Our awesome African adventure
Africa: Third Time is a Charm
Jim Paine in Africa!
2014 Dries Visser Adventure - Peyton
Peyton on a adventure in South Africa with Dries Visser Safaris.
Bowhunting Namibia: Terry Cockburn
7-Day hunt with Dries Visser Safaris, Lifetime of Memories
Dries Visser Safaris Adventure
Our group of 5 Hunters and one observer just returned from our first trip to Africa.
My 2013 Safari with Dries Visser Safaris
This was my second safari, first in South Africa and I had an amazing time.
Back from Dries Visser Safaris - 2013
Namibian Live Hunt-Bitter Sweet Trip - Staley Keck
This moment in time is bitter sweet, two weeks ago we learned Lila was pregnant after being told we could never conceive and several miscarriages. I had always heard to make God laugh make plans, boy were they right. After several trips to the doctor we got our first ultrasound Friday, a healthy embryo and beating heart! GOD IS GREAT!!!!
Pinch me! I’m either dreaming, gone to the Happy Hunting Grounds or I’ve been hunting with Dries Visser Safaris in South Africa! In September 2011 while archery hunting with Dries Visser Safaris I shot 11 plains game trophies in 72 hours. My PH, Nico, helped me select trophies that had mass, character and age. I quickly learned to trust his judgement. He became a lifelong friend. I was the only hunter in camp but, I felt that no corners were cut. I got the full experience. The accommodations were elegant and very comfortable. The food was delicious and plentiful. The whole staff took great care of me. Dries treated me honestly and fairly. I felt safe. My travel connections, pick-ups and transfers went extremely smoothly. Dries Visser Safaris provided excellent service from the moment they picked me up at the Johannesburg Airport arrival gate to returning me back to the airport, helping me check my bags, bow and even taking me to the entrance of the Security Gate for my return trip home. Everything went so smoothly. WOW! The hardest part of the trip was the 15 hour trans-Atlantic flight. I’ve dreamed of going on an African safari since I was a kid but, I didn’t know where to go or how to start the process. Luckily, my friend Rich Coburn and his son Ryan went on an archery safari with Dries Visser Safaris in September 2010 and gave me an enthusiastic recommendation. I did a little more research on bowsite.com and the Dries Visser Safaris website at www.dvisser-safaris.com and was quickly convinced that this was the place to go. I was not disappointed. After this experience there is no need to shop further. When I return to hunt Africa I will hunt with Dries Visser Safaris. If you are interested in an African safari I highly recommend Dries Visser Safaris. They can accommodate rifle as well as bow hunters. You can hunt with another safari company, pay more, hunt harder, stay longer, see fewer animals, see lesser quality trophies, get less service and have more frustrations, but why? Dries Visser Safaris has it all. Search no more… it doesn’t get better than this. Pinch me!
In conclusion, I have no hunter’s remorse; I shot the best trophies I saw. I didn’t pass on anything that later I wished I had taken and I didn’t see anything bigger after shooting the trophies I got. Thanks Nico and Dries. I can’t wait to go back and finish my quest for one of everything!
Darin D. Kerr (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Namibia and South Africa throught the lens of Darin Kerr
Jailer back from Dries Visser Safaris Namibia
Got back a week ago from Dries Visser Namibia.
Payton Meredith reporting on his hunt - 20-29 August 2011!
Our group just returned from a fantastic hunt with Dries Visser Safaris. We had a great time, shot some awesome critters, saw hundreds of animals, met some great people…I just don’t know what else to say. All of our expectations were blown away. Three of the folks in our group had been to RSA before, two of us twice before so we had a pretty good idea of what to expect…but that being said we were not prepared for the amount of game we saw over a week of hunting.
Just a few details and I will get to some pictures!
I’m going to post some of the pictures I took, just a few out of the several hundred. I won’t post pictures of the other people in our group out of respect and I’m sure they will post their own pics.
My PH was Nico…I can’t say enough good things about this guy. He worked his tail off to make sure I had a good time and went home with a bushbuck. By the end of the first day I considered him a friend and I always felt we were hunting “together” and not just as PH and client.
I only shot 4 animals, mostly because many of the animals I could have shot I already have hanging on the wall and I just couldn’t afford to shoot anymore! I passed up shots on kudu (at least a dozen over 50″), blue wildebeest, hartebeest, diker, steenbok, blesbok, eland, warthog,….etc. I shot an impala, gemsbok, waterbuck and bushbuck and had multiple shot opportunities on gemsbok and waterbuck. The amount of game we saw was unreal. I bet, when hunting the main Citadel properties, there was maybe 20 minutes when there was not a bunch of game in front of us.
Nico worked really hard to get me my bushbuck…the #1 animal on my “list” I wanted to hunt this trip. In two previous trips I had never even seen a bushbuck so I knew it would be tough hunting. We hunted two different areas about an hour from Citadel for 3 days until we finally connected.
On the 3rd day I shot the first bushbuck we saw that day…a great old 13″ ram. He was slightly quarting to me when I shot him at about 24 yards. I shot him for 20 and he ducked right into the arrow, tight behind the shoulder. The arrow angled back and exited near his rear leg.
So when we took up the trail general the wonder dog took off and immediately starting barking…telling us the ram was still alive. The ram came busting out of the bush right at us. At about 5 yards, Nico pushed me out of the way so the ram would get him instead of me (I thought it was nice of him) but the ram veered to the left, ran into some bushes and died. My heart was in throat….it was awesome…
Join Tim Metcalf as he bowhunts a wild leopard in South Africa
Tim Metcalf bowhunts a wild leopard in South Africa
Africa Myth Buster #3 by Wade Nolan
Q- Flying to Africa sounds like an adventure. How do I pull it off?
