Commonly asked questions and answers by Tom Ellis
The Botes family at Wiets Safaris has become a major part of our African family. We have hunted and visited with them numerous times since 1992, most recently in 2011.
My wife and I have traveled to Africa ten times and had over 15 hunts in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, South Africa and we just returned from Namibia. Every country is different and needs to be evaluated in reference to similar operations. Wiets is a South African game ranch, it is not a concession area in Zimbabwe or a mountain hunt in Namibia. I wholeheartedly endorse quality game ranching and Wiets is a quality operation.
Africa is a great experience and difficult to put into words. If you have any concerns or just want to talk about the property, services, etc. please give me a call at 919 872-0897.
You will enjoy hunting with them.
How was the overall experience?
Excellent, have been there in 1992, 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2011. They have visited us here in Raleigh several times also.
Was the game population ample with adequate numbers of each species they advertise? Were you successful?
Populations were excellent. large numbers of springbok, gemsbok, hartebeest blue wildebeest, black wildebeest and blesbok. good opportunities for eland, duiker, steinbuck and others. We did not hunt kudu on their ranch but I remember seeing adequate numbers while there. I took the first darted white rhino on the property in 1999….it is huge.
Did they have mature animals to hunt?What was the trophy quality like?
Yes my gemsbuck was 39 1/2, black and blue wildebeest as well as eland, springbok and the common and white blesbok went well into the record books. Lots of white rhinos also
Were the PH’s/trackers knowledgeable and helpful? Did you lose any animals due to trackers not being able to track them?
They make use of excellent PH, that I can asure you. Their trackers are also very very knowledgeable
Did you spot/stalk or blind hunt? How well were the blinds set up?
I have only done spot and stalk with a rifle. This is done by driving until game is sighted and then glassing and making a stalk or simply walking through large blocks of land looking for tracks and following up. Also climbing the kopjes (rock hills) and glassing is very productive. There are numerous blinds set up around the property at water holes, salt licks and where game trails merge. These are well built to prevent damage from rubbing rhinos.
Were your trophies well taken care of? Any issues (hair slippage/damage) when you got them back home?
I have my mounts done by a taxidermist near Raleigh so I can only address the initial care and dip and ship. All went well…..no problems at all.
Did you have any troubles getting your trophies back? Any inordinate delays attributable to Wiets? Were they available to help resolve any issues with getting your trophies home?
I have had no problems with any of the shipments. They stay in permanent contact with the shipping agents until your trophies are delivered to your door.
How were the accommodations/laundry service/meals/etc?
Food is fine, a good variety stressing wild game and local vegetables. Beds and sleeping areas are clean and large. Flush toilets and hot showers are a good thing.
How did the travel logistics go? Did you lose hunting time by moving from one camp/hunting area to another?
They hunt on their own property therefore no time being lost by travelling to other camps.
Would you go back? Why or why not.
Yes, great folks. Excellent animals. Fun.
Did the fact that the property is fenced in bother you?
The first time we drove onto the property I was concerned because it is high fenced. Shortly after entering we saw a giraffe, my wife wanted to take a photo and I made the comment that we would probably see it often in better light. Boy was I wrong. 15000 acres inside a fence is a big place where the game is not limited in movement. You will see where lots of smaller to mid-sized antelope have dug their way into the property. By providing water and good vegetation management the local wildlife wants in not out. The fence is to prevent poaching and to deter the rhinos from visiting the neighbors.
What is there attitude towards conservation?
On the property is a lion facility. The Botes family was instrumental in the recovery of the white rhino populations in South Africa and also chose to help the white lions. They raised cubs and sold them to zoos across the world. Now there are enough white lions and the folks at Wiets have kept the adults. It is extremely interesting to get a close look at wild lions that happen to live in an enclosure. Hearing them roar is definitely a plus and not often found in most of Africa. In the light of the current poaching situation in South Africa of White Rhino’s, its commendable that they still do there part to keep them on the property and conserve them, all 30 odd of them!