African Hunting

Review – Nick Bowker Hunting

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The Hunt of a Lifetime in South Africa

After much research for my African Hunt, I chose Nick Bowker Hunting in the Eastern Cape South Africa. Bowker. Here is my hunt review of Nick Bowker Hunting.

It took me nearly 68 years to determine I could actually hunt in South Africa. And it didn’t require being a millionaire to make it happen. I took 8 trophies and was treated like a king. All this for less than a guided Montana Elk Hunt. a far lower percentage of taking just one trophy class bull.

Don’t get me wrong. I will never stop chasing the great Wapiti in my home state. I have 400+ bulls hanging on my wall; however, South Africa is the answer when it all comes down to the hunt of a lifetime.

Fallow Deer trophy
My son Daniel pictured above with his fallow deer trophy

I was accompanied by my wife Wendy, my son Daniel, and my daughter-in-law Jodi. Covid delayed our hunt by a year. We departed Billings, Montana, on March 29, 2021. Our flight took us to Denver; then, after 11 hours, to Frankfurt, Germany. Followed by a 13-hour layover, then on to Johannesburg for a 10+ hour flight, followed by a 4-hour layover in Joberg, then a short 1½ hour flight to Port, Elizabeth. Nick Bowker met at the airport himself, in his Land Cruiser. I need to own one someday.

Warthog trophy
My daughter in law Jodie pictured above with her warthog trophy

Arrival in South Africa

Following a 90-minute drive to OliveFountain Farm, we were met by Ben, another PH. As well as Nick’s wife Elizabeth and their twin daughters. They were on holiday from school and were an absolute delight. I also hired a videographer company with Nick’s recommendation. Igala Productions were was very cost-effective and actually assisted in spotting game that I had trouble locating even with binoculars. Igala provided their regular video expert plus a trainee for only $2,600.

That figure was exceptional. I can’t recommend Igala enough if you can request Nadeen to be your videographer, although Steven and Purin were wonderful. Nadeen was such a wonderful addition to our hunt and has “eagle eyes” to locate animals.

Nyala trophy
Jodi and Daniel with Jodie’s Nyala trophy

Accommodation Review – Nick Bowker Hunting

The facilities at OliveFountain can only be described as “simply the best.” Homesteaded in the early 1800s, the complex has been in Nick’s family for 5 generations and has great updates. Hence, you experience all the modern amenities, including Wi-Fi, plenty of hot water, and private rooms with beds that will make you sleep like a baby.

Embarrassingly, on the first morning of our hunt, our kids were up and checking out rifles only about 5 yards from my cabin. They were firing .300 WM rounds downrange, and I did not wake up. Suddenly, I awoke to find the sun shining in my window and the Land Cruiser leaving with Ben at the wheel, and the kids loaded up. I quickly dressed, demonstrated I could at least hit a Barn Door off sticks, grabbed a coffee, and headed out for my first session of hunting. I might add my wife slept through my shooting as well.

Relaxed about my sleeping in, Nick just passed it off as jet lag. I made sure it didn’t happen again. We then loaded up with Nick, myself, and Nadeen in search of whatever presented itself that day. Our 3 Trackers plus “Bella” and “Black Jack” were in the back of the rig and anxiously awaiting what beast would present itself. Bella is a beagle with an incredible nose, and Black Jack is a Jack Russel Terrier that I have trouble describing. He is tough, fast, and yet when HE decides to snuggle you, he is laying on your lap and expecting a good scratch.

Sable antelope trophy
Daniel’s beautiful sable antelope trophy

Some tips

Session 1, Nick suggested we go on a walk-about and look for a warthog since it was a bit later in the morning. He spotted a great hog in the creek bottom before long that presented a broadside shot at a little over 200 yards. Here is where I learned my first lesson. I was using Nick’s Saco .300 WM with a top-end Swaro range finder scope. I ranged the “tusker,” then promptly used the cross-hairs instead of the red ranged cross and shot a few inches under the hog. Rule number one…pay attention to Nick’s explanation. I did not make that mistake again.

Rule number two, if Nick or Ben says it is a “photogenic animal,” shoot it. You will not be disappointed. On the other hand, if they tell you it needs another year or two to grow, listen, then come back another year to take that trophy when it has grown up. What I learned quickly was the eye-site of the PH, Videographer, and Trackers is better without binos than mine with them. At times I swear they pulled animals from underground for me to stalk.

Review of nick bowker hunting and a white blesbok trophy.
Jodie’s white blesbok trophy

Session 2: After a great brunch and a nap, we headed out for the afternoon and evening hunt. Although we saw hundreds of animals of all species literally, Nick kept informing me, “there are better ones to pursue. So, we headed back to the farm headquarters for an evening of getting better acquainted; having a glass of relaxing agent along with a dinner that exceeds anything you could find in New York; although I think New York Sucks…

Review of nick bowker hunting - Kudu trophy
Daniel’s kudu trophy

Food Review – Nick Bowker Hunting

At this point, I need to interject a message about Elizabeth, Nick’s better half that spends hours in the kitchen with her assistants preparing side dishes and desserts that are nothing short of fabulous. Elizabeth also took Wendy and Jodi to Addo Elephant Park and Port Elizabeth to see elephants and for some shopping. She is a real “keeper.”

Review of Nick Bowker Hunting - Mountain Reedbuck trophy.
Daniel and Jodie with Jodie’s mountain Reedbuck trophy.

Black Wildebeest

Session 3: I want you to know I was up in time for coffee and to catch my ride at 6:30 am. Nick promptly took me to a pasture with again hundreds of animals, and 2 Black Wildebeest appeared; junior and grandpa. By no means did Nick pressure me to shoot one, but he did say he would trade me out for other animals in my package since this beast was not on my list. So, how could I say no? I gave him the go-ahead, and he led my stalk into a reasonable distance for a shot.

Placed on sticks, I punched a hole in the beast, of which he reared up in the air and sold out for distance regions. Nick sent the trackers around the back of the beasts, at which time “grampa” and “Junior” started in our direction. At about 160 yards, I gave him a heart attack and put my first animal in the books.

Review of Nick Bowker Hunting - Black Wildebeest trophy.
My black wildebeest trophy

Gemsbok hunt review – Nick Bowker Hunting

Session 4: Again, after a great brunch and rest, we were off again. This time, I had told Nick if a Gemsbok got in the way, I would certainly be interested, even though it was not on my package. So, I guess it was inevitable a herd of gemsbok appeared, and after a long stalk, Nick told me which one was a shooter. Off the sticks, I dumped a beautiful Gemsbok at 206 yards in its tracks. Score two…

Review of Nick Bowker Hunting - gemsbok trophy.
My gemsbok trophy

Nyala hunt review – Nick Bowker Hunting

Session 5: In pursuit of a Kudu or Nyala, we got into a bachelor herd of Nyala Bulls, which Nick led me into a shooting position and again I dropped the bull at 244 yards in his tracks. He had no idea we were even there. Ironically, following my shot, a nice Kudu Bull blew out no more than 10 yards to my right; however, I had no time to get a shot off. By now, I was feeling like a great hunter when in actuality it was the leadership of Nick, our trackers, and videographers.

Review of Nick Bowker Hunting - Nyala trophy
My Nyala trophy


Session 6: After Coffee, Toast, and a bit of an attitude, we headed out for another day. We had not traveled more than a couple of miles from camp before we found a herd of Impala. Somehow, I was brought back to earth after missing a 150-yard shot-off stick. The moment I pulled the trigger, I knew my bullet would land in another time zone. Why? I simply sucked…So Nick took me on a short stalk and located where the herd of Impala went. I didn’t mess up this time at 260 yards, and we had another animal for the bag.

Review of Nick Bowker Hunting - Impala trophy
My impala trophy
Impala trophy.
Jodies impala trophy

Session 7: Out we went, and I had a great opportunity to take a Springbok. I don’t know how I missed it as I swear it was nearly sitting on the barrel of the rifle. Possibly, it had nine lives like a cat because I will never know how I missed it. I blamed Nick for a faulty loaded bullet, and he just agreed and said we need to move on. His patience with me was beyond believable.

