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A Sportsman's Tale: South Africa hunting safari a trip of a lifetime

By Christian Rose, Lockport

I was able to go on a two-week hunting adventure to South Africa over the summer thanks to an invitation from my grandfather, Greg Fox of Hamburg. What an experience for a 15-year-old!

Our plane rides were about 20 hours each way, and that's the only thing I didn't like about my trip. The accommodations on the plane were good, though.

When we finally arrived in Johannesburg, we could see nothing but desert. We left the airport that evening, and the lights and scenery were spectacular. It was winter there (as opposed to our summer), but we didn’t see any snow.

We went to our outfitter Cristo's place for the first night. The next morning, we went to our first lodge. After settling into our room, we went to the rifle range and saw ant hills that were about 3 feet tall. After we were finished sighting in our guns — mine was a .308 scout gun given to me by my grandpa — we went hunting.

By 1 p.m., I had taken my first three animals. One was a blue wildebeest that I shot from 245 meters and weighed about 600 pounds. The lodge owner had to have some of his men come help carry it to back be skinned and cleaned. I shot a potential gold medal top 20 white blaze buck. My third kill for the day was a brown blaze buck.

All the meat from the animals is divided up among the host, workers and stores.  For our meals, we ate different kinds of meat, such as ostrich and blaze buck. We also had steak and chicken.

The following day my grandpa, Cristo and I went out scouting for gems buck. That was one of my favorite animals. We went back to the lodge for lunch. We had to "fuel up" for more hunting. I found the mark on a spring buck. My grandpa and Cristo were by my side the whole time.

On the next day, we took off for another camp that was a few hours away. Seeing the view of a different country was mind-opening. Their culture was different. The houses were like small metal sheds with dirt yards. But the children wee very proper, wearing uniforms to school.

We spent the next three days at another lodge that was more modern looking and went hunting the in mountains. Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful. The kudus (a type of antelope) were very hard to shoot.

We then returned to our first lodge, where I was able to harvest my kudu. It was a much easier hunt. Then I went for an impala, using another hunter’s suppressed rifle.

On to the last lodge, which was a 6-hour drive. We went for the black wildebeest but didn't take it until the second day. Our housing here was like a cottage, nice and cozy.

Cristo had two young sons. They watched me play games on my phone and were in awe seeing what the phone does. He dropped us off at the airport, and I couldn't thank Cristo enough for all the help and hospitality.

I was able to harvest eight animals total and my grandpa took 1. My trip to South Africa was an experience of a lifetime and I was thrilled that I got to share the adventure with my grandpa.

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