After Dries put together a package for everybody, which was cheaper than an average Elk hunt in the US, they all said "I'm In". They were going to hunt gemsbok, impala, warthog and blesbok. Having been there before, with a package, I knew in my own mind that during an 8 day hunt other animals would hit the ground. You just can't sit in the blinds and see the quality and quantity of animals, they have never seen before, without getting an itchy finger. I know this from my first trip when I had a 4 animal package and took home 9.
After all the preparation, anticipation and then the long plane ride to Johannesburg we were met at the airport by Dries' people and driven to the camp called the Citadel in the Limpopo province. We were in Africa!
After getting settled in to the 5 Star accommodations and checking our bows we had a meeting with our PHs. This where this hunt went from good to great. Armand, my PH, said that they had a red male sable, male sable's are normally black, that they had been hunting for 3 years because they wanted him out of the herd and would anybody be interested? My arm almost came out of the socket as I raised my hand. He also told me that he had gone totally nocturnal and we would have to hunt him at night around the only water hole he was using. Treestands were set up and all we had to do was wait for the right wind. That didn't come until day three.
In the mean time we all harvested belsboks and warthogs, everybody was seeing a ton critters. On the third day just before dark Armand and I climbed into the treestand and got ready for the night. Not 10 mins. into our sit a herd of Cape Buffalo decided to walk right under the stand. I was starting to wonder if this was really such a good idea. When I asked Armand he said, in typical South African fashion, "Are you a sissy?" not me. We sat for several hours in the dark, moonless night and when I say dark it was like the bottom of a ink well. We climbed down and talked about whether this was going to work, seeing how dark it was. We went to the bow range that night and tried to tape a flash light to the side of my head to see if that would help me see the sable when he came to the water, it actually worked pretty well at the range.
The next day the wind was bad but after about 15 mins. of looking we spotted the Sable and the hunt was on. I was in a position to make two 20 yard shots and suddenly, he was on the ground. After a lot of high 5's and several pictures it was off to the skinning shed and back to hunting the rest of my wishlist. This was one of the best days of my life.
The other guys, as I knew they would, went outside their package and harvested zebras, blue wildebeest and some cull animals. All are planning return trips.
Having been in the outfitting business for 16 years, Illinois Trophy Bow hunters, and been with several other outfitters around the world I can say without any hesitation that Dries runs the best operation it's been my pleasure to hunt with. The lodge, rooms, the hard working staff and what can I say, the food is better than any restaurant I've been in. My PH Armond was professional, knowledgeable, hard working, funny and a real bonus,he put up with me. The trackers are something you have to see to believe Amazing. I consider everyone at the Citadel part of my extended family and I can tell you, I'll be back.
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