Review of Nick Bowker Hunting - springbok trophy.
Jodies springbok trophy


Session 8: Although we saw hundreds of animals, none of them met Nick’s standard., Again, I must say his knowledge and expertise far exceeded anyone I have hunted with. He is ethical, safety-minded, and patient with guys like me.

Session 9: So many animals, none meeting the standards Nick has set. Something I want to point out is it is not about trophy class animals; it is about taking animals that are over the hill. Nick won’t shoot breeding animals that have great genetics, he is only about taking out the old guys that likely would not make it through the winter, and yes, South Africa does have winter.

Session 10: Again, no trophy class animals. That wasn’t the case with my kids, as my son took an incredible Kudu and Sable. I’m jealous…

Session 11: we traveled north a bit and saw many good Kudu but not a great animal, according to Nick. He kept telling us there was a better trophy, so the other Land Cruiser brought us lunch; whereby, session 12 changed things completely.

We came upon a herd of 7 bulls, which three broke off. The remainder 4 made my blood pressure sky-rocket. There was a white-horned bull in front of the bull Nick told me to take. For the following 15 minutes, every time the white=horned bull would move, the one I was supposed to shoot moved with him. Finally, I had a few seconds, and Nick said to drop the hammer. He went down like a ton, then up he came, and I had to finish the job after he had covered about 50 yards.

Review of Nick Bowker Hunting - Kudu trophy
My Kudu trophy

Fallow Deer hunt review – Nick Bowker Hunting

Session 12: we pursued a Fallow Deer Buck but just didn’t find the big guy, although my interpretation and Nick’s differed. Fortunately, I had the sense to shut up and listen to Nick. We definitely saw several good bucks, but my slow preparation to shoot exceeded the bucks’ willingness to stay put. Again, Nick was calm and put up with my screw-up.

Session 13: We sought out a nice fallow deer, and I connected at 160 yards. It is a beautiful animal and will make an incredible mount. I am proud of the beast and owe my success to everyone else. I simply pulled the trigger.

Review of Nick Bowker Hunting - Fallow deer trophy.
My fallow deer trophy


Session 14: Understand, a short, fat English-Irishman, that is nearly 68 years old is not an outfitters/guide’s ideal candidate for a hunt. That describes me perfectly. That said, Nick and his crew did everything to make my (our) hunt exceptional in every way.

That afternoon, Nick spotted a trophy waterbuck above us along with several Kudu and waterbok Cows. He “nursed” me into position up a steep grade and at quite a distance. Yes, he somewhat kept telling me it was only another 100 yards when it was 600 yards, but I bought into it.

Finally, we arrived at a point where I would have a shot if and when the bull came out of the brush. After what seemed like a long wait, Nick said, don’t move and be silent; a cow had moved down within 10 yards of us. I could not see her, but I followed Nick’s lead, and when the bull stepped out at 286 yards, I put one in the boiler room. He went down, then back up, and I put another round a bit far back. He again went down, and I put another in his boiler room for good.

Session 15: Off to Grahamstown for a Covid Test. What a waste of a hunting session, although Nick never complained and worked it out.

Review of Nick Bowker Hunting - Waterbuck trophy.
My waterbuck trophy


Session16: The last two animals we pursued were a warthog for me and a Fallow Deer for my son. My son dropped a monster Fallow Deer thanks to Ben in the late hours of his last session, and I dropped a Warthog at 4:00 PM of our last session at 386 yards.

Everything else aside, it wasn’t about just getting our animals. It was about an experience getting to know people halfway around the world. I can’t say enough about the wonderful treatment we received but rather the friendships we gained. Before I cross over, I must go and spend time with our new friends…they are: “simply the best.”

Review of Nick Bowker Hunting - Warthog trophy.
My warthog trophy

Thank you, Nick, Ben, Elizabeth, Nadeen, Purin, Steven, and everyone else.
God’s best blessings to you and yours…

African Hunting

Low Fenced African Hunting

Hunting with no fences or low fenced African hunting (meant to control sheep, not the wild game) was a priority. Nick’s hunting areas fit the bill. The numbers and variety of animals blew us away.

Gemsbok low fenced African Hunting
Gemsbok Hunting with Nick Bowker

Hunting with Nick Bowker

This hunt was my first African hunt, but I’ve hunted with outfitters in the Midwest and the Western US. The outbreak of Corvid 19 made an extraordinary hunting trip surreal.

The world seemed to turn on its head during the 7 days we were in South Africa. Despite the fact COVID-19 was hanging over most of the hunt, I couldn’t be happier with how it all went.

The quick progressions of world events related to Covid-19 made the hunt a bit more surreal. We were not looking at our phones on purpose, but that didn’t last once we heard about the travel bans. Nick had clients start canceling because they couldn’t get to SA or faced a quarantine once they got home.

It was clearly a stressful time for both Nick and Benjamin, and while we could tell it was causing problems. They in no way let it impact our trip. We all did our best to have a great hunt despite the world seemingly grinding towards a halt.

We ended up leaving on schedule, two days before South Africa essentially closed its “airline” borders to foreign travelers. Our flight out of Johannesburg had 60+ open seats two days before we left. But it was loaded to the gills as people changed plans to get home once SA travel bans were announced.

Kudu Hunting with Nick Bowker
Kudu Hunting with Nick Bowker

Planning and Logistics for our Low fenced African Hunting Trip

This trip was planned relatively last minute by my Fiancé as a 50th birthday present.

She contacted a few Outfitters. Nick responded quickly and indicated he had a recent cancellation the week we were looking at.

We tossed a few hunting ideas around before settling on a package. The package included a Nyala, Impala, Kudu, Gemsbok, and Warthog for me. Since my fiancé wanted to be along on the hunts, we added a daily rate and Warthog for her.

We contacted Nick initially through and used that as our primary communication source. We switched to using WhatsApp the day before our arrival.

Nick did a great job of keeping in touch and updated. In fact, he is the one that pointed out that South African airlines were having trouble. And suggested we might want to rebook on British Airways for the flight from JNB to Port Elizabeth.

Warthog Hunting
Warthog Hunting with Nick Bowker


Nick was standing outside the arrival doors when we got there, helped us with our bags, and then drove us to the lodge.

It was a great 2-hour drive, although it rained most of the way there. We were able to ask questions, understand the daily routine, and just get acquainted.

Nick was easy to talk to and didn’t seem the least bit bothered by getting peppered with questions by enthusiastic rookies!

Upon arrival, we met Benjamin, a PH that works with Nick.

Nyala Free Range Hunting
Nyala Hunting with Nick Bowker


Nick’s clients stay at his home, a sprawling group of separate and connected buildings. These include the main house, guest rooms, a cabin for 1-2 guests, a bar, braai/dinner area. As well as work sheds, and garages, staff quarters, etc.

We stayed in a separate cabin, which was amazing – small, rustic, and modern at the same time, and extremely comfortable. The bed was amazingly comfortable; there was a great walk-in shower, a huge tub, bathroom, and sink.

The house seems like it is an older farm/ranch house, with additions made to accommodate larger hunting parties.

Nick has WiFi that runs on power when it is on. (Sounds like consistent power in many parts of SA is tough to come by). When the power is off, Nick kicks on the generator.

The inconsistent power didn’t impact us at all. Nick made it relatively seamless with the generator. We loved the house and couldn’t have felt more comfortable.

Plus, we weren’t there to stay connected – we wanted the opposite. We were doing well with that until the news of COVID’s expansion started making it necessary for us to connect.

Accommodation for Hunting with Nick Bowker
Hunting Accommodation


Nick has a great staff. The people preparing breakfast and cleaning the rooms were on top of it.

Our room was cleaned each time we left (in the morning and again in the afternoon), and our laundry was done every day. Nick’s hunting staff were also great.

Cheerful and helpful, they helped make each hunt better. Benjamin is also a great PH (more on that later) – easy to talk to, friendly, and always looking for ways to make your trip better.

As he often said while doing something for you, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll do it. You’re on holiday!”

Food and Routine

The food was incredible. There were always baked goods available, and we usually ate a muffin before heading out in the morning. We typically were back by 11 or 12 for brunch, which was also great.

