Africa-Third Times is a Charm – Part1

HEADERDisabled_Archer-2Sponsored by: The Physically Challenged Bowhunters of America  &  Barnett Crossbows

 

By: Doug Bermel
By: Doug Bermel

Reading some outdoor magazines and watching the Outdoor channel on hunting in Africa, I started to get the fever again. It’s true what they say, that once you go to Africa it get in your blood and you have to go back. This was going to be my third trip to the dark continent.

I sent an email to my good friend and PH Alex Duvenage of Kudu Adventure Safaris asking if he had any openings in September. He replied that he could take me Sept 12th to the 20th. My wife Diane would be accompanying me on this trip so we started making plans. This was going to be a six day hunt but we needed to allow two day before and two days after for travel time. We booked our flights, got the needed vacation time and were ready to go.

Seeing an article in the Safari Club magazine about the SCI Blue Bag I decide to get so more information. I called Karen Crehan with SCI and got some more details. The Blue Bag is something you bring to Africa loaded with medical and school supplies maybe some toys, stuff animals or whatever you think these kids could use. We would go to a local school and deliver the bag to the kids. Karen sent us a list of possible items to bring. We had all summer to acquire the items we were going to bring with us. Everyone we talked to wanted to help out. My dentist gave me a case of tooth brushes and tooth paste. A local store gave us a discount on some school and medical supplies. We also had some stuffed animals, t shirts, knap sacks and two soccer balls. The bag was packed full. With everything set it was just a matter of time to wait till Sept.

Author and wife Diane with the camp staff .
Author and wife Diane with the camp staff .

Sept 11th arrived and we took our first leg of the journey from Minneapolis to Atlanta. After a five hour layover we boarded our 15 hour flight to Johannesburg. Being in a wheelchair was not a problem. The airlines were very accommodating and eager to help make my flight a safe and enjoyable affair. We landed in Jo’berg about 7:30 pm and once we cleared customs we met Alex. We loaded all our gear into his truck and we were off to a bed and breakfast for the night. When we arrived at the B+B I noticed a big flight of stairs going up to the restaurant. I was trying to figure out how I was going to go up the stairs in a chair but Alex had a plan. Alex and a helper carried me up while Diane brought up my chair. After a great dinner it was off to bed for a good night’s sleep and dreams about my African adventure.

Next morning Alex and his skinner, tracker Zwely picked us up and we were off for the 4 hour ride to Malta Mamba. Malta Mamba is a 23,000 acre hunting concession that we would be using. It was noon when we arrived and we met camp managers Pierre and Leizel and the rest of the staff. After a quick lunch I went out to shoot my crossbow to make sure it was still zeroed in. We got all our gear organized and loaded on the pickup, changed clothes, grabbed some snacks and water and we were ready to go.

Camp manager Peirre and his wife Lezeil.
Camp manager Pierre and his wife Leizel.

Alex was going to join Diane and I on the first sit so with great anticipation we headed out. Just as we were about to leave, Pierre came to the pickup to talk to us. He said that the ground blind we were going to had an eland there that was sick and if we saw it he asked us to go ahead and take it. This was kind of a different approach, a camp manager asking me to shoot an animal for him but this was okay by me. We said our goodbyes and drove out of camp to one of the many ground blinds.

Author exploring the grounds of the hunting camp.
Author exploring the grounds of the hunting camp.

The blind was overlooking a water hole and with conditions being very dry water was a big attraction. Alex set up a target and I took one shot just to make sure things were still on. We unloaded our gear and threw it in the blind and Zwely helped roll me in. As Zwely drove the truck away we got settled in and sat back to wait for the animals to start coming back to the water.

The action was starting to heat so be sure and catch next month’s column to see what game came to the water hole.

For more please go to: The Disabled Hunter