S: Zimbabwe Safari 2009 - Betsy & Will Parks
BC: This book was created by Betsy Parks. Published December 2009
FC: zIMBABWE sAFARI 2009
1: Betsy & Will Parks 607 Benham Ave. Scottsboro, AL | zIMBABWE sAFARI mAY 29 - jUNE 17, 2009 iNGWE sAFARI cAMP
2: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 Will got his Tetanus shot, as well as a shot of Vitamin R to get over whatever sickness that was starting. He is now taking antibiotics in addition to the anti-malarial Malarone. Begin packing... Wednesday, May 27, 2009 Betsy got 3 shots at Dr. Brad's office (Tetanus, Rocephin, and steroid) then passed out. Now we are both taking antibiotics in addition to Malarone. More packing... Friday, May 29, 2009 We spent the night at the Crowne Plaza in Atlanta. The alarm didn't go off, but we didn't panic. We got Kindle straightened out before leaving the country. While in the airport I found out that I had officially been given the second grade teaching position...pretty good way to begin a vacation! The Brownwood bunch is having their workday, so I'll have to make that up over the summer. I'm still surprised by Mr. Petty's retirement announcement. I have already received lots of birthday wishes by way of Facebook and text. Our plane in D. C. didn't take off until 8:00pm EST....scratch that, 9:40! Hope we make our connection in Johannesburg.
3: Saturday, May 30, 2009 Happy Birthday to Betsy...on a plane! Watched Bride Wars, had dinner, and took meds. Out like a light with Lunesta... Plane stopped to refuel in Dakar, Senegal. It looks like most of the homes are made of adobe and are very close together. Temperature here is 71. Watched Marley & Me, and cried. We've had 3 full meals on this flight, celebrated a birthday, and watched several movies. Made it to South Africa, but we had to RUN to the other end of the airport to make our connection. They held the plane, but our luggage didn't make it to Harare. Colin, a Zambezi PH, picked us up and delivered us to the home of Johnny & Nina Hulme to spend the night. The ride was a tad scary after hearing about the local dangers, but it was nice to visit with Colin's wife and son, Justine and Oscar. Nina got us settled in the guest cottage but it was extremely cold. We might have been given two twin beds, but we slept in one just to stay warm! Sunday, May 31, 2009 After a night with no heat, we were more than ready to be on our way. Nina gave us a wake-up around 5am. We had a light breakfast while Nina rounded up some essentials that we could borrow until our luggage arrived. Their dogs made us feel right at home, and their boys, Daniel and Nicholas, were delightful. We even watched part of a Mike Rowe show while we waited for Jenna, Alistair's pregnant wife. She picked us up around 6am and took us to our charter flight. We signed a note giving her permission to pick up our bags when they arrive, hopefully in a couple of days. At the small airstrip we loaded up into Nick's Z-WOG plane. Flying over the countryside, I am surprised by the landscape - more trees, some farmland, even hills and rock formations. Our Professional Hunter, Thierry Labat, met us at the Sango landing strip with his crew. After climbing out of the small plane we met his girlfriend, Susie, who was catching a ride with Nick. As quickly as we arrived, the plane was gone. Thierry drove us to the lodge so we could drop our bags, freshen up, meet our hosts, and get started. Drinks, warm towels, and luxury! | Zimbabwe
4: Sunday, May 31, 2009 (continued) After breakfast we hopped into the Landcruiser to "hit the ground running." So far, we've already seen zebra, nyala, impala, baboons, wildebeest, guinea fowl, hornbills, sable, giraffes, and warthogs! Soon after leaving the lodge, Will had already taken a zebra to use as leopard bait. We took it to HQ and had lunch at the guest camp. After a catnap, Will killed a nice warthog that we had to take back to the skinning shed. The rest of the afternoon we focused on hanging 4 baits for leopard hunting. This is the worst part because of the 'bait bucket' and its stench, not to mention the flies. It is dark when we are finished hunting for the day. Back at camp there are hors d'ouvres waiting for us with drinks of our choosing around a fire pit overlooking the valley. During the evening's 'getting to know you' conversation we discovered that our hosts are friends with some Alabama SCI members that Will knows, namely Bobbie Jo (Wallace) Parsons. Our PH, Thierry, was the guide for John Scurr's safari that he told us about while we hunted with him in New Zealand. I guess it really is a small world! Dinner was delicious. We had crusted bream fish, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, salad, and lemon meringue pie. I was even able to email home after dinner. Before bed I took a wonderful and much-needed bath in our huge tub! | Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Zebra Details: to be used for leopard bait
5: Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Warthog Details: 12.5-13" tusks
6: Monday, June 1, 2009 This is officially the first day of the hunt. We woke up shortly after 5am. I am still jet-lagged and did not rest especially well. We had a "light" breakfast - 3 cereal choices, milk, yogurt, toast, meats, cheeses, crackers, and fresh fruit. I rode up front with the heat because it is really cool here in the mornings. We immediately saw lots of zebra, plus an elephant! Impala are plentiful as well. We started out for buffalo and found a group of dagga boys. As soon as tracks were spotted we got out to follow on foot. We got close once, but we were in some really thick stuff. The truck picked us up on the next road, but we were soon walking again when the boys spotted a couple of buffalo from the truck. I hopped out with Thierry, Will, and the tracker that carried the shooting sticks. We stalked for another couple of miles. So add buffalo to the list - one was standing in the road, and another was in the woods. We also saw eland in the woods. At this point I realize that Nina's sneakers are not going to work - they are about a half-size too short and are hurting my big toes. Oh how I wish our luggage would arrive... After driving around to check on 2 of the baits we went back to Ingwe for a lunch of burger and salad. Dusty and his research intern, James, dropped by to show us some trail cam photos of a large male leopard as well as a female feeding last night on a
7: bait near camp. While the boys went to build a blind for that leopard, I took a much needed nap! When I woke up, Lindsey brought me her tennis shoes that were larger and much more comfortable. Everyone here has been so accommodating and willing to give whatever necessary to make us feel at home. The boys came back for a quick break before leaving again at 4pm to sit for the nearby leopard. They sent the trackers back to camp to wait with the radio in the event they get him tonight. I write this as I dangle my feet in the pool overlooking the valley. Life is good! The wind was bad this evening, so the guys came back home around 8pm. Tonight's dinner was buffalo beef stroganoff served over rice with steamed vegetables and spinach salad. It was delicious! Dessert was a pudding served in a champagne flute - a different flavor but nice. I slept like a rock!