Over the course of the 6 days of hunting, we had kudu sausage, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, hamburgers, fries, pork, and probably 5 other things. Dinners were made by a woman Nick has hired only to handle dinners, and she crushes it.

Every dinner consisted of appetizers, a main dish often cooked by Nick or Benjamin over the Braai, and dessert.

We ate lots of wild game, beef, and lamb, and there was always at least one perfect side dish, often South African favorites.

We drank beer and wine each night (Nick asked what we liked to drink before we arrived) and had a blast at dinner-time by the fire.


We opted to use Nick’s rifles rather than bring our own. A great choice in light of all the airline issues and COVID 19. As a result, we could also travel light (only carry-ons)

We shot from a bench and sticks. After I shot, I went out with Benjamin to look around/hunt while my fiancé stayed back to make sure she was comfortable shooting from the sticks.

We had gone shooting before, but this allowed her to get comfortable with Nick’s guns and for him to get comfortable with her shooting.

After that morning, we hunted together during our low fenced African hunting safari.

Low fenced African Hunting Area

Nick hunts on his land, his family’s land, and some other big tracts with the hunting rights. There is a great variety of land, and we didn’t see all of it by any means.

Nick has a big sheep operation and runs the hunting on his property, so there are some low fences for the sheep.

Hunting where there were no fences or low fenced African hunting (meant to control sheep, not the wild game) was a priority.

Nick’s hunting areas fit the bill. The numbers and variety of animals blew us away.

Selective Hunting

Rather than discuss each hunt, I wanted to pull out some of the things that stood out to me. Nick and Benjamin were very selective. This being my first-time hunting in Africa, I was excited.

I like to shoot nice trophies, but not at the expense of a good hunt. I’d rather shoot an average trophy on a great hunt than a great trophy on an average hunt. Everyone is different, but for me, the hunt is important.

That said, Benjamin and Nick didn’t want to compromise on either. The Nyala hunt was in an area that was pretty easy to get to (first day). However, we worked hard for all of the other trophies in the low fenced African hunting area.

Nick and Benjamin did their best to ensure we got the best of both worlds.

Impala Hunt

Both Nick and Benjamin worked their butts off, making sure we got the animals we came for. My impala hunt was amazing.

Benjamin kept getting us close to a large ram, but something always messed it up. Hogs busting out of the bush, an unforeseen Mountain Reedbuck, and skittish Springbok.

We chased it back and forth across the valley. We could get in a position for a great shot, and it had no idea where we were.

Benjamin did a great job keeping us on the ram, and it was an amazing hunt.

Kudu Hunt

I made a shot that wasn’t ideal on my kudu hunt. The animal wasn’t going anywhere, but it needed another shot. Wound up, I pulled the trigger for the second shot. There was that loud “click” that only comes from not having reloaded.

Benjamin recognized I wasn’t squeezing the trigger but yanking it back in my excitement. He perfectly said, “Squeeze the trigger…” – just what I needed not only at that moment, but it stayed with me for the rest of the trip.

Warthog Hunt

We spent the last couple of days chasing Warthogs. It sounded like they were normally shot during the pursuit of something else; that was not our situation.

Given the huge amount of rain (drought-ending, apparently) that had been falling in the area we were hunting, the hogs didn’t need to move much at all to get food and water.

Plus, we were early, and the boars weren’t really pushing the sows. All of this made it so that getting a big Warthog was the most challenging part of the hunt.

They did not give up, despite the weather not wanting to cooperate. We pushed hard for hogs, and it resulted in a gnarly old boy for my fiancé and great pig for me.

Nick and Benjamin did a great job with her – they put her in a great position, and she made a great shot (I think she is better off the sticks than I am)

Warthog Low fenced Hunting
Warthog Hunting with Nick Bowker Hunting

Final Hunt on our low fenced African Hunting Safari

The last hunt (for my hog) really put Nick and Benjamin’s hunting skills on display – we saw good pigs from at least a mile away and then started the hunt.

Given the weather (some rain, but cool and overcast) and that it was the last day of our hunt, the pursuit of this boar seemed to be the last pig chase we were going to get.

We had a good strong wind, which helped a ton, but we knew it would be tough given the distance we had to travel. We ran into duiker, rabbits, mountain reedbuck, and impala on the way.

Each time I thought we were screwed, but Nick and Benjamin played it perfectly, and we were able to thread the needle and catch up to the hogs.

After the boar was down, we all started laughing. None of us could believe we made it through all those eyes, ears, and noses that seemed to threaten the hunt constantly.

We laughed a ton. Both Nick and Benjamin are a lot of fun – by the end of the trip, it felt like hunting with old friends. To me, that only adds to the hunting experience and memories and is exactly what I’m looking for in this type of trip – great hosts, smart and talented guides, and good people.

Business Wrap Up and Departure 

After the hog hunt, and before dinner last night, Nick and I wrapped up and settled the bill. This was a painless process, and he walked me through the bill – absolutely no surprises (other than my bank not authorizing purchases in SA like they said they did on the phone and email). But we got that sorted out, and Nick made it easy.

The next day our flight out of Port Elizabeth didn’t leave until 3:30 pm, so Nick offered to drive us through Addo on our way to the airport.

He was an amazing Park guide as well – we had a blast, and we’re very thankful for his generosity with his time—a great way to end the trip. Since we left, Nick has texted to make sure we made it back alright, check how we deal with COVID, and keep me updated on taxidermy stuff.

Bottom Line

I’m already trying to figure out when I can get back and which friends I can talk into joining me. Nick Bowker gets my highest recommendation – for the reasons I’ve mentioned (and probably 50 other smaller reasons I haven’t), he is better than any Outfitter I’ve ever used.

I’m an adventurous person and love meeting new people – however, because this trip was made so incredible by Nick and his PH Benjamin, I doubt I’ll ever hunt with anyone else in South Africa. We had a great hunt with great people. What else can you ask for


African Hunting

My African Hunt

You know one thing leads to another, and a year later, Thomas and I are on an airplane to Africa. Wild! My first African hunt.

My African hunt - hunting vehicles

First off, Teresa and I were invited by our good friends, Mark and Dianne, to stay a week in the mountains of Colorado in my Dad’s favorite town, Pagosa Springs. Having just traded correspondence with my half-brother Thomas Audetat, also of Pagosa Springs, it seemed the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends and relatives in the clear, clean mountain air. And so it was.

Once we settled into the beautiful condo on the lake, hosted by Mark and Di. We were invited to dinner by Thomas. Sister Donna was as gracious as ever and cooked up a fabulous feast for the whole tribe and a good time had by all.

While touring their quaint log home–Teresa wants one–Thomas showed us the African trophies he and Donna had taken on their 2010 safari. You know one thing leads to another, and a year later, Thomas and I are on an airplane to Africa. Wild!

Since Thomas had already been, it was an excellent opportunity to go with an old hand arranging hunting dates with the professional hunter (PH), clothes, flights, customs, cartridges, and a whole lot more.

Waterbuck trophy taken on my first African hunt

10 days was just perfect-plan

Ten days was just perfect-plan on spending two weeks with shooting, packing, travel, jet-lag, etc.

Then there is the list of animals we could to harvest. It is daunting. They run from small-hard to see and hit, to huge-easy to see and harder to kill. The diversity of habitat in the East Cape of South Africa is astonishing, from the low, dark, river bottom to high baldy mountain tops within an hour’s drive.

Our host, Nick Bowker, and his brother Rob, rugged 5th generation South African “farmers” of English descent, were most gracious and met us at the “Oliver Tambo” airport in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape. A small airport on the order of Colorado Springs or Corpus Christi. Guns, ammo, luggage all right there, and a great relief after a nearly 24 hours of flight from Minneapolis, Houston, Atlanta, Johannesburg, and finally Port Elizabeth.

It took about two hours to the lodgings on in a new Toyota Land Cruiser. The main road was under construction, so we went through a more residential area. A government shantytown was peculiar with the one-room shacks and hydro-solar water heaters atop nearly everyone. The garbage along the road exiting the Port Elizabeth area was everywhere, but the further from town we went, the cleaner the road and surrounding area.