A – If you’re coming to Namibia with us you will need to fly all 8000 miles from Peoria or from where you hang your hat. You do have choices on flying. In the end, you’ll be flying into Hosea Kutako International Airport located in Windhoek. The airport is located about 23 miles out of town. We’ll meet you there and drive you to camp.
Routes to Windhoek Namibia include flying to Europe first then Air Namibia flies direct four times a week from Frankfurt Germany. The other route is via Johannesburg South Africa on Delta, SAA or KLM. You’re looking at about 18-20 hours of flying from the US. Cost is about $2000. Dries Visser’s hunting area is north of Gobabis in the South-West Kalahari. The drive to camp from the airport is 3+ hours.
Q- What will the hunt look like on an hourly basis?
A – Breakfast at daybreak and in the blind by sun-up. You will sit at ground level in cool and totally enclosed masonry blind with one way glass and sliding windows. You will be able to see the water hole from your chair. Now we wait and watch. Lunch and snacks in the blind. Some days you may sit all day at one location or some days you may change blinds at midday.
Q – What kinds of wildlife may I see from the blind? Will there be variety?
A – I’ve seen monitor lizards come in for a drink. Occasionally a leopard or cheetah may drop by. Bird life is varied and will be totally new to your eyes. There are Grey Louries who will make a racket and flocks of Ginnie fowl sometimes drop by that may number in the hundreds. Then beautiful flycatchers will float in on the morning breeze and they may be as colorful as a rainbow. Francolin, a grouse-like bird will visit for a drink and add their loud call to the ambiance of the waterhole.
Some days baboons will troop in and other days it will be only plains game. Zebras will come in cautiously and it make them an hour to move 100 yards. Gemsbok will usually be seen in small herds. Kudu females and calves will come alone and then the bulls in bachelor groups will arrive. Wildebeest are usually be in herds as will Impala. In the fall the Impala bulls will be roaring like European Red Deer. The huge Eland will approach in a herd and the big bulls will remind you of Brahma Bulls with long legs. I have had 100 animal days while sitting at a single blind.
Q – Will I ever have a day when I can sleep in and hunt only after lunch?
A – Yes. The hunting is sometimes so good that you may take two animals in a single day and you may want to relax the next morning and only hunt the afternoon.
Q – How will I know what animals are suitable trophies?
A – A guide will be with you. The 1X1 hunts mean that the guide is always present. You will be briefed on what constitutes a trophy animal so you will know what to look for. If this is your first trip to Africa I recommend following the advice of your professional hunter.
Q – How far are the shots?
A – The shots are uniformly close. The waterholes are all set so you can have a20 yard or less shot at any animal getting a drink. If you are patient, you will get easy shots at broadside plains game at 20yds or less.
Q – What bow gear do I need to bring?
A – Your whitetail set-up will work just fine. If you can pull 60# it will insure better penetration. These are not thick-skinned animals so you don’t have to imaging you are hunting Alaska-Yukon Moose. Dries shoots a compound and so do most hunters. We have taken many guys who shoot traditional equipment and they can do just as well as the compound guys.
Q – How accurate should I be shooting before I arrive?
A – You need to be able to consistently hit an orange at 20 yards. Shooting at real animals will rattle you a bit so if you can shoot 4-inch groups in practice you will be on target from the blind.
Q – What about broadhead selection?
A – Any fixed blade broadhead at least one inch wide that you can group with will be adequate. Mechanicals are legal in Namibia. The bigger the cut the better your chance of recovering the animal. You will be charged a trophy fee for all hit and unrecovered animals.
Q – What about arrow type and weight?
A – You should consider an arrow whose total weight is 400-450 grains. This will carry enough kinetic energy when shot from a 60# compound to pass through most plains game. Most hunters utilize a carbon arrow although wood arrows are legal and may be the choice of some traditional hunters.
Q – Is shot placement different on African Plains Game than it is on a whitetail deer?
A – Yes. As a rule the vitals of plains game is far forward and as a result you must hold straight above the front leg/ body juncture and place the shot in the V beneath the shoulder blade. There is a great book in this topic called, “The Perfect Shot” by Kevin Robinson. Dries and his guides also have some illustrations they use to school you on shot placement. Broadside of quartering away are of course the best shots and the only shots you should ever take.
Q – What about taking care of my trophies in campo and getting then home?
A – Dries Visser has a trained staff of experienced skinners who will carefully process your animal and get it ready to be shipped. You can choose shoulder full body or European mounts. Your trophies are then transferred to a dip and ship agent who will prep your trophies for export to the US. There are also a number of quality taxidermists who can mount your animals in Namibia and then crate and ship them to you in the US.
For questions on bowhunting Namibia email me at; email@example.com
For more go to: Dries Visser Safaris
Be sure to check out the videos on www.bowtube.com
Bowhunting Africa: Myth Buster 2
By: Bowhunting Biologist Wade Nolan
Few hunts raise more questions than a bowhunting safari in Africa. My intention is to shed light on an African Bowhunt and make you feel comfortable by unveiling the mysteries. Last time we Q & A talked about the land and the people plus a few universal fears that I debunked. This time we will discuss costs, flights accommodations and details on hunting.
Q- What are the flights like and what do they cost?
A- Overseas flights are conducted in the really big jets like 747 and 757′s. There will be 200 or more people on the flight. It is a long one with the longest leg lasting about 12 hours but the entire trip is more like 21-23 hours of flying. The jet will stop to refuel in Dakar West Africa or in France/Germany or even in Denmark (You do not want to route through Amsterdam however with hunting equipment) on some routes. The preferred route is out of Atlanta or DC Dulles with South African Air which stops once in Dakar to refuel. You will be overfed on these flights and I’ve never had a rough flight.