8: Tuesday, June 2, 2009 On day 2 of the hunt we awoke again at 5am. The only good thing about being required to get up so early is that the coffee here is FABULOUS! I wish we had one of those fancy Saeco Royal coffee machines at home. Breakfast was much the same as yesterday, but with the addition of wonderful poppy seed muffins. We began the day with buffalo hunting, and lots of walking. I'm getting better at seeing the signs - lots of runny, spotty poop and big hoof prints. We caught up to them but they ran off. I noticed that you can also smell them when we get close - just like cows roaming the pastures at home. On into the morning, we went to check leopard baits. I learned that we don't check them first thing in the morning in case the leopard is still feeding. One bait had a hit but the trackers were unable to identify it as a male or female. On our way to another bait we saw 4 lions! We just saw sable. Moudini, one of the trackers, taught me that the Shona word for sable is "barrati". At one of the baits, Moudini and Isaac came back with a Pangolin, a rare scaly anteater that supposedly brings good luck. They were so proud of that balled- up thing that they carried it back to the truck to show us! We took their picture and touched its scales. After checking baits we headed back to camp for lunch and nap. This is turning out to be my kind of safari! For lunch, we had omelets, hot dogs, rolls, and salad. This sounds like a strange combination, but it was quite good. After lunch I was able to watch the 'pet' nyala that come to the lodge. Lindsey had mentioned them but this was the first time I had seen them up close. So gentle and sweet... The afternoon proved worthy of our efforts, but with a twist. We picked up on the buffalo where we left off earlier using 'African GPS as Will called it - a couple of limbs the trackers put beside the road. We caught up to the pair without even knowing we were upon them and they again got away. Just when I was wondering if we were giving up we hear it - big cats fighting! We weren't sure if they had found the nearby bait, but Will and Thierry went with two trackers to find out. Will said that they tried to sneak up on the leopards. They heard them 2 more times before they slipped away. He said they never actually saw the leopards but knew they were really close. After the leopards vanished, they heard a clicking sound. That's when they spotted 2 eland bulls feeding through the bush. One had fantastic horns, with the side profile of a mini Lord Derby. He was not the biggest bodied bull eland in the Save, but not shotting him was not an option as he was too fine to pass on any day of a safari. I was pretty anxious about being left behind with the other two trackers without Will, but in about ten minutes we heard 2 loud shots. The Mopane flies were terrible while we waited! I learned that they are actually small, non-stinging bees that make honey from the Mopane trees that surrounded us. If for no other reason than these awful flies, I was glad to hear those shots! I was certainly surprised to find no buffalo or leopard, but that Will had taken a big brown eland instead. He had a beautiful fawn color and really long spirals. Will and Thierry were really proud. Now, the process afterward was almost more than I could handle. The smell when they cut him in half and removed the stomach caused mine to flip-flop - and I thought the bait bucket was bad! We took the eland to the skinning shed at HQ where I began writing in my journal. Thierry played current music in the truck (Nickelback, Kid Rock, and others). The trackers and other workers thoroughly enjoyed the process, scurrying around after the 'leftovers.' It is now dark and they were out of power, which is apparently typical for Zimbabwe. On the way home we dropped off one of the meat guys who had been permanently damaged by a poacher that had speared him. I sat up front with the heat and Thierry told me about himself - how his family's farm had been taken away by the government with only 24 hours notice, that his parents moved to their original home of Mauritius and now had a 'walking with lions' tourist attractions, about his relationship with Susie. I also told him about Will and myself. He is a genuinely nice guy around our age that we have been able to form a bond with - we are definitely in the right place, even if we don't have our bags yet! Appetizers and dinner were good as usual - roasted chicken, 'fried' potatoes, steamed veggies, and a 3-bean salad. We had chocolate mousse (or pudding?) for dessert. At dinner we received the best news - that our bags should arrive tomorrow! | Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Warthog Details: 12.5-13" tusks
9: Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Livingstone Eland Details: 12.5-13" horns
10: Pangolin: This scaly anteater is considered a good luck charm. | Bets is enjoying herself.
11: Who needs postcards when Ingwe Safari Lodge has the internet! We were able to communicate with email and Facebook. Love, Betsy & Will | Isaac is making preparations for a leopard bait/blind. | Will is just letting the boys work. | Family & Friends Home Alabama 2009
12: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 Another nice breakfast awaited us this morning, and I even had time for an extra cup of that great coffee! We're looking for a buffalo herd this morning, and what do we see? Rhino! After checking one of the baits, Thierry spots a big warthog. They decided it was larger that the one Will shot the first day. After a short stalk he managed to get a shot into him. Thierry was right and the pig was about one half inch longer on each tusk. After shooting the pig, the boys "hog-tied" it to a log and carried it back to the truck. After getting the warthog, we skipped buffalo hunting and went to check the baits. Along the way to one of the baits we spotted a nice herd of zebra. Will and Thierry got out but couldn't get a shot. We've seen wild dogs (which are apparently rare), baboons, wildebeest, impala, kudu cow, sable, rock rabbits, and eland so far today. The others saw rhino and waterbuck. We found that one of the baits had been eaten last night! And as luck would have it, one of Dusty's cameras captured it! We took the camera back to camp and found pictures of the beautiful bachelor, so we're off to build a new blind. On the way we helped the wild dog researcher find the pack he is studying. One of the dogs is wearing a transmitter so he can track them. There are thatchers working back at camp, as well as men pouring new walkways. It is certainly a busy place today! We may move to a different room due to all the work. Our hosts do not want it to interfere with our comfort, convenience, or rest. On the way back from building the blind we saw a kudu bull and a giraffe near the waterhole. Thierry helped us get really good photos of both animals. We also saw a warthog family that had been enjoying the water and the mud. Back at camp, I've been to see what may become our new room. WOW! It is even more over the top than the one we are in now. Plus, our bags are here! The boys left for the blind at 3:15pm, so I unpacked and checked email. The