Finally, we approached the farmstead over a seemingly endless series of “speed bumps” engineered to divert the seldom, but intense, rain away from the unpaved gravel road. Up and down we went, after about a mile, Thomas noted there were 20 in all!

Bushbuck trophy

A couple of hours to the hunting lodge

The charming old single-story farmhouse could have been in Wisconsin was our lodgings for our African hunt.
After we got everything sorted out and had a light lunch, we went off to find a warthog. As we drove down around the farm, the trackers, riding in the bed of the land cruiser, noticed some kudu cows but no shooters, and then a friendly warthog showed up on a distant hillside.

African Hunting

African Hunting Trip

It was seven years since our last South African hunting trip to the Eastern Cape with Nick Bowker.

I was with my buddy for our second trip with Nick. In addition we wanted to go after some different animals this time.

Kudu shot on our African hunting trip

We also wanted to hunt a few of the same animals as our first time in South Africa. We had previously had fantastic Kudu hunting with Nick.

In 2012, both of us took a Kudu, Mountain Reedbuck, Springbok, Impala, Warthog, and Blesbok. Nick has very appealing hunting packages available for the South African Plains Game.

Kudu trophy taken on our first South African hunting trip in 2012

Day 1 Arrival in South Africa

We arrived in Port Elizabeth mid-morning and were greeted at the airport by Nick Bowker and his brother Rob Bowker.

And made the 90 minute trip to OliveFountain Ranch, Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where we stayed for the following week.

We unpacked and dialed-in our rifles at the range on the property.

This day was a bit misty and rainy, but that didn’t stop us from going out for a great walk in the hills and valleys.

Zebra taken on our African hunting trip

Even though the weather this day wasn’t the best, we still saw so many animals of trophy quality. But decided against shooting any given, we would have 7 days of hunting in front of us. And given the number of animals we saw, we felt very comfortable passing on some quality animals. Knowing we would have more opportunities.

Upon our return to the lodge, we enjoyed a fantastic steak dinner, along with some outstanding South African wine and a few beers/cocktails.

We sat by the fire reminiscing about our 2012 trip and catching up on the seven years since last being together.

Hunting lodge evening entertainment area.

Day 2 Gemsbok hunt

Zebra was the top animal on our list this year for our hunt in Africa, and we started the day going after these.

We spotted three separate herds of Zebra on this morning.

They all proved to be very skittish and jumpy, remaining on the high-ground running with Blesbuck, Springbuck, and Waterbuck.

A quality shot never did present itself on a nice stallion but was an exciting start to this day. Late morning, we headed back to the lodge for brunch.

Our mid-afternoon hunt focused on another new animal for us, the beautiful Gemsbok. We quickly came across a large herd of about 70 animals in the high plains.

Like the Zebra, they were very aware and loved to cover vast areas in a short period. This is where Nick’s expertise and knowledge came into play.

Rob and the trackers drove the Gemsbok into a valley. Nick set us up in an area he was confident they would eventually make their way through.

Gemsbok trophy taken on our African hunting trip

Our African Hunting Trip

After waiting them out, the herd began to cross back into the highlands between 200-250 yards out. Nick spotted a very impressive bull that presented itself broadside at 220 yards.

A shot off the sticks through the shoulder put the animal down in its track, and we had our 1st of 15 trophies of this trip.

For the evening hunt, we went after Kudu, Nyala, and Warthog. We spotted hundreds of animals within a few square miles.

And saw numerous Nyala (including 8 Nyala bulls) feeding out in a field.

After a stalk on the animals, Nick was able to get us in close to get a great look at these magnificent animals.

An extremely impressive Nyala presented itself broadside within 100 yards where it went down, again with a shot off the sticks.

We enjoyed a fantastic dinner, dessert, and drinks back at the lodge as we discussed day three plans.

Nyala trophy taken on our South African hunting trip

Day 3 Impala hunt

We began the day by going up higher in the mountains near Bedford as we pursued Kudu. The drive up in these mountains is breath-taking. Rob showed his excellent driving skills high in these mountains with amazing views.

Again, we located numerous animals but decided against going after any. We enjoyed lunch in the field then moved to an area closer to OliveFountain Ranch, where we had a lot of success in 2012.

We shot a trophy Impala ram off the sticks from about 225 yards, and again, the area did not disappoint. This shot was a little far back in the Impala, and this is where the trackers and the two Jack Russell Terriers proved their skills.

Blackjack, a two-year-old Jack Russell, quickly found the ram a couple of hundred yards from the point of impact. Watching these dogs’ work is impressive. Their energy, instincts, and love of the hunt are so remarkable.

Impala trophy

Our South African Hunting Trip

In the evening, we spent about an hour glassing over a vast area of land. Like the evening before, the Nyala bulls were out in astounding numbers.

Near the same location as the night before, we spotted 15 Nyala bulls in a field and numerous Kudu & Nyala cows. We put in a long stalk as the wind and sun were in our favor and were able to close in to within 100 yards of many of these animals.

Nick’s ability to differentiate a very nice Nyala from a “Proper Nyala bull” was again very evident. We continued to move down the field using large thorn trees as cover to identify the best animal.

We stayed until we finally got busted by some young Nyala hanging around in the thick brush as we came within 30 yards of them.

While we didn’t get anything this evening, the stalk on these animals was so impressive and rewarding in itself that we went back to the lodge with zero disappointment.

Hunting vehicle high up in the Bedford mountains looking for Kudu

Day 4 Nyala hunt

We started the morning by going back to the area where we shot the impala the day before. As we were glassing from the top of a high ridge, we spotted several Kudu, Warthog & Impala.

A very impressive Impala came out at 270 yards and shot using the elevation to our advantage.

Following brunch, we were back on the Zebra. Again, they were very wary and covering miles of highland. Nick put us on a hillside where he felt they would eventually move to.

After watching the Zebra for over an hour, they moved into a comfortable range. A shot was taken at a beautiful stallion but was missed just low from about 350 yards.

Impala trophy

We decided to let the Zebra settle down after this and left the area. Free-range hunting in Africa is like nowhere else in the world.

This evening we again went on to stalk the Nyala bulls in the same location they have been hanging out.

At last light, Nick spotted a beautiful shooter bull where we moved in on the unaware animal and closed the distance to within 150 yards.

A 2nd trophy, nyala bull, was shot, and we headed back to the lodge after another great day of hunting.

Nyala trophy

Day 5 Zebra hunt

This was a fantastic days hunting in Africa. We spotted a beautiful Kudu in the morning, among several Kudu cows.

We again went on the stalk. As we closed the distance, the valley came alive with the number of animals moving and startled the Kudu as they moved away from us.

The big bull stopped broadside to look back on the valley, and I dropped him in his tracks at 330 yards.

Kudu trophy hanging up shot during our African hunting trip

We dropped the Kudu off at the lodge for caping and headed back after the Zebra.

This time, they weren’t as active as the previous days, and we shot a beautiful Zebra stood broadside at 347 yards

Zebra taken on our African hunting trip

Our South African Hunting Trip

We brought the zebra back to the lodge. Because of the heat, we thought it best to have the animal skinned and placed in the cold room.

And went back into the field, chasing another herd of Zebra about an hour later.

Nick set us up in an area he felt they herd would be moving through. An opportunity at the lead stallion presented itself at 548 yards.

From a prone position, I placed a shot just in front of the shoulder, and this Zebra went down on the spot.

Zebra trophy take during our African hunting trip

We were thrilled that both of us had our No 1 animal successfully taken in a 3-hour time frame.

That evening we glassed a huge Warthog with very impressive ivory….again, the stalk was on.

We moved into the area of the big pig; he came out at 215 yards and was knocked down in the spot off the sticks.

We are not sure the trackers were too thrilled with our success as they certainly had their work cut out for them having to cape/skin all those trophies in a day, but we were undoubtedly thrilled.

What a day! And to top it all, South African hunting trip prices are very reasonable.

Day 6 The Kudu stalk

Gemsbok was the first thing on the menu for day 6. Going back into the same area where we had previous Gemsbok success, the herd was very active running about in the high plains.

After making several unsuccessful stalks due to the outstanding eyesight of these animals, we were able to position ourselves under a thick thorn bush to conceal ourselves.