Cost varies but is about $18-$1900 to Johannesburg South Africa and about $2200 to fly into Windhoek Namibia. You can bring 2 bags, 50# each plus a carry-on. I usually pack some camo clothes in my bow case. You don’t need a lot of clothes as anything you wear that you want washed will be washed, folded and placed on your bed daily. Always carry all of your optics/laptops and expensive stuff with you in the carry-on to be safe. You will be met at the airport and shuttled to the hunting lodge. There is usually a transfer cost unless you purchase a package hunt.
Q – What about a travel visa or passport?
A – You do not need a visa to visit any of the South African countries if you are staying less than 3 months. What you’ll need is a valid passport with at least 3 empty (unstamped pages). You can get one at any major post office. They are good for 10 years. They take about two months to get one from beginning to end so plan ahead.
Q- What does a bowhunting safari cost and do they take Visa?
A – Bowhunting and rifle safaris in Africa are surprisingly reasonable and you’ll typically be way more successful than a hunt in North America… for virtually anything. It is common to pay $5000+ for a caribou hunt, and then there are license fees, plane tickets and lodging before and after the trip. Then if you add an additional caribou there may be another $1000 fee. It is easy to part with 6-7K for a caribou hunt and I have been on caribou hunts when we missed the migration and shot ptarmigan…no caribou.
The same is true for elk in the west. A guide that has a 50% success rate is rare for a rifle hunt and for a bow hunting you’re dreaming if you think your chances are above 25%. Elk hunts cost $4-$6000+ and more if you add in licenses. If you go to Alaska you’re looking at $8000-12,000 for a quality moose hunt and $12-$16,000 for a brown bear hunt on the Alaska Peninsula before flights and licenses/tags. Success rate usually 50% or lower.
Now let’s look at Africa. The success rate is usually above 80%+ per animal. There is no license or tags to buy. Unlike North America these hunts are driven by packages and by a menu approach. For instance If you want to hunt a kudu, gemsbok and a wildebeest plus an impala there is a 4 animal package you can select that includes guiding/food lodging and these animals. The package would be cheaper than paying a trophy fee for each animal individually. In my experience over 90% of the guys buying a package will fill all of their tags. You don’t pay for animals you don’t get.
Q – What do I save by choosing a safari package? Is it the best way to go?
A – Using our new Kalahari concession in Namibia as an example you can buy an economy starter package that includes: Package 5 – 7 Day Special (Namibia): 2 x 1 (2-hunters share a guide)= $3080 Included: 7 Day Plains Game Safaris for 1 hunter with; Pick one: Warthog, Steenbok, Duiker /Pick one: Impala, Blesbok, Springbuck /Pick one: Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest plus an Airfare credit: $500.
Let’s dissect this package… 7 full days of hunting, Arrival and departure days are separate and are $95/day. 2 x 1 guiding, this means that you will have a Professional Hunter with you 50% of the time when in a blind.
The rest of the time you will be hunting alone just like you would be on a treestand hunt for black bear or whitetails. You get to choose what animals you want to take. You will be shown what a trophy warthog, steenbok or impala looks like so you can judge for yourself if a 14 inch trophy warthog or 28 inch R&W impala walks into the waterhole. During the week of hunting you will see dozens of animals a day come to the waterhole from your blind. I have had 50 and 75 animal days at waterholes.
Then you subtract the $500 airfare credit from your travel or you simply subtract that from your package cost and you are down to $2580 for a 7 day African bowhunt with 3 animals. If you were to buy a gemsbok alone from the “menu” the trophy fee would be nearly $1000 dollars. The package is the way to go. The “extras” are limited to a 15% VAT tax on animals you shoot in addition to your package and transfer costs to and from camp.
Q – What about bigger packages are they a better deal?
A – There is a package for a 10-day hunt that includes both more animals: Package 7 – 10 Day Special (Namibia): 1 x 1 = $6130 or 2 x 1 = $5390 10 Day Plains Game Safaris for 1 hunter with; Pick one: Warthog, Steenbok, Duiker /Pick one: Impala, Blesbok, Springbuck/ Pick one: Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest /Pick one: Zebra – Burchell or Hartman, Wildebeest – Blue or Black plus Airfare credit: $500
This is a ten day bowhunting safari that includes a professional guide half of the time and some bigger animals for only $4890 after the airfare credit is applied. Chance of filling all tags is 80%+. If you choose to add animals you can do so from a trophy fee menu. Basically you can enjoy a 7-day Bowhunting safari for the cost of a 6-day caribou hunt where you may get to shoot at a caribou. Africa may be the best bowhunting deal on the planet.
Q – What is the actual hunt like?
A – The day begins with a breakfast in the pre-sunrise dawn. The temp is in the 50′s but will be rising into the 70′s. The ride to the blind takes 20 minutes and you and your PH get comfortable and watch out of one way mirror glass windows at the waterhole whose nearest edge sits at 16 yards and far bank is at 20. First Francolin hens squawk at the rising sun then a flock of native guinea hens file in with their salt and pepper football shaped bodies and get a drink.
In the distance you see a herd of springbok wandering in the Camel thorn trees. Eventually they approach the waterhole. All animals approach water holes with caution in Africa because this is where they often meet with leopards and crocs. Within minutes the herd of springbok, led by a mature buck are drinking.
As the day warms Hartman’s Zebra approach the waterhole and a fight breaks out between two stallions. Their aggressive calls sound like mad donkeys. Finally they drink and leave. Then a small group of gemsbok approaches from behind and walks within 8 feet of the blind. At first you see only their legs passing by from your ground level view. The blind has sealed in your scent and they then dip their heads for a drink at 16 yards. You rise and bring your bow to full draw as your PH slides open the silent window and your finger feels for the release. The bull is quartering away…your finger tenses on the trigger.
Q – What are the hunting blinds like?