guys got settled in the blind around 4pm. Lindsey, Nevin, and I visited over wine and appetizers until 11:30, hoping to hear about the leopard. We finally gave up and went ahead with dinner of buffalo steaks and baked potatoes with veggies and salad. Just after midnight the leopard charged up to the base of the bait tree to run off a civet. The civet almost ran through the blind causing Will to nearly jump in Thierry's lap! He whispered, "It's the leopard." By moonlight Will could just barely see the leopard moving on the bait branch. Thierry tapped him on the shoulder indicating that he was about to turn on the light. Will gave the thumbs up that he was ready. The light hit the cat just long enough to show his yellow color. Then it instantly leapt from the branch, grunted, and ran off. Not 20 minutes later they again heard the sounds of the leopard feeding. This time, however, he would go up the tree, get a bite or two, and retreat to the ground. For several minutes, they watched bits and pieces of this activity by moonlight before the leopard stopped, walked into the open, sat down in the bright moonlight, and looked up at the bait. Will said, in hindsight, he probably should have shot him. Instead he whispered, "I can see him. I can kill him right there." Before Thierry could respond, the leopard looked right in Will's direction and ran away. He couldn't believe that he had been heard whispering, but is sure that the leopard did hear him. Three hours later, there were no other encounters with the leopard, so they called for the truck at 4am. Of course, after they left, the leopard returned and ate the remainder of the bait. Better luck tomorrow...or actually today. | Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Warthog #2 Details: 13-13.5" tusks
14: Thursday, June 4, 2009 We had a cooked breakfast in the library this morning. Our meals will probably be there for the next week due to the work mess. It is also a bit warmer, but the view is not as beautiful. We "slept in" until after daybreak, but I could have rested another couple hours. Thierry has promised that we will have times for napping today. After talking with Dusty this morning, he and Thierry have come to the conclusion that the leopard they were hunting last night is the same one that had been wounded (and paid for) by a hunter named Phillip last year. We checked the bait again and it turns out the huge cat came back to feed again after they left last night. It seems like Thierry is becoming determined to outsmart this one, which could be great for Will's hunt! We found tracks at another bait as well this morning. We are still continuing to see wildlife as we ride - duiker running, impala grazing, guineas in a row, etc. Now we will need to look for another zebra to use as bait. Thierry got onto the open bench seat with Will in the back while I rode up front with Isaac. They've spotted a Klipspringer and got out of the truck to stalk, but they were outsmarted. Now they've gotten out again, but the jackal won. The zebra must've heard through the grapevine that Will was looking for one to use as bait, because every other day we've seen a hundred of them but not today. So instead, Will shot 2 impala rams for bait. We dropped them off at HQ then stopped to get some sticks to finish building the leopard tree blind called a 'machan.'
15: Thursday, June 4, 2009 (continued) Before we made it to the bait site we passed by a large herd of elephants with babies in a wide open watering area. I so wish that we'd had the video camera ready! They trumpeted and everything! We did get some great photos, though. We also saw some warthogs "makin' bacon" (Thierry's words) as well as plenty of zebra now that we didn't need one. The blind is way up in a tree - hope they don't miss a step in the dark tonight. The guys were in the machan by 4pm. I had a nap then chatted with Nevin and Lindsey around the fire and appetizers (sausages and Pringles). At dark, the sounds of the leopards began at the machan. Will thought for sure that they would kill the leopard at any moment. While the female did walk under the bait at midnight, the male never came to the bait. Dinner was wonderful again - warthog fillet in mushroom sauce over rice, roasted potatoes, creamed spinach, steamed vegetables, and salad with olives. The best dessert of the trip so far came tonight - ice cream stuffed crepe with chocolate sauce. The guys heard the pair of leopards all around them for most of the night. After dinner I packed us to move to our posh new room then went to bed. Meanwhile, Will and Thierry sat for 13 hours in the tree then decided to return to camp around 5am.
16: Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Waterbuck Details: 25" horns
17: Friday, June 5, 2009 The guys didn't come home until morning - sixish I think. The cats never fed because they were more interested in mating. Good news is that the male is big, so that makes 3 leopards to hunt so far. We got to sleep in until 7am, had breakfast, then hit the buffalo trail. The buffalo won yet another round. Today Moudini gave me a giraffe hair bracelet as a gift - how sweet! We're now riding around to look for zebra. We found 2 groups but they both ran off - smart donkeys! We decided to walk the Mokore River to look for other game. The 'river' is shallow with lots of reeds, grasses, and rocks along its banks. We trod on paths made by the animals we hunt. Soon the PH and trackers spot a waterbuck, so Will takes a good shot from the shooting sticks. I saw the waterbuck across the river after the first shot, then Will hit it with a second. The guys saw that it was still moving around some so Will hit it with a third and final shot. This was what Will called "getting his money's worth!" Since we didn't get an early start (brunch was at 11am), we are running close on time for the guys getting to the leopard blind on time. We must cross the river to get to the trophy - the guys took off their shoes and socks and I crossed on Will's back! Very 'Out of Africa'... The waterbuck turns out to be an old bull with a HUGE body and 25" horns. Will and Thierry are really proud of him. They took photos then got to work. We're too far away from the truck to carry such a large animal, so we leave 3 of the trackers there to finish "caping him out" and we hurry back to camp. | We've moved into our enormous new room, so Will walked over to quickly gather his things and change before leaving again for the evening. I hope they get this big cat early tonight. I took the rest of the afternoon to "set up house" before dinner then freshen up. From 6:30 until 8:30 we chat and munch on popcorn. Tonight's dinner was a surprise - homemade lasagna complete with garlic bread and salad with avocado slices. Pineapple tart was served for dessert. I went to bed in our new room but was quite restless in a new place without Will. I think that we now have a small bat as a house mate. There was no sign of leopard by 2am so they called for the truck. At least they got to see a brown hyaena and a civet.
18: Home, sweet home away from home! | Bird suicide window | Our new resting place... | A plush bathroom by any standard, especially in Africa!