Rob and the trackers were able to move behind the herd and redirect them back in our direction. As the herd began to settle down, they crossed in front of us single file at 180 yards.

Again, Nick picked out a beautiful bull among the large herd, and another trophy was down in its tracks after a long wait for the proper Gemsbok to come through.

Gemsbok trophy

Our South African Hunting Trip

We did not take any other animals that day, but it certainly wasn’t from a lack of seeing quality animals. By this time in the hunt, we have conservatively seen at least 10,000 different animals of numerous species.

One of the coolest things happened late this afternoon. While we were looking for a big Warthog, we spotted a nice Kudu that will be a shooter in another year or two.

We were within 300 yards of this, and it didn’t have a clue we were there. Just for the fun of it, we decided to stalk it to see how close we could get while the kudu was busy eating off some tree.

We slowly walked towards him, going into the wind, and got to within 35-40 yards of him before he finally spotted us. We have this stalk on video, and it was a moment we will never forget.

You could see the “Oh Shit” expression on the Kudu’s face before bolting off.

I included a snip from a screenshot of the video so you can see how close we ended up moving in on this impressive animal (sorry, the clarity of this isn’t the best due to pausing a video).

Stalking a Kudu

Day 7 Blue Wildebeest hunt

Again, we headed back into the mountain region near Bedford, going after another new species for us, the Blue Wildebeest.

After another impressive drive through the mountainside, a herd of about a dozen Wildebeest were spotted.

We stalked into a position getting an advantage from an elevated position. We shot a great bull from a prone position off a cliff, at 315 yards

What an impressive creature this animal is!!

Blue Wildebeest trophy

On a sweltering afternoon, we went after a Red Lechwe in a new area. After spotting the herd in a thick thorn bush area, we were able to put in a long stalk and get ourselves into a position to get a shot as the herd moved through the thick brush.

Two “proper” Red Lechwe came through the opening, and Nick quickly identified the better of the two. A shot off the sticks put the Lechwe down at 230 yards.

Lechwe trophy

Day 8 Warthog hunt

The only animal left on our list was another big warthog. The warthog was the focus of our final day of African hunting.

Well, we achieved success within 90 minutes of sunrise as we spotted a few shooters.

One unsuccessful stalk on a big pig was quickly followed up by a successful stalk on a different pig, which was downed from 210 yards. Warthogs…..they are so ugly they are beautiful!!!

Warthog trophy shot with Nick Bowker Hunting

Since we still had most of the day remaining to hunt, we decided to test our long-range hunting skills on the active and elusive White Blesbok.

Our African Hunting Trip

These animals love to run and can cover great distances in such a short period. Like many of the other species we went after, they are challenging due to the fact they run in such are a large herd.

Nick put us in position and identified a big shooter that stopped broadside at 608 yards. After using the G7BR2 rangefinder and setting the MOA on the Nightforce scope, this White Blesbuck was hit just in front of the shoulder and dropped in its tracks.

After gutting this animal and putting it in the shade, it was round 2 with the White Blesbuck.

Again, we set ourselves up in a similar location, and finally, the herd moved in front of us, and another trophy was hit hard behind the shoulder as it was strolling at 378 yards.

What a way to end a fantastic African hunt….two 18” White Blesbuck taken within a couple of hours of each other.

White Blesbok shot on our African Hunting trip

Finally, a few recommendations I would highly recommend for your South African hunting trip

  • Give yourself a MINIMUM of 3-4 hours for a layover between Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. We were delayed out of PLZ and barely made the plane back to the States. You will need all of that time for gun transfer, International check-in, etc…
  • Follow the recommended packing list Nick provides. Both trips I have over packed. You only need two sets of hunting stuff as they will wash and clean your clothes each day used the previous day.
  • Bring an excellent collection of optics! The eyesight of Nick and his crew is astonishing. They see stuff with their naked eye that is difficult to pick up with good binoculars. Great binoculars will make your experience much better with the amount of glassing you will be doing.
  • The majority of your shooting will be standing off of sticks. The first time I went over, I didn’t realize how much shooting would be done this way. Practice, A LOT, and be prepared to get a quality shot off in the standing position off sticks quickly.

Finally, a few recommendations

  • When you anchor an animal with one good shot, it makes everything so much better. You don’t want to spend a half-day or more tracking a trophy.
  • Bring quality bullets and know your ballistics…this will be valuable in preventing frustrating circumstances.
  • Listen to your Professional Hunter. Nick can quickly judge an excellent African animal from a great one. After two trips, every decent Kudu bull still looks enormous to me…he will promptly be able to tell you what is a shooter and what isn’t…trust their judgment.
  • Start planning your next trip after you experience your first trip as this is such an addicting experience.

I hope you enjoy the recap of another fantastic South African hunting trip experience with Nick. We have already started planning our 3rd trip over there, and we cannot wait for the next African hunting adventure to happen!

Happy South African hunting!

African Hunting

African Safari

Rob Bowker collected us from the Port Elizabeth airport for Andre’s first African Safari. I was returning for my second African hunting Safari in South Africa with Nick Bowker.

Having had an excellent previous experience with Nick. I was keen to bring my friend Andre for some free-range hunting in South Africa.

Elephant at a water hole

Nick is an Outfitter with more than 25 years of professional experience. Both Andre and I were taking Nick’s seven animal package.

In addition to the hunting Safari, we were combining our trip to visit the Mountain Zebra Park and the Addo Elephant national parks.

Bedford mountains

Day one visit to Mountain Zebra Park start our African Safari

We set off for the Mountain Zebra National Park for some game viewing before beginning our African Safari. The accommodation is basic but very comfortable.

The first morning we set off for some cheetah tracking. One of the male cheetahs has a collar as well as one of the female cheetahs. Initially, we tried to find the male, but four hours later, the ranger could not get a signal. The cheetah probably was on the move and avoiding our efforts.

We changed tactics and tried to find the female. We located the signal quite quickly and set off on foot to try and locate her. About a 5km walk and we came upon the female cheetah with her half-grown cub. They had recently made a kill, and at about 10 meters, we could still see the blood on them.

A short photo opportunity, and then the ranger asked us to back out so as not to be too intrusive.

Cheetah tracking

On the way back to the vehicle, we thought we had bumped into a black rhino.

The ranger was a bit unsettled, explaining that he had recently had a bad experience while cheetah tracking with a black rhino. We made an extensive birth and returned to the vehicle.

We returned to camp for a late brunch. Rested for a few hours and then did a self-drive around the park.

We completed a 4×4 trail in the park, which was a lot of fun.

We Saw some very impressive Eland amongst the typical array of Plains Game. Springbok, Gemsbok, Black Wildebeest and Red Hartebeest were plentiful. Just before sunset, we came upon several Buffalo feeding in the thick brush close to the camp.

A great ending to the first day of our African safari.

Mountain Zebra

Day two Springbok hunt -African Hunting Safari

Lions on the Savanna

The following day we checked out of the camp to make our way back to Olivefountain ranch to begin our African hunting safari. But first to try and find the lions.

We had heard the lions roaring early in the morning from a great distance. Having determined the direction, we set off to try and find them. We drove to the Northern end of the park and found a pride of 15 lions, which had just finished drinking.

The pride made their way across the African savanna and parallel with the road for about 5km, and we followed them – what a great siting. We then exited the park and drove to Cradock for brunch.

On arrival at Olivefountain ranch, I found the lodge recently upgraded with very comfortable rooms, all with en-suite bathrooms. We settled in and began shooting in rifles. We used Nick’s 7mm Remington Magnum.

Springbok trophy shot during our African hunting safari

Andre had never used a sporting rifle

Andre had never used a sporting rifle or shot an animal, although he had completed some military service early on in life. Nick first had Andre on the bench with some dry firing and going through the necessary procedures.

After this, some live firing off the bench, followed by firing off shooting sticks (Tripods). Most African hunting is done off sticks because of the terrain. With Andre feeling good about the rifle and the basics mastered, we set off for an evening hunt.

After a 20 minute to mixed scrub and savanna area where impala and Springbuck are in great numbers, we began walking up a low valley and soon spotted a springbuck trophy ram.