A – The blinds are custom built stone, brick or block construction and sunk into the ground so the shooting windows are at ground level. They are 8 x 8 and have a 7 foot ceiling. The floor is usually carpeted and the windows are vertical with views out 3 sides. They are air tight and capture your scent. Ventilation is via a roof vent. The glass is a one-way mirror with silent slide or silent swing opening options. They are typically cool due to their underground contact and usually placed under a shade tree and shadowed.
When you are seated you have a view to the waterhole without standing. There is plenty of room to draw your bow. Dries Visser is a bowhunter himself so he still takes into consideration the sun angle and the wind direction.
Q – Are there ever real deals on Safaris?
A – Yes, Sometimes a safari outfit will offer some discounted package to fill out their schedules. We actually have one right now that is priced lower than any safari I have ever seen in Namibia. This is a bowhunt only and it is for specific dates August 14-20 and August 24-Sept. 2, 2011. The package includes 7 full days of bowhunting and includes gemsbok, hartebeest, warthog and either a steenbok, baboon or duiker for $1995. Or if you’d like more time, a ten day bowhunt for the same animals for $2350. (We have only 4 openings on these hunts left so if you are interested, contact me asap.)
Extras include airport transfers, arrival and depart non-hunting days and VAT tax on wounded game not recovered.
For info email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Africa Myth Buster part 3 we will discuss the actual hunt and what gear you need to be successful; we will also discuss shot placement and trophy mounting options.
Africa Myth Busters: Part 1
By: bowhunting biologist Wade Nolan
Africa will get under your skin faster than a wounded leopard. It’s the majesty, the intrigue and just the sheer adventure we’ve all salivated over from our earliest days in the movie theaters and on TV. Let’s face it, few areas neither hold as much interest and excitement nor conjure up the thing dreams are made of quite like Africa. And yet many hunters hesitate when they hear the word “Africa.” The reason is because they have unanswered questions that make Africa their “Dark Continent”. This article will dispel some of the myths and cast light on this wonderfully wild place.
I’ve been enjoying Africa safaris for 16 years. I love the people and the countryside and I speak from experience in wild places. After spending 17 years in Alaska’s wilderness I promise you that Africa can offer the same kind of wild experience. My Q & A goal is to shed some light on bowhunting and exploring Southern Africa.
Q. Is it safe to travel around in Africa?
A. If you go to the safe countries it is extremely safe.
The safest countries are South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. These countries are all in Southern Africa and share common borders. The political atmosphere is stable and has been stable for a long time. Across 16 years of visiting (Sometimes as long as 6-weeks at a time) I have never had a single negative encounter.
Q. What language do they speak?
A. The good news is that regardless of where you go in Southern Africa everyone speaks English. They are taught English in school and they can both write and read English. English is the language of commerce and Afrikaans is their conversation language.
Q. Who are the Afrikaners?
A. Most of the whites in Southern Africa are Afrikaners. It is a European ethnic group in Southern Africa descended from almost equal numbers of Dutch, French and German settlers whose native tongue is Afrikaans: a Germanic language which derives from Dutch. These are the white farmers/explorers/settlers whose opened up these countries.
Q. What is the population breakdown between native blacks and whites in Africa?
A. In South Africa there is about 43 million people. Approximately 12 million are white. The native Blacks are friendly toward Americans and are some of the nicest folks I’ve ever worked with. In Namibia there are 4 million people and again about ¼ are white. Botswana has a higher percentage of blacks but again my experience with the local blacks is excellent. The Bushmen are mostly found in Botswana and Namibia. There are many different tribal groups in Southern Africa who each have their own language.
Q. Is South Africa like all the Tarzan movies depict? Animal infested trails you have to hack through and natives living in huts?
A. No. Today’s Africa is mostly civilized with quality paved roads linking the major cities. There are still a lot of villages, now called townships, where large black native populations live in concrete block homes with tin roofs. The wildlife that can eat you has largely been relegated to giant national parks. Lions and elephants make poor neighborhood guests.
Q. Is there a major poverty situation among the Blacks in South Africa?
A. No, they are quite healthy in these politically stable countries. The government provides them with staples and most work. In Southern Africa clean water is widely available and you will be surprised to see how well dressed and healthy the native population is. Many own businesses, drive cars, have electric and most have a cell phone. Some still drive donkey carts.
Q. So is it really a tame region, like Ohio?
A. Not really, Africa is vast. South Africa alone is more than twice the size of Texas. It has extensive mountain ranges and wild country left. In these wild places lions still may eat a guy or two and leopards see you as on the menu. Crocodiles still rule the many of the rivers. In Botswana there are large regions where free ranging lions still rule. Leopards in parts of the Kalahari are as abundant as they ever were. The Kalahari Wilderness Reserve is half the size of Pennsylvania and it is as wild as it was 300 years ago. In parts of Namibia there are only a handful of people and it is as wild as Alaska with gemsbok, kudu, springbok, warthogs and Hartebeest roaming free in the western Kalahari. Up near the Caprivi Strip Desert Elephants still roam.
Q. Is Southern Africa full of disease and will I get sick. Do I need a lot of shots and immunizations to travel there?
A. No exotic diseases plague South Africa and no shots are required when you go. Nearly all of South Africa and Namibia are Malaria Free zones. I don’t take malaria pills. The people who live there never take them unless they are going into a jungle area during the rainy season. The area we visit is a desert area similar to Texas or New Mexico and we don’t go in the rainy season. I have never seen a hunter get sick from a disease he picked up in Southern Africa. Aids is common among the Black population however but Aids is also common among some dimensions of our population here in the US.
Q. What are my chances of getting bitten by a poisonous snake while there?
A. About zero, as we visit during the winter when snakes are hibernation. It would be a rare day that you get to see a snake as they avoid people with as much focus as we avoid them. I have never heard of a hunter being bitten by a snake. I recently asked my Professional Hunter if many of his friends or acquaintances in Africa had ever been bitten and he said only twice in his life time did hear of a local snake bite. Your chances are probably the same as getting bit by a rattlesnake on your next Texas whitetail hunt.