19: Saturday, June 6, 2009 Will got home in the wee hours of the morning, around 2:30am. Our wake-up knock was at 5:30 this morning - way too early since I didn't rest well and he got in so late. Breakfast was good, as usual. I really want one of those coffee machines! We left looking for buffalo. After tracking and walking more than an hour, Thierry spotted leopards at one of our baits up ahead. Will and I missed it because I fell behind in the riverbed - which was like walking in the softest sand at the beach. We never caught up to the buffalo so we took a break to begin working on a new leopard blind. Oh how I wish they can get one tonight so we can all get some normal sleep...and so we can leave the darned bait bucket behind...and so we can get away from these pesky Mopane flies! This new above-ground blind should be a much stronger machan than the first since they're using boards borrowed from the rhino boma. Dusty has a zebra that we will use for a new bait here. We had lunch back at camp around 1:30pm. This allowed the boys to fill up on carbs - fettuccine alfredo, garlic bread, and salad - before taking an hour-long nap. I just witnessed what a hazard the large plate glass window in our new room can be - a bird just flew into it at full steam and scared me to near death! It's definitely time for a bath, then onto the main lodge for dinner. The boys were in the blind early and heard leopards just as darkness fell. The female walked under them, just 15 feet away, and they heard the male purring not more than 30 yards to their left. For whatever reason, the female walked to the bait tree but would not commit to the bait. She walked away and the male must have followed. Meanwhile, our appetizers were very good - "deli" picks and Lindsey's favorite beans. Dinner was also very good as we had eland roast with gravy over rice, roasted potatoes, steamed vegetables, and coleslaw with raisins (not my favorite). Dessert was the same as last night - pineapple tart - but with cream and custard sauces. By 2am, the guys decided that it was obviously not going to happen tonight, so they called for the truck and came home empty-handed.
20: Sunday, June 7, 2009 The guys came in around 2am. The leopards came but the male wouldn't eat - literally not taking the bait. During the night they saw buffalo and bushpig. Our wake-up was at 5am. Breakfast was good as usual. We've moved back to the big table now that the thatching is complete in the main area. This morning we're stalking buffalo. I've taken some video footage, but they didn't have a shot. On the buffalo trail, our approach on a herd was blocked by a herd of zebra and impala so we stopped to let them pass. While waiting, we found a leopard sunning on a termite mound, but they couldn't determine if it was a male even after watching for 20 minutes at 150 yards. This is clearly irony at its best - last night they hunted leopard and saw buffalo, and now today we hunt for buffalo but find a leopard! We're now off to check baits. They cut an impala and zebra quarter from their trees - GROSS! The boys have gone to look for a new bait tree and hunting spot. Thierry is beginning to think that we need to think about moving into another part of the concession to start hunting different cats. On a hunch they've built a new blind and hung a new bait where they had the June 3 encounter with a big male. I chose to wait in the truck cab in order to escape the Mopane flies. We had lunch inside the guest camp pavilion at headquarters. After we finished our leftover eland roast and sandwiches, we took a nice nap for almost an hour. We spoke to James before leaving. After a ride over to an area near our camp, we got out to walk for sable, bushbuck, and klipspringer. There was a beautiful lake surrounded by rocks and elephant tracks. We also saw a lot of 'sign' from buffalo. No shots were taken but we did see klipspringer and bushbuck. The klipspringers make funny noises! I fell or slid down the steep side of a riverbed and collected way too many burrs and scratches for comfort. This walk was really long... As soon as we got back to Ingwe I took a shower. I feel like a new person! Dinner was wonderful - who knew we would be offered a Mexican dish in the African bush?! The menu tonight consisted of Mexican chicken over rice with steamed peas and carrots as well as a good salad. Ice cream crepes, my favorite dessert thus far, were served! I knew Will would love it. I'm so glad that he's home for the night! We all get to enjoy a good night's sleep.
23: Monday, June 8, 2009 Even though I decided to stay at camp today, I woke up early with Will and had breakfast. It's quite warm this morning and clouds have moved in overnight. the guys left around 5:30am and I went back to the room for reading and sleep. The boys find buffalo tracks, so they send Isaac to check baits. Once Isaac reported that the fresh zebra quarter had been hit by a big male leopard, the guys radioed to camp that the Professor had found the new bait last night. They were encouraged for tonight's hunting. Around 11am I went to the office to check email and get on Facebook. I sent a message to our parents and John after hearing about the plan to sit for Professor Spots. The guys helped Nevin load up the bait zebra that he'd found and shot for them, and they they all headed back to camp for lunch. When they got home, they reported that they have yet to find buffalo today. We had a really good soup with rolls for lunch. Will and I even had seconds. He was able to take an hour-long nap before they left for the leopard blind around 3:15pm. This new blind is deeper into the bush, so they left a little earlier than usual in case the cat arrived early. I'm keeping my fingers crossed... It's about 5:30pm and I believe I just witnessed a murder - the baboons just captured their dinner outside the bathroom window. Whatever it was, rock rabbit or bird, it made plenty of noise in addition to that of those awful baboons. There is never a dull moment here in the bush. Will has missed yet another lovely meal - appetizers of hummus, veggies, sausages, and toast rounds; dinner of herbed fish over rice with broasted potatoes, steamed mixed veggies, and salad with avocado; dessert of malva pudding (similar to a moist and cake-like brownie) with cream and custard sauces. What a night! After dinner we all went to bed around 10:15pm. About 10:30, just after I had crawled into bed, Lindsey was at my door to give me the good news. They had just received the radio message that "Professor Spots has given his last lecture!" Nevin and Lindsey loaded a cooler and drove me (still in my pajamas) to headquarters for photos and celebrating. We got there just before the guys, but as soon as they pulled in there was excitement! All the guys were telling the story, some of which I got on video, and the trackers even clapped and sang. The Professor really is a big cat. Dusty and James were there to help celebrate and check out this fabulous specimen. We took lots of photographs, with both of our cameras as well as with Thierry's and Lindsey's cameras. The trackers were all smiles as they thoroughly enjoyed having their pictures taken. Will was so proud to hold up his big leopard, but he was getting tired so Moudini got to take a turn holding up the big guy in some of the photos. After everyone was satisfied with their photos, we drove back to Ingwe for a few hours sleep before beginning another day. Bedtime: 2am! | Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Leopard Details: 17" skull, 7'3" nose to tail
24: Building the blind
25: for Professor Spots
26: "The Professor of Sango" by Will J. Parks, III