We stalked the ram, and Andre made his shot. A little low. We spent a few hours following the trail, and Andre finished his Springbuck ram off. His first African Trophy. We returned to camp to enjoy dinner next to a blazing fire with a pleased first-time hunter

Lion in the Mountain Zebra Park

Day two Day Three Impala hunt hunt

Up early for coffee, and we set off just after first light. This time it was my turn.

We went back to the Savanna area and parked on a flat ridge overlooking a valley and began walking along the crest of the ridge glassing for animals.

This area has larger amounts of Impala. We soon spotted a suitable ram and started a stalk down into the valley. I set up on the tripods and was successful – a beautiful impala ram.

We continued our walk this time up the bottom of the long valley. Andre held the rifle and again not long before we spotted another good Impala. Andre took his shot and success.

Impala trophy shot during our African Hunting Safari.

A great morning. Two fantastic Impala Rams, and we set off back to camp for brunch.

In the afternoon, we went a little further afield along a long ridge interspersed with thickly bushed valleys. We were on the lookout for a good Kudu Bull.

We drove along the ridge, glassing into the valleys – lots of Kudu but no big Kudu bulls. About an hour before last light, we spotted a good bull.

We started a long walk over the ridge and, at some point, lost sight of him as slipped into the thick brush. We never saw him again. Not called the grey ghost for nothing.

Impala trophies

Day Four Kudu hunt

We continued our quest for Kudu and headed up to a mountainous area about 45 minutes’ drive away.

This area was vast, with deep valleys stretching up the mountainside of a huge box canyon.

As we drove up the bottom of the valley, we would stop every few miles and glass the big valleys running up the side of the mountain.

Landscape during our African safari

There were plenty of Kudu to be seen. The bulls we spotted were to high up to launch a stalk without being spotted.

We enjoyed a packed lunch high up in the mountain overlooking a deep valley. The 4×4 tracks through the valleys and mountains were thrilling. But no luck, and we set off home.

Hunting Africa’s most elusive trophy is never easy. We enjoyed venison back straps from a Mountain Reedbuck over a blazing fire.

Blazing fir after a day of hunting on our African safari

Day five Warthog hunt

Up early as usual and continued our quest for the elusive Kudu. No luck in the morning hunt for Kudu, but Andre had managed to shoot a good Warthog.

Andre held the rifle, and we moved into an area we had not previously visited.

We began a slow walk down a creek, glassing as we went. Midway way down the creek, we spotted a Kudu bull and started stalking him.

Warthog shot on our African Safari

We got to about three hundred yards, and Andre took his shot. The familiar thud and Andre made his first shot count.

The Kudu, however, did not go down, and a second shot and Andre had his Kudu and was delighted.

We began the task of loading the Kudu and getting it back to camp. Finally, arrived at camp just before nightfall – success at last hunting Africa’s most elusive trophy.

Carrying a Kudu shot on our African safari

Day Six Black Wildebeest hunt

The day was again looking for Kudu this time; I held the rifle. We spotted Kudu in a deep Valley not far from camp. We started a stalk, but some cows between us and the bull set him off down the valley.

On the way down the valley, we saw some Mountain Reedbuck. I had already shot a Mountain Reedbuck earlier, so Andre began a stalk with Nick and was successful.

Black Wildebeest kill shot during our African hunting safari

That afternoon we went up higher on to the plains to look for Black Wildebeest. At first, we were unsuccessful with several ambushes not working out.

Towards evening we set up an ambush in a shallow valley. Andre and I both shot a Black Wildebeest in quick succession in the late afternoon.

Black wildebeest trophy shot on an African hunting safari.

Day Seven Blesbok hunt

We needed to shoot two White Blesbuck as part of our hunting package.

The Blesbuck are on the open plains and often require longer shots. So, we decided to use Nicks 300 Sako Winchester Magnum.

Mounted on the 300 are a Swarovski digital range finder and an automatic holdover for the required distance.

African hunting rifle

First, some practice at targets using the range finder. All went well with our long-range shooting practice.

We drove out on to the plains where there was a large herd of common and white Blesbuck.

We set up an ambush. Both Andre and I were successful at shooting a white Blesbok at around the six-hundred-yard range. Late that afternoon, I stalked and shot a Springbuck.

Day Eight of our African Safari

My only outstanding animal in the package was a Kudu. Nick offers very competitive all-inclusive packages.

The cost of an all-inclusive seven animal trophy hunt is comparable to shooting one Elk in the United States.

We spotted three Kudu Bulls against the hillside. On the sticks and I took my shot. Hit but not down.

Our accommodation during our African hunting safari

We moved forward and set up an ambush alongside a ravine where we saw the Kudu bull enter.

The trackers began walking through, looking for blood. But quite suddenly the

Kudu came out against a steep embankment, and I was able to finish the job. A fantastic end to our hunting safari in Africa.

sable trophy at sunset

Day nine of our African Safari

We spent Sunday in the Addo Elephant park with some magnificent sightings of Elephant Lion and Buffalo before our departure back to Europe.

Male lion drinking

African Hunting

Hunting in Africa

Armando was back with his wife Roberta for their fifth Safari hunting in Africa. Previously Armando had made hunting trips to Namibia, the Limpopo region, and the Eastern Cape.

Armando was looking for a high-quality Lechwe, Nyala, Waterbuck, and Bushbuck trophies in a free-range environment.

Bushbuck shot while hunting in africa.

I was on hand to meet Armando and Roberta at the Port Elizabeth airport after their long trip from Italy to South Africa.

We made the one and hour trip back to Olivefountain lodge, where Armando and Roberta settled in. We had the traditional dinner around the fire discussing the coming hunting.

Bushbuck hunt

Day one Lechwe hunting in Africa

We set off on a cold misty September morning to a neighboring property higher up on the escarpment about 20 minutes’ drive away.

Upon arrival, we walked to a high point and began glassing and located three Lechwe bulls down in the valley.

The mist was, however, very thick, and they melted away into the bush behind the fog.

The trackers stayed behind to try and locate the three bulls. We drove on to the next valley and moved ourselves to a high point and began glassing again.

We spotted a herd of Lechwe, but there was no trophy bull in amongst the herd.

At around noon, the trackers radioed to say they had found the three bulls form early in the morning.

Lechwe trophy shot while hunting in Africa

We joined up with the trackers and made about a mile-long stalk. The older bull was lying behind a tree, and so we had to wait around an hour before he moved.

We got into position, and Armando made a one-shot kill.

The late afternoon we went to look for a Bushbuck and spent the afternoon walking slowly down a river bed.

We encountered several females and young rams but no older rams.

Before last light, we found a good ram, but before we could get into position, darkness descended, and we had to abandon the hunt and make our way home.

As always, we spent the evening in front of the fire discussing the hunt and making plans for the following day.

Lechwe trophy

Day 2 Nyala hunting in Africa

We left early and returned to the river bed searching for the previous evening’s Bushbuck, but he was nowhere to be seen. We then went to try for a White Blesbok out on the plains. Conditions were, however, windy, and we did not manage to get closer enough for a shot.

On the way, back we spotted a big Nyala bull heading into a thicket at the bottom of a big valley. After glassing him at some length, we decided to leave the Nyala and return in the evening.

Later that evening, we returned to look for the Nyala at the bottom of the valley below a big dam.

Nyala trophy taken while hunting in Africa

We hid out in a dry creek to see if we could spot him. After some time, we were able to find the Nyala bull just below the dam wall, and we mounted a stalk.

Midway through the stalk, some kudu cows got in between the Nyala and us, and we had to wait until the kudu moved off. We finally got into shooting range, and Armando hit a little far back.

The follow-up shot was high on the front leg. The Nyala dashed the dam embankment, and his momentum took him straight into the water, where he collapsed.

Nyala trophy taken while hunting in Africa

Day three African Waterbuck hunting

In the morning, we descended into a deep valley in search of Waterbuck. Around mid-day, we spotted two Waterbuck bulls, with one being an excellent bull. We mounted a stalk.

Halfway into the stalk, we stumbled upon a sleeping Duiker, which alerted the Waterbuck bulls, and we returned to camp for brunch.

In the afternoon, we went into a new area and spotted a herd of Waterbuck with a nice bull. Again, we mounted a long stalk. Armando hit him high in the front leg.

