the sound and reaction from the animal, it seemed as if he was hit a bit far back.  The soft wet ground made for easy tracking which we did for half a kilometre or so, as we tracked around into the next head of a valley we found him lying down and Denise was quick to put another shot into him.  He was a magnificent old Black Wildebeest with serious bosses, and he expired in the most perfect place for photos!

Coming up… some more kudu action and a grumpy Cape Buffalo!

Cheers,

Craig Middleton

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