27: In January of 2008, I attended the SCI Convention in Reno, Nevada, with the single objective of booking a leopard and buffalo hunt for 2009. The safari was to be my wife Betsy's first trip to Africa, my fourth. After a day of discussion and much deliberation, I decided to book with Zambezi Hunters, an outfit that operates on several concessions in the Save Valley Conservancy in Southeast Zimbabwe. My plan to hunt Zimbabwe was a hard pill to swallow for my parents, my in-laws, and several of my friends and colleagues. Zimbabwe has been crushed in the media, and many hunters will not even consider travel to Zimbabwe. However, during my 18 days that we were there, we did not have a single problem. We benefitted from a luxurious and well-supplied safari camp. Nothing was in short supply, including fuel, and the people were friendly and helpful. People not connected to the safari industry were interested in whether we had enjoyed our stay. Several asked us to tell our American friends that the situation was not as bad as portrayed in the press. I cannot think of any precautionary statement that I would give to anyone thinking of traveling to Zimbabwe for hunting purposes except to minimize your time in town and on the public roads by utilizing air charters. Air charters are relatively cheap and they eliminate the dangers associated with traveling the public roads. We only traveled by road on two occasions, both of which were brief. I was aware of my surroundings, but I was never worried for our safety. I would not, however, consider an eight-hour, cross-country trip. I would utilize a charter in every instance. | Following the ninety-minute flight from Harare, we arrived at the Sango airstrip. After a brief meet-and-greet, we loaded the landcruiser for the short drive to camp. During that drive, I had the feeling that we were in a special place. Sango, at 200,000 acres, is the largest property in the almost million-acre Save conservation cooperative. It is a conservation success story. By the fourth day of the hunt, we had spotted The Big Five. By the end of the hunt, we had seen black and white rhino, brown hyaena, African wild dogs, cheetah, and every species present in the conservancy, except spotted hyaena. Most impressive to me was that we saw eland or sable every day, and most days we saw both. As with most leopard hunts, baiting was the first priority. My PH, Thierry ("Terry") Labat, a thirty-year-old Zimbabwean, hunt four baits before we arrived. He wanted to shoot a zebra right away and hang four more baits before the end of the day. I was not familiar with zebra meat as leopard bait, but I acquiesced when I learned that my PH previously guided 19 clients to 18 leopards. After a quick bite of brunch, we set out for zebra. After no more than twenty minutes, a herd was spotted and the stallion presented himself for a shot. The shot was true and we delivered the stallion to the skinning facilities for skinning and quartering. We shot a 14-plus-inch warthog along the way and got the last of the four new baits hung just as darkness fell upon us. I went to bed that night feeling good about the eight baits and the trophy hog. Even better, this had all transpired on May 31, and our hunt did not | technically begin until tomorrow, June 1. The third day of the hunt, June 3, began with the usual hunt for buffalo, but swirling winds kept us from having success with a herd of Dagga Boys. After giving up on buffalo, we checked baits. Checking eight baits takes time, so by the time we arrived at the final bait - one of the baits hunt the day of our arrival - I was basically asleep on the back of the truck. I woke up pretty quick when I heard the excitement in the trackers' voices. I dismounted the truck to see a decimated zebra quarter and plenty of large tom leopard tracks in the sand. I could not believe that we had a male on bait on the third day. Who is that lucky? As a bonus, a biologist living on Sango and doing his Ph.D. work on leopards placed an infrared camera on the bait and the camera had been triggered. We took the memory card from the camera so we would look at the pictures at camp. On the way back for lunch, Thierry told me that a client wounded a leopard last year in the same tree where we had the big cat feeding. The location of the hit was unknown, but the leopard bled profusely. After two days of tracking without ever seeing the cat, the hunters called for a dog handler. Chased by the dogs, the leopard took refuge in a cave and fought the dogs. When the dogs returned to the handler and hunters scared and bleeding, they decided the leopard was way too healthy to risk sending any human into the cave. Whatever became of the cat was unknown. When we returned to camp for lunch, we looked at the pictures on a laptop and confirmed that the feeding cat was a large male leopard. He was feeding at midnight. Dusty, the biologist, came to
28: the camp to see the pictures. One of Dusty's area of expertise is identification of leopards. Since every leopard has different rosettes and spots, much like human fingerprints though more easily distinguished, each leopard can be identified. When Dusty looked at the screen, he immediately recognized our leopard as the leopard that had been wounded in the same tree almost a year prior. After lunch, we went into hunting mode. We built the blind and by 4:00 p.m. we settled in for the evening's hunt. By 10:00 p.m., I was struggling. I wondered if the leopard would ever show up. By 11:00 p.m., I was falling asleep. Only a series of regular elbow jabs from my PH kept me awake and not snoring. At 12:15 a.m., it happened. With a snarl and a growl, the leopard charged up to the base of the bait tree to run off a civet. The civet almost ran through the blind and I almost jumped into Thierry's lap. He whispered, "It's the leopard." As the sounds of tearing flesh and breaking bone began, we moved into our shooting positions. By moonlight, I could just barely see the leopard moving on the bait branch. Thierry tapped me on the shoulder indicating that he was about to turn on the light. I gave him a thumbs up that I was ready. After the light came on, another tap would indicate that the cat was a male and that I could shoot. I can remember the light hitting the cat just long enough that I could see his yellow color. Then, instantly, the cat leapt from the branch, grunted, and ran off. I could not believe it. What happened? I sighed and laid flat on my back as the excitement of the situation began dissipating through heavy breathing | and my shaking legs. Thierry said, "He will be back." Not twenty minutes later, we again heard the sounds of the leopard feeding. This time, however, he would go up the tree, get a bite or two, and retreat to the ground. For several minutes, we watched bits and pieces of this activity by moonlight before the leopard stopped, walked into the open, sat down in the bright moonlight, and looked up at the bait. I could see the cat well and, in hindsight, probably should have shot him. Instead, I whispered, "I can see him. I can kill him right there." Before Thierry could respond, the leopard looked right in my direction and ran away. I cannot believe that he heard me whispering, but I know that he did. to put it into context, I could have gotten away with whispering if there had been a tom turkey at 30 yards rather than a tom leopard at 50 yards. Three hours later, there were no other encounters with the leopard, so we called for the truck at 4:00 a.m. Of course, after we left, the leopard returned and ate the remainder of the bait. The next day, we debriefed and went back over the previous night's hunt. Thierry agreed that the leopard heard my whispers, and he emphasized the importance of our using hand signals. We also talked about the leopard, that he was big, and that he was smart. The leopard's experience with being hunted and shot the previous year would make him a difficult cat to hunt. It would also be difficult to get the cat back to the bait since he had eaten most of the zebra quarter in two days. Finally, our botched hunt from the previous night just served to further his formal education. Thierry figured that we | would have to shoot the leopard, if at all, by moonlight. With all of these factors working for the leopard and against the hunters, this cat was appropriately named "The Professor." The next few days focused on hunting some other leopards that were visiting our baits. Day four had us spending the night in a machan. While we heard the sounds of a breeding pair of leopards for several hours that night, we only saw the female and she never committed to the bait. Day five we were back for The Professor, but he did not return. Day six put us in another machan where we had spotted a male and female feeding in the daylight earlier that day while we were hunting buffalo. As darkness fell, we could hear the sounds of the leopards. The female walked right under the machan and approached the bait. The male could be heard purring not more than thirty yards to the left of the blind. The female went halfway up the bait tree before going back down and disappearing into the night. The purring male followed, but we never saw him. I really thought we would kill that leopard and make it home in time for our first hot supper in several nights, but it was not to be. Day seven began with a buffalo hunt during which we saw a tom leopard lying on an ant hill taking a sun bath. After watching the cat from 150 yards for more than 15 minutes, he eventually rose and walked away. By this time, I was developing a funny feeling about this leopard hunting business. Most of my knowledge of leopards told me that I would see one leopard and that I would have a matter of seconds to shoot him. to the contrary, we were seeing and hearing
