This Safari had been on my bucket list for nearly 20 years, since reading the book The Wild Sports of Southern Africa by Captain William C. Harris, in 2001. The book details his yearlong safari and was first printed in 1838. To my knowledge, this was one of the first (perhaps the first) documented safari. The author’s safari originated from this area in 1836, 20 years before the word “safari” was introduced into the Swahili language. What safari hunter wouldn’t want to go hunt in the place that safari hunting began almost 200 years ago?
South Africa occupies the southern tip of Africa, from the Atlantic to the Indian oceans, and has a lot of history; we hunted in the Eastern Cape Province. From a European perspective, this area was settled by the Dutch about 1650, then governed by the British after 1806. Historic towns in this area are Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and Graaff Reinet; all of which William Harris visited.
Port Elizabeth is a port city, and is where Captain Harris began his inward journey into Africa. He traveled by horse to Grahamstown (founded in 1812), and then to Graaff Reinet, where he outfitted for his Safari, and headed north. Grahamstown
was our last air destination, before loading into the safari cars.
This was a family-oriented plains game hunt, Brenda and I, daughter Sara and her husband Nick, grandkids Eliza and Jay and our guests Neil and Tracey Lawson. There were four safari cars, four professional hunters and two assistants. During the days, the cars headed out in different directions, 2 on 1 style; breakfast, lunches, evenings around the campfire and the dinner table were an absolute hoot. We shared the day’s hunting activities and got to know our professional hunters, as they got to know us. While I never took a rifle or shot any big game on this trip, each day I rode in or on someone’s safari car. It was reminiscent of our first safaris, when Brenda and I allowed the kids to do all the shooting.
During twelve days of hunting, there were three different camps, all at different elevations – plains, mountains and coastal. Hunting this area of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa was a wonderful hunting and family experience and one more item to check off my bucket list; but, who knows, perhaps I’ll return another year - with the rest of the grandkids.