Four Paces from Death (part 1)

by david on November 26, 2012

I thought for the next week or so I would share one of my first attempts at writing.  “Four Paces from “The Black Death” Eye to Eye with a Cape Buffalo” is the story of my first cape buffalo hunt and how I really did end up within 12 or so feet from a very perturbed cow buff and her calf.  I hope you like it.

David B

Four paces from “The Black Death”

Eye to Eye with a Cape Buffalo



            This was my first Cape buffalo hunt.  I had successfully hunted Africa three times before, so I thought I knew what to expect, boy was I wrong.  Before things were over, I would want to quit, swear and cry, and then beg to do it all over again. 

As I said, this was my fourth hunt in Africa and I was sure I knew just enough to think I sort of knew what I was doing.  Hunting buff was different and difficult.  It was made even more difficult by the poachers and the lions.  The poachers were after the buffalo and they had started fires to concentrate them in one area.  A group of young lions were hunting them as well and were having much better luck than we were.  They were taking a buffalo every three or four days or so.  All of this pressure had consolidated the bachelor groups into the main herds, thereby complicating my life immensely, but I am getting ahead of myself.   

                  I was hunting the Chirisa area of Zimbabwe.  Getting there was easier than I thought it was going to be.  I had just finished a family vacation and a hunt with my good friend, Johann Veldsman, the owner of Shona Hunting Adventures.  After bidding farewell to my family, all I had to do was take a commercial flight from Windhoek to Victoria Falls, and then a quick charter flight deposited me on a grass landing strip a few miles from camp.  After a short wait, the guys from HHK Safaris picked me up and it was off to camp.  The camp was nice without being plush.  It kept the spirit of the wildness of Africa and was high on a cliff overlooking the Sengwa River.  The view was breathtaking, as my arrival at camp coincided with sunset.  The reddish glow from the sun reflecting off the sandy riverbed was spectacular.  When the thin shadows cast by the trees on the opposite bank worked their way like large dark snakes out into the dry river bed, I had to just stop and watch.  The sky went from red to purple, and, finally, to the blackness that is the African night.  My PH, Phillip Smythe, arrived a few minutes later, having driven cross country from another concession.  We had our first sundowner, got to know each other, and made plans for tomorrow.  As we swapped stories and hunting experiences, I could tell we were going to get along famously.

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