29: leopards everywhere. Seeing that tom on the ant hill was my fourth leopard sighting in seven days! Additionally, I'd heard two males that I had not seen. Before the hunt was over, our hunting party would account for nine leopard sightings. I think anyone who has hunted leopard will tell you that is a lifetime of leopard encounters. Our baits were starting to rot or had been completely devoured, and Thierry was starting to think about focusing our efforts on different cats in different parts of the concession. But before moving on, he wanted to try for The Professor one last time. As is typical when you 'need' a bait, we could not find a zebra to shoot, so we borrowed a zebra quarter from our biologist friend, Dusty, and hurried to the bait site. Since The Professor had so much experience with the existing bait tree and blind site, we moved deeper into the bush and created a new setup between three rocky hills. We hung the bait where the leopard could eat from the ground. Thierry was so confident in this set up that he went ahead and built the blind without any cat having found the bait or fed on it. He felt so confident in the setup that we almost sat there that night. Day eight dawned with us on the tracks of buffalo. We enlisted Nevin Lees May, PH and Sango camp manager, to shoot a zebra bait for us, and we sent one of the trackers to see if The Professor had found the bait. The buffalo were uncooperative, but Nevin got our zebra and The Professor had fed during the night. Spirits were high as we ate lunch and planned for the evening's hunt. Since the new blind was deeper in the bush, we planned to arrive at 3:00 p.m. in case the cat arrived early. The plan was to shoot | the cat by moonlight so, with the gun in the rest, I memorized the sight picture thinking anything that was not a rock or the bait tree would have to be the leopard. Again, hours passed and I drifted in and out of sleep until 10:15 p.m. Just at that time, Thierry nudged me and gave me the hand signal indicating where the cat was in relation to the tree. I sat up and looked through the scope and could not see anything. Clouds had moved in, and the bright moonlight that benefitted us on the previous nights was no longer there. After a few tense moments, the clouds parted just enough that I could make out the leopard. He was sitting like a dog and eating the bait. Of course, he was on the shady side of the tree! I turned to Thierry and gave him a thumbs up, a head not, and a trigger pull gesture all at the same time. He nodded back and I returned to the sight picture, made out the leopard's moving head, slid the crosshair down into his body, and squeeeeeeezed. Boom! Growl! You got him! Did I get him? You got him! Thierry turned on the light, but there was no dead leopard at the base of the tree. I saw nothing but fire when I pulled the trigger, but Thierry said that the shot definitely knocked the leopard down. Unfortunately, he lost sight of the leopard | when he put down his binoculars and turned on the light. After fifteen minutes, we decided to slowly approach the bait tree. With rifles and flashlights at the ready, we began the long walk to the bait. About fifteen yards away, Theirry took the lead and asked me to stay behind. After finally getting to the bait tree, he began unloading his gun and called to me, "Mr. Parks, come see your leopard." Incredibly, the leopard was perfectly shot and had died just eight feet from the tree. I put down my rifle and grabbed the leopard in the obligatory "bear hug" pose. It was completely dark and there was no camera anywhere, but I had been waiting a long time to hoist up a big tom leopard. The truck arrived and all the trackers joined the celebration. After a power struggle as to which of them would get to carry the leopard back to the truck, we made the short walk to the vehicle and took some pictures before heading back to the skinning room. On the way, the radio calls started going out that The Professor had given his last lecture. In response to the radio calls, just about everyone in the compound came to see The Professor. We arrived to a large crowd sometime before midnight and the party was well underway. Betsy was so excited about my getting the leopard that she made the trip in her robe and pajamas. After taking more pictures, reliving the story a dozen times, toasting The Professor, and toasting the hunters, we made the 20-minute trip back to the camp. It was, without a doubt, the highpoint of my hunting career. The next day we learned that the leopard's skull scored just under 17 inches
30: and that he measured 7'3" nose to tail. Dusty had performed the post mortem and verified that this was the leopard that was wounded last year. In fact, he had a scar on both sides of his right arm and a mass of scar tissue in the right arm. Dusty also confirmed our belief that this was an old leopard. He estimated the cat was eight to ten years old and was likely nine. The Professor was the oldest leopard taken in many years of hunting on the Sango property. As I write this, I am twenty days removed from that night. A leopard is a special animal and I am thankful to have taken such a magnificent trophy in the company of my wife and many other special people. While a leopard, by itself, can make any safari a success, this safari was extremely successful since my leopard, at almost 17 inches, was the best trophy taken. Two days after getting the leopard, we finally improved our luck with the buffalo and I shot a big bull. We followed the track, he charged, and Thierry and I stopped him at eight steps with a simultaneous dose of 500 grain charge stoppers from our .458s. It was way too close for comfort, but way too much fun to wish it had happened any other way. Seven other record book trophies taken on Sango included: Livingstone Eland; Bush Pig; two Warthogs; Klipspringer; Bushbuck; and Waterbuck. Nothing, however, not even a charging buffalo, tops my experience with The Professor. (as published on the Accurate Reloading website and in SAFARI Newsletter: Alabama Chapter Vol. 13, Number 1, Fall 2009)
31: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 After only 2 or 3 hours' sleep, we got our wake-up knock. We awoke to discover light rain, so I decided to stay back at camp again today. This way there is plenty of room for Will to stay dry up front with Thierry while I get to stay out of the mud. Breakfast was good, and the guys got away before proper sunrise to begin tracking buffalo. I feel like our luck has changed, but I know Will believes it's already been a successful safari because of the leopard. Before returning for lunch they visited Professor Spots for a few daytime photos now that he's frozen into position. They arrived back at Ingwe for lunch and naps having seen buffalo, just not "the one." Lunch was yummy - pasta with either marinara or ham alfredo sauces, salad, and rolls. The guys went back out around 2:45pm. I've gotten in a lot of Kindle reading today. They returned with photos of herds of both buffalo and sable, but didn't find one that they wanted to take for a ride in their truck. Better luck with hunting tomorrow... Dinner tonight was definitely not a disappointment. We had wildebeest curry over rice, steamed cabbage, veggies, great spinach salad, pumpadums (tostadas) with toppings of toasted coconut, onion, banana slices, and chopped tomato. We were unsure exactly how to approach the pumpadums, but they were tasty. Dessert was a repeat for Thierry's sake - his favorite is malva pudding. We had a special seating at tonight's table in honor of Will taking his leopard. The table was decorated with leopard print runners and placemats, and Will's napkin ring was the leopard. Mine was a warthog, and others had kudu, etc. Wish I could find a set of these as souvenirs...