Q. What is the weather like? Is the entire country flat?
A. Southern Africa is in the southern Hemisphere so their seasons are flipped. Our winter is their summer and our fall is their spring. During June July and August their winter temps are similar to October in Pennsylvania or March in Texas. Daily highs are usually in the 60-70′s and lows in the 40-50′s. In a word…perfect. Southern Africa is as varied as New Mexico with beautiful mountains and rolling deserts.
In Africa Myth Busters Part 2 I’ll answer some of the more frequently asked safari questions concerning costs, flights and hunting details on animals and gear. Specific questions? Email me at; email@example.com for details on our Bring 3 hunt for free bowhunt offer. www.dvisser-safaris.com
How to shoot a KuduJanuary 19, 2011, 10:23 pm
By bowhunting biologist, Wade Nolan
As we approached the brushy dry wash the gritty Kalahari sand ground under our boots making a slight sound that was accompanied by the human foot cadence. The Kudu Bull connected the dots and thundered away from only 25 yards. He had stood there watching our approach and only “broke” when it was apparent that our path of travel was going to intersect his hid
ing place in the shade of the Grey Camel Thorn tree. His brownish grey coat and vertical stripes had mimicked the thorny brush. Above where he had recently stood a huge yellow grass bird nest, the size of a lazy boy recliner, hung with a flurry of activity focused on the bottom of it. The small sparrow sized Sociable Weaver birds had undoubtedly seen the giant 8-foot tall kudu standing under them, but not Dries Visser and me.
We were scouting the 50,000 acre hunting concession that borders his 10,000 acre bowhunting ranch north of Gobabis in Eastern Namibia. Let’s practice saying the name of this stable African country…ready… Nah-mib-ee-ah. This is southern Africa’s safest and least populated country and way safer to visit than Chicago or Philadelphia. You fly into Windhoek, Namibia. This is not my first trip into the vast Kalahari Desert but it was the first into this particular region. The grass and vegetation was lush compared to the Kalahari I was familiar with. I asked Dries, “Why is it so lush here? We are supposed to be in a desert.” Dries explained, “This particular region is the only area with the Kalahari that gets significant rainfall. The mountains to the east and the swirling winds from the South Pacific seem to converge here and allow this area to be highly productive due to one factor…water. I did a lot of research before settling on this region for our new bowhunting operation. The moisture will mean healthier animals and a shorter time to grow into trophies.”
We walked on and soon came to a waterhole in the open range that was once used for cattle. The tank and windmill still worked fine and the dirt was tacked up like a barnyard…by plains game. A warthog broke from the moist cover as we got closer. Dries pointed out Kudu and Gemsbok tracks plus enough Springbok tracks that it seemed they had rained out of the sky.
“Animals here depend on water provided by these bore holes”, he explained. “Without these the population would be slimmer but these waterholes have been here for most of a hundred years. The animals in the region travel here daily. Dries explained that he was putting in pit blinds at many of the sites and at others he’d brush in ground blinds or even set up a treestand.”
Dries who has been running bowhunts in Africa for 16 years explained that most safari operations are really gun hunting operations that are willing to take a bowhunters money too. His plan is focused on the bowhunter’s needs. “The real challenge for me”, Dries explained,” is placing our new blinds, not a good spot but, in the perfect location. I must take into account the prevailing wind, sun direction and the traditional approach of the animals to the existing waterholes. I see it as a natural history project where I examine all of the factors and then add a predator…a bowhunter.”
Dries, being a bowhunter himself, understands that a reworked rifle set ups won’t do. I remember shooting at a sand pile with him and one of his PH friends, Antoine. He set up a Jack of Diamonds on the sand pile and we began to step back. I figured I could at least come close every time at twenty yards…then we kept walking to thirty, forty and finally to fifty yards. I could hardly see the card let alone hit it plus I only had a 40-yard pin. The pressure was on. I let Dries shoot first…He hit the stinking card on the first shot, then his buddy Antoine shot and nicked the card and turned it sideways. I offered to cut it in half in that I had the sideways shot and came to within 12-inches of doing just that. Oh well, they’re just good at shooting playing cards with a bow I thought. No, they are avid and practiced bowhunters.
All of these puzzle pieces matter if you’re traveling half way around the world to bowhunt plains game. Most bowhunters come here to shoot a “package of plains game”, you know, a multi-species hunt. Most of these packages eventually include a Kudu with the characteristic spiraling horns.
They call him “The Grey Ghost” of Africa. Greater Kudu are to Africa what Elk are to America. Regal and bush wise, this is likely the number one trophy that most bowhunters who travel to the Dark Continent are seeking. Kudu are a large animal standing nearly 6 foot at the shoulder and weighting up to 550 pounds who have the uncanny ability to stand cautiously in the brush for long periods of time and vanish like a ghost. Their coloration is a tawny brown – grey with thin vertical white stripes circling their body. The camouflage quality of this coat is remarkable. Only a mature whitetail buck can be compared to this master of prudence and elusiveness.
By far not the easiest animal to tag, Greater Kudu are natives of the wooded savanna ranges all over Southern and East Africa including the Kalahari and the Namb desert. Unlike a gemsbok, kudu need standing water to drink. They are primarily a browser and target the small twigs and leaves of trees and bushes. Actually they eat a larger variety of forage than any of Africa’s antelope. This contributes to their wide spread range. They even occasionally graze on grasses making them a lot like a whitetail. And like a whitetail, they are great jumpers and can clear an 8 foot fence.
