Few animals have captured my soul like the cape buffalo. I've been infatuated with them since I was a kid and read old african novels by Roosevelt, Capstick and Ruark. I turned that dream into reality for the first time in 2006 and spent 16 days hunting South Africa, day after day, without even drawing my bow. I booked RSA again in 2007 and hunted herds of buffalo. Again, after 14 days of tracking and trying every possible method, I came home empty handed. While both hunts were ranch operations, nobody can argue those animals weren't totally wired and challenging. I never stopped thinking about buffalo and it's been number one on my bucket list for years now - even above my other nemesis - an elk.
Crossing into Mozambique
With that burning desire I started talking with African outfitters and PH's I knew well. Many outfits want nothing to do with bowhunting for two reasons; the first is that it's dangerous. Buffalo can be unpleasant and they really dislike being shot. But the primary reason most outfits don't want bowhunters is simple, it's a lot of work. A buffalo with a rifle can be a challenging hunt, but multiply that many times over by needing a close shot, a perfect angle, and without spooking an entire herd of bulls and cows in the process and you turn a one or two day rifle hunt into a 10 day bowhunt quickly. It's just not profitable for them to spend so much time on one animals.
So when my old friend and my first "dangerous game" PH, Dries Visser Jr. emailed me about an opportunity to hunt truly wild buffalo Mozambique I don't think I hesitated for one second. I confirmed the hunt immediately.
Our first view of Coutada 10 - the hunting concession
My hunt started in Pretoria South Africa. It was the beginning of a day-long series of flights and landings required to get to Mozambique. Gert Saaiman of Saaiman Safaris was the pilot and owner of the camp and operation we were staying at. Along with his partner, Johan Strasheim (who owns Bahati Safaris), they own the hunting rights to the concession.
We left Pretoria for Polokwane where we needed to clear immigration and pick up my PH, Willem Van Dyk. From there we flew to Beira, a small fishing city on the coast of Mozambique on the Indian Ocean. Our last leg was over the concession we'd be hunting - Coutada 10 - before landing on a grass runway near camp.
Unloading the Aerostar Plane
Mozambique villages are as primitive as they get
We unloaded the plane and drove to camp which is comfortable but far more rustic than any african operation I have hunted. This was expected since this is a classic - old africa Safari hundreds of miles in the bush. We had a nice dinner and I spent the better part of that evening organizing my gear for the next several days of living in the swamps. Tomorrow morning we needed to be up at 3:00 AM for a long day of traveling; first by truck for an hour, then several hours by Argo to pick out a campsite, and finally to the buffalo. To say I fell asleep soundly would be a lie. I was wired and filled with anticipation.