32: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 There was no rain this morning, but there are still lots of clouds. There was actually light rain before and after dinner last night, so I'm staying at camp again today. Plus, next trip I need to come prepared with leather shoes and gaiters. Lindsey loaned me some nail polishes, so that will keep me occupied while the boys are looking for buffalo and sable. About 10:45 Lindsey came to the room with the message that Will had gotten his buffalo! I told her that I would try to hurry up with my "pink things" (how Linds refers to girlie activities) before they came home for lunch. Another moment that we missed getting on video...I wish I could have been there, but once I heard the story I realized that I probably couldn't have taken it! Will said that he slightly misjudged the angle at which the bull was standing, so the wounded buffalo charged them! Even though the first shot broke its shoulder, it took a total of 7 shots, including two to his face, before he turned a somersault 8 paces from where Will and Thierry stood. The Jim Shockey clip of a charging buffalo had been playing over and over in my head since we have been stalking, and I think I would've panicked had I been there.
33: After hearing them relive the morning's events, we had a late lunch of thick potato soup with rolls and a hot dog. We've noticed that they served a lot of hot dogs and sausages here. The discussion at lunch included bringing Will's Dictaphone next time. He really needs to write down this trip's experiences before he forgets the details, maybe even to publish as an article. On my way back to the room I made friends with 2 nyala! One of the staff gave me a bowl of 'cubes' to feed them, and they loved it. Dusty provides the animal treats in bulk quantities, but they also like leafy greens. Dinner tonight is a 'bry' or what we call barbecue with Dusty's leopard presentation. Nevin did a great job at the grill (with a little help from the staff). We had mini impala steaks, chicken, and lamb sausages with two sauces as well as mini baked potatoes, steamed veggies, and something like a banana pie. The presentation was really interesting. Dusty set up his projector and computer in the library and, lo and behold, they have a drop down screen in the doorway! Wonders never cease around here. We saw trail cam photos of several different leopards, which made Will eager to plan another trip! It is especially interesting that each leopard has a unique pattern of spots, just like we can be identified by our unique fingerprints. We identified Professor Spots by his straight row of spots on his side. We admired the photos of Popeye too. Dusty's accent is different from everyone else we've met, I suppose because he's from South Africa and speaks Afrikaans. It's been a great evening.
34: Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Cape Buffalo Details: It charged!
37: Thursday, June 11, 2009 After taking the buffalo yesterday, our wake-up time is a whole 45 minutes later. I've decided to stay back this morning because the sable lives amidst the burrs, which in turn love to live on my shoes and socks. Same breakfast, good as usual. The weather is still pretty cloudy. The guys left and I got on the computer. I was able to clean out my school email account, but there is still no word on the OSR grant for Pre-K. I checked Facebook and caught up on courthouse security articles. I also sent email updates and received messages from John who misses us and Bill who is taking care of things around the house. I also showed Lindsey where to edit photos on her home computer. The guys came home for lunch of spiral pasta with red meat sauce and yummy quiche. After a long nap, I went out with them for the afternoon. We drove through rocky areas looking for sable and klipspringer to no avail. We did see waterbuck, wildebeest, nyala, and kudu. The lake area is absolutely breathtaking. After showering we walked over for appetizers, drinks, and dinner. We had thought there might be a dinner guest but the electrician had rescheduled. We tried Thierry's requested 'tripe' appetizer but decided it would not become our new favorite - it was chewy like partially cooked hog jowl with an odd flavor. It's a good thing we also had Pringles, crackers, and avocado dip (creamy smooth guacamole). Dinner was good - warthog roast with gravy over rice, sweet and regular potatoes, steamed vegetables, creamed spinach, and tossed salad. Dessert was | leechee mousse, probably my least favorite thus far. We turned in early enough to get more than our 8 hours - the guys still needed to catch up after missing sleep while leopard hunting. Today I've been making a list of all the different words and phrases that our new friends have been using. Instead of worrying about things having gone wrong, everyone (including but not limited to Collen, Nina, Jenna, Lindsey, and Thierry) just said that we would "make a plan." They also use the words "cheeky" and "dodgey." One of our favorites is "mushy." We just love our new "mates."
38: We changed up breakfast this morning by having the staff prepare omelettes. Lindsey was afraid we were getting tired of the same thing each morning, even though it had been wonderful and way more than we're used to eating. The guys are going after sable again this morning (in burr country), so I plan to hop on the treadmill. All of this delicious food is going straight to my waist and hips! It seems that the weather is almost back to normal as it is only partly cloudy. Come on sun... I had a great 5k walk/jog. The gym is rather impressive with plenty of professional equipment - treadmill, recumbent bike, elliptical, stairclimber, rowing machine, a punching bag, and freeweights. There is also the huge contraption called a 'gyro' that looks like it came straight from space camp. I was afraid to try it because I worried that I would be unable to stop spinning. It is supposed to build your core muscles, but I'm not so sure... The guys came back for lunch with no sable. We heard that Will missed another klipspringer this morning. At Thierry's request we had eland steak with onion gravy, fried eggs, and 'chips' with apple | Friday, June 12, 2009
39: coleslaw. The traditional British meal was a hit, so much so that I think Will might request it even when we're back home. Everyone took nice long naps, then the guys were back out for sable. I got ready for the lion calling, then I got to feed one of the nyala again! I hope they get some more cubes soon. While the guys were finishing up their hunting, I was able to go with Lindsey and Nevin to meet Dusty for the lion calling. The guys arrived home shortly after we left, again without sable. On our drive to meet Dusty we saw lots of game and even got some on video - a giraffe, 3 buffalo, kudu, a mongoose colony, zebra, impala, wildebeest, and warthogs. Just before dark we followed Dusty to the road where he had baited for lions. Nevin drove Lindsey, James, and me in the open safari jeep behind Dusty and Sumbay. They played the lion tracks over and over from their vehicle, but the lions never showed. It turns out they were nearby and uninterested, meaning they must've already had a kill to feed on. This was really interesting and exciting! When we arrived home, we had chicken stew for dinner served over rice with a three bean salad. Milk pie was served for dessert. Bedtime...