The most noticeable and noteworthy aspect of a Greater Kudu is his tall spiraling black horns. These spiraling horns are only found on bulls. It takes 6 – 7 years for a bull to grow into a trophy. Any bull taken in the open range with a bow is a noteworthy trophy but most hunters consider a bull with 48 inch horns a real winner. The world record is around 74 inches when measured along the crest of the horn. Kudu are a prize trophy regardless of size but there are some doozies here. Here are some successful streaming video bowhunts you can learn from. How To Kill a Kudu
We scouted about a thousand acres of the new open range concession that October day. The waterholes have not been hunted for plains game for decades, if ever. The hunters sitting over the waterholes this year will have a unique opportunity to first at bat. Not that this will ever be overhunted but just the idea of being at the front of the line is intriguing. Robert Hoague and I along with a few friends will be setting up over some of these waterholes in June as we conduct an on-line Africa bowhunt with Bowhunting.net. You’re next up.
Try our African Bowhunter Stimulus Package. Only 4 hunters at a time and the rates will make you smile. In contrast to the last Stimulus Package we dohave a job for you and it involves shooting arrows. Look at this package price: Your income tax refund will pay for this.
Package #5 Namibia (7-day hunt)
$3080 minus Airfare credit: $500 …Hey bubba, that’s only $2580 for a 3 animal hunt in Africa. You can’t hunt whitetails in Illinois for that!
7 Day Plains Game Safaris for 1 hunter with;
Pick one: Warthog, Steenbok, Duiker
Pick one: Impala, Blesbok, and Springbuck
Pick one: Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest
If you’d like to book a week in this bowhunters hot spot email – Bowhuntnamibia@gmail.com I’ll send you our info and tell you about our one time offer:Bring 3 Hunt for Free during the 2011 season.
African Archery Safari – Part 4, Hunt Day 1
In Part 4, Hunt Day 1 of the African Archery Safari series I finally begin my hunt with Dries Visser Safaris in theRepublic of South Africa. These entries will likely contain more detail than some desire, but in keeping with dv’s Mostly Archery mission, I want to help you be more successful and I think the extra details will.
16 August 2010 – Hunt Day 1
I was up at 5:30, had breakfast of cereals, cheeses, juices, “filter” coffee, coffee, yogurt and other odds and ends at 6:00 and was on the road by 6:30. As we pulled up to a waterhole blind with wildebeest present I was instructed it was ours for the day. The wildebeest moved off, but came back after awhile. There were four, but only one small male. On the advice of my PH I decided to pass on that one. They left. Later the wildebeest came back then small warthogs came in then impala, two small males and one female. Warthogs came in a couple of times, but they were all females and little ones. Then there were no more visitors for a long time.
Wade Nolan: Hunt Africa with this Unheard of Opportunity!
Dries Visser Safaris is the only fully exclusive Bowhunting operation serving South Africa… and now Namibia. Dries and his staff are all serious bowhunters and they bring a level of support to bow benders that is unequaled on the Dark Continent. Across the last 16 years Dries and his staff of PH.’s have guided hunters from all over the world to within bow range of trophy plains game and Big 5. Now a new era is beginning in the western Kalahari of Namibia. Dries has opened a new unhunted area in the highest rainfall zone in Namibia and during the summer of 2011 the first bowhunters ever will be sitting over waterholes in carefully built bow blinds waiting for Plains Game.
Not only will Dries be offering 10,000 acres of managed hunting but also a unique 50,000 acre concession of adjacent open range. This area is unique in that it is rich with native plains game. You heard right, we will be hunting free-ranging animals just like you do in America’s west.
The Western Kalahari in this region has large populations of Gemsbok, Kudu, Hartebeest, Springbok Duiker and warthog. Like hunting waterholes for Elk, Mulie’s or Pronghorn in Colorado or Montana these native desert dwellers come in to traditional waterholes where we have blinds set up for “20 yards and broadside”.
To kick start this new Kalahari base camp Dries is offering an unheard of special for 5 groups of hunters (4 in a group). The offer is a “bring 3 hunt for free” offer that will give a group coordinator a bonus for his efforts. We are offering an 8 day safari package on both open range and managed land for the group planner during the summer of 2011. Hunt packages are way more reasonable than your thinking and the new facilities at the Safari Camp are 5-star.
For details contact North American Hunt Coordinator, Bowhunting Biologist, Wade Nolan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Well I’m back. Right off the bat let me say this was an AWESOME trip. Met some good people (all the staff as well as “tinpt” and his wife), took some wonderful trophies and made way too many memories to count. These memories will stick with me forever and I would like to share some of them with the rest of you if you don’t mind my ramblings.
My safari started about 9 years ago when I met Neal (badlander here on the Bowsite). We went on some hunts together here in the States, but about 5 years ago we started planning and saving for this trip. Boy was it worth it.
I left for Neal’s house on July 9th, 2010 (which is my birthday incidentally). On the 10th we flew to Washington D.C. and overnighted at the Marriott (thanks for the supper by the way Neal). On the 11th we took off for Jo’burg. We arrived on the 12th after the 18 hour flight. All of our luggage showed up and after “greasing” some palms in the baggage claim area we made it to the arrivals area. A rep from Gracy Travel met us right away and took us over to the rep for the Afton Guest House. We were transferred to the Afton Guest house in a timely fashion, where we met Annelise and checked into our rooms. We met some other hunters from British Columbia and swapped hunting stories over a wonderful steak dinner. If anyone is planning a safari to South Africa, I would highly recommend both Gracy travel and the Afton Guest House.
On July 13th we were picked up by Stian from Dries Visser Safaris for transfer to Citadel. Incidentally, Stian would by my PH for my hunt as well. We talked a lot about what to expect over the next couple days and our excitement continued to build (as if we needed to get more excited anyway). Neal warned Stian that normally he has the good luck and I have the bad luck when we are hunting, so he would have his work cut out for him over the next couple days. We eventually arrived at camp, got settled in our chalets, checked our bows over then had some gemsbuck steaks for lunch. Duane the camp cook did a wonderful job and kept us fed with excellent food over the next several days.