The Waterbuck bull went over a hill, but a good blood spoor was evident.

Waterbuck trophy taken while hunting in africa

We let Black Jack, the long-haired terrier go, pictured below catching an impala from our last hunt.

BlackJack is fitted with a GPS transmitter, also pictured above. Somebody can see his position on a handheld device showing the direction and how many yards away from you he is.

After 20 minutes or so, the transmitter showed Black Jack as stationary about a mile away. As we began getting closer, we could hear here BlackJack barking.

We arrived to find Black Jack having bayed the Waterbuck, which was exhausted. A well-placed shot finished the hunt.

Impala tracked down by African hunting dog

Day 4 African Bushbuck hunting

We spent the morning looking for a Warthog. After some driving and glassing, we found an enormous boar having a mud bath. However, he up and moved shortly after we began our stalk.

We decided to move back to the area where we saw the large Bushbuck. Waiting patiently while carefully glassing the area he stepped out about 100 yards to our left.

A well-placed shot from Armando and we had a fantastic trophy. This was the last animal Armando needed to complete his fifth African hunting trip.

Armando, a master SCI measurer, was delighted as all his trophies made the SCI qualification with ease. I explained that this does not always happen while hunting in Africa.

On the final day, Armando and Roberta spent the day relaxing at Olivefountain lodge. They also accompanied me to the great Fish river about half an hour’s drive from the lodge. A rogue hippo was in one of the farmers land,s and I was setting up camera traps to ascertain the movements of the hippo

African Hunting

First Time African Hunt

My wife and I decided to take our honeymoon to South Africa for two weeks and were considering a First Time African Hunt. We stumbled across Nick’s website while planning.

He was one of few Outfitters that offered single day hunting outside of other excellent packages that he has advertised.

We decided to take the first few days of our honeymoon for a first-time African hunt.

Nick and his brother greeted us at the airport, and we took a short 1.5-hour drive to his family farm. While I was after Kudu, my wife had never shot a rifle outside of two rounds at a target range a decade ago.

Over the two days we were there, we finally convinced her to try some target practice with a .243 that Nick had.

After building some confidence in shooting sticks at the lodge, Nick took her on a bush hike to find Impala.

Nick could perfectly place my wife in a position to make her first kill. She looked like a natural with the shot from 143 yards.

Nick was there by her side to guide her as well as keep her calm. An unreal experience to be an observer and not the hunter on that day.

Impala trophy shot on a first time African hunt

First Time African Hunt with Nick Bowker

His staff and accommodations were top notch as well as his fees were reasonable and competitive.

My wife and I were very impressed with Nick’s hospitality and attention to detail, especially when it came time to eat.

Our food was amazing and plentiful, our lodging was comfortable and cosy. Wildlife on the property was abundant (no high fences either)!

I have already pre-booked for an 8-day hunt in 2021 to go back. And have ample time to do a 7-animal package that Nick is assisting me with on customizing and I would highly recommend this Outfitter to first-timers and seasoned African hunters alike.

His glassing as well as stalking knowledge coupled with the crew skills and knowledge of our hunting area made for an exciting two days of hunting in South Africa.

African Hunting

Plains Game Safari

My name is Sol Griffith, and I run Diamond Z Outdoors. We are a small (but growing) organization dedicated to wildlife conservation, promoting fair-chase hunting, preservation, and care of public land, and introducing the sportsman way of life to new hunters. I always dreamt of an African plains game safari.

Trophy Kudu shot on a plains game safari

Growing up, I was an avid reader, and “Green Hills of Africa” by Ernest Hemingway and “African Game Trails” By Theodore Roosevelt was always my first choice. I read both ten times each. I had a deep passion for hunting from an early age, and hunting the Dark Continent has always been a dream.

Trophy Impala shot on a plains game safari

When are you planning your Plains Game Safari?

This last fall, I had the opportunity to make that dream a reality finally and booked an African plains game safari with Nick Bowker Hunting in South Africa.

I chose to hunt with Nick because, first and foremost, he runs a low-fence, free-range operation with no captive-bred or planted animals.

The second reason was due to the hunt value—7 animals for an unbeatable price. 

Nick was great to work with, and very understanding as we ran into some difficulties with getting dates worked out, but it all came together.

The hunt itself was superb; I enjoy stretching shots out there, so I was very comfortable with the shot opportunities that I got; shots ranged from 60 yards to 640.

My wife shot a beautiful impala ram and a cull warthog as well. I have already booked my next hunt, and I cannot wait to go back to South Africa.

I have an easy time telling a story with video than words. So I will let the videos tell the story.

As an amateur movie maker, I captured all the hunts on video and have the videos attached. I hope you will enjoy watching them and please leave any comments below.

It was a real hunt, we got lucky with a few animals, but we worked for the others. All-in-all I ended up harvesting eight animals, seven trophy animals, and one cull.

  • Kudu
  • White Blesbok
  • Impala
  • Springbuck
  • Warthog
  • Mountain Reedbuck
  • Black Wildebeest
  • Cull Springbuck

African Hunting

First Hunting Safari

My first African Hunting Safari, the stories of vast lands and the variety of many animals. In 2019 my friends invited me on a trip to South Africa.

A kudu trophy taken on my first African hunting safari.

A trip I am glad to have been a part of. Nick Bowker runs a quality operation. Laid back, easy-going, friendly accommodation, and great food.

A blesbok trophy taken on my first African hunting safari.

From Day 1, it was Hakuna Matata. Morning coffee, to scanning the ever-changing landscape for trophies.

A grand brunch, a good nap, great company, back to surveying the countryside for more trophies.

Endless rolling hills and plains in the hunting area.

My firsts African Hunting Safari

A Bless Buck at 550yards to a Wart Hog at 40yards. Sneaking on a trophy Nyala to be busted at 50yards, only to get a bigger one later. Stalking a springbuck to be spooked by pigs that came out of nowhere.

Wide-open spaces, areas with thousands of termite mounds, to rolling hills, brushy valleys, rocky cliffs, and every bush has stickers.

Nick and his PH’s are knowledgeable of every animal and the country; not only are they working hard to find a good trophy, but they are also great teachers.

I learned a lot, the rich history of South Africa, the different qualities of each animal.

To top it off with stories and tall tales of the daily adventures, wine and dine and start all over the next day.

For having a routine, each day brought new adventures.

A Nyala trophy taken on my first African hunting safari.

The trackers worked extremely hard to raise the success level and make the hunt more enjoyable.

I cannot thank Nick, his PH’s, and staff enough for the incredible experience and memories of my first African Hunting Safari.

I ended up with one more trophy than stated, for a total of eight incredible animals. A lot of self-preservation for I would have broken the bank, with all the different variety of animals that were available. I figure all for another trip.

African Hunting

African Cull Hunt

I saw a posting on another website for an African Cull Hunt for twenty animals. The cull hunting in South Africa was five trophies and fifteen culls for Springbuck, Impala, Blesbok, Mountain Reedbuck, and Warthog.

Blesbok are included in a south African plains game cull hunt.

I did not care about the trophies. I could not figure out how to work in my schedule, but my wife suggested that I add it to the end of our Vic Falls trip – saving airfare money and a few days of travel.

Sometime before the hunt, Nick contacted me and asked if I was open to having other hunters in camp. I do not mind, but mostly since they were in the Army, I was okay with it.

Rifle Used: Nicks Remington 700 in 7mm Remington Magnum with a Swarovski 3-18 x 50 red dot scope with a tactical turret.

Animals saw: Springbucks, Warthog, Impala, Kudu, Blesbok (by order of quantity), Mountain Reedbuck, Nyala, Duiker, Steenbok, and sable. Also, I saw a yellow mongoose and rock hyrax. Could have forgotten a few.

I have been to Limpopo and Zambia previously, and I have never been satisfied with my shooting, so I thought cull hunting in South Africa would be a great experience.

Springbok and warthog shot on an South African cull hunt
South African Cull Hunt

What is an African Cull Hunt about?

I didn’t know what to expect of cull hunting in South Africa. Once on TV, I saw a cull hunt where someone had a portable shooting bench, and the TV made it look like a shoot and stack them up.

