TOM & BONNIE ELLIS
7201 BEAVERWOOD DRIVE
RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA
TEL: (919) 872-0897
We have been to visit the folks at Wiets several times since our first visit in 1992. The Botes family that owns the property is now part of our extended family.
The only concern I had was the first look at the huge gate and fence surrounding the property. I was not used to enclosed areas. This was not justified, the approximately 12,000 acres is huge!! The fence does not impede the movement of animals and actually is primarily to deter the white rhinos from leaving. You will see numerous holes dug under the fence where animals have worked hard to move into the property. On the first afternoon upon arriving we saw a giraffe, much taller than the local vegetation, we did not take photos and did not see it again during that trip. This is a big piece of land.
The number and quality of animals is fantastic. Periodically they sell excess animals to bring the management back in line. My son and I have taken numerous species including cape Eland, springbok, blesbok, white blesbok, gemsbok, red Hartebeest, blue wildebeest and black wildebeest. I was allowed to be the first client to tranquilize a white rhino on the property in 1999. There are a number of other huntable species but I had taken them elsewhere and am limited in pocketbook and wall space.
Over these 20 years, I have encouraged dozens of hunters to go with Wiets Safaris. They have all been well satisfied with the exception of the time it snowed!! It never snows at Kimberley, it is unbelievably rare and was gone in two days. However the wife of one hunter decided they needed to go back to the Lord Nelson Hotel in Cape Town for the remainder of their journey….you can’t control the weather and you can’t please everyone.
The accommodations are great. Not a 5 star resort but clean, with indoor toilets and hot running water. A step above 95% of all hunting camps I have experienced. The food is fine. You can sit back at the fire circle and watch the night sky while listening to quiet. Less than an hour out of Kimberley but you feel like years away from civilization.
The hunting vehicles are in excellent shape. The Botes family is in the furniture transport business and has mechanics on staff and plenty of extra vehicles should problems occur.
You may want to take a morning off and visit the diamond mines at Kimberley. The “Big Hole” is the original site of the South African diamond industry. You can take a tour including going a half mile down into the mines to see the process of removing and processing ore for diamond recovery. I highly recommend that tour. There are no bargains for diamonds however, international pricing prevails.
Wiets Botes, the father of the family, was one of the first landowners to successfully raise white rhinos. He was presented several awards for his success. Probably 12 years ago they started raising white lions, a unique color phase that was disappearing in the wild. The Botes were quite successful and have sold lions to several international zoos. Unfortunately the South African government in an attempt to control canned lion hunts has also made it unbelievably difficult and expensive for individuals to raise lions for any reason. The Botes are now limiting their white lion breeding program, but still have the large enclosures and a number of white lions. I can tell you that these may be captive but not tame, they look at you as if you are on the menu. They will charge the fence and chase/run the length of the pen in pursuit of any moving vehicles. It is a real African experience to be near the enclosures at sundown and hear the lions roar.
You will not go wrong hunting with Wiets Safaris, I wish I were returning this year myself. Perhaps in a year or two. Give my best wishes to everyone there and if I can provide more information or answer any specific questions please give me or my wife Bonnie a call at 919-872-0897.
Have fun, you will enjoy the trip.