After lunch we headed to the range to make sure everything was shooting OK. After a couple shots at 15 yards, we backed up to the 30 and I noticed my third shot into the target sounded kinda funny? After walking up there we realized why. I had shot a perfect Robin Hood! Maybe my luck was going to be better after all – I sure couldn’t blame my equipment that’s for sure. If you ever go to Dries Visser Safaris you’ll have to look for my Robin Hood on the “Arrow Hall of Fame” at the bar.
After shooting a little more, Dries Jr. and Stian took us for a game drive in the truck around Citadel. We saw all kinds of animals and built upon the excitement a little more. As we were driving around, Dries got a call on the radio from Nico, who was guiding another hunter on a cape buffalo hunt. He asked if we could come and move them to another blind for the evening. Well one thing turned into another, and we ended up right in the middle of a spot and stalk hunt for a cape buffalo! We got some awesome pics and video of Nico and his client Mark about 10 yards away from a huge bull. Unfortunately when Mark drew the buffalo spotted him and blew out of there. My excitement level was so high I’m pretty sure I would’ve died if I had a heart condition and I hadn’t even started hunting yet.
Neil Finke: Back from Dries Visser Safaris!
I returned on Friday from 8 days of hunting at Dries Visser Safaris. Most of the week I shared camp with ndbwhnter – who I had planned my trip with, and also had the pleasure of meeting fellow bowsiter “tinpt” and his lovely wife Lila. They were a blast to hunt with and I can describe them no better than to say they are just plain good people and it was my pleasure to have shared a camp with them!
Due to an overlap of another hunter who extended 1 more day to try and finish up a cape buffalo hunt my PH – Nico – was not available the first day of my hunt so I was set up with Ben, another PH in camp for the 1st day.
Sitting in my 1st blind of the day, I really couldn’t quite believe where I was. The morning was a little slow, our first visitors to water were some young eland, then a female warthog and her young. But about noon, the animals started coming in. A few more immature males and female animals came through then finally an impala ram that my PH estimated at 22″ was working into the blind. He was only a few steps from being in my shooting window when my PH said “wait, BIG PIG”. Now, I had not really planned to shoot a warthog on this trip so I told Ben that I would rather wait for the impala, but he was quite insistent that this was a big Warthog and that I would have several opportunities on an impala but would probably never see another warthog quite this big. Once it came into view I changed my mind and decided to take him.
The shot was about 15 yards, hit behind the shoulder and angled out just inside of the V on the opposite side. He ran about 50 yards in a circle and died running right back into the blind.
The warthog wound up measuring 11 1/4″ x 12″ outside of the skull. Apparently they estimate 1 1/2″ left in the skull so rough guestimate he should measure 12 3/4″ x 13 1/2″?
Terry Cockburn: Back from Dries Visser
My wife and I just returned from our hunt with Dries Visser. We had a blast !!! Not only was the hunting , accommodations, and food great , I also got to meet some very famous people. ND and Badlander was in camp !!It was just so cool to share camp together. Those guys are a riot.Hunting did prove to be tough some days as the wind was up and swirling. Do not let anyone tell you that scent does not matter in Africa. If these animals wind you it is OVER.Also, they did have a very wet fall which didi nto help incourage the animalss to come to water.
Day one was tough as we got in camp at 10 the night before. Our butts were draggig the next morning but , after getting our gear together and shooting some , we finally reached our first blind around 9:30. When we drove up to our blind two very nice Kudu was already there. Unfortunately ,they never returned. But, around noon a big boar warthog came in. It did not take long for me to decide to take the shot. After a pefect double lung shot he went down in 60 yards.Two hours later a very old Impala made his way to the water hole. At 18 yards my wife made another pefect shot and he went down in sight.The rest of the afternoon was spent watching other Impala, warthogs and few Kudu cows and young bulls make their way into our water hole. Not bad for day one !!
Pat Lefemine: Bowhunting Cape Buffalo in Mozambique
Few animals have captured my soul like the cape buffalo. I’ve been infatuated with them since I was a kid and read old african novels by Roosevelt, Capstick and Ruark. I turned that dream into reality for the first time in 2006 and spent 16 days hunting South Africa, day after day, without even drawing my bow. I booked RSA again in 2007 and hunted herds of buffalo. Again, after 14 days of tracking and trying every possible method, I came home empty handed. While both hunts were ranch operations, nobody can argue those animals weren’t totally wired and challenging. I never stopped thinking about buffalo and it’s been number one on my bucket list for years now – even above my other nemesis – an elk.
With that burning desire I started talking with African outfitters and PH’s I knew well. Many outfits want nothing to do with bowhunting for two reasons; the first is that it’s dangerous. Buffalo can be unpleasant and they really dislike being shot. But the primary reason most outfits don’t want bowhunters is simple, it’s a lot of work. A buffalo with a rifle can be a challenging hunt, but multiply that many times over by needing a close shot, a perfect angle, and without spooking an entire herd of bulls and cows in the process and you turn a one or two day rifle hunt into a 10 day bowhunt quickly. It’s just not profitable for them to spend so much time on one animals.
So when my old friend and my first “dangerous game” PH, Dries Visser Jr. emailed me about an opportunity to hunt truly wild buffalo Mozambique I don’t think I hesitated for one second. I confirmed the hunt immediately.