I got the impression that it was a “lesser” form of hunting, which turned out to be the same as hunting anywhere else except you have multiple tags, and your “trophy” has different characteristics.

We hunted by getting on the high ground and glassing and stalking. Stalking down a valley when bush was thick; Setting up on an elevated rocky outcrop looking for a shot, or having the trackers conduct a drive for us.

The weather was 30-40 degrees cooler than Vic Falls. You could see for miles on the open terrain which contained valleys, hills, and draws.

I cannot share every stalk because so many stalks were unsuccessful: animals spooking at 400+ yards.

Enjoying dinner on our safari.

Some days, we had so much wind I could not get stable on the sticks. So, I will share some of the highlights of the hunts.

One chilly morning we sat in a valley with three rims of the canyon six to seven hundred yards away.

The wind was gusting too much, and the sticks were impractical. We got prone on an earthen dam above the vegetation.

You could see a dust cloud where the 75 to 100 Springbok and fifty or so Blesbok were running. The animals were an impressive sight as they came over the rim of the valley.

We waited until they drifted down into range and stopped running. I have no idea why these animals were running. I think they ran more than they stopped.

Nick also offers a 30 animal cull hunting South Africa package.

Sable trophy seen on a cull hunt.

South African Plains Game Cull Hunting package

30 Animal African Cull Hunt Package –  6 Species

Impala are part of most plains game cull hunting packages

Cull hunting in South Africa is required to keep the number of animals in check to avoid overgrazing. This stems from animals having no natural predators in many parts of South Africa. Predators include lion, leopard, cheetah, and wild dog.

1 Hunter $7000 2 Hunters $6000 each.

8 Days hunting all-inclusive for the following 30 animals. No day fee & inclusive of accommodation and meals

  • 4 Kudu Bulls
    (All Non-Trophy)
  • 4 Impala Rams
    (1 Trophy Ram)
  • 10 Springbok Rams
    (1 Trophy Ram)
  • 4 Warthog Boars
    (1 Trophy Boar)
  • 2 Common Blesbok Rams
    (1 Trophy Ram)
  • 2 White Blesbok Rams
    (1 Trophy Ram)
  • 4 Mountain Reedbuck Rams
    (1 Trophy Ram)

What Happens on an African Cull Hunt

Nick told me to shoot a Blesbok outside of the herd. There was a very strong crosswind. Nick told me to aim almost to the butt of the Blesbok in front of it.

I’m guessing an 18-24-inch gap between the two animals. Nick set the range on the scope, and when I fired, the buck dropped in his tracks.

Nick said it was at 357 yards. I thanked Nick for the guidance on the wind, and he thanked me for listening to him because most hunters he said would second guess him. We finished that morning by shooting two other Blesbok from the prone position.

Previously in Zambia, my PH Charlie Harvey talked about hunting being freedom. I really felt that release on this trip. It was a state of inner peace and tranquillity. All I thought about was the hunt: didn’t worry about bills, or family or business. All I did was hunt, shoot, eat, and sleep.

On another occasion, we were on some high ground, and the sticks were not stable enough with the wind. The floor was covered with large stones with sharp edges- larger than bricks.

Black jack our dog

African Cull Hunt

I proceeded to get into a sitting position – uncomfortable, and Nick built up stones to have a rest. I shot an Impala at 281 yards, and it ran about twenty yards into the brush.

The trackers and dogs went around to drive it out of the brush or see if it is dead. The Impala shot from the brush as I was about to shoot him, I see the long-legged Jack Russel terrier in my scope by the name of Blackjack.

Blackjack grabbed hold of the nose of that impala and was wrestling him, stirring up a cloud of dust. Blackjack wrestled him only a minute or so, but it was enough to wring the life out of the impala.

There were a few occasions where I wish I had a phone Scope or filmed the hunt. Blackjack wrestled a total of five animals during that week.

While out and about hunting, we saw a herd of Sables. There was a male about 44-45”. He looked phenomenal, and he is all I could think of for the next day.

I did not want to turn this into a trophy hunt because I would like to take more home than just the Sable, but I could not stop thinking of him until I saw a Nyala.

Springbok shot on an African safari cull hunt.

One horned Nyala hunt

On our way to another area to glass, we saw a one-horned Nyala of which I stopped and took some pictures.

On our return trip, the Nyala was still there. Nick explained that for over ten years, he has been messing with people.

People would see his one horn and get excited and then turn disappointing when they saw the other horn was missing.

Nick mentioned that he fifteen years old and would not make it another year. I asked Nick, and agreed to us hunting it the next morning.

Returning to the area the next morning, there was no sign of the Nyala. We spent the morning glassing and stalking with no success. We returned and saw him in the afternoon.

I set up on the sticks, but he never stopped running. We went back up on the high ground and stalked down to the area we saw him go into.

He was visible through a break in the brush. There was a wire sheep fence in front of us.

White and common blesbok shot on an African cull hunt.

African Cull Hunt

I know the probability of hitting a wire may be slim, but I hit a wire previously, so I did not want to take a chance.

The only thing I fear is the Internal Revenue Service and shooting through brush or wire fence.

We decided we would work our way closer and the other side of the wire fence. In the open, some cow Nyala spooked, which was the end of the hunt for that evening.

We went back out in force the next morning. One PH and a hunter were hunting for a trophy Nyala down the Nyala Valley as I had named it.

Another PH and hunter who was done and out scouting for both of us. We did not see the one-horned Nyala, but Clinton, the other hunter, took a nice Nyala. We did not expect to see him again.

Back out in the afternoon, and there he was standing 323 yards away in the open. I set up on the hood of the truck fired, and he ran ten yards — a great conclusion to some wonderful African cull hunting.

One horned Nyala shot on a cull hunt

Data – Shots

  • Shots Fired: 41
  • Misses: 10

Most of my misses were slightly high, especially over 500 yards. I am guessing that I am still breathing.

  • Number of Animals Shot: 30 (Can purchase extra animals)
  • Number of Animals shot twice: 1
  • Animals wounded and not found: 1 (tracker and dogs tracked for 2 miles; re-joined the herd)
  • Trackers had to finish off three animals

Range to animals shot

Average distance to animal shot: 293 yards (previously in Limpopo, my average was 60 yards)

  • Farthest Shot: 504 yards
  • 100 yards or less: 3 Closest shot 72 yards
  • 101 yards to 200 yards: 3
  • 201 yards to 300 yards: 6
  • 301 yards to 400 yards 15
  • 401 yards to 500 yards 2
  • 500+ yards 1


  • Nineteen out of thirty animals dropped where were shot
  • One animal needed a second shot
  • Nine animals ran on average of twenty yards once they were shot (Excluding the one wounded who got away)
 Accommodation for safari.

Shooting Positions

  • I used the prone position to shoot three animals.
  • I used the sitting position to shoot one animal.
  • Sticks to shoot seven animals.
  • The hood of the Land Cruiser to shoot nineteen animals. The hood of the Land Cruiser was my preferred position because of the stability in the wind.

Animals Taken

  • Blesbok 3
  • Impala: 8
  • Mountain Reedbuck 2
  • Nyala 1
  • Springbok 12
  • Warthog 4

Nick had phenomenal eye sites and able to locate animals without his 10 x 42 Swarovski’s binoculars. He was a personable, knowledgeable PH with patience to listen to my lying hunting stories.

I became conditioned when Nick’s binoculars went to his face; my binoculars went to my face to try to find what he was looking at on the hill.

I don’t know if everyone does this, but I play a game and try to find an animal before the PH. He finds 99/100, but it is a small thrill to see one before he does.

Nicks family homestead from the 1800s with many additions, was our base camp. The bedroom was large and comfortable, and I think we all had our bathrooms. The water was hot, and water pressure excellent.

The food was great and plentiful — no shortage of beverages. Hospitality was superb. Equipment was in great shape including a brand-new Land Cruiser that I cringed every time the Acacia thorns scratched the paint.

What is cull hunting and why is it needed?

Cull Hunting is required to keep the number of animals in check to avoid overgrazing. This stems from animals having no natural predators in many parts of South Africa. Predators include lion, leopard, cheetah, and wild dog.