40: Saturday, June 13, 2009 I've stayed back again this morning. We had a good breakfast with scrambled eggs today. I'm planning to use the treadmill again today. The sun is back out today! This is the life! I've taken an outdoor shower and am now sitting under an umbrella on our large veranda just taking it all in There are colorful birds hopping and flitting around in the trees, the sun is shining brightly, strips on the paper bark trees are floating in the breeze, and the view of the Mokore River is stunning. Today's sky is a beautiful blue dotted with puffy white balls of cotton. This makes me want to give up TV and phones! I think back to last night's clear sky - it seemed as if I were seeing the entire galaxy there were so many stars. It just doesn't look like that at home due to all the homes, buildings, signs, street lights, power lines, etc. Guess it's time to head over to the main lodge for lunch - I saw Stan and the other guys setting it up on the lawn earlier, moving tables and raking leaves. They really know how to make everything special here. The boys came back around 1:30pm. They brought me a Cream of Tartar from a baobab tree! I've been curious about how these trees reproduce since they seem to be so prolific here. They may not have leaves, but their fruit is quite interesting. Anyway, we had baked tuna rolls and salad - YUMMY! They were still unable to find their sable, so they'll go back out this afternoon. Tomorrow our plan is to go to the Save River and tented camp to look for bushbuck, klipspringer, and sable. We'll take a box lunch. Yippee! Will returned this evening with a nice bushbuck. Isaac gave him a giraffe hair bracelet. It must be a good luck charm, and now we match. They saw a lone sable but it apparently wasn't big enough. I fed the nyala today - I named one Miss Piggy and the other Princess. We think that Miss Piggy eats so much because she is pregnant. They eat cubes and lettuce. We had nice conversation around the fire before dinner. The guys were telling stories about CAR and Zambia. Dinner was buffalo and eland tail which consisted of small bones with little bites of fatty meat. This was served with Wildebeest steaks, spinach salad, and steamed veggies.
41: Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Bushbuck
43: Sunday, June 14, 2009 To change things up a bit, we had French toast this morning. It was not quite the same as at home, but still good. After breakfast we all hopped in the truck to look for sable and klipspringer. Thierry, Moudini, Will and I soon got out to walk between two rock formations where there weren't all that many burrs. Every so often we would stop, Will would get set up on the shooting sticks, and Thierry would use his wounded animal call to attempt to find a klip. It was a nice walk, with warm air currents in one area, but no klip yet. From there we rode toward the Save River area, stopping to get photos and video of lots of game - elephant, giraffe, zebra, impala, warthogs, wildebeest, crocodile, etc. At one point we even 'raced' the wildebeest and zebra! Moudini got out at a watering hole near the tented camp to chase a baboon but was unsuccessful in catching one. I'm kind of glad! We toured the tented camp which is sufficient for a few days, but nothing close to the luxury found at Ingwe. From there we drove to headquarters to have our boxed lunch in the guest camp. On our way there we saw waterbuck, bushbuck, and other wildlife. Lunch consisted of chicken pies, sausage, roast, and salad. We took a short nap and then headed back to the truck. While driving around we saw a nice klipspringer just standing, almost posing, on some rocks. Wouldn't you know that it just happened to be on someone else's property? Figures... Soon Will and the boys got out back on Sango property to find another klip, and they were successful! I waited in the truck with Isaac until we heard the shot, then Isaac drove the truck over to where they were walking down the small mountain with their trophy. So we headed back to HQ then did some more game spotting on the way back to Ingwe. We saw a dark old giraffe and a white rhino directly across the road from one another. It was like watching a tennis match - we would all watch the giraffe a little while, then turn to watch the rhino. This was a great day! We shared photos with Thierry then had fried chicken tenders and chips for dinner. It was served with creamed cabbage and steamed carrots - yum! Dessert was a cakey citrus pudding with cream. | Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Klipspringer
45: The Remainder of the Safari...June 15-17, 2009 A few highlights from the remainder of the trip: Will got one last trophy in a bush pig; Giles (or Jesus as Thierry called him) flew us to the Harare International Airport and let Will fly part of the way there; we did some souvenir shopping in the airports; and then we flew home while our ankles swelled. Will summarizes the trip in the following paragraph... SUMMARY This was a fantastic hunt, in good country, with great people. The accommodations were five star. Leopards were plentiful. I saw four leopards, and the hunting party accounted for 9 leopard sightings in connection with this hunt. Buffalo were not as plentiful as in the Zambezi Valley or other parts of the SVC, but the bulls we encountered were old, big, and wide and we saw buffalo almost daily. I recall nine elephant encounters, five rhino sightings, and one group of lioness as well as lots of lion tracks and lions roaring at night and in the morning. While I did not find a big sable, there are strong numbers of all species of plains game in this area. In conclusion, I give the hunt my highest rating...I've rebooked. | Hunter: Will Parks Observer: Betsy Parks PH: Thierry Labat Trophy: Bush Pig
46: Fauna The following pages contain photographs of the various wildlife we saw while in Zimbabwe.
60: Flora The following pages contain photographs of the various plants we saw while in Zimbabwe.
68: People The following pages contain photographs of the folks we met while in Zimbabwe. | Sango Manager | Sango Biologist, Dusty | James, Dusty's intern | First charter pilot, Nick | Susie, Thierry's Girlfriend
69: Ingwe Cooks | Skinning Shed Staff | Stan, Ingwe Head of Staff | Ingwe Kitchen Staff
70: Professional Hunter, Thierry Labat and his tracking team | Moudini | Itai, Sango Game Scout | Isaac | Tanga
71: Ingwe Managers/Hosts, Nevin & Lindsey Lees May
72: Ingwe Safari Lodge
75: Our Room
77: out and about
78: Going Home...