A Grandfather’s Dream
David & Brenda Ellis with grandsons-
Dustin Osborn (15) and Kyle Wells (14)
Martinsville • Indiana • USA
We arrived in Kimberley on Saturday and we were met at the airport by Freek & Boeta (PH). We had been in the plane for 26 hours so just walking was a pleasure. We recovered my rifles and loaded the luggage in the car.
As we started our journey to the ranch we started to see animals. The trip to the ranch was quick and I saw my first Gemsbok and Ostrich. We arrived at the “hunt house” where Elsa had prepared the first of many wonderful meals. Boeta had a plan to travel on Sunday to the other side of the ranch to find the animals we were searching for. We would sight in the rifles as well. I was able to enjoy the first of many glasses of South African Wine with Marita and family.
Sunday came quickly after a goods nights rest. We opened the gate to the South and quickly found Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Springbok and Red Hartebeest. We didn’t hunt on Sunday but made sure our rifles were ready for Monday.
We were up early on Monday due to excitement and the time change. Since I was the oldest I got to have the first shot. We had not been going for less than an hour when we crossed a herd of Blue Wildebeest. We found a magnificent specimen hiding in the back of the herd. We maneuvered around the herd for a shot on the Big Bull. By 09:00 we were done with photos and a great trophy was in the record book. Dustin, my grandson was up next and we found a Gemsbok. With a good shot the chase was on. We had to track the animal into the bush where the animal charged and two quick shots sealed the deal. Kyle was up next and he made a good shot on a Blue Wildebeest. He had to follow the animal trail where the P.H placed an anchor shot and Kyle bravely walked in to finish him off.
We got started on Tuesday with a bang when we found a Gemsbok for him as well. We tailed it for the better part of the day. We lucked onto another even larger Gemsbok for me and grandpa took the shot and he went down.
The following morning we found Kyle’s Gemsbok and after 3×375 H+H and 1×338 Win the animal was loaded and the photos were taken. Thursday began with a plan for a Kudu. We spotted several cows an a few small bulls. Finally we spotted two very nice bulls, one was wide and the other one was narrow with ivory tips. We got on the trail quickly and got within range and I missed the shot when I slipped as I pulled the trigger. We then had to follow across the ranch and they joined forces with a third younger bull.
Now we had six eyes and three noses to fool. We caught up again on a rocky hillside and decided to go on foot. As soon as we started the young one busted and ran past us to the right. We thought it was game over but we saw the other two on the peak of the hill. The Kudu was alive and all you could see was their horns over the bush turning side to side. We crawled from bush to rock and back again on all fours to gain a shot. Finally at 42 yards the animals gave us a chance and a grand trophy of my dreams was claimed. We made a plan for Friday to try for a Black Wildebeest for Dustin.
We began early and found many great animals. However finding and hunting are two different things. Every time we got close the Springbok and Blesbuck would take off and startle the blacks as well. We had several missed chances and we decided to let them rest and get back after them in the morning.
Dawn came with a cold start and warm heater. We were on the hunt again this time we found our quarry standing with a band of brothers. We were able to get within range and Dustin made a great shot that clearly hit its mark. The animal disappeared into the bush, Boeta and Dustin went after him with rifles ready. There was no need for aprehension as the animal had been taken already with one shot and was waiting for the hunter to claim. With that the hunting was over.
David-blue wildebeest, gemsbok and kudu.
Dustin- blue wildebeest, gemsbok and black wildebeest.
Kyle- blue wildebeest, gemsbok.
We had three one shot kills and several that required multiple follow up shots. They were great hunts and tremendous trophies. Each animal was honored that evening by taking a branch from the site it fell and securing some blood from the shot we would toast with a glass of sherry the quarry and the hunters both past and present. It was a fitting tribute to the great game. We had a banquet fit for a king made from all the game we had taken. We all ate till it was gone and it was such a pleasure to share a meal, wine and friendships that had grown over the week in Africa.
On Monday we went to Kimberley and joined Angela as our driver and tour guide. We went to the big hole museum, the mall and to the SQ Military Base. It was a great day and the boys will love to fight over Angela at some later stage I’m sure. Boeta provided us a tour of the military base and as a fellow officer it was very memorable.
We have finally reached the end of this adventure and can now move on to the next. We have seen Rhinos and Lions and so much other game that I would miss something if I tried to recollect them all. The one thing I will not forget is the Great hunting memories that I made with my grandsons and wife.
I will also treasure my South African family as well. Wiets + Hetta, Marita + Freek, Elsa, Boeta, Palie + Marta will always be in my thoughts and memories. I will close this as I have many of the days watching the sun and the game on the plains while I listen to the lions roar. I hope one day to return but at least I will have always had it once. Thanks to everyone involved but mostly to my wife who allowed me to chase this foolish dream and to my grandsons Dustin and Kyle for joining me on this rand adventure of my dreams. I could not think of better team to share it with.
The only thing I can add to my husband’s wonderful story is that I will never forget our night walk to the Lions Cages. Thanks Boeta. Also thanks to everyone involved. I will never forget any of yous!!
I don’t know what to say. So I’m just going to say thank you everyone for the most amazing adventure of my lifetime so far, see you next time. P.S: marita and Boeta, watch out for the bats.
I’m not very good at these things but ill try my best. I came here not knowing what to expect and still my mind was blown. This trip was amazing. I want to say thank you to Marita, Freek, Elsa and all the staff. (Especially Elsa) P.S: I will always remember you guys.!!!!!!!