Michael Williams: My Africa Experience - 10 days, 12 animals, Countless New Friends, Memories for Life
The actual planning for this trip began about a year ago, although the desire had been burning for a lifetime. Growing up I had two mentors when it came to hunting and the outdoors. One was my Uncle Wilbur and the other was a gentleman from the church always known to me as “Brother Stork”. Each one recognized my desire for the outdoors and fueled the fire by taking me hunting as well as giving me tons of magazines and books to read. I can remember as a young kid getting my hands on every one of my uncle’s Outdoor Life magazines. I always took great delight when a feature on Africa was done, hanging on to every word of the story and soaking up each picture of this far away place . I remember flipping through black and white print pages of the books given to me by Brother Stork, slowly reading every line and imagining the actual colors of each of the many animals presented in the black and white printed photos. As time progressed, I vowed to myself that one day I would visit this beautiful place with a seemingly endless array of mysterious and exotic looking animals.
Fast forward to present day and this desire only grew stronger to the point of bursting with each hunting television program, internet story, magazine article, and first hand conversation on bow hunting in Africa. Finally, the time was right and a trip would be planned. With the availability of resources at one’s fingertips in today’s times, researching and planning for this trip was enjoyable. After much research, which consisted of online stories, magazine articles, first hand conversations, hunting videos, etc., I decided to hunt with Dries Visser Safaris in South Africa.
Discussions with Dries began about a year ago and I can’t count the number of subsequent emails we had since the beginning. The pre hunt communication we had was unbelievable and very comforting for a first timer to Africa. Every single small trivial question I asked over the year was answered. This hunt began as a plains game but eventually talks evolved into adding a lioness. Lion hunting in South Africa has come under intense scrutiny in recent years with very much of it being definitely deserved. I talked to Dries about this and he explained to me that as in everything, there are good and bad hunts. Unfortunately, the poor practices by some can cast a bad light on all. I expressed to him my interest in hunting such a beautiful and magnificent animal, but only if done under a sporting method. The idea of hunting lion with a bow has always interested me, but unfortunately, lion hunting in the most distant, remote and wildest of places in Africa has always seemed and will probably always be out of my financial reach.
Over subsequent conversations with Dries we discussed a respectable lion hunting operation in South Africa and a permit was secured. Dries told me about a concession available that is comprised of 46 thousand acres with the lion hunting taking place on about 10 thousand acres. The property was located about 6-7 hours west of Johannesburg a few minutes from the border of Botswana. This area is known as the Kalahari region. It is a very sandy desert type region. We would begin the 10 day hunt here and then drive the roughly 6-7 hours back to the Limpopo province area to conclude the hunting with plains game.
The route from my home to Africa seemed to consist of many legs. The first leg was the drive from Corpus to Houston on Saturday afternoon. I stayed overnight at my mom’s house and got up early for a departing flight from Houston Hobby at 8:10 AM. This flight arrived in Washington Dulles at 1:50 pm. From there, the flight was suppose to depart at 5:40 PM, but after close to a two hour holdup on the runway, it was finally off for the 18 hour flight to Johannesburg which included one technical stop in Dakar.
After the long flight, I couldn’t believe I had finally made it once the plane touched down. Prior to the flight, I had convinced myself that the 18 hour flight would be the single most worst thing ever experienced in my life…all in all, it really wasn’t quite that bad. Luckily several movies along the way helped. I tried to sleep a little, but just couldn’t. In total, I dozed for two hours or less.
After signing for each of my two bows secured safely in their respective SKB bow cases, I was on my way out of the airport. At the front entrance, I met up with the representative from the Afton Guest house and after waiting for the other hunters to retrieve their firearms from the police station, we were finally off.
Erin Throckmorton: Dries Visser Aug 23-Sept
My wife and I were fortunate enough to hunt with Dries Visser Safaris this year. Everything was top notch, from the lodging, to the food, the PH’s, and the hunting, which was incredible. We met some really great people and took some amazing trophies. My PH was Nico, and I cannot say enough great things about this guy. He was a great guy to hunt with, and worked extra hard to give me opportunities at the animals I was after.
The 1st morning, Nico sat with my wife and I in a fiberglass blind, looking for Impala and Kudu. We weren’t in the blind 30 minutes when 2 nice Impala rams came in. We looked them over, and he told me we could do better. The morning passed with vervet monkey, warthog, and a 1 horned duiker running around.
Around 12:30, Nico saw 3 nice Impala working their way in from our left. They were very nervous, and milled around for about 30 minutes before coming into the water. The biggest ram came in and stopped and gave me an 18 yard broadside shot. The shot looked good and the impala took off. We called in the trackers, and went to look for him and found him 80 yards from the blind. 1st day, and already 1 great trophy.
John Pomazi: Back from Dries Visser Safaris
Just returned from Dries Visser Safaris. Had a great time and met some wonderful people from the bowsite. Wife went along again but this time she was packing a bow on her first hunt ever. This is her looking forward to the 15 hour flight from Atl to J-Berg. Better then the 20 on SAS last year.
Stayed at the Afton House the first night and tried to get adjusted to the 9 hour time difference as well as being up for a couple days. The wife and bowsiter Striker enjoying breakfest at the Afton House.
Hunting Report by Steve Thurman: July 2009 with Dries Visser
Well the long awaited day finaly arrived and i was on my way. The pumping adrenaline made all the travel pass with only aggravation, that it was taking too long. When we finaly arrived at the main camp we were informed we would be moving to a different property for 3 days to hunt Kudu and impala. I was not pleased. I ask the head guide about the size of the property etc. etc. and recieved satisfactory answers. I decided to wait and see. The new property was very thick in most areas and loaded with impala and kudu. On day one we met the guys removing the cows from the section I was going to hunt. I wondered how this activity would affect the kudu. Overall the day was pretty slow with only 1 immature kudu bull comming in. We did have 2 shooter impala come in. They were so nervous they would never stand still for more than a few seconds. They never did drink, the PH wanted me to shoot a couple of times but i was not comfortable with the angele or distance. We also saw warthogs, waterbuck and Vervet monkeys. So day one came to a close.